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In the early morning hours of a sweltering June night in 1969, a unit of the New York City Police Department’s Vice Squad raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar on Christopher Street frequented by members of the gay community. The patrons, who had endured many such raids there and at other gathering places, were beyond fed up. A scuffle spilled onto the streets, arrests were made, and a revolution ignited. A year later, in commemoration of the uprising, the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee organized the first Pride march. It became the model and inspiration for movements across the globe, including Minnesota. As we celebrate Minnesota Pride, Minnesota Realtors ...
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Home is Where the Bar Is

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Creating your own personal pub, saloon, or basement dive bar is limited only by your budget and imagination Ernest Hemingway once quipped that he drank “to make other people more interesting.” Whatever your perspective about people—or drinking for that matter—there’s no doubt a home bar adds interest and a bit of sparkle, fizz, and fun to your domain. Whether you stock it with top shelf liquors or nothing harder than soda and seltzer, it can be a focal point for entertaining in your home. Like hangovers, home bars come in all sizes—and budgets, from cheap beams and plywood to ornate hand-crafted Irish pubs. According to Home Advisor, price tags for these uber-local ...
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If you’re a homeowner, it’s almost certain that your home is the most valuable asset you will ever own. That’s why homeownership is often referred to as an investment . As any savvy investor will tell you, the key to success is protecting your investment. The Essential Foundation Although there are hundreds of ways to preserve your home’s value, there are a few essentials you must do regularly. The first, and perhaps most crucial, is the foundation. A bad foundation spells big trouble. This is especially important in Minnesota, where water intrusion can be a perennial problem for homeowners. Good maintenance begins with a simple foundation check you ...
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Most molds are harmless. But a handful are toxic and dangerous. It’s a moldy planet. From earth’s frigid poles to the dusty clouds of African deserts, more than 100,000 species of mold thrive in almost every environmental niche. Fortunately, most molds are harmless. In fact, many of them are sources for life-saving antibiotics and other medicines. However, some molds produce mycotoxins that can be harmful to people with allergies, asthma, and immunocompromised disorders. Typical allergic reactions to molds include: Watery and itchy eyes Runny nose and sinus conditions Sore throat Headaches Coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks Dry, scaly skin, ...
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Median sales price of a home climbs as inventory increases MINNEAPOLIS (June 10, 2022) — The supply of homes coming on the market rose in May, with new listings up 3.6% compared to a year ago. Across the state, there were 10,408 homes for sale, a 4.8% rise over May 2021. Even so, closed sales were down 6.5% compared to last year as the median sales price increased 10.2% to $341,500. Overall, there was a 1.4-month supply of homes on the market, up almost 17% from the year before. Even though sales were down, competition for properties was heated. Sellers received an average 103.2% of the asking price, a 0.3% increase over last year. “The increase in new ...
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Non-interest loans serve religious communities with restrictions on borrowing. And for non-citizens, ITIN loans open doors to homeownership. Mortgages that charge interest on the principal loan are the backbone of the housing industry, allowing millions of Americans to purchase homes. However, a number of religious traditions, including Islam, and some sects of Christianity and Judaism, discourage members from obtaining loans that are repaid with interest. Most non-interest-bearing financing is tailored to the needs of Minnesota’s Islamic community. Structured according to Sharia law, a code for living based on the Qu’ran, these loans are designed to eliminate ...
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Green Cleaning for Your Home

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For a long time, if you wanted a squeaky-clean home, your only option was to spray chemical laden bleach on every surface you could find. Those days are gone. As awareness has grown about the negative effects of cleaning products full of dangerous, environmentally damaging toxins, people have turned to more natural ways of freshening up their living spaces. With eco-friendly cleaning on the rise, here are a few things you need to know. 1. Fresh air is your friend One of the easiest ways to promote a clean living space is to open the windows. Fresh air is a natural filter that can help prevent mold, stop pollen build up, and push out pet dander. This doesn’t ...
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A house, a yard, a picket fence, and maybe a dog and a cat or two. Owning property is the foundation of the American dream. Whether you live on a small lot in Minneapolis, a sprawling estate on Lake Minnetonka, or a quiet cabin somewhere outside Brainerd, your home is the key to wealth, stability, and healthy, thriving economies and communities. Although Minnesota has an extraordinary rate of homeownership—73% of us own our own homes, versus 65.5% nationwide—it is also home to persistent racial inequities. Only 25% of Black residents own their own home, marking the fifth worst racial homeownership gap in the nation. To understand how this uneven landscape evolved, ...
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Container Gardening 101

