Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Your Year In Review & Goals Forms

You Can Do It! Annual Goal and Yearly Review Sheets!
Annual Goal and Yearly Review Sheets
Since I wanted to make the download process easier for these printables, Click HERE
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Here's your Sign: Funny Plaques

Looking for that perfect sign for your home, office, garage or loved one?  

Here are some that I have seen recently...

I love you even though you aggravate the hell out of me


I'm kind of a big deal

I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Four roofing choices to compare

4 Roofing Choices for Your Home
Although often overlooked, a roof is one of the most critical elements of your home. If you're in the market to replace an old roof, or planning to build a new one, you have several common roofing types to choose from. Here's what you need to consider when comparing four popular roofing choices.

Asphalt Shingles

Easy to work with, modern asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of colors and styles. The traditional three-tab asphalt shingle – a form of strip asphalt shingles – still outsells newer architectural asphalt shingles, a thicker, heavier shingling that provides a rich, sculptured look to your roof. Premium asphalt shingles, sometimes referred to as laminated shingles, are distinctive in appearance. These shingles may look like "old world" shingles such as shake or slate. Premium shingles are generally more energy efficient and offer longer warranties (typically anywhere from 5 to 50 years depending on the asphalt shingle style).
Benefits: The advantages of asphalt shingles as a group include low initial cost, ease of installation and repair, fire resistance and the fact that they are DIY friendly. Additionally, if only one shingle is damaged or missing, you can generally perform a spot repair rather than replacing the entire roof. Some asphalt shingles offer mold, moss and algae resistance, and you can coat asphalt with treatments to seal and protect it.
Drawbacks: Asphalt is generally a short-lived roofing material. It also requires a lot of maintenance and is environmentally unfriendly, with premium asphalt shingles more efficient than the others.
Conclusion: While a good value, if you don't want to repair or replace shingles torn in storms or replace the roofing in the coming years, asphalt may not be the choice for you.

Metal Roofing

Benefits: With a typical life expectancy of at least 50 to 100 years, chances are good your metal roof will outlive most any other roof around. Metal is also fire retardant, so you'll never have to worry about any fire spreading to your home via the roof. Lightweight, with a variety of colors and styles, metal roofing is also environmentally friendly since it's energy efficient and recyclable. You can also install metal roofing over existing roofs, eliminating the need to tear off the existing material.
Drawbacks: Metal roofing is expensive. A low-end metal roofing product is at least twice as expensive as asphalt and most other roofing choices, and at the top end it may be four times as much – generally more expensive than any other selection but slate stone. Metal is also more difficult to install, which may discourage DIY homeowners. Some metal roofs may require periodic painting.
Conclusion: Because it is wind, storm and damage resistant, metal roofing is superior to most roofing products in terms of protection and energy savings. While more expensive initially, it will save money over time.

Less common choices...

Wood Roofing

Typically made of cedar, wood roofing includes both wood shakes and wood shingles. What's the difference? A shake is rougher, thicker, and generally lasts longer. A shingle, on the other hand, is smoother, thinner, and more vulnerable to damage.
Benefits: In addition to a fairly good life expectancy, wood roofing is generally considered easy to maintain and repair. Wood roofing also allows you to choose nontraditional patterns such as V-cut and fish-scale patterns.
Drawbacks: Wood roofing costs more than asphalt, although less than some other choices. Wood shakes and shingles can also be time-consuming. Plan to inspect your roof at least once a year and to apply a preservative every few years to maintain your roof in the best condition. Wood is not fire resistant and it's vulnerable to storm damage.
Conclusion: Nothing beats wood in appearance, and a wood roof will age beautifully. If you live in a very humid area where mold is likely to grow on the wood or in an area vulnerable to fires, wood may not be the best choice. Some areas even ban wood roofs.

Concrete Tile

You may have seen a concrete tile roof and never even realized it. With a variety of colors and styles, a concrete tile roof (sometimes called cement tile) may even look like it was made from slate or clay, without the weight those choices entail.

Benefits: No doubt about it, concrete roofs are tough. Hail won't dent it, and winds won't blow the concrete away. Concrete tile also helps insulate the roof and may last longer than 30 years. During its life you can expect little to no maintenance.
Drawbacks: Concrete tiles are expensive – at least three times greater than the cost of asphalt and comparable to the more expensive metal choices – and difficult to install. Professional installation is recommended.
Conclusion: If the cost isn't prohibitive, a concrete tile roof may be the best choice for you.
When comparing roofing options, balance the cost, vulnerabilities and desirable features of each in order to select the roofing material that best suits your situation.

