5 Things You Should Do to Stay Happy, Passionate and Productive While You Work

Don't fear Mondays -- embrace them and improve them with these simple tips.

Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Image credit: Hero Images | Getty Images

Even with our diverse entrepreneurial responsibilities and our somewhat exciting livelihoods, it could be easy for my brother Matthew and I to get caught up in bland working routines. But, we’re able to guard against this pitfall of entrepreneurship with some useful techniques we’ve learned over the years.

Here are our five tips to start every day motivated, productive and passionate.

1. Set goals to get yourself pumped.

It’s hard to kick butt when you don't know what you want to do. At the beginning of the day, make a short list of goals to fulfill by the evening. They should be achievable and highly productive relative to your long-term goals. Everyone loves the feeling of crossing something off their list, and a physical recording of your objectives that you can check off will keep you motivated and on track throughout the day.

2. Kick off your morning with something you enjoy.

Matthew and I make it a point to always start (and end) our days on a positive note. What gets you going even on sleepy or extra busy days? Is it a jog during sunrise? A hot cup of coffee or tea? Listening to your favorite business podcast over breakfast? No matter what it is, make sure you carve out enough time in your morning routine to fit it into your day.

3. Stay on a roll.

Don’t let yourself get lazy. The “snooze” button on your alarm may be tempting, but lying around in bed -- whether you’re asleep or browsing social media for ten minutes -- will sap your motivation and prevent you from getting that energetic head start on your day. Don’t let the internet suck you in, no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s the last news story you’ll read or the last YouTube video you’ll watch. Stay on a roll and keep crossing things off that list of goals you created earlier.

4. Check in with someone.

Teaming up with someone not only helps hold you accountable, but it makes the work day eons more exciting and rewarding. Join forces with someone from your entrepreneurial community, a friend or a family member to update on your progress and bounce your energy off. My brother and I interact several times a day, so even though we live far apart, we’re never in business alone.

The right person will help you push through when times get tough and celebrate your wins by your side. Make sure you do the same for them, too!

5. Stay organized.

Though your workspace should probably stay relatively clean and tidy, that’s not the only thing you need to keep organized to achieve what I call the “passion warrior” mindset. Lay out an agenda (in a paper planner or an organization app) so you aren’t scrambling to remember important dates and deadlines right before they sneak up on you.

Keep your business plans and documented progress in a neat and easily accessible spot. Work on one or two tasks at a time instead of taking on everything at once. An organized mindset is a productive and passionate one.

This article was originally posted/written by Entrepreneur.com.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296294

84% of Americans Believe Buying a Home is a Good Financial Decision

According to the National Association of Realtors®’ 2017 National Housing Pulse Survey, 84% of Americans now believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. This is the highest percentage since 2007 – before the housing crisis. Those surveyed pointed out five major reasons why they believe homeownership is a good financial decision:

  1. Homeownership means the money you spend on housing goes towards building equity, rather than to a landlord
  2. Homeownership creates the opportunity to pay off a mortgage and own your home by the time you retire
  3. Homeownership is an investment opportunity that builds long-term wealth and increases net worth
  4. Homeownership means a stable and predictable monthly mortgage payment
  5. Homeownership allows for various deductions on federal, state, and local income taxes

The survey also revealed that the majority of Americans strongly agree that homeownership helps create safe, secure, and stable environments.

Bottom Line

Homeownership has always been and still is a crucial part of the American Dream.

This article was originally posted/written by Keeping Current Matters. 

https://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2017/07/20/84-of-americans-believe-buying-a-home-is-a-good-financial-decision/

The Fall Colors For Home You'll Soon Be Seeing Everywhere

Already thinking about how to jazz up your home with the latest fall trends and newest colors? Even in the dead of summer, it's hard to keep from thinking ahead, especially because autumn décor can be so dreamy. This year, get a head start on the new season with the fall colors you'll be seeing a lot of soon.

"At the International Home + Housewares showPantone Executive Director Leatrice Eiseman made a long-anticipated announcement when she shared the upcoming color trends for 2018," said Martha Stewart. "Eight color groups were announced: Verdure, Resourceful, Playful, Discretion, Far-fetched, Intricacy, Intensity and TECH-nique."

This Elderberry Wine paint from Benjamin Moore falls under "Discretion," and is an unexpected hit of color in a built-in that brings new life to the space.

