The Fall is a Great Time to go to the Valley of Fire

Fall is the best time of year in the Las Vegas Valley – the summer heat is over and there is crispness in the air.  Take the family on a day trip to the Valley of Fire.  It’s a short 58 mile drive northeast of central Las Vegas.

Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert and is the oldest Nevada State Park dedicated in 1935.  Valley of Fire State Park covers an area of approximately 35,000 acres.  Valley of Fire was named for the magnificent red sandstone formations that were formed from great shifting sand dunes during the age of the dinosaurs more than 150 million years ago (Mesozoic Era).  These brilliant sandstone formations can appear to be on fire when reflecting the sun’s rays.  Other important rock formations include limestone, shale, and conglomerates.

Valley of Fire is marked as Nevada Historical Marker #150 (Nevada’s First State Park).  Valley of Fire Road is the main road through the park.  The 10.5 mile road connects the east and west entrances of the park and was designated as a Nevada Scenic Byway in 1995.

Some of the prehistoric people of Valley of Fire included the Anasazi – they were farmers from the nearby fertile Moapa Valley. Their visits to Valley of Fire probably involved hunting, food gathering, and religious ceremonies.  There are fine examples of rock art (petroglyphs) at several locations throughout Valley of Fire.

Areas to look for at the Valley of Fire include Arch Rock, formed over many millennia to the natural arch you see today. No climbing is allowed on this rock as it is very fragile. Atlatl Rock named for a device that shoots spears.  The ancient Indians used these weapons and they are depicted in the petroglyphs (rock carvings).

The Beehives are sandstone formations that not only demonstrate the unique design that can be created by nature, but is an excellent representation of geologic cross bedding.  The Petrified Logs consist of wood that has laid outside long enough to become a fossil. The logs are several colorful tree trunks lying close to the road, safely fenced off for all to enjoy. Balanced Rock is located near the visitor center is another one of the famous Valley of Fire formations.

Mouse’s Tank is a natural balanced-rock basin in the rock where water collects after each rainfall.  A half-mile round trip trail leads to Mouse’s Tank from the trailhead parking area.  There are excellent examples of prehistoric petroglyphs on the trail.  Mouse’s Tank is named for a Southern Paiute Indian renegade (“Little Mouse”) who used Valley of Fire as a hideout in the 1890’s after he was accused of killing two prospectors and other crimes in the area. Rainbow Vista is a viewpoint in Valley of Fire State Park, where the road reaches the top of a low ridge revealing a vast area of multicolored rocks stretching for many miles northwards, rather different than the dark red cliffs found further south.

The White Domes are sandstone formations with brilliant contrasting colors and a one-mile hike.  The White Domes Trail is a moderate loop that combines sweeping desert vistas, a slot canyon, colors galore, windows, caves and a historic movie site.  Also look at the Seven Sisters is a group of 7 tall, red, eroded boulders surround by the sandy desert. You also must see Elephant Rock is a wonderful example of an arch in the shape of an elephant and its right next to the road.

Other sites to see are the Clark Memorial named for John J. Clark.  This is where his body was found on June 30, 1915. You should also try to visit Fire Canyon/Silica Dome.

Don’t miss the Visitor’s Center -Information, books, souvenirs, and exhibits on Valley of Fire and the surrounding area.  The exhibits include geology, ecology, prehistory, and history of Valley of Fire.  Valley of Fire Visitor Center Hours:  8:30 AM-4:30 PM daily.

Heck, it’s even an amazing place to get married! I have a wedding planner friend who has planned several weddings out there! Go check it out this weekend! Tell them Jeff sent ya! (just kidding – they don’t know me by name… yet)

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Don’t Fall for Home Repair Scams

Home repair, renovation and improvement scams can be costly so beware of con- artists looking to take your money and then disappear.  Protect yourself from these unethical people by looking out for common schemes.

Do not trust a person that just arrives at your home and says “Hey I was doing a job in the neighborhood and I have some extra materials left over, so I’ll give you a good deal on a driveway sealing project.” A good and reliable contractor usually knows how much material they need for a certain project and if they have leftover material will not peddle it door to door. If you really think you like the deal, ask for the name and address of the person they just did the job for and ask that neighbor how satisfied they were with the job that was done.

Another potential red flag for a home improvement project is the contractor stating, “We won’t need to pull permits.”  Of course, not every home improvement job requires a permit, but if you think this one should, contact the city and ask. Improvements that should have had permits, but do not, can cause trouble when you try to sell your home.

Be careful if you are speaking with a contractor that states “I’m going to need you to pay the whole job up front”.  A reasonable down payment is part of the process – usually about one third of the price of the job.  Never pay for the entire project up front – if you do that person will just take the money and run.  Check for regulations that are in place as a guideline to protect you.

 

Don’t hire a contractor that says “We don’t need to put anything in writing”.  You should have a written contract – that protects you and the contractor for very good reasons.  Make sure the contract specifies a dated work schedule, payment terms, cost breakdown, as well as proof of licensure, bonding & insurance, and any concessions for work not completed on time.  This is the strongest legal protection you can have.

