Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Future Home Owners

I wrote a letter to tell potential buyers that come to look at our house how very wonderful it is to live here.  This was easy to write, but very hard to read to my father.  I started to cry when I began reading the paragraph about how special my neighbors are, and Daddy said, "Baby, maybe you should stay there!"  He loves the nature and wildlife that we are offered on a daily basis here and wishes he could have all of this.

My letter sits on the kitchen counter and is exactly (including picture) as follows:

Dear Future Home Owners,

Our community is woodsy and far enough away to have a country feel, but with the convenience of a good variety of stores, restaurants and new expressways nearby.  Our roof and air conditioner are both new.  Our home is quiet and offers total privacy.  ALL of the neighbors are wonderful and ours is a happy street!

Next door (on the pool side of the house) lives Kyle and her two big teenage sons.  The boys are quiet and polite.  I sometimes hire them to help with heavy moving.  They get their sweetness from their mother.  I will miss my conversations with Kyle through the fence in the mornings.  You will rarely see or hear their dog, Scooby Do, who is a giant chicken.

The house on the street side of us belongs to Chris, Leslie and their four very polite and well-behaved children that vary in age from first grade to middle school.  Leslie is a doll, patient and kind.  She teaches summer swimming lessons and, if you are outside, you may hear her praising a toddler for “kick-kick-kicking”.  Chris is a model father, a total gentleman.  He coaches his children’s baseball teams and you will regularly see him playing with the kids.  They have a small white dog named Tebow who, with one deep “woof” invites our little dog out to play.  (He potties in his own yard – not ours.)

Every morning I wake up before daybreak, grab a cup of coffee, and make a bee-line for the back porch.  Birds are chirping their morning song and a soft breeze blows through the woods.  Sometimes I can hear the far off whistle of a train or a rooster crowing.  This morning I heard turkeys, clucking as they woke from their roost in the top of an oak out front near the pond.  It is not uncommon to see 7-8 deer parade past, just beyond the state park fence line, stopping to munch a leaf or two before moseying on their way.  One neighborhood doe, affectionately named Tripod, has a bent front leg that has been this way since birth.  She is healthy, is able to run and leap, and has a new fawn every year.  Three squirrels frequent the Queen Ann Palms, feasting on its tiny coconut fruit.  Stumpy, the short tailed boy, frantically buries nuts all over the back yard, but never has one sprouted into a plant.

The pond out front is spring-fed, but with the (current) lack of rain, the water level does drop, but never empties.  In warmer months you will enjoy a pond-side frog symphony that starts at dusk.  They’re especially happy after a good drenching storm.  You will sometimes see deer (especially Tripod) and turkeys in the front yard.

Our sons had a wonderful childhood growing up in the security of Wekiva Glen and, like my husband and me, they have made lifelong friends here that will be cherished forever.  It breaks our hearts to leave our paradise, but with aging parents and the rest of our family in Jacksonville, we feel the need to be near during their twilight years.

Very Sincerely Yours,
Marty Watson

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Apopka Home 1987-2013

These are photos of our Apopka home. We were excited that it sold in one week for our asking price.

Front porch and front yard

this was a long driveway 

surprise guest named Indigo

a bear in our front yard 
a deer just beyond our driveway
turkeys on our driveway

Monday, February 18, 2013

We LOVE this house...Let's change it!

Mark and I decided to sell our Snap-On dealership and move to Jacksonville.  We are in the process of clearing our Apopka home to put it on the market (probably will be listed this week!) and have already found a home in Jacksonville to buy.  The home we bid on in Jacksonville is being sold on a short sale which really should be called a long sale because it takes 3-4 months to be accepted by the bank as the buyer.

On Saturday I was in Jax and was able to view the house more thoroughly, take photos and three videos.  I meant to say that the wall would increase the VALUE of this house, not the price of it.  Please forgive gulpy southern accent!  I never really noticed how awful it is until I watched this video.

We really LOVE this little house.  It is exactly what we were looking for in size (1328 sq ft) and floor plan and location. (It's a house away from the cul-de-sac.)  It was built in 1987 and there are some upgrades and changes that Mark and I both agree would make this house our home.  Yes, we could live in it as it is.  It is not in disrepair...With the exception of required total home scrub down cleaning, it is move in ready, but we want to make some changes to make it our own.  Isn't it sweet?  You can see it in Trulia too.

The photos are: 1) house front, 2) closer shot of front, 3) back of house, 4) foyer and living room, 5) from lr, looking at dining, kitchen on left, guest bed rooms and bath on right, and front door in the middle, 6) kitchen from doorway, 7) kitchen, looking to the right of the doorway which also shows pantry and door to garage.  The people on the back deck are my Realtor, who is talking to my sister Patty.  We all went to school together.  In addition to the rooms you see here, there is a master suite.

There are things we will change to make this house our home.  You can hear my awful southern accent in the videos, noting the things we will change.
  • The yard needs a good raking, sand to buildup topsoil and fertilizer for the sparse grass. Foliage should be more suited to north Florida (azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas and in the back yard, fruit trees).  The current owner planted things too tropical, invasive, and just completely haphazard.  What were they thinking??
  • The side fences in the back yard are falling apart and we have a tiny dog about the size of a large rat.  She will escape!
  • The master bedroom walls are navy blue. No. I prefer a neutral color.
  • Replace fall-apart cheap plastic mini blinds with cheap plastic plantation blinds throughout.  ;-)
  • Replace fall-apart verticals on sliding glass door in living room.  Add drapes.
  • Most walls need patching for multiple nail holes and all walls need fresh paint.
  • House has popcorn ceilings throughout. Needs minor repair in dining room. Do we live with that or get it replaced with knock down ceilings?  Doesn't really bother me.
  • Bathroom light fixtures - oh that has to happen really soon.  There are florescent bars on the ceilings!
  • Master bathroom will have garden tub removed and a tiled shower installed.  The current tile in the tub area is a religious experience (a cross) that I don't want to face each morning.  We hope to match the same tile around that is already in the toilet area.
  • The kitchen has antiquated wallpaper, mismatched appliances, and needs new cabinetry down the road.  I would prefer a larger tile with lighter grout.
  • Carpeting is in okay condition.  We can live with it, but our plan is to remove all the living area carpeting and replace it with wood.  We plan to put fresh neutral color carpeting in the bedrooms.  Currently our bedroom and living areas are all cream and the guest wing has icky mauve.
  • I'm short, and a cement step outside of the side garage door would be nice.
  • Mark needs to pressure wash the entire house (it is covered in vinyl siding) and driveway and walkway.
  • Mark needs to pressure wash the wooden back deck and replace some boards, then seal it.
  • I'd like a smaller light fixture in the dining room with dark metal.  Current one is huge and white.
  • An even smaller pendant fixture that compliments the dining room one would be nice in the breakfast nook.  We will need a cafe table set for two in there.  Yank down the ugly valance drapery in kitch.
  • The ruffled clear glass lights on the LR ceiling fan need to be changed out for something less 80's.
  • One day, renovate kitchen cabinetry and get matching appliances.
  • One day, replace fireplace faux stone wall with brick.  We don't have fireplace tools.
I am sure there are a lot more items that will need our attention and we will wear a path to the local hardware store.  We WILL get a home inspection before closing to guard against any structural problems.  I really love this house and am super excited to think that we can do the weekly cleaning in probably less than two hours!