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Moving? Packing?

by Scott Zeller
 

How to Pack Your Garage In Five Steps

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Packing up a garage when moving can feel like a chore. With a little planning, packing up your garage will ease your mind and possibly fill your wallet! Here are some tips on how to tackle the job.

 

 

 

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Guest post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

When it comes to packing up your home for a move, the garage is often the last room packed. Let’s face it, we put it off due to the sheer number of things piled up over the years. Garages are full of tools, landscaping equipment and things you don’t want to look at. Often, our garages have become the dumping ground of junk we don’t want in the house. But…there are so many advantages to making the garage the first room you pack up. With a little planning, packing up your garage will ease your mind and possibly fill your wallet! So, how do you tackle packing a garage?

#1: Sort and have a garage sale!

Moving is the time when the garage finally gets cleaned out. Hurray! It doesn’t make much sense to move belongings you have no intention of ever using at the new place. Now is the time to get rid of what you really don’t need: the stroller for your now 10 year-old; the growing collection of sport teams t-shirts; tools never used; etc. But, don’t just toss them out… sell or donate them. If you have the time, a garage sale is a great way to de-clutter and get some extra cash in your pocket.

First, sort items by creating two sections in your garage: one section for the things you are taking with you and one for the stuff you don’t want or need anymore. Then price and tag the unwanted items for your garage sale. The items that don’t sell can be donated. Donate clothing and household items to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill for someone else to enjoy. You can even donate your unwanted furniture to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Getting rid of items will cut down on your moving expenses and keep your new garage space nice and a great place to get the rest of your house organized!

#2: Get the right supplies

Get the right stuff for your stuff: the right boxes and supplies paired with the right packing methods are crucial in the success of your entire move. In the garage, most items are heavy and oddly shaped. Be sure to have the following on hand:

– Boxes: Sturdy, recyclable cardboard boxes of various sizes.

– Eco-bubble wrap: Use biodegradable eco-bubble wrap to protect items.

– Packing Tape: Every box needs to be taped, top and bottom, with 2 – 2 1/2 inch gummed or masking tape to give it additional strength and prevent opening, so you’ll need approximately one roll of tape for every 15 to 20 boxes. Run multiple strips of tape along the bottom of the box in both directions to make sure the box stays secure.

– Packing Paper:While ordinary newspaper works fine for some purposes, be aware that the paper’s print will run giving you an extra cleaning task at your new home.

– Blankets:Your mover can provide you with moving blankets for large items.

Tip: Before you start placing your garage belongings into the moving boxes make sure you have secured the boxes bottoms with several layers of packing tape for added protection. Correctly packed boxes paired with the correct moving supplies keep your items safe during storage and transport.

#3: What not pack

Most garages have hazardous materials that can’t be moved due to safety reasons. Common sense and the law forbids moving companies from moving flammable items such as aerosol cans, paints, gasoline, paint and paint thinners, charcoal, propane tanks, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc. Be sure to properly dispose of these items before your move.

#4: How to pack garage items

– Leave smaller hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, hammers, etc. in your toolbox and close securely.

– Wrap any items with sharp blades with a few layers of eco-bubble.

– Bundle large garden tools such shovels and rakes together with tape or rope and wrap them with a large moving blanket.

– Preferably pack power tools in their original container. Remove any detachable parts a tool may have, including the batteries, and pack them in the same box.

– Gas operated machinery such as lawn mowers and chain saws must be emptied of their fuel before they are moved.

– Stack outdoor chairs and disassemble other outdoor furniture when possible. Remove cushions and pack them in boxes.

– Wrap fragile flowerpots in eco-bubble. However, keep in mind moving companies cannot move plants across state lines. And your plants won’t survive in storage.

– Clean, defrost and dry: refrigerators and freezers. Wrap them with moving blankets for protection.

– Dissemble bikes as much as you can before the movers get there, remove the handlebars and wheels. If you can, it is best to go to a local bike store and look for an original bike box and use it to pack the bike.

– If a grill is equipped with a propane tank it cannot be moved even if it is empty. And, you cannot move charcoal either. Best to give them away to neighbors. Remove the entire propane tank and the charcoal before you move just the grill.

#5: Label, Label!

Remember that memory card game? It’s hard to find those two matching elephants in rows and rows of cards. Label each box with what contents are on the inside and write the location where this box is going: “Habitat for Humanity Restore” or “GARAGE” and  remember to write “FRAGILE” when needed.

While the garage is often the last room packed in a home, make it your first. It takes a lot of time; from sorting, dealing with odd shaped tricky items to packing and donating. So start early and ask for help! You can also use that empty garage space for moving items out of each room and sorting. Repeat the above steps for each room. Wishing you a stress free move!

 

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

 

 

 

Senior Manager, Content & Multimedia at Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. In his role he manages content strategy and execution across several platforms. He’s held other roles within the Marketing Department ranging from Previews & Product Development to the day to day management of the coldwellbanker.com redesign. Besides being a marketer, Gustavo is a filmmaker, musician and writer.

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Summer Home Care

by Scott Zeller
 

Summer Home Maintenance Guide

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Homeowner beware: Summer does not mean vacation when it comes to your house. It’s easy to put off regular home maintenance during these long, lazy days of summer. But a little bit of effort now can save you a lot of time — and money — down the road. Here are five must-dos for summer home maintenance.

