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The Importance of Having a Strong Real Estate Voice

The Importance of Having a Strong Real Estate Voice
By Denise Lones

One of the biggest challenges real estate agents face is confidence. Just about every agent I know suffers from a lack of confidence from time to time. Agents who are new face challenges with confidence because they are concerned about their knowledge and expertise. Agents who are trying to tap into a new market or niche may also feel they are in over their heads. Even agents who have had success, but had a bad transaction or weren’t successful in a listing presentation may suffer from a temporary loss of confidence.

What is the very best way to increase your confidence? Knowledge, experience, and coupling with a strong voice.

Take a moment and think about something you are very comfortable doing or a special skill that you have unrelated to real estate. Are you a good cook, artist, parent, or are great with animals? Think about something that people come to you for advice on because you are exceptional at it. Now imagine you are giving someone advice on that topic or talking through how you do something.

Real Estate Inspection

For example, my dad was a chef and I learned to be very comfortable in the kitchen from him. In fact, making Greek salad, souvlaki and tzatziki, and baklava for 100 people doesn’t phase me a bit. I don’t follow a recipe anymore – I cook with instinct. I could easily teach people how to make probably 50 dishes without having to glance at my recipes. That is because I have that knowledge, experience, and therefore, confidence in my abilities. I can have a strong voice when it comes to cooking, especially Greek cooking.

However, if someone asked me to speak on the internal workings of the Tesla, that would put me out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t have the confidence to talk about that because I am not a mechanic nor an electrician. My voice would not be strong because it is not a confident voice.

My goal for each and every one of you would be to gain enough confidence in your real estate trade so you could easily rattle off where your local market has been in terms of inventory, supply vs demand, days on market, and sale prices – and why. How does your local economy play into what is happening with housing? Are there new construction projects on the horizon? Are there new companies coming in and new employees needed (which will put more demand on housing)? Is your city annexing land in growth areas? What does that mean for homeowners?

Here is a hint – you probably know more than you think. Can you answer these questions?

– How has COVID affected local businesses in your area?
– How has COVID affected your local real estate market?
– How was inventory in your area this past year?
– Were there specific price points or types of inventory that were super-hot commodities? What sat on the market for longer?
– What is one local issue pertaining to real estate that you are watching in 2021?
– What is one piece of advice you have for buyers?
– What is one piece of advice you have for sellers?

If you can answer these questions easily, then you have what it takes to have a strong real estate voice! You have been paying attention to the market, can guide buyers and sellers, and therefore, should have confidence in your knowledge.

Every agent who has a strong real estate voice should be putting it to good use by communicating your market conditions to your database. Don’t rely on your company messaging or the local news – your clients need to hear from you. That is how you build value, build strong professional relationships, and get referrals.

But what if you need a little help getting your strong real estate voice out there? That is where I come in. Each year, I provide my clients with a written article that includes a quick recap of the past year and some predictions for the upcoming year. As you can imagine, COVID played quite a role and while we won’t see the full ramifications of that for many months, there are clues about how the economy and the real estate market fare.

We hoped you enjoyed this information as much as we did. If so, be sure to share it with your co-workers and other agent friends.

How to perfectly light a bathroom for beauty, function, and safety

Good lighting is important throughout a home, and each room has different lighting needs. Kitchens require overhead and task lighting, while bedrooms and dining rooms can benefit from variable illumination. However, no room in the house requires more layers and nuances of lighting than the bathroom, where lighting directly influences the room’s efficiency, utility, safety, and beauty.

bathroom lighting

Upgrading lighting in a bathroom can give the room a whole new look and improve its functionality for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation. As you’re planning your bathroom enlightenment, keep in mind the multiple purposes lighting plays in a bathroom, including:

* Safety — Bathrooms are a prime spot for falls and injuries. A well-lit room can decrease the risk of someone stumbling or slipping.

* Tasks — Whether you’re applying makeup or shaving, task lighting can provide the illumination you need to do the job well.

* Visibility — Ambient lighting provides whole-room illumination that makes the space usable at any time of day.

