Which Websites Accurately List Las Vegas Homes for Sale?

The majority of individuals and families that are looking for homes for sale in Las Vegas (and elsewhere of course) start on the Internet. They search places like realtor.com or zillow or trulia, and many other websites. Or they’ll do a Google search for something like “Las Vegas homes for sale” or “Las Vegas bank homes” and so forth.

Once they settle into a site, they peruse it for a while, looking at all the great photos and details on the properties. If they find something they like, they might call, or visit a website for a real estate agent to get more details.

And then they find out the Las Vegas home they are looking at is ‘contingent’ or ‘pending’ and they can’t actually buy it.

Initially, it’s not a big deal.

Until this happens over and over.

And over.

Why?

The answer is simple. The media tell us that Las Vegas has a lot of homes for sale. What they fail to mention is that most of those are already under contract! So of the 22,000 or so homes in Las Vegas for sale, only about 35% of those are really available (as of this writing).

So how do you figure out which ones you can actually put an offer on and potentially BUY? The best thing to do is visit a website where you KNOW the properties are actually AVAILABLE as of the day that you are there. Most sites do not do this.

As an example, I visited each of these sites as I wrote this article, and compared the listings to our Multiple Listing Service, where I have access to REAL-TIME data that tells me the status of a property. Here is what happened:

Realtor.com – You get all homes that are on the market, and once they sell and the deal is CLOSED, they no longer show up on here. However, you do see all homes, including contingent and pending properties. There is a lag time of 24-48 hours from the time a change in status happens to a property before it shows up here.

To determine which ones are available, when you select a property, below the photo you will find a bunch of tabs including ‘overview,’ ‘photos,’ ‘maps,’ etc. In the ‘overview’ tab, scroll down to where it lists Property Features and the first item shows ‘Status.’ That is where it tells you if there are any offers on the property. If it says ‘Active-Exclusive Right’ it is probably available. Anything else, such as ‘Pending Offer’ indicates that either the property is already under contract, or you will be competing with others with your offer. This is your BEST site choice of the large real estate websites. However, it is not as accurate as some sites currently offered by local real estate agents.

Zillow.com – Unfortunately, after going through all the details on homes listed for sale, this site does not tell you if a property is already under contract. The first few homes I found were either under contract or already sold. This is because agents can post their own listings, and if they don’t update them independently, you never know if it is still available. Though I know many people like to use the ‘Zestimate’ for comparison purposes, the site itself does not give you a realistic look at what you can buy.

Trulia.com – Another site that has lots of fun information, but fails to let you know if a property is really available. After clicking around a bit, getting pop ups and being directed to other sites for some properties, the frustration level definitely increases.

homes.com – The very first listing I pulled up on this site was ‘expired’ – meaning it wasn’t even on the market and never sold when it was. Again, I wasn’t able to locate anything that showed me the ‘status’ of a property. Serious buyers are not going to get the information they need on current properties very easily here.

karolsellslasvegashomes.com – of course I am going to showcase my site at this point. Wouldn’t you if you were writing a blog about real estate in Las Vegas and were also a Realtor?

My site does require that you register at some point in order to see the properties and the addresses. HOWEVER, the most important point to note on my site is that it ONLY SHOWS AVAILABLE HOMES. It is updated daily and REMOVES properties that go under contract, expire or are withdrawn. That means you are seeing ONLY HOMES YOU CAN BUY!

Isn’t that what you’re looking for?

Thank you for reading my blog. If you, or someone you know, is looking to purchase a home in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson or Boulder City, please contact me for more information about our current market. I’m here to help.

Las Vegas Homes search

Las Vegas Homes search

Market Data Report – March 11, 2012

As of March 11, 2012, there are 21,903 properties for sale in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  This includes single family homes, condominiums and townhomes in the Greater Las Vegas area, North Las Vegas and Henderson.  This includes traditional equity sales, Las Vegas short sales and bank-owned/foreclosed homes.

65% of those listings are ‘under contract,’ leaving only 7,614 properties that are available.