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Are you looking for an easy intro to gardening, but don’t want to make a permanent hole in your yard? Container gardening is one of the easiest things you can do to add curb appeal to your porch or yard, and home-grown groceries to your kitchen as well! Read on for what you need to know to plop those plants in convenient containers. First, decide what kind of garden you would like. Do you want pretty pots of perennials and annuals lining your porch? Or a smattering of herbs and vegetables so you can always have fresh garnishes? Vegetables & Herbs Creating an edible container garden gives your space both greenery and practicality. For growing fresh vegetables, ...
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By replacing some of your lawn with pollinator and vegetable gardens, you’ll help the environment and reap a harvest of good eating We Americans love our lawns. We picnic, party, barbecue, bat balls, and even host the occasional wedding on these wide green spaces. Altogether, our verdant blades of grass blanket 63,000 square miles of the United States—an area the size of Georgia. But there’s a cost to keeping that vast acreage green and lush, both financially and environmentally. Every year, Americans spend $36 billion on lawn care. That price tag includes 600 million gallons of gas (and $17 million of that is spilled on the driveway). And nine billion gallons ...
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“Homeownership means rootedness in the community,” said Steve Hunegs, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC). “It’s at the intersection between the Jewish community and the greater community.” As the leader of an organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice, Hunegs is keenly aware of what happens when people are discriminated against and prevented from becoming full members of a community. It is an experience the Jewish people have been intimately familiar with throughout history. Even the land of “Minnesota Nice” was not as welcoming as it is today. When the first Jewish immigrants ...
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Taking the White Paint Plunge

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There is something about adding a fresh coat of paint to a room. It’s instant personality. A cost-effective makeover. A way to add a trendy splash of color or a traditional backdrop to breathe life into a room. One hue seeing a resurgence in popularity is white. “Well that is going to be easy,” you think as you drive to your local hardware store to pick up a gallon of white paint. But as you’re pondering Satin or Eggshell, you stop dead in your tracks as you near the paint swatches. Instead of that single chip marked “White,” you see row after row of Whites ranging from Snow to Cotton to Marshmallow to Cloud. Whites with blue undertones, yellowish whites, something ...
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Ever since the first bicycle-like contraption rolled into the state in 1869*, Minnesotans have been seeking out the best roads, lanes, paths, and dirt tracks for recreation and fun. Today, the state is home to thousands of miles of paved, gravel, and dirt trails offering rides to accommodate every level of fitness, skill, and interest. From bicycle highways winding into the heart of Minneapolis to rugged trails skirting the shores of Cuyuna Lakes, the North Country is a cycling paradise. Small wonder that Minnesota is recognized as one of the American League of Bicyclists Top 5 destinations. To help you plan your most fulfilling year of riding yet, we’ve assembled ...
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Realtor® Shang Thao-Berg helps Asian immigrants find connection and community through homeownership More than 20 years ago, when Shang Thao-Berg worked in consumer lending and finance in the Twin Cities, she noticed that many of her older Hmong clients were leery of the modern credit-based economy. Like Thao-Berg herself, most of these mountain-dwelling ethnic people had emigrated to the United States in the wake of the Vietnam war, coming from countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Thao-Berg’s native Laos. “They believed that you shouldn’t accumulate any debt and almost everything you own should be paid for in cash,” Thao-Berg observed. “That was ...
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New listings shrink, interest rates creep up, and demand remains high MINNEAPOLIS (May 10, 2022) — With closed sales down by almost 11% over last April, the sales season was off to a comparatively slower start. Historically, the numbers indicated a return to more normal patterns for this time of year. Declines in new listings, which were down nearly 7% compared to a year ago, contributed to softening sales. Statewide, there were 8,567 homes for sale, down 9.6% from April 2021. This equates to just over a one-month supply of properties on the market, a trend that has persisted since the end of 2020. Despite the limited inventory, buyer demand remains high, ...
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Why crafting a well-written listing description matters No one needs to convince you that quality photos are crucial when listing a home. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, a home listing is incomplete without a compelling listing description. Writing it is harder than you might think, and there are many pitfalls to avoid. Here are some common listing description mistakes, along with a few tips for writing listing descriptions that showcase your client’s home in the best possible terms. 1. Avoid all caps (PLEASE) STUNNING 3 BED/2 BATH UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE AROUND! No doubt, you’ve seen listing descriptions like this. While grabbing attention ...
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The growing season is short, but with a little planning you can create a thriving garden As the weather warms and the snow melts, Minnesotans rush out to their gardens and coax botanical miracles from muddy earth. Flower beds burst with color. Vegetable patches yield bushels of beans, peas, tomatoes, and zucchini. And fruit trees drip with apples and pears.   Of course, not everyone is blessed with green thumbs. In fact, more than a few of us are all thumbs when it comes to getting a garden to produce much more than weeds. How do those prolific gardeners do it? What’s their secret sauce? The answer is more science than “saucery,” and deeply rooted ...
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Video is the New Door Knocking

