Vincent's new tailgate handle.

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Vincent's new tailgate handle.

In the parking lot of the tool store, I started to load the Craftsman mechanic's tool set into the back of my truck. Ironically, the handle broke and the tailgate wouldn't open. Ha.

So the first fix I got to do with my brand new tools was to replace the tailgate handle. I used a Doorman brand from the local AutoZone. 

I wasn't sure how to get the handle off or get into the assembly so I Googled and found the step by step how to video below. It's great and shows you exactly what to do, step by step. In comments, some suggested not using the WD40 that he uses but a real "grease" instead. Just a tip I picked up. Take a look at the video below and the photos from my repair.

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Vincent: Mudflap Removal

It's pretty easy for most "car guys", but I removed the mudflap and thought I would post some photos incase someone else was searching for it. The mudflap is attached to a metal bracket support that is attached to the frame of the truck. Unscrew that support. Mine started to unscrew and then broke off due to the rust on my truck. I used an 8mm socket.

The second place the mudflap is attached is behind the plastic flare with what I think is called a "christmas tree screw"? I could be wrong about that but it is the kind of screw that goes in easy, but is hard to pull out. It is also plastic. Tugging, wiggling, and using a flat head screw driver to get some leverage snapped it right out.

The rubbing stopped except for a very specific angle, at slow speed, in the front driver side. There is a small part of the bumper that hooks back under the truck that will occasionally hit it. It does not happen on the passenger side. It is rare and "OK" for now. On my list of improvements is a black front bumper that works with existing tow hooks. Changing the bumper will probably correct the issue.

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Vincent: New Tires!

Vincent has new kicks! One of the first things I wanted to do was purchase new tires. I was once fearful of stoplights, on a hill, in the rain! 

Tires

BFGoodrich LT285/75R16E, All-Terrain T/A KO2

Wheels

ProComp 7031 Series Alloy Wheels with black locking bolts

Because I was able to get a great deal on the tires, I picked up a 5th full size tire to rotate in as a spare. This should prolong the life of the tires. The spare will live on the roof of the car eventually.

After installing the tires, I noticed a slight "rub" coming from the front when I turned sharp and slow. My truck seems to have a TBar lift on it, not a body kit. After circling a parking lot a few times, I determined that it was due to the mudflap on the front. Removing those is next on the list.

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Remembering

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Remembering

I remember sitting down on the edge of my bed, almost frozen, a little numb. I remember the feeling of the warm coffee in my hand, sitting on my palm. I felt like the entire campus was silent, and the world was on fire. I couldn't think clearly. I just watched.

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Home Buying 101: Step 3 - Set Your Criteria & Plan

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Home Buying 101: Step 3 - Set Your Criteria & Plan

 home is more than a number of bedrooms and bathrooms. We find that it is more important to get to know you, listen to you, learn how you live, and what understand your expectations will be in your new home. Anyone can find a house. We find your HOME. As if we were going to build your home from scratch, we will build a home on paper and will talk about the flow of your day and how you live life. 

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Home Buying 101: Step 2 - Meet Your Agent!

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Home Buying 101: Step 2 - Meet Your Agent!

It is important for you to have all the right information before making your decision. I have compiled a list of great "interview questions" for you to ask your potential buyer's agent. These questions are a good starting place to get to know them and will inform you about their professional expertise.

[As I hear of more good questions, I will update this list]

Q. Are you a full time agent? How many clients are you working with now? How many clients have you served this year?

An active, full-time agent is more likely to be up-to-date on the market and the law. They also have the experience of pervious transactions and have probably been though some highly unlikely scenarios. They will have a plan in place and will know what to do if things do not go according to plan!

Q. Have you worked with buyers and sellers in my target area or city?

You want an agent who is familiar with the current market in the area you are searching. For large cities, you may want to find an agent working the in specific neighborhood. In Arkansas, most agents work a variety of neighborhoods and cities, but they should have some knowledge and expertise in your area.

Q. When clients are unhappy with your service, what has gone wrong? 

Every agent has had a bad experience with a client. This question will help you to understand who they are and how they operate. Look for an honest answer here.

Q. Has a client ever filed a complaint against you? 

Hard question to ask, but you need to know. We are talking about one of your largest investments here! If you don't feel comfortable asking, check with the commission.

Q. What's your fee? 

Some agents don't have any additional charges. Some agents charge up front fees & some charge an additional percent or two and charge it back to the seller. In central Arkansas, the listing broker typically splits the commission with the buyers agent. Most great buyers agents do not look at the commission offered to the agent when showing homes. Our primary goal is serving YOU and finding the right home for you.

Q. What services are provided?

This is where you find out everything they do to work for you in the process of finding, negotiating, and purchasing your home.

Q. When am I committed to working with you? 

Don't start touring homes until you know who you are working with and they know what you are looking for.

Q. Have you handled short-sales or foreclosures?

Distressed properties can be great deals, but the paperwork is complicated, and your liability is greater. The best agents have experience closing deals with banks.

