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Tidying Up Your Home

It’s time to clean up your space! Jumping along with the trend of all of my fellow Netflix lovers and I have to admit that my newest obsession is Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I love that her method is focused on sparking JOY instead of just keeping it your home clean for sake of being clean. It gives you a completely new perspective on organizing and tidying up! I’m even adding her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo to my 2019 reading list.

I love that a big emphasis in January and the new year ahead are resolutions. I mean, hello… New Year, New Me! With resolutions in mind, organization in your home can really help you be a productive person.

I’ve seen a new way that people are accomplishing their tidying up resolutions is to assign one room or task per month throughout the year. It’s a fantastic way to hold yourself accountable and keep what you need and rid yourself of what you don’t. Below is a month-by-month breakdown of my tidying up calendar that you can use, too!

  • January: Food
    • Pantry, refrigerators and freezers. Check expiration dates and label/organize freezer/refrigerator food to easily find foods.
  • February: Kitchen Cupboards & Drawers
    • Throw away that Tupperware you don’t use and organize those utensils.
  • March: Bathroom Cupboards & Closets
    • Be gone old make up that’s never used and make room for freshly cleaned linens.
  • April: Office & Craft Supplies
    • Look through paperwork and clear out unwanted wrapping paper or ribbons.
  • May: Paperwork
    • Shred or keep! Look at bills, how-to manuals and file accordingly.
  • June: Garage & Storage Spaces
    • Buy more storage bins and label decor and don’t forget about that attic!
  • July: Digital – CDs/DVDs, Emails, Pics/Docs
    • Switch over all home videos to DVDs and organize movies and CDs to one location.
  • August: Outdoor Spaces
    • Move around those rakes, clean up around the grill area and repaint or repair outdoor furniture.
  • September: Laundry Room
    • Deep clean laundry, label types of clothes (colors, jeans, etc.) and clean out dryer vent.
  • October: Winterize Your Home
    • Not quite tidying up, but preparing it for winter like cleaning out the chimney.
  • November: Launder curtains and linens
    • Knock off the dust! Get those curtains (shower curtains, too) cleaned and grab your comforters and duvets in the process.
  • December: Dressers & Closets
    • Donate unwanted clothing and coordinate by season and color.

Social Inspiration

The good thing about tidying up is there’s inspiration everywhere! You can look on social channels like Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. I really enjoy follow THE HOME EDIT® on Instagram. These ladies have organized for Khloe Kardashian (the QUEEN of beautiful Oreo jars) and been featured on the Today Show. HELLO GOALS! Pinterest is alway such a great resource to save ideas and more. Check out my Pinterest Page on Home Organization. I work best on visuals, so I really enjoy following different pages on social platforms to give me new ideas.

 

 

The Container Store

Another way to keep your home organized is by shipping at The Container Store. This place is a GAME CHANGER! I feel like a kid in a candy store when I shop here because their items are super specific from shoes to kitchen spices to your office space.  Below are some of my top items from The Container Store that help me stay tidy. I also recommend signing up for their email list serve because they do regularly email out great deals and discount codes.

  • The Acrylic Make Up Organizer is perfect for keep all of your make up brushes, eyeshadow pallets and lipsticks in plain sight. I’ve noticed when I keep my make up in a bag all jumbled together, that it’s easy to forget what you even have.
  • Shoes, shoes, shoes! The shoe boxes keep shoes free of dust while in plain sight as well. They’re easy to stack on a shelf or on the ground and easy to travel with.
  • Velvet hangers seem a little diva, right? WRONG! These bad boys maximize space in the closet while holding up all of my off-the-shoulder tops and other hard to hang clothing items. BIG FAN! Amazon also has great choices in bulk on Prime.
  • All your food organization dreams are brought to you by OXO Good Grips storage containers. They’re airtight containers and are a fantastic way to keep fresh food organized in a pantry. Worried about expiration dates? Tear the date off the original box and tape it to the back of the OXO container.

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It’s a new year for an organized YOU! I hope that some of these products, lists and tips are useful to you in your home! Excited to hear about what your goals are this year for tidying up your home.

12 Books for the New Year

Growing up, I used to be one of the BIGGEST bookworms and took a book with me everywhere. I took them to pageants, recitals and even out hunting with my Dad. Over the years, through college and working (#adulting), I’ve faded away from my joy of reading and haven’t put time aside to just sit there and read. I kept saying, “There’s just not enough time” or “I could be doing something else…” But I knew that by reading I was gaining knowledge and HELLO… knowledge is POWER!

As a New Year’s Resolution for 2018, one of my goals was to read 12 books for the year reading one book per month. Easy right? Not quite. While I thought this goal would push me to sit down and take the time to read… it didn’t, so I decided to modify my goals. Since sitting down and reading wasn’t quite working for me, I decided to get a monthly membership with Audible that gave me one credit per month to purchase a book title and listen in. I’m a huge lover of podcasts and love listening along as I travel, drive to showings or am sitting by the computer working. Since I knew I could take the time for podcasts, I knew that audiobooks may be the winner! The Audible monthly membership helped me keep all my books on my phone and listen with ease while I could be doing “something else.”

I’m proud to say that I very surprisingly listened along to 12 books, yes 12, that were useful in life, real estate and my consulting career and I’m sharing some of my insights from each book. Some were fun, but some of these books were full of great tips for my career. I hope you use this as a great guide of books to love and learn from! Below I’m sharing my thoughts on my top six books.

