Monthly Archives: April 2018

Houses and Homes

Reading through the classifieds to find properties for your investment portfolio, you will find the mention of a fireplace in every property a seller wants to move. That’s because a fireplace makes all the difference in the world and only property owners who are into real estate for value understand this important point. It’s called the difference between a house and a home.

When you are selling your property, you may have attachments to it. You may have years invested into that property. You might have raised your kids there. It could have been the first property you ever bought. And in the back yard is where you buried your old dog.

All of those memories add value to your home. This kind of value goes beyond the actual value of the home. You have to remember that information when you are dealing with an appraiser. They will come through and look at your home as a piece of property. The crack on the bedroom door that you think is cute because of the story that goes behind it will cause the appraiser to lower the value of your home. Of course the door is not much, but the overall principle is at work there.

When a buyer comes into view your home, they might see it as a house. An ingenious seller can bring the life out in the house and make the buyer start to see your property as a home.

“How many kids do you have?”


“Oh, they will love this home because there are three bedrooms. They’ll each get their own room. Kids love that when they can have some privacy.”

And the conversation goes on from there. A good real estate agent will use every choice they can to make a house seem more like a home. When a buyer can start to see the value as a home, they are more likely to buy.

But, a property without a fireplace is hard to sell as a home. Family evenings take place around a fireplace. Most of the time, that’s the family dog’s favorite place to lie. A fireplace really sells a home.

A simple investment as little as $300 into a vent less gel fireplace can raise the value of your home a few thousand. It’s not a dollar for dollar investment. The ambiance of a fireplace adds value exponentially.

Real estate agents of Condominium units and apartment units have slowly picked up on the fact that buyers want fireplaces. The vent less gel fireplace is the solution because each fireplace is freestanding and wouldn’t have to be vented through other fireplaces, which actually causes more problems than it is worth. The vents on traditional fireplaces would have to be in sync which would cause either a cold apartment for one dweller or a smoky apartment for another dweller.

The simple addition of a fireplace will not only raise the value of your home, but it will move it. When the market is tight, you have to make your property stand out. It’s not too hard when you add a vent less gel fireplace to any room in your home.

House And Home

You may hear people talk about how the shift to foods with low glycemic index is challenging. However, my experience is that folks can do so with relative ease when they have a proven track to run on. Of course, a lot of it will have to do with what you are used to eating.

If your prior diet wasn’t so healthy, there’s nothing wrong with slowly working your way over to foods with low glycemic index. Doing so will keep you from shocking your body. And if the change is so dramatic that you have problems, you are likely to not stick with it. You really need to do all you can to stack the deck in your favor. Foods with low glycemic index will make you feel better in a short period of time if you hang with it.

To help you make the transition successfully, consider how habits factor in. Truth is, you’ve made use of habits to establish the dietary patterns you now have. All we have to do is resist this habit and form a new one. If you’re like me, you may have looked at how your diet has changed over time, with some food items falling by the wayside. New things come along and demand our attention.

However, you can probably also see how there is a core group of food items that make up your primary diet, right? What we want to do is get it to where foods with low glycemic index is part of that core. Once we get that to become routine through habit, we’ll leave it alone and you’re all set.

Of course, the fact that habit will make the foods with low glycemic index stick is the same thing we have to currently overcome. This is why you cannot overdo is and blow yourself out. Some people can quit smoking cold turkey. But that is not the norm. If you are an ambitious person who gets excited about an idea, it can be especially tempting to go all out. But I really encourage you to take it easy. The same personality that makes you excited for rapid change will make you deflated if things go sideways. Slow and steady wins the race.

Having given fair warning, I know there are some out there who will still go “all in.” If you are determined to make a rapid shift, let me share some ideas that will help give you an advantage and prevent failure. One of the main things you will need to do is pretty much eat through what you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Most folks don’t keep a ton of food on hand, so this shouldn’t take too long. The idea here is simple, if not obvious. Once you’ve eliminated the bad food from your surroundings, there’s nothing left to lead you astray. I guess you could say I’m advising you to “eat yourself out of house and home!”

As this point, you can make a list of foods with low glycemic index and prepare for a trip to the store. Now, you’ll be gung ho at a point when you could otherwise be most vulnerable. Your enthusiasm over prospective change can help thwart the tendency to grab items off your old shopping list. If you are faithful to the list, you will be faithful to eating foods with low glycemic index, since that’s all that should be in your house.

Managing House and Home Office

What I do is not inherently appealing to most people – that’s why my clients pay me to do it! If you check the dictionary you’ll find Administration somewhere in there between Yawn and I’d Rather Watch ‘The Shire’.

Which makes writing a blog about it as difficult as trying to fit gravity into a Grand Unified Theory.

Holding down house and home office is a juggling act and I’m often asked how I manage to make my living from being organised and organising other people’s lives and businesses. Let me tell you – it isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come naturally! I had the fortune of inheriting the scatter brain gene so I’ve had to work very hard at creating a system of checks and balances that allow me to function with a certain degree of efficiency.

