Tips for Moving Home After Graduation

Hello, darkness, my old friend…

Alright, it’s not that bad. You’re moving back home. Maybe you need some time to get on your feet or figure out your next step. Whatever the reason, you’re headed to your parents’ house and likely dreading it. But it doesn’t have to be as miserable as you might think. Use the tips below to survive moving home after graduation.

Set a reasonable timetable: If you know that you only need a place to stay before starting grad school or some other program in the fall, then be upfront about that time frame. If things are a bit more open-ended, be honest about that too. Don’t try to sugarcoat it or set unrealistic expectations. But do try to set a target move-out date to stay motivated. Then schedule regular check-ins with your parents to revisit the timetable.

Agree on some ground rules: This may require adhering to a curfew. Sure, your college roommates didn’t mind if you were out until four o’clock in the morning, but your parents surely will. They may also have some strong feelings about having guests over or leaving your room a mess. And you may have to give some guidelines about personal space or freedom. Sit down right away to have a frank discussion about expectations for this new living arrangement.

Pitch in around the house: Oh, the amenities! Suddenly, everywhere you look there’s home-cooked food and fancy appliances. Enjoy the cushy lifestyle, but make sure to contribute as well. Make dinner for the family once a week. Do the laundry (using washers and dryers that don’t require quarters, amazing!) and dishes. Throw in money for rent, groceries, and utilities. You’re not just their kid; now you’re their roommate.

Realize that your parents are actually cool: We hate to break it to you, but your social life may take a bit of a dive. On the bright side, that means more quality time with your parents. You’ll be able to hang out as friends, have heart-to-heart conversations, and learn more about them than ever before. You might even find out that they’re cooler than you remember. (Plus, let’s face it, letting you move back in with them was pretty cool.)

Reach for your dreams…from the comfort of your twin size bed.

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Micro Video: The Secret Weapon for Reaching Today’s Mobile Consumer

By Matt Gentile

According to Salesforce.com/blog,* 2015: The Year of the Video,

“78 percent of people watch videos online every day
and by 2018 video will take up 79 percent
of all consumer internet traffic.”

To ensure its affiliated brokers and real estate sales associates are well positioned with today’s online consumer, the CENTURY 21® brand is leveraging a strong micro-video strategy to increase social media engagement, reach consumers, and encourage a strong call to action. The brand recently released its #EmptyNester video series for Instagram, a spring cleaning video for Instagram, and a US Women’s Soccer National Team video for Vine.

The following are examples of CENTURY 21 micro-videos distributed via social media.

#EmptyNester Video Series:

This timely digital drumbeat campaign comes just in time for graduation season. The series takes a light-hearted approach to parents coping with their children “leaving the nest.” Each video closes with the tagline, “We’re Here For What’s Next,” because CENTURY 21 affiliated sales associates may be able to help the parents as they consider next steps in their homeownership journey such as downsizing or purchasing investment properties. The videos explain a serious decision in a cheerful, tongue-in-cheek way that has resonated with both industry professionals and consumers.

This timely digital drumbeat campaign comes just in time for graduation season. The series takes a light-hearted approach to parents coping with their children “leaving the nest.” Each video closes with the tagline, “We’re Here For What’s Next,” because CENTURY 21 affiliated sales associates may be able to help the parents as they consider next steps in their homeownership journey such as downsizing or purchasing investment properties. The videos explain a serious decision in a cheerful, tongue-in-cheek way that has resonated with both industry professionals and consumers.The videos were cut separately for uploading to Instagram, and YouTube to reach today’s mobile and social consumer; additionally, they were cross-promoted on Facebook because video has the highest engagement on the platform. The series demonstrates clearly that it is possible to make a great impression in just 15 seconds!

The videos were cut separately for uploading to Instagram, and YouTube to reach today’s mobile and social consumer; additionally, they were cross-promoted on Facebook because video has the highest engagement on the platform. The series demonstrates clearly that it is possible to make a great impression in just 15 seconds!

Spring Cleaning Video:

This timely micro-video capitalized on the popular spring-time topic of spring cleaning. The fun and humorous, yet also practical video shows people how to organize their junk drawer. Take a good look and see if you can spot the unicorn and rubber chicken. Although the video was created for Instagram, it was also posted on Facebook to increase viewership.

USA Women’s Team Video:

We are proud to be the Official Real Estate Company of U.S. Soccer. To demonstrate our pride a six (6) second Vine video was created to empower CENTURY 21 System members to engage in online conversations around the USA Women’s Team. Vine videos play on a loop, vastly increasing the number of views. Short form or “microburst” videos are sure to get people even more excited about the upcoming tournament.

