The Attitude of Gratitude: Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

The Attitude of Gratitude: Giving Thanks This Holiday Season
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Often life is lived in the hustle and bustle of the chaos that surrounds us. Work, soccer practice, grocery shopping, dinner time, family time, back to work… Life can be one big, repetitive, and routine circle. We go through the year at rapid pace, from one thing to the next. Before you know it, another year has come and gone, the kids are growing up, and life seems as though it’s passing by in a blink of an eye. The holidays are no exception, and become a time of year when many people feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead of cherishing this time with family, many people just wish for the holidays to be over. In reality, the holidays should be the time of year to be grateful and thankful, and to reflect on the amazing people and things you have in your life.

We suggest practicing an attitude of gratitude this year and seeing how different this holiday season will be with your loved ones. Take time each day to think of the things you are grateful for. Write your list down and ponder on them from day to day. Living in a life of gratitude will change your perception and allow you to enjoy the little things in life more without the stress of what’s next.

3 Ways to Live a Life of Gratitude:

Think about what you are truly grateful for in life. Start a journal and every morning write down 3 things you are grateful for. Having them written down helps your mind to focus more on the positive then the negative.

1. Tell your family and friends how much you care for them and why you are thankful they are in your life.

Verbalizing your gratitude for those you care about in your life spreads the attitude of gratitude to others, making a bigger ripple of happiness and good cheer.

2. Give to someone in need.

The art of giving helps us to focus on all the amazing things we have in life. It’s a great way to take your mind off of you and focus on those who may be in need of life’s most basic necessities. Giving comes in the form of more than just a monetary value. If you aren’t in the financial position to give money, then give of your time and watch how appreciative those who need help will be. It’s rewarding.

3. Living a life with an attitude of gratitude attracts even more amazing opportunities into your life. 

When you feel yourself getting caught in the race of life, take a few minutes – breathe and begin to reflect on all that you are grateful for in life – even when you don’t feel like it. After a few weeks of practicing this lifestyle, you’ll notice your life beginning to shift and change as a result of your perspective changing.

Living with an attitude of gratitude allows life to slow down just a bit, and opens the door for amazing opportunities to share love with those around you.

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Three Tips for Contracting Referral Agents

Three Tips for Contracting Referral Agents

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.22.29 AMCompetition is not always a negative thing. It encourages businesses to push beyond the “status-quo” in order to gain an edge on the market. And in real estate, your competitors – whether direct or indirect – can be leveraged as a secret key to your agency’s success. Building a professional referral system with other realtors can help attract new clients to your agency that you would have not had opportunity to work with otherwise. Here’s three tips to successfully building referral agent relationships.

1) Understand Your Strengths and Areas of Opportunity

The first step in building successful referral agent relationships is understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps you know one particular city very well, but are not as familiar with the next city over. Or you specialize in residential, but not commercial. In understanding where you are strongest at, and where your room for improvement or disinterest lies, you can understand how a referral agent can best help you.

2) Build Your Network and Establish Your Rapport

Once you assessed your own strengths and weaknesses, observe your competitors key competencies and areas of opportunity. When considering a referral agent, ask the questions “How can I provide added value to them, and how can they be beneficial to me?”. In asking these questions, you will narrow down your referral candidates to a core, mutually-beneficial group.

Equally important is an established rapport within your referral circle. Your success and clients’ happiness speaks volumes. A happy referred client builds not only your credibility, but that of your referral agent’s, too.

3) Keep an Open Line of Communication

Your network of referral agents will continue to grow with consistent, positive and open lines of communication. Keeping the communication lines open will strengthen your relationships with referral partners, attracting them to trust you more and send continued business your way. Consider creating a routine, scheduled follow-up list with your referral partners. Thank them for the referrals they have sent your way; and follow up with them regarding the clients you sent their way. You will also need to communicate and negotiate a fair referral fee for business that satisfies both parties for continued success.

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3 Improvements to Make Before You List Your House

3 Improvements to Make Before You List Your House

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Looking to sell your home in 2016? Essential improvements could enhance the value of your home and help to retain a higher appraisal, which in most scenarios more than covers the cost of the home improvement.