The Honest Real Estate Agent by Mario Jannatpour

New in the real estate industry? The Honest Real Agent is a look at the simple fundamentals of being a real estate agent. Simple as that! It dives into how to treat your clients, how to present yourself and even marketing your listings. This is a great first book for agents to get them comfortable with the new commission-based world that they’re jumping into. Mario Jannatpour also has a podcast, The Honest Real Estate Agent, which is similar to the book sharing marketing tips, lead generation ideas and strategies for new real estate agents.

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

Odd choice, right? While this is a book about LOVE, I also found The Five Love Languages to be a useful tool to help better understand my clients and the people around me. The five love languages include word of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch. There’s a simplicity in this message but it really opened my eyes to seeing how people interact with you differently once you speak their language. For example, I’ve learned that some of my client’s love languages are quality time because of the way they want to really get to know me as a real estate agent before helping them through one of the biggest purchases of their life.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Want to learn the art of negotiating with high stakes… this is the book to read! The author of this book is former international hostage negotiator for the FBI and shares insights on high-stakes negotiations that can help you in a work environment or at home. The insight that stood out to me most is that negotiation is not an act of battle, you don’t have to be mean or heartless, it’s more of a process of discovery to gain as much information as possible. The author does a great job sharing how to show empathy but how to also be firm and know that NO isn’t always the end of the conversation. This read has helped my approach to negotiation in real estate with other listing agents by listening and gaining more information before jumping in.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Simple, right? Mel Robbins shares her tactics on how to completely destroy any doubt and possibly change your life in just FIVE SECONDS. Complete honesty, when I first started this book I was like okay five seconds are not going the change my life, but if you use it in the way the author describes it can make a difference. Don’t want to go work out? Thinking about hitting that snooze button? Countdown backward 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and you’re mind can transform. Sounds whack, I know. But just try it! Now will my life change FOREVER, no. Is it a good tool, though, to help me push forward with small tasks, yes! I will admit this book is terribly long with quite a bit of fluff, but give it a listen or read.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Dave Jenks, Jay Papasan, Gary Keller

This really is the book that all Real Estate Agents should read. It pulls on experience from top producers all over the country that have had a high volume in sales. What really stuck out to me was that not one successful agent/broker’s journey was the same as the next. This really hit me that you have to do what works best for YOU and what works for you may not work as well for the next person. It’s a long listen, don’t get me wrong… but the author did a great job breaking it down for a beginner agent and how goal-setting needs to be a priority. Great insight from people in the real estate industry. Definitely plan on re-reading this book!

The other books I read in 2018 include:

I’ve decided that I’ll be keeping the same goals for 2019 and will aim to read one book per month. My goal is to exceed that goal, but I’m keeping it attainable. I would love to hear all of your favorite books and recommendations in the comments! Happy reading!

Don’t Forget: Applying for your Homestead Exemption

Cheers to the New Year, y’all! It’s a time for resolutions, exciting new things and time too apply for your Homestead Exemption for your primary residence. Did you buy a home in 2018? Then you don’t want to forget to apply for your Homestead Exemption. It’s actually a super simple process, but I’m here to help you through it! Let’s break down this whole Homestead Exemption thing…

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Homestead Exemption

/ˈhōmˌsted ex·emp·tion/
noun
According to the Texas Comptroller, a homestead can separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. A homestead can include up to 20 acres, if the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead. You can apply for a homestead exemption on your main residence to lower your taxes.

Who qualifies for a Homestead Exemption?

Requirements to receive the exemption:

  1. Must own the property on January 1 of the year you are applying. January 1 is not required if you’re over 65 and/or disabled. 
  2. Must reside at your home as primary residence.
  3. Must be individual homeowner, not entities or corporation.
  4. Can be house, manufactured home or mobile home. Can include up to 20 acres if land is used as yard and owned by homeowner.
  5. Must apply between January 1 and April 30 for year you intend to use exemption.

How to apply?

  1. Find and complete APPLICATION FOR RESIDENTIAL HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION.
  2. Include copy of Driver’s License or identification Card. Address on the cards must match the homestead address.

Remember, this can ONLY be used on your primary residence. Not investment properties, not land. The best resource to use when applying for your Homestead Exemption is your local county appraisal district’s office/website or the Texas Comptroller.

File today and get that tax break!

 

Listing Your Home? Here’s What You Can Do Now

Making moves? Then it’s probably time you start thinking about putting your home on the market. Now it’s not as simple as one, two, three… but it’s not as scary as it seems. I’ve pulled together some simple steps to take care of before you put your home on the market.

Deep Clean

Do it yourself or hire a professional. From the baseboards to every corner in the home, dust should go POOF! One man’s trash is not another man’s treasure in this situation. Potential buyers are looking at EVERY corner of your home, so keep it clean.

Declutter

Clean out your shelves, pantry, countertops and the bottom of your closet! When people come in to look at your home, you want them to see the bare minimum. If it doesn’t add to the aesthetic of the home, it needs to go.

Move Those Family Photos

Yes, you’re proud of you family or significant other, but they need to go! You don’t want your family on display for your pictures on Realtor.com and you probably would prefer that the potential buyer isn’t concerned about who currently lives in the home instead of seeing the beauty of the home. Depersonalize!

