Champions Real Estate Team's Blog:


Oct. 30, 2015

VIDEO: Buyers Step 2 - Mortgage Lending 101

Unless you have a boatload of cash under your mattress, buying a home usually costs more money than you currently have. First, you'll need a competitively-priced loan.

Elizabeth Banks is here to walk you through mortgage lending 101 to get you that loan!


Posted in Buyer FAQs
Oct. 22, 2015

VIDEO: Buyers Step 1 - Knowing When You're Ready

Buying a home is so grown-up and impressive, but there are a few things you should think about before you start telling everyone how grown up and impressive you are. 

1. Is Renting or Buying the best option for you?

2. What can I afford?

3. If you're not buying yourself, are you and your significant other on the same page?


Posted in Buyer FAQs
Sept. 15, 2014

Omaha's Buddy Walk - Together for Down Syndrome

The Buddy Walk is the primary fundraiser for the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands. Please join us for the walk and/or help us reach our fundraising goal.

When: Saturday, October 4th @ 9am.
Where: Stinson Park (Aksarben Village)
The carnival starts at 9AM with music, games, face painters, bouncy houses, photo booths, snacks and more. The walk begins at 11AM.

To Register and More Information: Click Here 

Posted in Community Events
Sept. 4, 2014

Champions Home Buyers Guide: Take the Stress Out of Home Buying

Take the Stress Out of Home Buying:


Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.

1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality. 

2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second-guess interest rates or the housing market by waiting longer — you risk losing out on the home of your dreams. The housing market usually doesn’t change fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long. 

3. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of your immediate family — the people who will be living in the home. 

4. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. 

5. Don’t try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or by refusing to budge on your offer may cost you the home you love. Negotiation is give and take. 

6. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life. 

7. Plan ahead. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate home insurance, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers. 

8. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be costs. Don’t leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate. 

9. Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased. 

10. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live. 


Sources include but are not limited to the National REALTOR® Association,, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, REEsults™ Coaching and various authors and industry professionals. 

Posted in Tips & Advice
Aug. 26, 2014

Champions Home Selling Tip: Architecture Coach: The Right Way to Display Artwork

Architecture Coach: The Right Way to Display Artwork


Properly displayed and tasteful artwork can instantly bring life to an otherwise dull room. Whether home owners have painted or papered their walls, most want to hang some artwork on them, perhaps by displaying fine paintings, prints, or photographs, or more casual, affordable pieces from nature, travels, or favorite magazines.

“Any room looks better with some art,” says saleswoman Barb St. Amant, ABR, with Harry Norman, REALTORS®, in Atlanta.

However, any artwork display should involve careful selection in choosing the right mat, frame, backing, or container, as well as determining the best location to hang art, including how high or low it should be on a wall and whether it stands alone or as part of a group, designers say.

“Too many people hang art randomly, like they’re throwing stuff at a dartboard,” says Cambridge, Mass.-based designer Heidi Pribell. “Urge collectors to have their art form a pattern—in a grid, vertical stack, or horizontal line, or if alone relate to a piece of furniture or architectural feature.”

You can help buyers and sellers understand the impact art can make—for their own enjoyment as well as how to use it to impress buyers—with some of the following tips, from choosing what to display to how to hang it on the wall.

What to Display


Forget the notion that art has to have a fancy pedigree or exorbitant costs. Anything a home owner loves is suitable, from a museum-quality painting to child’s drawings.

Here are some other suggestions for what to display:

The power of black and white. Designer and stager Linda Bettencourt of Center Stage in San Francisco suggests using black and white photographs, which can be framed in inexpensive frames.

Go big. Atlanta-based designer Brian Patrick Flynn thinks one enlarged photo—as big as 20' wide by 12' tall—offers a huge wow. “By making the wall the star, you don’t necessarily need many other elements to complete it,” he says.

Mirror, mirror on the walls. Pribell loves mirrors. “They offer great feng shui and bring in light and reflection. You can never have too many,” she says.

Unique collections. Get clients to think outside the box. A childhood collection of Pez dispensers or snow globes can even become artistically encased assemblages if displayed properly.