Blush

Millennial pink isn't gone, and, in fact, it's still going strong with demographics far beyond millennials. But a hot new shade of pink is gaining on it. Benjamin Moore's Tissue Pink is a good place to start to incorporate this hue into your home.

We love the rosy bed in this room from Decoholic, especially with the pink contrasted against the grey and metallic accents.

Brass

Speaking of metallic, it's not going anywhere, according to International Color Expert Leatrice Eiseman. "Metallics we know are classic," she said on Home Accents Today. "But they have really moved over into neutrals." We certainly see no signs of these shiny metals waning. Same goes for the iridescent trend: "The human eye can absolutely not avoid anything iridescent, pearlized or translucent, since being intrigued by shimmering, shiny objects is "intrinsic to human development."

If you're looking to bring metallics into your home for fall, today's finish du jour is brass.

Dark green

Tired of that all-white kitchen? This'll give your place a boost. Show off that marble with a dark contrast by splashing deep, rich green - a top color trend for fall - on the walls and cabinets.

"Dark paint"

"Forget farmhouse white and gray! This season, it's all about drama," said House Beautiful. "PPG Paints, Glidden Paints, and Olympic Paints & Stains all announced cozy shades of black as their 2018 Color of the Year -  Black Flame (PPG1043-7), Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000), and Black Magic (OL116), respectively."

Matte black

Moody black is included under the dark paint umbrella, but when it comes to black, it's not a glossy finish that's being courted. Get ready to go matte.

Not ready to take the plunge on the walls? Black matte home décor is everywhere right now.

Chocolate brown

Chocolate brown is also on the rise, providing a rich alternative to all that grey that's been everywhere over the last several years and "the all-white, minimalistic homes that have taken over Pinterest," said CountryLiving. Their article titled "Brown is the new black" notes that, "trends are cyclical, and now, we're seeing homeowners embracing earthier shades and a more maximalist style—both of which can either cozy up more modern interiors or enhance historic woodwork of older homes. Basically, brown is a win-win-and anything but basic."

This article was originally posted/written by Realty Times. 

http://realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/homeownersadvice/item/1003944-20170717-the-fall-colors-for-home-youll-soon-be-seeing-everywhere

7 Must-Have Mudroom Ideas for Your Home

Looking at mudroom ideas and planning a remodel—no matter how small or large—might seem like a deep back-burner project, especially if your kitchen cabinets need an overhaul and every shrub in the yard is begging to be pruned. But adding smart details to your entryway might actually save you time and reduce daily stress. And while you're at it, why not give yourself a stylish and well-organized place to store every shoe, umbrella, and set of keys so you never lose your head trying to find them again?

These are the seven decorative elements that every good mudroom (aka a high-traffic area by the front door) needs.

1. Umbrella dilemma

 

The first thing you want to do with a dripping umbrella when you enter the house is drop it. But try to resist this urge and instead stuff it into a handsome vessel.

"Choose something unexpected like an old crock or an oversized ceramic pitcher," suggests Carole Marcotte, an interior designer with Form & Function, in Raleigh, NC. Just make sure any container you select is tall enough to accommodate umbrellas of various lengths.

If you have enough depth in your mudroom, build in narrow cubbies or a crosshatch rack for umbrella storage, says Mark Lestikow, CEO of Closet Factory Colorado.

2. Writing on the wall

A chalkboard or whiteboard strategically placed on the wall of your mudroom is the perfect solution for alerting your gang about dental appointments, important phone numbers, and any other reminder you need to jot down.

"Post a calendar in this space, too," says Jamie Novak, organizing pro and author of "Keep This Toss That." Use a highlighter or attach neon sticky notes on those days that have a different schedule.

3. Hook 'em

An abundance of hooks in all sizes is a must in any mudroom. Think beyond the standard three-hook hangers you can buy at your favorite home decor store.

"You need lots and lots of hooks for car keys, your work lanyard, dog leashes, shopping bags, backpacks, your purse, jackets, baseball caps, scarves, and more," says Novak.

"You'll also need a hook for the dog's towel when she comes in muddy and wet from her walk," adds Lorena Canals, founder of the eponymous home accessories brand. For the little ones in your house, hang a second row of hooks at kid height.

4. Mirror, mirror

Hang a mirror so you can get a last-minute glance at your mug before heading out the door. Getting a full-length one is even better if you have the space, notes Novak. Get creative with multiple mirrors of varying sizes like the circular ones seen above.

"You're passing through this space multiple times a day; you want it to make you smile," she says.

5. Smart storage

You can't just throw everything on a hook or in a basket and call it a day.