MLS
Active Listings by Price
Single Family, Condos, Townhomes – Area 101-702
March
11, 2012

UNDER
CONTRACT
Total

Available

%
Under
Price
All
Types
Listings
Contingent
Pending
Contract

$0-$50K


2261

617

1328

316
73%
$50K-$100K

6879

1936

4203

740
72%
$100K-$150K

5476

1702

3270

504
69%
$150K-$200K

2966

1058

1637

271
64%
$200K-$250K

1488

623

740

125
58%
$250K-$300K

391

361

64

816
52%
$300K-$350K

485

238

213

34
51%
$350K-$400K

314

175

110

29
44%
$400K-$450K

225

133

81

11
41%
$450K-$500K

150

94

47

9
37%
$500K-$600K

186

128

51

7
31%
$600K-$700K

116

78

36

2
33%
$700K-$800K

83

57

21

5
31%
$800K-$900K

76

55

21

0
28%
$900K-$1M

54

40

12

2
26%
$1M
& Up

328

289

30

9
12%
Total

21903

7614

12161

2128
65%
Information
compiled by Karol Lucan from GLVAR MLS service. Deemed accurate but not
guaranteed.

What the numbers mean to you as a buyer?

The statistical data shows that the MAJORITY of the market is NOT AVAILABLE TO BUYERS.  Once a home is ‘under contract’ it means that someone else is attempting to buy it and the seller and buyer have agreed to specific terms.  Being ‘contingent’ means that there are still things that need to happen before the property can be sold, such as inspection, an approval from the bank on a short sale, or the buyer getting fully approved for financing, among other things.  A ‘pending’ property means that all the contingencies are over, and it’s just a matter of time until the property officially sells.

As a buyer, you only want to see the homes that you can actually buy, right?  So, why would you want to waste your time looking at contingent or pending homes?  You wouldn’t.  But you are doing this every time you search for property on your own, and you very likely don’t know this.

Properties that you may be searching for on other websites, such as Zillow, Trulia, even realtor.com will INCLUDE the contingent and pending homes!  You will want to check the ‘status’ section of each individual listing.  The process can be tedious, and as a buyer, I’m sure you’d rather be looking at the photos and making appointments to see the properties.

Your solution?  Contact me and I will create a search that will send you ONLY homes that are listed as available! 

Because of the current market conditions, here’s what you’ll want to be sure to do and know when buying a home:

  • If you are going to need financing, you MUST get pre-approved from a lender BEFORE you can place an offer on a home.  Check my list of partners for several great lenders, or call/email me and I’ll be happy to send you a list.
  • DO NOT make any large purchases after your pre-approval, as this can affect your loan application
  • Have your real estate agent explain the entire buying process to you BEFORE you start looking for a home.
  • Once you find a home that you like, review the comparable area sales with your real estate agent and make a fair offer.  In many cases, you may be competing against other buyers for the same property.
  • Be patient when purchasing a short sale.  They take time and if you are in a hurry, you may be better off looking for a traditional sale or bank-owned property

These are just some of the basics.  Call or email me so we can schedule your buyer consultation soon.

Visit my website to search all Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson homes for sale

$9.99 a Month – Message and Data Rates Apply!

Dear MobChance,

Thanks for subscribing me to your service – at 4:31am on December 2, 2011 (while I was sleeping.)

I appreciate that you felt I needed to get your Brain Teasers three times a week so that I could increase my knowledge.  I realize that my IQ needs improving because you apparently have the ability to communicate with me on a level that I am unaware of, thereby determining that I needed some mental help.

I get many, MANY text messages on a regular basis, and somehow I managed to overlook yours.  Today, when I was reviewing my cell phone bill is when I realized that you had subscribed me to your SPECTACULAR service!

Wow!  Only $9.99 per month!  And I get three Brain Teasers a week!  How wonderful.

After looking at my bill and realizing that I was subscribed to your service, I kinda wanted to know how that happened.  Actually, I didn’t know it was YOUR service until after making a phone call to the number on my cell phone bill (that didn’t go well), and then hunting down the text message and visiting your website.

So here I am on your Brain Teaser site – reading what you get for $9.99/month.

Three brain teasers a week – that’s not bad – figure four weeks in a month, you get 12 brain teasers, and it’s only $9.99.

I was actually expecting one of those ‘But WAIT … there’s MORE’ notices to pop up on the screen.