Choosing the Proper Frame


The style, width, material, and color of picture frames are personal choices, says Chicago-area designer Mary Lou Kalmus of Designing Edge, who likes to frame works in a grouping that has the same or similar motifs.

Don’t match too much. Sharla Kidder, president of Biddington’s Inc., an art information site, prefers different “but not too different” frames—maybe a series in the same color range. Also, designers say, don’t match a frame to the room’s décor too much; let it stand on its own.

Complement the era. Pribell favors a style that reflects the period in the artwork, such as a 19th century “exhibition” frame for a 19th century painting. Many contemporary paintings and other works look good with a more minimal frame so that they float within, adds Kidder.

Bring out the art with a mat. Bettencourt likes mats in ivory or white with 3-inch borders on the sides and top and a slightly wider 4-inch border on the bottom.

Decide between glass or acrylic. “Glass is cheaper, easier to clean, and more resistant to scratches,” says Kidder. But it’s also “heavier, more breakable, sensitive to variations in temperature, and highly reflective so it often creates a glare,” she says.

How to Display It


How you display the artwork on the walls can make a big difference, too. Consider the following.

Solo or in a grouping. The size of the work usually determines this decision. A large piece can stand alone; smaller works may look visually stronger if grouped, particularly if they reflect a similar style, subject matter, or frame, says Kalmus.

Kalmus recommends first laying out a grouping on the floor to form a composition. When mounting, Kidder likes spacing of 4 to 5 inches between works, depending on how many there are and the wall’s size. She also recommends using a measuring tape and level for accuracy.

How high, low, or close together. The size of the works, height of furniture, and ceiling height need to be weighed. A good guideline is to have the center of a work or the center of the grouping at eye level to the person who is living there.

If the artwork is above a sofa, there should be enough room so that people don’t bump their heads on it. Art arranged along a stairway should march up the stairs, says Kalmus.

Artwork Tips When Selling a Home


When selling a home, the number of works displayed and how they’re showcased may differ from when they’re just hung for personal enjoyment. To avoid distracting buyers, art needs to play a secondary role to the lead: the home’s architecture and significant features, such as a fireplace.

Here’s some guidance:


Less is more. Don’t fill every wall with artwork, Bettencourt advises. Instead, “put one great piece in an entry, over a sideboard, or above a fireplace,” she says.

No leaning. Even though it’s considered quite chic, avoid leaning artwork against a wall, since there’s a risk of it being knocked over.

Use art as a solution. “Spaced along a long hallway, art can break it up so it doesn’t resemble a bowling alley, or can cover ugly electrical panels,” Bettencourt says.

Draw inspiration. Encourage clients to look in magazines and books for more solutions. For example, Rooms to Inspire in the City (Rizzoli, 2010) by Annie Kelly provides many helpful images.


Sources include but are not limited to the National REALTOR® Association,, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, REEsults™ Coaching and various authors and industry professionals.


Posted in Tips & Advice
Aug. 25, 2014

Bike MS: Nebraska Ride 2014

Bike MS: Nebraska Ride 2014


Bike MS: Nebraska Ride showcases the best of small town America as cyclists embark on an unforgettable journey. The routes include fully-stocked rest stops every 10-15 miles, a great lunch stop each day and safety provided by volunteer EMT’s, HAM radio operators, the police department and bicycle repair from our partner bike shops. We will conclude the day at Bellevue University, where you will be treated to a fun festival featuring massages, musical entertainment, food and Boulevard beer. Everyone is up early on Sunday for a free breakfast and on the road where the route winds through a figure-8 and back to Bellevue for a finish line celebration and a great feeling of accomplishment.For more information about this ride contact us at 402-505-4000 or

Date: September 6th - 7th, 2014 from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM

Start/Finish Location: Bellevue University, 1000 Galvin Road South, Bellevue, NE


Posted in Community Events
Aug. 21, 2014

Champions Home Selling Tip: Simple Tips for Better Home Showings

Simple Tips for Better Home Showings


1. Remove clutter and clear off counters. Throw out stacks of newspapers and magazines and stow away most of your small decorative items. Put excess furniture in storage, and remove out-of-season clothing items that are cramping closet space. Don’t forget to clean out the garage, too. 