Amy Bell, owner of Red Chair Interiors in Cary, NC, recommends shelves for footwear, rather than baskets or bins.

"Shoes are just easier to put away and retrieve from hard-surface storage, and they tend to look tidier all lined up in a row," she says. You can also add a stash spot for sunglasses, phones, mail, receipts, and small change.

You'll also want to designate a spot for bags, backpacks, and laptop cases so they aren't just plopped on a chair or bench.

"I also like to keep an open shelf in the mudroom for things that need returning, such as library books or the neighbor's lasagna dish," says Bell. Also consider a section in your mudroom for items that can be rotated out seasonally (gloves and scarves in winter; swim goggles, sunscreen, and bug spray in summer).

6. Have a seat

At the very least, place a bench in the mudroom where the family can sit to put on their shoes. Marcotte recommends old locker benches.

"They have an interesting, industrial look, and kids can't beat them up any more than they already are," she says. Or poke around a flea market for a lone church pew and place baskets underneath. If you want to go the built-in route (like the mudroom above), you can design it with pull-out drawers below the bench.

7. Charge it

While hooks and baskets are the mudroom standard, modern families often have a number of outlets with chargers on a rack to hold everyone's phone, says Lestikow. It might seem counterintuitive, but installing this tech station right by the door might encourage kids—and adults—to power down their devices earlier and finish the day face to face.

 This article was originally posted/written by Realtor.com

http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/mudroom-ideas

5 Ways to Master the Persistence That Makes a Great Entrepreneur

A good-enough idea you never give up on will look like brilliance when you succeed.

Image credit: Willie B. Thomas | Getty Images

Image credit: Willie B. Thomas | Getty Images

Building a successful business is a bit like climbing a mountain: it’s an uphill battle most of the way, but the view from the top is pretty spectacular.

Persistence is a necessary part of achieving a summit, and it’s also vital to creating your success as an entrepreneur. If you doubt the importance of persistence, ask yourself what kinds of goals people dream of. Do they yearn for the ones that are easy to accomplish or the ones that are hard work but offer huge payouts?

Anything worth attaining will require hard work over a period of time. And in order to tackle the challenges ahead, you need to become a master of persistence. I was recently reminded of this while building and getting ready to launch my Instagram analytics tool.

If you have an overwhelming desire to climb your own mountain and achieve your entrepreneurial dreams, here are 5 basic rules to help you understand and master the art of persistence.

1. If you don’t persist in your vision, someone else will.

The harsh reality is that the world is full of “could’ve beens” -- people who have wonderful ideas and aspirations, but didn’t have the stamina, desire or knowhow to make it happen. Many of them gave up too fast because it seemed too hard, too daunting or too scary. Simply put, they weren’t mentally prepared to do what it takes to succeed.

The bleak truth is, if you aren’t willing to see your dream through, someone else probably is. Someone else will succeed where you gave up. So if you are tempted to abandon your entrepreneurial goals, or if you are inclined to tell yourself that “it should be easier than this,” ask yourself the following questions:

Do you want to be the person who let your dream go or the one determined enough to see it through? Do you want to be the one wondering what could have been if you had only tried or the one who gave your all and either succeeded or failed?

Most success stories are hard won. Those who make it are the ones who are willing to embrace the challenge.

2. Use naysayers to your advantage.

Visionaries are ahead of their time because they push boundaries and innovate change. To become successful, they must hold true to their dream and keep pursuing it even in the face of adversity.

But persisting in your dream doesn’t mean you should ignore the naysayers. You shouldn’t discount all the negative input you get, because there is value in looking at things from a new perspective. In fact, it’s to your benefit to surround yourself with people who may not always get your vision, and who will ask thoughtful questions that help you analyze and define your goals and strategies.

The trick is to find people who will be objective enough to give you a balanced perspective and help you hone your vision. Even the best ideas may require some reshaping and tweaking in order to be ultimately successful.

The bottom line is that you need to be flexible enough to incorporate change as needed, but confident enough in your dream to keep going after it. 

3. Be in it for the long haul.

Consistency fuels persistence. Showing up, day in and day out, is the single most important thing you can do to set yourself on a path to achieving your dreams and becoming the best entrepreneur you can be.

If you slack off for periods of time or seem noncommittal to your own business, you are essentially showing the world that you are giving up. If you lose your motivation, what incentive do those around you have for buying into your success?