Nope.

And guess what.  Those brain teasers that YOU subscribed me to?  I NEVER GOT EVEN ONE!

That’s right – it is now December 29, 2011 and somehow you subscribed me (while I was sleeping) and I never got ONE SINGLE TEXT with a brain teaser since then.

So please remove your $9.99 fee from my cell phone service .. never mind, I already called my cell phone provider who is taking care of it.

And next time – please try to subscribe me when I’M AWAKE .. and then also provide what you CLAIM TO OFFER.

Happy New Year

Who Touched My Thermometer?

So I got in my car today and finally decided to FIX this issue I’m having with a display device.

Yes, it needed to be FIXED!  I mean seriously needed to be FIXED!

How long can I drive around looking at the thermometer reading, and the temperature controls in CELSIUS without going crazy?  I can’t read CELSIUS.  I live in the United States.  We use FAHRENHEIT, even though it is a bigger word and harder to spell.

The funny part is that this little issue came up a couple of months ago.  I sat down in the car, went to adjust the temperature and stared at the screen for a bit.  It didn’t look right.  Was it broken?  No, it was reading CELSIUS.

I didn’t switch it to CELSIUS.  How did it do that BY ITSELF? I didn’t even know there was an option to change.  Yes, I’ve owned the car for 11 years, and I have a handy-dandy manual (that I’m sure I read once, maybe), but really, who knew?

After a little thought, I realized my son probably did it when he was driving.  Of course, interrogating him did no good.  He ‘noticed’ it was CELSIUS, but he didn’t know how it happened either.  He ‘claimed’ he got in the car and it was like that.

Sure.

So, driving down the road today and finally deciding to FIX IT, I got out my handy-dandy manual.  I swear I only read it while I was at red lights!

There it was … Switching from FAHRENHEIT to CELSIUS.  It had its own heading and everything.

And it was really simple, which explains why it happened in the first place.

Now I can look at my comfortable inside temperature of 72 degrees FAHRENHEIT again. On cold days, I no longer have to look at 3 degrees CELSIUS, which I’m going to guess was about 40 degrees FAHRENHEIT.

But I don’t really know, or care.  I’m just happy I can tell what the current temperature is again.

My Real Estate Absorption Rate Formula

The standard calculation for absorption rate takes the number of homes that are available and divides that by the number of homes sold over a period of time to determine how long it takes the market to ‘absorb’ (sell) all the properties.  That part sounds fine and makes perfect sense.

To explain it – if we sell 100 homes per month and there are 1,200 homes on the market, it would take 12 months to sell all of those homes.

Of course you are wondering why I would even bother bringing this up and arguing a standard method of calculation.  If you look around and read the explanations of absorption rate, one of the key phrases that you will read frequently is that ‘absorption rate is not an exact science.’  That’s why I’m challenging the methodology of determining the calculation.

The part that concerns me is the definition of the ‘available’ homes, which is why I’m writing this blog. I don’t agree that a home is ‘available’ if it isn’t sold.  Homes that are ‘contingent’ and ‘pending’ are under contract and at various stages of the sale process.  No, those aren’t sold, but they technically aren’t available either. My belief is that these homes don’t fit in either category.  If they sell, they count toward sales.  If the deal falls apart, they go back into available inventory.  So, they don’t count while in limbo.

As a real estate professional, I do not take my clients out and show them homes that are currently under contract.  I would venture to guess that most agents feel the same way.  Why waste the time of the client, and possibly show them a home that they fall in love with, only to tell them that it is under contract and they can’t have it unless the other buyer backs out?  Yes, in some cases this does happen, but it isn’t significant enough to consider these properties available for sale.  Don’t you agree?

The homes that are under contract exist, and there are many statistics that we refer to these properties for – but absorption rate should put these properties in a neutral category, where they don’t count for either side of the equation.

As of this writing, there are approximately 25,000 homes in Las Vegas that are available, contingent and pending.  Of those, only 12,000 are not under contract.