* Decorative — Lighting can minimize glare from shiny surfaces such as porcelain, glass, or ceramic tile, and enhance the appearance of colors, fixtures, and accessories.

Here are tips for creating effective, attractive lighting for the bathroom:

Safety
Bathroom lighting affects safety the most during nighttime hours. A completely dark bathroom could lead to falls, as could the temporary blindness caused by switching on a light when your eyes are acclimated for darkness. A brightly lit space can also make it difficult for you to go back to sleep after using the bathroom.

Dimmable bathroom lighting, which can be set for less illumination at night, and strategically positioned nightlights can help users safely navigate the room at night. Equip low-wattage light sources that turn on with a motion sensor, so that soft illumination comes on when you enter the dark bathroom.

Tasks
The bathroom vanity is a hub of activity, where people shave, brush their teeth, fix their hair, apply makeup, and generally get ready for the day. The lighting above your vanity or sink area is critical to how well the space functions.

Lights above the bathroom mirror, or to either side of it, can create glare and shadow. A better alternative can be to use a lighted mirror or medicine cabinet like the Verdera collection by Kohler. Lighted mirrors and medicine cabinets eliminate harsh shadows and light “hot spots” that can come from overhead lighting.

Visibility
Certain areas in the bathroom require basic visibility at all times, including showers and water closets. In these areas, overhead lighting can provide the ambient illumination you need. You can opt for a basic light fixture, a fan/light combination that also provides ventilation, or even a skylight for natural daylighting.

Uplighting is also becoming a popular form of ambient light in bathrooms. Lights set beneath countertops or around the base of shower stalls provide soft illumination and character.

Decorative
Decorative bathroom lighting is your chance to have some fun. These lights may enhance ambient lighting or support task lighting, but their ultimate purpose is to add visual interest to the bathroom. Depending on the size and style of your bathroom, you can choose decorative lighting options like chandeliers, wall sconces, pendant lights, recessed lighting, and more.

Finally, be sure that every layer of light in your bathroom is as energy-efficient as possible. Replace any incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs, which use a fraction of the energy to produce a comparable amount of light, while lasting far longer.

Good information like this is something we want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it.

Have a Happy New Year!

5 Unique Gift Ideas To Give Instant Cheer

5 Unique Gift Ideas To Give Instant Cheer

Thank you for taking the time to read this informative article. We hope you enjoy it.

If you are one who, as a child, swore to live side-by-side with your best friend forever once you become real adults, I tell you you are not alone. We all went through that phase. Of course, we attended different colleges, moved to other cities and states, and ended up living in different worlds.

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and this is true for most. For the past few months, we have been separated from our loved ones. But this distance, and the uncertainties that come with it, taught us a lot about how a simple “thinking of you” gift can always bridge the gap.

So, if you are apart from families and friends this year, sending them a token of your love and thoughtfulness can be made more meaningful with these sentimental gift ideas.

1. Scented Candles

Whether homemade or bought from your local shop, scented candles are thoughtful gifts to share. Scents bring back memories so, sending one inspired by your hometown can surely spark nostalgia.

2. Custom Ornaments

Remember how, as kids, we are always fascinated by Christmas ornaments? How our faces light up when we start putting the tree together? If you won’t be home this year, add a special touch to your family tree with a custom ornament. You can add a photo or a simple message that says, “Love Knows No Distance.”

3. Make A Collage

A collage of candid shots can make you feel like everyone’s home. Fill your collage with photographs that you and your family have taken throughout the year. This is best to give to a family member who can’t be with you for the holidays.

4. Huge Blanket

If you can’t hug them personally, giving a huge statement blanket that sends warm hugs is a pretty close second. Find one made from quality cotton so you can send you all the warm fuzzy feelings even if you’re away.

5. Work Lunch Essentials

Nothing beats a fun gift set where you can find many useful items in one bundle. This gift idea is great for a former colleague or a work-from-home family member. This can also work as a care package where you put lunch items such as a salad container, a glass bottle, napkins, utensils, and a box full of motivational messages. You can personally pick the items or get a bundle from a local store. Whatever that is, you’re sure to instantly cheer up a workaholic loved one.