“Using micro-video to create timely content that increases social media engagement, reaches mobile consumers, and includes a strong call to action has proved to be an effective digital marketing strategy,” said Matt Gentile, Director – Social Media, Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “Empowering our affiliated real estate associates with short, fun, shareable content through the C21® Social for Business platform has enhanced our brand value proposition.”

*https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/04/2015-year-of-video-marketing-gp.html

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Hardwood Floor Care

 

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Hardwood floors can maintain their strength and beauty for years, especially with a little help from you.  The below guide can help ensure your floors stay in prime condition for years to come.

ESSENTIAL CARE

Vacuum or sweep your floor regularly with a soft-bristled attachment or broom, especially in high-traffic areas. This prevents gritty dirt and particle build up that can scratch the wood’s surface. Don’t use vacuums with a beater bar or power rotary brush head.

Use protective window coverings to block fade-causing UV rays and excessive heat from direct sunlight. Most wood types will gradually age when not covered, so it’s a good idea to rearrange rugs and furniture periodically to help it age evenly.

TIPS FOR PREVENTING DAMAGE

  • Keep pets’ nails trimmed and their paws clean. Pets can track in substances that cause scratching and stains.
  • Use a humidifier during heating seasons to help reduce wood shrinkage and humidity between 35% and 55%.
  • Wipe up spills and spots immediately with Mohawk FloorCare Essentials Hardwood & Laminate Flooring Cleaner applied directly to a clean white cloth.
  • Use ice to harden tough substances like wax or chewing gum, and then gently scrape with a plastic scraper or a credit card. Be careful not to scratch the surface and wipe the area clean with a soft, slightly damp cloth.

EXTRA PROTECTION

Invest in high-quality floor mats and protective pads on heavy furniture for an extra layer of protection on your hardwood floors. Place floor mats at entrances and exits—they collect and trap corrosive substances that can be tracked in, like dirt, sand, oil, grit, asphalt, or even driveway sealer. Placing mats in high-traffic areas—in front of vanities, kitchen sinks, and stoves—is an effective way to reduce wear.

WHAT TO AVOID

  • Avoid walking on your hardwood floors with spiked or damage-heeled shoes.
  • Resist wet-mop, damp-mop, or cleaning your hardwood with water or other liquids.
  • Don’t use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax, or other household products containing lemon, citrus, or tung oil, or silicon to clean floors.
  • Stay away from harsh cleaning aids like steel wool pads, any scouring pads containing metal, or scouring powders.
  • Don’t use 2-in-1 cleaners that contain acrylics or urethane polish to restore gloss.

10% DISCOUNT FOR ALL SALES ASSOCIATES AND CLIENTS AFFILIATED WITH THE CENTURY 21 SYSTEM.

Go to MohawkFlooring.com/c21 for your coupon and participating retailers in your area.

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Tips for Writing an Enticing Listing

Your listing is your first impression. Taking the time to make sure it is compelling and enticing to potential buyers is the best way to increase the odds that your property will sell quickly. Here are tips for writing an effective real estate listing.

● Have a strong headline and opening: Besides the photo, the first thing that’s going to catch someone’s attention is the headline. It should be concise, while also pulling the reader in to learn more. Use the headline to highlight the price, unique features, or any other strong selling points. Make sure the first sentence also hooks the reader. Include a handful of the home’s key features and anything else notable that will make it stand out. Get to the point from the beginning or else you’ll lose the buyer’s attention. Readers want to know right away if the home fits their criteria.

● Watch your word choice: Avoid over-used terms and consider these buzzwords instead: “light,” “beautiful,” “fixer-upper.” Stray away from less enticing words like, “clean,” “quiet,” “move-in condition,” or “value.”

● Don’t exaggerate: There’s a fine line between selling and over-selling. Most people know hype when they spot it. Feel free to use creative language, but make sure to stick to the facts. Be precise about location and amenities.

● Be specific: Don’t leave anything to the imagination. If there’s maple or granite, be sure to point it out (especially since homes with these words in the listing tend to sell better). Avoid vague adjectives like “charming,” or “lovely.” If you use the word “spacious,” make sure to back it up with details on the square footage.

● Keep it concise: Less is more. Buyers don’t want to read a novel about the property. In fact, they’ll likely be tempted to skim the listing. Try to keep copy under 250 words maximum. Use bullet points if you can to make it as easy as possible for the reader to gather all of the important details (location, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, school district). Give just enough information to tempt buyers but leave them wanting more.

These tips may speed up your home sale process.

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How to Decorate for Outdoor Entertaining

Even though you don’t have a sprawling backyard, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy entertaining outdoors. Make the most of your petite patio and turn it into a pocket-sized paradise. Here are our tips for how to decorate small spaces for outdoor entertaining.