2. Wash your windows and screens. This will help get more light into the interior of the home. 

3. Keep everything extra clean. A clean house will make a strong first impression and send a message to buyers that the home has been well-cared for. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, mop and wax floors, and clean the stove and refrigerator. Polish your doorknobs and address numbers. It’s worth hiring a cleaning service if you can afford it. 

4. Get rid of smells. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Open the windows to air out the house. Potpourri or scented candles will help. 

5. Brighten your rooms. Put higher wattage bulbs in light fixtures to brighten up rooms and basements. Replace any burned-out bulbs in closets. Clean the walls, or better yet, brush on a fresh coat of neutral color paint. 

6. Don’t disregard minor repairs. Small problems such as sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, or a dripping faucet may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression that the house isn’t well-maintained. 

7. Tidy your yard. Cut the grass, rake the leaves, add new mulch, trim the bushes, edge the walkways, and clean the gutters. For added curb appeal, place a pot of bright flowers near the entryway. 

8. Patch holes. Repair any holes in your driveway and reapply sealant, if applicable. 

9. Add a touch of color in the living room. A colored afghan or throw on the couch will jazz up a dull room. Buy new accent pillows for the sofa. 

10. Buy a flowering plant and put it near a window you pass by frequently.

11. Make centerpieces for your tables. Use brightly colored fruit or flowers. 

12. Set the scene. Set the table with fancy dishes and candles, and create other vignettes throughout the home to help buyers picture living there. For example, in the basement you might display a chess game in progress. 

13. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light. Show off the view if you have one. 

14. Accentuate the fireplace. Lay fresh logs in the fireplace or put a basket of flowers there if it’s not in use. 

15. Make the bathrooms feel luxurious. Put away those old towels and toothbrushes. When buyers enter your bathroom, they should feel pampered. Add a new shower curtain, new towels, and fancy guest soaps. Make sure your personal toiletry items are out of sight. 

16. Send your pets to a neighbor or take them outside. If that’s not possible, crate them or confine them to one room (ideally in the basement), and let the real estate practitioner know where they’ll be to eliminate surprises. 

17. Lock up valuables, jewelry, and money. While a real estate salesperson will be on site during the showing or open house, it’s impossible to watch everyone all the time. 

18. Leave the home. It’s usually best if the sellers are not at home. It’s awkward for prospective buyers to look in your closets and express their opinions of your home with you there. 


Sources include but are not limited to the National REALTOR® Association,, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, REEsults™ Coaching and various authors and industry professionals. 

Posted in Tips & Advice
Aug. 19, 2014

Champions Home Buyers Guide: Lender Checklist: What You Need For A Mortgage

Lender Checklist: What You Need For A Mortgage


1.  W-2 forms — or business tax return forms if you're self-employed — for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.

2.  Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan. 

3.  Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances. 

4.  Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts. 

5.  Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans. 

6.  Addresses where you’ve lived for the last five to seven years, with names of landlords if appropriate. 

7.  Copies of brokerage account statements for two to four months, as well as a list of any other major assets of value, such as a boat, RV, or stocks or bonds not held in a brokerage account. 

8.  Copies of your most recent 401(k) or other retirement account statement. 

9.  Documentation to verify additional income, such as child support or a pension. 

10.  Copies of personal tax forms for the last two to three years. 


Sources include but are not limited to the National REALTOR® Association,, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, REEsults™ Coaching and various authors and industry professionals. 

Posted in Tips & Advice
Aug. 16, 2014

Omaha Summer Bash for Childhood Cancer

Summer Bash for Childhood Cancer

Summer Bash is the annual fundraiser of the Metro Area Youth Foundation in Omaha, Nebraska. The project allows us to heighten the public awareness of the financial hardships experienced by families with a child battling cancer.