Remember a good contractor will not pressure you to make up your mind on the spot.  They know this is a costly investment and you will need time to think it over.  You should also think about speaking to more than one contractor before making your decision and checking local jobs they have done similar to yours.

Finally, go the extra mile and contact the Nevada State Contractors Board (http://www.nvcontractorsboard.com) about the license # they provide you (a truly legitimate contractor will have no problem with that.) I had a client a couple of years ago hire a contractor who was using the license number of a company he used to work for. A few extra minutes to verify him would have prevented what ended up costing my client over $70,000…

I have a list of people I refer to my clients for specific jobs and am happy to recommend these contractors to any reader since I know their work and reputation. Feel free to reach out to me any time for recommendations.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

The Influence of American Ninja Warriors

In my opinion the TV show American Ninja Warrior is the most inspiring reality show and it has changed the way many people look at exercise.

Of course, most of us are not at the level of the athletes we see run the course – however I know many people that have gotten up from their couches and started some sort of exercise because of it.  It could be walking, swimming, class exercises, private instruction or even building parts of a ninja course in your garage or backyard.  There are some gyms that have built these types of obstacles just for the purpose of “ninja” exercise.

My son is one of those people that wants to compete on American Ninja Warrior and can’t wait until he is old enough.  He trains on “ninja” obstacles and I must say I am very proud of his goal (and maybe a little jealous as well).

The one thing to remember is – you shouldn’t go from the couch to the course.  First you should train to get into better physical shape before attempting any ninja-like exercises.  He works out at a gym named Camp Rhino that has a very comprehensive program for adult ninja training (and Saturday classes for kids too).  You might want to try this type of gym before you build an obstacle course in your backyard or garage.

Climbing is a big part of ninja training so you just might want to build a rock wall with a variety of holds screwed in.  You can also have a slack line for balance and other obstacles to train on – getting your upper body strong is essential for doing a ninja course. (Don’t forget to get adequate pads underneath you as well).

There are a few competitors my age, it’s true, but I’m not likely to pursue it, however in my dreams, I crush the course and hit the buzzer too.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

You Can Transform Your Home by Adding More Natural Light

We live in an area of the country where Mother Nature provides us with sunny days most of the year.  Why not take advantage of the beautiful natural night right outside your home and get some window dressings that let the light in.

Natural light can give parts of your home new life – brightening dark rooms, revitalizing the interior of your home and even giving you a happier mood.

Here are some tips on how to “Let the Sunshine In.”

When you walk into your home look for areas that can use more light.  Access where your natural light comes from – windows, glass doors, skylights.  You might have large pieces of furniture or very big plants blocking some of the natural light coming into your home- you can easily remedy that by just a little rearrangement of furniture.

Check your window treatments.  Do you have dark shades or heavy curtains; they will certainly block natural sunlight from getting into your home.  You might consider replacing these with lighter materials and colors that can better let natural light into darker rooms.  Letting in more natural light can transform your kitchen, bedroom and even your bathroom into more interesting spaces.

If you have dark walls you might consider getting your paint brush out and paint the walls a lighter more reflective color that can brighten up your rooms with more daylight.  The lighter color walls can provide a design contrast with your darker furniture and gives your space a lighter look.

Why not replace solid wood entry doors and other doors in your home with glass doors.  This is a great way to let light travel from room to room.  You can still use frosted or tinted glass that provides privacy yet still lets natural light in.

Look at your ceiling in the kitchen area – is it begging for a skylight?  A new skylight will show off your countertops and the skylight can become a conversation starter centerpiece of your kitchen as lit adds all day direct sunlight to that area and other nearby spots in your home.  Skylights come in three types – fixed, ventilating and tubular.  A skylight professional can help you decide the best type and size of skylight will be best in your home.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

When I was about 3 or 4, I drowned.

Most drownings are preventable. If you spend any time around water recreationally, please keep reading!

Obviously, I lived, but here is what happened; we were having friends over for a family BBQ and someone put my pool float on me incorrectly (they don’t even make that type anymore, probably for this reason) and I started to go under. Someone was watching me, and I got scooped up. It’s one of my earliest memories. This incident went much better than it may have. They don’t all end well. A couple of years later, we had friends who lost their 4-year-old daughter at the ocean.

Its summer, now, and we all know what that means – hot weather and relaxing in the swimming pool or at the lake, river or ocean to escape the heat and still be outdoors. However, water safety is a must for all, especially if you have children.

That is why I am giving out FREE Water Watcher cards on a lanyard. These cards are a clear reminder of what our responsibilities are and who is responsible at any given moment. Quite simply, whoever is wearing the lanyard agrees to be responsible to keep their eyes on the water without distraction. If there are several adults around, (maybe a BBQ with friends) the Water Watcher card can be passed every 15 minutes or so to another adult that will be responsible to actually watch the kids in the water.