Check out more Home improvement articles.
Check out what home improvements give the best return on investment.

See more topics in this blog:http://livingtopics.blogspot.com/2011/12/topics-in-this-blog.html

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's Give To the Max Day!

It's Give to the Max Day in Minnesota!


Be sure to get your donations in! Just visit https://www.givemn.org/ search for the nonprofits and schools of your choice, or browse by topic or location, and make a donation. You can track your giving and set up ongoing contributions.  


Friday, October 23, 2015

My Morning Routine, Fall 2015

Having a Routine for Success

We all have to start somewhere so this isn't perfect but it's honest. With any luck I will improve and have a success story to share a few months from now. If it works, maybe I'll write a book.  Writing a book seems to be "the thing to do" if you have success or struggle in anything, no?  Looking back, I have plenty of old self-help posts/material I could use - including thoughts on morning routines!

It started with the 6 Minute Plan from the book Miracle Morning and I have expanded a couple areas areas already in hopes for better results.  This is my current (Miracle) morning routine.

1) Calm and relaxed - deep breathing - I still do this lying in bed though they recommend getting up and doing it meditation-style, sitting with legs crossed and meditation music.

2) Vision board (goals), visualize a perfect day right after my deep breathing. This also still happens while laying in bed and I simply have a family photo on my Vision board for now.

3) Physical Activity - stretching/increase heart rate. I created a Pinterest board with some of my favorite exercises and spend 10 minutes a day on this... and I have started making my husband join me.

4) Write down what you are grateful for - this is easiest while you are still in that positive thinking state of mind from deep breathing and visualizing a perfect day.

5) Self-help Reading - I am in a book club and that keeps me accountable for reading a chapter a week. Though I am naturally inclined to learning, I tend to prefer short articles or books because I am a little ADD. Yes, another buzz acronym but not an excuse for me nor an official diagnosis. Infact, I tell myself the ability for my mind to switch subjects quickly and often is a positive skill. I digress.

6) Daily affirmations - I have struggles with this but I did write a couple and put them on my calendar to read each day.

7) The stuff people normally think of as a morning routine; brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, COFFEE, etc

We all have the need for a bit of structure in our lives.  There are a lot of buzz words about being healthy, happy and having personal success through mindset and activities but the truth is not everyone will have the same commitment, drive, opportunity, etc and we all have excuses.

Even I have written about exercise and eating healthy and doing things to better myself right here in this blog and I too have "fallen off the wagon" because, well, life happens.  But the idea is that no matter how many times you fail, you try again, with a new approach if needed.

Wish me luck!

If you have a morning routine, I'd love to hear it and how you believe it affects your life.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cleaning, repairing and saving at home!


Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®


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Friday, July 31, 2015

Healthier, Easier Cream Cheese Wontons

Are you looking for recipe for healthier and easier wontons? One time that doesn't require a deep fat fryer? Wontons a six-year-old can make almost by herself? A recipe that is almost all pictures? A recipe with only 3 ingredients?
You found it!



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

10 things that may Negatively affect your Home's Value

This is a great read for both buyers AND sellers. Sellers - this helps you price correctly. Buyers - consider these things when choosing your next home!

1. Bad location. This can come down to freeway noise, power lines, you name it. See: Location Issues That Make it Hard to Sell

2. No garage or small garage. Unless you're living in a condo, retirement community or historical or in-town neighborhood, most buyers will look for at least a two-car garage.

3. Garbled floor plan. Small rooms and bathrooms, an inconvenient floor plan or a layout that requires you to access bedrooms or bathrooms through other rooms will detract value from your home.

4. Outmoded appliances or systems. Who wants an electrical system or plumbing system incapable of handling modern conveniences? Would you buy a home if the appliances were worn or broken?
Phipps remembers walking into one house with clients who casually opened the oven door -- and it fell off.

5. Stale or overly personal decor. Sure, [insert color] is the hot wall color right now, but for how long?  What is more important? Letting the buyer see your home or photos of your kids?

 6. A bad roof. Roofs are expensive to replace and a good roof is considered standard equipment in a house. If your roof has problems, expect to take a hit in the price.

 7. A pool. Forget what you might have heard. An in-ground pool in most parts of the country doesn't automatically raise the value of your home.
Having a swimming pool will automatically limit your market when it comes time to sell, he says. It's constant upkeep, they get cracks, the equipment goes down and it's expensive to replace, and the liability is high.
Consider your home value and location. In a million-dollar house, not having a pool is a detraction but will not necessarily increase your value.