It’s important to ensure there are no major home repair requirements that need to be completed immediately over making upgrades to the home. If you are on a limited budget, choose to make the necessary repairs over upgrading any part of the home. If the roof is leaking, or the plumbing needs repair, that is going to hinder the sale of the home more than needing a paint job or new granite counter-tops.  Having the home inspected will tell you what areas need the most improvement. Realistically, set a budget and hammer away at the “need-to’s” first over the “want-to’s”.

If your home is in overall good condition, making a few minor changes will help to increase the asking price while making your home overall more inviting for the sale. Be practical when it comes to the improvements and keep costs as minimal as possible in order to receive a higher return during the sale.

3 Improvements to Make Before the Sale of Your Home


  1.       Kitchen Upgrades: Kitchen upgrades are among the highest in return on the value of a home. A warm, inviting kitchen is what most homebuyers are searching for when looking to a buy a home. If your kitchen is outdated and needs a facelift it could result in a lower asking price during the sale of your home.  When the homebuyers can see themselves enjoying family time over dinner at the kitchen table, the emotions will lead the way to the close of your home. Reduce the clutter, keep it clean and create a kitchen that says – “I’m yours”. Upgrades don’t need to be expensive, keep it simple and inviting.
  2.       Curb Appeal: Sprucing up the outside is a huge value-add when selling your home. A new paint job, a new front door, and some TLC to the lawn will improve the asking price of your home. If a paint job is necessary, we suggest getting quotes from 3 vendors and comparing them to ensure you are getting the best price possible. If you’re on a budget, painting the trim and window panels may provide just what’s needed for a homebuyer to fall in love. Planting vibrant flowers and adding new mulch to the plant beds will also give the warm and fuzzy feeling that will attract the right homebuyer.
  3.       Fix what’s Broken: Home buyers are less likely to be attracted to a home that requires obvious repairs. Most savvy homebuyers will choose to have the home inspected. New caulk in the bathrooms, fixing the leaky faucets, replacing that broken tile or squeaky wood floor paneling will improve the value of your home and close the deal. Home buyers who can step into a home with minimal to no repairs are required will enable them to focus on visualizing their decorations and furniture in the home. When a home buyer gets their mind on how to decorate versus what repairs need to be made – the closing process becomes much easier and a higher asking price can be supported.

Making value-added improvements to the home is a fun and rewarding process. You can even turn it into a family affair by getting the kids involved in spreading mulch or pulling weeds. It will give them a sense of pride in where they live and allowing them to understand the importance of taking care of their dwelling.

For more great home buying and selling tips, follow the blog weekly.

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Color Staging: Make Your Buyer Feel At-Home

Color Staging: Make Your Buyer Feel At-Home

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.07.49 AM“The chief function of color should be to serve expression.” -Henri Matisse

Take a moment and look at the room around you. Observe the furniture that fills the room. Observe the colors of the furniture and walls. What colors fill the room?

Now take a moment to observe your current mental state. What emotions and thoughts fill your mind? Are you calm and happy, or anxious and agitated?

These are common questions asked and tested by those who study color psychology. Color psychology looks at how certain colors, saturations, and hues determine human mood and behavior.

Particular colors and hues have been shown to elicit particular attitudes. For instance, yellows and orange evoke a vibrant, cheerful mood, while blues and greens are peaceful, tranquil, and calming. Colors can also make a room seem larger or smaller.

As a real estate agent, consider how to leverage color psychology into staging your next listing. Keep in mind how your prospective home owner feels in each room.

How can you best make your potential buyer feel “at-home”? To start, consider Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.13.49 AMwhich rooms are “active” versus “passive”. For active, conservation-filled rooms, such as a dining room, kitchen, or living room, consider using vibrant colors. Orange is a great example of this, as it fills a room with warm energy. Citrus tones are also known to make a room look larger. As Frank Sinatra once said, “Orange is the happiest color”.

Red hues have are beneficial in staging the kitchen and dining room, as studies have found it to also induce appetite. Red has also been shown to stimulate the mind in task-oriented projects- such as in preparing a meal from a cookbook recipe.

Consider using blues in an office setting, as blue inspires productivity and creativity. Lastly, considering using greens in bedrooms, as it kindles serenity.

