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“Pet Shui” – Designing Your Space to be Shared with Animals

by Courtney Soinski

If you have a pet at home, you’ll agree that keeping the house clean is a daily struggle. You know you shouldn’t let Fido on the couch, but let’s get real – who can resist those adorable puppy eyes?

In almost every household across the world, our pets are thought of as part of the family. Animals also bring positive energy to a home. Of course you want your home’s style and interior décor to be magnificent (especially during a showing), but what about animal-friendly?

The movement of an animal in your home, along with their individual and unique sounds like barks, meows and chirps, helps to circulate energy to every corner of every room. Here are some great ways to add pet shui to your home for unique yet functional interior design.

First off, make sure your pet has their “special space” within your home’s environment. Whether it’s a soft bed or rug, you’ll be giving them a comfy space they can call their own. Often times, having multiple spaces or moving their bed around can stress an animal out, which results in negative energy that can throw things off balance.

If you have ever heard anything about feng shui, then you know that clutter is a big no-no. Try to avoid having your pet’s toys scattered all over the house. Decrease the number of toys that are left out. Also, consider placing them in a nice covered basket at the end of the day – because let’s face it, no one wants to come into a home only to be tripped by a dog bone or squeaky toy.

When it comes to leashes, try to minimize hanging too many things by the front entrance of your home. Instead, put leases in a cabinet, closet or basket.

To clean up your pet’s eating area, invest in matching food and water bowls that can also serve as home décor. Place an attractive mat underneath the bowls so the floor is kept clean.

Lastly, always be sure to bathe your pet regularly and take him or her to the vet for regular checkups. This will not only keep your home clean, but also give you piece of mind that they’re strong and in good health.

Whether you’re already in your lifelong home or not, the entire goal of pet shui is to lead a balanced, happy, and harmonious life with your furry companion. Let your home be a reflection of you and your family, pets and all!

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Neighborhood Details to Consider When Buying a Home

by Courtney Soinski

shutterstock_21959743When it comes to investing in real estate, it’s not only the house that should be considered, but also the location, neighborhood, and everything in its proximity. Buying your first home can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Before finalizing the exact home to buy, here are some helpful tips to determine if that home’s neighborhood is the right one for you and your family.

Every neighborhood has rules.

Depending on your lifestyle now, your next home may be in a neighborhood with laws that you’re completely not accustomed to. According to a recent article by real estate expert Bill Gassett, there may be restrictions on where you can park (some neighborhoods do not allow parking on the street) as well as which outdoor renovations that are allowed or prohibited on the land you own. These rules are referred to as “restrictive covenants” and can put a damper on your daily life in the new house. Learn them before you move in.

Do you have easy access to your favorite hobbies?

Another huge factor that comes into play is your new home’s proximity to favorite activities or hobbies. Many people tend to overlook what they’ll do in their downtime because they’re busy looking for a place that’s close to work or school. Don’t you want to live in a home that’s convenient for both business and pleasure? Having fun is just as important!

Know the HOA or Property Manager.

Before a decision is made, gain an understanding of the type of neighborhood you’re getting yourself into. Is it owned by a Homeowner’s Association or property manager? What are their rules? What about reviews? According to Forbes Magazine, you may be able to find reliable ratings online if it’s managed by a large company. Do your research, talk to neighbors, and read up on local news stories to determine if it’s the right neighborhood for you.

The noise factor.

If interested in a home whose neighborhood is right near a busy road, keep in mind how noisy it’ll be. There are a number of things that can cause noise around your home, such as nearby event centers, stadiums, pedestrian traffic, and crowded streets. Some people are okay with a little noise if that means they’re closer to the hustle and bustle of the city. If that’s not you, then you should probably re-think the location of your home and neighborhood.

Changes in property taxes & insurance rates.

It’s important to know that taxes and insurance can vary according to the area or county. Learn how your area handles taxes before you move in. Otherwise, it will come as an unpleasant surprise when you discover that you actually owe much more than expected. Living in this new area may also have an impact on your car insurance rates.

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How to Strive for Excellence When Selling a Home

By Tori Toth

The word “excellent” means to possess outstanding quality, and isn’t that what we want to promote to buyers—that your client’s home is the best there is on the market?

Too often though, I find a seller’s perception of excellence becomes unknowingly compromised by certain circumstances and rationalizations that have seeped into the way they currently measure their performance. Without knowing it, your habits and attitudes can affect your excellence at home, at work, and in life.

Let’s take selling your home, for example. I recently worked with a client who was sick of her house. She complained about the space and the layout. She stopped cleaning because she just didn’t care about the appearance of her space. This woman didn’t see the value in her home anymore despite asking for over-market value. If a seller doesn’t think of their home as a prized possession, how can they give the buyer their best? It’s impossible! The problem is that’s not how she felt about her home when she first moved in or else, why would she buy it? I needed her to tap into those initial feelings she had about her home in order to get her motivated about the staging upkeep and get her home sold.

It was a challenge to get her to strive for excellence towards something that mentally she had already written off, but then I taught her about the law of excellence I learned from the book “Who Kidnapped Excellence? What Stops Us from Giving and Being Our Best,” written by Harry Paul, John Britt and Ed Jent.

In this book the authors zero in on five core qualities of excellence that are needed to provide outstanding quality. When a seller is trying to obtain excellence, they need to showcase passion, competency, flexibility, communication, and ownership in order to affect the sale of the home in a positive manner. Let’s go in depth with passion and how a seller can use it to their advantage.

Most people try to start their day off right, but then somehow the daily grind may get to them. With passion, you get to choose your attitude, so why not choose the best one? See life as an opportunity and be willing to go the extra mile. My client, sick of her house, saw her home as routine and ordinary, and blinded herself to the flaws of her home because she no longer wanted to deal with them. She wasn’t looking at her home with fresh eyes, which was hurting the sale of her home.

The authors suggest to “develop a habit of approaching each day with a great attitude. Whatever door you need to go through, do it like it’s the first time you’ve ever been through that door, like you can’t wait to go out and explore,” much like a dog does when let outside. Yes, the dog goes out the same door several times a day, but each time the dog is excited, trembling with anticipation, and can’t wait to get out there and explore.

After rearranging my client’s home and organizing her closets, she looked at her home in a new way. By shaking up her routine, the transformation made her passionate about maintaining the space, which kept the home in better condition for showings and, overall, made her feel more passionate and less sick about the process.

To learn how to incorporate the other four core qualities of excellence when selling a home, read “Feel At Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell.”

Tori Toth is a home staging expert, author of “Feel at Home: Home Staging Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell, founder of The Stage 2 Sell Strategy and owner of Stylish Stagers, Inc. a New York City-based home staging company.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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