 

 

 

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The following is a guest post by William Dukes

Homeowner beware: Summer does not mean vacation when it comes to your house. It’s easy to put off regular home maintenance during these long, lazy days of summer. But a little bit of effort now can save you a lot of time — and money — down the road. Here are five must-dos for summer home maintenance.


LAWN CARE

Summer lawn care basics are the same, no matter where you live. Mow regularly, Water deeply and keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Those tasks and a little weeding should keep your lawn green and lush. Different kinds of grasses, whether warm-season or cool-season, need different amounts of water and mowing heights. Lawns in warmer, humid areas are more prone to fungal diseases. A good rule of thumb to ward off fungal diseases such as brown patch is to water early in the morning. It allows the water to seep into the roots and the soil, but the remaining water droplets will evaporate during the daytime heat.

This is also the time to trim your bushes and shrubs. Before you start removing all the dead and damaged branches, make sure you have the right tools, and you know how to cut at the right angle. Improper pruning can stress the shrubs.

HVAC

Most people sleep better when the room is cool. Science shows adults sleep best when the room is between 60 and 67 degrees at night. Keeping your bedroom cool is just one reason why you need to keep your HVAC in tiptop shape. Don’t wait until something malfunctions. Have an HVAC technician make regular maintenance visits. The technician will not only keep things running smoothly but can often tell you if you have a major repair or even a replacement on the horizon. Regular HVAC visits save you money and often give you time to budget for a replacement. It also prevents you from tossing and turning through a sweaty summer night.

INSPECT/REPAIR HOME EXTERIOR

Take a slow walk around your house and pay special attention to the exterior. Is the siding cracked? What condition is the paint in? Is there any apparent damage? Now’s the time to get things fixed. A little bit of damage to your siding can be a DIY project that’s easy to do. Summer is the time to touch up paint, or power wash your home’s exterior and driveway and take care of any projects before the winter weather gets in the way.

SEAL WINDOWS

A significant amount of your home’s energy loss happens around your windows and doors, making your home more expensive to cool in the summer and heat in the winter. Summer is a great time to seal and caulk your windows, and any other small holes that you might find. Take a close look near your kitchen exhaust fan or fireplace flues. Summer is also a great time to replace your windows with more energy-efficient models. Window replacement is pricey, but it will save your home a lot of energy loss and make it easier to keep the temperature comfortable.

OUTDOOR COOKERS

A summertime backyard cookout is peak American. Whether you have a gas grill, a charcoal grill, a smoker, or any other outdoor cooker, you can increase their efficiency and lower your risk of food poisoning by cleaning them. For gas grills, turn on the grill and let it heat up for about 20 minutes, then turn off the gas and scrub the grill with a barbecue brush. For a charcoal grill, remove the grill and scour it with a metal brush, or even a ball of aluminum foil and get the ash, rust, and gunk off of it. Remove and empty the ash can and wipe out any debris on the bottom of the grill. But you don’t want to aggressively scrub a smoker. The oily, smoky coating is important in the low and slow cooking process. You’ll want to remove the ash and grease regularly and be sure not to disturb the smoker’s seasoning.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep your home running smoothly during the summer months, and repair any damage that may have happened over the cold months. Remember, maintenance and minor repairs are always less of a headache than major repairs and replacement!

William Dukes is a freelance writer and home decorator. He spends most of his time landscaping and fixing up and flipping old houses. He and his wife enjoy home DIY projects and recently built a new barn for their ranch.

 

Sam is the Marketing Coordinator for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Roseland, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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Landscaping Ideas

by Scott Zeller
 

7 Easy Landscape Ideas for a New Home

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You’ve closed on your new home, unpacked your belongings and breathed a sigh of relief. Now it’s time to look outside and turn your attention to the landscaping. Check out these seven easy landscape ideas for a new home.

 

 

 

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The following is a guest post by Meredith Hale.

You’ve closed on your new home, unpacked your belongings and breathed a sigh of relief. Now it’s time to look outside and turn your attention to the landscaping. If you’re lucky, you purchased a home that was once owned by a master gardener. However, most of us find our new yard needs a bit of work to make it our own. While some large-scale projects are more complex, there are some simple things you can do to personalize your outdoor living space. Check out these seven easy landscape ideas for a new home:

Plant Shade Trees

Trees are valuable to a landscape once they’ve matured. Older trees not only help shade your home and yard but also freshen the air. Trees also harbor neighborhood birds, which are important to the local environment. Planting a tree is a great way to mark the purchase of your new home and invest in the future. Make sure to plant a shade tree far enough away from the house so that it doesn’t interfere with the foundation or sewer system. You also want to avoid trees that will have you constantly raking and cleaning out the gutters. Consider planting evergreens on a breezy side of the yard to help block the wind.

Go Native

If you plan on adding any new plants to your landscaping, choose purple yarrow, coreopsis, red yucca shrubs or any of the native options that thrive naturally in Dallas. These are the plants that you may notice growing along the edge of a lake, beside roadways, and in untamed areas while on a hike. Native flowers need little water and will attract pollinators to your yard. They’ll also cut down on the amount of time you’ll have to spend maintaining your landscape.

