MARY ANN QUINN's Blog
While you may not think of it that way, your brain can become addicted to personal electronics to such a degree that it impacts multiple areas of your life. Of course, the physical effects are substantial once you’re aware of them. But worse yet is the impact on your family.
What smartphones do to your brain
While it may not be the same as a narcotic addiction, heavy cell phone users often find themselves compelled to check their mail, group chats, and texts without regard for the people with whom they are sitting. Often, they’ll break a conversation or lose eye contact if they’ve been away from their phones for too long. This needless checking and rechecking their phones steams from the “fear of missing out” on something. Unfortunately for the people they’re with, it seems like “fear of missing out on something better.”
When it comes to family time, reading, watching movies, endlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, and playing games often take the place of meaningful interaction. And it’s not just the kids. Increasingly, parents are busy on their phones too, so when everyone is home after a day apart at work or school, they’re still not home together … they’re all in their own little worlds on their own devices.
Breaking the addiction
As with any addiction, recognizing the problem is half the battle. The emotional triggers that cause you to reach for your phone are vast and varied, but mostly you’ve developed a routine or habit that needs to be broken.
Turn on your screen-time statistics to see how many hours per day you spend on your device and the breakdown. Do you mostly play games? Spending time on social media? Read books? Read or watch the news? How about texting? Sometimes phone use is productive. Like where you’re going through work emails so that you can go into the office later in the morning, or when you use apps like Dropbox to check the progress of a project. Of course, we use our phones for banking and bill paying too, so once you know your usage stats, you can start to formulate a plan.
- Create mental speed bumps. That is, force yourself to go through a process before you can randomly use your phone. Make your login harder. Change your lock screen to ask you questions about your intentions. Put your phone is a case that takes the effort to use it for anything other than a phone call.
- Practice reducing your screen time for a week. Check your stats each day and make it a game for the next day to be less time on the clock.
- Go through all the apps on your phone and remove any that you don’t use.
- Then, give it another look. Remove the ones that take up large blocks of time without any meaningful return. For some that would be social media and for others, games.
Keep only those apps that you absolutely need. For instance, if you’re planning to buy a home, keep the real estate apps on your phone until you find the one to buy. Then, remove that one too.
An open house may be considered a success if it leads to an offer to purchase or a home sale. For a seller to achieve the best-possible results from an open house, it is important for this individual to plan ahead. That way, a seller can ensure that his or her residence makes a great impression on buyers.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your residence ready for an open house.
1. Clean Your House
A dirty, dusty house is unlikely to do you any favors. Fortunately, if you clean your residence from top to bottom, you could make it easy for buyers to see your house's full potential.
Sweep the floors, wipe down countertops and perform other home cleaning tasks. Taking a room-by-room approach to house cleaning also may be beneficial, as this will allow you to ensure that each room is neat and tidy.
2. Remove Clutter
For those who want to show off the full size of a residence, removing clutter is a must. Because if your home is messy and cluttered, buyers may be turned off by your residence as soon as they walk through the front door.
If you want to cut down on clutter, there are lots of options at your disposal. Oftentimes, it helps to host a yard sale or sell excess items online. You may want to consider donating any excess items to a local charity or giving them to family members or friends, too.
3. Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal
Your home only gets one chance to make a positive first impression on buyers. If you boost your house's curb appeal, you can make the most of this opportunity.
To improve your home's curb appeal, mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other lawn care tasks. Furthermore, if there is any cracked or damaged home siding, fix it as soon as possible.
Preparing for an open house may seem stressful, particularly for sellers who want to achieve the optimal results. But if you consult with a real estate agent, you can receive expert guidance in the weeks and days leading up to an open house.
A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest, and he or she will offer unbiased recommendations and suggestions so you can quickly improve your residence. In addition, a real estate agent can respond to any of your open house concerns and questions. He or she will even share buyers' feedback after an open house to help you find ways to speed up the home selling journey.
If you allocate time and resources to prep for an open house, you can improve your chances of enjoying a seamless house selling experience. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for any open house, at any time. And as a result, you can use an open house to stir up interest in your residence.
Putting your home on the market is not for the faint-hearted! As many people discover along the way, the road to selling a home can be rather bumpy -- especially if you attempt to sell it on your own.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do, right away, to make the journey shorter, smoother, and more rewarding. Here are three strategies that will greatly increase your chances of success.
Find a seasoned real estate agent. An experienced real estate agent will not only help you navigate state and federal regulations, negotiate with buyers, and get a handle on paperwork, but they'll also schedule showings of your home and provide continuous marketing help.
Enhance your curb appeal: When it comes to finding prospective buyers and setting up appointments, your real estate agent will do the lion's share of the work. However, it's mostly up to you to make sure your house looks its best and that the appearance of your property catches the eye of house hunters.
Once your home is listed online and a "for sale" sign is planted in your front yard, potential buyers are going to immediately take notice of how your house looks from the outside. Sometimes people browse listed houses from their cars, so it can really pay to make a great first impression from the street.
Some of the things that matter the most are a meticulous-looking yard, a clutter-free property, and a house that looks like it's well maintained. Adding a fresh coat of paint, displaying some colorful potted flowers, and taking care of unsightly weeds and overgrown bushes are a few things you can do to make your property look a lot more inviting.