May we see the holidays as a season of merriment and giving and remember both the blessings and trials that we’re able to conquer. Let’s end the year with thankful spirits and welcome a new chapter with hopeful hearts.

Good information like this is something we want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it.

Season of Glad Tidings and Good Health

When the pandemic hit in the first quarter of 2020, we hoped it would be over by Easter, the Fourth of July, then Labor Day, and even Thanksgiving. However, it seems like we’re still facing the end of this year with uncertainties. We can only go through these challenging times by staying apart because reality is, we’ll never know when it will be over.

 

But, going this far despite everything that happened in the past few months is still worth celebrating. Here are some tips to have a healthy holiday season and new traditions for a joyful and meaningful celebration.

  1. Consider Staying at Home Instead of Travelling

Our big travel goals might have to be put on hold until another year or so. However, If the need to travel arises, consider going by car with family members you live with and make sure to wear a mask and always sanitize in public areas.

  1. Share Recipes With Family Members

While you can’t be together for one big dinner, you can have a virtual family meeting to plan meals and share traditional recipes. Food always connects.

  1. Entertain Outside

If you wish to gather with people outside your household, do it outdoors for better ventilation. Be mindful of important safety precautions and potential hazards, especially for young children and seniors.

  1. Get Closer to Nature

Take your immediate family out for an early walk, or hit the beach to relax. Enjoying nature is one of the best ways to combat stress and soothe your mind.

  1. Be Creative With Gift Giving

Since health experts recommend avoiding crowds, shop, or go to stores after peak hours. You can also shop online or call local shops and ask if they can deliver gifts to recipients. Prepare meals, start a donation drive, or send your creations to families, friends, and others. Often, the most creative and personalized gifts are the most meaningful ones.

  1. Host A Virtual Dinner

Again, the only way to go through this year’s challenge is to stay apart. But, technology is here to connect us with loved ones from afar. Spice up your virtual celebration with fun contests like “best holiday decorations,” “most creative recipes,” or “most unique desserts.”

  1. Check In On Loved Ones And Others

Everyone is going through challenging times. We may not see it on their social media posts or might not have heard from them for a while. No matter how you do it, check on them. Call your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and acquaintances. We never know how they’re struggling through this tough time and that a simple “How are you” can impact their lives in so many ways.

  1. Never Stop Giving Thanks

We all are struggling but counting our blessings gives us hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We never know what lies ahead, but we know we are still here living, surviving, and being a blessing to others.

This season is a season of hope, love, and joy. A season to gather with families, share stories, and create fond memories.

Sincerely,

Michael Myers

Enhancing your home’s safety with fire extinguishers.

Enhancing your home’s safety with fire extinguishers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this informative article. We hope you enjoy it.

You check your alarms regularly and practice your family escape plan — but are you overlooking an essential component of home safety? Having fire extinguishers — and knowing how to use them — is an important part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family.

“In America, a fire starts in a residential home every 86 second — and the rapid protection offered by fire extinguishers can make the difference between minor or insignificant damage and greater tragedy,” said Tarsila Wey, director of marketing for First Alert, the most trusted brand in home safety. “However, because many Americans have never activated a traditional fire extinguisher before, many do not understand the essential role that fire extinguishers play in a home safety plan and lack the confidence and know-how to use them properly.”

To help overcome this, follow these tips on fire extinguisher placement and usage to help ensure you and your family are properly prepared in case of emergency:

Compare features: When selecting a fire extinguisher, two of the most important features are the size and intended use. Larger commercial fire extinguishers meant for public spaces may be too heavy or unwieldy for some family members. Select a home fire extinguisher that weighs 3 lbs. or less for easy handling. For home fire extinguishers, other features to look for include a metal valve and trigger, which offer the durability of a commercial-grade extinguisher, as well as an easy-to-read color-coded gauge for accurate measurement. Spray times also vary by make and manufacturer, so select extinguishers that perform above the standard and feature longer spray times. Remember, a fire extinguisher that has been discharged is no longer effective, so consider rechargeable extinguishers which can be recharged by a certified professional if the unit is used.