Spread Some Mulch

Bringing in mulch to spread around the base of your landscaped plants is easy and will pay off in the long run. Organic mulch options, like bark dust, will provide beautiful color to the yard and keep plants hydrated. Inorganic mulch options, like stones or pebbles, will last longer but can be harder to spread due to their weight. Both options will help prevent weeds from popping up. Investing an afternoon spreading mulch can also save you a lot of maintenance time later on.

Make It Private

There will be areas of your yard that you will want to enjoy without the glances from neighbors walking by. Have fun with it and start some outdoor projects by planting a row of boxwoods for some semi-private areas or even hang some lattice on one side of the patio. Windscreens and vertical gardens are other ways that you can use the vertical space in the yard to add privacy. Adding a shade canopy or large umbrella can create a sense of privacy for homes with two-story neighbors.

Find A Favorite Spot

Outdoor seating is an integral part of landscaping a backyard. You can easily incorporate room amid plants and garden beds. Place a metal café table near your favorite rose bushes or even hang a hammock between two mature shade trees. Finding a spot in the yard that you can enjoy daily, while also being comfortable, will help you use your outdoor space more often.

Light it Up

A string of patio lights or outdoor solar lights will make the yard safer in the dark and allow you to use your yard well after dark. Go a step further and add a fire pit to the patio (either a permanent or less expensive portable one). The extra light will add a certain ambiance to your yard and encourage your family to get outdoors more often.

Add Some Stepping Stones

Many backyards have gates or side entry points that allow you to enter the yard without going through the house. These areas are often forgotten and usually, don’t include any kind of walkway or path. Consider adding stepping stones from the gate to the back patio to help encourage the use of the pathway without bringing dirt into your new home. Installing just a few stones will also help keep shoes out of the mud and provide a stable area that’s safe to use.

Updating your landscaping will help you increase the usable square footage of your home. You’ll now have more areas to relax and entertain guests.

 

Meredith Hale is a gardening and landscape writer, and design addict. She has coordinated the design on many house flipping projects, admitting that her favorite part is creating inspired outdoor spaces.

 

 

 

Sam is the Marketing Coordinator for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Roseland, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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Summer Lawn Care

by Scott Zeller
 

6 Tips for Summer Lawn Care

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Don’t you hate it when the grass is greener at your next door neighbor’s place? Follow these tips to manifest the lawn of your life.

 

 

 

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Don’t you hate it when the grass is greener at your next door neighbor’s place? This summer you could have the lawn that turns everyone’s eyes green with envy and admiration, but you’ve got to get on it right now! Follow these tips to manifest the lawn of your life.

BEFORE SUMMER

1. Inspect

Inspect your lawn and note any spots that need special attention. If you notice brown patches, you need to act quickly to identify the disease so you can treat it. If the entire lawn is somewhat flattened from winter weather, call in an aeration service. Those little holes in the lawn will last just long enough to loosen up the soil and allow better water and nutrient absorption.

2. Rake

Rake any dead spots and reseed using a variety of grass seed to match the rest of your lawn. For larger areas that may have been damaged by snow plows, for example, you can remove entire sections and replace with sod. If you notice areas where there has been a lot of soil erosion, mulch beds are a good way to shore up future runoffs.

3. Fertilize

Apply a slow-release fertilizer to feed the grass over weeks. Pick a day that’s not windy and check to make sure there’s no rain in the immediate forecast to keep the fertilizer where you want it. Dispose of any leftover fertilizer appropriately, as you would household chemicals like paint.

DURING SUMMER

4. Water

Make sure to water deeply, not daily. Deep watering will encourage a healthy root system. Whether you drag the hose out in the morning or have an automatic sprinkler system, set a watering schedule. Your lawn needs an inch to an inch and a half of water a week.

5. Lawnmower Maintenace

Keep mower blades sharp and balanced for clean cuts, and change the pattern every time you mow so grass blades will stand up straight. Remember to let your grass clippings fall where they may, and remain there. “Grasscycling” returns nutrients to the soil, allowing them to fertilize the lawn.

Proper lawn care prevents the most common lawn problems from getting out of control. Keeping the grass at the right length will help keep it healthy and keep weeds at bay.

AFTER SUMMER

6. Rake & Weed

When autumn arrives, and the leaves begin to fall, don’t wait for large amounts to pile up. Remove leaves often, so they don’t get a chance to become wet and sticky. Blankets of wet leaves can create a fungal problem that will plague your lawn long after the last snow falls.

Set yourself up for another lovely lawn the following spring and summer by doing some weed control now, and an application of fertilizer for nutrients to feed your grass throughout the cold season.

Keep in mind, if you plan to sell your home, having a nice lawn is crucial. But the homes that show the best have more than just end-to-end grass. According to a recent survey in Turf Magazine, the landscapes that have the best value are those with “a sophisticated design with large deciduous, evergreen and annual color plants and colored hardscape.” The right shade trees will also protect your lawn and keep your house cooler this summer.

Notice summer lawn care doesn’t just cover June through September. By preparing your lawn well in advance of the summer heat, you’ll have a yard that will withstand the stress of summer and thrive through the fall.