When you have a backyard pool, if you have small children, you should also install a separate fence around the pool that surrounds all sides of the pool and be at least four feet tall. The opening gate to the pool should be self-closing and self-latching. The Health District in Las Vegas also advises putting an alarm on the gate.

It’s wise to take a class in what to do in an emergency – learn CPR and water rescue skills – this can help in saving a life. If you have children I strongly suggest enrolling them in swimming classes. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure”. When I was 16-20, I was a lifeguard in the summer at camps and I am currently CPR certified. I’m not trying to brag, I’m telling you this is an important subject to me, because I don’t want to read about your little one.

The Water Watcher is not only for a backyard pool. Be a Water Watcher whenever your family is having water fun.

If you have toddlers in the home, make sure all bathtubs are empty of water – did you know a baby can drown in an inch of water? Also get into the habit of putting all toilet seats down so curious toddlers do not get into them.

Water safety also means dealing with monsoon rains and if you are taking out a boat on Lake Mead – those topics are for another blog.

Please contact me anytime for a FREE Water Watcher card and take care of what is most precious in the world – our children.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Search Las Vegas Luxury Foreclosures?

Well, it had to happen, sooner, or later.  People with money aren’t just investing in Las Vegas, now they want second (or third or fourth) homes at bargain prices.  So, Luxury Realty Group, LLC has announced in a press release their new web site;
www.LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com

Now, finding luxury short sales and foreclosures for homes or high rise condos in Las Vegas is easier.

LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com provides pre-defined searches by high rise tower which is a first to be offered by a Las Vegas real estate brokerage.

LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com provides pre-defined searches for Las Vegas luxury homes and luxury high rise condos. For the high rise condos, specific short sale and foreclosure targeted searches are pre-defined by high rise tower.

The creator of this new website, Bruce Hiatt, broker-owner of Luxury Realty Group, said, “We are the first real estate brokerage in the Las Vegas area to offer a luxury short sale and foreclosure real estate targeted website. We know from feedback of users who participated in our beta version of the website that pre-defined searches were difficult to find on Las Vegas real estate websites.  We believe we’ve filled a niche missing in our market until the arrival of LuxuryVegasForeclosures.com.”

Luxury Realty Group has already closed transactions in 2009 for both short sale and foreclosure luxury properties. Such transactions are expected to increase in 2009 with more of luxury real estate moving into short sale and foreclosure status in Las Vegas.

Some of you may be comforted to know that it is not just the average Joe that is losing his home to foreclosure.

What if you want Las Vegas real estate bargains, but, aren’t looking for luxury? Contact me.

www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact

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Loan modification really makes sense, but don’t do it on your own.

What is loan modification?  In its simplest form, loan modification is when your lender modifies the terms of your loan. They can defer amounts that are past due, change the interest rate, even reduce the principal owed.

The most common element being modified at the moment is taking past due payments and putting them ‘on the end’ of the loan, so that you still owe the money, but your loan is considered current.  This happened with a friend of mine.  She had lost her job, and gotten about 4 months behind in her house payments.  When she got back to work, her bank offered her the opportunity to take the 4 months payments, and defer them, which brought her current.  Many homeowners are doing this kind of modification on their own.

Why are they doing that?  Because they are nice?  Of course not!  It’s a business decision.  They are not in the business of owning real estate, yet they own quite a bit of it and they really don’t want anymore.  So if you make enough money to pay a lower mortgage, they lose less money in the long run.

The next element I have seen modified is the interest rate.  If your interest rate has adjusted (or is going to soon), lenders are helping people stay in their homes by offering a reduced and fixed interest rate. If your rate was 5 1/2, and has spiked to 8 for example, many lenders are bringing that rate down to 5.  Some people I know have been successful at this on their own, by simply calling and asking, but only if they are already behind.

A less common type of modification is to get the amount owed reduced.  This I have only seen done by professional loan modification firms.  Companies that do this for you.

There is an attorney here in Las Vegas, helping homeowners (and there are many companies – just check the internet).  He is asking the bank for a principal reduction to 10% below the current value of the property and 4% – 6% interest rates, fixed. In other words, if you currently owe $300,000, and are paying 8%, but your house is only worth $250,000 – after the modification you are only paying 4% – 6% on a principal balance of $225,000. Of course there are many factors involved in your final outcome – not the least of which is that you have to be able to prove that you can afford the new payment, so that the bank is not wasting their time stalling the inevitable.

Here is the best part! He only charges $1,250 and if he can’t modify your loan, you don’t pay!  Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that they do not pull credit? You do not have to have good credit to get the modification.  Sometimes you don’t even have to be behind! (depends on the lender)

Think about it. If he reduces your monthly payment by $200 per month, in 7 months, you are ahead – even if he did not reduce your principal!  If you are interested, let me know.  www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact

What if you just don’t have the $1,250?  Drop me a line, let me see if I can help.  www.CapeCodAREI.com/contact

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