Consistency is how you establish your reputation and show people what you are about through your actions and not just your words. It’s how you get your message out there, and how people come to believe in you and your vision. It instills accountability and demonstrates that you’re able to deliver the goods on your promises.

When you are in it for the long haul and are consistently moving forward on your stated goals, you begin to build a community around you based on trust and respect.

4. Embrace your creativity (without freaking people out).

A business that emphasizes creative input also fosters innovation and has better chances for disruption and long-term success. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you must embrace your imagination.

Creative thinking means opening lines of dialogue, embracing different viewpoints and examining different ideas. It also means going beyond a repetitive approach and continually considering how to adjust or diversify. 

But most of all, creativity is bred through persistence. Those aha moments, where the sky seems to open up and you can reach out to pluck the perfect solution to a problem, don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen through persistence and pushing yourself forward.

But be aware that there can be a thin line between being a creative, out-of-the-box thinker and being an annoying, creepy oddball who seems lost in his or her own world. If you want to succeed, and get others to buy into your vision, it helps to come across as both ingenious and balanced. Be aware of how others perceive you.

5. Nurture those “no” relationships.

We’ve all run into hardcore salespeople who simply won’t take no for an answer. They are determined to get you to yes, no matter what. On the plus side, those people are resolute in their goals. However, they are shortsighted, failing to recognize that there are times when they may need to accept a short-term no in order to nurture a long-term yes.

It’s important to not to take no personally. After all, there are different reasons why our ideas may be rejected. According to research, about 80 percent of prospects decline a proposal four times before eventually saying yes. Often a negative reply simply means “not right now” or “I need to be convinced.” Sometimes people just need time to process and think about it.

Shifting a refusal into an affirmative answer often requires you to build trust through consistency. You can do this by spending more time asking questions and listening to the responses and less time trying to impress. Persistence isn’t about ramming your sale pitch down other people’s throats.

Work on being a better communicator. Really listen to others’ input, hear their concerns and give thoughtful feedback. Be both persuasive and consistent, and you will earn people’s trust… and their sales.

This article was originally posted/written by Entrepreneur.com.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/297040

The Most Annoying Things About Summer-And What to Do About Them

Deciding between a popsicle and ice cream should be your biggest headache. Not summer maintenance.

Summer should be the stuff dreams are made of: long, sunny days and warm nights filled with important questions like, “Ice cream on the porch, or another pint on the patio?”

Summer also comes with bugs, heat, humidity, and other annoyances around the house. So this year, eradicate 13 of the worst irritations of summer before they crush your summer buzz. Here’s how:

#1 Mosquitoes

These ubiquitous party crashers can suck the fun out of any outdoor fiesta.

What to do:

Clean your gutters. “That’s often a main, and neglected, breeding site for mosquitoes,” says Chris Enroth, a horticulture educator with the University of Illinois Extension office in Macomb.

Plug in a fan. Or install a ceiling fan. “Mosquitoes don’t like flying in high wind,” Enroth says. Cheers for cool breezes sans bug bites!

#2 Doors That Stick

Wooden doors can swell, outgrowing their jambs (what holds doors steady as you open and close them) on humid days, causing an annoyingly sticky situation.

What to do:

Tighten the hinge screws. There’s a chance your door’s just slipped out of alignment.

Scale back the weather stripping. If you installed it in the winter to keep out drafts, it could be too thick come summer.

Shave down the door. As a last resort, use a planer or sander to trim down the door ever so slightly, concentrating on the area with a visibly worn finish. Seal the newly exposed edge with paint or wood sealant to block out future humidity.

#3 Carpenter Ants and Carpenter Bees

Although named for a helpful trade, both carpenter ants and carpenter bees often make their nests by burrowing into your home’s wood, which can cause some really pricey damage on top of their annoying presence.

What to do:

Keep all exposed wood sealed or painted. Don’t forget the bottoms of window sills!

Direct water away from wood.Gutters and flashing will help keep wood dry, says Bob Boucher, owner of a handyman company in Concord, N.H.

Evict existing colonies. Look for sawdust trails to find the entrance, then use a rinsed squeezable ketchup bottle to blow an insecticide dust or boric acid powder into the hole.

#4 AC That Causes You to Freeze in One Room and Sweat in Another

Moving from your first-floor kitchen to a second-floor bedroom shouldn’t require a wardrobe change.

What to do:

Check your ductwork. Look for unsealed joints or hire a pro to make sure your ducts are properly sized. Both can affect your system’s ability to deliver conditioned air to each room.