The 8th Annual Summer Bash for Childhood Cancer is being sponsored by the Omaha Metro Area Optimist Clubs and will be held on Saturday, August 23rd, at 5:30 PM at the Ramada Conference Center, 72nd and Grover in Omaha. The event will feature a program, dinner, live and silent auctions, raffles and dessert auction. Free Parking at the Yard.

Because of your generosity, you have helped us help 10 individual families in 2013 pay for car repairs, rent, utility bills, purchase medicines, food and gas in order to make the trips to the hospital for treatment.

Event Details:

When: August 23, 2014 @ 5:30 PM

Where: Ramada Conference Center, 72nd and Grover in Omaha, NE

Cost: $75 per person/ table of 10 = $750

For more information Click Here!

Posted in Community Events
Aug. 15, 2014

Champions Home Selling Tip: Eight Tips to Capture a Rooms Size

Eight Tips to Capture a Rooms Size


Buyers love spacious homes. They also love to look at online property photos. But it’s not always easy to squeeze square footage into a camera shot—and sometimes furniture arrangements or floor coverings actually do a disservice to the way your listing is presented online or in marketing photos, says Debra Gould, president of home staging company Six Elements Inc. in Toronto and creator of the Staging Diva training program.

She offers these tips for making sure that every room of your listing looks as large in photos as it does in real life. 

1. Remove area rugs. Rugs break up the expanse of the floor and can make rooms look smaller. Keep the floor as clear as possible.

2. Use a wide-angle camera.  A camera with a wide-angle lens (28 millimeters or less on a DSLR, or the equivalent on a point-and-shoot) is best for interior shots because it magnifies the distance between objects and showcases a room’s depth, Gould says. But beware of fisheye lenses or ultra wide-angle lenses, which tend to make rooms look wider but can mislead buyers into thinking there’s more space than there is. 

3. Get creative with furniture. Make sure that furniture doesn’t block views or walkways so you reveal as much of the floor as possible. If there’s too much furniture packed into a room or the furniture is too large, it can also work against you in photos. In a crowded room, try removing a few pieces of furniture or swapping in a smaller piece. In a kitchen or dining room, it might look better if you remove that extra leaf from the table. Try using furniture to create new spaces in large rooms and really show off that square footage. For example, Gould added a reading corner in a master bedroom to show that more than just a bed could fit. 

4. Fill up an empty space. Buyers have trouble imagining how their stuff will fit into an empty room; the space can seem smaller than it really is. If possible, bring in furniture for staging. "If the rooms are furnished, they look larger and much more inviting," Gould says. 

5. Use mirrors to your advantage. A reflection in a mirror can reveal more of a room when you can’t squeeze everything into your photo. This can be a great technique particularly when photographing bathrooms. Use the reflection of the bathroom mirror to show the extras, such as that soaker tub. Just be sure to shoot photos at an angle so that you don’t capture your own reflection! 

6. Lighten up. In photos, brighter rooms typically come across as more open and welcoming, whereas dark rooms can look small and dingy. Pay attention to the light sources in a room to get a better shot. Turn on all of the lights and open the curtains to let in natural light and expand the space. But don’t shoot directly into a light source; it’ll darken a room. 

7. Shoot at an angle. The diagonal line is the longest visual line in a room. Try shooting from the corner; back up as far as you can before you shoot. But don’t limit yourself: Take shots from three or four different angles so that you have plenty of options, Gould recommends. Also, try getting low to the ground to show off the length of the room. Eye level doesn’t always work best to capture floor proportions. 

8. Remove clutter. You’ve heard it before, but clutter makes a room look cramped and steals attention from a room’s intended focal points. Clear away paper stacks, crowded walls of artwork, cluttered counter tops, magnets covering the refrigerator, and towels hanging from the stove. 

Finally, do your best to ensure that any major changes you make to a room’s layout for the purpose of photos are kept in place for showings. "You’ll create a disconnect if the house looks great only in the online photos," Gould says. "If buyers feel let down, they’re not going to buy the house." 


Sources include but are not limited to the National REALTOR® Association,, Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, REEsults™ Coaching and various authors and industry professionals. 




Posted in Tips & Advice