Inspect Your Home

This is not a requirement, but it could show you potential hiccups or issues that could come up once you get an offer. An inspector can point out some big or small issues that you can fix before putting your home on the market.

Curb Appeal

Pull out those weeds, rake those leaves and sweep that front porch. Curb appeal is EVERYTHING! Does the outside of the home need some love? A good power wash could do the trick or even a fresh coat of paint on the trim or shutters. A lot of potential buyers will make their rounds to check the outside of the home before they asking their Realtor to show it to them.

Freshen Up That Paint

Keep it neutral and keep it cute. If you have the funds and the time, cover up that lime green or bubble gum pink room and paint over an spots or scratches and definitely think about replacing that wallpaper. This makes a bigger difference than you would imagine. A lot of potential buyers want move in ready and having a great, neutral paint color throughout the home can be just what they want.

Find Those Documents

Your Listing Agent is going to ask for any documents that you have involving the home. This includes any existing surveys, restrictions or manuals on an fixtures for the home (operating manuals for appliances, security system, etc.). If you can’t find everyone, no worries! Your Listing Agent can help you gather details from your local title company or other resources.

And finally….

Call Me!

Don’t blindly hire an agent. Let me help you list your home and market it to the right clientele. I specialize in social media and marketing, helping me direct your property to people in the area and outside of our area. I also happily meet with clients before listing to help guide with any updates needed in the home. I never recommend throwing a ton of money in updates unless it is NECESSARY, so consult an agent first.

Not in the East Texas area? I can refer you to the top agents in your area and ensure you’re listing with an agent that specializes in residential or land sales in your community. I refer friends and family to clients in large and small cities that help market and SELL properties!

Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays, right?! The holiday season is full of traveling near and far to see family and friends. While you’re preoccupied with the hustle and bustle of bopping around for the holidays, you don’t want to forget about keeping your home safe. Traveling can already be stressful enough, so I took the liberty of speaking with Officer Lana Davidson, Gilmer Police Department Investigator, about the best tips and tricks to protect your home during the holidays.

Our local law enforcement is loaded with knowledge and information to help us stay safe and out of harms way, especially during a crazy time like the holidays. I’m so thankful for all of our police officers, especially Officer Davidson, for keeping us all safe. Officer Davidson gave me so many useful tips that she even uses when she’s traveling away from home, so you know it’s the good stuff  when even she’s practicing what she’s preaching! When you sit there and think about it the police department is there for every break-in or intruder alert, so they all know a thing or two about what people are looking for while homeowners are out of town.

With Christmas nearing in, here are some great tips from our local law enforcement to keep your home safe during the holidays:

Remove Hidden Keys Outside

Have those spare keys hidden under a flower pot? Front doormat? You’re not alone and you’re not being clever because everyone has that SAME hiding spot. Move those keys! Or at least move them while you’re out of town to give you a little piece of mind.

Have Your Mail Picked Up By Family/Friend or Held By Post Office

There’s nothing that say’s I’m out of town more than a full mailbox of unread mail. Have a family member, friend or neighbor drop in to pick up your mail while you’re out of town. If that’s not an option, you can coordinate with your local post office to hold your mail until you’re back in town.

Send Packages Elsewhere

Hitting up those last minute sales or have that Amazon Prime order coming in? Don’t let those packages pile up on the front porch. Either have them shipped to an office or different location. As said above, you can also have a family member, friend or neighbor pick up packages while you’re out of town. To request a mail hold, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or complete a “hold mail” form at the post office. You can make the request up to 30 days in advance or as early as the next-scheduled delivery day. The postal service will hold mail from three to 30 days.

Put Your Lights On A Timer

Sounds complicated, but it’s really not. You can buy a cheap timer for your lights inside and outside of your home, or get a smart plug. Have your inside lights on a rotation that matches with your normal schedule when you’re typically home and not. You can find timers at Walmart, Target or even Amazon. Officer Davidson also mentioned having your TV on a timer, it’s not necessary but it really adds to the look of being home.

Watch Your Social Media

Check yoself, before you wreck yoself. Avoid posting vacation countdowns or checking in on social media while you’re out of town. I know you want to share all of your insta-worthy photos with the world, so just be sure not to geotag yourself or even better… wait to post until you’re BACK HOME! Yes, this is difficult even for me, but no one knows you’re out of town if you don’t show them.

Ensure All Windows and Doors Are Locked

Check your windows and doors and then double-check them! Don’t forget to look at all of your screens, too. Officer Davidson said this is a surefire way to see if someone tried to break in by looking back at the screens after the trip to see if there’s been any bends or breaks.

Take An Inventory of Valuables

Take a video, pictures and write down all of your valuables. Photos and serial numbers are very useful for local law enforcement. For example, if a gun is stolen, having a serial number can help track if the item was sold or used. You want to file stolen items IMMEDIATELY to the police department so they can have it in their files.

Move Valuables Out of Site

Take those valuable out of the window area or any rooms that can be seen from outside of the home. Out of sight, out of mind!

Install Motion Lights

And make sure the lights work!! This will scare off intruders if they’re walking around your home.

Keep Your Neighbors In The Loop

Homies with the neighbors? Good! Let them know that you’ll be out of town so they can alert you if they see any funny behavior while you’re gone. It’s not an imposition to them because trust me, they’ll want the favor in return.

Set Your Alarm 

I mean… duh! Crazy enough, Officer Davidson said a lot of people don’t do this. WHAT?! Don’t forget this little step before you leave the home.

