Category Archives: Going Green

Fresh Herbs

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The end of summer does not have to mean the end of your gardening enjoyment, even if you do not have the time or climate for a full plot of vegetable plants. Herbs are perfect fall crops; they are prolific growers and can satisfy your desire for fresh, garden-grown greens.

Pick a place: Herbs need at least four to six hours of natural light per day to grow indoors, so choose a sunny spot near a window where they will be protected from drafts and cold.

Caring for container herbs: You will need to keep a close eye on your herb plants’ watering needs. Remember, dry topsoil is not an indication plants need water. Always water in the morning, at soil level and avoid watering the leaves, as bacteria can breed in cool, wet, damp, and dark conditions, like night time.

Make sure to fertilize your herbs. Read the label on your potting soil mix and follow the brand’s recommendations for fertilizing frequency. Timed-release granular fertilizer or a plant food you mix with water will help keep herbs nourished.

Whether you are an expert gardener or a first-time fall grower, autumn is the perfect time to fall in love with the freshness, flavor, and ease of herb gardening. You have still got time to get growing! v

Life on the Farm: The Urban Farmer

Backyard-Farming

As we get closer to the end of long summer days and begin our courtship with autumn’s harvest moons, it is worth mentioning a new trend appearing in the housing market: the backyard farm. With society becoming more and more health & environmentally conscious, folks are beginning to take matters into their own hands, or yards. Fresh fruits and vegetable gardens are sprouting up, bees are being cultivated and there are even a few instances of livestock where you aren’t used to finding them – the city.

Having a backyard farm is not something to be taken lightly. A lot of work goes into creating this type of backyard. There are rules that need to be followed and making sure it’s all up to code with the city and/or an HOA takes some time and effort. Of course, then there’re always the neighbors. If having things like bees or chickens is something that suits your fancy, making sure it’s good with everyone surrounding you is something that must be done. No one wants to be shocked awake every morning by a rooster or stung by a bee while swimming in their pool on a warm day. Keeping everything kosher may involve some bribery, like a BBQ or some home-brewed beer as a token of appreciation for being so cool with things. But once all of the politics are cleared up, the fun can begin.

But what does that do to the sale of a home? How does a buyer see this built-in responsibility? Is it a perk or a deal-breaker? I suppose, it all depends on the buyer. What you need to do as a realtor is show the upside of having this type of yard. Mention the fantastic condition the soil is in from seasons of use and how much money could be saved by growing their own. Make sure the hives or coops are in good condition so it is seen as a pleasure rather than as a hassle. Stage the home with the fruits from the garden. Create a centerpiece of tomatoes or squash blossoms and make sure to highlight areas where vegetation grows best, like an herb garden windowsill. Features like chicken runs and raised garden beds have not only been cared for, but can also be repurposed to suit the new owner’s needs, for example turned into safe place for a dog to exercise. Those that are into sustainable practices, will be excited that steps were already taken before they have even moved in and those with pets could be excited that there is a designated place for their pet to run without disturbing the overall landscape.

The point is to focus on promoting these landscapes as lifestyle-friendly features that can be easily modified to fit needs of new homeowners. In fact, knowing in depth the rules and regulations that may affect the sale of a property will only benefit your business, as a real estate agent. Having knowledge a client can use when deciding on a new home purchase is a win-win situation. Put tips about seasonal vegetation or an article on how to keep a garden vibrant into your newsletter. Even folks that have a plant or two can benefit from this facet of your real estate repertoire.

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Selling Homes on the Go

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To be successful in anything you do, preparation is involved. We need to be ready for anything at any time in order to prove that we are right for the job. Before the electronic age ravaged our society, everything was dealt with at a much slower pace. Today, that’s not the case.

We all know that the real estate world is a very interactive profession. Not only are you trying to get your brand out to the public as much as possible, but your properties need to reach your client base as well. Clients are no longer willing to wait for an appointment, or for you “to get back with them.” A study done by National Assoc. of Realtors and Google revealed that 89% of new-home shoppers are using mobile search engines & apps for all of their house-hunting needs. They want answers and they want answers now.

This put a realtor in a position to be always Boy Scout ready. And since we can only do so much as a human, we are now relying more on technology. No longer are the days of lugging around tons of paperwork. Now a realtor needs to lug around a smartphone & a tablet, and consequently, extra batteries & chargers. It really is a magical time!

But with all power comes great responsibility. And with this immediacy, you are now expected to have all the answers at your fingertips. Thankfully, there are tools our there to prepare you for everything.

Cut to the chase

The majority of Gmail & Yahoo email users check their emails via a mobile device, so grabbing their attention needs to be direct and to the point within the subject line & header. Otherwise, it can easily be overlooked and/or deleted, thereby wasting all your hard work. Keep it simple. Stay in touch with your virtual clients via our csutom e-newsletter: it is the same as getting the printed version, but paperless.

Your mobile office

Apps like Dropbox & Evernote are just a couple of the endless list of apps available for you to keep all of your paperwork, files, & contact information at your fingertips. Faxes should be sent to your email, as opposed to the machine in your office. These days, your office needs to be virtual, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be.

Showing houses the virtual way

Additionally, the virtual showing of a home is no longer a fantasy, but the way of the future. Programs like Facetime & Skype are allowing agents to show a property to a client without them being there. Take pictures & videos of your listings so your client base can view virtual tours on your website. The easier a buyer can navigate through the home-buying process, the more successful you will be. So take full advantage of the incredible advances created to streamline life as a realtor…just don’t forget to sync up.

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