Thursday, December 10, 2009
• FEWER SHOWINGS - Yes, there are less buyers, but those buyers that are left are usually very serious about making a purchase.
• LESS COMPETITION - Most people wait until spring and summer to list their home, which means during the winter you will have far less competition than at any other time of the year.
• JANUARY IS THE BIGGEST TRANSFER MONTH - Did you know that more corporate moves happen during January than at any other time of the year? This may be a great reason to list your home during the winter.
• TIMING - By putting your home on the market during the winter, you may be able to more easily hit your moving goals!
• MORE TIME TO GET TOP DOLLAR - By starting to market your home early, you may be able to secure a higher price.
• MORE ADVERTISING - Because most agent and offices have less inventory during the winter, your home may be advertised more often than during the spring and summer months.
• MORE ATTENTION - Most agents will be able to devote more specialized attention to your needs during the winter because they have less clients to manage.
• THE MARKET - Today's interest rates are at forty year lows. This gives buyers more spending power, and will be even more important when you begin shopping for your next home!
• GREAT TIME TO SHOP - If your home sells quickly, you will also be able to take advantage of finding your home during the winter.
• HOMES SHOW BETTER DURING THE HOLIDAYS - Buyers love homes that can tell a story. The holidays are a great time to show homes because the home is usually dressed up for holiday celebrations!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
• 8 oz creamy or crunchy peanut butter
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• ½ stick of butter – room temperature
• Chocolate pieces/chips/chunks (your preference)
Combine the peanut butter, sugar and butter to form a stiff mixture. Roll into logs approximately ½ inch in diameter, place on a tray covered in wax paper and refrigerate until firm. Slice into discs.
Melt chocolate, either in the microwave or a double boiler and pour or spoon into a squeeze bottle. Line a candy tin or small muffin tin with paper cups. Squeeze a small amount of chocolate into the cup, place a peanut butter disc in the cup, followed by more chocolate. When tray is full, tamp on the counter until chocolate is settled and then refrigerate the cups until the chocolate is firm again.
Remove from refrigerator and place in an airtight container. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
As a member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I am often asked if there is anything that can be done to improve your credit score. There are, in fact, several steps you can take. Here are five great suggestions from Bankrate.com:
1. Order your credit reports. You can do it for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com. If you've been denied credit, you are entitled to a copy of your report from the reporting agency. The company you applied to must supply the contact information and you have 60 days after denial to request a copy.
2. Examine your credit reports. Creditors do not necessarily report to each agency, so you may find differences in reports—and credit bureaus do not verify the information they get from creditors. Note any errors, such as incomplete or outdated information or inaccurate account histories. If you find errors, such as a paid-up account that was not reported or a difference in the amount owed, proceed to step number three.
3. Dispute and document. Complete the dispute form that came with the credit report or write a letter identifying each mistake and stating why it is wrong. Include a copy of the report with errors circled and copies of any supporting documents. Keep copies of everything you send. The credit bureau must investigate disputes within 30 days of receiving your letter. Items not verified as accurate by a creditor are removed and you will be sent a free, updated report.
4. Fix negatives. Call your creditors and ask for reduced monthly payments to help you keep current. See if the repayment schedule for fixed-rate loans can be extended. This may end up costing you more, but may keep you from being reported as delinquent. Arrange to pay off accounts in collection. Slowly close out unused credit accounts. Don’t cancel them all at once, as this may negatively affect your score. Remember, cutting up a card is not the same as closing the account.
5. Add positives. If you have a good credit history from a company that does not report to a credit bureau, ask them to do so. Apply for a secured credit card and build a solid payment history. Open a savings account to show creditors you are working to save and have reserves to help pay down debt.
Remember that your credit score is not always set in stone. There are actions you can take immediately to raise your score both in the short term and long term. If you would like more information on other ways to change your credit score, please e-mail me; and please also be sure to forward this important article to others who may be caught in the credit-score crunch.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Another great recipe from Heather, just in time for the fall harvest!
Apples are abundant this time of year, and Heather has shared another great recipe with us all to enjoy. This apple crisp puts a little tart twist on the traditional apple crisps we are familiar with by adding fresh cranberries! Yummy!