Those 12,000 are the ones I’m showing my clients, and the ones that my sellers are competing against for offers. When I’m out with my buyers and they tell me they want to make a ‘low’ offer on a property to get a ‘deal’ – that is when the fictional absorption rate distorts what I need to tell them.  With 25,000 homes on the market, they believe they can offer 10-20% below list price right?  That’s a lot of homes and that is what the media is telling them.  Yet they can really only choose from 12,000 if they want to get an accepted offer and be under contract to get to a closing.

In the Las Vegas real estate home market right now, homes are selling for 96-99% of list price and it is a Seller’s Market, if you use my calculation and leave out the contingent and pending homes.  If you include the under contract properties, it’s somewhat of a neutral market.  Yet when we look at the final sales prices of homes, closing at 96-99% of list price, it supports the Seller’s market theory, which I determine based on absorption rate using only available homes.

The skewed absorption rate and ‘available’ homes information that the media reports makes it challenging to explain to my buyers that the Las Vegas home market isn’t what they think and that the offers they submit must be reasonable.

Those ‘25,000 homes on the market’ stick in their head.

For a while.

Then they find a great little house, write an offer, and what happens next – we get a notice that the property is in a ‘multiple offer’ situation.  Reality finally sinks in after a few of these situations.

This is what is ACTUALLY HAPPENING, and I have many buyers that can confirm that this is what they are experiencing.

Bottom line – there are only 12,000 homes available, in my opinion.  That is the number I work with every, single day.  That is the number that is important to my buyers and sellers.  That is the number that determines where my sellers price their properties, and how much my buyers are willing to offer. It doesn’t matter that there are another 13,000 homes out there that are under contract because my buyers can’t have them.

Therefore, my absorption rate calculation will leave all those Little Houses in Limbo where they belong, until they either sell or come back on the market.

The Dogs – Part 2

It’s been almost 2 1/2 years since we got our dogs.  Hard to believe it’s been that long already.

No it isn’t, who am I kidding.

The dogs have taught me a lot and I’m very happy that we have them.

Skye has taught me that it doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, she will be whimpering by my bedroom door every morning at 7:30am, like clockwork.  Blu has taught me that when he paces in the house, he needs to go out and poop.  I’ve learned that they understand a lot more than I originally thought they would, so I am careful with the words ‘park, outside, play, treat, carrot, bye-bye, eat, ball.’  Those ears perk right up with these keywords, and I better not disappoint them and not follow through.  It can cost me a variety of things including chewed bathtub drain covers, blankets and bras.

They know when I’m happy or sad, and they do tend to adjust their behavior based on how I’m feeling.  If I’m in a bad mood, they find a comfy location and take a nap.  If I’m in a good mood, they are staring at me wondering when they will get to go out and play.

When we let them out in the backyard, we always worry that they will return to their old ways and start ripping up sprinklers, eating bushes and tinkling in the grass.  If left alone long enough, they probably would.  For the most part, they are pretty good and have fun, and only occasionally dig a little and rip WHOLE branches off the bushes.  Skye sticks her front paws in our pool and gets drinks.  Blu avoids it like the plague.

When we first got two dogs, it wasn’t easy.  It’s still a little extra work, because walking two 80 pound dogs isn’t as much fun as walking one.  They need to run and get their energy out first, and then they’ll walk.  I solve the problem by putting them in the car and driving them to the dog park where they can romp and play and I can walk peacefully around the park.  It’s a win-win.

In many ways I’m happy that we have two, since they do entertain each other and when I’m gone all day, they have companionship.  I can also take them out individually if I want, as long as the one staying home has someone with him/her.

I love my dogs and I look forward to spending a lot of great years with them.

Las Vegas Foreclosure Report

Earlier today I posted that there were just under 12,000 homes available on the market for sale (single family, condos and townhouses) in Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City.  When we talk about these three cities, they are practically intertwined, though Boulder City is actually on the outskirts near Hoover Dam, but still close enough that someone wanting to buy a home in Las Vegas might consider this area also.  We exclude locations such as Pahrump, Mesquite and Laughlin, because it’s a long drive to each of these and Las Vegas home buyers really don’t want to be out in the boonies.

What I didn’t break down was the number of homes by type of sale – bank properties, short sales, traditional sales and flips.  The later two are both considered traditional because they involve either a normal homeowner as a seller, or maybe an investor or group of investors, but not a bank.