Keep Things As They’re Normally Seen

This means that if your curtains are typically open, don’t draw them closed when you’re out of town. Leave them open. Are your blinds typically opened? Leave them opened. That’s a big sign for intruders to look for.

Change Those Keypad Lock Codes

Keypads for garages and front doors sure do make life easy, but have you ever thought about how many people have your code? Family, friends and friends of friends could have quick access to the inside of your home. NO GOOD! Change those keypad lock codes often and only give it out to people who really need to know. 

Notify The Police Department Of Travels

Your local law enforcement is there to HELP!! Remember this. You can call your police department and let them know that you’ll be out of town and they can add your home to their typical route while you’re out of town to keep an eye on everything. Growing up, if my Dad was out of town, my mom and I have had no shame asking the police department to take a loop around our place at night. No. Shame.

 

Safe travels and happy holidays! I hope that you can rest easy knowing that you have these great tips and tricks to keep your home safe from our local law enforcement. Share any useful tips that you use while you’re out of town during the holidays!

Listen In! 5 Great Podcasts for Real Estate Agents

Podcasting is a habit for me! I love listening along as I get ready in the mornings, drive around to showings and while I’m working. It’s a great way to pass time, but also learn something new and useful at the same time!

When I lived in Houston, I would drive back and forth to East Texas quite often (because Wedding Season is the season that never ends). I started to get sick and tired of listening to the same songs over and over and OVER AGAIN, so I knew it was time to switch up my little driving routine. Podcasts were always a topic of conversation in my workspace in Houston, so I decided to give it a try and listen, and I’m so happy I did!

If you’re new to the podcast world, I highly recommend that you start our with How I Built This with Guy Raz. The inspiring stories about how people built their businesses were uplifting and fun to listen along with. The different stories about perseverance and how people built their businesses from beginning to end makes it worth the listen. While I always love an inspiration story, I also find it useful to listen to sales and real estate podcasts. There are MANY podcasts to choose from that are focused on marketing, leads, listings and so much more. Below are five podcasts that I enjoy and think you will, too!

5 Great Podcasts for Real Estate Agents

FACE TO FACEIt’s all about building a brand and your imprint in the real estate industry with the Face to Face podcast. Jay and Michael do a great job building off one another sharing their experience from being in the real estate industry, leaving to start a different business and then jumping back into the industry. They talk about it all coming full circle and share their past experiences, as well as, their present experiences. They really are fun to listen to and learn from. This is one of my newest finds and I HIGHLY recommend.

Super Agents LIVEToby Salgado interviews industry leaders and really digs deep to find answers of what got these people to where they are and how they found success. I sometimes have difficulty listening to this podcast because Toby is a little condescending with his interviewees but I’ve come to find out that it’s so he can get the RIGHT answers and not a glossed over “I just worked hard and kept my head down.” Super Agents Live has great teaching points. Is this podcast centered for newer agents in the industry? No, it’s not. But it’s useful and provides great tools for marketing and listings. This podcast is not consistent on a posting schedule, but they’re lengthy and provide LOADS of great information.

The Honest Real Estate AgentThis one lives up to its name… HONEST! Mario Jannatpour, the creator and voice of the podcast, shares some really great advice. It’s not all just about marketing a property or winning a listing; he really dives into how you as an agent should present yourself. A great example he had was an agent look sloppy, fumbling papers as they were walking out of the dirty and messy vehicle to greet the potential buyers.  People are always watching and he does a great job explaining how important your presentation is. He also has a fantastic book called The Honest Real Estate Agent that covers all of the same aspects the podcast does. Unfortunately, his podcast is not consistent with posting every week (or sometimes month), but it gives you an opportunity to catch up on old episodes.

Business Unusual with Barbara CorcoranShort, sweet and to the point! Barbara Corcoran was a real estate mogul, ’Shark’ on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank and is just fun to listen to. She’s witty and quick and just a straight forward type of gal, which is what I love! In her podcast, she focuses on using your smarts to read people, how to get what YOU want and pushing forward professionally. Her episodes are normally around seven minutes long, so you can listen in on your daily commute!

Side Hustle School with Chris GuillebeauSeems like an odd, random choice for real estate agents but hear me out. This is a daily podcast that normally is a maximum of eight minutes long with a 15 minute weekly recap on Sundays. Every day there’s a different episode about people with different “side hustles” and it’s anything from creation of products to trainings and more. What I truly like about this podcast is the lessons the people learn from sales and how they uniquely market their product. It’s fascinating how a lot of these side hustles can teach you about marketing a property or dealing with a client. I’ve an OG follower and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t squeeze in around eight minutes to listen in of people’s new and fun side hustles and the take aways they have that I can use.

 

These are some of my favorite podcasts and I hope you give them a listen! If you’re a podcaster, I would love to hear what some of your favorites are. I’m always trying to learn more as I listen along.

 

Cyber Monday: Homeowner Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But I’m talking about Cyber Monday! This little holiday and shopping day is my speed because it’s all online and one click away! As you can guess, I am keeping all of my Cyber Monday finds specific for homeowners!!

For Cyber Monday: Homeowner Edition, it’s not just about vacuums and blenders. I’m pulling finds from Pottery Barn with my favorite bedding to Crate and Barrels wine glasses (yes, the one’s Olivia Pope uses in Scandal)! I will throw in some great tech and guest rooms finds as well. Cyber Monday is like Christmas everyday because all the packages keep showing up on your doorstep! Enjoy and click away!