• 2 cups cranberries
• 3 cups sliced peeled apples
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 1 cup quick cooking oats
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Combine cranberries, apples, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and salt; turn into a shallow, buttered 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Combine brown sugar, oats, and flour. cut in butter. Spoon over cranberry-apple mixture. Bake at 325° for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until topping is crispy and fruit is tender.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Pricing Your Home to Sell
Most homeowners have an emotional connection to their home and, understandably, feel it deserves top dollar when sold. But even though everyone wants to get the most money for their home, especially in today’s challenging economic times, decisions made regarding the listing price cannot be made in haste. All too often, listing your home at a price that is too high can cause it to languish on the market and wind up selling at a lower price than would have been realized had it been priced properly in the first place.
To help foster maximum profits for your home, here are several suggestions for establishing a fair, competitive and marketable sale price:
- Square footage - Total square footage is an important consideration when establishing a home's sale price, but this is usually just a starting point for buyers who will use it to narrow down the field, but make an actual purchase decision based on many other factors.
- Location within the community - Quiet cul-de sacs, golf or water frontage, lots that offer privacy, etc. are value-adds that can justify a higher sale price over other homes in a community…or be leveraged as an advantage against competing listings.
- Views ... or lack thereof - Whether it is the ocean, a downtown skyline, the mountains, water or some other desirable landscape, buyers are willing to pay a premium for views and a home should be priced accordingly. Just be realistic - views that can only be seen from the second-story bathroom window don't count.
- Upgrades and features - For a home to sell quickly at the desired price, it must be "finished" with as many structural and interior design upgrades as possible. Any functional or beautification enhancement to a home are key considerations in establishing a home's true value and strategic sale price.
- Community amenities - Guard-gated communities or those with amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool or fitness center are elements that raise a home's price per square foot. When pricing a home without these benefits, know whether you are competing against other homes that do offer such value-adds so that you can price your home as aggressively and competitively as possible.
- Comparable sales - Don't price your home based on price per square footage of other home sales in your community six or more months ago, as these don't offer a realistic portrayal of current market conditions. Focus on prices of active listings to hone a competitive pricing strategy.
- Professional appraisal - Want to sell the home quickly? Price it at or below the appraised value as buyers are educated, are shopping deals, and will recognize your fair price and be more apt to pay it with less haggling.
- Current mortgage conditions - Lenders now require higher credit scores and higher down payments, which can cash-strap buyers holding out for the best deal possible. Savvy sellers will understand the mortgage industry's impact on the buyer and will price accordingly.
There are several other factors involved in choosing the right listing price for your property. Top 5 in Real Estate Members are experienced in reviewing the specifics of a home in order to arrive at the best possible price…a price that maximizes profits and moves your home off the market before price reductions become necessary. Please email Heather @ firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and feel free to forward this article to members of your social network who may also benefit from this information.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There is a very rigorous and stringent approval process to become a member of this organization. All of their members must have at least three years experience, attained accredited or formal industry wide education and be committed to providing consumers the latest consumer-relevant information by using the latest in information technology to assist in this process. They further pledge to be community-centric as well as consumer-centric by extending themselves beyond self-promotional accomplishments and showing a commitment in helping to better the community and its residents.
Heather is very excited about this opportunity, and looking forward to sharing the information she is able to obtain through this organization with us right here on her blog, as well as many other venues. One of her goals is to help us all become better educated...you know...just in case we decide we want to buy or sell our homes... increase our property values (not a bad thing in today’s current economy)... or just help us become better informed on this industry...since it does affect all of us in one way or another.
That being said, you will definately want to check back here often, you never know what little bit of information Heather will be passing on to us, her faithful blog followers! It may be a tidbit of real estate information, a current listing, a human interest story that’s just too cool to keep to herself, or an adventure with one of her adorable kitty’s! Better yet, it could be one of her yummy recipes....hmmmmm....is it lunchtime???
Friday, August 21, 2009
Rainbow Ribbon Mold
6 1/4 cups boiling water (or more) 5 (or more) pckgs (4-serving size) Jell-O, different flavors
1 cup (or more) vanilla lowfat yogurt or sour cream
Notes: I first sprayed my mold with no-stick cooking spray and then wiped off excess. Also, the book (Joy of Jell-o Molds) suggests completely filling your mold to make the unmolding process easier. My mold was about 7 cups, so I added an extra flavor.
