Michael Sebastian Office: 714 771 3222 MichaelSebastianHomes.com email@example.com
Orange, CA 92867
As we prepare for the New Year I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the opportunity to be of service to you in 2009. I have some great plans for the new year and hope that you do as well! I also hope you enjoy this issue of Welcome Home magazine. In it you'll find loads of tips and interesting items designed to make home living more enjoyable! If you know of anyone else who might enjoy the magazine, feel free to contact me and I will see to it that they also receive a complementary subscription in your name.
Michael Sebastian 714 771 3222 路 949 795 3989
Visit My Site Email Me
Orange, CA 92867
Welcome Home! Table of Contents 4
Recipe And Design A tasty recipe and a stylish home design how to.
Get More From Your Home
Boost your home’s value with these tips..
Prepping Your Lawns Before The Holidays Keep your lawns tidy this fall.
In The Kitchen. Harvest Spiced White Hot Chocolate is sure to be your new love!
Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. This magazine is not intended to solicit other brokersʼ listings. If you are currently working with another broker, please disregard this information.
Health and Wellness. What is Yoga and why is it so mystical? 9
10 - 11
Accurately Pricing Your Home In Today’s Market
12 - 14
How To Know If Your Yard Is The Tacky One
Find that magic number that will get you the most $$!
Clues that your yard needs an overhaul. 15 - 17 Ready - Set - Sell! How to sell get your home to sell easily. 18 - 19
How To Choose A Realtor Find the perfect Realtor to suit your needs.
20 - 21 Products To Love! Hot trends, technological wonders of tomorrow and so much more! 22 -23 City Spotlight Richmond, VA - nature meets technology with a unique historic twist. 24 DYI Project - September Check out this super cool DIY - Giant Jenga! 25 Businesses That Make A Difference Gap, making a difference in so many ways, and not just fashionably!
All pictures courtesy of sxc.hu or bing.com unless otherwise noted. Thanks to Wikipedia for Random Fact information and aid.
Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.
Recipe and Design Farmer Salad
Ingredients • • • • • • • • •
8 large eggs 8 thick bacon slices, coarsely chopped 8 cups loosely packed baby arugula 4 cups trimmed frisée 2 cups thinly sliced radicchio 2 cups brioche or challah bread cubes, toasted 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese Parmesan Vinaigrette Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Bring 12 cups water to a boil in a large Dutch oven. Add eggs; boil 5 (soft cooked) to 7 (hard cooked) minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water 1 minute; drain. Peel under cold running water. Cut eggs in half. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels. Gently toss together bacon, arugula, next 4 ingredients, and desired amount of Parmesan Vinaigrette. Divide mixture among 8 salad bowls. Top each with 2 egg halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with remaining Parmesan Vinaigrette.
James Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida, Southern Living SEPTEMBER 2012
Pet Project: Round Dog Bed
What You Need: • 1-1/2 yards each of print fabric and lining fabric • 1/2 yard of contrasting fabric for piping cord • 2 -1/2 yards piping cord • 22-inch Zipper • Shredded foam for pet beds Instructions: 1. Cut two 25-1/2-inch circles from print fabric. Cut two 25-1/2 inch-diameter circles from lining fabric. 2. Cut bias strips of contrasting fabric; sew the strips together end to end to make a piping strip long enough to go around a fabric circle. Fold piping strip in half lengthwise with wrong side inside. Slide piping cord inside folded strip. Using a zipper foot on your machine, sew long edges together, stitching close to cord. 3. Place piping on right side of a print circle; align raw edges and baste, clipping the seam allowance as necessary. 4. Layer print circles with right sides together; piping will be contained inside. Pin, adding zipper according to manufacturer's instructions. Using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, sew print circles and zipper together; clip seam allowance. Turn right side out through zipper to complete the bed cover. 5. Layer lining circles with right sides together; stitch together using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning. Clip seam allowance and turn right side out. 6. Fill lining with shredded foam. Stitch opening closed. Insert filled lining into bed cover; zip closed. Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.com
Get More From Your Home Top Five Home Improvements To Bring Value Upon Selling A Home
Every home seller wants to get the highest price for the sale of their home but how many really know what to do and what not to do to get the most return for their investment? There are many home improvements that can be done. Which home improvements are proven to bring the highest return and which home improvements can be nothing but a money pit? One of the best things to do while getting started is to walk your home inside and out and look at it from the eyes of the buyer. When you pull up in front of your home, does it have great curb appeal? What is the first impression? This is very important to remember because we never get a second chance to make a first impression. Next, walk around the yard and look at the grounds, the plants, flowers and trees. Do they look healthy, green and lively? Is the front and back yard free of debris? What is the condition of the exterior of the home, the light fixtures etc? This is called the observation step of getting a home ready to bring top dollar and it is a very important step when getting started. Now let始s take a look at what has been proven to bring a strong return on investment to fix a property to sell. The number one item is paint! Having good exterior and interior paint has proven time and time again to bring top