Q. Who else will be working with me?

An agent is often supported by a team. But the person you hire should do most of the work.

Q. Am I obligated to work with the lender, inspector, or other service providers you recommend? 

Due to a ruling called "RESPA" a "yes" here is a big red flag. While many great agents have a list of highly professional vendors in the area, you should never feel pressured to use the recommendation of an agent. It's illegal.

Q. How quickly can you get me into a home?

Great homes in any market move fast. Ask how your agent goes about the process of setting up showings and how quickly you would be able to see a favorite home.

Q. Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? Dual agency?

This one is a little complicated. Less experienced agents have a hard time managing a dual agency transaction. The agent is attempting to act in the best interest of all parties and it can create some headache for them. Many commentators on this topic only look at one factor: "the deal". They ask the question, "How can an agent working to get the sellers the highest possible price also work to get the buyers the lowest possible price?" That is a great question, but it is the wrong question. The simple answer is that the agent sticks to the numbers with a comparative market analysis and then asks the buyer "How much would you like to pay?" then asks the seller, "Would you sell it for ____ ?" 

What can cost more than the price of the home are TERMS. Often, in a dual agency transaction, both parties receive favorable terms because the agent is familiar with the situation of both parties. The transaction is usually smooth with less uncertainty saves money and headache for the buyer and seller.

An important distinction: In Arkansas, the listed property is represented by the listing broker, not just the agent. Any agent who refuses dual agency agrees not to let their buyer see any of the properties listed by their broker. This could eliminate hundreds of potential homes for you. 

It is best to select an agent with experience in managing a dual agency transaction and has the knowledge, expertise, and professionalism to appropriately handle both sides of a transaction. How is it in the best interest of my buyer to withhold a property that is a perfect fit that I have listed to avoid dual agency? I would argue that I am then NOT acting in the best interest of either party. 

Q. What sets you apart from other agents? 

Look for real expertise here, not just excitement and likability. Look for an agent with a proven track record, great testimonials from happy customers, a good professional reputation, deep knowledge of the market, and willing (with the "know how") to meet any special needs or requirements that you might have in your home search.

Q. Can I cancel the contract if I am unhappy with your service? 

Some agents change a fee if you try to cancel. This could be a major problem if you are attempting to purchase a property and your agent goes out of town without any way to contact them, or if you wind up having a personal conflict with them. What is their policy regarding cancelation?

Q. How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently?

Communication is KEY! Make sure your agent has the appropriate avenues of communication open and has a plan for how to communicate through the process.

Q. What's your business philosophy? 

There is no right or wrong answer here. This question will help you to get to know your agent better, learn what is important to them, and how they think about their business and their relationship with you.

I hope this list of questions helps you as you interview potential agents!

Drop by the office and take 30 minutes to say Hi and get to know us. We will tell you a little more about the home buying process and the next steps to find home. We will also review your plan to buy and talk about your needs and wants and will help you to narrow or expand your criteria and will provide some additional questions to talk about and help develop our plan.

Lets meet up to see if we are a good fit for each other. I would be honored to be the one to help you find your next home.  In the meantime, checkout my bio.

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Home Buying 101: Step 1 - Get Pre-Approved

This is the first post in a series of posts that will take you through the process of buying a home. 

Many buyers want to start seeing houses right away, before getting PreApproved. Most of them have great credit, good income to debt ratios, and no real reason to be denied for a loan. So, why is it important to visit with a lender first?

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Fitness Foray: Getting Started - Nutrition

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Fitness Foray: Getting Started - Nutrition

If you missed the first post in the "Fitness Foray" series, check it out here.

The Foray

I like to look at some challenges in life through the lens of a battle or fight (something I understand a great deal about after being in martial arts for so long). A "foray" is a "sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid". This is a perfect description of the journey that I am about to embark on to obtain a healthier me. As someone who has never been in "peak" physical condition, who has never seen all 6+ abs, and who has always had a hard time buying clothes, the discipline/consistency in the "health & fitness" culture has always been enemy territory.

As one strategizes a plan of attack, you closely observe the enemy and look for small footholds that can provide you with an advantage. Through the process of researching your foe, you must continue to train so you are ready when the time is right to implement the plan and move forward with your attack.

Getting Started - Nutrition

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Keeping Promises

I made a few promises to some friends years ago. A buddy of mine has lost 35 lbs using "Body by Vi" products and he is a promotor for them. Several years ago, I promised him that if I ever decided to get healthy, I would look into what they have and would give it a try.

Another friend approached me with "AdvoCare". He wasn't in bad shape, but he shaped up quick. I have seen other friends try it and they lost good amounts of weight as well.

The initial nutrition plan is to give "Body by Vi" a serious try "by the book". Then, regardless of results, I will switch to AdvoCare and try the 24 day challenge and a longer program following that.

This is the training in preparation for the longer term nutritional solution called "eating healthy".   Using these two systems that have everything laid out for me will give me time to research the long term diet/nutrition plan.