1. Stir 1 1/4 cups boiling water into 1 flavor gelatin in small bowl at least 2 min. until completely dissolved. Pour 3/4 cup dissolved gelatin into 6-cup mold. Refrigerate about 15 min. or until set but not firm (should stick to finger when touched.) [I found that this first layer of Jello also needs to come to room temp before you refrigerate it for the 15 min., or it needs to refrigerate a little longer than 15 min. - the second layer is where I had problems with the leakage into the first layer]. Do not refrigerate too long though, or the layers will not adhere to each other.
2. Refrigerate remaining gelatin in bowl about 5 min. or until slightly thickened (consistency of unbeaten egg whites). Gradually stir in 3 tbsp. of yogurt or sour cream. Spoon (very gently - do not pour!) over gelatin layer in mold. Refrigerate about 15 min. or until set but not firm. (should stick to finger when touched).
3. Repeat process with each remaining gelatin flavor. Be sure to cool dissolved gelatin to room temp before pouring into mold. Refrigerate gelatin as directed to create a total of 10 or more alternating clear and creamy layers.
4. Refrigerate AT LEAST 2 hours or until firm. Unmold.
To unmold: wet your fingertip and run it around the outside edge to loosen Jello from pan. Dip mold into warm, not hot water, for a few seconds. Remove from water. Place moistened serving plate upside down on top of mold. Invert and give it a shake. If it doesn't come loose easily, dip in warm water again. (It does make a really satisfying schluuup sound as it releases! )
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Yay! Heather has shared another recipe. The original recipe was a Paula Deen one and was modified to her tastes and her pantry.
4 large bell peppers – Heather used red and green ones
20 oz ground turkey breast
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons instant beef bouillon (Heather used Maggi brand), divided
Pinch kosher salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup jarred cheese & salsa
1 cup diced tomatoes (She told me she used ½ can Del Monte tomatoes)
½ cup green onion, chopped
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350.
Cut the tops of the peppers off. Remove stem, ribs and seeds from inside of pepper. Then slice in half lengthwise.
Brown turkey, onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon bouillon. Season with salt, pepper & garlic to taste while sautéing in skillet, about 10 minutes on medium/medium high heat.
In a bowl, combine rice, cheese & salsa, tomatoes and green onion. Add turkey mixture from above once done. Stir & mix well.
Mix 1 cup water & last teaspoon bouillon in measuring cup/microwaveable bowl. Heat in microwave for 3 minutes until bouillon is fully dissolved.
Place the pepper halves in a casserole (or divide over two). Add meat mixture evenly to each half (8 in all). Pour bouillon mixture into bottom of casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake 25-35 minutes. Remove foil. Spoon juice from bottom of dish over peppers.
Bake 10 minutes more.
Heather was looking for corn nuggets to serve with the peppers but they were no where to be found, (at least not without running all over town) so she grabbed a package of frozen Arepa's instead, heated them in a non-stick skillet and they worked with the peppers wonderfully! Sounds yummy....
Thanks, Heather...can't wait for the next recipe!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
"I am working with a customer who resides out of state. When properties come on the market that fit their criteria I preview them, take photos & tell the customer whether or not I think they should proceed forward with it. That is the wonderful thing about my business is the level of trust that my customers place in me. I love how they feel comfortable enough with me to establish that relationship. I hear horror stories of people who hate their agent and don’t have a good “bond” and it just is unfortunate they hadn't found me in time to have a different experience. Anyway, I digress.. back to the story…
On one such Monday I ran over to Coconut Creek and on the way there I needed to powder my nose. Not knowing what kind of condition I was going to find this foreclosure listing in, I decided to stop at a local grocery store. As I park and walk to the store, I notice the car next to me is running with a woman inside looking like she was bending over to grab something. After another second or two I realize this woman isn’t moving. Something doesn’t sit right with me and I decide that if the woman is in the exact same position upon me exiting the store I would do something (what I do not know), but something… Needless to say, a few minutes later I walk back to my car and notice the woman is in the exact same position. NOTHING had changed. I take my car keys and gently tap the passenger window a couple of times. Nothing. I do it again. Nothing. I then decided to go back into the store and ask for a manager.