 

Meredith Hale is a gardening and landscape writer, and design addict. She has coordinated the design on many house flipping projects, admitting that her favorite part is creating inspired outdoor spaces.

 

 

 

 

Sam is the Marketing Coordinator for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Roseland, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

Holiday Lighting

by Scott Zeller

Creative Ways to Decorate with Holiday Lights

 

There is nothing quite like the glow of holiday lights to get your home ready for the season. Whether you prefer white lights or bright colors, they’re a must-have when it comes to this time of year. However, many people limit their use of these to their tree or outdoor area but this means missing out on many alluring decor ideas that jive with the holiday spirit and beyond. Learn more below about how to creatively decorate with holiday lights in ways you might not have thought of.

Spell It Out

Since holiday lights are so easily flexible, you can easily shape them into actual words. Spelling out holiday sentiments such as “joy”, “jolly”, “peace” or any other festive word makes for a nice display. This can be done easily with colored and white lights alike, and especially with white lights, this decor idea can be used even outside of the holiday season with a word of your choosing.

Light Up Your Plant

String lights on a houseplant

Don’t have the space for a full on Christmas tree? You can still use festive lights to give your home that warm glow! Instead of stringing lights around a tree, string a smaller strand around house plants to really get in the spirit.

Highlight Holiday Cards

Most people receive an abundance of holiday cards this time of year, so use lights to add to their display! Use a cork board to hang cards and drape lights over them, drawing attention to the display and making it beautiful.

 

Make a Holiday Backdrop

Hosting for the holidays? Using lights to create a festive backdrop for photos is simple and fun. Use a plain colored sheet against a wall then string lights along it to make this DIY photo booth really pop. You can even make some of your own holiday-themed props for guests to use in their photos to be even more festive and fun.

Create a Photo Garland

The holidays are the perfect time to remember past holiday memories. Use lights, string, and mini clothespins to create a garland that highlights those treasured memories by hanging past holiday photos and displaying them to enjoy all season long.

Line Your Banister

Christmas lights and garland on a stair banister

Your stairway banister is the perfect place to wrap holiday lights to add some extra glow to your home during this time of year. It’s easy to do and will make a big difference in your decor.

Line an Accent with Lights

Take holiday lights and use it to emphasize a holiday decor accent that might otherwise be drab. For instance, take an antique sled and use vintage-style, big-bulb holiday lights to really make it pop, either inside or outside your home.

 

Fill an Outdoor Lantern

Many of us love using lanterns in our outdoor space to provide additional light or a more pleasing aesthetic. During the holiday time, trade in the lights or candles that usually sit in these glass orbs and fill them with holiday lights for a fun and festive appearance.

Do Something Rustic

If the vibe of your home is more rustic, you can easily incorporate holiday lights into that theme. Start by grabbing a large basket or hurricane vase. Next, gather enough pine cones to just about fill the vase. Then, take holiday lights - white lights look best for this idea - and weave them randomly into the pine cones. This looks great on the hearth of a fireplace or surrounding a beautiful Christmas tree as an added accent. Best of all, this is festive for the holiday, yet is neutral enough to stay out all winter long. If your home decor isn’t so rustic, consider applying the same idea but instead filling a vase with dollar store bulb ornaments with lights weaved in for a cheap yet pretty decoration.

These ideas are easy to execute and all contribute to a picture perfect home during the happiest time of the year!

Winter Lawn Care

by Scott Zeller
 

411

 

Winter Lawn Care Tips

 

Check out these winter lawn care tips to keep your lawn healthy in the cold.

Guest post by Henry Walsh

Caring for your lawn during the winter can look different from other homeowners depending on your location. Unless you live in the extreme Southern areas of the country, most grass types will go dormant during the cold winter months. However, just because winter isn’t the primary growing season doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to still do. Check out these winter lawn care tips to keep your lawn healthy.

Apply Fertilizer

Choosing to add fertilizer to your lawn before the snow falls is a great way to give your grass a boost of energy to stay alive during the winter months. Use a slow-release fertilizer when you want to give your lawn root systems a slow and steady stream of energy over a more extended period. Make sure to follow directions and refrain from applying too much fertilizer in one area of the lawn which could cause burning due to too much nitrogen.

Let It Breathe

Aerating your lawn once every couple of years is a great way to make sure that your lawn is receiving essential nutrients at a deeper level. Aerating will allow sunshine, water, and energy to penetrate deep into the soil which will make the lawn healthier and stronger come spring. Renting an aerator is an excellent choice for many homeowners or consider your local winter lawn care professional that can do the job for you. Aerate your lawn before any winter weather, like snow or ice, fall on the grass this winter.

Consider Overseeding

For those homeowners in the South looking for a way to keep their warm-season grass lawns green all year, consider overseeding with the opposing season grass type as part of your winter lawn care, once the lawn goes dormant. The cool-season grass will love the colder temperatures that winter brings while the warm-season grasses take a much-deserved nap. Unfortunately, homeowners in the northern parts of the country will have to accept dormant lawns in frigid temperatures or snow-covered lawns in other winter areas.