Check out understanding a home fire extinguisher by clicking the image:

Keep It In Reach

If a fire breaks out in the living room but the extinguisher is elsewhere, you may not be able to access it before the fire grows beyond control. When seconds count, having an extinguisher nearby is crucial for rapid response. For this reason, place an extinguisher in each area of the home where a fire could potentially occur, including the kitchen, living room, each bedroom, and the garage. In most cases, one extinguisher is likely not enough protection for an entire household. In addition, make sure that every responsible member of your household (including house sitters and babysitters) knows where each fire extinguisher is placed. The National Fire Protection Association recommends installing fire extinguishers close to room exits so that you are able to discharge it and quickly escape if the fire cannot be controlled.

Know your ABCs

While they may all look similar, fire extinguishers have very specific ratings that indicate what kind of fire they are designed to extinguish. Extinguishers with a Class A rating are able to put out fires caused by wood, paper, trash, and other common materials, while Class B rated extinguishers are intended for gasoline and flammable liquids. Class C rated extinguishers are meant for fires caused by electrical equipment, such as frayed cords. For general protection, it’s best to select a multi rated extinguisher, such as the I, that’s capable of handling most types of household fires. Beyond the Rechargeable Home Fire Extinguisher, First Alert offers an entire range of extinguishers for home and commercial use.

Know How To Use It

Every fire extinguisher includes instructions on proper usage, but a simple way to remember is with the acronym PASS:

Pull the pin on the extinguisher

Aim the nozzle low toward the base of the fire

Squeeze the trigger

Sweep the nozzle from side to side

Frequently repeat the acronym when practicing your family escape plan so that if a fire occurs, the response will be automatic.

Know when to go

Combating small fires with an extinguisher is one component of a fire response plan, but the primary goal should be a safe escape. The first step in any scenario should be to call 911. In addition, a fire extinguisher is no substitute for having — and regularly practicing — a home fire escape plan, and ensuring that proper functioning smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are installed throughout the home — one on each level and in every bedroom — to provide early detection. Keep in mind that alarms and fire extinguishers aren’t designed to last forever, and must be replaced at least every 10 years.

We hope this information will be useful to you and your family. If so, please share with others, you never know, this article may help save a life.

The Art of The Close

The Art of the Close

Denise Lones

There’s no word in real estate that is more misunderstood than the word “closing”. It conjures up images of a toothy salesman in a checkered sport coat hawking used cars. It reminds us of all of those times we were asked, “So, are you ready to buy today?”

Gives you the creeps, doesn’t it?

Well, I have good news for you: That’s not effective closing. Closing is not just asking for the business like so many sales trainers tell you. Closing is not about badgering someone to buy a product. Closing is not about getting “the sale”.

Closing is about asking questions and getting people the information they need so that they are armed with the right knowledge to make the best decisions. In essence, a good closer offers something, rather than asking for something. When your client realizes they are in good hands and have all the information and support they need, they become the closers by saying, “Get out the paperwork. Let’s sign this now.”

An agent asked me recently, “Denise, how do I close at an open house?”

“What are you trying to close for?”, I asked. “Are you trying to sell the house you’re in today? That’s going to be incredibly difficult because most people don’t just buy the property they walk into at an open house.”

Instead, I suggested closing for permission to give the clients the information they need. It’s actually quite simple. It only requires three little words:

“Would you like…”

There you have it. Those are my magic closing words. No pressure. No pushiness. No presumptions. Just a request for permission to give a client what they want.

 

Real Estate Closing

How do you use these three words? In questions like these:

“Would you like me to get you some more information on appreciation rates in the neighborhood you like?”

“Would you like me to do a complete summary of the upgrades that have been completed on this house?”

“Would you like me to search for and find properties that are similar to this one?”

