Thursday, May 27, 2010

8 Tips on How to Successfully Use Twitter

8 Tips to Use Twitter Successfully


RISMEDIA, May 27, 2010--Social media is here to stay and everyone is using social networking sites such a Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you're worried about how to best use Twitter, propertyadguru.com's offers the following tips for real estate agents who are looking to get the most out of Twitter.

1. Understand what Twitter is and plan before you tweet. Twitter is about posting short updates of less than 140 characters. It's all about telling your followers what you're doing, so be sure to look closely at examples of how others use it before you begin.

2. Every word matters. You only have 140 characters-think carefully about how you choose to spend them.

3. Personalize your Twitter account, but keep it professional. Make sure to think business and include all your relevant contact details in your profile, choose a relevant name, add a photo, include a short bio and make new friends or follow other relevant businesses.

4. Tweet. You can't just sit there-you need to be active. Twitter is social, so be sure to participate, and find your Twitter voice.

5. You need to be followed, and follow. Remember, it's about quality, not quantity. There's no point having the most followers if they're not remotely interested in what you're doing.

6. Think big and be creative with your tweets. No one will care much for hearing about what you ate for lunch, but they might be keen to know you sealed a big deal, or have a great new property for sale. Whatever you tweet should be newsworthy.

7. Don't overdo it. Think about the frequency of your posts. Nobody likes a spammer and the aim is to keep your social network alive and expand it through Twitter.

8. Learn the Twitter commands. Using the @ symbol before someone's username is a reply and the user will receive notification. Using the # means it is tweet about a certain topic or event. You also have the facility to send and receive direct messages that don't show as a public tweet.

Carrie Cowan | Realtor
RE/MAX State Line
10200 State Line Rd
Leawood, KS 66206

816-308-8833 Mobile
913-312-3629 Direct
carrie@ineedthathouse.com
www.INeedThatHouse.com

Tips on How to Fix Your House up to Sell

Tips on How to Fix Your House Up to Sell
By Paige Tepping

RISMEDIA, May 27, 2010--With the summer buying and selling season just around the corner, now is the time to think about how you can create a lasting first impression with potential buyers. Here are 8 simple tips that will help your home stand out from the crowd.

Open the drapes and blinds. Sunshine is the world's best decorator and nothing is more depressing than walking into a home where shades, curtains and drapes are closed.

Wash the windows - inside and out. For the same reasons as above, no other small improvement will give you more bang than this.

Clean up the yard. Cut back overgrown shrubs, particularly those that obscure windows or make it difficult to get to the front door. Mow the grass, rake or pick up downed leaves and branches, put away lawn tools, kids' toys and discard or store any outdoor furniture that is rusty or ragged. If season and funds permit, put down some colorful annuals or put a few nicely planted containers on or near the front porch.

Clutter Control. De-cluttering and organizing your home is very important and not just to make the place look neat. A cluttered home looks smaller and less airy. All of the pictures, knick-knacks, even an exquisite art collection are distracting to many buyers.

Clean your kitchen and bathrooms – Be sure to pay attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. The kitchen may be old but it can still sparkle. Clean the stovetop with a good degreaser and all countertops to remove stains and discoloration. Wash the front of all cupboards and appliances and keep the floor swept and scrubbed for as long as the home is on the market. De-clutter here too, especially the refrigerator door. Ditch countertop appliances, canisters, etc and keep cupboard doors and drawers closed if your hand is not actually in them. It is critical that the bathrooms sparkle. Old bathrooms can be charming and a new shower curtain or fresh flowers on the counter may be all you need. Put out your best towels and, if you have young children, enforce the flush rule.

Refinish hardwood floors. These are a major selling point when selling your home and sometimes a home's most compelling feature. Often they don't need complete refinishing, just to be roughed up and polyurethaned to obtain that killer shine.

Paint/Repaint Your Home. If your taste in decorating is a bit strong, it may pay to hire a professional to tone down some of the more dramatic color rooms. Neutral colors are best for marketing your home for sale.