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Get in front of potential customers on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok Video is hot. Every day, millions of viewers visit YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and other outlets for entertainment, instruction, and virtual shopping—including house hunting. YouTube alone gets more than 30 million visits a day. Given the captive audience, it’s no surprise that 86% of American businesses use video to engage customers. The downside is that video channels are exploding with content. How do you make your videos stand out from all the misbehaving cats, dancing flight attendants, and self-appointed self-help gurus—not to mention your bigger-budgeted competitors in the real estate ...
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As a Realtor® you have a solid understanding of a home’s big-ticket items, from the furnace and plumbing to the roof and foundation. But there’s another big-ticket item that sometimes gets overlooked: trees. Specifically, diseased trees. While we’re fortunate to live in a state that is home to beautiful trees such as oak, ash, birch, and maple, Realtors® and homeowners alike need to be aware of the threats that an unhealthy tree may pose. Know the Risks When a tree becomes diseased, it’s a hazard to the property. Diseased trees are more likely to drop branches than healthy ones, and if the tree covers any part of the home in question, the risk of damage ...
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Four tactics for overcoming bias and discrimination in real estate transactions The tenants of the Fair Housing Act are clear and direct. Realtors ® , brokerages, banks, homeowners, and other entities can’t make housing unavailable to people based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability. The National Association of Realtors ® (NAR) supports the law by vigorously enforcing a related standard for professional conduct spelled out in Article 10 of the Code of Ethics. Yet despite these well-defined “rules of the road,” discrimination continues across the housing industry. For Realtors ® and brokers who ...
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Who doesn’t love a well-tended yard and garden? Easy on the eyes and one of the “purest of human pleasures” according to Francis Bacon.   Yet, sadly, many American homes have yards and gardens that take far more than they give . Creating that pristine American green—which has become a standard feature of most homes in the U.S.—requires tons of water and chemicals that are harmful to the environment. To create a sustainable, resilient yard and garden, consider these tips.   Plan Here’s the good news: Your yard, no matter how big or small, can become a force for environmental good. But you need a plan. While hopefully no one goes to the grocery ...
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Closed Sales Dip in March