dollar upon sale. Buyers want a home that looks clean and presentable and there始s nothing like a good quality paint job to make a home shine. Studies have also shown that a fresh paint job will speed up the time it takes to sell a home. The number two item is the kitchen! A great kitchen can mean serious profit when selling a home. The kitchen for many buyers is the heart of the home and therefore a very important area to consider. Changing old fixtures, cabinets and flooring can be a good place to start in the kitchen and can make a significant difference in the way a kitchen looks. If one really wants to bring a great return upon sale, a home seller can change the sink, counter tops and the appliances to make the kitchen look like a center piece. This is a great area because a little or a lot of money can be spent upgrading the kitchen. In general, for every $5,000 spent could bring as much as $15,000 in return. The number three item is useable space! A good home can become great if it is completely functional and has all useable space. Many times the way a home is laid out can be improved by knocking out a dysfunctional wall, adding a bathroom or a bedroom, or turning a previously unusable room into a room that has a purpose. Look around the home to look for areas that fit into this category and figure out how they can be expanded or refurbished to bring extra value. The number four item is adding an extra bathroom or upgrading bathrooms! This is a very important area of the home being functional, comfortable and convenient. If the home has two bedrooms and one bathroom, adding a second bathroom will add great value. The average cost to remodel a bathroom with all the bells and whistles is on average $11,000. In most cases this will do more than just pay for itself! It will add a much greater value, make the home more sale-able and bring more money upon sale. Another selling point for bathrooms is to make sure there is plenty of light or adding a skylight can bring extra value. The number five item is adding a redwood deck or enclosed patio! This is a great way to improve the look of the home from the outside. This is also a great way to add extra space and make the home more functional. Many people love to be outside when the weather is nice, barbecue and entertain family or friends. The key to this element is to make sure to use quality materials. This is not an area to cut costs. There are other things that can be done such as making sure the home is clean, the floors are clean, there is no debris or clutter and there are no leaks in the faucets. Written by Matt Larsen . Article courtesy of Isnare.com.
Prepping Your Lawns Before The Holidays
Now that the fall season is upon us and you've done all the damage control you can from summer's unfriendly effects, what can you do for your lawn now that will keep it healthy and beautiful? Lawn maintenance is key for the month of November, the focus should be on sprucing up your lawn and doing any necessary leaf cleanup from October's leaf shedding. Lawn Spruce Up Last minute compost As recommended for September and October, it is a good idea to spread a layer of compost over your lawn. You can patch up and reseed bare spots by adding a layer of compost and spreading
the same type of seeds you have in the area. The next steps include covering the layer of compost and seeds with an even spread of straw while watering the area consistently, which will allow the grass enough time to germinate before extremely cold temperatures occur. Just because winter is right around the corner doesn't mean you can stop watering your lawn. Your lawn still needs some water action before the cold season settles in. Cutting grass During the fall and winter, lawn experts recommend cutting your grass a little higher than usual in order to maintain a deeper root system,
which contributes to a healthier lawn. Before you mow your lawn next time, raise the deck height of your mower to a height of at least two inches for warm season grasses and about three to four inches for cool-season grasses. In the more densely shaded areas of your lawn, you should allow the grass to reach an even taller height. Avoid walking on new lawns New lawns can be very sensitive, especially if they are not carefully monitored to avoid being trampled and stepped on. New grass blades can be damaged so much that they may not be able to survive. Give your
new grass every opportunity to grow by keeping people, especially children, off the lawn. Also, even if the lawn becomes iced over, avoid walking on it. Leaf Clean-Up The more trees you have on your lawn, the more fallen leaves you'll have. It's important not to dismiss fallen leaves and instead to take quick action to remove them, as they can disturb your turf grass, especially recently seeded lawns. Removing leaves quickly will also decrease the chance of insect and lawn disease problems since leaving leaves on your lawn can cause them to
become matted down from rain and moisture, and is more prone to developing insect problems and lawn diseases. To remove leaves from your lawn, a rake or leaf blower both work well. Be careful not to pull up any tender grass blades while using a rake. A bamboo rake can be useful because it does less damage than a plastic or steel rake. If you want to be extra careful with grass blades, a leaf blower will help, although you may want to make sure any and all new seeds have germinated and won't be blown away by the leaf blower. To avoid both the rake
and blower, you have another option with the mulching mower, which can shred leaves into tiny pieces that decompose in the lawn while adding organic matter and nutrients back to the soil. Don't let the name fool you, as the mulching mower does not actually make mulch, but leaves behind compost instead. The mulching mower can be quite beneficial since it leaves compost in the lawn directly as opposed to the trouble of creating a separate compost pile and using that to spread over the lawn.