Buy, borrow or rent what you need. If your furniture shows the effect of raising five kids or if pets have ruined the rugs and upholstery, think about storing or getting rid of your existing furniture and finding just enough more attractive stuff to get by. If your nest is empty and the kids' rooms are beaten up, throw out the furniture, give the walls a quick wash coat of paint and put one or two small flea market pieces - a hobby horse, a bean-bag chair, the old bassinette from the attic - in the room to merely suggest its use.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

10 Important Tips for Successful Real Estate Investing

10 Important Tips to Successful Real Estate Investing
By Paige Tepping

RISMEDIA, May 26, 2010--When it comes to investing, everybody has certain goals and aspirations. However, we have found that there are certain guidelines every aspiring real estate investor needs to know:

1. Compare property values and rents
Financial statistics only go so far; the best measure of a property's market value is often the sale prices of nearby properties. The same holds true for area rents. A low price can often be justified by a reasonable rent; renters who can afford a high rent can afford to buy instead, so reasonably priced rent is a must.

2. Pay attention to tax laws
Don't base your tax investment on current tax laws. The tax code is constantly changing, and a good investment is a good investment regardless of the tax code. The right property with the right financing is what you should look for as an investor.

3. Specialize in something you know
Start in a market segment you know. Whether you focus on fixer-uppers, foreclosures, starter homes, low-down payment properties, condominiums, or small apartment buildings, you'll benefit from experience by specializing in one aspect of investment real estate properties.

4. Know the costs before getting started
Know the financial statements inside out. What are operating expenses? What are loan payments? Vacancy costs? Taxes? What does the cash flow statement look like? These are key issues that must be addressed before making a solid investment.

5. Know where your tenants are coming from
If the last rent increase was recent, your tenants may be considering a move. If tenants have a short-term lease, they may be living there simply to attract unsuspecting buyers. It is also important to collect the tenants' security deposits at closing.

6. Assess the tax situation
Taxes are an integral part of successful real estate investing, and they often make the difference between a positive cash flow and a negative one. Know the tax situation, and see how it can be manipulated to your advantage. It may be a good idea to consult a tax advisor.

7. Investigate insurance coverage
If a seller's coverage is based on lower-than-current replacement value, your insurance cost may increase when you pay a higher purchase price.

8. Confirm utility costs
Ask the local utilities to verify recent utility expenses, especially if any of these costs are included in your tenant's rent.

9. Consult your accountant
Taxation is a key element of successful real estate investing, so be sure to find an accountant who is well-versed with the constantly evolving tax code.

10. Inspect
Make sure that you always perform a thorough inspection of the property before buying it. Never, ever buy any property without at least examining the site. In some cases, hiring professional inspectors to examine the structural mechanical system may be a sound investment.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kansas City Urban Living Tour - 25+ Luxury Condos on Tour - june 5th and 6th


Come see what’s going on with real estate downtown!


Looking for a fun way to spend the weekend? The 10th annual Urban Living Tour offers an affordable and entertaining way to experience Downtown Kansas City living. This year’s event features 29 properties in nine Greater Downtown neighborhood districts; plus, new amenities and even a gift bag with over $1,000 coupons and discounts to downtown attractions.



Shuttle buses will run continuously throughout Saturday and Sunday allowing people to enjoy the sites. Stop by the KCRAR booth at the shuttle stop to say HI!



Presented by Boveri Realty Group, Downtown Council of Kansas City, DST Realty, Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, Master Realty Properties, Power & Light District and 909 Walnut



Friday, June 4 at 5:00 pm – VIP Tour

Saturday, June 5, from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, June 6 from 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm



Main Street and 14th Street.

On Saturday and Sunday, the public may conveniently park and ride one of the many shuttle buses that will run continuously throughout each day. Buses will be located at the pedestrian area on 14th Street and Main.



General tour tickets are $5 and children under age 12 are free; tickets will be available at the shuttle stop. A goodie bag with over $1,000 worth of downtown coupons is included with the ticket (while supplies last).


Urban Living Tour info and tickets are available at: www.urbantourkc.com

Monday, May 24, 2010

What Not to Pack

What Not to Pack
RISMEDIA, May 24, 2010--When you're packing up your belongings for moving day, sometimes it's best to leave it to the professionals - or leave it behind entirely. These moving/packing tips will help you discern what not to pack.

Items that Require Disassembly or Special Packaging
Items requiring professional disassembly and/or crating (such as slate pool tables, chandeliers, or large glass table tops) are best left to the professionals.