Stage your home's interior: Once you've cleared the first big hurdle (curb appeal), your next priority -- or perhaps a simultaneous priority -- is to make the interior of your home look inviting and appealing. As is the case with boosting curb appeal, your real estate agent can provide you with cost-effective advice on how to get the most mileage from your efforts.
Some of the tried-and-proven methods of staging a home include reducing clutter, arranging living room furniture in "conversational groups" to depict a cozy, intimate environment, and letting plenty of natural light stream in to make your home appear as cheerful and bright as possible.
Fresh coats of neutral-colored paint should be applied to walls and ceilings on an as-needed basis, and all floors, tables, and counter tops should be kept immaculate. Home staging consultants often recommend removing (or toning down) certain decorating themes -- such as sports, religion, or even too many family photographs -- which may alienate some potential buyers.
The overall objective is to make it easy for house hunters to imagine themselves owning and living in your home. If there's anything about the appearance, decor, or smell of your home that makes people feel in any way uncomfortable, that could make it more difficult to find a committed buyer -- which, of course, is your ultimate goal!
Generally speaking, taking a family vacation can "recharge your battery," give you a new lease on life, and enable you to get back to work with a renewed sense of purpose. That's the ideal scenario when everything falls into place. However, if you're one of those families that are always looking for a new place to explore every year, then your vacation experiences may become more hit or miss.
While a little research can often go a long way, online brochures and articles tend to put a positive spin on what may or may not be an ideal vacation destination. Even customer reviews can give you a false impression of the desirability of a tourism spot. Just because a couple people had an especially good or bad experience in a particular tourist town, does not mean you're going to encounter similar types of service, weather, prices, crowds, or ambiance.
Online reviews, tourism information, and vacation blogs can provide you with helpful insights into the desirability of a vacation spot, but every time you try a new resort, vacation rental, or tourist attraction, you're gambling on whether or not you and your family will like it.
Since time away from work and vacation budgets are usually limited, it makes sense to do everything possible to increase the odds of planning and having a great vacation! Visiting the places you're considering staying at before you make reservations there is one method of choosing a location you'll probably love. Sometimes recommendations from close friends or relatives can provide you with some solid vacation ideas. While anonymous online reviews and blog posts can lead you down the wrong path, recommendations from a trusted friend or family member have much more credibility.
One method of ensuring a higher level of quality control over your accommodations, amenities, and -- to some degree -- your meals is to buy a vacation home. If you can find an affordable cabin, beach house, or ski chalet in a location you like, then you'll always know what you're getting in terms of living space, ambiance, environment, and local attractions. You can prepare a certain percentage of your meals at your vacation home, which can control your food expenses and make going out to dinner more special.
Another advantage of returning to the same vacation spot (and home), year after year, is that you become familiar with the best places and times to enjoy restaurants, golf courses, beaches, ski slopes, hiking trails, nightclubs, or whatever you enjoy doing on vacation. When you find the ideal "home away from home" to spend weekends, vacations from work, and school breaks, you'll always know exactly what you're getting and will have a higher degree of control over your environment and your overall vacation experience. One final advantage of owning a vacation home is that you can defray your mortgage payments and maintenance costs by generating rental income during the times you're not using the house.
Although being a first-time buyer can seem overwhelming, there was one advantage to the entire process: You didn’t need to sell another property. If you would like to move out of the home that you’re currently living in and are in the process of buying a new place, your life is about the get complicated! Hold tight to your realtor and get ready for quite the ride.
Since it’s often unrealistic to pay two mortgages at once, there’s a certain way that you must complete the transactions so as not to cause a huge financial headache when moving from one place to another. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to deal with buying a new home and selling your current one simultaneously in most cases.
The good news is that it can be done! Read on for tips to find out how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible.
First, you’ll want to understand the housing market that you’re in. You’ll know what strategies you need to employ if you understand the type of market that you’re dealing with. If the two homes are in completely different areas, this research will be even more important to you.
While you’re searching for a new home and selling your current one, you’ll want to leave your options open. That means not locking yourself down to just one home. Of course, you’ll only put in one offer at a time, but knowing what’s out there for you to buy is important in case the purchase falls through on the first prospective home. This way you won’t have much chance of being “stranded” once your old home sells.
You want your home to be sold in a timely manner. This means that your old home should be well-priced and ready to sell. Work with your realtor on staging, pricing, and holding open houses. The more effort that is put into marketing your home, the better chance you’ll have of selling it. Extra time on the market means that you’ll have a bigger headache when it comes to buying your new home. Selling quickly is not a bad thing so long as you have some other place to live. You can also put a contingency in the sale stating that you need to find suitable housing before you can move. Realtors can do a lot when their sellers are cooperative and proactive.
Should You Buy First?
If you sell your home first, you’ll have an easier time getting a mortgage on a new home. The problem here is that you’ll need to find some sort of temporary housing before you even head out on the house hunt.
If you buy a home fist, your buying power may be less than if you sold your current home. Your debt-to-income ratio will be higher, giving you less money to spend on a new home.
While buying and selling a home simultaneously can be complicated, if you strategize correctly, you’ll be able to go through the entire process with ease.