Simple Ways To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions

The new year is here and already off to a momentous start. Like many, you may have sat down and created some resolutions to keep you focused on creating your best year yet. But experts say that close to 80 percent of people don’t succeed in keeping their resolutions. Here are a few tricks to keeping yours and even some ideas to make resolutions if you haven’t done so yet. It’s never too late to plan for a good year!

Simply rewording your “resolutions” as “goals” can make a difference. This creates a positive mindset shift.

Did you make your resolutions fun? You are more likely to stick to your resolutions if you actually enjoy them. Hobbies can actually be good for you because they can lower stress levels, improve focus and improve brain power.

Set a goal with daily variety like expanding your vocabulary. The internet makes life easy for learning something new daily, especially a new word each day.

Other daily goals include establishing a ritual you can follow each morning at the same time. This will get you into the habit and after 66 days, it will become a part of your day that you don’t think about, like brushing your teeth.

Exercise is the most commonly set and failed resolution. To stick with it this year, redefine exercise to be something fun for you. If you don’t enjoy running, but love dancing, look into taking a Zumba class. If you don’t like to sweat much, consider swimming laps. Even brisk walking each day or opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator can sneak in exercise into your day.  Short on time? There are a variety of exercise apps available, even a seven minute one!

One of our favorite goals is to practice gratitude every day. Gratitude creates positivity, which fuels all the other goals above and more! Take a few minutes every day to reflect on what you are grateful for. Set your phone alarm for a random time in the middle of the day and program it to read, “Stop! Be grateful.”

Remember, most people are unsuccessful at keeping their resolutions because they tend to ask unrealistic expectations of themselves. Dream big, but tackle it in steps, not leaps. Start with small, actionable goals and you are likely to be more successful.

Home Trends for 2017

As a new year rolls in, so do some new home trends. Here is a look at what you may expect to see at an open house near you in 2017.

It is easy being green. The Pantone 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery, has been called the world’s brightest neutral. This color represents rejuvenation according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

While on the topic of color, in 2017, navy is expected to be the new black. A sophisticated color, navy is making its way into homes in a big way to open up spaces, whereas black, which tends to minimize space, is scaling back.

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Say hello to faux. Experts predict that faux materials are going to be strong in 2017. The Wall Street Journal reported that even luxury homeowners were warming to faux materials such as faux marble and barn wood. Aside from being used as a reliable, budget-friendly alternative, additional faux materials like indoor foliage offer instant gratification with zero upkeep. Winter staging just got a lot easier!

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Fluttering design with butterflies. These fairytale-like creatures are not just for children’s rooms anymore. Butterflies, which symbolize optimism and grace, are showing up in large numbers on walls, pillows and home accents.
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Cork it. Cork is back with its multitude of purposes, natural qualities, sustainability and color tones.
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Other notable home trends to look for in 2017 include white kitchens with wood countertops, full kitchen walls of tile, modern-style bar stools, and fully decked-out laundry rooms with natural light and maximum space.

What home trends have you read about or noticed?

Making It Rain – Utilize Rain Water All Year Long

Real Estate Trends

Water supply is an ongoing concern for many, especially those living in drought-stricken areas. This is one reason why the conversation about collecting and utilizing rainwater as a means for battling supply challenges is ongoing. Real estate agents can use this information to help their clients better understand this trend in real estate.  Why Homeowners Are Collecting Rainwater

By collecting rain and storing it in a barrel or tank, homeowners can create a supply of water to use that doesn’t increase water bills or overwork groundwater resources.

An additional benefit of rainwater collection is that rain doesn’t contain the minerals found in wells or the chlorine in municipal supplies. Rain collection is ideal for large water usages such as watering the lawn, washing the car, doing the laundry and showering/bathing. It is generally not used for drinking; however, it can be if properly filtered.

Understanding Rainwater Collection Systems

Collection systems range from a single rain barrel placed at the end of a gutter downspout to an elaborate system that can hold enough water to supply your entire home.

A house with a sloped roof, gutters and/or downspouts is perfect for rainwater collection intended for lawn irrigation or other nonpotable uses. All that is needed is a tank, a wire/mesh gutter screen to keep debris out, and a way to remove the water from the tank.

Your tank (or cistern) can be made from a range of materials including metal, wood, stone, cement or fiberglass. Garden and home supply stores offer rain collection systems complete with your barrel, leaf screens and spouts. The costs vary but expect to pay from $50 – $300 for a complete barrel system. Depending on how you plan to use it will determine the type, cost and complexity.

