Top Interview Mistakes

HireMe.CE .b2 268x300 Top Interview MistakesJobless claims recently reported hitting a 14-year low, meaning more people are finding work.  The key to landing a position that several other people may be vying for is to have strong interview skills.  Here are some big mistakes that people make that can cost them the job:

  1. Wearing inappropriate clothing:  This ranks as one of the top mistakes that millennials make during an interview according to a Forbes article that states about 75% of the surveyed hiring managers.
  2. Bringing a parent along:  A CNBC post cited in a study that almost 8% of recent college graduates brought a parent with them to an interview.  Some parents even participated in the interview.
  3. Posting inappropriate material on social media:  Companies today do extensive internet searches on prospective employees.  Posting of offensive language, bad grammar or pictures from late night partying do not reflect well on one’s professionalism.
  4. Lack of Research:  It’s important to always do homework on a company before an interview.  Know what position you are interviewing for and try to find out some information about who will be interviewing you.
  5. Not asking enough questions:  Just as the interviewer will be asking many questions directly at the person hoping to land the job, it is equally important for that person to ask the interviewer questions.  Show that there is interest, find out additional details about the position, the company’s long and short term goals, and what qualities and skills they are seeking.
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Dress for Success – What to Wear

REASuiteMale.b 198x300 Dress for Success – What to WearAs a Realtor, what you choose to wear and how you present yourself to your clients will make an everlasting impression.  So with constantly changing fashion trends, how do you decide what to wear?

It’s important to always look clean, neat and professional but where you work (i.e. large city, small town) can dictate your style.  Business attire is more appropriate in larger metropolitan cities while casual attire may be more appropriate for smaller towns.  One of my favorite rules – you can never be overdressed.

Women can wear a pant suit, or skirt with a shirt or sweater and a jacket.  Men can wear a suit and jacket with a tie or dress slacks with a button down shirt.  If you chose to wear an item that is more trendy/flashy, like colorful shoes, opt for the rest of your outfit to be more conservative.  This will create a balanced look that still allows your style and personality to show through.

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Falling for Fall Flavors

The season of fall has officially commenced and the temperatures have started to cool (a little).  I always get excited about the new foods and recipes that come with the change in seasons, especially anything involving Pumpkin!

Latte.2 300x195 Falling for Fall FlavorsOne of the popular fall drinks over the past few years has been the Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL).  It evokes memories of cooler weather, fall flavors and the holidays.  This drink is easy to make without the added sugary, pumpkin-flavored syrups and is easier on the wallet (who doesn’t like to save a little cash?).  Try this recipe from Averi Cooks for her healthier take on the PSL.

One of my absolute favorite fall pumpkin recipes is Ina Garten’s Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart.  This dessert will wow your guests and have them coming back for seconds and thirds; it’s become a staple for me when entertaining during this time of year.

What is your favorite fall food or recipe?

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Lessons on How Not to Annoy your Real Estate Agent

AnnoyedAgent2 228x300 Lessons on How Not to Annoy your Real Estate AgentHaving a good relationship with your real estate agent can make things easier and it’s important to remember that treating them kindly can go a long way and will encourage them to go the extra mile for you.  Here are a few things NOT to do to your real estate agent:

  1. Don’t cheat on your agent.  Find one agent to work with that you like and stick with them.  They work hard for you in hopes of getting paid.
  2. Don’t haggle over price.  If you are selling your home and your agent thinks you have received a great offer, don’t hold out for a better one.  If you are buying, don’t significantly low-ball the asking price.
  3. Don’t skip out on showings.  If you set up an appointment with your agent to see a home, don’t be a no-show.  This is inconsiderate to your agent.
  4. Don’t waste your agent’s time.  If you aren’t serious about making an offer on a particular property, do not request multiple showings pretending that you are interested.
  5. Don’t stick around for an open house.  If your agent is trying to sell your home, it’s proper etiquette to leave the premises until the event is over.  This allows potential buyers to feel more comfortable to explore your home.
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Increasing the Value of Your Home (Part I)

HomeRemodelBudget 300x199 Increasing the Value of Your Home (Part I)Whether you live in the home you own or lease it out to tenants, there are several great reasons to want to increase the value of your home.  If you are looking to sell, it can aid you in obtaining a higher sales price, and if you rent your home it can warrant a higher rental rate.  Here are some enhancements you can make to your home that will have minimal cost for an overall increased value of your property.

Planting a tree can provide shade and reduce cooling costs by as much as 40%.  Adding plants and shrubs can add curb appeal and value.  Selecting drought-tolerant plants and shrubs will cut the water bill and require less maintenance.

Installing a water filtration system in the kitchen not only cleans the water but is also seen as a luxury to home buyers and renters alike.  Replacing old carpet floors with hard surface floors will improve air quality and give your home an updated look and feel.  Getting rid of old popcorn ceilings by scraping it off and smoothing the texture will give a new look to older rooms and add value to your home.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Tailgating Traditions

Tailgating 200x300 Tailgating TraditionsSummer is winding down as kids across the nation head back to school and summer vacations come to an end.  This also means football season is here – time to fill out those draft picks and start planning tailgate parties!

Tailgating is an American tradition that offers a great mix of fanatical sports fans, savory foods and ice cold beer.  Every college has their own tailgating traditions and here are a few that stand out.