Written by Fran Phalin. Courtesy of Isnare.com
In The Kitchen Directions: 1.
Harvest Spiced White Hot Chocolate Ingredients: • 1 cup white chocolate chips • 1 cup heavy cream • 4 cups half-and-half (you can also substitute fat-free half and half and it’s good!) • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips, half and half, and heavy cream (or fat free half and half if you are cutting fat/ calories). Stir often until white chocolate chips have completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir occasionally until heated through. Pour into cups and top with a dollop of frozen Harvest Whipped Cream (recipe below).
Harvest Whipped Cream Ingredients: • 1 c. heavy whipping cream • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar • ½ c. candy corn, chopped • zest from one orange (optional) • orange food coloring (optional) 1. Put heavy cream and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until fluffy and firm. Add orange zest and a few drops orange food coloring (optional) 2. Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet lined in wax paper. Sprinkle with candy corn and place in freezer. 3. When frozen, you can remove them and keep in sealed container in freezer until ready to use. They will store for several weeks! Courtesy of gourmetmomonthego.com
Health & Wellness
YOGA What is Yoga? Yoga is a science of health and spirituality that originated many thousands of years ago in India. The ancient yogis sought to harmonize the body, mind and soul in an effort to achieve health, long life, and ultimately, enlightenment. Thus, the Sanskrit word yoga means union with or to join. This union with the divine is achieved through the disciplined practice of specific exercises, meditation and breath work. Yoga is essentially a lifestyle, dealing with all the aspects of our being. The physical postures, or asanas that are widely perceived as yoga, are just one aspect of a very profound science of life. The Eight Limbs of Yoga, articulated by C.E. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutra, describe the eight aspects of a yogic lifestyle. These aspects guide the yogi on a path self-development to harmonize the body, mind and spirit and attain enlightenment. The Eight Limbs of Yoga: The first limb, yama, focuses on one's behavior in the world and attitude towards those around him or her. The five yamas are: ahimsa or nonviolence, satya or truthfulness, asteya or non-stealing, bramacharya or non-lust, aparigraha or non-possessiveness. The second limb, niyama, refers to one's behavior and attitude towards oneself. There are five niyamas: sauca or cleanliness, santosha or contentment, tapas or austerity, svadhyaya or study of the sacred text and of oneself, and isvarapranidhama or living with an awareness of the divine. Asanas or physical poses are the third limb. Asanas are designed to bring strength, vitality and relaxation to every bodily system. Pranayama, or breathing exercises, encompass the fourth limb. Through disciplined regulation of the breath-the duration of inhalation, retention and exhalation, one strengthens and cleanses the nervous system. The result is increased life-force and a calmer mind. The fifth limb is prathayara or withdrawal of the senses. One's focus goes inward, losing awareness of what is going on outside of oneself. Dharana, or concentration is the sixth limb. One trains the mind to focus without distractions. Dhyana, or meditation is the seventh limb. In meditation one practices constant observation of the mind, stilling the mind in order to heighten one's awareness and oneness with the universe. The final limb, the ultimate goal of yoga, is samadhi or enlightenment. It is the achievement of oneness with the universe in which one experiences a state of peace, utter contentment and completion. Yoga as it was designed and practices by the ancient yogis encompasses all these aspects of the self and of life. It is a spiritual path and a lifestyle meant to lead the student towards health, self-knowledge, and union with the divine. Written by Dayna Dias. Courtesy of Isnare.com
Accurately Price Your Home In Todayâ€™s Market An unrealistic asking price may impede the sale of your home. But undermining your profit margin is also unwise.