Everyone has been on the bank-owned home bandwagon in Las Vegas for quite some time.  “Buy a Las Vegas foreclosure, you’ll get the best deal,” has been a frequent statement.

Not so much anymore.  Let me explain why.

With 12,000 available homes on the market (read my other post today to determine what ‘available’ means), let’s look at how many of each there are:

  • Traditional homes and flips – 4,021
  • Short sales – 5,596
  • Bank-owned or foreclosures (which are the same thing) – 2,389

Notice anything special about these numbers? That’s right.  We don’t have as many foreclosures as other types.

Now look at how many SALES have happened with each type of property in the last three months:

  • Traditional homes and flips – 2,971
  • Short sales – 2,840
  • Bank-owned or 5,532

What stands out?  We’re selling bank foreclosures at a significantly higher rate than the other types of properties.

And we don’t have a lot of inventory.

The absorption rate (I’ll write a blog on this too) indicates that we only have enough bank-owned properties in Las Vegas to supply about one month’s worth of inventory to the buyers.

What does this mean to you?  Higher prices and more competition for these types of homes.  Be prepared for multiple offers on many foreclosures.

As a real estate professional working the Las Vegas market, I understand these numbers and what my clients need to do to get their offers accepted.

If you’re considering buying a Las Vegas bank property, or any other property, visit my Las Vegas real estate website to search for homes at your leisure.  You’ll have access to all the homes on the market and can search based on various criteria and save your results.

I’m here to help, so contact me when you are ready to buy.

Las Vegas Homes Selling Fast

Search for Las Vegas real estate here

Want to buy real estate in Las Vegas?  Of course you do!  You just need to know the facts.

The media may tell you that Las Vegas has been hit hard and prices are very low, and they would be right. What they aren’t telling you is that the best properties are moving fast.

So here’s the skinny on the actual numbers:

  • A total of 25,114 homes are ON THE MARKET as of this writing.  This includes single family homes, condos and townhouses in Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City.  Properties in Pahrump, Laughlin and Mesquite don’t count because I don’t normally drive my buyers THAT far out of Las Vegas to find a property.  If you are looking for a home in Las Vegas, you aren’t considering these other areas.
  • Of those 25,114 homes, 13,120 are CONTINGENT OR PENDING – meaning they are UNDER CONTRACT and both buyers and sellers have come to terms, it’s just paperwork and time now.  As a real estate agent, I want you to be able to buy a home, so I’m not going to show them to you and you aren’t going to write backup offers on these.  It’s a waste of time for all concerned.  What I’ll do is create a ‘search’ for you in the system and if one of these properties doesn’t actually sell and becomes available again, THEN we’ll consider it.  Good idea right?

Now do the math. 25,114 minus 13,120 leaves us with …. (drum roll please) 11,994 properties.

In the last 12 months, we’ve SOLD 45,792 homes.  Looking at the last six months, we’ve SOLD 23,614 homes.  In the last three months, 11,333 Las Vegas homes have SOLD.

There is a formula we use called ‘absorption rate’ that tells us how long it takes us sell the current inventory, if no new homes were to come on the market at all.

Depending on the length of time it takes to sell them all, that is how we determine whether it’s a Buyer’s Market, Seller’s Market, or pretty much neutral.  If it takes six months to absorb the entire inventory, then it is pretty even and neutral.  If it takes longer, then it is a Buyer’s Market because homes stay on the market longer, meaning sellers will probably consider taking less than asking price.  If it takes less than six months, it becomes a Seller’s Market, and sellers get the upper hand.  Does this make sense? (if not, email or call me and I’ll explain further)

Now, based on the above numbers, and considering ALL TYPES OF PROPERTIES – meaning single family, condos and townhomes, regardless of whether or not they are bank-owned homes, short sales, flips (that’s another blog) or traditional Las Vegas homes for sale, it will take about THREE MONTHS to sell all the current inventory.

Here’s how we come up with that number – 11,994 homes on the market right now and we sold 11,333 in the last three months.  Pretty easy math I’d say. Three months and all the inventory is GONE.

Guess who is in charge of the market?  Yes, Mr. & Mrs Seller, it’s YOU!