Set your whole-house fan to “on.” This continuous circulation will mix the air so no space is too hot or too cold.

Direct more cool air upstairs. Look for ductwork dampers in the basement to open during the summer months.

#5 Fruit Flies

Because fruit flies lay their eggs on decaying organic material (yeah, yuck), summer’s bounty of fresh fruits and veggies can invite these disgusting freeloaders into your home. There’s a ton of solutions on the Internet, but preventative measures work best.

What to do:

Keep sinks, drains, and disposals clean. Even dirty dishes can harbor fruit flies.

Freeze food waste. Place rotting fruit, meat scraps, etc. in a bag in your freezer until garbage day.

Pitch overripe fruit. And until you eradicate the flies, keep all other produce in the fridge or a sealed container.

Pour bleach or boiling water down the drain. This will kill any eggs or remaining adult flies.

#6 Weeds in Patio Cracks

Besides ruining a well-manicured view, resilient weeds can crack or shift your pavement. Again, prevention’s best.

What to do:

Block new growth. Fill the weed-free cracks with asphalt or cement crack filler, sand, or corn gluten meal, which prevents future germination. If you’re too late, you need to…

Pull ‘em. Especially if you don’t want to use an herbicide, which can spread and damage desirable plants. Sorry!

#7 Faded Furnishings from Harsh Sun

You want to throw open the shades and revel in that summer sunshine, but your furnishings and flooring are sensitive to the fading and drying effects of UV rays.

What to do:

Add transparent window film. It shuts out 99% of UVA and UVB rays without blocking sunlight or a welcome view. Today’s films are undetectable when properly installed and won’t tint the light coming into your home.

Spray furnishings with a protectant. Spritz upholstery, curtains, and rugs with a UV-blocking fabric protector and treat wood with a varnish — which provides better sun protection than other types of sealant.

#8 Splinters on the Deck

As long as the decking is in otherwise good shape, your bare feet don’t have to suffer through a gauntlet of splinters again this summer.

What to do:

Resurface it. Apply one of the newer deck restoration products that essentially gives your deck a coating that will prevent splinters. This works best for small splinters, before they’ve gotten too bad.

Sand it.Best if splinters are deep and big. Then apply a water-repelling, UV-resistant sealer.

#9 Dust Mites

Dust mite populations peak in summer’s heat and humidity, inflicting stuffy noses, sneezing, and coughing upon those who are allergic.

What to do:

Make your home inhospitable. Clean more frequently and use your AC to keep indoor humidity to 50% or less.

Get a new pillow. If your pillow is older than three years and has not been washed (experts recommend it twice a year), toss it: It’s likely loaded with dust mites.

#10 Slamming Screen Doors

Slam. Slam. Slam. Annoying, right? Beyond rattling your bliss, this sound of summer can damage the hinges of your screen door.

What to do:

Adjust your door closer. If your door has a closer, find the perfect bang-free tension by simply turning the screw on pneumatic models or rotating the body on hydraulic styles.

Add a closer. It costs just $10 to $20 to retrofit an older screen door.

Apply felt pads to the door frame. How’s that for a low-cost option?

#11 A Patio or Deck That Burns Your Feet

Hot dogs and burgers should be the only things you risk burning on your patio this summer.

What to do:

Throw some shade. Position an umbrella or pergola over frequently used areas.

Add an outdoor rug. Choose a lighter color that won’t absorb as much heat. Plastic styles, in particular, are touted for keeping their cool.

Refinish the surface. Again, choose a lighter color. Resurfacing products and overlays are available for all types of patio and deck surfaces.

#12 Ugly, Dried-Out Brown Grass

Widespread browning, rather than patches of brown grass, has two common causes: lawn care oversights and a cool-season grass going dormant.

What to do:

Sharpen or replace your mower blades. This could be all that’s needed if just the tips of your grass are brown and jagged.

Set the blade height to 3 inches. When you take less off the top, it helps grass absorb water before it evaporates.

Water less frequently, for longer periods of time. This helps grass develop deeper, drought- and disease-resistant roots. Aim for 1 to 1.5 inches of water a week, and even a cool-season grass can keep its green during the summer.

#13 A Smelly Basement

When humid air meets cool surfaces in an unconditioned basement, condensation occurs — setting the stage for mold and mildew, and that noxious, nose-wrinkling smell.

