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5 Deal Killers

5 Deal Killers

Negotiation is an art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that can make everyone happy. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal quick. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate pros) should avoid:

  1. Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer. It damages your cred as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider your offer.
  2. Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($1,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
  3. “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive if you immediately show that you’re unwilling to budge. Even if it’s true, don’t make a show of it.
  4. Nitpicking after inspection: Obviously if inspection reveals a major issue, it should be factored into the final sale price. But insisting on a lower price for every minor repair can put negotiations in a stalemate.
  5. Asking for more, more, more: Some buyers will request that the sellers throw in add-ons like furniture or appliances that weren’t included in the listing. Try to avoid giving the seller a reason to build up resentment and think that you’re being greedy.

5 Secret Cleaning Weapons

Clean DIY Style Before The Holiday Mayhem

The Holidays are coming! Yes, that means family is coming in too! Is your home in need of some cleaning or home maintenance that have been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re SO NOT looking forward to those countless trips to the hardware or craft store? There are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home! BOOM.

Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. Got some clogged shower heads? You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits, and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.

Cola: A can of Coke can be used to clean tons of surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just be sure to do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.

Baking soda: A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors… stick a box of it in the back of any space to clear the air.

Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If you can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife, preferably an older one that you no longer need on the table for Turkey Dinner, is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws. Who knew!

Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel. Ta-Da!

Get through the holidays in shiningly fabulous breeze. And save some dough for… um, maybe a little something pretty for you! Sounds like a win-win!

5 Things You Need To Know When Pricing Your Home

5 Things You Need To Know To Price Your Home

When pricing your home, one of the best ways to figure out what that price tag should be is to look at comparable sales. Of course, there’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area and a number of other things to consider. Here are five things to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location: You’ve hear it… Location. Location. Location. Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better. On the flip side… If your home is on the edge of town don’t compare your home to a home that is close to the downtown area.
  2. Date Sold: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of change in a short time. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available. It’s important to remember that an area may be hot today but gone tomorrow.
  3. Home Build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics.
  4. Features and Upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles. If you can find pictures that really helps to give you an idea if your home has a similar aesthetic to the homes you are using to compare it to.
  5. Sale Types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.

Pricing your home can be very overwhelming. Hopefully these tips make it so much more helpful when the time comes to put a price tag on a home that has so many priceless memories. Go into it like you are the buyer, buying your home all over again for the first time. Remember how analytical and critical you were back then? Think like that! Then call a professional who really knows the area and can really detail and layout the comps for you to see and understand. Pricing your home doesn’t have to be hard. Especially when you have an awesome pricing agent on your side!

Pumpkin Bourbon Bread Pudding

4 lb. Pie Pumpkin

2 tbs. Butter, plus some for greasing

4 Eggs, beaten

2 cups Heavy cream

1 cup Light brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

5 tbs. Bourbon

1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 Fresh nutmeg, grated

1 lb. Brioche loaf, 1 inch cubes

1 cup pecans

Bourbon Icing

2 tbs. Bourbon

1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut pumpkin into quarters and remove seeds. Brush inside with melted butter and arrange on a baking sheet, skin-side up. Roast until pumpkin is soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, let cool. Scoop out pumpkin, discard skin and puree pumpkin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree, eggs, cream, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon and spices. Arrange brioche cubes in butter greased 7×11 baking dish. Sprinkle in pecans. Pour pudding mix over bread and let sit for 30 minutes (You may not use all of mixture at once, pour in rest of pudding as dish settles). Bake 50 minutes, until custard is set. Serve warm.

Combine bourbon and sugar. Pour over bread pudding when serving (optional).

Wandering NYC

I am not a big touristy kind of girl… especially when I am visiting a place I used to live. I like to experience a place like the locals do. However, in New York City, if you want to do the tourist things then there is plenty that is amazingly educational about the cities rich history. But this post is about my recent trip to the Big Apple, which was all about riding the city vibe.