Pricing your home accurately – especially in the middle of an entrenched buyerʼs market – is always a bit challenging. But if youʼre trying to sell a house or condo these days, intelligent pricing is critical. Those who are off the mark by a slight amount may wind up off target completely in terms of attracting a qualified and interested buyer, and those who price their home unreasonably high may be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot. Here are four tips for figuring out how to price your property, without “leaving money on the table” by selling yourself short:
properties are really worth. Thatʼs fine if you are just testing the waters, but it can be counterproductive if you intend to sell within a reasonable amount of time. Take the average price per square foot you gathered from your data analysis and multiply it by the number of square feet in your home to find out what the marketʼs average valuation for your house happens to be. Add value for extraordinary features like a new kitchen, a garage apartment, or an oversized lot. Subtract for such things as needed repairs or peeling paint, less bathrooms than other comparable homes, or heating and air conditioning systems that will soon need to be replaced.
Know Your Primary Motive for Selling Be Decisive Understanding why you want to sell is the first step, and the most important. If you are selling to capture capital gains, for example, your strategy regarding pricing will be much different that if you are selling to move to a new job in another city. Those selling to avoid imminent financial problems, for instance, may need to price their house lower – and sacrifice some of the proceeds – in order to inspire a faster sale. If you donʼt need to sell by a particular deadline, you can afford to price your house at the high end of the spectrum and “fish” for a while for an interested buyer. After a couple of weeks you can adjust your price lower if you arenʼt attracting enough interest. Find Out What Buyers are Paying for Houses like Yours To find out what buyers are paying for comparable houses, have a Realtor print out a market report that shows recent sales data for nearby homes with similar amenities and square footage. Compare the asking prices to the actual sales prices, to find out if other sellers have been pricing their houses too high. Accurate pricing usually reflects a gap of no more than 10 percent between what is asked and the final price. Study the "time on the market” data, to see how long it takes houses to sell. If they are selling faster than average, it may be because they are priced below average. If they stay on the market longer than normal, it may indicate that they are overpriced or need repairs that are not discounted from the price. Price it Objectively
Decide ahead of time what constitutes a reasonable offer to purchase. Knowing what your bottom line final price is will help you make quick, clear decisions under pressure. Establish a price range that you consider acceptable, and if you arenʼt getting results, be prepared to lower your price at strategic intervals of time. A good way to plan ahead for price adjustments is to create benchmark dates on a calendar. If you reach a benchmark and have not gotten the results you expected, be decisive and businesslike – not emotional – about changing your price. Be ready to recognize if the time is not right for you to reach your goals. Trying to sell when you arenʼt convinced youʼre ready to can be frustrating and will likely cost you more money in the long run. It may be better to wait for the market to rebound, perhaps leasing your home or taking out a home equity loan to tide you over in the meantime. Another important thing to keep in mind regarding pricing is that buyers and Realtors search the MLS database using specific price parameters. If you arenʼt within their search range they wonʼt even know your house is on the market. For example, if you hope to attract buyers who are shopping for homes within the $250,000 - $300,000 range but your home is priced at $315,000, you may be pricing yourself out of your target market. Similarly, if you are asking $300,000 for your home you may be connecting with a whole pool of buyers that wouldnʼt find you if you were priced at $301,000, because they are only searching up to the round number price of $300,000.
When housing prices are falling steadily it is easy for sellers to cling to a false sense of what their Written by Jeff Hammerburg. Courtesy of Isnare.com
How To Know If Your Yard Is The Tacky One Clues that your beloved yard ornaments need an overhaul.
Weʼve all seen it, weʼve all pointed at it and weʼve pretty much all lived beside it. The yard with tacky written all over it. What makes a house look like it is from What Not to Wear. Bottom line is itʼs you and your taste and love of dollar store trivialities. Or, itʼs your friends and family and your weak-willed nature that fills your front yard with the abominable, plastic doodads. Well, stop it! Trade your crooked, bentover, gardenerʼs spine for a straight sunflower backbone. Hereʼs how to tell if your yard is part of the tacky tourist tour in your city: • You have a ½ barrel spilling purple petunias (and the odd weed), surrounded by a medium-sized rock and a round dug-out area.