The easiest and most cost-effective way to remove water from your collection tank is by gravity. If you want a more elaborate use for your water, you’ll need a pump. Pumps provide about 8 gallons of water a minute up to 500 feet away.

Regulations

Homeowners should check with their homeowners association to ensure they comply with such rules as placement, color and aize of the rain barrel.

If using collected rainwater for the entire home, homeowners should check local codes and ordinances.

Concerns

It’s a good idea to use a roof washer to remove leaves, debris and droppings to create a clean line for the water entering the storage tank.

Mosquitoes are a natural concern for any collection of standing water, so be sure that your tank is screened and covered. If you live in areas that freeze, allow your barrel to only fill three fourths full to allow water expansion in freezing temperatures.

Aesthetics of rain barrels were once a concern, but not as much anymore. With the wide variety of collection tanks available, your cistern doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Many agree that the wooden tanks meant to resemble wine casks are actually quite charming. A carefully, yet strategically, placed tank can be hidden so as not to detract from your homes beautiful landscape.

How To Grow Your Database

Building small communities in your city, school district, neighborhood and workplace is one of the best ways to reach every potential contact in your sphere of influence. And who doesn’t want to expand their sphere and add to their database? While communicating with friends, family and acquaintances online is easier and more efficient, it is still important to interact in person and make personal connections. The more connected you are, the more leads you will get.


 

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USE FACEBOOK AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook groups are an excellent way to target small groups within your community. They are easy to create and maintain, and they bring new contacts straight to your database. Members of your Facebook group can add friends who have an interest in the group and who are active members in the community. The larger the Facebook group, the more people you will contact. However, only add people to the group who are actually in the community you want to build.

Some good Facebook groups to create include:

Local groups

Use your proximity to people as a resource for building a community.

  • School. Your kids’ school is a great way to meet other parents. PTA, room moms, and extracurriculars are awesome groups to get involved with in your local school district.
  • Work. Create a Facebook group for your department or introduce yourself to your significant other’s coworkers and spouses.
  • Parent. Take your parent-of-the-kid group message to social media! Facebook groups for moms and dads allow you to create events and send out invitations that don’t get lost in a sea of text messages.
  • Neighborhood. If your homeowners association or neighborhood association doesn’t have a Facebook group already, start one! This is possibly the most important community to be a part of because the members care about local real estate … and you are the local real estate expert.

Common interest groups

Use a shared love or passion to connect with people in a community.

  • Hobbies. Running, crafting, Netflix-binging, wine tasting. Things you love doing in your free time.
  • Sports. College or professional football, soccer, baseball, volleyball. Whatever gets the crowd cheering.
  • Events. Concerts, musicals, plays, screenings. Anything going on around town.

ORGANIZE WEEKLY/MONTHLY MEETUPS

Now that you’ve built these communities and touched your growing database on social media, go one step further and make a personal connection with the group members. Plan and organize frequent meetups that allow your community to connect your face with your brand. Happy hours, playdates, watch parties and sporting events are all fun and creative ways to get to know your database on a personal level.


The benefit of building communities online and in person is knowing the people around you that you otherwise could overlook as potential clients or lead sources. Build trust and your reputation as a resource in the community, get the message out that you want to help them and the people they know with their real estate needs, and market yourself as the local real estate expert.

Now that you’ve got a strong foundation, go out and build a community!

2016 Top Kitchen Design Trend

Real Estate Trends

One of the top design trends for 2016 is farmhouse kitchens. Whether your client is buying or selling, these tips for converting any kitchen into a farmhouse kitchen can bring a lot of attention to the focal point of the home.

Kitchens are the focal point of the home. They are where families gather and memories are made. When a buyer walks into a home, they imagine themselves in that spot with their own family, making them one of the strongest selling points of a home. One popular trend in kitchens attracting many buyers is the classic farmhouse kitchen.There is a reason they are so popular. Farmhouse kitchens combine functionality with style and a down-home good feeling. Inviting, warm and comfortable, they whisper of a simpler time. Although the farmhouse style is considered very American, it combines elements of the English and French country styles as well.

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Homeowner Tips for Farmhouse Kitchen Renovations


There are a few key decor elements that make up the ultimate farmhouse kitchen.

