Southern Indiana and Louisville KY Real Estate Blog

My Geezer Card

My Geezer Card

My husband, who's younger than I, was the one most excited about my 62nd birthday.  It meant I could finally qualify for a "Geezer Card" or Senior pass for the National Parks and Federal Lands.  He announced that this was going to be my birthday gift from him.  Wow, they cost $10.  The only problem was that one must obtain a Senior Pass at a National Park and we don't have one close to our home.  So we had to wait until our next trip, which was to Georgia.  On the way home, we detoured to the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama to get my card.

I went inside the building and told the Park Ranger I was there to get my "Geezer Card."  He just smiled and asked me to have a seat in the conference room.  He returned with a stack of cards in a rubber band and a form.  He asked for my ID as proof of age (I got carded!), and $10.  (Hmm, my husband was supposed to pay for this.)  The ranger filled out the form and had me sign the back of my card.  At that moment, I officially became a "Geezer!"

Senior Pass

That night we used the card at a Corp. of Engineers Park in Tennessee.  We saved $2 on our campsite.  The next night, we saved $8.25 at Mammoth Cave National Park.  To date, we are $.25 ahead.  We are planning to track our savings over the years.  It doesn't take much to entertain "Geezers."


The Big Picture

Knowledge is power.

To not break the bank when considering buying a home, ask about any issues or questions that arise:

  • Tax reassessments/exemptions
  • Referrals to qualified contractors
  • Advice on additions/remodeling
  • The Big Picture

The first thing to do is sit down with your agent to discuss the big picture.

For instance:

If you think through how long you plan to live in your next house, it will help determine which homes are appropriate to even consider.

Usually, the shorter the time, the less remodeling or redecorating it will be reasonable to do. You may need to find a house already updated - or a steal of a deal.


Phases of a Home Sale

Selling a home?

  • Interview - agency, the Big Picture, urgency, previous homeowners, renters, lifestyle, furniture, style, colors, condition, area, price range, age of home, amount of yard, children, pets, proximity to work/relatives/schools, ability to paint/repair/maintain
  • Financing – assets, liabilities, child support, loan program options, cash available, issues such as bankruptcy, marital status, job stability,
  • Showings – The Triangle, selection, narrowing it down, refocusing
  • Research prior to offer – market conditions, disclosures, repairs/estimates, tax assessment, the one with the most information wins
  • Offer prep – negotiating strategies, appliances, warranties, seller concessions, deposit money, signatures
  • Negotiating – timing, offer presentation, counter-offers
  • Inspections – cost, choosing wisely, home inspector, termite, radon, lead-based paint, mold, environmental, structural
  • Renegotiating – repairs, $, release
  • Details – repairs, appraisal, survey, liens, title issues, walk-thru, insurance, utilities, keys, possession
  • Closing – review of docs, tax pro-rations, charges to buyers and sellers, warranties, owner’s title

My Goal: To find the buyers a home they will love coming home to every day!

For The Rest of Our Lives….I’m there for the homeowners as a resource!


Home inspectors are not all alike!


Now, most home inspectors are licensed, but so are drivers. The license doesn’t make either one good at what they do; that takes practice, skill, continuing education, and good customer relations.

Don’t let a new home inspector practice on you!

Make sure the home inspector belongs to a professional group; ASHI, NAHI, etc.

Some employ a group team method. In this way, you get more specialized expertise. For example, most inspectors are limited in the inspection of an HVAC system. Teams bring in a licensed HVAC inspector who does a more thorough inspection.

Teams take a shorter amount of time.


I don’t need Earthquake Insurance – This isn’t California!

New Madrid

Yes, you do need earthquake insurance right here in the Ohio Valley.  Why?  Because we live within a couple hundred miles of a huge fault line – The New Madrid Fault.

According to Wikipedia, the New Madrid fault system had four of the largest North American earthquakes in recorded history, with moment magnitudes estimated to be as large as 8.0, all occurring within a three-month period between December 1811 and February 1812, and may have the potential to produce large earthquakes in the future. Since 1812, frequent smaller earthquakes have been recorded in the area.

Earthquakes that occur in the New Madrid Seismic Zone potentially threaten parts of seven American states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.[2]

The 150-mile (240 km) long fault system, which extends into five states, stretches southward from Cairo, Illinois; through Hayti, Caruthersville and New Madrid in Missouri; through Blytheville into Marked Tree in Arkansas. It also covers a part of West Tennessee, near Reelfoot Lake, extending southeast into Dyersburg.

Most of the seismicity is located between 3 and 15 miles (4.8 and 24 km) beneath the Earth's surface.

Normal homeowner’s insurance policies have an exclusion for earthquake damage, but an earthquake damage protection rider is very inexpensive coverage to have.

Fran Evola, owner of Real Estate Unlimited, is always available to recommend insurance professionals who can assist you in protecting your assets.  812-288-6080


7 Common Home-Buying Mistakes: (From Real Estate Focus Newsletter)

Confused about Home Buying...

1) Not Being Prepared

    • Pre-approval
    • The Big Picture
    • Agreement between buyers

2) Thinking Too Long Term

    • Things can change

3) Waiting Too Long

    • Interest going up
    • Prices going up

4) Focusing on a Single Feature

    • Interior Decorating
    • Exterior Landscaping
    • Price

5) Overlooking New Construction

6) Working without an agent

7) Rushing the process

    • The negotiating process
    • The loan process
    • The inspection process
    • The appraisal process
    • The title process
    • The insurance process
    • The re-inspection process
    • The closing process
    • The process process

(From Real Estate Focus Newsletter)


Tips to Save Energy and Add Value

When it comes to energy efficiency, look for smart features and expertise to help you save energy and money and add value to your home.

1. Begin with a Right-Sized Home.

If the home you buy is simply too large for you or your family’s needs or plans, you stand a good chance of wasting energy through excessive heating and cooling costs. If it’s too small, you’ll feel cramped and uncomfortable. It’s a big investment, so seek balance and buy it “right” from the outset. 

2. Purchase Energy Star Appliances Such as Your TV, Dishwasher, Washer and Dryer, and Microwave.

And especially the refrigerator, as it alone contributes about 10 percent of the energy use in a home. Also, unplug electronics not in use or turn off power strips to avoid phantom charges. 

3. Install Efficient Lighting Such as Compact Flourescent (CLF) or LED Bulbs in Every Fixture.

Lighting accounts for about 6 percent of an energy bill each year.

4. Get an Energy Audit and Have Tests Performed to Identify Ways of Improving Your Efficiency.

You can always upgrade your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system as well as your thermal envelope, which includes insulation, windows, and doors  and the seals or weather stripping around them. Visit for more tips.