• You have white, quartz pebbles in any part of your garden and especially beside the driveway in rectilinear rows of what resembles poodle-droppings. • You leave-up and plug-in your multicolored Christmas lights all year round. • You have a ceramic goose and you dress it up for all holidays including your dogʼs birthday. • You buy inflatables, of any variety…even at Christmas, they are not cool and if you have more than one be prepared for midnight pinattacks…to watch it die slowly. • Too many colors in your planting arrangement. Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue…I can see a rainbow, see a rainbow, see a rainbow too. Enough said. • Even worse then that??? Fake flowers. So, you have a black thumb or youʼre just lazy… let it go. Put some grass seed down instead. Fake flowers can melt in the sun, be covered with cat urine and they fade PDQ. • If you buy the following plants you are borderline (mind the pun) tacky: marigolds, petunias and begonias. These plants are wayyyy out of fashion (unless you grow marigolds in your herb gardens to put on salads). Cʼmon, really, get with the times and accept change. Go wild, throw in the odd Japanese Anemone or ornamental grass or really go crazy and throw in a gigantic allium that is bigger than your kidʼs head. • Garden sculptures and garden ornaments are all about the usage. So, you like garden gnomes. Garden gnomes are great, but moderation is the key. Or, if youʼre overly excited about the seven-million dwarfs, at bare minimum, keep them against the perimeter fence and out of the direct view of your neighbors windows. If you have them on your front lawn, whistling while they work,
and NONE go missing by the end of the season, you know a) that no one wants the monstrosities and b) there are no such things as dwarfs or gnomes that come to life at night (or fairies for that matter). • Plastic…anything plastic (not resin that looks like concrete) is a huge no, no! Think, would you put that in your house (well, you probably would if you have any of these yard and garden features listed)? If you wouldnʼt, than think about this…your neighbors get a first impression of the interior of your home, by looking at the exterior. Also, your garden should be an extension of your home, like a room of its own. • House Butterflies. Ok, they were cute in the late 70ʼs. You know what? No, they werenʼt even cute then. I bet some people have not bought a house that was up for sale because of the orange, metal monarch butterflies bolted to
the side of the house instead of blissfully on their way to the mountains of Mexico. • A car on blocks looks, well, quite frankly abysmal. • Grass. Cut the stuff. If its so long you get bikini rash and wild animals come for dinner then you know itʼs too long. • Flags. One or two decorative flags are nice, provided you donʼt have any of the other stuff listed here, but more than that and oh my. If you are reading this, chances are you have some style and pizzazz which follows through to a stylish garden. Therefore, there is that person on your street that has many of these items. My advice to you: walk by and note the number of the house, print off this article and mail it anonymously. Feel free to add your own notation about that one thing that drives you crazy…sit back and watch the bonfire. Written by Kate Robertson. Courtesy of Isnare.com
READY - SET - SELL! Preparing Your Home To Sell In A Buyers’Market
Sluggish. Slow. Decreasing. Those are words that are being applied to the recent housing sales markets. If youʼre planning to sell, the news is nowhere near as bad as the doomsayers are making it sound. The problem is that there are so many people trying to sell their homes right now. The number of choices on the market encourages buyers to be choosy and to hold out for the perfect home at the best price. Any Realtor will tell you, though, that homes are selling – and when they sell, itʼs because the prospective buyer fell in love at first sight.