Heat-Sensitive Items
Do not pack heat-sensitive items like candles, CDs, computer peripherals, etc. If you must take these items to your new home, bring them with you in your climate-controlled car or truck.

Irreplaceable Papers and Objects
Don't pack any irreplaceable items. Whether these items have significant monetary value, are financial/personal in nature, or have sentimental value, you'll probably want to keep these items on your person or have them shipped via a trackable shipping service:
• Address books
• Financial papers
• Cameras
• Car keys
• Cash
• Computer software and disks
• Jewelry
• Letters, personal papers and diaries
• Medical records
• Photos and photo albums

Hazardous, Flammable and Spillable Items
Don't put yourself and your family in danger. Leave hazardous items behind when you move. Ask your neighbors if they can use these items; otherwise, dispose of them properly with assistance from your recycling company or the EPA. Plan to purchase new items once you arrive at your new home.
• Flammable, corrosive or explosive items
• Lamp oil
• Aerosols
• Motor oil
• Ammonia
• Paint thinner
• Nail polish remover
• Car batteries
• Paints
• Charcoal
• Pesticides
• Charcoal lighter fluid
• Poisons
• Cleaning solvents
• Pool chemicals
• Fertilizer
• Gasoline

The Biggest Mistake Realtors Make...and How to Avoid it.

The Biggest Mistake Real Estate Agents Make And How You Can Avoid It
By Dr. Maya Bailey

RISMEDIA, May 24, 2010-- THE BIG MISTAKE: “The economy is so slow and I don't even know where my next sale is coming from.” How often have you heard someone say that when business is down and the economy is questionable? It seems logical, doesn't it, to tighten your purse strings?

“Wait! Are you suggesting that I should invest in my business now?”

Even though it seems logical to tighten up and constrict spending, this is actually based on a “scarcity” mindset. In a scarcity mindset you focus on lack in your business, and on lack in economy.

The result is a constriction in the flow of energy to your business. In fact, when you focus your thoughts on lack in your business, you have a problem even before you begin. Hence, THE BIG MISTAKE.

Are you constricting the flow of energy to your business? Here are some signs to watch out for:

1. What are your thoughts?

· I don't have enough clients

· My competitors are stealing business

· I can't succeed in today's market

Here's an example that contains a scarcity mindset:

“There are so many new people getting into my business that there isn't enough business to go around. Maybe I should just get a real job.”

Have you ever had that thought?

2. What emotions do you experience?

· Fear

· Stress

· Struggle

· Anxiety

· Worry

Any of the thoughts above are likely to create the emotions of worry, fear and doubt. You find yourself dwelling in these negative feelings that will prevent you from attracting to your business and the very things you desire, such as more clients and more income.

Your thoughts create your reality. Therefore, if you focus on what you don't want, like the lack of money, you'll get more of that.

3. Actions

When you're stuck in a scarcity mindset, not only does it affect your thoughts and feelings, but also your actions. For example, “I was going to take the weekend off, but now I better not. Business is slow and I don't want to miss a call from a prospective client.”

Do you see how this is a scarcity mindset? What is the person missing out on? If you said “self-care and self maintenance”, then you are right. This is one of the actions that goes by the wayside when you're focusing on scarcity. You're simply afraid that you won't have enough so you ignore the importance of taking care of yourself.

So what is the big mistake?

The big mistake is that you are focusing your thoughts on outward circumstances, like the economy, to determine your mindset. If the economy is down you are down. Stephen Covey calls this the “reactive” mindset. You believe that you are acted upon, rather than being “proactive” and there is a constriction of energy to your business.

When you are proactive, you don't focus on what the economy or the market is doing, you are coming from an internal state of prosperity consciousness. You don't look to outer conditions to determine your state of mind, you determine your own state of mind by your thoughts, emotions and actions. In essence you create the mindset of being the deliberate creator of your life.

The solution:

If the mindset is the problem, then how do you switch to a more positive mindset?

1. Commit to building a “prosperity” mindset

A “prosperity” mindset is not something you are born with, it's not in your genes; it’s something that you develop through practice. Think of it as a muscle that you exercise. The more you exercise it, the stronger that muscle becomes.

Successful people have one thing in common – they believe in their own success and their ability to attract money into their life. They look for opportunities and find them... everywhere. Why? Because they had an internal prosperity consciousness and they focused on that, instead of looking at external conditions.