● Arrange furniture the right way: The best way to maximize space is to arrange your furniture around the perimeter of the deck or patio. Think twice before placing a table in the center, and instead give your guests plenty of room to stand or move around.

● Add extra seating with large pillows: Get a few extra spots for guests to sit without taking up too much space by throwing in some large floor pillows. They add an extra element of coziness, plus they’re easy to add or subtract.

● Use color wisely: Color can make all the difference when decorating, especially in such a small space. Keep things fresh and airy by sticking to a monochromatic palette in whites or grays. Or add a bit of fun by using colorful accents in eye-catching patterns.

● Be strategic when choosing furniture: Save space by investing in two-for-one pieces of furniture, such as nesting tables, storage ottomans and benches (which can also be used for seating), and folding tables and chairs.

● Bring on the plants: There may be plenty of foliage outside already, but use it strategically in your entertaining area. Plants are a simple way to liven things up and make your modest space feel like an exotic retreat.

● Hang up lights: Strings of bistro lights can instantly open up a small space. Plus, that warm glow will give things a cozier vibe.

Get ready for a summer full of outdoor entertaining!

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7 Eco-Friendly Updates for Your Home

Sorry Kermit, it CAN be easy being green. There are dozens of ways that you can live a greener lifestyle at home. These changes may decrease your carbon footprint and they may even decrease your energy bill!

Here are seven eco-friendly updates for your home.

Adjust your temperature accordingly: Turn down your heat and air conditioning when you aren’t home. Close your blinds or curtains to keep cool air from coming in during the winter and hot air and sunlight from coming in during the summer. You may also choose to purchase a programmable thermostat and eco-friendly curtains. Although these updates will cost money, they are likely to decrease your energy use and, as a result, your energy bill!

Unplug electronics: Take some cues from the scandalous Olivia Pope and, “Shut it down.” Plug electronics that don’t have to be turned on during the day into a power extension and turn them all off quickly and easily when you leave the house. Turn off all electronics when you’re not using them to save energy and money.

Save water: There are a lot of simple ways to save water. For example: install shut-off valves and water-savers, run your laundry machine on cold, only use your dishwasher when it’s full, take shorter showers, and collect rainwater for watering your plants. These tips may lower your water bill.

Use eco-friendly cleaning products: Purchase eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own natural cleaning products. Keep your home clean with chemical-free products.

Start composting: Composting is good for the environment and your garden. Skip fertilizers and use your natural compost instead. Turn banana peels into a backyard full of beautiful flowers!

Have a “lightbulb” moment: Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. Light bulbs with an Energy Star certification may cost more money initially but it is likely that they will save you money on your energy bill. Don’t forget to turn off the lights when you leave a room!

After you make these simple switches call and schedule an energy audit. Someone can evaluate your home to let you know about any additional changes you can make to be energy-efficient. Start saving the environment and possibly some money!

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Essentials of a Happy Home

What we surround ourselves with may significantly affect our mood and outlook on life. Make a few simple changes around the house and you may instantly feel happier.

Here are five essentials that may make you happier at home.

Plants: Not only do houseplants draw carbon dioxide from the air and filter out toxins, they may also improve mental health. Studies have shown that when we care for living things, we’re more optimistic, calmer, and fulfilled. We recommend aloe, peace lily, or spider plants to de-stress your home.

Sentimental objects: Studies have also found that experiences may make us happier than material objects. Collect things that remind you of positive events and display them around your home to remind you of the good times, bring up positive emotions, and continue the cycle of happiness.

A well-made bed: It can be an annoying daily chore and even seem pointless (it’s just going to be unmade again by the end of the day), but making your bed can actually make a huge difference on your happiness. As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, explains, this “keystone habit” acts as a catalyst for other good habits that will improve your life. Having a freshly made bed may leave you feeling more productive and motivated to conquer the day ahead.

A fresh coat of white paint: White walls may sound like a boring idea, but while colorful paint seems like the more cheerful choice, white does the best job of brightening things up. White paint will reflect light and transform the mood of a room.

A no-stress zone: Have at least one “refuge” space in your home where you can relax and clear your mind. Try to extend this to the rest of the house as well, whether it’s making a point to take shoes off before entering or clearing stacks of bills and paperwork from surfaces.

These little things in your home can make a big difference on your happiness.

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Puppy Love: How to Puppy Proof Your Home

Puppies are rambunctious, curious little creatures that love to explore their surroundings. Before you bring your new buddy home, make sure there aren’t any potential dangers. Follow these steps to puppy proof your home.