My boss babe friend has been living in the city for a few months on an incredible internship. She found a cute little AirBnB in Brooklyn… So, when I lived in NYC I think I went to Brooklyn once, maybe twice. It wasn’t a very nice place and when you have to take an hour train ride… That was like traveling to LA in a car from Ohio! I’m good. So I was definitely in shock when I got there and realized how cute Brooklyn is. Who knew! It felt so homey and from what I saw and understand it is more afordable to live than Manhattan. Although, like any hopping neighborhood that won’t necessarily stay that way. Regardless it’s so cute!If I had to move back to NYC I just might live in Brooklyn…. Okay, probably not. I am a Upper Westside girl but I’d give it a good thought maybe…

The first day there I took a little run through the beautiful brownstone lined streets of Brooklyn… the perfect way to energize my run! Hello, Fall! Then I headed into Manhattan. When it comes to anything other than Manhattan trains I am lost in the sauce. But I learned something cool… You can use your Maps to give your “transit” directions! What?! Total lifesaver… Although, on the way in I was reading and working on the Subway… Great use of time… unless you get sucked into a good book and miss your stop. Don’t do that! No fun! But I finally met up with my girl for lunch and a little Boss Babe Power Hour. There is just something so invigorating and inspiring about working in the City. Got so much done and it felt great! We had a really yummy lunch at the Bean & Bean Organic Coffee shop in Chelsea. The hummus avocado sandwich is perfection!


That night we decided that an epic meal was in our future… so before we pigged out in foodie heaven we hit up a cycling class. Not my first choice but it turned out to be the best choice! We went to BKYLYN. I have taken cycling classes before but this class was out of bounds! I didn’t even realize I was working out… I mean, I knew, trust me. The burn was real but I had a blast! Danielle was so kind and really umped us up! After we walked down the street to a restaurant we found on Yelp… When we got there we were drenched in sweat and in gym clothes… And the restaurant, Faust, is pretty fancy. But we said Fuck It and went in anyway! Glad we did.. the hostess said that people come over after working out all the time. Phew! So glad we didn’t let our look change our minds… I had the rabbit bolognese… O.M.G. I can’t even describe the level of amazingness of this dish. I am not a huge rabbit person our server told me it was the best on the menu so I said let’s do it… He wasn’t lying! Heavens to Betsy! It was so good. I was tempted to try a dessert too but we had something fun in store to feed our sweet tooth!

We walked a few “NYC” block to one of the coolest places I have ever been. You walk into Butter & Scotch and first the smell of homemade delights hits you… then you catch the vibe. It’s kind of almost a dive but not…. It’s cozy but vibrant. And the menu… OMG I just enjoyed reading the menu! Especially when they describe the yummiest cookie ever and under the description it  says, “Dude, dunk it in a White Russian.” Yes, please! I almost got this signature Birthday Cake because after all #BitchesLoveSprinkles

The next day was a bit more of a go with the flow kind of day. My little cousin has been living in the City so we met up at the Meatball Shop. I didn’t realize that it is a chain… but now that I know, I am praying they open one in Columbus or Charleston… Very soon! I got the Smash with Heritage Balls and Parmesan Cream sauce and for my side I got the sprouts… Dude… DUDE! I am not a big meatball fan but this place has completely changed my mind! They were so yummy. I ate it all!

After lunch I took a walk through the East Side. I needed some gifts for the fam bam… where else do you go?… Bloomingdales! Okay, so this was the one touristy thing I did. But, I mean, its Bloomingdales. I had so much fun wandering through and buying all kinds of goodies!

That night was our last night in the city. We wanted to make it special since it was my girl’s farewell night. We got all dressed up and went back to the City to the Meatpacking District to Restoration Hardware. Again, yes, I can go to RH back home… but it’s just not the same. RH in NYC is huge! Several floors of beautiful interior designed spaces. I could have spent all day there. I soaked up as much inspo as I possibly could. Absolutely dreamy!

We had dinner on the rooftop restaurant at Restoration Hardware. The views were absolutely breathtaking. And everything was just so perfect. The service was top notch and then some! The RH Belini… You’ve got to try it! Refreshingly delish! For dinner we split a salad, which it’s a salad but even it was outstanding! For dinner I had the roast beef sandwich with au jus and french fries with garlic aioli. They don’t have a ton of food options and not much for small meals but the sandwich did not leave me disappointed. It melted in my mouth like I a beefy cloud. Paired with a pinot… yeah, good choice!

