3 Traits to Look for in a Real Estate Agent

Let’s face it – selecting a real estate agent can be difficult, particularly for home sellers who are afraid to say “No.”

As a home seller, it is your responsibility to find a real estate agent who can help you maximize the value of your residence. At the same time, it is important to hire a real estate agent who will respond to your home selling concerns and questions and do whatever it takes to streamline the process of selling your house.

Ultimately, there are three key traits to consider when you search for a real estate agent:

1. Creativity

Your real estate agent should understand that no two homes are identical. Thus, this professional will be unafraid to think outside the box and consider a wide range of solutions to any problem.

Typically, a creative real estate agent will approach problems with an open mind. By doing so, this professional can consider every opportunity and offer a variety of recommendations to ensure you can find the right solution to any problem, at any time.

Ask a real estate agent how he or she has approached unforeseen challenges in the past. This will give you a glimpse into whether a real estate agent embraces challenges or shies away from them. Plus, you may be able to find out if a real estate agent will think creatively to resolve problems throughout the home selling process.

2. Expertise

Ideally, you’ll want to find a real estate agent who possesses the skills and know-how to sell your home in a buyer’s or seller’s market. If this professional boasts many years of experience, and as such, he or she likely has helped numerous home sellers get the best offers for their residences consistently.

Be sure to get references from a real estate agent. This will allow you to contact past clients and learn how a real estate agent helped them sell their residences.

3. Honesty

Although many real estate agents may claim to be honest and forthright with clients, it is paramount to employ a real estate agent who will help you set realistic expectations for the home selling process.

For example, your real estate agent should be able to offer advice and suggestions to enhance your house’s interior and exterior. And if your real estate agent notices a glaring problem with your residence that may damage its value, he or she should be ready to notify you about this issue right away.

Furthermore, your real estate agent should be able to keep you updated throughout each stage of the home selling process. He or she also will be prepared to share homebuyers’ feedback about your home, regardless of whether this feedback is positive or negative.

With an honest real estate agent at your side, you’ll be able to get the support you need to simplify the home selling cycle. As such, you should have no trouble navigating each stage of the home selling process.

How to Lengthen the Life of Cut Flowers

We all want our flowers to last forever. We want it so much that there are entire aisles in Michael’s devoted to plastic flowers that will bloom for eternity. But when it comes to creating a warm atmosphere with pleasant fragrances, nothing compares to the real thing. Here’s how to get the most of your potted plants and flowers.

Choose your plants wisely

All plants are different. Some flower for different lengths of time or even at completely opposite times of the year. When it comes to cut flowers, they too last varying lengths depending on the species. The time a cut flower lasts before wilting is called its vase life. The vase life is a hard life. But certain flowers withstand it better than others.

  • Chrysanthemums (25-30 days) – They’re not a flashy flower, and they don’t need much to survive in a vase other than fresh water each day
  • Orchids (10-30 days) – There are countless varieties of orchids available. Aside from their unique form and appearance, orchids can also be surprisingly hardy
  • Anthurium or “flamingo flower” (15-45 days) – Flamingo flowers are a rare sight, and last quite a long time if maintained properly. But pet owners beware: they’re considered toxic to dogs and cats

Preparing the vase

The first thing to remember is to clean a vase thoroughly before you put flowers in it. Once clean, start to prepare your water.

Plants need food too. If your flowers came with plant food this is the best option for preserving your flower. Otherwise, there are homemade recipes for plant solution that usually involve something acidic and something sugary. Lemon juice and sugar work well mixed with water. Or you can mix one part lemon-lime soda (not diet soda) with three parts water.

Next, cut the flowers slightly longer than the length of the vase and pop them in.

Caring for your flower

The job’s not over once you put the flowers in the vase. The real trick to making flowers last longer is caring for them once in the vase.

  • Trim a centimeter or less off of the stems every other day
  • Add water as needed and refresh the water after a few days. Be sure to add your plant food solution as well
  • The flowers themselves can be maintained as well. Most flowers benefit from being misted with water once every day or two. Others recommend spraying things like hair spray which acts as a preservative directly onto the petals. Though it seems do defeat the purpose of taking such care to keep the flowers healthy.
  • Be sure to keep the flowers in a temperate place. If the flowers or water heat up or cool down too much the flowers could wilt

The flowers are dead. Now what?

Once the flowers have wilted (hopefully after a long amount of time due to reading the aforementioned tips!) it may seem like you have no further use for them. But there are plenty of creative ways to repurpose wilted flowers on the internet such as making a wreath or even adding them to your bath. Let us know which flowers you’ve had the best luck with!

 

 

Creating a Home Gym for Fitness Beginners

The gym. It’s a place few people enjoy despite the flocks of people lining up to sign up each passing New Year. Exercise is seen as an embarrassing activity to many as most of us aren’t taught how to properly use gym equipment. Equipment that looks more like torture devices than a machine that will help you become stronger and healthier. Enter the home gym. Not only is no one around to watch you attempt your first shaky round of pushups  but also it’s a place we already feel naturally at ease. Keep reading to find out how you can skip gym fees and create a gym in the comfort of your own home.

Make space. A space that allows you enough privacy from the rest of your family to focus on yourself for a while. When choosing your space, consider a room that has a door you can close, contains lots of light, room to hang a full-length mirror to watch your form from, and room to roll out a mat to work on. If you have a room you can dedicate solely to your home gym paint it a color that inspires you. This could be anything from a calming blue to an energizing orange. A good music speaker to blast some tunes is another great feature to add to your home gym to help to inspire.

Know your budget and goals. Don’t be afraid to start with small investments if you are just jumping back into an exercise routine. If your goal is to create a more healthy, active lifestyle you won’t need fancy, expensive equipment to get there. A set of dumbbells and some resistance bands paired with exercises that rely on body weight are enough to get you started and at a low cost to boot.

Extras for experts. As your strength builds and your routine evolves you may start to look to add more variety to your weekly workouts. Some further investments to consider for your home gym could be a stability ball, kettle bell, suspension system, jump rope and /or foam roller. All of these items can add more interest to your routine without costing you an arm and a leg.

Make a plan. This tip doesn’t quite relate to setting up a home gym but, bear with me. Creating a plan for which days you will exercise and what exercises you will be doing will set you and your home gym up for success. Don’t go through all the effort of setting up space for your home gym to have it go unused. Instead, schedule times into your week that you will use your home gym. Think of these time slots as mandatory appointments just like a doctor’s visit or business meeting.

Don’t let the intimidation of the gym prevent you from developing a regular workout routine. By setting up a home gym you can get fit and healthy in the privacy of your own home and at a cheaper cost than the average gym membership. Just don’t forget to schedule time slots throughout your week where you make the most of your new home gym!