Know which plants are toxic: Your azalea may look pretty, but it can do some serious harm. Place toxic plants out of reach or replace them with nontoxic options.

1. Don’t leave medication lying around: You may not think twice about leaving prescription pills on the bathroom counter or in your purse, but if swallowed, they can be poisonous to puppies. Keep all medications (even over-the-counter pills) in your medicine cabinet.

2. Keep lids on trash cans: Since puppies will eat just about anything, make sure to get rid of any temptations in the trash. Keep a secure lid on all trash cans or put them behind a cabinet or door.

3. Keep toilet lids down: Toilet bowls are either filled with harmful bacteria or harsh chemicals. Either way, make sure your puppy stays out of them.

4. Lock up cleaning supplies: Keep all cleaning supplies either in high cabinets or behind child-proof locks. When using sprays, make sure your puppy is out of the room and far away from the harmful vapors.

5. Secure electrical cords: Check for any dangling electrical cords from appliances like lamps or computers. If you have a large collection (i.e. around your TV), secure these with rubber bands or attach cords to the wall with duct tape. You don’t want your puppy chewing on the wires and potentially getting burns or shocks.

6. Block off doors, windows, and stairs: Keep your doors and windows closed to prevent your puppy from escaping and close off stairwells with a baby gate.

7. Pack up human food: What you find delicious could be dangerously delicious. Things like chocolate or grapes should be stored where your puppy can’t access them.

If you follow these pieces of advice, you’ll welcome your new furry friend into a safer home.

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5 Tips for At Home Entertaining

Entertaining at home is a great way to get together with friends and family. Going out to dinner or events is fun, but there is something special about hosting at home.

Here are five simple ways to set your home up for entertaining.

1. Put appetizers on the coffee table: When the party starts you’ll be busy greeting guests. Put appetizers like a cheese plate, crackers, and olives out on your coffee table so guests can munch and mingle.

2. Set up a buffet table: Serving people adds an extra task to your entertaining to-do list. Push a side table against a wall or use your kitchen island to set up a buffet table so people can serve themselves. People may enjoy being able to set their portion sizes and food choices, plus it will leave you with more time with your guests — and less time in the kitchen.

3. Set up a beverage bar: If you have a bar cart, set up all your beverages in one place. If you don’t have a bar cart, assemble everything on a large side table.

4. Rearrange the furniture: Rearrange your living room couches and chairs so they are conducive for chatting. If you’re short on furniture, bring chairs from the dining room or kitchen into the living room while people enjoy hors d’oeuvres.

5. Delight in the details: Little details like fresh flowers, candles, and place settings can make the evening even more special. Have fun designing the table aesthetic by curating your cutlery, china, serving ware, and napkin choices.

6. Take it outside: If it’s a beautiful day take the party outside! Clean off your patio furniture, set up an outdoor umbrella, and add some comfortable seating. For an added touch, incorporate flowers from your garden and lanterns or candles.

These tips may make entertaining at home more enjoyable! Call some friends and invite them over to your place.

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How to Sell Your Home in the Spring

Spring is an excellent time to sell. When you sell in the warmer seasons, you are given more leeway in how you can present your home.

Here are some tips to help enhance your home and increase the likelihood of selling in the springtime!

  1. Open Windows: The bitter cold isn’t ideal for open windows. Having the windows open during a showing allows a nice breeze and a lot of natural light to flow into your home, showing off its best features. There is something so satisfying about seeing the sunlight reflect onto the floor, and the curtains blowing in the breeze. It gives a comforting and homey feeling, appealing to buyers’ interests.
  1. Curb Appeal: One of the many benefits of selling in the spring is being able to show off your landscaping. It’s hard to see how beautiful a yard is when it’s covered with mountains of snow, so now that your lawn is visible, it’s important to get it into good shape. Make sure the outside of your home looks great.
  1. Spring Cleaning: Your home should be tidy for the showing. Clear out cluttered closets and pantries, deep clean the carpet, polish the floors, and show off all the potential your home has!
  1. Pre-Inspection: Winter may have prevented you from doing a full pre-inspection on your home, but the warmer weather welcomes it. Take a sunny afternoon to go outside your home and look at everything from the roof to the concrete. Make sure you take care of little repairs around the home and pay special attention to any foundation damage left over from winter.
  1. Bright Colors: Gone are days of heavy throw blankets and comforters. Now it’s time to lighten up your home with bright colors and lightweight materials. Bring out the linens, colorful solids, and bright throw pillows to accent your home. All of these light layers and colors complement the natural light and breeze that comes from the open windows.

 

Spring is a great time to put your home on the market. Buyers will love attending showings and open houses on a warm, sunny, Saturday afternoon. Follow these best practices for selling in the springtime.

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