8. Poor maintenance. If you've got an old roof and deteriorating exterior paint/siding/trim, I don't care if the home is immaculate inside, you won't even get the buyer out of the car. If the curb appeal is in disrepair they buyer starts out on a negative note thinking about what else may be poorly maintained.

9. Environmental hazards. Besides being a danger to human health, lead, mold or asbestos can kill home value.

10. A laundry list of needed improvements. A list of must-dos just to conduct everyday life will scare off a lot of potential home buyers. Especially with first-time buyers since most of them are already scraping cash together just to close.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Words of Wisdom and Memorable Quotes - WEDDING


"A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other."




"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible" - When Harry Met Sally



"If a friendship lasts longer than 7 years, psychologists say it will last a lifetime."




Connect with me and see more great inspiration!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ultimate closet organization tips!

When the open the door to your closet do you groan? 

Do you feel like the door is there to hide a disaster? Would you love being able to open your closet door and immediately find everything you need? Then check out these great closet organizing ideas!







You're probably wondering how closet organizing is going to save you money? When you can easily find and access products and supplies, you can prevent yourself from letting products expire or buying duplicates of things you already own. :-)

Looking for more great ideas? Follow my closets board on Pinterest!

Follow Sarah's board closets on Pinterest.


(I do not own any of the images shared here.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

[Set the Record Straight]

Sometimes I just need to vent!

I am a full-time, high-producing REALTOR (R). I bring much, much more to the transaction than just driving people around to look at houses, or in the case of a seller, more than a sign and MLS listings. The many things I do may not be apparent or visible to a seller/buyer. Many of my buyers and sellers swear that they would not have succeeded at getting through a sale or purchase without me personally handling their transaction, even though they may be unsure what my "magic" was, but they know I did it. I have been able to do some remarkable things because of my experience and persistence. After having sold many more properties annually than the average agent, I know more than a few strategies that benefit my clients.

I utilize my many contacts (hard won contacts in some cases) and reputation to help market a property. This is far more effective than newspaper ads and open houses (I seldom do either one unless it's right for that audience).

I keep tough transactions together if at all possible, and get them to the closing table with everyone having been treated fairly, decently and without ugly confrontations, because I'm a pro.

I work long, hard hours at the expense of my own life to provide the best service I can to a client because I'm in this career for the right reasons.  Case in point: I spent my personal, planned family vacation in WI Dells on the phone and email negotiating a deal for some sellers that I had been working with for over a year that REALLY needed me to get the house sold so they could move on with their lives.  I did get the property sold for the price they needed (but much less than they paid) in just weeks in a tough market - only to have an appraiser kill the deal by coming in low (and then another appraiser say the first appraiser was unfamiliar with the area an off base - oh for stressful!)

I deal with inexperienced buyers, sellers, and agents (and apparently appraisers) every day, and try to keep everyone out of "transaction trouble".

As to the myth that agents are being "highly paid", I have no salary, no sick leave, no paid vacation, no paid holidays, no retirement, and no benefits. I pay for my car and its upkeep, my signs, my lockboxes, my mls fees, my license and required education expense, any specialized education I feel would benefit my clients, my errors and omissions insurance, my office expense, my computers and continual upgrades needed, my office supplies, my camera, my cell phone, my web site (that I use to sell your house or provide you with free listing browsing access), the food and gifts for any open houses I may do, my business cards and any other printing, such as flyers and brochures, any advertising done on your house, advertising I pay just to get my name in front of buyers and sellers in hopes to generate enough business to get through any "slumps", not to mention my health insurance, and taxes, and hope there is enough left over for housing and life support for myself and my family. We are all sharing in the economic hard times and booms. However, our expenses don't fall or change in relationship to the market. How much do you pay for your job?

If an agent drives a nice car there are a couple questions you may ask yourself. Based on what I know from the paragraph above, is this agent A) married to somebody with money, B) continues to successfully scam people in a relationship/network based business, C) obviously so good at their job that they are able to have enough clients to support that lifestyle/car. Try asking. :-)

As to absurd internet comments about a Realtor not being willing to put their own money and time into homes before marketing or even a contract: Why would I pay to improve your property when you haven't seen fit to do so? Do you pay for your employer to improve your workplace or the product you produce? Do you expect a doctor to swing by you house for a quick check up because you might be sick? All other service professionals get paid for their time and efforts whether they succeed or not (doctors, attorneys, etc.). Realtors only get paid after the fact and IF they succeed. If we fail to produce the sale we get nothing, no matter how much time, effort, and marketing expense we may have put into it. So we should pay for you to do what needs to be done to your property with no guarantee of ever getting paid for our work? I don't think so.