Mulch Fallen Leaves

Many parts of the country will see the addition of fallen leaves onto lawns in the early parts of winter. Instead of raking up the leaves and bagging them up for removal, consider using this free source of energy to create a stronger lawn. Mulch the leaves with a leaf mulcher, or by merely using your lawn mower, to cut the leaves into smaller more manageable parts. Dead leaves provide a natural source of nitrogen to the lawn making it a welcome addition for future growth.

Apply Compost

Compost is one of those items that every homeowner needs to keep a healthy lawn. Compost can be created at home in a compost pile or is available for purchase from a local garden center. Compost is helpful to add to a lawn before winter arrives to provide a natural energy source for underlying roots. The compost will be gradually worked into the soil by microorganisms making it a great option to cure many lawn issues.

There are plenty of ways to care for your lawn even if winter temperatures have already arrived in your area. Race against Mother Nature before the arrival of snow and ice to provide your yard with essential added nutrients like compost, fertilizer, and fallen leaves. Aerating and overseeding your lawn are other ways to make sure that your lawn looks great year round. Consider all of these winter lawn care tips this year for a beautiful lawn.

 

Henry Walsh is a gardening writer and eco-conscious living advocate. He recently began his homesteading journey after many years of incorporating the principles into his urban lifestyle.

 

 

Sam is the Marketing Coordinator for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Roseland, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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Growing by saying "YES".

by Scott Zeller
 

338

 

Learn To Say YES

 

This post is part of Coldwell Banker’s Women in Leadership Series. We’ve been sharing the unique, uplifting and trailblazing stories of women leaders throughout the Coldwell Banker Network, and larger family.

This is a contributor post by Lori Arnold, broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Apex, Realtors

A few months ago, I had the privilege of speaking to the latest class of Ascend Leadership Summit participants at the Realogy headquarters in New Jersey. It’s always an inspirational opportunity for me as the new leaders are so excited about their careers and what the future holds for each of them. As much as I love my home state of Texas, I also LOVE New York City.  Anytime I can get close to NYC, I am going to find an excuse to spend a few days there. I arranged a long weekend in NYC before going to the Realogy headquarters with my daughter-in-law, who happens to be our Marketing Director, and my sister-in-law, who happens to be a mortgage superstar.  

To add a bit of context, I have to share a few things that led up to the Ascend Leadership Summit. About a year, some of my fellow CB owners pointed out that my company was the largest woman owned and operated Coldwell Banker affiliate in the US based on closed sales. And for the record, they were all guys. Frankly, I had never given much thought to that fact before that day.  To say I am passionate about my business and leading my agents is a bit of an understatement for anyone who knows me. I am busy each day building something that I hope matters to those around me and contributing in a way that leaves a legacy. I am highly competitive and want to win in my market simply because I know we are the best so thinking from only a “women’s perspective” never occurred to me. Once we began sharing the fact that Coldwell Banker Apex is the #1 woman owned and operated CB in the US, I felt a calling to do more for women in our community to hopefully inspire and motivate them in their own personal journey. A quarterly meeting for area real estate professionals called “Listings & Life With Lori” was born from that idea. For the first time in my career, the idea of women leading and supporting each other was really on my mind.

On our NYC girls’ trip, we were shopping in a stationery shop in Grand Central Station when I saw a “big green button” novelty item that had the word “YES” written on it.  You pressed the YES button, and it audibly shouted “YES!”. I began chatting with a sales person about the YES button, and she went on to tell me that they had NO buttons too, but those sold out immediately, while the YES buttons were slow sellers.

Oh my. My mind immediately went to the true-life application of that lesson. Why would the NO buttons sell out fast while the YES buttons lingered on the shelf? One of the principles of the Coldwell Banker Apex leadership staff is that we try to say YES! as often as we can.  Can I market my team this way? YES! Can you assist me in getting this tool set up? YES! I want to think a little outside the box and implement this new marketing idea. Can I do it? YES!  I know I did not follow the process, but I need this today, can you help me? YES! Although it sounds intuitive, it really is not. It’s much easier to say “No, you can only do it this way” or “No, you need to follow the system.”  No stifles originality, new thinking and progress towards goals we have not yet set!

As I reflected on YES, I realized how important that one little word has been in my real estate journey.  I got my license at 19 years old. Often people thought my clients were the Realtor instead of me! I could have said, “No, I am too young to succeed in real estate.” In 1993, when we joined Coldwell Banker, I did not have the funds to purchase the franchise without borrowing it. I could have said, “No, it’s just too much risk to commit to a franchise when I don’t even have the money to get started,” but instead I said YES! When Coldwell Banker assigned me an incredible mentor to guide me and he shared ideas of what I needed to do, I could have said “No, I can’t do that idea.” Honestly, I was so afraid to implement many of the ideas he suggested. At that time, I truly loved and excelled at selling real estate, but only in a one-on-one setting. The idea of speaking up in public was way out of my comfort zone. I was so timid that I would not even share about my new listings at the local MLS meetings. Those that know me now do not believe that story, but it is the truth. I ignored my fears and just did what my mentor told me to do. I said YES! When we wanted to grow, and it was time to open another office from scratch, as a start up, I said YES! I had no idea how to open a successful office and really didn’t even realize how risky start up offices were and how many start up offices fail to launch. I said, “Yes, let’s do it!”  We’ve now opened 11 start up offices, with plans of opening more in the future.