What to do:

Check for other sources of humidity. Leaking floors and walls, improperly vented clothes dryers and bathrooms, poorly graded landscaping, and ill-positioned downspouts all can direct water into the basement.

Buy a dehumidifier sized for your needs. Use the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers’ “Directory of Verified Dehumidifiers” to find your match.

Set the dehumidifier to “auto” (i.e. running only when needed). Running continuously, even a small model could cost $20 a month.

This article was originally posted/written by houselogic.

https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/summer-home-maintenance-tips/

Boomers, Millennials, and the McMansions No One Wants

Tom Merton/iStock; hobo_018/iStock; pamspix;iStock

Tom Merton/iStock; hobo_018/iStock; pamspix;iStock

As baby boomers look to downsize out of their suburban McMansions, a generational showdown is looming: Millennials might be coming into their own as the nation's biggest group of first-time home buyers, but they aren't exactly lining up with bids in hand for those large, expensive homes in the sleepier suburbs. Instead, they're looking for a different kind of home—the same ones, in fact, that the empty nesters are looking to buy.

It's a battle of the millennials vs. baby boomers playing out in the nation's suburban housing markets.

Younger and older generations alike are gravitating toward smaller dwellings in more urban, walkable suburbs and cities, with restaurants and coffee shops around the corner. It's leading to a real estate traffic jam: Increasingly, boomers are getting stuck, because most can't buy the home of their dreams until they unload their current ones. And many millennials have neither the desire nor the means to help them out.

"What you have is everyone chasing the same type of home," says Rick Palacios, director of research at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. "More and more buyers of all ages want to avoid having to deal with a huge yard and all the upkeep and the costs to maintain [a larger] home."

It's creating an odd imbalance in a real estate market—a disruption to what has long been considered the traditional generational housing life cycle. And it's leaving many would-be buyers out in the cold.

Millennials seek a new kind of suburban community

There's no question that millennials are moving to the suburbs. About 57% of buyers 36 and under closed on homes in the suburbs last year, compared with just 15% of those who became homeowners in cities, according to research from the National Association of Realtors®. But their vision of suburban living differs from the sprawling domains of the boomer generation.

For one thing, many younger Americans are reluctant to give up the excitement of urban life to settle down and start having kids. About 45% of millennials who plan to buy a home in the future are waiting because they aren't ready to settle down yet, according to a survey of 24,000 millennial renters by the rental website Apartment List. (Other top reasons were not being able to afford to become homeowners and preferring to wait until marriage.)

So when they do make that move to the suburbs, millennials often seek more walkable towns that have many of the urban amenities they're used to, like bike lanes, social events, and lots of shops and restaurants.

“What's really attracting millennials are the communities that are bringing the urban flavor out to nonurban towns," Palacios says. "They don’t want the traditional  massive homes and big yards. They want smaller homes and cool things to do.”

"It’s more important to have proximity to the lifestyle they want," says Jason Dorsey, president and researcher at the Center for Generational Kinetics, focused on millennials and Generation Z. "Their living room is actually the park outside the condo."

The type of home that everyone wants today

It's not just the size of boomers' homes that is a turnoff; it's also the style. Times and tastes have changed, and today both boomers and millennials are attracted to modern, open floor plans—which aren't common in the older homes that boomers are hoping to unload. Boomers like the flexibility of these spaces for aging in place, and millennials like the clean design.

And while they're willing to compromise on size, millennials are less willing to bite the bullet on amenities. Weened on HGTV, they want high-end finishes, nice countertops, upscale appliances, and luxurious bathrooms.

"They'll buy a smaller house with fancier amenities, close to town, rather than chase square footage," Dorsey says.

Why boomers struggle to sell

All of these factors mean that while it's a seller's market in many areas, plenty of boomers are having trouble selling their homes, says Chris Porter, chief demographer and researcher for John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

Even if they want these larger homes, many younger buyers simply don't have the financial means to buy them.

The average college graduate in 2016 owed a whopping $37,172 in student loans, according to Student Loan Hero, a website that provides tools for managing college debt. Plus, with less work experience and shorter credit history, they aren't likely to qualify for a big mortgage.

As for Generation X, having weathered the Great Recession during what should have been their prime earning years, they now have to save for their kids' college expenses, their retirement, and caring for their aging parents. So they're not likely to trade up from their starter homes. And if they do, many prefer an easier-to-maintain smaller home in a community with activities they enjoy—just like those millennials and boomers, Dorsey says.