And so on. You could phrase almost anything as a “Would you like…” question.

Now that’s what I call closing. When you ask people if you can get them more information or perform a specific task for them, you’re beginning the process. Closing isn’t just that question at the end that gets them to sign the contract — it’s a process of educating and providing information.

Think of it as a dance. Most sales training “gurus” would have you think that closing is a one-step dance. It is really an intricate series of moves, full of twists and turns along the way. And remember, most dances are effective with a partner! Don’t lose sight of the fact that there’s something involved in this process with you — a buyer or seller who needs your help.

One very important factor to remember when asking “Would you like…” questions is the way you phrase the questions. For example, you could say, “Would you like to be on my mailing list?”

That sounds sales-y. That’s not offering information. That’s asking for something, rather than giving something. Always make sure that you’re giving something to them.

Instead, you might want to say, “Would you like me to get you some more information? I send out a great weekly email that talks about just the things you want to know–with all the numbers you need to make a good decision. Would you like me to send it to you?”

See how much less intimidating and more helpful that is?

Another of my favorite phrases is “Can I take a moment…?” This is another non-threatening way of beginning to give information to your clients.

Here are some examples:

“Can I take a moment to show you what the numbers would look like if you purchased a home like this?”

“Can I take a moment to go over what the next step would be if you were interested in buying?”

“Can I take a moment to show you how others who have invested in this neighborhood have realized significant returns?”

These are soft-closing questions. They move the conversation forward. They offer information and service. They do not ask for the sale.

When you develop a friendly give-and-take of questions and answers with your clients, you soon realize that the old ways of pushing for the sale just don’t work anymore. People want service. They want to know that you’re looking out for their interests, not just the interests of your bank account.

Always remember that you are an educator, first and foremost. You are so much more than a “salesperson”. As an educator, you have an important mission. You exist to educate your clients on exactly what they need to make the best decision for their future. They are your partners. They are your teammates.

The best way to help out your partners and teammates is with five-star service–which doesn’t include cheesy old-fashioned “ask-for-the-sale” closing questions.

If you enjoyed this information, be sure to share it with your fellow agents.

Denise Lones, President — As the founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate.

Disclaimer: All information, views, and experiences presented here are distributed by an actual Real Estate Coach and shared with proper consent as additional noteworthy information. The above-stated material does not necessarily reflect the opinions of our company. If you wish to use and distribute this copyrighted material for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Make Home Improvements With Staying Power

Make Home Improvements with Staying Power!

With fall being just around the corner we wanted to share with you this informative article. We hope you enjoy it.

Fall can be the perfect time for homeowners to complete projects that busy summer schedules didn’t allow. It’s also a great time to look at ways to add lasting value to your property. This season, update areas, freshen outdated looks and incorporate lasting improvements in your home, as these changes can bring impact and increase the resale potential of your home.

Lose The Linoleum

Linoleum has been popular in many homes since the 1950s, but these days there are so many other flooring options for durability and waterproofing in areas like the kitchen and bath. Wood-look tile has become hugely popular, and the style will be around for a while. Retailers like Lumber Liquidators carry a variety of wood-look porcelain tile, vinyl, and engineered flooring products that are versatile, water, and stain-resistant and fit with any decor.

home improvements

Upgrade Laminate Countertops

Particleboard and laminate are affordable options, but not ones that will create an impact in the kitchen. These days, there are many options for elevating countertops with butcher block, quartz, marble, concrete, and more. Create a cohesive look with countertops matched to the cabinets. Updating hardware can also be an economical way to freshen the space and tie the look together.

Scrape Popcorn Ceilings

Common in many homes because they’re easy to apply, popcorn ceilings are often one of the first things a new home buyer wants to change. If you’re looking to sell, scraping the popcorn in favor of a smooth look may win over prospective buyers. Always test popcorn ceilings for asbestos before you start.

Rethink Wallpaper

The wallpaper had its day, but many new homeowners want it gone — and that’s not always an easy update. Save a headache now and later and opt for neutral paint styles while bringing interest and color with your décor. Whites and neutral paints for walls and trim brighten a space and make it appear bigger.