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New listings decline while demand remains high MINNEAPOLIS (April 21, 2022) — Closed sales fell by just over 8% compared to March of last year, indicating a softening, though still robust housing market. New listings in March were down nearly 6% compared to a year ago with 8,926 properties coming on the market. Statewide inventory shrank by almost 11% to 7,808 homes for sale, which is just one month’s worth of supply. Consumers were not deterred by the tight market. Buyer demand drove the median home sales price in Minnesota up 9.2% to $322,000. On average, sellers were receiving 101.5% percent of their asking price, a 0.8% increase over March of last ...
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Energy prices are climbing, and homeowners across the country are feeling the squeeze as they try to figure out how to cover rapidly rising costs. While spiking energy prices are due to several factors , one thing seems clear: energy affordability is an issue of increasing concern to many Americans. Enter solar panels. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association , solar power has grown at a rate of 50% annually since 2011. Like rising energy costs, the popularity of solar can only be understood by accounting for several factors (not all of which will be covered here). There are some key things homeowners should know when thinking about installing ...
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A rental manager turned away a disabled applicant who relied on a pair of pit bulls for emotional support. Was he within his rights or violating the FHA? In 2018, Donald Bradach was laboring on a sewage-maintenance team when a heavy pipe struck his head, causing a traumatic brain injury. Afflicted with migraines, visual impairment, and unable to balance properly, he could no longer work. Depressed and anxious, Donald stopped socializing or even going outside. Worse, he developed diabetes that made him lose consciousness if his blood sugar dipped too low. His wife worked during the day and could not care for Donald. So, the couple relied on two unlikely caregivers: ...
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When I was a little girl growing up in southern California in the 1970s, I loved our house. The landscaping was taken care of by a gardener and it was perfectly manicured. The front planter boxes were always overflowing with red geraniums—my mother’s favorites. And there was a little round window in the peak that offered a bit of fairytale whimsy to our Cape Cod-style home. It’s funny, whenever I think back to my childhood these are the things I remember. Fast forward to 2022. Is it really a surprise that after spending more time than ever in our homes due to a once-in-a-century pandemic—that people have been, and still are, focusing their time and money on ...
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In a heated market where buyers compete for scarce inventory, “love letters” are seen as a way to win a seller’s favor and close the deal. Typically filled with praise and accolades, these letters seem harmless enough. Yet when they reveal personal details about a buyer’s gender, familial status, race, ethnicity, or religion, they stray into a legal red zone. If sellers knowingly reject offers based on the buyer’s protected-class status, they have likely violated fair housing laws—opening themselves and the Realtors ® who represent them to liability. The best way to prevent such complications is to educate your clients about Fair Housing laws and the risks ...
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MNR in the News

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Minnesota real estate agents vastly outnumber houses to sell —Minnesota Realtors® CEO Chris Galler was quoted as saying: “It’s especially difficult for new agents to hang on … And this is a business where it’s really difficult to stay in it if you’re not doing some transactions.” Star Tribune , April 2nd Sellers still control metro housing market —“Sales trends were similar across the state, with an 8.5% decline in listings, a 10% decline in pending sales and a nearly 8% increase in the median sale price” according to MNR’s February Housing Report . Yahoo News , March 15th Home sales down in February as inventory remains a problem —“We simply don’t have ...
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We’re not the first to observe that COVID-19 changed the way we think about our homes. Nonetheless, two years on from the dawn of the pandemic, it’s hard to overstate just how significant this change has been. In the early days of COVID, when travel restrictions and business closures affected us all, many people started thinking creatively about their outdoor living spaces. Those trends have continued, and as we approach the treasured spring and summer months in Minnesota, there’s renewed interest in creating fun, relaxing outdoor spaces to enjoy with friends and family. 1. The “outdoor room” If you can overlook the oxymoron, this trend is one that can’t ...
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The state has more female Realtors® than ever before. And their ranks are growing. Women have been working in the real estate business almost as long as the United States has been a country. Though most served in subordinate office and clerical roles in the early decades, by the 1880s some women were pioneering roles as agents, and even brokers. Still, despite these trail-blazing exceptions, the real estate profession remained the domain of men well into the 20 th century. In Minnesota, the glass ceiling began cracking in 1955 when Emma Rovick purchased a small, struggling brokerage and transformed it into the real estate powerhouse, Edina Realty. During ...
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In 1980, then-President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8 th as National Women’s History Week. Carter urged every citizen to participate, saying, “…too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” Seven years later, Congress passed a resolution designating March as Women’s History Month. In honor of Women’s History month, we’ve asked the women of MNR to talk about the women who have inspired them. Risk Management & Legal Counsel Susan Dioury – Senior Vice ...
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Spring is the season of new growth. After a long, icy winter, there’s nothing quite like the warmth of the springtime sun. Here in Minnesota, we sometimes find it hard to predict exactly when spring will kick into full gear (think blizzards in April), but when it does arrive, we welcome it with open arms.  Spring is also when we prepare our yards for gardening and outside entertainment, perform quarterly maintenance, and freshen up the inside of our homes. Refer your clients to our Spring Maintenance Checklist to stay top of mind with them and/or use it for your own home. This list might look exhaustive (and exhausting), but not all the items will apply to ...
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The Power of Staging