The homes that sell are those that “wow” buyers from the curb and woo them all the way through to the back yard. So how do you turn your hearth into a new buyerʼs heart throb? The same way that youʼd attract a new beau – freshen up, put on a little makeup and sport the most attractive outfit you can find. Five Steps to Wow Them at the Curb. Curb appeal is the real estate equivalent of sex appeal. That first view of your house may not break a sale – but it can definitely make it. 1. Get rid of clutter in the yard. Donʼt kid yourself that the bikes and Big Wheels tell buyers a home is wellloved and family-friendly. Stow the stuff – the kidsʼ toys, the gas grill, the rake leaning against the porch - and not in the garage. Youʼll want that to look nice and clean, too. 2.Make any cosmetic repairs that the house needs. Clogged gutters? Hanging drainpipe? Shutter off kilter? Spend a weekend doing all those little things youʼve been saying youʼll do for the last three years. 3. Freshen up your houseʼs face. If you can, give it a new coat of paint. If your house is sided, this is the time to rent a power washer and give it a good hose down. Donʼt forget to wash the windows and hang pretty window treatments inside, too. While youʼre at it, make sure that mini-blinds are all at the same level in the windows facing the street. Youʼd be surprised what a difference, symmetry makes. 4. Mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, get the tree guy out to lop off those overhanging branches. Fix cracks in the driveway, dig up the moss in between the paving stones. The keyword is manicure – everything should look very, very well taken care of. 5.Wrap it up with a bow. You canʼt exactly put a ribbon in your houseʼs hair, but you can do the next best thing. Flowers offer instant appeal. Hit your local garden shop for a few flats of colorful, in bloom annuals and put in a flower beds along the walkway, or encircle a palm with a bed of impatiens.
Five Steps to Woo Them All the Way. Give the inside of your house the same attention that you did the outside. Hereʼs how to turn attraction into love. 1. Get rid of clutter. Take down family photos, remove those report cards from the front of the fridge, tuck away the cherished collection of knick knacks. When youʼre done, you should have clean counters, clean tables and clean shelves. 2.Clean. Clean. Clean. The key word is spotless. Scrub down walls, wash windows, get rid of the gray fingerprints around doorknobs and light switches. Clean your grout especially in the bathrooms. Shampoo carpets. Added bonus – youʼll have to do far less deodorizing. 3. Pare down furniture to the essentials. Sofa, chair and tables in the living room. Bed, dresser and lamps in the bedroom. Engaging the services of a professional home stager is a very worthwhile investment. 4. If your budget allows for it, go for one or more of these high-ROI home improvements. -Repaint your kitchen and bathroom walls. Choose a warm neutral color. -Replace worn carpets. -Update your kitchen. -Update your bathroom. 5. Try a few psychological tricks. Hang a mirror on the wall opposite your front door. Invest in fresh flower arrangements – but be sure to keep them fresh. Wilted flowers are NOT inviting. Play classical music – softly – when the house is being shown. And a favorite quick-pretty-up trick – toss a clean damp towel and fresh scented dryer sheet in the dryer about half an hour before a showing. Clean laundry smell is even more appealing than chocolate chip cookies or apple pie baking in the oven. Written by Calum McKenzie. Courtesy of Articlesbase.com,
HOW TO CHOOSE A REALTOR
Buying a home is a huge investment. Spending that kind of coin is stressful. Moving carries its own set of challenges, whether it is across town or across country. That's why choosing the right Realtor is so important.
Do your homework. Scan the local real estate listings for agents who represent properties similar to what you want to buy. Some agents specialize by price range or home type. Pick three or four and call them to feel them out. If you leave a message and it takes them a week to call you back, they might not give you the time you need to house hunt. If their voice sounds like nails on a blackboard over the phone, consider whether this will grate on your nerves as you look at houses together for hours on end. Follow your instincts and make appointments with the ones who make it through your initial screening. Meet with prospective agents faceto-face armed with your list of questions. Interview carefully and take notes. Here are some questions to ask during the interview: * Are you a broker or agent? (It's more difficult to earn a broker's license.) * * Is your license current? * * Will you serve as a buyer's agent? * How long have you sold in this area? * How well do you know the area? * Can you show me your sales track record? * Are you part time or full time? Do you work nights and weekends? * Can you give me three references? (Call them!) * Are you a member of the National Association of Realtors®? * What services are included? * How large or small is the agency you represent? * Is your commission (normally 6%) negotiable? * Will you show For Sale By Owner homes? * Will you show new construction homes? * Do you pre-visit listings before showing them to me? * What recent training have you taken?
Try not to get sucked into a buyer's contract with the agent you select. If they insist upon one, keep it to a short timeframe. You do not want to get stuck with an agent that isn't working out! Don't underestimate the importance of number knowing the area. If you are relocating from outside of the region, this is crucial. You want an agent that knows traffic patterns, school districts, local politics, and more. That way the agent can direct you to other community resources, all of which play a role in your happiness factor in your new community. All too often an agent sounds good on paper and answers all the questions right. He or she may have a long list of references and a great sales track record, but if you donʼt click or the Realtor doesnʼt seem responsive to your needs. Donʼt waste time – ask to work with another Realtor in your agentʼs office or keep looking till you find the right person. Working with the right Realtor can help your make the home buying process a smooth one!