Wordpress Featured Image- Cyber Monday


|| BATH & BODY WORKS||

40% OFF SITEWIDE PLUS FREE SHIPPING ON $40 PURCHASES

Your house will smell like Christmas in NO TIME! Time to stock up on candles, wallflowers, moisturizers and more! My house will personally be getting loads of Fresh Balsam and Vanilla Bean Noel to have my house smelling all festive and what not. Also thinking about grabbing plenty of wallflower plugs and fragrance refills for my real estate clients and their new homes! Sale starts online at 6AM.

USE THE CODE: SHOPCYBER

023845824  Wallflower Fragrance Refill  Vanilla Bean Noel 3-Wick Candle  023996166


|| POTTERY BARN||

25% OFF SITEWIDE PLUS FREE SHIPPING

Basically, anything goes. Want a new duvet? 25% off. Looking for some serving dishes? 25% off! I love anything and everything Pottery Barn. A couple of items I’m eyeing include the TENCEL™ Ruffel Duvet Cover & Sham. In love with the simplicity of the duvet and sham and think it adds a nice and clean look to a room.

All of the serving pieces you need for hosting parties or just a wine night can be found at Pottery Barn, too. I love the Everyday Pitcher that is perfect of lemon water or a sangria and the PB Classic Glass Drink Dispenser to help hydrate a crowd. Speaking of wine nights, Pottery Barn has a variety of cheese boards that are Insta-worthy. My favorite is the Chateau Wood Cheese Board.

USE THE CODE: CYBER

tencel-ruffle-duvet-cover-sham-white-o  PB CLASSIC GLASS DRINK DISPENSER  everyday-pitcher-o.jpg    chateau-wood-cheese-boards-o


||CRATE AND BARREL||

20% OFF SELECT FULL PRICE ITEMS

Entertaining pieces galore! My mother LOVES to buy their big white platters for cookies and snacks when she’s entertaining crowds. I am personally obsessed with their Camille Wine Glasses (yes, the ones Olivia Pope has in Scandal). They’re already discounted, so might as well throw it in your cart! As for using the 20% discount, I recommend piling up on their LeCreuset cookware, especially their signature round dutch oven.

Other discounts include 40% off of rugs and 20% off lighting. Sales prices are final and do not include the 20% off full price items.

Camille Red Wine 23oz  Rectangle Platter   LeCreuset Signature Round Dutch Over


|| BED BATH & BEYOND||

Talk about an organized shopping experience! Bed Bath & Beyond has all of their Cyber Monday deals separated into categories from kitchen to electronics to vacuums, so you’re sure to find something you NEED for your home.

Keep your house clean with vacuum savings that can be up to $120 with the newest Dyson V8 Vacuum on the market. You can equip your home as a smart house with the Nest Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm ($20 in savings), as well as, the Nest Learning Thermostat for $179. My sister has been eyeing the Nespresso® by Breville® Coffee and Espresso Maker Bundle that $100 off for Cyber Monday. Honestly, I’m starting to eye that coffee and espresso maker, too. Talk about a steal!

Discounts for Cyber Monday items are already applied online when shopping.

Snip 2018-11-25 20.11.42  Snip 2018-11-25 20.21.33.png  Nest Learning Third Generation Thermostat  Snip 2018-11-25 20.30.11


|| AMAZON||

Amazon, the head honcho of Cyber Monday, has got the deals rolling in. I’m just going to cut to the chase here and give you all the sweet deals that are perfect for your home.

Amazon’s Echo Dot (3rd gen) is honestly a game changer and it’s even half off. Listen to your musics, the news or just get information. One of my friends even had her Smart Light Bulbs hooked up to her Echo Dot and would tell Alexa when to turn her lights on and off. NOW THAT’S COOL! You can also add an Amazon Smart Plug to any Echo device for $5. Schedule your lights, fans and appliances to shut off; yes, schedule that curling iron to turn OFF! Don’t miss out on saving 46% on this Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Purifier. It’s asthma and allergy friendly and could really be useful with the changing weather! Also, check out the Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Maker. This version does not have the milk frother, but it does have the same capabilities as the other Nespresso Coffee and Espresso makers.

All-New Echo Dot (3rd Generation)  Amazon  Dyson Air Purifier 71aYbx0GxDL._SL1500_


||THE CONTAINER STORE||

CYBER WEEK: 20% OFF A DIFFERENT CATEGORY EACH DAY

Here’s to all the neat freaks! The Container Store is for all the organizing kings and queens of the world. Instead of just hosting a Cyber Monday they’re hosting a Cyber Week! For Cyber Monday, though, they are hosting 20% off on closet and bedroom essentials. This means shoe storage, jewelry holders and hangers are all 20% off! My favorite non-slip hangers keep my closet neat and tidy to where I can see ALL of my clothes and hold up all my off-the-shoulder tops. Keep all of your shoes dust free with the shoe box. I love that I can SEE the shoes but they’re not collecting dust either. I recommend buying the case! The acrylic jewelry stand are sitting on my dresser in my room perfectly displaying my bracelets. They’re simple and pretty and don’t clash with whatever style is going on in your room or closet. I’m also a BIG FAN of the Diamond Dazzle Stick. It cleans all my rings and jewelry to like NEW and it’s a great gift for friends that are newly engaged, so stock up!