I get a manager and preface my conversation with him about how this is going to sound crazy, etc, etc,. He proceeds to walk out with me, cell phone in hand to dial 911. We get to the car & he knocks heavily on the window with his fist. After the third attempt the woman arouses from her state and takes her about another full minute to open the door – she couldn’t roll down the window because it was taped in place. She is barely cogniscent (spelling?) and her eyes are all unfocused. She says she is OK and explains she worked late the previous night and was sleeping it off. (What it was you’ll soon find out…) As she is talking, or slurring I should say, I notice the back of her SUV is full of suitcases & boxes, like all of her belongings. She woman continues to say she is alright and after the third time of assuring us, the manager and I walk away. The manager picked up on the same vibes as I did and asked what do I think he should do. I said, come back and check on her in another 10 minutes (at that point it may be considered loitering, no?). I also gave him my card and said if he needs anything to call me.
About an hour later I get a call from the manager who said he came back about 15 minutes later, he could not rouse her this time & called 911. The paramedics were just leaving with her and they thought it was a potential drug overdose. The manager thanked me for being a good Samaritan. Too bad the homes I looked at that day did not work for my customer! That means I am meant to be out in the field again, listing property & saving lives!"
So, there you have it, our Heather, the realtor extrodinair, wonderful wife to D., awesome cook, fantastic mom to her kitties...and Good Samaritan, willing to step in and save lives. Even throughout her hectic day, she takes the time to care and step in...and saved a life because of it! You go, girl!
Meanwhile, back in the office, Heathrow was holding down the fort...after all, someone has to do all that paperwork!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Caprese on a Stick: Mini mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes (cherry tomatoes are fine too) fresh basil. Get a wooden skewer, put a mozzarella ball on, then a tomato, then a small piece of basil followed by another mozzarella ball, another tomato, another basil, etc.... Enjoy!
I LOVE tomatoes, so I used both grape tomatoes and sundried tomatoes. The sundried tomatoes provided a lot more flavor than the grape tomatoes, so I’ll skip the grape ones next time. There were no mini mozzarella balls to be found, so I used the medium sized ones, sliced into about ¼ inch and then cut in half. Some fresh basil and skewers, and viola, “CAPRESE ON A STICK” a'la Heather! Oh yeah, I lightly brushed the skewers with a little basil vinaigrette dressing for a bit of added zip.
Prosciutto & Melon: Prosciutto slices (Italian ham, more fatty and less salty than American ham, but this works with thinly sliced “traditional” ham as well)
Diced or balled melon – i.e.” cantaloupe or honeydew. Get a wooden skewer, start to “thread” the prosciutto on the stick, then a piece of fruit overlay the prosciutto, another piece of fruit, and finish with the prosciutto…Enjoy!
On to the Prosciutto and Melon skewers. I used sliced prosciutto (very thin) and diced cantaloupe and honeydew (for variety). The slices weren’t really long enough to “thread” as Heather had indicated in the recipe, so I took small slices and wrapped them around each diced piece of melon and put them on the skewer, alternating the cantaloupe and honeydew.
Hope you enjoy these recipes from Heather, and I hope I’ve done her justice. Thanks for sharing, Heather, and we're looking forward to more of your yummy recipes!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Heather stays very, very busy. If she's not running around showing and listing properties, she can be found at the local supermarket picking up a "few things" for dinner. She is very fond of spicy foods and she loves to blend the perfect spices for that very special and "unique" flavor. Kinda the same thing she does when helping you find that perfect home. Heather takes the time to get to know you and your desired list of "ingredients". She blends it all together to create the perfect recipe for the perfect home.
Heather is also "mommy" to three adorable kitty's, Heathrow, Teal'C and D'Argo who continue to provide lots of love and lots of humor and lots of comfort to her busy life. They are, one might say, a little on the "spoiled" side, being that they drink their water from crystal and have been known to "assist" in the office work, by either keeping feet warm or helping type as the next listing is being entered. They are also quite good at nudging their little heads under fingers in order to get a little scratch behind the ears...after all, they come FIRST!
Hope you come back often, you never know what story will be shared next...it could be an awesome recipe, a funny story 'bout the kittys or the awesome house that just listed and/or sold. We could even share one of the many wild and crazy happenings of Heather's wild and crazy days!
Which reminds me 'bout the time Heather had to make a quick "pit-stop" and wound up saving some lady's life.......hmmmmm.....we'll save that story for another post!