Written by Brad Chandler. Courtesy of Isnare.com,
Products To Love In September Of all the fall fashions I love the most, the beanie is the one that steals my heart! In this snowboarder chick始s opinion, there is nothing hotter than a dude, who knows wheat he始s doing on a snowboard, rocking a Burton beanie. The Sabbatical Beanie from Burton combines the best features of a beanie and a ball cap for a super cute fall style. Made from 100% Acrylic, this solid color ribbed Brim Beanie with a Skully Fit is sure to turn some heads. Please click here for more information.
Reviewed by Rural Jungle Testing
A new edition of Better Homes and Gardens best-selling landscaping book. Packed with 408 pages of all-new material from the editors of Better Homes and Gardens books, this complete landscaping guide has everything you need to know transform your yard. More than 700 photographs and 100 step-by-step projects show you how to improve grading, plant successfully, build a deck, and much more. Plus an all-new plant encyclopedia! It's everything you need to know to improve your view. Cost estimate, time needed to complete, skill level, and material list included with every project. Please click here for more information.
The unique and innovative Gardener is an ideal tool to use in any garden. With the sturdy chair and the durable detachable bag and tools, this item will become the focal point of any gardener's tool accessory. The detachable bag allows for multiple uses and creates a convenient storage compartment when needed. Features: A Trowel, Spade, Weeder, Hand held rake, Garden fork , canvas carry along tote and a sturdy foldable seat. Please click here for more information.
Products To Love In September
Need to tidy your house and tuck somethings away but don始t want to rent a whole storage unit? We think the perfect solution are these Grey Storage Bags! Made from super sturdy 600 denier polyester they keep the dirt and bugs away while still allowing your clothes, or whatever you choose to stuff them with, fresh! They come in five different sizes including one just the right height to slide under the bed. Please visit www.the containerstore.com for more information.
Have we got a candle for you! Worried about your house not smelling it始s freshest but don始t want to spend a small fortune on Febreeze? Gold Canyon Candles are your answer! The Clean Sheets or Pomegranate from their Heritage line are truly delightful, the only problem you might have is trying to keep your buyers interested in the house and not the candle! Please visit www.goldcanyon.com for more information.
Sick and tired of fighting with your ancient push mower every time you need to mow the lawn? Tired of stray tufts of grass left over and crazy lines in your yard after all the hours of sweat and effort? Let us end your pain and frustration! We give you the ExMark Quest Zero Point Turn Riding Mower! This beautiful machine can handle most anything a yard has to hand out, while keeping you off your poor abused feet. And besides, we heard that it has a really comfy seat! Please visit www.exmarkquest.com for more information.
Richmond, VA Among natural delights is Richmond, a city full of technology, business opportunities with a nod towards its future economic development. Fortunately, with such natural delights and historical emphasis Richmond will never escape its past.