2. Adopt the beliefs of success

It's easy to adopt a successful mindset - it's just a shift in focus from scarcity to prosperity. The way you make that shift is to have a set of beliefs that are congruent and prosperous thinking. For example, Walt Disney once said, “All of our dreams come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Here are the beliefs of successful people:

· Change is to be embraced because it represents more opportunity for growth and expansion.

· Determine what you want, and assume you'll get it. Don't worry about the ‘how’.

· There is an answer and solution to every challenge.

· Discomfort is part of charting the unknown.

· Obstacles will not stop me from attaining what I want.

· Money needs to flow in order to grow.

You'll notice that if you practice the beliefs above, you will experience positive emotions that expand the flow of energy to your business.

3. Be clear on what you want

How can the universe give you what you want unless you are clear about what you want? A challenge for you here is to break the “want” barrier. Accept the fact that it is not only appropriate and proper, but critical, for you to want anything, of any kind, to any degree.

The main thing is to be clear about what you want for your business. I hear too many people saying, “I want to be successful” without even knowing what success means to them. I suggest visualizing your ideal professional life in 12 months from today. See yourself doing work you love and noticing approximately how many hours a week you're working. Ask yourself what kind of people you want to be interacting with. Who are your ideal clients? Are they motivated, decisive and respectful of you and your service to them? What is your income in 12 months from today? How much are you making per year or per month?

4. Clear away any opposing beliefs

When you think about your ideal professional life, what beliefs do have that are opposing your vision? Here are some beliefs that I hear on a continual basis when people are honest with me about discussing their blocks to success:

· “I like doing my work, I'm just not good at marketing.” (Remember, it's only a belief)

· “I'm really not smart enough or energetic enough to achieve what I want.” (Remember, it's only a belief)

· “The real estate market is so tough right now that I can't possibly make the income I was hoping for.” (Remember, it's only a belief)

5. Take inspired action not frantic action

What kind of action are you taking? Are you taking action because you're afraid? If you are, your action may be frantic action rather than inspired action.

What is inspired action? Inspired action comes from your intuition and listening to your gut instincts. You follow your heart, you follow your hunches; you don't wait for someone to hand you a formula because there is none.

You will know if you’re taking inspired action by the way you feel by the results you are getting. You’ll be feeling relaxed and confident and the results that you will be getting will be one or more of the following:

· Increased clientèle

· Increased income

· Increased passion for your work

As a review, remember to avoid THE BIG MISTAKE by being conscious of what you focus on.

Don’t let the outer conditions determine your mindset. Keep a mindset of prosperity and practice the beliefs of successful people. Keep remembering to expand the flow of energy to your business, whatever the market is doing.

When times seem tough, it is especially important to stay away from a scarcity mindset. Instead, go within and look for the opportunities for new ways to market yourself from a prosperity mindset.

Dr. Maya Bailey, author of, Law of Attraction for Success Minded Professionals, integrates 20 years of experience as a psychologist and 12 years as a business coach with her expertise in the Law of
Attraction. Her powerful work creates a success formula for success minded professionals ready to double and triple their incomes. Get Dr. Maya's free report, 7 Simple Strategies For More Clients in 90 Days by visiting: www.90daystomoreclients.com

Friday, May 21, 2010

Quick Tips for Chimney Repair

Leaky basement calls for thorough inspection

Bill and Kevin Burnett
Inman News

Q: After a hard rain, we found water in our basement near where our chimney attaches to the house. We noticed that the caulking between the chimney and the house is dry and cracking. We also noticed that the basement's ceiling has water spots, which leads us to believe it has happened before.

Is there a special caulk we can use after we remove the old material? And some of the mortar between the bricks is cracked. Our house is about 30 years old.

A: A 30-year-old chimney needs a good inspection. You can do the inspection on the outside yourself. But we recommend that you get a chimney sweep for the inside.

Over time, creosote, a byproduct of wood, builds up in the chimney liner. Creosote buildup is the main cause of chimney fires. If you use the fireplace regularly during the winter, an annual inspection and cleaning is a must.

As for the chimney's exterior, get on a ladder and take a look. Pay special attention to the joints, where the chimney meets the siding. Cracked caulking means water penetration for sure, but also pay attention to where the roof meets the chimney.