Here are my Top 5 Tips to managing House and Home Office:

1. Write Everything Down, be the Crazy Cat Lady of Lists!

Some people like to go old school, write reminders down on paper, white board, the backs of their hands etc. Some people live by their electronic calendars, making tasks, setting up meetings, syncing notes on their iPhone and so on. I say: DO THEM ALL! My fridge feels lonely without a shopping list or a list of house chores on it. My Outlook Calendar is ridonkulous – EVERYTHING I need to do is in there and it’s synced to my iPhone, it provides me with a list of things I need to do each day, bills to pay, tasks to complete, meetings, phone calls and even personal things like movie dates and birthdays. Don’t keep all the junk in your head, it will send you mad. Write it down, it’s one action step closer to completing what needs to get done.

2. Look after the Pennies and the Pounds will look after themselves.

This doesn’t just apply to money, but also with life. Attention to detail, following up and taking care of the small things adds up to the bigger picture. Letting the small things pass can become a habit, and when an unforseen stressful situation occurs it can quickly overwhelm you because you weren’t ready for it. This is where good administration in a business is vital. Good administration is essential for the success and growth of any business. It is the framework around which a company is built, but often neglected by business owners, who are more focussed on sales and marketing, where their talents lie.

3. DON’T wear too many hats at the same time – not a hot look for Spring 2012

We don’t know it before we have kids, but you can’t work from home with a toddler. You can try, I certainly did, but you end up split between two worlds and not present in both. If you can, get daycare when you’re bub is ready and organise your work time around their schedule. Clients are people, many with children of their own, they will understand. And I know how hard it is when the office is at home, you can be tempted to log on and check your emails with the baby at home, or do a load of washing (and watch Ellen) when you should be working. But try to keep them separate, take your work time seriously, soon enough the kids will be home and all hell breaks loose!

4. Read. Read. Read.

Whether it be fictional, biographical, spiritual – or 50 Shades of Grey, you gotta carve out time for yourself somewhere in your day. A book is perfect because it’s portable and something you can put down and go back to without much fuss. A book also helps transport you to another world away from your own reality. Sometimes just knowing I’ve got my fantasy sagas to open at the end of a stressful day stops me from pulling a Forest Gump and spending the next 3 years running across the country and growing a serious ZZ top beard.

5. Plan to Plan Nothing

Literally. Make sure that at least 1 day a month tell your friends no, don’t work, don’t check your emails, put your phone on silent, don’t even plan a picnic with the family. Just go to bed the night before with nothing planned the next day, see where it takes you!

Eating You Out of House and Home

What shows up uninvited and eats you out of house and home?

It’s not your relatives; it’s termites. These tiny insects can slip through the smallest cracks in your house and start eating all the wood in your home, until they turn your beloved refuge into a pile of sawdust. Capable of causing more damage than most natural disasters, these bugs are designed to eat-and eat-and eat. They eat twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Termites are actually beneficial in their native habitat, which is the forest. Fallen logs and dead brush are chewed up by these insects, who serve to keep the forest clean. Think of them as tiny little foresters, clearing the forest floor for new growth and getting rid of dried, dead underbrush that could pose a fire hazard.

Unfortunately, they can’t tell the difference between that pine log lying by itself in the woods and, say, your nice hardwood deck. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk.

First, make sure that no wooden part of your house touches the earth. Optimally there should be a solid concrete foundation that holds your home above the ground. Also try to avoid moisture on the property; damp areas are a breeding ground for termites and other insects. Creating a barrier between your home and the termites, either with textured sands or nontoxic (to humans) chemicals, is another option.

Housing and Home Owner Rescue Plan

Upon taking office President Barack Obama was fully aware of the problems that many homeowners across the country were facing. Many of these borrowers have adjustable rate mortgages that are pushing many people into default and causing other great financial difficulties. Add on the fact that home values have plummeted across America and the need for a rescue plan is high.

With the above mentioned problems at the fore front of their planning the Obama administration introduced the Housing and home owner stimulus plan. Although the Plan was first introduced in February 2009 it started to actually help struggling home owners in March. This mortgage stimulus plan will make it much easier for the millions of struggling home owners to refinance their loan and stay in their homes.

Under this new stimulus mortgage plan home owners will be helped in two different ways. First if you are currently in an Sub prime adjustable mortgage and have late payments and are in danger of losing your home there is hope. The plan will give cash incentives to your current mortgage holder to modify you ARM loan to a fixed rate loan and reduce the rate.

The other form of help in the Obama stimulus will be extended to people who are current on their mortgages but are now in a situation were they owe more then the home they live in is now worth. For these people the program will let them refinance up to 105% of their home value. The only catch is the loan has to be a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac conforming mortgage and yo must be current on your payments.

The new Obama mortgage stimulus will definitely help many struggling home owners and should also help to shore up home values and aid in the recovery of the US economy as well.