It was a magical evening and the perfect way to end our trip. I will say I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get my New York slice. I kept thinking about it the whole trip…. How can I squeeze a slice in… Well, on our drive home I got my New York City slice! Maybe it wasn’t in the City but it tasted just as good! We stopped in Harrisburg, PA at Tonino’s. And of course I had to have a pepperoni slice in my adorable YummieWear tank (a gift from the Yummie Gang after meeting up for a quick photoshoot before we hit the road.)

Perfect quick trip to New York City. If you find yourself in the Big Apple make sure you check out one or all of these amazing places… You won’t be disappointed!! Happy Wandering!

 

Selling your Haunted House

Selling your home can already be a spooky process… Now add some real haunts and spooks. What do you have to do when there are Boo-worthy features floating around in your home.

  1. You think your home is Haunted… Spooky! Maybe you had the modern day Ghost Busters come give your Haunted House a once over and low an behold they found some spirits lurking about. Maybe you aren’t for certain but you think that maybe there are some ghosts floating through the halls. To some this might seem like a joke but to some it is serious business. Contact your REALTOR® to help guide you through the local Dos and Don’ts. Some place will require you to disclose a possible haunting. Others don’t really care. Marketing your haunted home as a Home Scream Home could actually make your home more valuable! So know the local scene.
  2. Someone passed away in your home. This one is again a bit of a grey area. Every local market has their own standard for disclosing deaths in a home or on the property. But if someone asks…. TELL THE TRUTH!
  3. Redrum…Redrum…Redrum! Now murder is an absolute must disclose. It’s public record so there is no reason to hid the truth. Especially since this is an issue that many consumers consider a deal breaker. If it matter to the masses… Disclose It!

When in doubt ask your agent. Every location has different requirements for what you need to disclose. Talk to a professional to keep yourself out of any spooky situation.

Cut Out The Noise

In today’s world noise surrounds us. Sometimes it is just noise… External things and chatter happening around us. Sometimes it is the drama that is a part of our everyday life and can engulf us… If we let it. So how do you shut it out and focus on you? It isn’t always easy, but it can be done with a little intention and creativity.

Noise comes in many forms from gossip to traffic to a soul sucking job. First thing you have to do is really understand what noise is to you. For each of us this is different. What may annoy me might make you laugh. Once you identify what is noise you can then begin to deal with it. So, understanding you is at the heart of living your best life noise free.

One of the easiest thing to do is simply cut out the drama and noise from your life. About a year ago I went on a super deep exploration of my life. I analyzed everything in my life and started cutting out the noise. I had a few friends that drained me. Whenever I would end a conversation with them I felt depleted and sometimes a little depressed or annoyed. So, I stopped talking to them. I didn’t confront them about what was going on I just stopped reaching out and always seemed to be busy… which isn’t a lie! I barley have time to see anyone, but my true friends totally understand and are completely happy with a phone call once a week or so. And let me tell you what… those friends, those conversations are insane! I end chats with them completely inspired and uplifted. It has changed my life and my daily behaviors like you would not believe… all because I cut out people who are no longer in the same headspace as myself. Some of them were toxic others were just small thinkers (which is completely okay!). They just aren’t right for me at this time and place of my life.

Sometimes we can’t cut out the noise completely. Sometimes we have to learn to live with it. Like traffic… you have to go to work. You have to leave the house… okay you don’t have to, but I highly recommend it. So, in these moments try to find another way to live with the traffic…. Did you ever think the traffic is the perfect opportunity for you to be more productive? I have a long commute and sometimes as a REALTOR® I have to drive a lot…. A LOT! So, I take that time to not get annoyed with the driving, but instead I take that time to listen to a podcast to inspire self-growth or I call clients that I need to call that day. By the end of my drive I am not anxious or annoyed at all…. I am actually super motivated.

There are a zillion ways to cut out or divert the noise… You just have to be creative and experiment with what works for you. Don’t get me wrong… the noise still gets to me sometimes, like on social media. Ugh. But I have learned not to fear the unfollow button!!! Especially on Facebook. It’s my best friend (did you know you and unfollow someone on Facebook and not unfriend them?! So no one has to know!!)

Do what you have to do to protect your happiness. This is your life and you only get one chance to live it. Live it with peace and noise free as much as possible. Whatever you have to do is important for you and the ones you live. So do it and Give Zero Fucks about it!