Is the flashing in good shape? If not, this could be a cause of leakage, too. Recaulking is in order, but first take a look at the mortar.

Given that you have cracked mortar joints, we suspect that the mortar is beginning to fail. Test the joints by trying to remove some mortar with a teardrop paint scraper. If mortar comes out in a granular mass, it's time to repoint the chimney, which means replacing the decayed mortar with new mortar.

First, scrape about an inch of mortar from the joints. You can either do all the scraping at once or you can scrape as you go. While you're at it, scrape out the old cracked caulk where the chimney and the siding meet.

To replace the mortar, you'll need a pointing tool and some mortar. A point tool is a handheld metal tool about a foot long with two half-round sides on the ends. Mix the mortar to the consistency of thick peanut butter. If you use packaged mortar mix, we suggest you enrich it with some additional Portland cement.

Brush the joint with a wet brush. The added moisture will seep into the existing mortar and allow the cement to seep in. This will provide a stronger bond between the old and new work. Pick up some mortar in one hand and coax it into the joint using the pointing tool. The first few times you'll lose a good bit of mortar. Don't worry, pick it up and use it on the next joint.

Let the mortar dry for 20 minutes or so. Then tool the joints with the pointing tool. The tooling produces a smooth finished joint. Let the mortar dry for a few days before caulking the joint between the siding and the chimney.

Caulking brick should be done with paintable clear caulk. Paintable clear caulk goes on white but dries clear after a few hours. Unless you're perfect, white caulk can make a mess on brick. If clear caulk is not available, choose an elastomeric caulk. Use blue painter's masking tape on both sides of the joint to get a crisp, clean line.

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Kansas City Condo

Great information for Kansas City Condo Buyers

For Your Clients: 7 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Condo
RISMEDIA, May 21, 2010--You've found your dream condo, and you're ready to relax among the mango trees and swaying date palms. Hold everything. To keep from getting stuck with a lemon, you've got to do some homework. Here are the seven most important questions you need to ask before buying a condo.

1. "What's the Beef?"
Take a look at the minutes of the condo association board meetings to see what the owners have been griping about. If everyone was complaining about the faulty plumbing or the gardener's absence, you know that the complex is having management difficulties. Even if there aren't any complaints, reading the minutes will reveal the sorts of projects that are under way at the complex -- projects the seller may have neglected to mention.

2. "Who's Been Naughty and Who's Been Nice?"
Find out the delinquency rates of present owners. If people aren't paying their association dues on time, that is either a sign of discontent or an indication that the association might be underfunded.

3. "How Much Is In the Repair Fund?"
Ask if the community has done a reserve-fund review in the past five years. Lester Giese, the author of The 99 Best Residential & Recreational Communities in America, recommends the following formula: If the complex is one to 10 years old, the reserve fund should have 10% of the cost of replaceable items (roofs, roads, tennis courts, etc.). Between 10 and 20 years old, the repair fund should be at 25% to 30%. At 20 years, that amount should be 50% or above. Residents who brag that they don't pay much in maintenance may be in a complex that either is not being kept up well or is living beyond its means.

4. "Can You Cover Me?"
If you look at nothing else, get a copy of the certificate of insurance, which is a summary of the association's policy. First see if the replacement costs covered by the policy are an accurate estimate of the cost of rebuilding. Then make sure that the policy has a building-ordinance clause, which means that the insurance will cover the cost of bringing the building up to code if there is any rebuilding to be done. On older buildings, there may have been many code upgrades since the time of construction. Finally, make sure that you understand exactly what the association policy covers and what you are responsible for. The smart condo owner will insure his or her personal belongings, along with any other items within the unit that are not covered by the association's policy. If you have trouble understanding the insurance lingo, take the insurance certificate to an agent whom you trust and who understands the state laws.

5. "Does the Association Present Any Legal Problems?"
Buying a single-family home without a lawyer is no big deal for many people. But with a condo, there's so much more involved. Contact a local real estate lawyer and have him or her go over the bylaws of the association. Do they make sense? Are they consistent with the state laws? Giese, the author, once found that the association bylaws of a large garden-style condo complex had been lifted from the books of a high-rise condo, leaving confused tenants with rules about shared hallway space and the correct use of garbage chutes. Benny Kass, a Washington real estate attorney, recommends that you also have your lawyer screen the association at the local courthouse, to see if any owners have filed suit against it.