We often say NO to the things we should say YES to while saying YES to things we should say NO. We say YES to things we feel obligated to do and NO to the things that would drive our goals forward. The question becomes, what should we say YES to?

  1. Say YES to things that you fear but you believe are important for your growth. You don’t know what you can accomplish until you say YES. You have no idea how much capability you have until you say YES.
  2. Say YES to mentors. Mentors are a HUGE component in growth. A good mentor will challenge you and hold you accountable. They will inspire you. Find a mentor and say YES to what they tell you to do.
  3. Say YES to learning from others. Anyone. Not just those you feel are ahead of you in the journey but anyone. Being open to learning exposes you to growth you don’t even know is possible, while learning from those who are behind you on the journey keeps your ego in check. They do know more than you in lots of areas that matter.
  4. Say YES to a big dream. Chances are, you are not dreaming NEARLY big enough. I know I didn’t. But if you say YES when you are scared (revisit #1 if you need to!), your dreams will grow as fast as you grow. 
  5. Say YES to giving back. That is why I went to New York City in the first place. So many people in the Coldwell Banker system have given to me. They have invested in my life and my company. I need to say YES to giving back every time I can.

Today, we have 15 offices with 650 of the most talented, successful, kind, warm human beings that work together as a team at Coldwell Banker Apex.  Truly remarkable, inspirational people who work collaboratively in an industry that sometimes is filled with ego and drama instead of collaboration. I look around at this group, and I am truly amazed at the blessings that have come my way through these people. As I look back from where I am at today, I wonder what would have happened if I said NO, and I am so grateful I said YES. Now, I need to buy that YES button!

If you’re a part of the Coldwell Banker network and interested in listening to the next Women in Leadership call, be sure to visit CB Exchange and search “Women in leadership” to find out the details.

Senior Manager, Public Relations for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Grew up in south Florida as an avid Seminole fan and attended college in the mountains of North Carolina. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. Athena has worked for Coldwell Banker for 15 years where she can be found generating buzz about this awesome brand in every way possible. On any given day, she can be found crunching numbers to searching for amazing Coldwell Banker properties to serve up to the media for features. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or scouring Etsy for that next amazing handcrafted gem. She resides with the Bukowski of our generation (AKA her husband) and her cat (Jolene) in Atlanta, Ga.

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Holidays

by Scott Zeller
 

373

 

Shalom in the Home: Hanukkah

 

Gather round the dreidel and save room for some latkes cause Hanukkah is here!

Put on your yarmulkes, it’s time for Hannukah!  You know the next line: “instead of one day of presents, we have eight craaaazy nights!”  Even though you might know every line in Adam Sandler’s magnum opus, you may not know why we celebrate the “Festival of Lights.”  But who could blame them?  There are as many spellings of Hanukkah (or is it Chanukah? Or Channukkah?) as there are spins of a dreidel.  And when does it even start? Hanukkah falls each year in December.  Or is it late November?  Or sometimes January?   While some say the differing dates are due to the differences between the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars, I’m convinced they change to keep the desktop calendar business afloat.  So, I felt it was a good opportunity for me to be a mensch and take everyone on an exploration of Hanukkah. Like a young Mandy Patinkin, I will continue the long standing tradition of re-telling the Hannukah story:

History

Let’s take a journey back twenty-one centuries in history.  The area occupying modern-day Jerusalem was part of the Roman Empire and ruled by the Syrian-Greeks who wanted to convert the population to their religion.  However, a small band of Jewish inhabitants and warriors, known as the Maccabees, sparked a rebellion and defeated the larger Syrian army.  I wonder if this was that first time in history they used the “David vs. Goliath” cliche to describe the win…

Once the Maccabees claimed victory, they rushed to the Great Temple in Jerusalem to light its Menorah which was never to go out.  Although they found only a small amount of oil, a miracle occurred when it lasted for eight days.  Jews only celebrate the miracle of the oil; not war.

I know nowadays this miracle may seem modest, but if you’ve ever been in the middle of the desert without light or electricity, you celebrate when you get a spark.

Traditions

The first and most recognizable Hanukkah tradition is the candle lighting (or candle lightbulb twisting for some).  Families gather in their homes to light the Menorah (or Channukkiah) which consists of eight candles of equal height plus a ninth “servant” candle sitting above the rest.  The servant candle, or Shamus, is used to light one candle per day from right to left to commemorate the miracle of the oil.  The Menorah is then placed in a visible area to remember what happened in Jerusalem two thousand years earlier.

The next Hanukkah tradition consists of something I believe all holidays should prominently feature – gambling. Here is the game: after a pot consisting of chocolate, candy, and other small items is collected, a dreidel (a spinning top) with four sides is spun and will land on one of the following letters:  ש (shin), ה (hay), ג (gimel), נ (nun).  These are the first letters in the translated Hebrew phrase, “a great miracle happened there (Jerusalem).”  (In Israel, one letter is changed to say, “a great miracle happened here.”)  Here are the rules:

-If you spin a נ (nun), you get nothing, you lose, good day, sir!

-If you spin a ג (gimel), you win it all!

-If you spin a ה (hay), you net half of the pot.

-If you spin a ש (shin), you put one in.