As for the "expectation" of the uninformed that I should be responding instantly to their online requests at all of the day an night to gain their business, I beg to differ. Your need for instant gratification is a poor way to choose your service professionals.

Yes, some For Sale by Owners do succeed nicely. However, they are also exposed to many errors and liabilities, not to mention possibly criminal incidents, that cautious, experienced agents can usually buffer them from. We can't afford too many mistakes and stay in business.

I do love my work, enjoy my clients, and wouldn't want to do anything else, as is obvious by my dedication. I'm proud of my successes in helping people accomplish what they want or need.

Am I an asset to my clients? Am I worth what I'm paid? You bet I am! Probably more!


Want to read more about the job of an agent?
11 Shocking Facts You May Not Know About Real Estate Agents


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Building New or Remodeling Your Current Home? READ THIS FIRST

We all like NEW!

Are your home upgrades worth the money?
Upgrades are a good thing but only if they are consistent with keeping your home valued with the current market rate.

First, maintenance and upkeep are different than upgrades.  Fixing things that are failing, broken or worn out are just part of home ownership. Upkeep maintains value and if your home is not properly maintained, you may see a decrease your value over time.  Also, if all the homes in your neighborhood are starting to remodel with updated fixtures, countertops, paint and flooring, you should consider doing the same.

Have a licensed agent who knows your area consult with you prior to putting in some hefty upgrades. You may decide to re-think some of them. Here's why:
  • Unless you plan to stay in your home forever, consider your major upgrades before you do them as most upgrades do not get back what you put into them if you decide to sell.
  • Know what the current market value is for your home.  If you put in upgrades that you feel bump your value up way over what the neighborhood can bear, understand that you most likely will not see this investment returned.
  • Realize that situations do change in our lives and what we planned on doing may very well have to change quickly. Long term investments should be carefully considered.  


After all, even if your home is listed at your desired price and receives an offer, if it doesn't appraise we will be re-visiting the price at some point.  Even if a cash offer came in, most buyers are savvy and would still not desire to pay way over market value in any neighborhood.

Are you planning a move within the next five years?  Now is the time to call for a consultation. Having your "ducks in a row" will keep you on track!

Sarah Marrinan, Realtor, Twin Cities, www.CallSarahFirst.com


Read more:
Tips for buying NEW construction homes


Saturday, May 2, 2015

20+ Gifts Ideas for Someone Leaving Home

Leaving the Nest

When a person is venturing out on their own for the first time, there is often a bulk of items that they previously relied on through their care provider (parents, that's usually you). Here are care packages/gift ideas to help you help them. Though they may have "open packages" of many of these items that they will take with them when they leave, it's always nice to have supplies on hand.

Medicine Chest:
Ibuprofen/Tylenol
Stomach Relief Liquid or Tablets
Night/Day Time Cold Medicine
Heartburn tablets
Allergy/Sinus Medication
Daily Vitamins

Toiletries:

Toothbrush and Paste
Face Soap and Wash Cloth
Hand Towel and Bath Towel
Shampoo and Body Soap
Deodorant/Antiperspirant
Shaver with Blade Refills
Pack of Toilet Paper
Box of Facial Tissue
Laundry Soap, Laundry Bag and a Roll of Quarters
Sunscreen

Gift Cards:
Supermarket
Gas Cards

Other:
Basic Tool Set in a Case
Non-Perishable Grocery Package (Canned and Boxed goods plus drinks!)
Movie Passes
Streaming Video Subscriptions (Netflix/Amazon Prime/Etc)
Streaming Video Solutions (Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV)

If they are buying a home, a group of people could create this Home Maintenance Tool Kit!

These are just suggestions and should be catered to each individual.



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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cool Life Hacks You Can Buy

Everybody Loves Life hacks!

We all love things that make our lives easier.  Here are some cool ideas I have found. Do you have favorites? Comment and Share!

Hot or Cold Light Indicator Faucet
http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/8122/?cpg=cj&ref=&CJURL=&CJID=2617611


Solar Powered Charger @ Amazon


Solar Powered Lawn Mower
http://www.lawnbalance.com/the-solar-powered-lawn-mower/


Follow Sarah's board I might buy that on Pinterest.

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