6. "Is the Complex Renter-Friendly?"
If the renter population is over 10%, there should be clear rental policies, either listed in the bylaws or tacked on as an amendment. Does the management company find renters for you? If so, do they get enough good renters? Ask other tenants about their experience. In addition, ask to see the association's rental lease, and have a real estate lawyer look it over. Keep one thing in mind, though: An association can change its bylaws to prohibit or restrict renting at any time. The more owners who rent, the less chance that will happen.

7. "Am I My Community's Keeper?"
Watch out for a condo whose owners manage the place themselves. Although many are operated efficiently, self-management can lead to more hassles for owners -- especially those who live thousands of miles away. If the complex is professionally managed, check out the management company as thoroughly as you check out the association. Ask other owners. Ask people in nearby buildings. And be sure to interview the day-to-day manager directly. If you hook up with a bad manager, you can be sure of this: Your dream condo will keep you up at night.



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NY Times Article on Kansas City

Great Artice by The New York Times on Travel in Kansas City. It is interesting to note that the Plaza is only mentioned in passing while they go into detail about downtown, crossroads, etc. Thanks to my client Ryan for making me aware of this artice.




By CHARLY WILDER
Published: May 16, 2010
KANSAS CITY is known for its barbecue, bebop and easy-does-it Midwestern charm. But a decade-long effort to revitalize the city’s downtown has transformed this former jazz mecca, which straddles the Kansas-Missouri border, back into a culturally rich metropolis. The city’s standing will be further bolstered next year when the much-anticipated Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts opens, giving a sleek new home to the symphony, opera and ballet. True, Kansas City is no backwater, but don’t expect high polish. In fact, it’s the city’s unvarnished grit that may be its best asset.


Friday

4 p.m.
1) CROSSROADS REDEFINED

Industrial stagnation and suburban exodus in the 1960s left the Crossroads neighborhood nearly deserted. But thanks to the recent efforts of arts advocates and city tax breaks, the Crossroads Arts District (kccrossroads.org) is now home to some 70 galleries. Two pioneering mainstays are Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art (2004 Baltimore Avenue; 816-221-2626; sherryleedy.com), which specializes in midcareer artists like Jun Kaneko, and the Byron C. Cohen Gallery (2020 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 1N; 816-421-5665; byroncohengallery.com), representing several artists from China, including the photo-artist Huang Yan. If it’s the first Friday of the month, many galleries hold open houses until about 9 p.m.

7 p.m.
2) SAUCE IT UP

Debates over the best barbecue rouse as much passion here as religion or politics. Some swear by the old guard like Gates Bar-B-Q (gatesbbq.com) and Arthur Bryant’s (arthurbryantsbbq.com), both of which have multiple branches. Others cross the state line into the Kansas side, to a relative newcomer, Oklahoma Joe’s (3002 West 47th Avenue; 913-782-6858; oklahomajoesbbq.com), which opened a second location in 2005. It serves up pulled pork and beef brisket piled high on white bread, in a sauce that may just be the perfect amalgam of sweet, smoke and vinegar. At a little under $19, a full slab serves two or three people.

11 p.m.
3) BEYOND BLUES AND JAZZ

If the city’s indie music scene hasn’t garnered the same hype as those in other Midwestern cities like Minneapolis or Omaha, it’s not for lack of guts or artistry. Homegrown bands like Ssion, a gender-bending art-punk music collective that has built a following with over-the-top live shows, cut their teeth in downtown galleries and dives. Hear up-and-comers at the Record Bar (1020 Westport Road; 816-753-5207; therecordbar.com) and the Brick (1727 McGee Street; 816-421-1634; thebrickkcmo.com). One of the newest spots is the Czar Bar (1531 Grand Boulevard; 816-221-2244; czarbar.com); it’s owned by John Hulston, who also runs Anodyne Records, which counts the Meat Puppets, the BellRays and Architects among its better-known acts.

Saturday

10 a.m.
4) PARK LIFE

Kansas City is said to have more fountains than any other city except Rome. One of the loveliest can be found at Jacob L. Loose Park (51st Street and Wornall Road), a Civil War site, where the Laura Conyers Smith Fountain, made of Italian stone, is encircled by thousands of roses in some 150 varieties. The park is popular with picnicking families and bongo-playing teenagers on furlough from the suburbs.