I still remember the hot streak I went on in my dreidel spinning prime during the Hanukkah of ’95.  By the end of the game, I walked out of my grandparents’ house with a garbage bag full of chocolate and the deed to my cousin’s jungle gym.

Another Hanukkah tradition is gift giving.  This tradition is actually a Jewish-American invention. Where Jews in the “old country” once only exchanged “gelt” or small amounts of chocolate or candies,  American Jews have begun the tradition of gift giving now due to its proximity to Christmas.  The unknown first Jewish child that guilt tripped their parents into getting them presents like their Christian friends is one of my greatest heroes.

Food

Now, on to my favorite category on any list of any topic: food.  As Walter Sobchak eloquently tells “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski, the Jewish people have had, “three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax.”  And I am certain we used that entire time to perfect one thing: the potato pancake.

Potato pancakes – or latkes – are pretty much mashed potatoes fried in a pan with vegetable oil.  Perfectly crunch on the outside and creamy on the inside, one source described these treats as “slammin’”.  Whether you eat it with apple sauce, sour cream or plain, it is amazing.  Oily foods are the tradition on Hanukkah; another homage to the miracle oil of the Great Temple in Jerusalem.

Not to be outdone, for dessert on Hanukkah, sufganiyot (plural) are eaten.  A sufganiyah (singular) is the widely loved jelly filled round doughnut.  Who knew that Dunkin Donuts already specialized in traditional Hannukah desserts?!

 

Though not the most religious holiday, one thing has remained constant: giving thanks for the opportunity to be with family loved ones. The traditions of Hanukkah have morphed and changed throughout the years, and in the United States, Hanukkah has become a part of the holiday season in December.  I hope you grab some latkes, sing “Dreidel, Dreidel” in your best Barbara Streisand impersonation and have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hannukahhhhhhhhh (Adam Sandler voice)!

And just in case any of your questions have not yet been answered, JB Smoove of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame has you covered.

 

 

 

Header image courtesy of Flicker user Robert Couse-Baker.

Sam is the Marketing Coordinator for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. He is Jersey born and bred, and currently resides in Roseland, NJ. He is an avid reader, loves Games of Thrones and is a New York Yankees die-hard.

You can follow him on Twitter @World_Shalom

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Holiday Decorating When Your Home is for Sale

by Scott Zeller
 

5625

 

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

 

You can still be festive. These tips will help you celebrate — without alienating would-be buyers.

houzz logo

Houzz Contributor, Neila Deen

Selling your home through the holiday season can certainly come with a few challenges. Chilly, wet weather and falling leaves in November and December might mean more raking and shoveling to keep your home pristine. However, the damp weather and dark skies don’t have to squelch your holiday spirit. In fact, the holidays are a perfect time to showcase the warmth and character of your home to prospective buyers.

If you’ve already got the basics of staging under control — meaning you’ve pared downfreshened up and added a splash of color — you’re ready to follow these seven do’s to create an appropriately festive home for sale.

M&S Christmas 2014

1. Do choose appropriately sized holiday decorations. Be thoughtful about the size of decorations you use. A good question to ask yourself is whether the piece helps to positively showcase the space, light and charm of the room. Or does its large size detract from the best features? Your goal is to be festive while honoring the value of your home.

Autumn Decor

For example, displaying a large multipiece holiday installation might be a family tradition for your living room, but doing so won’t highlight the value and space of that room. Perhaps find a new home for this piece on the front porch, or display only a smaller portion of the installation on a table.

Traditional Living

Similarly, you might have to trade in that huge fresh evergreen tree that you look forward to every year for a slightly smaller version. Large trees and decorations, while festive, may make the room look smaller. Choose an oversized tree only if you have a really large room.

Hill Section Residence

2. Do mind the light. Be sure your holiday decorating efforts don’t block any natural light from windows and doors. Though this may be a common sense tip, it may not be as easy to adhere to as you’d think, since windows are one of the most common places to place holiday decor. Just think of what you see when driving through your neighborhood during the holidays: Many residents affix decorations directly to the windows, place large, brightly lighted trees directly in front of them or install candles or figurines on the windowsill. We just love to showcase our holiday spirit to the world.

Christmas Trees

For the selling season, try placing your holiday pride far from the window. You might put decor outside your front door or, if inside, in an unobtrusive corner. If you absolutely must locate decor near a window, then place it far enough away that the natural light still flows in. Otherwise, by reducing the natural light, you’ll detract from the value of the room.

Scandinavian style on a budget in a small city apartment

3. Do coordinate with the colors of the room. Maintaining a color-coordinated design scheme matters, even when all you want to do is deck the halls in red and green. Remember, every room of your home should be as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. So, if your favorite holiday decorations clash with the colors in your room, think twice about using those specific pieces. Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to add holiday accents without throwing off your palette.

Home for Chanukah

Metallics are one nonintrusive way to add a little festive holiday flair. Gold, silver or copper holiday accents pair well with almost any color scheme. White is also a peaceful, festive, yet still neutral accent color for almost any holiday decorating effort. Try replacing multicolored tree lights with sparkling white lights to give your room a more elegant feel.