For more tips from the pros, check out the advantages of home staging.

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The Homes of Boca Raton, Florida

The Homes of Boca Raton, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida is home to some of the most beautiful homes in the state of Florida. It’s known as the city of affluence, spanning from luxury living communities to waterfront estates to great neighborhood living with “A”rated school zones, Boca RaScreen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.06.10 AMScreen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.06.43 AMton homes has plenty to offer each member of the family, no matter what style of living you are looking for.

Many notable athletes and celebrities are proud to call Boca Raton their home. Bon Jovi, a famous member of Songwriters Hall of Fame and well respected artist, is a notable resident of Boca Raton.  The New Jersey native found his heart in the beautiful, sunny city of Boca Raton, and has called it home since.

Another singer/songwriter heartthrob, Ariana Grande, got her start in Boca Raton, Florida. Growing up in the sunshine state, she attended North Broward Prep School, one of the many amazing educational facilities known to Boca Raton, where families can ensure their students are getting some of the best education Florida has to offer. As a community, Boca Raton prides itself on great schools with education that consistently ranks as the highest performing among Florida school districts.

Comedian and actor Adam Sandler, well known for his start in Saturday Night Live, loves Boca Raton Florida so much that he recently bought his mother a home in Boca Raton as her primary residenceScreen Shot 2015-11-10 at 9.06.25 AM. Sandler’s family has also chosen to live locally, enjoying the luxury-living options Boca Raton has to offer.

Mizner Park is one of the central locations for those who live in Boca Raton. With a number of high-end restaurants and luxury condo-style and apartment living, it’s the go-to place to hang out when visiting or residing in Boca Raton. Mizner Park is known as the city’s premier shopping destination, and considered to be the center of Boca Raton. With a variety of shopping and dining such as Lord and Taylor’s, Max’s Grill, and Truluck’s, it provides plenty to do for those looking for the ultimate in luxury living.

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Looking for a place to call home? Boca Raton, Florida is an exciting place with options for every lifestyle. And, while you’re there, you just may run into a celebrity who also enjoys the lifestyle it has to offer.

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Could You Live in a Haunted House if the Price was Right?

Haunted HouseEdwin Gonzalez and his wife Lillian gave living in a haunted house a shot. A Victorian with sweeping rooms and stately grounds, his wife fell in love on the spot and they moved in. Their realtor hadn’t disclosed that the house was haunted and so they thought they’d found the home where they would spend the rest of their lives.

If only they had known. Strange things started happening, ghost sightings and one presence even sat on top of his wife’s chest in the middle of the night! It was that incident that became the tipping point, when enough was enough. They decided they couldn’t live in the property, although they still own it and conduct tours to this day.

What about you? Have you thought about buying a haunted house? Maybe you even desire to live in one? Perhaps you wonder if a haunted house would be a financial steal.

Haunted houses, when the history is disclosed, often make for a good bargain…for hearty souls, those who can abide living alongside beings from the spirit world. If you don’t believe in such happenings, if you’re more of a matter-of-fact person, your deal may be even sweeter.

The good news is, you can usually enter in such an agreement with your eyes open, since most states are required to reveal spectral activity in a seller’s disclosure. There isn’t a check box a seller would mark to indicate whether a home is haunted, or not, but an honest seller would let you know of unexplained phenomena like phantom dogs howling, or ghost babies toddling across the floor. If you still want to protect yourself, or if you have suspicions about a property, make sure you ask questions—even if you feel self-conscious. That way, if something happens and you want to get out, or a supernatural being is trying to push you out, in a case where the seller’s haven’t been truthful, your bid to recover sunk funds is a lot stronger.

A few creepy stories to leave you with:

  • One eerie inhabitant left gifts of baby rings
  • A man rocked in mid-air as a homeowner painted the interior of their house. When the homeowner asked the ghost if they approved of the new color, the ghost silently nodded in agreement.
  • A poltergeist trying to shake a kid awake, and the kiddo replying that they wanted to sleep in because it was spring break. Gotta love fearless kids!

The lesson? Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, or otherworldly happenings, get in the practice of asking questions about the home you may be connected to for many years.

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What’s Your Return for Location, Location, Location?