No More Wall-To-Wall Carpeting

Many homeowners can’t wait to get rid of old, dirty, and dated carpets in favor of the quality, reliability, and beauty of hardwood and wood-look floors. Now there are a variety of hardwoods, bamboo, and wood-look flooring styles to choose from, and it’s possible to achieve the look of hardwood at an accessible price point.

The best part of making improvements like these now is that homeowners can enjoy them all winter long, and far beyond. And you’ll increase the odds the next generation will love your home, too.

Good information like this is something we always want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it.

The Power of Gratitude

The Power of Gratitude
by Denise Lones, The Lones Group
Think about your last transaction. Was it a tough one? Were there moments when you didn’t think it would close? Or was it smooth with barely any bumps along the way?
Whichever path the transaction took, I bet there were some standout people involved that helped it across the finish line. Really think about this – who stepped up and took care of your clients? Was it:
The inspector who, despite being slammed, made time for a last-minute inspection?
The lender who worked with the underwriters to approve the buyers despite their qualifying with self-employment income?
Your managing broker who gave you great advice on handling a low appraisal?
The escrow company who worked with your out-of-area clients and coordinated their signing from afar?
You know the saying, you can’t see the forest for the trees? It means it is easy to get so caught up in the details of something that it is difficult to step back and see it as a whole. A real estate transaction is sometimes comprised of one problem after another that leaves us so tired and drained that we forget to take a look at the good details that went along with it. But I think a little time to reflect and show gratitude can be very good for our industry!
In fact, I would like to see each and every one of us add “Gratitude” to our pending to close checklists. How much better would we feel about even the worst transactions if we added a little time to thank the people involved?
Luckily there are a number of ways to do this! You can:
– Send a handwritten thank-you note
– Give them a great endorsement on LinkedIn or Facebook
– Send them a BombBomb video thanking them
– Taking a quick thank you video and posting it to their Facebook wall
– Giving them a great review on Yelp or wherever they collect reviews (a written review; don’t just rank them with no commentary)
– Giving them a great review through their company channels
– You can even show up at their office with a small gift
Whatever fits best for your style is fine. Develop your system and stick with it. The key is to spread that gratitude around!
And remember, when you thank someone for a job well done, people remember that. It is just human nature. How often do you think lenders or inspectors get a thank you note from an agent?
Don’t you think that might help them remember you when they have a referral?
Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude. Take the time and thank the industry professionals who helped with your last transaction today!
Power of Gratitude
If you enjoyed this information, be sure to share it with your fellow agents.
Denise Lones, President — As the founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate.

Challenging Appraisals in Todays Real Estate Market

Challenging Appraisals in Today’s Real Estate Market
by Denise Lones, The Lones Group
There isn’t a week that goes by lately that I don’t hear a nightmare appraisal story from one of my clients. There has been a huge surge in appraisal challenges in the last 90-days and it makes me wonder what is going on!
Many transactions today are being delayed because appraisers seem to be struggling to keep up with the demand. There are too few appraisers for the number of appraisals needed. The other challenge is that while the market is super-hot right now, appraisers are coming up empty-handed when searching for appropriate comparable properties.
Unfortunately, when there aren’t enough good comparables, the appraiser then has a hard time justifying a price. When a price can’t be justified, the loan is not going to receive approval from the mortgage loan underwriters.
It is critical that appraisers today look at the big picture when finding comparable properties. I don’t mean to be telling appraisers how to do their job, but we as real estate agents are getting caught in the middle and my advice is to help everyone deal with the challenges we are faced with. The big picture referred to means not only looking at the amenities of individual properties but also the pace of the market in a particular area to extrapolate how hot a market is. When homes are selling at record low days on market and for well above list price, those are both indicators of high current demand and the appraisal price should reflect this regardless of what happened 90-days ago or whenever the comps used sold.
I recently had an appraisal discrepancy on a property where there was a $300,000 difference between two appraisals that were done within 60-days of each other. Lack of good comparables was the culprit. There wasn’t a lack of sales; there were plenty of sales occurring in the area, but the properties used were not a good match for the property appraised. This lack of comparables can lead appraisers to make adjustments, in this case, illogical adjustments for this area and type of home. Sometimes those adjustments do not favor the overall final price.
The other issue is just the lack of appraisal manpower. I am hearing about closings delayed for weeks due to lack of an available appraiser.
This is an industry problem. So, what do we do as real estate agents?
Don’t just stand back and throw up your hands. If the bank is sitting on their hands, indicating an appraiser isn’t available and they will get one out when one is available, that isn’t good enough. Be nice, but be persistent.
Challenging Real Estate Appraisals
When you are faced with an appraisal that clearly does not fit the market, you must challenge and question the appraisal. It is imperative that you get in touch with the lender and have them do a review. Supply your own research if needed. Have your sellers supply an in-depth list of all upgrades to the property along with the dollars invested.
To all the real estate agents out there, I know that you’ve had these issues. I urge you to be diligent about following through and making your voice heard when you have an appraisal that is unfavorable or unfair.
If you enjoyed this information, be sure to share it with your fellow realtors.