Huggable Hangers  Acrylic Jewelry Stand  Diamond Dazzle Stick


||WILLIAMS SONOMA||

I LOVE shopping in Williams Sonoma. The place is in my kitchen dreams and has just about EVERYTHING you could need! Savings are up to 70% and the discounts are unbeatable here for Cyber Monday and it’s a one day deal! 

I’ve been on the hunt for a knife set and of course, William Sonoma has the best quality and brands. Their Wüsthof Gourmet 12 Piece Knife set has a savings of $349, like hello DONE! Their LeCreuset Cast Iron Dutch is over 50% off and their essentials bakeware collection with 6 pieces is priced at $79. All worth the buy!

Wusthof Gourmet 12 piece knife block set  Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven, 2 3:4-Qt.  img46c


|| TARGET||

15% OFF SITEWIDE

Here’s what’s giving you more bang for your buck at Target for Cyber Monday: TVs and Vacuums. It’s fun growing up and have adult-like things on your wish list, right? Save $150 with the iRobot Roomba 890 Robotic Vacuum for $349.99. Roomba deals are everywhere, but the Target one is pretty sweet. As for TVs, save $120 for the Samsung 50″ Smart UHD TV for $329.99. I’ve also been going back and forth on this Luxury Mink Weighted Blanket; hoping it will make me toss and turn less at night.

iRobot Roomba 890 Robot Vacuum  SAMSUNG 55" Class 4K (2160P) UHD Smart LED TV UN55NU6900 (2018 Model) Luxury Mink Weighted Blanket


 

I hope that you find these Cyber Monday finds useful for your home! I’m excited to load up my shopping cart and get lots of goodies. Happy shopping! Please share all of your Cyber Monday finds!

Sneak Peak: Best of Black Friday Sales for Homeowners

Here’s my confession: Black Friday shopping SCARES me!! I have never been into Black Friday shopping. It’s overwhelms me with all of the people hustling and bustling everywhere I’m more of a Cyber Monday gal. But, I can’t blame people for loving Black Friday! With all of the deals you can get on clothes, household items and more, I see the appealing side of the ‘holiday’.

This year, I am excited to be participating in Black Friday to help find the perfect gift for homeowners. From vacuums to TVs, air fryers and more, you really can’t pass up the deals. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, a family member or a friend, here are some great finds for the homeowner in mind!

Wordpress Featured Image- Black Friday


|| TARGET ||

Target, or as I like to call it Tarjay, has some deals rolling through for Black Friday. I’ve found the perfect finds for your extended stay guests, technology gadgets to help you save on your monthly energy bill, and other home life-saving applicances! You can save $60 on a Serta Air Mattress for those last minute visitors and a 50% off THIS blow dryer for the guest bath. Show off your GREEN side by being energy efficient with the NEST Thermostat that’s $70 off the original price. Now the best find, in my opinion, is the KitchenAid mixer. I LOVE MINE. This is the bigger mixer – meaning more cookies and sweets can be made! Can’t beat getting a 5 Quart KitchenAid for a whopping $230 off sticker! Also a big fan of the $20 savings on the AirFryer.

Last, but certainly not least, is the kitchen appliance on my wish list: The Ninja Professional 1200W Kitchen System. It’s basically a four-in-one machine. All of the attachments can be used for making my yummy oreo balls, to a quick protein shake, or even margaritas. Done and DONE!

Target’s Black Friday shopping begins on Thanksgiving Day at 5PM and doors close at 1AM. They reopen at 7AM on Friday.

Serta 16  GUEST_93a7a6cf-aae3-48cf-9874-a8ba31d1d444  GUEST_bc122e75-f97d-4715-8635-cbe21b13ed82  GUEST_c9b74774-628c-48bc-8c6c-82c537c3c59c  GUEST_55b87cbe-a889-476b-b45d-e93abd41db53  AirFryer

 


|| SAM’S CLUB ||

Savings in BULK! Sam’s Club already has some of the lowest prices around, but Black Friday is where it’s at. At our house we LIVE FOR their towels and pillows. They’re basically luxe hotel quality and they’re CHEAP! Their 2018 Black Friday savings catalog has basically everything needed for any home gift.

Some of the savings I’m most excited about are the iRobot Roomba ($100 off), Arlo Pro Home Security System ($249.00), Jumbo-Sized Bamboo Pillows ($10.98) and Samsung 75″ TV with Xbox One X ($1,279.00). Walmart also has an Arlo 3-Pack for less, but it’s not the Arlo Pro, so it’s all about personal preference! Back to the pillows… I have these and one of my dearest friends has them and they’re like sleeping on a cloud! GET THEM!!