I am researching several options from whole unprocessed foods to old school "doctor recommended" pyramids. What long term nutritional plans have you tried, stuck with, and liked?

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Fitness Foray

For·ay
ˈfôrˌā,ˈfärˌā/

1.  a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid.
"the garrison made a foray against Richard's camp" 
synonyms: raid, attack, assault, incursion, swoop, strike, onslaught, sortie, sally, push, thrust
 

As a kid I was always bigger or pudgy and I didn't like it. I was always active and my blood pressure was ok. I took martial arts for several years and won tournaments. I could fight for hours and hours. My parents got a trampoline for me on Christmas. I spent no less than 3 to 4 hours jumping. So, while I was "big boned", I was healthy. Docs always said I never had a problem but was "a little big" according to the charts.

In college I started training for a marathon and blew out my knee playing Ultimate Frisbee. No more 11 mile long runs. I never tried running consistently again. While I was engaged, I hit the gym hard. I liked the way I felt, initially.

At 33, I don't feel as good after a workout. I sometimes am tired & sluggish.

My diet is the problem. I never liked starting with diet. I use to "re-start" my fitness plan by changing my level of activity and the diet usually followed as my cravings would change from cake to carrots and fruit. However, recently, the cravings didn't stop. I can continue to workout and my body feels miserable. I'm not getting the right fuel for the level of activity I had committed to.

Something had to give ... so I kept the cake and said good bye to the cardio.

Last year I committed to ignore my physical health to focus solely on my business. After we have a great flow and are up and running, I can take an hour or two out of my days next year and figure out how to get healthy.

It is time. What am I going to do? I'm not sure.

I'll share with you my journey post by post over the next year or so. Just check the "health & fitness" category. If you have any suggestions on where/how you would get started, please share them in the comments section!

Thanks for the support!

More post in the Fitness Foray series:

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Happy Birthday, America!

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Happy Birthday, America!

From our family, to yours, we would like to wish you a very happy and memorable Independence Day! We love teaching the next generation how to celebrate well, especially when it involves explosives!!

Enjoy the food, fun, and time with family and friends!

Happy Birthday, America!

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Password123

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Password123

Learn how to use a "human based algorithm" to create unbreakable passwords!

The two most common complaints about passwords are:

  1. They are ALL "too hard to remember"
  2. There are "too many to remember!"

Most of the time that prevents the average person from coming up with a good secure password and they wind up using "password123" or something just as bad.

I thought mine was secure, but someone in china figured it out years ago and spammed my friends with a "link". That's what got me thinking. ...

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WWDC 2015: Reaction

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WWDC 2015: Reaction

Apple: And now ... One more thing ...
Me: I am here, take all of my money for the new thing.
Apple: Apple Music! This is a new shiny thing!!
Me: That was already a thing you can get anywhere. What's so new about that thing?
Apple: [Insert record label commercials] 
Me: This new thing looks just the same. What is so new about this thing?
Apple: 24/7 Radio station! There will be a radio station on it!
Me: Radio? With commercials and sounders and everything?
Apple: YEP! And they will pick "great" songs, not based on an algorithm.
Me: I listen to MP3s so I don't hear commercials... and what if I don't like what they pick?
Apple: You will! At $9.99/mo it is going to be popular and you get a 3 month free trial!!
Me:  What happened to you? 
Apple: You are going to love it.
Me: Awe man.  : (

In short, I was unimpressed and as an Apple Fan Boy, that in it self is really disappointing. However, there were some good things. See my reaction below.

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Courier Prime

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Courier Prime

Courier Prime, It's Courier, Just better.
Check out this new font! A clean, slightly thicker, Courier font created for screen writing and formatted for all digital devices and print!

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THANK YOU - Signed "Award Winning" Realtor® ...

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THANK YOU - Signed "Award Winning" Realtor® ...

Ha! Last night was the Realtor Awards of Distinction shindig held to honor those who have preformed well in our industry and market. It was really an honor for me. 2014 was our first full calendar year and I am proud and excited to have finished at "Gold Level" for the year. I say "we" because Katie, my wife, has been incredibly supportive and a champion for the cause.

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Rice Depot Update!

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Rice Depot Update!

To all our friends, family, clients, and vendors who donated food and money to The Property Group's food drive, THANK YOU!

You gave almost a TON of food, literally.

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Where do YOU get your Arkansas Weather Updates?

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Where do YOU get your Arkansas Weather Updates?

SNOW!!! Well, more like SLEET!! If you want to stay up to date on the latest weather conditions, one of or favorite ways is to follow the "#arwx" hashtag! See the current stream of the top tweets using the #arwx hashtag below! Many of the local news and weather agencies will use twitter with this hashtag to share instant up to date information and news about our weather.

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4+1=5

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4+1=5

Looks like our little family of four is going to add one more!!

Katie and I are excited to announce that we are expecting another little addition to our family. Liberty AND Lily are going to be big sisters in August! 

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