Noon
5) CONTEMPORARY GREENS

If last night’s barbecue has you yearning for a salad, head to Café Sebastienne, an airy, glass-covered restaurant at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art (4420 Warwick Boulevard; 816-753-5784; kemperart.org/cafe). A dish of seasonal greens with cucumber, red onion, grape tomatoes, sheep’s milk cheese and grilled pita is $11. After lunch, pop inside for a quick look at the Kemper’s small but diverse collection of modern and contemporary works by artists like Dale Chihuly and Louise Bourgeois, whose gigantic iron spider sculpture looms over the front lawn.

1:30 p.m.
6) MUSEUM POW-WOW

In 2007, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (4525 Oak Street; 816-751-1278; nelson-atkins.org) was thrust into the national spotlight when it opened a new wing designed by Steven Holl. The Bloch Building — which holds contemporary art, photography and special exhibitions — consists of five translucent glass blocks that create what Nicolai Ouroussoff, the architecture critic of The New York Times, described as “a work of haunting power.” The museum, which is free to the public, also unveiled a suite of American Indian galleries in November. It’s an assemblage of about 200 works from more than 68 tribes, considered one of the most important collections of its kind.

4 p.m.
7) 18TH STREET COUTURE

The Crossroads cultural awakening extends beyond art and into fashion. Three boutiques carrying the work of up-and-coming designers occupy a former film storage unit on West 18th Street. Peregrine Honig and Danielle Meister handpick lingerie and swimwear to carry at their shop, Birdies (116 West 18th Street; 816-842-2473; birdiespanties.com). Kelly Allen selects a quirky cross-section of locally designed clothing and accessories at Spool (122 West 18th Street; 816-842-0228). And Peggy Noland (124 West 18th Street; 816-221-7652; peggynoland.com) sells Day-Glo spandex bodysuits in a space covered floor-to-ceiling with stuffed animals.

7 p.m.
8) MIDWEST TAPAS

Stay in the Crossroads to sample modern Mediterranean-style tapas at Extra Virgin (1900 Main Street; 816-842-2205; extravirginkc.com), the latest restaurant from Kansas City’s culinary titan, Michael Smith. The fare is more playful and adventurous than that of his formal restaurant next door. And if the loud, euro-chic décor, replete with a floor-to-ceiling “La Dolce Vita” mural, seems to be trying a little too hard, the crowd of unbuttoned professionals enjoying inspired dishes like crispy pork belly with green romesco and chick pea fries doesn’t seem to mind. The menu is diverse, as is the wine list. Single plates range from $3 to $25.

10 p.m.
9) ’ROUND MIDNIGHT

Love it or hate it, the flashy new Kansas City Power and Light District (1100 Walnut Street; 816-842-1045; powerandlightdistrict.com) offers a wide range of bars, restaurants and clubs that can feel like an open-air fraternity party. A smarter alternative can be found in the West Bottoms, an industrial neighborhood that draws a more urbane crowd. The R Bar (1617 Genessee Street; 816-471-1777; rbarkc.com), which opened in September, features live jazz and bluegrass, as well as old-time cocktails like Moscow mules and mint juleps. When midnight strikes, head to the Mutual Musicians Foundation (1823 Highland Avenue; 816-471-5212; thefoundationjamson.org). The legendary haunt opened in 1917 and public jam sessions are held every Saturday until around 6 a.m. For $8, you can catch impromptu sets by some of the city’s undiscovered musicians in the same room where Charlie Parker had a cymbal thrown at him in 1937.

Sunday

11 a.m.
10) VIVA BRUNCH

As any resident will tell you, Mexican food is a big deal here. One of the most authentic spots is Ortega’s Restaurant (2646 Belleview Avenue; 816-531-5415; ortegas.synthasite.com), tucked in the back of a mom-and-pop grocery store in midtown. On Sundays, Ortega’s draws a lively mix of churchgoing families and hung-over art students with its $6 huevos rancheros.

Noon
11) VINTAGE FINDS

Kansas City has great secondhand shopping. Bargains are easy to find, and flea markets have yet to be ransacked by collectors from the coasts. Grab a copy of The Kansas City Star (kansascity.com) or search Craigslist (kansascity.craigslist.org) for current listings of auctions and estate sales. Better yet, take a drive through the sprawl of surrounding suburbs on the lookout for garage sales. Even if you don’t find that perfect antique, an afternoon spent chatting with the friendly residents of this changing city will remind you that some things don’t need making over.