Winter Holiday Decor

4. Do keep movements and sounds to a minimum. Moving parts, loud noises and even festive music will be a distraction for potential buyers. So please don’t welcome buyers with a singing toy soldier or dancing snowman. But if you must have those items on your mantel, then be sure to turn them off during showings. The same goes for flashing lights. Opt for simple white static lights that cast a beautiful glow, creating a neutral holiday feeling for many buyers.

Stoll Christmas House

5. Do decorate to showcase your home’s architectural features. Holiday decorating can give you a brilliant opportunity to highlight your home’s most attractive architectural features. For example, you might wrap a tasteful garland around a beautiful curved staircase. You can showcase your fireplace with accents such as knitted stockings or a strand of lights.

Christmas Decorating

Be mindful not to cover up any valuable structural details such as a beautiful wood floor or crown molding. Remember, less is more when staging, even when decorating for the holidays.

Christmas Holiday Decor

6. Do use exterior holiday decorations to add curb appeal. Holiday decorations are a fantastic way to spruce up the exterior of your home and add some color. Wreaths, thoughtfully lighted shrubs and the occasional ribbon or bow on a mailbox can be tasteful ways to deck the exterior for the holidays. These elements will certainly add curb appeal and pleasantly welcome your potential buyers.

Holiday decorations

While a frenzy of flashing lights and rooftop ornaments might be fun and playful, try not to embrace your inner Clark Griswold. (“National Lampoon” movie-fest, anyone?) Your goal is to sell your house, not distract or even turn off your buyer by creating a neighborhood spectacle.

A perfectly pale interior with Nordic influences

7. Do celebrate the holidays and create a warm, joyful feeling. There’s an advantage of offering your home for sale — and decorating it — during the holidays. If you strike the right balance, your residence will exude a positive energy and charm that can’t be felt at any other time of the year. Done well, your decorated home will offer the kind of warmth that appeals to potential buyers and helps them to imagine living there. So go ahead and celebrate what is likely your last holiday season in that home. Happy holidays!

More
The First Rule of Home Staging: Less Is Always More
Help for Selling Your Home Faster — and Maybe for More

Related Links
How to Sell Your House in Winter
Welcome Potential Buyers With a Merrily Dressed Front Door
Less Is More When It Comes to Showing Off a New Mantel

Victoria Keichinger is the Director, Brand Marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. When she's not managing national media and advertising for the Coldwell Banker brand at work, she finds herself most at home in Jersey City, NJ with her pre-school crush turned spouse (and baby on the way). A true francophile, she loves to travel and will go anywhere there are ski slopes.

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Closet Organization

by Scott Zeller
 

566

 

Closet Organization Ideas that Are Borderline Genius

 

If your closet is a clutter, it could be that you just need some closet organization ideas. Closets, no matter the size, tend to be a catchall. But, fret not. Read this blog post to learn some tips to clean up those closets and get some structure.

If your closet is a clutter, it could be that you just need some closet organization ideas. Closets, no matter the size, tend to be a catchall. We often toss in our shoes and handbags, and hang up our garments without any consideration to organization. But, fret not. It’s easy to clean up those closets and establish some structure. Here’s how.

Invest in a Closet System

If you crave more closet space, you don’t have to put your home through a full-scale remodel — just put a closet system in place. The idea with a closet system is to maximize the space your closet already provides. By using hanging bars, drawersAud, shelves, and cubby storage, you can properly organize your clothing and other items. This way, when you open your closet door to put something away or retrieve something, you’ll know exactly where to go. 

Put a Pull-Down Bar in Place

This is a good closet organization idea when you want to keep clothes out of the way but still accessible when you need them. Many movable clothing rods are designed with telescoping pull rods to adjust to any closet size. Here’s a good example to learn more about how pull-down bars work in a closet.

Keep Your Shoes at a Slant

Many homeowners are satisfied if their shoes make it onto a storage rack instead of being tossed on the floor. But here’s a smart tip for you: By storing your shoes on slanted shelves, you can better see what you’re grabbing. No need to stand on tippy toes to see the top shelf — one quick glance and you’ll know whether you’re reaching for those strappy black sandals or sassy ankle boots. If you’re storing tall boots (because every Texan should have at least a couple pairs of cowboy boots), look for inserts that help boot shafts stay upright.

Get Creative

When it comes to closet organization, it pays to think outside the box. Want a clever way to keep your scarves from getting into a tangled mess? Grab a paper towel holder from the kitchen and roll your scarf around it. Searching for an orderly way to store your t-shirts? Keep them organized with stacking letter trays from your office. The trays keep the tees separated so when you need one, you won’t disrupt the whole stack.

If you’re tired of haphazardly cramming stuff in your closet, tap into the ideas above to restore some order to the closets in your home. Do you know of some other closet organization ideas? Share below!

 

Audrey Sellers is an award-winning, Dallas-based writer and editor with a background in marketing and promotions. She’s a former magazine editor turned blogger who’s a pro at crafting all kinds of engaging content: blog posts, case studies, feature stories, social media content, and more. When her fingers aren’t flying on her laptop, she’s busy not relaxing with her husband and two young kids.

 

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Coldwell Banker Snow and Wall
1980 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro TN 37129
Mobile: 615-479-4776
Business: 615-893-1130
Fax: 615-893-3246

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