Does that mean you shouldn’t buy now?   Not a chance!  It means your Las Vegas real estate agent needs to stay on top of the market so that you can look at homes as soon as they come on the market and get your offer in fast.

Just be prepared to pay current list price or close.  It’s still a heck of a deal.

Visit my Las Vegas real estate site and search for the perfect home

How to Apply The Four Laws of Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci

This was originally written by Leo Babauta.  His blog is zenhabits. I’ve made some changes to his article, making it even simpler.

You can find hundreds of books and guides on simplifying your clutter and life. Most are too complicated.

We need a simple method of simplifying.

I personally (me, not Leo) have tried lots of different strategies. Many are difficult to stick with, others are just too hard to actually even start.

So here is a simple method of Four Laws of Simplicity (apologies to John Maeda) that you can use on any area of your life, and in fact on your life as a whole:

1. Collect everything in one place.

2. Choose the essential.

3. Eliminate the rest.

4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. – Confucius

Let’s use the worst junk drawer in your house as an example. It has take-out menus from restaurants that closed down, ashtrays from when you used to smoke, fridge magnets, rubber bands, paper clips, chopsticks, instruction manuals for old appliances, rubber stamps, matchbooks, outdated coupons and more. The drawer smells bad too.

Rather than spend all day sorting through it and still have a mess, let’s use the 4-step method:

1. Collect. Empty the drawer and put everything in a pile on the counter. Everything!

2. Choose. Go through the pile and pick out just those things that are important and put them in a separate pile. Be picky.

3. Eliminate. Toss the rest out. Throw it in a garbage bag or find a new home for it. Donate it to charity or give it to a friend if you think they might want or need it.

4. Organize. Put back the essential things, neatly, with space around things. Clean the drawer out first, of course, and put the very small pile of things you chose back in the drawer, grouping like things together and leaving space around the groups. Having space around things makes everything look neater and simpler.

That’s it. You now have a very nice, simplified junk drawer, with (let’s hope) a much less funky smell.

This simple method can be applied to every area of your life. Just keep it simple as you go. Focus on oen area at a time, apply the method and viola! If you don’t have much that you need to simplify, just do one a week. If you have a lot, do it every couple of days.

The basic concept is literally to work on small areas at a time. Each one that you successfully simply will make you feel good and hopefully keep you motivated to continue the process until you’re done.

The process will work on just about any area of your life:

Closets. Again, one area at a time. A shelf, drawer, floor, whatever needs work. Put everything in a pile, pick out what you want or need. Send the rest packing! Put the important stuff back on the shelf, grouping like things together and leaving space around the groups. You could use containers for groups of things, using clear containers and labeling them. Or just leave the shelves fairly empty, and get rid of most of your stuff. When you are done, try to keep the floor clean as that makes it look quite neat.

Your desk. Same plan, clear the desk of everything except your computer and/or phone. Put supplies in a drawer, and file the papers. Toss out the rest. Then do the drawers of your desk the same way, one at a time, leaving space in each drawer. It’s so much more relaxing to work in a simplified environment. After you’re done with the desk, do your walls.

Your work tasks. Have a long to-do list (or a bunch of long context lists)? First, add project or task to your lists to complete them and then choose only the tasks that you really want to do, or that will give you the absolute most long-term benefit, and put those on a separate, shorter list. The rest of the stuff? Eliminate them, delegate or put it on a someday/maybe list to be considered later. Then only focus on your short list, trying to choose the three most important things on the list to do each day.

Your commitments. Everything from work to personal can be streamlined if that is what you need or want to do. First, make a list that includes hobbies, clubs, online groups, civic groups, your kids’ activities, sports, home stuff, etc. Anything that regularly takes up your time. Now pick out the few of those that really give you value, enjoyment, long-term benefits. Toss the rest, if possible. It might be difficult to do that, but you can get out of commitments if you just tell people that you don’t have the time anymore. This will leave you with a life that only has the commitments you really enjoy and want to do. Leave space around them, instead of filling up your life.

Your wardrobe. This one can be tough (especially for me!) However, do you really need all those t-shirts, shoes, bras, socks and clothes you no longer fit in? How about those ratty jeans? Do you wear everything in your closet? Bet not. Again, start with one drawer or section of your closet at a time, put everything on your bed in a pile, choose the clothes you really love and actually wear on a regular basis. Donate the rest and put the ones you love back in your drawers or closet. Leave space around the clothes — don’t stuff your drawers full.