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Most of us have been there. Excitedly walking into a house, certain that it could be “the one.” But instead of hearing choirs of angels as you move through each room, you quickly become disappointed by the purple shag carpet, the water-stained ceiling, and the odor of stale tobacco mingled with “eau de Fluffy the cat.” No matter what the listing says about the house’s “great bones” or that it is in one of the best school districts in town—you can’t leave this showing fast enough. Your Realtor® knows that getting you to come back from these initial impressions is next to impossible. But is staging necessary in this crazy market? In a word, yes. While the events ...
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It’s no secret—everyone knows it’s a seller’s market and that housing inventory is historically low. There are signs of slow change in the housing market, but in the meantime, Realtors® must carefully prepare their buyers for what’s to come. Otherwise, they could end up feeling as though the home purchase process has chewed them up and then unceremoniously spit them out. Most agents know that, before going out and looking at properties, they must educate their clients , especially first-time buyers, about the home buying process. In this market, that is even more crucial because when you are ready to make an offer on a home, there may not be much time to explain ...
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Closed sales and new listings were down in February MINNEAPOLIS (March 10, 2022) — Shrinking inventory and increasing prices pushed closed sales down 12.9% over the previous February. New listings were down 8.5% compared to last year, with just 5,801 homes added to the market. Despite this, consumer demand remained high, with the median sales price rising 7.8% to $304,500, and the average price hitting $353,409, up 10.3% over last year. Sellers were receiving 99.7% of their asking price as the statewide supply of homes plummeted 21% to just 6,606 units. As inflation nudged interest rates up to 4.45% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, the affordability ...
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A majority of American women own property, but much work remains to achieve true equality According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 61.2% of women in the United States are homeowners. And 20% of all first-time homeowners are single women. These are extraordinary statistics considering that 50 years ago a woman could not legally obtain the line of credit required to purchase her own home. Even if she had the financial resources, a male still had to co-sign the papers and hold legal title to the property. Even credit cards were beyond the reach of women without a male benefactor. Margaret Gadient, a metropolitan-area homeowner, recalls feeling ...
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You searched for months, had an offer accepted, did the inspection, and finally closed on your new home. With keys in hand, you can’t wait to settle in. But where do you go from here? With so many things to tackle—plus the list of “dream updates” you’d love to make—it’s hard to know where to begin. 1. Prioritize painting There’s probably at least one room in your house where you don’t love the color. Start there. You’d be surprised what a fresh coat of paint can do for a space. Whether you want to brighten up a room that is too dark, or just match your preferred color scheme, painting is an easy, cost-effective way to transform your home—one room at a time. ...
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We Stand with Ukraine

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The war in Ukraine is destroying lives and displacing hundreds of thousands of people. As Ukrainians fight bravely for the freedom of their homeland, we at Minnesota Realtors® stand in solidarity and are committed to helping provide humanitarian assistance by giving to non-profit aid organizations. If you would like to participate, please consider one or more of the reputable charities below.  Non-Profit Aid Organizations - Care - Doctors Without Borders - International Committee of the Red Cross - Razom for Ukraine - Save the Children - Sunflower of Peace - UNICEF - Voices of Children - World Central Kitchen
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An unfortunate part of human nature is that gratitude does not come naturally to us. Discontentment is hard-wired into our system. Instead of having eyes to see what we do have, we’re prone to focus on all that we don’t . As the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus put it: “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” When it comes to a successful career in real estate, practicing gratitude can help you flourish. 1. We’re discontent by nature. Gratitude grounds us. You know the old adage: “The grass is always greener”, well—it’s true. The adage, that is. The grass isn’t always greener, of course. ...
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Avoiding Photo Faux Pas

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Create Property Photos That Are Effective and Comply with Regulations Getting a listing is hard work, as any Realtor® will tell you. But the hard work doesn’t end after you’ve convinced a seller that you’re the one who will do the best job of selling their house. Marketing is hard work too and, in most cases, you’ve only got seconds to convince a buyer to come and look at the home in person. Part of that process involves creating stellar photos that make the property shine in the best possible light. Posting quality photos of a property might seem like the easiest part of marketing. But hold on, not so fast! The process of creating great photos for listings ...
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When people talk about the legacy of Lena Olive Smith, they inevitably describe her in the same way: fearless and feisty . Few of us have heard of her, but her work from the mid-1910s until her death in 1966 is an inspiring lesson in what just one person can do to create change. Smith was a pioneer of the civil rights movement in Minnesota. Without her work, we would feel the effects of housing discrimination even more acutely than we do now. A pioneering real estate agent In 1915, Lena Olive Smith became a real estate agent, advertising her business as “Lena O. Smith, Real Estate, Rentals, Investments.” She is believed to be the first Black female real ...
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