Meanwhile, since the boomers see their home as their nest egg, they're not all willing to reduce their asking price and shortchange their retirement accounts, says Dorsey. So more of them end up staying put.

"There certainly was a lot of speculation about what would happen if the boomers tried to sell their houses en masse, and whether that would flood the market with a supply of large homes that the younger population didn’t want—or couldn’t afford—to buy," Porter says. But "the boomers do seem to be moving less and aging in place more."

 This article was originally posted/written by Realtor.com

http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/boomers-millennials-and-the-mcmansions-no-one-wants/

Eight Home Design Trends for 2017

If you're considering a home redesign in 2017, you're in the right place. This year, some of the hottest runway inspired trends emphasize soft comfort, natural materials, and warm, elegant spaces--not to mention the latest in smart home technology. Here are eight great home design trends to take advantage of in 2017.

Matte Appliances and Fixtures

While burnished stainless steel surfaces have long been the gold standard for kitchen appliances, House Beautiful notes that matte finishes, as well as warmer gold and bronze tones, are hot in 2017. Satin and brushed brass is another popular way to create this aesthetic. This new look adds warmth and unexpected depth to a space that's often considered the heart of the home.

Bright, Nature-Inspired Jewel Tones

With Pantone naming the spring-invoking Greenery as its 2017 Color of the Year, it's no wonder that Elle Decor considers this grass-inspired hue the hottest interior paint color of the year, too. Vogue indicates that shades of green from lime to emerald are a cutting-edge choice this year. Other top choices include deep, mineral-inspired jewel tones and flowery pastels.

Voice-Activated Assistants

Forbes notes that with the recent debuts of both Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, smart voice assistants are set to exponentially increase in 2017. As a bonus, these technologies are gaining new skills as the parent companies partner with different providers, meaning you can call an Uber, add an item to your shopping list, or play your favorite song just by saying it out loud.

Mixed Patterns

This look showed up on the fashion runway in Fall 2016, and clothing trends typically offer a glimpse of what's coming up in home decor. To try this trend without overwhelming your space, keep it to one statement piece (a throw, chair, or rug, for example).

Faux Finishes

Whether as a budgetary or an attempt to lower your carbon footprint by choosing sustainable materials, more and more homeowners are opting for realistic but engineered versions of luxe finishes like leather, marble, and wood. As a bonus, these materials are not only much more affordable and better for the environment, they also tend to be more durable than their real counterparts.

Playing Up "Forgotten" Spaces

While laundry rooms and entryways are often an afterthought, Forbes reports that homeowners are spending more money to design these spaces than ever before. The reason? Spaces that measure about 150 square feet allow you to have fun with design and decor without exceeding a modest budget. The best renovations for these spaces combine storage functionality with the homeowner's individual aesthetic.

Cork Walls

This unusual design choice has a few key benefits. Cork is an environmentally sustainable material, making it an ideal option for those who are already taking steps to be kind to the planet like with green carpet cleaning services. It also offers excellent soundproofing, so it works well in small spaces where privacy is at a premium.

Textured Surfaces

You've likely heard of hygge, the Scandinavian design trend that prizes cozy, comfortable spaces. One way the hygge vibe is appearing in American homes is with the use of lush, plush textures. Think velvet sofas with plenty of soft pleats, lush throws in mohair and faux fur, and the most luxurious cotton sheets. For best results, layer textures on top of one another for the ultimate in hygge.

Conclusion

Whether you're moving into a new home and want to make it your own or are ready to give a familiar, lived-in space a new look, choosing one or more of these runway-inspired trends will provide fresh, modern appeal, in turn increasing your enjoyment in your home.

This article was originally posted/written by Realty Times. 

http://realtytimes.com/advicefromagents/item/1003479-eight-home-design-trends-for-2017

Buying Is Now 33.1% Cheaper Than Renting in the US

The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers actually show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!

Other interesting findings in the report include:

  • Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
  • With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
  • Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you find your dream home.

This article was originally posted/written by Keeping Current Matters. 

http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com/2017/06/19/buying-is-now-33-1-cheaper-than-renting-in-the-us/

Building Stronger Client Relationships: 5 Ways to Get Social With It

Strong client relationships mean more referrals and loyalty when it’s time for a couple to upgrade from their starter home to a bigger one. When it comes to the basics, using social media platforms isn’t much different than social strategy and interaction in real life.

Don’t let social media scare you as a real estate agent. Use it as an opportunity to engage with area clients, neighborhoods and groups, while adding a boost to your marketing strategies and building social trust and capital.

