Digital House Hunting

DigitalTools.p 300x208 Digital House HuntingIn an age where it seems almost everything we need done these days can be accomplished via a phone app or the internet, why shouldn’t this be true when searching for a house to buy?  Thanks to technology, it is!  Several different digital tools make this process easy and allow you to hunt from the comfort of your couch.  Here are a few digital tools to check out:

  • Mortgage Calculators – there are several apps or websites that breakdown all the details of a mortgage based on interest rate, term of the loan and property value. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator, which is free, is online.
  • Home Search Locators – BidSelect, Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin all allow you to search digitally for a property based on different search criteria. Some of these websites also offer smart phone apps.
  • Sex Offender Lists – If you have children this is especially important to consider when buying a home. There are now two major sex offender registries that can be accessed digitally online.

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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How to Get a Little R&R

ChristmasP 300x262 How to Get a Little R&RThe Holiday Season is in full swing now with Thanksgiving behind us.  December, for many of us, is full of parties being thrown by friends, workplace socials, and family gatherings, as well as traveling.  As the hustle and bustle of this time of year start to commence, how does one find a little R&R (rest & relaxation)?  Here are a few tips:

  • Say No: This is a favorite of mine and sometimes the hardest to do. If you are overbooked and stressed, it’s okay to RSVP no to an invite.  Stay home that night instead or get a spa treatment.
  • Hire Some Help: If you are hosting a party or the big Christmas dinner, hire people that can do the cooking for you, the clean up afterwards or to do the grocery shopping.  This will give you more time to get some R&R. If you can’t afford to hire the help ask your friends to volunteer to bring food or drinks.
  • Workout: It sounds counter-intuitive to try to squeeze in time to work out when you barely have time to sleep but even 30 minutes of a quick walk or yoga practice can help distress you and leave you feeling reinvigorated and relaxed.
  • Breathe: Really breathe – deep inhales and exhales with intention. This has been shown to reduce stress immediately and has a calming effect on the body and mind – instant R&R anywhere, anytime and fits any budget.

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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An Attitude of Gratitude

MapleLeaf 300x207 An Attitude of GratitudeThanksgiving is this week and before you know it Christmas will be here.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with traveling, cooking, shopping, and parties to attend.  But it’s important to make time for practicing gratitude – taking time to reflect and being thankful for what you have in your life.

Recent studies have shown that people who practice gratitude regularly experienced stronger immune systems, more optimism, lower blood pressure, better quality sleep, and are happier.  Simply taking time out of each day to reflect on what you are grateful for, be it big or small, can help you to slow down and be present in the moment.

I personally have gratitude for time with family and friends, my sweet pit bull, my faith in God, warm summer days and big kale salads.  What are you grateful for this holiday season?

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Holiday Travel on a Budget

Thanksgiving Dinner.p 300x199 Holiday Travel on a BudgetThanksgiving is almost a week away and Christmas will be here before you know it.  This time of year is among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year.  With holiday parties to throw, food to buy, presents to gift and plane tickets to purchase, money can be tight.  Here are a few tips for traveling this holiday season on a budget.

  1. Traveling on the actual day of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years can help you avoid big crowds at the airports, shorter security lines and cheaper airfares. Make sure to buy your ticket in advance to get the cheapest price available.
  2. Stay with family or friends at your destination if possible. Hotels tend to increase their room rates during the holiday travel season.  If this isn’t an option there is a growing trend called CouchSurfing that allows travels to crash on peoples couches free of charge.
  3. Book airfare for large parties separately. If you are traveling with your family or a group of friends book each ticket individually.  This can save lots of money due to the way the airlines charge for seating based on group size.
  4. The cheapest dates to fly according to Farecompare.com for domestic travel are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Travel demand for these days tend to be less than other days.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for saving money on holiday travel?

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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Is Your Home Prepared for Cold Weather?

20141107.adamr .WinterHouse 300x200 Is Your Home Prepared for Cold Weather?

If you live in a house it’s time to start preparing for the cold weather ahead and winterize your home.   Ensuring you have accomplished the listed points below can aid in keeping you warm, dry and also help avoid home disasters that can wind up costing lots of money to fix.

 

  • Insulating water pipes: Purchase insulation covers at your local hardware store and cover all exposed pipe with insulation.  It’s also a good time to make sure you know the location of your main water line turn-off valve is in case of an emergency during the cold weather months.
  • Furnace inspection: Before the cold weather sets in, fire up your furnace to make sure it is in good working condition. Check for loud sounds and a lingering bad smell once you turn it on.
  • Seal doors, ducts and windows: Check for cracks to identify where cold air may sneak into your house. Use insulation material to seal door and window cracks.  Inspect ventilation ducts for heating that could be escaping and running up the heating bill.
  • Leave the heat on: If you plan to leave your home for any extended period of time during the cold weather months, make sure to leave your heat on (it can be set lower).

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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Who’s Got Game?

BasketBall.hin255.P 300x199 Who’s Got Game?Fall is in the air and basketball season has begun.  For those that enjoy watching the game this is always an exciting time of year.  There are a few big news points to know going into this game season.  LeBron James decided he would leave the Miami Heat and return to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, which he left in 2010.  One of the main reasons James decided to return to the Cavaliers was for the opportunity to play with Kyrie Irving, said to be one of the best point guards in the NBA league.

Another headline is the return of Kobe Bryant to the game.  Last December Bryant suffered a season-ending knee injury but will return this season to play with his team, the L.A. Lakers.  Bryant has said he has really missed playing the game and everything that comes with it.  As the season is underway he will slowly be integrated back into the game making sure not to overdo it at the risk of possibly re-injuring his knee.

What team will you be cheering for this season?

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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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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