Archive for Guidance Realty Homes

Resolution Woes? Get Inspired Here

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Each New Year means making a list of the same old resolutions. And never looking at the list again. Perhaps considering traditions in other countries may help inspire you to follow through on some of those oh-so-familiar resolutions.

Want to increase face-to-face interactions and get to know your neighbors better? Do what they do in Scotland. Shortly after midnight, neighbors visit each other and pass on well wishes in a tradition called “first footing.” The Scots also celebrate the New Year with Hogmanay, a time of midnight games, food and general merriment.

The Japanese can inspire you to keep your house organized, finances balanced and relationships stable. New Year’s traditions in this country include making sure their homes are clean and debts are paid. Most importantly, they forgive old grievances and start fresh in the New Year.

In the Netherlands, purging the old and getting ready for the new happens in the streets. People burn old Christmas trees to show they are getting rid of the old.

You could get rid of your old ways too; try keeping your resolutions this year.

’Tis the Season … to Decorate

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The holiday season is about the only time we can indulge our decorating fantasies. Whether your dream décor is over the top or simple and elegant, the following will give you ideas to make your holiday fantastic.

  • Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and home for the latest design trends. For example, during Halloween, we saw painted pumpkins (even gold-leafed) used as flower centerpieces. For Christmas and Hanukkah, we’ll see more clever ideas for reimagining and repurposing holiday décor items.
  • The DIY trend continues: Make your own Christmas ball garland by stringing your favorite ornaments on fish line, twine or ribbon. It works beautifully on your fireplace mantle or stair railing (but don’t forget to leave spaces for hand holds).
  • Last year the emphasis was on mercury glass, but this year there’ll be a reversion back to natural materials that focus on a central theme such as a classic winter wonderland.
  • Consider clusters of beribboned ornaments on tabletops and use flameless candles and strings of lights to brighten up darker corners.
  • Advent calendars are making a comeback – in an unexpected and fun way. Stretch a string across your fireplace and hang 24 numbered and handmade paper cones containing small gifts and candies. The kids can pull off one a day from December 1 to 24.

6 Habits Successful Agents Share

In talking with agents we have noticed that the truly great agents share the attributes below: Here are 6 essential habits that great real estate agents have.

Successful Agents

Seven Tips for Surviving the Holiday Road Trip

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The holidays are a time of candy canes, presents, and, of course, long car trips to visit family and friends across the country.

Surviving a road trip can be a challenge even for adults – but with kids? Well, you just have to prepare ahead. Following are some tips to get you started:

1. Smile through the “Daddy I have to go,” moments by packing toilet paper and bringing a potty chair.

2. For babies, attach colorful mobiles that are out of reach but within visual range of their car seats. They’ll be happily occupied for hours.

3. Encourage toddlers to pack their own backpacks for the trip with their special toys and stuffed animals.

4. Take pictures at rest stops or even in the car to relive those funny moments.

5. Kids love car games. For rural trips, get the kids to watch for white cows or barns or tractors. In urban areas, you can play the license plate game, watching for out-of-town vehicles or trying to figure out vanity plates. Twenty questions can be fun too.

6. Bring good-for-you snacks such as fruit and cheese. You’ll feel better when you reach your destination if you and the kids haven’t binged on candy for eight hours.

7. And don’t forget about you. Bring your own stash of goodies to enjoy when everyone else is asleep. And do take turns driving. It’s safer and will make the trip much more enjoyable for everyone – even the driver.

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Agents: Learn How To Boost Your Referral Network

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This featured Article from Realtor Magazine by Ian Grace covers how you can grow your referral network to expand your reach and market. As a registered agent with Guidance Realty you are already one step ahead. Our program’s premise is to help build your referral network and increase your closings. Read more

Recipe: Leftover Turkey and Cranberry Sauce Sandwich

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Serves 4

Need some new ideas for post-Thanksgiving leftovers? This sandwich is easy and delicious.

12 ounces leftover turkey slices (breast or dark meat)

1 cup leftover turkey or other stock

4 sweet bread rolls

4 heaping tablespoons cream cheese

4 tablespoons leftover cranberry sauce (or more to taste)

Directions

Place the stock and turkey slices in a shallow pan and heat on low to warm through, turning once.

Meanwhile, cut rolls in half and warm in a toaster oven.  Once warm, spread a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese on one side of the bread, followed by a tablespoon (or more to taste) of the cranberry sauce on the other half of the roll.

Lift the turkey slices out of the simmering stock and let excess liquid drip off, then add to the sandwich. Enjoy!

Does Home Ownership Have Any Non Economical Benefits?

Wondering if home ownership matters? check out this great info-graphic on the social benefits of home ownership.

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80% of Potential Home Buyers Search Online First

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Technology plays a vital role in today’s society and is transforming the way Realtors do business. That’s according to Curt Beardsley, vice president of product marketing for realtor.com, who shared his perspective on the growing mobile technology environment at the “Industry, Technology and Vision” forum during the Realtors Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. Read more

Ask the Agent: What are Closing Costs?

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What are closing costs, and how much will they cost me?

You’ve finally found your dream home and budgeted what you think you’ll need for expenses. But some first-time homebuyers forget that closing costs are part of the deal.

Closing costs are expenses outside of your mortgage that you’ll need to pay before you pick up the keys. Here’s a breakdown:

Appraisal – this is required for conventional mortgages and will typically run between $150 to $500.

Title Insurance – this insurance protects against problems that may arise with your title and can cost $350 and up.

Other costs can include title search fees, attorney fees, government recording fees, hazard insurance and home inspection fees. Be sure to ask your mortgage company early on in the process for a ball park estimate on what your closing costs will look like. If you’re considering purchasing a home in Orlando-Florida, NY-Metro, or Northern Virginia area, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable Guidance Realty Homes Agents for more information on these costs plus ask about the $350 credit towards your appraisal cost when using our affiliated mortgage company.

 

Budgeting Basics for First-time Buyers

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Buying your first home is a lot of fun but there is more to it than meets the eye when it comes to budgeting. Most new home owners are financially savvy enough to calculate the basics such as taxes, insurance payments, etc. but tend to forget less obvious expenses. Here to help are a few budgeting basics for first time home buyers:

Moving Expenses: Truck rentals, time off of work and, of course….gasoline. The act of moving is an expense whether you do it yourself or pay others to do it for you so plan accordingly.

Maintenance: From lawn care to fixing a door knob, owning your own home involves maintenance. Few first time home buyers remember the expense of maintaining a yard until they move in. Don’t be caught by surprise because this is one area where expenses can add up fast. Set aside funds for a lawn service and pool maintenance, or plan to purchase the tools required to do it yourself, including lawnmowers, garden and hand tools plus other general maintenance items.

Utilities & Communication: New home buyers are frequently surprised by the cost of utilities in their new home. Set aside enough funds for deposits and the first payment for utilities, phone, cable and other necessities. Don’t forget to find out if your cell phone, cable, and other services are available in the new area otherwise, you may be forced to break a contract to obtain services.

If you’re using a Guidance Realty Homes agent, remember that you’ll receive some extra spending money through Guidance Realty Homes’ commission rebate program which is half a percent (½ %) off the purchase priceThat’s $1,500 on a $300,000 home for you to use however you like. And although this can help you offset some expenses early on, you’ll still need to budget wisely for future expenses. Helping home buyers is our passion so call one of our professionals today!