Sam’s Club Black Friday shopping begins online on Thanksgiving Day and their doors will open at 7 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 23.

iRobot Roomba e5 5134 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum  Arlo Pro Wire-Free HD Camera Security System (2-Camera Kit)  Samsung 75   Bamboo-Polyfill Pillows, Jumbo (2-pack)


|| WALMART ||

I look at Walmart as the HEAD HONCHO of Black Friday. That place is cray cray when Thanksgiving Day hits! To keep the search simple, here’s what I have my eye on for the Walmart Black Friday sale:

  • Instant Pot: BEST FIND! Here’s to making cooking easy! We love our Instant Pot and the quickness and ease it brings to our lives when making quick dinner. Walmart is selling the Instant Pot 8 Quart for $59 which is ~$40 less than what it would normally cost. PSSSST… $10 cheaper than Target!
  • SAMSUNG Smart TVS: I have one and LOVE IT! It’s so nice to use ONE remote for all of my Netflix, Hulu or Cable TV needs. Walmart is running deals on the 55″ and 60″ Smart TVs that will be hard to beat.
  • Roku: Don’t have a Smart TV? Don’t worry! There are two Roku deals – Roku Ultra for all you heavy, high definition, streamers (saving $51) and the Roku SE, still a high definition stream, ($20). These can easily be hooked up to your TV through the HDMI port and you can watch shows, movies or videos from all your favorite apps. My family loves theirs! Again, better deals than Target!
  • Arlo Security Cameras: This is my best find! A couple of different stores (Sam’s Club, etc.) are running deals on the Arlo Camera Systems, but Walmart has the BEST deal with a 3 camera bundle system; other stores are only including 2 cameras. My parents have these and LOVE THEM! They’re wireless and you can check the cameras from your phone on an app wherever you are; you can even set up alerts when there’s movement near the camera. Sam’s Club is selling the Arlo Pro which is different from just the Arlo.
  • Vacuums: We all could use a nice, new vacuum! From what I’ve seen, Walmart has some of the best and lowest Black Friday prices around. They have the Dyson vacuum at $159 for Black Friday. What a deal!

The Walmart Light Up Black Friday event begins on Thursday, Nov. 22 at 6PM in stores and Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 9PM CT online. 

fe9c913e-0524-4c27-8132-a357e71a2ab6_1.b5a550810f64f4eeba6e49aaac096fdba4aa8214-30ee-4fd0-b177-21828eeebbf0_1.07981d95fc037f64329d3ff996885549  fd4e1787-086f-42f8-baf6-acecfe3413cf_1.dd667895da5df9e7153673b8739b61a6    3e947f11-7286-411d-b027-a70ea46ae2a1_14.162aafaee79bbc284a68fa3843a12018-2 3b54f535-13ef-4f83-917d-4bc978153955_1.2953bfa0b8133944ed6fee47e2d98896


|| AMAZON||

Loud and proud Amazon Prime Member over here! Love that I can get quick shipping on just about anything and can find everything. Amazon is a little heavier on the Cyber Monday train, but they’re still throwing in some great deals on Black Friday.

So what does Amazon have to add to your home, you may ask? Well, the Ring Video Doorbell (saving $60) is a great start. Safety at it’s finest. I’m a scaredy cat when people are ringing on my door (even if it’s just the mailman), so it’s nice to see who is at your doorstep whether you’re home or away. They will also have all of their Echo products at a discount and their new Echo Plus reduced by $40. Other savings included are up to 35% off on mattresses, furniture and area rugs and up to 40% on select coffee makers.

Ring Video Doorbell 2  All-new Echo Plus (2nd Gen) - Premium sound with built-in smart home hub - Charcoal


|| BEST BUY||

Here’s where I look for all of the tech goodies and there are lots in the Best Buy Black Friday sale. What are you going to find? LOTS! Similar to Amazon, Best Buy has the Ring Video Doorbell 2 priced the same BUT they’re including an Echo with purchase…. so WIN WIN! This is also the hot spot for TVs on Black Friday. All brands, all sizes and big discounts! Samsung has great Smart TV options with savings of $200-300.

Let us not forget about the bigger appliances, too! From refrigerators to washer/dryer combos, this is the time to make the big splurge on those big items. There are  savings of up to $700 on the refrigerator and ~$250 on the washers and dryers along with a FREE Samsung POWERbot Vacuum (valued at $499.99) with the purchase!

Doors open on Thursday at 5PM for the Best Buy Black Friday Sale.

Ring Video Doorbell 2  6199827_sd.jpg;maxHeight=640;maxWidth=550  5580242_sd.jpg;maxHeight=640;maxWidth=550 Samsung - 4.5 Cu. Ft. 8-Cycle Front-Loading Washer - Fingerprint Resistant Black Stainless Steel


**Please note that the links will not show the discounted pricing until Thanksgiving Day!

Happy shopping! Would love to know what you’re shopping for or have your eye on this Black Friday! Share your finds!

Looking to buy a property? 5 Things to Do Before You Call A Real Estate Agent

Is buying a new property or home on your horizon? It’s the most exciting, stressful time and likely the biggest purchase of your life! There’s no doubt that the whole process of buying a home or property can be overwhelming. Luckily, real estate agents and brokers provide local expertise and are a great resource to help you find exactly what you are looking for.

Select an agent with the right credentials for your buy. While you may want to immediately pick up the phone and call me to help find your DREAM HOME, there is some groundwork that can be accomplished beforehand. Here are five things that you can do before calling a real estate agent:                                               

1. Get pre-qualified for your loan.

Hands down, this should be your first step as it is the most important! Getting pre-qualified means that a lender (your bank) has looked closely at employment history, credit reports, income, etc. The lender will then determine loan programs that you qualify for and find what works best for your financial situation. Basically, you can’t go spending more than your credit limit will let you!