Wandering In St. Louis

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

Y’all!! I finally had a trip that I never wanted to end. Our travels to St. Louis were absolutely enjoyable and relaxing… which, with a two year old isn’t an easy thing to achieve. But St. Louis was magical. I am already planning my trip back. I can’t wait!

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

For starters, we stayed in an Airbnb… brilliant! Talk about a game changer! Shocking as it may be, this was my first Airbnb… yeah, I know. Anywho, it was amazing. We stayed in this adorable little cottage… Okay, well… So, when we first got there it was almost midnight and to get to this cottage you drive up this massive hill and at the end of the lane it splits off from all the other little homes and ends with these two storage buildings. You don’t see the cottage until you look down this hill behind the storage sheds… and it was pitch black… and you can hear wildlife… and you have no idea where the hell you are… so CREEPY! Note to self, bring a flashlight. We got into the cottage and holy cuteness! It was absolutely adorable and CLEAN! It had everything we needed. Of course, the AC was not working. Go figure! The bedrooms were upstairs and the first floor was already at 80 degrees. So it was warm and we were so tired. But the property managers came out and fixed it! Talk about amazing service! They were so sweet and gave us amazing tips on places to check out.

 

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

The next morning we woke up in the most beautiful place. The cottage was nestled in the woods with a large yard for Duke to run. It was just stunning. There wasn’t any Wifi BUT you just had to take a short walk to this adorable sitting area that overlooked the Mississippi River. And to be honest… We didn’t end up using Wifi . It was vacation time afterall!

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

Our wanderlust adventure in St. LouisOur first day we just wandered around driving through Grafton and Alton, exploring the countryside… which is gorgeous. I took the opportunity to take as many photo ops as possible. Which ended up being tons of fun. We had lunch at The Loading Dock which sits right on the Mississippi River. The food was typical bar/diner food but the view was breathtaking. (If you’re going in the Fall/Winter be aware that they are only open on the weekends) Then we went back to the cottage and ran around the yard capturing as many memories as possible. Such a magical moment.

 

For dinner we picked up pizza at this delicious local joint called Johnson’s Corner. The pizza… Holy Amazeballs! So good. I think the mushroom truffle pizza was my fav. But what’s fun about Johnson’s Corner is that they offer a monthly special pizza that is really just an experiment. Their disclaimer is that it doesn’t always work out… which for me if brilliant! So right up my alley. I love a good adventure.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

The next day I woke up and walked up to the lookout spot to just take in the river. The best part about that morning for me was that I was able to see something I have NEVER seen before… white pelicans! St. Louis is a great place to catch migratory birds like bald eagles and white pelicans. They are gorgeous and in mass numbers which is so majestic. Very cool thing to see.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

 

Our wanderlust adventure in St. LouisThen we headed to the zoo! Which if you didn’t know is FREE! Whaaatt???!!! Heck yeah it is! And it is fantastic. Possibly one of the best zoos I have ever been too. They have done a truly incredible job landscaping the grounds. You feel like you are in a park not a zoo. It is very calming. The exhibits are beautiful too. They have done a wonderful job giving the exhibits that natural feel. Of course this means tons of hiding places for the animals but none of us seemed to mind. We got to see so many rare animals that you don’t see in other zoos so it was still incredible. The kids had a blast running everywhere and seeing all of their fav animals in an experience that feels so close. If you are ever in St. Louis you absolutely MUST go to the zoo no matter your age. So fun!

 

That night the whole gang came back to the cottage for dinner. I think that is what I truly enjoyed. It was so wonderful to invite everyone over and spend some quality family time. The kids could run and we could relax and enjoy it without fear of what they might get into. That is just not something you get if you stay in a hotel.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

I so wish our trip could have been longer. The Alton-Grafton area so gorgeous and beyond peaceful. While it’s on the Illinois side of the river it is crazy close to the city. So you get to do all the cool city stuff in St. Louis and yet enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness on the Illinois side. I can’t wait to go back. Absolutely heading back soon to explore more of the area and enjoy the coziness of that adorable little cottage.

Our wanderlust adventure in St. Louis

Creating The Right Down Payment Strategy

Down Payment

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE

The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.