Richmond, Virginia is a city surrounded by history working hard to achieve a good future. Not far from Richmond on the James River is Jamestown, the first settlement in the United States by the British and 30 miles north of Richmond is Williamsburg, start of the Virginia colony. The American Civil War raged through the heart of Richmond which was the capital of the old South and battlefields, houses, and memories from that time exist around the city still. Richmond has become famous for Monument Avenue, a long stretch of highway downtown which features huge stone statues of civil war heroes. Monument Avenue was also a bronze statue of tennis great Arthur Ashe who defeated racial segregation to become one of the premier tennis players in the world and work to ensure racial equality and understanding within the world of professional sports. However Richmond is much more than monuments and flags. It is surrounded by natural treasures. Maymont Park Near the center of downtown Richmond is Maymont Park. Once a 100 acre private residence owned by wealthy family named the Dooley's, they donated the entire estate to the people of Richmond for the future of the city. The park features a visitor center with aquatic displays, a children's petting zoo, an Italian garden, amazingly well constructed Japanese garden from two periods of Japanese history, and a horse carriage museum. Amidst all that is a sprawling open park for picnicking and relaxation. Maymont Park is free and open to the public and hosts many events to educate citizenry and visitors on conserving
the land and natural resources of central Virginia. Ginter botanical Gardens One of the highlights to any trip to Richmond is a trip through the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The sprawling environment features several specialized Gardens including: the four seasons Garden made of indigenous materials and mythical fountains, a healing Garden made of plants used for medicine and medieval healing, a sunken garden designed and shaped like ancient Rome and the Rose Garden framed around a reflecting pool set aside by the many colors of roses available. The Ginter Gardens also feature walkways and an educational center, a horticultural awareness center and a peaceful healing environment for anyone who needs a little rest and beauty in their lives. The Gardens charge a minimal fee for entering and participants can stay as long as they desire. Cold Harbor Battlefield Because Civil War history plays so much a part in the Richmond landscape, preserved battle sites and houses can be seen in and around the Richmond area. By far the best preserved is the Cold Harbor Battlefield park. Located on Route 156 slightly south of Mechanicsville, Virginia approximately 25 miles from Richmond, this battlefield features a 1 mile paved walk through the last battlefield the south won on during the Civil War. Place markers show bunkers that have been preserved, Union and Confederate lines and lead to the Garthwright House a structure remaining from the Civil War that was used as a hospital for Union soldiers. Cold Harbor Battlefield offers a peaceful beautiful walk through history. Written by James Brown, courtesy of Isnare.com
DYI Project - September Giant Jenga You’ll need: • • • •
2x4 boards (enough for 48 pieces 10 1/2 inches in length) 5 different colors of paint Sand Paper Sealant (Optional)
1. First you need to buy enough 2x4 boards to cut into forty-eight 10 1/2 inch pieces. You can cut the boards yourself or have them cut at your local lumber yard. Try to avoid wood that has large knots or holes in it. 2. Next sand all the edges, so everything is smooth and can slide easily across each other. 3. Last paint the ends in five different colors: Grassy Meadow, Field Poppy, Safe Harbor, Panama Rose and Crumb Cookie. 4. (Optional Step) Apply sealant if desired. If you do decide to seal also keep in mind that some sealers (like polyurethane) can change your paint colors (like tinting your whites more yellow). Although I do plan to keep my jenga set outside plenty, I will probably store them in the garage during the seasons with a lot of moisture to keep them from warping. 5. Have Fun!
Courtesy of abeautifulmess.com
Businesses That Make A Difference
At Gap Inc., social responsibility is fundamental to how we do business.
There, you'll find up-do-date information about our programs and activities in four key areas (supply
It means everything from ensuring that workers are treated fairly to addressing our environmental impact.
And it's now covered in depth on our new social responsibility website at www.gapinc.com/socialresponsibility. What are we doing to be a responsible company? We're working around the world to improve factory conditions and help women advance. We're designing more sustainable stores and products, and getting creative about protecting natural resources. We're continuing to
make Gap Inc. a company where people are proud to work and able to reach their career goals. We're investing in communities by applying business innovation to social challenges. We've created a new social responsibility site. We've shifted from a printed report to a websiteÂ â€“ it's more informative, timely, interactive and environmentally friendly.Â
chain, environment, employees and community investment), including videos, stories, detailed data, and a world map highlighting our work; there's even a section on the social and environmental initiatives of our individual brands: Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime and Athleta. Check out www.gap.com to find out more.
This month's random fact may come as a shock to many people. There is a rainforest in North America! Sorry guys, South America does not have the only ones, not by a long shot. Washington State has the only temperate rainforest on the North American continent and one of the few in the world. It is also one of the largest.
Washington's Olympic National Park, specificially the Olympic Peninsula is home to the Hoh Rainforest. With giant trees, beaches of both sand and rock, huge monoliths, beautiful board walks and even an island that is a scared burial place for local native American tribes it is everything that one could dream up in a rainforest and so very much more.
So the next time you see someone crusading to save the Brazilian rainforest, you might enlighten them. American rainforests need saving too! Most people just don't know it is there.
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Michael Sebastian specializes in professional real estate services, combining the finest in traditional service and the latest in technology and marketing to assure you top dollar when you sell your home and convenience in acquiring your next home. Michael Sebastian is partnered with OC Signature Properties, Inc, which is highly regarded in the community and focused on superior client care and results. Contact Michael at email@example.com or (949) 795 3989.
Published on Sep 3, 2013