Money Under 30 correctly states. “You can gut the inside and paint the outside but you’ll never be able to take a nice-looking house out of a bad neighborhood.”

Your real estate agent knows it’s true and now you know it.

You may not be able to accurately pin a number on the dollars your home investment will gain over the years, but you will be able to gauge how successful the possible rate of return will be based on a handful of factors:


  • Location – It’s obvious that a house in a great location is going to appreciate…as long as that neighborhood is well-kept, the houses in the surrounding area are cared for, the schools are updated and seen as an asset for the community, new thriving businesses appear in the surrounding area and the buildings are maintained. If you buy in an area with these characteristics, yes, you may indeed pay more out of pocket for the privilege to live there, but you can also feel pretty confident that you have made a good purchase positioned to give you a decent return over time.


  • Curb appeal – Is your favorite pastime taking a cruise to look at the new houses in the neighborhood? A region where TLC is evident makes us feel good. Even something so effortless as a painted, customized mailbox has appeal. So a porch’s new furniture showcasing the generous space, or the lawn manicured as green as a golf course has a lot of pull. These properties draw us in and make us want to spend time there. The houses are more than a structure, they are homes where people build their lives. You can see it, can’t you? The quality moments you and your family will while away talking together in a house you will be proud to call you own. We’re not talking about a needle in a haystack home either, but hunt for neighborhoods where the majority of homeowners—blocks and miles of vested homeowners—adore their homes so much their care is obvious.


  • Mild Fixers – These are good investments, requiring little capital and you know the people who purchase these properties are intent on repairing and shining them up so they match the properties around them. If after doing your research into the neighborhood, you stumble upon one of these treasures, consider seriously snatching it up! You’ll be living in a great neighborhood and getting in under the price wire as long as the ratio from repair to mortgage is reasonable.


  • Avoid buying the best house in the neighborhood – The best house in the neighborhood, the biggest, the showiest, is the house that sets the curve, and because of this, this house will never rate what’s it’s really worth. Think of it this way. If you were to take the grandest house in the neighborhood and plop it down into a more comparable area, the value of that home would increase and finally the property would be priced at what it is worth. So what happens when that house exists in a neighborhood where the houses are not in keeping with the size and grandeur? The price drops, of course, to fall in line with properties in the vicinity.

It’s vital to learn the ins and outs of home buying because at the end of the day you have two choices: to make a smart investment, or to purchase a home which won’t measure up.

More tips for what to avoid and what to look for are available here.

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What are You Willing to Compromise in Your First Home Purchase? home tipsHGTV’s Property Virgin’s Host, Egypt Sherrod takes hopeful would-be home buyers through multiple properties, trying to draw from them what exactly they are looking for. The show begins in the same way each episode, with a consultation between Sherrod and her clients, as she queries them on the most important features in their wanna-be home. Some want hardwood floors, some need four bedrooms on one floor, some request Sherrod find them a master bedroom suite.

Then the fun begins. With Sherrod and her clients traipsing from house to house and neighborhood to neighborhood, Sherrod manages to check off most of the things on her client’s wish list. As the show progresses, one thing becomes clear: first-time home buyers have fairly high expectations.

An initial dip into the housing market is shocking. The prices seem too high, the square footage too small, the amenities sorely in need of updating. Prospects have a hard time swallowing the bitter truth: starter homes are adequate. They might be a nice place to live, but a lot of the time they do not a dream home make. A dream house is usually the second or third house down the line, when buyers have a little more experience and wisdom under their belt, not to mention capital.

As Sherrod leads her clients through the string of properties, she gently explains they will not get everything they desire (usually), and a majority of clients take the news in stride, turning introspective and thankful for the chance to own their own piece of property. Have you asked yourself the same question? If you were to work with a real estate agent, what might your list contain, and what items on that list would you be willing to let go?

When you walk into a negotiation (and let’s face it) “negotiation” is the epitome of the home buying experience, come prepared with a list of items you feel okay compromising on, and you will not be as disappointed, or let down at the close of the transaction. You might also find new ways to solve your unique needs in a new home. If the kitchen isn’t big enough, for example, and not an eat-in like the one you’ve envisioned, maybe you can feed your family in the dining room? If the master bath doesn’t have a Jacuzzi tub, can you make do with a luxurious shower? Permitting yourself to let your guard down so you can purchase a stable house in a desireable neighborhood (even if you have to give up a few things), is really a reward unto itself.