If you’re having a hard time parting with some of these items, here’s a personal tip from me (again, not Leo). I hang all my clothes, except for bras, panties, socks and PJ’s. Take all the hanging clothes and turn the hangers around on the rod so they are facing opposite the way you normally hang things. As you wear clothes and re-hang them, put the hangers the normal way. After a few months, you’ll immediately be able to tell what hasn’t been worn and you can then get rid of it!

A room. Start with your furniture. If you don’t love and use it, get rid of it. Then clear every flat surface in the room, from counters to tables to shelves to desktops. Choose the stuff you love, and get rid of the rest. Leave the flat surfaces as clear as possible, only putting back a few choice objects. Now do the drawers and cabinets the same way. Also do everything on your floor that’s not a piece of furniture, leaving the floor as clear as humanly possible.

Your email inbox. We all do it. We leave everything in the inbox. How many messages are in there? How old are they? That’s what I thought! Take all the emails and put them in a separate folder. Scan through the folder, choosing only a few to reply to and putting those in a separate folder. Delete or archive the rest.

Those are tips from both Leo Babauta and me. Hope they work for you.

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. – Henry David Thoreau

The Dogs – Part 1

It’s been a year since I got my dogs, after over 20 years being pet-less. Well, except for the bird and the fish. The bird flew away and the fish don’t play with me, so I don’t think they really count.

It took numerous discussions in our household to accomplish this major lifestyle change. NUMEROUS. Some heated.

Everyone had an opinion.

Mine was the only one that actually counted.

After finally agreeing to dogs, we had to pick dogs. I wanted a German Shepherd. Since the entire reason we were getting dogs was because I fought long and hard for them, I was going to get my Shepherd. Period.

“But I want a pretty dog” my husband said. What? Shepherds are gorgeous dogs! What is he talking about. “I want a Husky.” he added.

So I go online and read about my Shepherd (because we ARE getting the Shepherd no matter what he says) and about HIS Husky.

“You realize this dog will be difficult to manage.” I point out.

“Look at their colors, look at those eyes, they are beautiful.” That’s what he said.

So to make a long story short, after researching until I knew more about dogs than I did about my kids, we finally agreed to get BOTH.

I got lucky and found puppies for both breeds fairly close to us and we went and picked them out. They were five days apart in age. Perfect! They’ll be lifelong partners. They’ll play together and amuse each other. They’ll never be lonely. They’ll be so much fun!

Good idea? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the dogs. The kids love the dogs. The husband regrets the decision every, single day. He likes dogs, he just doesn’t want the responsibility.

So in the beginning, there was poop and vomit and most of the time the poop was really diarrhea.

In the house of course.

On the carpet.

Fortunately, it was mainly in their room. Yes, my dogs got their own room. It was empty because my daughter moved out, so why not? We setup their crates in there and left the room empty so they could play. And poop.

The poop was never intentional. We took them out and worked very hard to potty train them. It took about four months to get them to where they only occasionally did it in the house. By six months, we were almost poop-free.

Along the way we took them outside and let them pee and poop in the yard and we would occasionally leave them out there for a bit to play. In our beautiful yard with green grass, gorgeous shrubs and plants, and a pool.

It took them roughly two months to turn the grass brown.

They also ate the sprinkler heads, dug up the brown grass and attacked the bubblers around the shrubs, in addition to actually ripping chunks of leaves off the plants.

The bubblers were the most difficult part to figure out because we would have to wait until they came on to determine which ones were gone. Except for when the black plastic tubing was actually strewn out on the brown grass.

By the time they were six months old, the word “divorce” was used on a daily basis by my husband. Most of his other comments included the words “I hate dogs.” I learned to tune all of this out and keep working with the dogs to get them to behave better. I’ve been fairly successful, though I have slacked off a bit lately.

Oh, I haven’t shown you what they look like.

Skye – female – German Shepherd
Blu – male – White Siberian Husky

We’re still together and the dogs are still here.  I mean really, look at them.

All grown up now. Do they look like trouble makers?