Going through the pre-qualification process helps your real estate agent find a property that is in your price range. Most of the time clients get very eager and want to look at homes before speaking with a lender or bank, but I prefer not to show them homes without knowing their limits. You can really sour the house hunting process by showing a home out of a client’s price range, letting them fall in love, only to realize that they can’t afford it. Getting pre-qualified can be as simple as a phone call so it doesn’t have to take up your whole day. I do highly recommend meeting with the lender in person just to make the initial connection and help build a relationship.

If you don’t know where to start or who to call to get qualified, I can guide you in the right direction to help find a mortgage lender or bank that fits your needs.

2. Know the area that you want to purchase.

When it comes down to it, you need to know the location or area of where you plan to purchase a property. This decision can come down to the school districts, access to hospitals, or dining. Determining the location of the property helps the real estate agent zero in on where the buyer is focused on living or investing and eliminates questions about other locations. Real estate agents have great programs in the MLS systems that allow us to map out or search specifically by district.

Knowing the location you want to purchase a property in may take some time. I always recommend that my clients take a cruise in the areas they’re leaning toward in the morning and evening. It really helps you get a feel of the neighborhood. Wanting a neighborhood perfect for a growing family? Take a look and see if there are kids playing basketball outside or families going for walks in the evening. Looking for something quiet like a retirement community? Do a night drive by to see if the nightlife is popping in the neighborhoods you’re interested in. These little cruises can really cut down the house-hunting search. There’s nothing worse than when a real estate agent takes a client to a home they requested to see and the client pulling up and not even wanting to look inside the home (that you made clients leave so you could show) because they’re not a fan of the neighborhood. Yes, your agent is there and happy to help you in the elimination process, but help them out too!

3. Study the market.

Look at the economic situation that surrounds you. Research the market for homes in the area where you want to purchase. While a real estate agent can share the length of time homes have been on the market and estimated closing costs, research done ahead of time gives buyers expectations of costs in the location area of where they want to purchase a property. It can also help you see when the competitive times are in the market (typically in the spring/summer).

4. Know the usage of the property that you plan to purchase.

Typically, I’m searching for residential or luxury homes for my clients. So while is seems like an obvious answer that most clients want a subdivision, your real estate agent needs a little more information than that. Clarifying the usage of the property can narrow down the selection to more ‘prime’ choices. Do you want a minimum of five acres so you have room to breathe? Do you want a property where the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) takes care of the lawn? These little tid bits of information can really help narrow it down for your agent’s search.

Another potential deterrent can be deed restrictions on some properties. Some clients want to build a shop or add a pool to their backyard. Having those deed restrictions let’s you know what you’re allowed to build and add-on in neighborhoods. It can really make or break a decision.

5. Research your real estate agent.

Shopping for a real estate agent can be time-consuming, but knowing that you are using the right person for the type of property you want can help make the buying process a breeze. When looking to purchase a property, look at what your agent has listed or helped buyers purchase in the past. I’ve listed and helped as a buyer’s agent in luxury, residential, waterfront, commercial and other types of properties. Having an agent that has knowledge and a proven background in what you want to buy ensures a smooth process. It also doesn’t hurt to check out an agent’s Zillow or Facebook pages to see what properties and clientele they work with to find the right fit. Reviews can also be useful! But, trust me; I know I can help you find the PERFECT property!

 

Buying a property brings in a roller coaster of emotions. Doing homework ahead of time and keeping expectations clear between the buyer and the real estate agent can make this exciting journey a simpler one. These five simple steps to take care of before calling me to be your real estate agent helps set you, the buyer, up for success when looking for a property. Call Bethany Nolan with Murray Real Estate Services, LLC to get started on your house hunting today!

 

Meet Bethany: Realtor®, Consultant and East Texas Native

Hello! Howdy! Hi there! I am Bethany Nolan, a Realtor® and Consultant, with a lot on my mind! Starting a blog has always been an aspiration for me, but finding the time and narrowing down content that I am passionate about has been my struggle. Before we get into all of that fun, here’s a little bit about me:

I’m a ninth generation Texan with seven generations in Upshur County. Growing up in rural Gilmer, Texas was always a treat and I’m a proud Gilmer Buckeye and alumna. After high school, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications and Journalism at Texas A&M University and a minor in Horticulture with an Event Planning Certification. Upon completion at Texas A&M  I moved to Lubbock, Texas to receive a Master of Science in Agricultural Communications. Once all of my fun schooling was over, I moved to Houston and began working for a public relations firm specializing in their food, agriculture and beverage department focusing on media relations and social media. Working in public relations gave me a great background to transition into opening up Bethany Nolan Consulting, LLC, to assist clients with their social media, media relations and more. Unknowingly at the time, but my background serves as an advantage for marketing and selling real estate. Summed up in a nutshell… that’s a little bit about ME!

Now that you have a little bit of a backgrounder on ya girl, here are some fun little tid bits to get to know me a little better:

  • Hobby: I love to bake and test out new recipes; it’s a great escape for me!
  • Favorite Movie: Son-In-Law, Troop Beverly Hills and Heavyweights
  • Favorite TV Series: Hart of Dixie, Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl
  • Biggest Pet Peeve: Smacking… GETS. UNDER. MY. SKIN!
  • Biggest Fear: Needles, just can’t shake the fear

I’m excited to take a deep dive into real estate, consulting and the life of Bethany! My hope and plan is to help guide you in the home buying process, preparation tips for preparing your home for the market or the holidays and even give some insight on social media marketing that I use to guide my consulting clients. Follow along, subscribe and enjoy the ride.