  • Apron front sink
  • White painted cabinets
  •  Open shelving
  •  Rustic, contrasting colored hardware
  1. Wood, soapstone or marble countertops
  2. Glass canisters and accessories
  3. Islands and stools

Updating a kitchen can be a costly endeavor. Styling a kitchen doesn’t have to be. If you are looking to give your drab kitchen a farmhouse facelift, here are a few ideas to get you there.
1. Feature contrasting colors with a coat of paint.  A fresh coat of paint goes a long way to make walls “pop.” This means that your cupboards cannot go neglected. So they will need either a fresh coat as well, or a new finish altogether. Once you’ve decided on your color palatte invest in your hardware.

2. Freestanding pieces of furniture are often key elements in a farmhouse styled kitchen. A hutch can double as an island or a sideboard.

3. The flooring is most often wood, but black and white tiles in a checkered pattern or terracotta tiles are popular as well.

4. Open shelving is a must. To keep your kitchen from looking cluttered by open shelving, use a few marquis pieces to showcase, and leave storage areas for the items that are quick to clutter.

5. Vintage decorations such as stoneware crocks, aprons, cast iron skillets and glass milk jars are just a few ideas.

6. Mason jars, whether used as every day glasses, vases for wildflowers or storage containers, are a staple in every farmhouse kitchen.

DIY Natural Pesticide Sprays

Natural pesticides are safer for people, their homes, gardens, animals and the environment. Nowadays homeowners are more conscious about the chemicals they use in and around the home, including pesticides. Here are some helpful natural pesticide recipes you can share with your clients to help them keep their yards pest and chemical-free.

Thyme-Oil-Natural_DIY_Yard_Spray.pngWhen using natural DIY pesticdes, spray in the early morning or late evening to avoid burning plants. Also remember to keep pets away during application since certain ingredients such as essential oils and cayenne pepper can be harmful if ingested. Always use sparingly and only on infected areas. And if it recently rained or will rain soon, wait until the ground is dry before spraying to avoid runoff waste and dilution.

Ready to get started?

Four DIY Ideas For a Chemical-Free Yard

  1. Neem Oil
    The oil from the extremely bitter neem plant is a powerful, all-natural pesticide.

DIY neem oil spray:  Combine ½ an ounce of organic neem oil, ½ a teaspoon of mild organic liquid soap and 2 quarts of warm water. Stir slowly, pour in spray bottle and use immediately.

  1. Diatomaceous Earth    
    An all-natural powder solution for insects of all kinds including fleas.

An all-natural powder solution for insects of all kinds including fleas. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on top of soil around plants and around the perimeter of the house. It can be used inside as well. Look for the food-grade version so it is safer to use around pets.

  1. Himalayan Salt Spray 
    Effective for treating plants infested with spider mites. Spray where needed.

DIY salt spray: Combine 2 tablespoons with 1 gallon of warm water. Spray on infected plants.

  1. Citrus Oil + Cayenne Pepper   
    Works well on ants. Spray populated areas accordingly.

DYI spray: Combine 10 drops of citrus oil for every teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 cup of warm water. Shake well and spray areas populated by ants.

Keller Williams is Home to Real Estate Industry Most Productive Teams

America’s Top Real Estate Agents

Keller Williams, the world’s largest real estate franchise by agent count, has more agent teams ranked by closed transactions and sales volume than any other franchise in the 2016 REAL Trends’  “The Thousand,” an annual list of North America’s most successful real estate professionals. Overall, Keller Williams has 118 agent teams on the list of top producers.REAL_Trends_the_thousand_list.png

“As a company, we’re committed to helping our associates build careers worth having, businesses worth owning, and lives worth living,” said John Davis, president, Keller Williams. “That’s why we’re focusing our training on boosting agent production – so we can help our people create opportunities for their families.”

The REAL Trends “The Thousand” features 82 Keller Williams agent teams in its Top 250 ranking of real estate teams by transaction sides. Collectively, those Keller Williams teams helped buyers and sellers close 33,357 transactions last year. The 2016 report also features 36 Keller Williams agent teams in its Top 250 list of teams by sales volume. These teams helped clients close more than $5.5 billion in sales.

“Our agents’ extraordinary performance on this year’s ‘The Thousand’ is further evidence of why so many elite agents are choosing Keller Williams,” CEO Chris Heller said. “By teaching proven models and systems and investing in innovation and technology, we’re providing top producers with the resources and tools to grow and expand their businesses exponentially.”

For more information and a complete list of agents on the 2016 REAL Trends “The Thousand”, visit http://realtrends.com/rankings/rt1000.

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