For your marketing efforts, reaching friends of friends on social sites like Facebook will increase the number of engaged eyes on your listings and get those properties sold or rented. Each platform is different, reaching various demographics. It’s important to know what demographic and type of audience you’re trying to reach when engaging on social media platforms.

Get social with it! Target your posts wisely with these five social sharing tips to build stronger client relationships:

1. Pinterest Builds Listing Interest

Pinterest is popular for DIY crafts, recipes and fashion for a reason. The way Pinterest boards are designed grabs attention for instant inspiration, and people save pins the way they clip coupons.

On Pinterest, create a board showcasing the newest listings, or create boards for new listings in different areas. Create another board as a gallery filled with images of amazing architecture linking to an educational blog post. Talk about renovations sellers have made that may inspire loyal customers to do similar remodels, and pin the post.

Who knows? That pin could lead a friend of a friend to inquire about a listing. Curate special boards to target specific audiences, such as “My Dream Home,” “Room Decor Ideas for Kids” or “The Best Fixer-Uppers.” Keep descriptions short, and only use high-quality images. Always link back to your site.

2. Use Instagram or Snapchat for Storytelling

Instagram is a wonderful platform for sharing eye-catching images of listings with an appropriate hashtag, especially when revealing a new listing or rebuilding interest in an old one. Instagram is the place strangers go to search for specific hashtags, and that stranger is likely to directly message you with interest in a listing. One quality image has ROI power, but video tours do even more.

Instagram recently created their own “stories” function, which is very similar to Snapchat stories—and these aren’t only for angsty teens. Create quick mini-tours of listings with Instagram and Snapchat, building interest and suspense through your posts. You’ll also want to share these across Facebook and Twitter to help build a following.

Snaps on Snapchat eventually expire, and these video posts are perfect for mini-reveals of homes, such as beautiful gardens or architecture in rooms. Give a larger oversight of the home in a 15-second teaser tour, for example.

3. Show Awareness on Facebook

Social media is about sharing, and it’s wonderful to share how you respond to and support causes in your area. Show your awareness of issues on Facebook, connecting with your audience on causes you are all passionate about. Share ways your audience can help raise awareness or engage, by participating in a marathon run for breast cancer or attending a cookout benefit for autism.

Property Management, Inc. built trust in their community in Pennsylvania by showing their awareness and support of causes on Facebook. Their strategies go beyond finding the best place to work and live, because prospective buyers want to already feel like a part of the community. One of the best ways to do this is to show what you care about. Since PMI’s staff consists of largely women, PMI staff consistently shows up, such as on #WearRedDay, to “Go Red for Women.”

This is a great example of women supporting women, drawing in more prospective female buyers to engage with the agency. The staff clearly cares and didn’t only do this as a strategy.

That’s the key part. What causes do you earnestly care about and want to show awareness for? Get social with it!

4. Show Interest in Neighborhood and City Happenings

Since prospective buyers want to already feel like a part of the community, it’s also wise for real estate agencies to show interest in neighborhood and city happenings. Build specific Twitter lists to get updates from architecture firms and the local chamber of commerce, for example.

Turn around and share these updates. Visit the sites and ask questions. Provide updates and relevant information to the community about exciting projects and how it will improve lifestyle in the area. Share social events, too!

Zoom in on an odd city feature in a high-quality photo, and post it. Ask your audience on Instagram or Facebook to guess where you are, and offer an award for the correct answer. Then, provide interesting facts about the history of a property or neighborhood you’ve showcased.

5. Applaud Client Successes

Share client success stories, but not so it sounds like a gimmick for attention. Genuinely celebrate and applaud clients. For example, showcase and welcome a first-time homeowner on Possession Day, when the keys unlock the door, with a dog happily making laps around the big back yard.

Remember, don’t mention or tag clients’ names without their permission. However, sharing stories will show clients you care and follow up. The fun and heartwarming photos will inspire the audience and be personally rewarding for you.

Don’t be afraid of social media. Use it to market your listings in engaging ways that show you care about the neighborhoods, homes and your clients. Applaud client success. Give mini-tours on Instagram and sneak-peek snaps on Snapchat.

As you congratulate your clients in person and interact with the community at large, do the same online with social media platforms. By getting social with it, you’ll build stronger client relationships that are mutually rewarding.

This article was originally posted/written by RisMedia

http://blog.rismedia.com/2017/building-stronger-client-relationships-5-ways-to-get-social-with-it