IF YOU GO

Continental, Delta and Midwest Airlines fly nonstop from New York City to Kansas City International Airport. According to a recent Web search, round-trip fares start at about $325 for travel this month. A car is recommended for getting around, though to paraphrase an old song, if you have to walk, you’ll get there just the same.

The Raphael(325 Ward Parkway; 816-756-3800; raphaelkc.com), a 126-room hotel in a neo-Renaissance manor overlooking the Country Club Plaza, recently finished a major renovation, with black marble bathrooms, flat-screen televisions and two spacious conference rooms. And with standard rooms going for as little as $139, it’s one of the city’s best bargains.

The 120-room Q Hotel + Spa (560 Westport Road; 816-931-0001; theqhotel.com) opened in 2007 in the historic Westport district and bills itself as the city’s first green hotel, offering eco-friendly hand soap, energy-efficient lamps and in-room recycling service (unused paper is given to a school next door). Standard rooms start at $107, if booked 23 days in advance; otherwise $137.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FHA Approves DocuSign - Is anyone using it?

Interesting article. Is anyone using DocuSign on a regular basis? What do your clients think about it?



Federal Housing Administration to Accept DocuSign for Real Estate Contracts Nationwide
Buyers, Sellers, Agents and Lenders Will Save Significant Time and Money on Mortgage Document Approvals with DocuSign eSignature Services
SEATTLE - April 8, 2010 - DocuSign®, the leader in on-demand electronic signature solutions, today announced that e-signed third-party documents, including real estate contracts, are now being accepted by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). DocuSign spearheaded an industry-wide effort to move the FHA to formally recognize e-signed third-party documents. The April 8, 2010 dated FHA mortgagee letter is the first in what is expected to be a series of responses to this initiative. With this policy statement from the nation's largest mortgage insurer, real estate professionals can use DocuSign to get real estate contracts, addenda and other documents signed electronically, and their buyers can apply for FHA insurance with confidence. The FHA mortgagee letter can be found at http://nhl.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/letters/mortgagee/files/10-14ml.pdf.
"We commend FHA's action today. By clarifying its position on electronic signatures, the process of buying, selling and financing of homes across the country will be greatly improved," said Ken Moyle, chief legal officer at DocuSign. "Buyers, sellers and agents can use DocuSign's online process to eliminate the time, expense and environmental impact of printing, delivering and signing large stacks of paper documents, and mortgage lenders can take comfort in knowing that DocuSign's e-signature process is designed for legal compliance in all 50 states and is fully evidenced by a comprehensive audit trail."
Real estate agents can quickly access the DocuSign e-signing service from any laptop with Internet access, drag and drop familiar yellow StickEtabs® onto the contract and send the envelope. The recipient immediately receives an email notification that can be accessed through a computer or any Web-enabled mobile device, including Apple® iPhone®, RIM® BlackBerry®, Google® AndroidTM, Windows Mobile®, adopts an e-signature and signs the document. Once completed, an email notification is sent to all parties with a link to the final executed document. The result is a legally binding, fully ESIGN-compliant document supported by a comprehensive audit trail.
As on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS), DocuSign requires no additional software or hardware purchases and no downtime for training. DocuSign eSignature service offers users one of the easiest, most simple to use and safest electronic signature experiences available today. For more information on DocuSign, visit www.docusign.com

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About DocuSign, Inc.
DocuSign, Inc. is the leading provider of on-demand software services for electronic signature. DocuSign empowers individuals, small businesses and global enterprises to operate faster and more efficiently, with greater profitability, enhanced security and compliance. DocuSign is the only Web-based service to securely automate and control the entire electronic document signing process. DocuSign employs the SaaS eSign industry's only enterprise class SAS-70, fully redundant data center delivering 99.993% uptime for customers over the last 30 months. To date, more than 70 million signature events have been executed using DocuSign. In addition, DocuSign is the official and exclusive provider of e-signature services for the National Association of REALTORS® 1.1 million members, under the REALTOR Benefits® Program.
To learn how DocuSign can accelerate your business, visit www.docusign.com or call (866) 219-4318.
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