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Vital Content to Include in Your Emails social media marketing tipsThese days, you have to be everything: the marketer, the closer, the seller, the buyer. Your clients expect you to have take the time to learn the ins and outs of digital media, and when they click on the link to your professional page, get ready to wow them. The whole thing can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of just being told what to do, not why to do it, we’re here to give you a hand and a little insight to answer that “why.”. You shouldn’t have to guess what you should include in your emails, and that’s not an effective strategy anyway. Think of your campaigns as cycles. Each will have a beginning, middle and end: from introduction to providing an incentive to work with you, from making various touch points throughout your relationship to delivering on promos and following up, we’ve simplified your email marketing plan. In addition, we’ll share with you the elements each of your emails absolutely needs to contain.

The campaign cycle

Many different email vendors already have a tool for planning; a couple of our favorites are MailChimp and iContact.Very easy to use and a built-in strategy to apply nearly instantly. The double-opt-in method is the best to employ because it guarantees that your client is definitely on-board selecting your business, and hasn’t been accidentally added to your mailing list–which is very off-putting! Here’s a good initial cycle to adapt:

  1. Confirmation email with a link to an incentive (an additional click might take them to a list of tips for selling/buying a home, secret tips for staging, etc.)
  2. Incentive email and thank you
  3. Depending on how many times you plan on sending out your emails, this next email–the first email– truly begins your cycle (mailed one day, or one week after your client’s initial sign-up–that’s up to you!)
  4. Second email in the cycle: are you inviting your client to an open house, for an in-office chat. Whatever you do…provide value.
  5. And so on…

The nuts and bolts of content

  1. A great (smiling) head shot
  2. Contact information, including a link to your website
  3. Your social links–and make sure they’re clickable so your clients can head to your awesome social media sites
  4. The option to share the email with their network
  5. A value-added link, housed on your website, and that when clicked, takes them to your site. Example: “Check out my new real estate blog!”
  6. The option to opt out of your list at any time, and if they leave you, a “Sorry to see you go” email and the question asked “Are you sure you want to go? ”
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The Modern Family: How to Successfully Combine Two Households

modern family homeownerThe age of the nuclear family is slowly dissipating and people everywhere are rewriting the definition of family. A lot of the time, families are mixed, and a few steps exist, which can make navigating the relative waters somewhat challenging. The last thing you should worry about is grappling over the accessories and furniture in your home.

Maybe you have no idea where to start, his sports memorabilia doesn’t match with her casual country living vibe; he has no idea how to incorporate her minimalist approach with his collection of car art, or vice versa. What makes a home special and unique to each couple and family is vastly different and usually doesn’t match the needs and visual desires of the next couple.

So where to begin?

Get excited! Use this melding of personal property as an opportunity to celebrate the individual likes and dislikes each of you share, and rather than feel discouraged, remember you are about to create a one-of-a-kind blend of possessions as tribute to your new union. That’s pretty awesome if you think about it!

The elementals

Consider first, if your home has everything it needs to operate on a functional level. Do you each have nightstands, for example. Do the kids? Do you need storage furniture? Are there missing pieces to your living room set? These are the needs to fill first. If your family room seems sparse, decide upon a furniture store and do a little research before you go. Do they sell the styles you like, that you can both agree on? Nowadays, it can be easier to mix and match designs than it was before. An old steamer trunk doubles as a coffee table and pairs nicely with a refurbished sideboard. Virtually shop together before you get in the car and loosely define what you would like to accomplish so there are no surprises, or any reasons to bicker once you step foot in the store.

Your end result should reflect both of your tastes, and one preference should not dominate the other. It’s more important that both people are comfortable, that the logistic have been addressed and that the home feels comfortable and livable to all members of the family. It’s fine to hold on to items which might symbolize special meaning in your life, or remind you of a particular person, but these pieces should also not overtake the house. Ask yourself if the pieces you have an attachment to can fit into the new house design and be honest! Stay true to the mission, which is ensuring you are both instrumental in creating a place that all members of the family are overjoyed to call home.


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