Old Miss’ hosts their tailgates on The Grove while keeping things classy and sophisticated as students and alums wear their Sunday best.  Tennessee fans tailgate on boats off the “Vol Navy” docs on the Tennessee River to sing Rocky Top.  LSU Tiger fans are known for putting extra effort into pregame tailgating grub, offering up dishes like jambalaya, fogs legs, alligator and crawfish.  Harvard hosts a wine and cheese soiree the night before their big game against college rival, Yale.

What are your favorite tailgating traditions?

Look here for a chance to win the ultimate Tailgate Kit!

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Selling Your House (Part II)

Putting Home In Best Light 300x199 Selling Your House (Part II)Last week’s blog focused on maintenance and remodeling to help boost the value of your home before you put it on the market to sell.  This week we will take a look at choices a seller has when deciding to list their home and other things to consider before it hits the market.

  1. Decide whether to hire an agent or to sell yourself – A real estate agent (for a commission) can handle the marketing of your property and also help you set a price for you house.  Selling yourself can save you the commission but might miss out on the experience that a real estate agent brings to the table.
  2. Prelisting inspection – If you decided to do this, it may save you time by identifying potential problems with the house that a buyer might find later.  This gives you an opportunity to repair any issues before listing the house.
  3. Set a price – It’s important the seller decide if they want to sell quickly or wait for the best offer.  A real estate agent can provide a market analysis to help in this step.  If you don’t have an agent, look at comparable real estate listing in your area to help determine a fair market value.  You may also choose to hire an appraiser for a complete analysis of the house.
  4. Get your home ready to show – This includes cleaning/tidying your home and staging it so that it will look appealing to potential buyers.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Selling Your House – Ways to Boost Home Value (Part I)

UpdateHome.2b 300x199 Selling Your House – Ways to Boost Home Value (Part I)It’s been a seller’s market for quite some time now and home prices have continued to hold steady.  This has left many homeowners wondering if now is the right time to put their house on the market and take advantage of the upswing in property values.  But how can you squeeze the most value out of your home?

  1. Create more space by knocking out a non-structural wall.  Buyers desire wide open floor plans and this option will cost you a few hundred dollars.
  2. Prune, overgrown limbs and update landscape around your home to make it look more appealing.  Landscaping is one of the top three investments that can bring the biggest return when selling.  Spending around $400-500 on this can reap returns of four times your investment.
  3. Don’t put off maintenance or repairs that your home is in need of as this can greatly affect the value of your house.  Make sure all leaks are repaired, fix leaky windows, and replace rusty rain gutters.  Deferred maintenance can cost more in the long run if issues are not addressed as they arise.
  4. Update the floors.  Hardwoods are trending and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to update.  Spending an extra $600-$900 on updated floors and can increases your homes value by $2,000.
  5. Update the bathrooms.  This also can be done inexpensively by updating the sink and shower hardware.  Deep clean the shower, apply fresh caulk where needed and get rid of the frosted glass shower door with clear glass, a more updated look.
  6. Repaint and touch up walls.  Fix and paint any chips or scratches and if you have any walls painted a bold color, consider repainting these to a neutral tone.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Pay Your Mortgage Off Quicker

PayQuicker 300x199 Pay Your Mortgage Off QuickerAs people inch closer towards retirement, owning their home outright can help give a since of financial security.  Especially for those that have lived through a financial crisis and/or the recent foreclosure crisis.  About two-thirds of the nation’s homeowners are paying on a mortgage while more than 20 million own their homes free and clear.  What are some ways you can get closer to making that last mortgage payment?

  1. Pay more than you owe – You can do this monthly or once a quarter.  Paying a few extra dollars a month or making an extra payment each quarter can help you get closer to your goal.  When you pay more than you owe, the extra amount goes towards the principal which effectively decreases the amount of interest you will owe over the course of the loan.
  2. Refinance your mortgage or pretend you did – Obtaining a 15-year fixed rate mortgage will have higher payments than a 30 year fixed rate but you won’t have to pay twice as much.  If you are unable to refinance you can act like you did by making payments as if your loan were a 15-year mortgage.  This can lead to a lot of interest savings.
  3. Split up your payments – By taking your regular monthly payment and breaking it up into 2 monthly payments or weekly payments during the month you avoid paying extra interest since interest accumulates daily.  If you made biweekly payments on a 30-year mortgage you could end up paying off the loan six years earlier depending on your loan’s terms.

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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Pocket Listings on the Rise

PocketListings 300x198 Pocket Listings on the RiseYou might be familiar with the term pocket listing by now since it has become more popular during this current housing market. A pocket listing, also known as a “quiet” or “off-market” listing, is a property for sale that an agent doesn’t officially list on the MLS (multiple listing service), but instead keeps in their “pocket.”

Pocket listings started several years ago as a way to market expensive homes or properties of high-profile people while staying under the radar. This allows the seller and agent to test the market’s reaction of the property sales price without the days-on-market clock ticking as it does when listed on the MLS.  The agent can also potentially reap commissions from both the buyer and the seller.

Housing inventories have remained low but pocket listings could be skewing the numbers since they are not tracked. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Realtors said, “Statistically it appears that we are getting back to very balanced market conditions.  However, the sentiment out there is that we still have a shortage of inventory, and I think that is due to the prevalence of pocket listings in some markets.”

For information on effective ways to manage institutional and individual portfolios nationwide, or to shop for real estate visit First Preston HT. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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