Gardening and Stress Reduction

Gardening and Stress Reduction

Now that summer is in full bloom and if you planted your own garden, it should be producing flowers, fruits and vegetables by now. We thought this article would be in line with your summer garden.
Gardening is a great way to manage stress for many reasons, allowing you to take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life while establishing an ongoing connection with nature.
Regarding Gardening as a Hobby Rather Than a Chore
Not everybody has a green thumb. If keeping a tomato plant alive through the summer is your idea of a nearly overwhelming challenge, you are probably not going to find gardening very relaxing.
However, most people who start gardens find growing flowers, fruits, and/or vegetables a great way to reduce their daily stress levels. In short, nurturing plants is a great way to calm your troubled mind…but only if you regard gardening as a hobby, not a chore.
Why Does Gardening Reduce Stress?
A recent study of the stress hormone cortisol in gardeners and readers provides some exceptional insights into the reasons that gardening reduces stress. After completing a stressful task, research subjects either spent 30 minutes reading or spent 30 minutes gardening.
Of course, the calming nature of both of these activities caused both groups of test subjects to register lower levels of stress, gardeners not only experienced a considerably greater decline in stress but also reported a full restoration of positive mood. By contrast, readers actually reported an increase in negative mood in the wake of “destressing.”
Many of the leading reasons for gardening’s healthy effects on stress levels and mood revolve around making direct contact with the natural world. In addition to breathing fresh air and making physical contact with plants and the earth, gardeners are blessed by spending time in the sun.
Anyone who has suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder knows just how important sunlight is when it comes to maintaining good health and wellness. In addition to its purely psychological benefits, sunlight permeates the body with a wealth of wholesome vitamin D. Another key reason for gardening’s ability to reduce stress lies in its creative nature. Viewing a garden bed as a blank canvas, gardeners are invited to create their own works of art right in their own backyards. And with each plant that they grow, they bring something of beauty and worth into the world.
Using a garden to relieve stress
How to Boost the Stress-Relieving Properties of Gardening
Armed with the knowledge of gardening’s considerable health and wellness benefits, gardeners can take measures to dramatically boost those benefits. Here are just a few simple ways to make the most out of your relaxing gardening experience:
1) Turn off your cell phone – Gardening cannot provide you with a break from your busy life and numerous responsibilities if you don’t fully disconnect.
2) Practice mindfulness of the present – Take the time to enjoy everything you encounter while in your garden. Use all of your senses to soak up the beauty that surrounds you and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by an overly busy mind.
3) Emphasize repetitive movement – The calming nature of repetition is key to most reflective pursuits. Activities such as weeding, raking, and digging are ideal vehicles for losing yourself in the magic of repetition. Some gardeners even repeat silent or whispered mantras to themselves while they are at work in their gardens.
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