Updates

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Violent crimes aren’t confined to big cities. Even Realtors® serving small communities need to be alert and prepared. As a Realtor®, Geri Theis makes her living in a string of small communities along the verdant banks of the Minnesota River, far from dense urban centers where crime makes daily headlines. In little towns like Redwood Falls, you might forget to lock your door at night and nothing bad would come of it. Or so it would seem. But Theis, who owns Scenic Realty, knows better. In a profession where interacting with strangers is part of the job, being watchful, aware, and prepared is key to staying safe. And as Theis knows from personal experience, it ...
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Five Reason to Attend UNITE!

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Five Reasons to Attend UNITE! We’ve all been in the same boat over the past few years. Networking and business meetings have mostly occurred over Zoom from the solitude of our home offices. The business lunch has been replaced by the slightly sad online happy hour. Virtual classes and events have allowed us to stay up to date with CE and hear knowledgeable speakers, but the excitement that comes from sitting in a room with several hundred people is hard to achieve over broadband. With all this in mind, we’ve planned a Realtors® UNITE that is jam-packed with the best things only a live event can offer! So register , pack a bag, and get ready for a great time ...
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Making a Home in America

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Realtor® Jairo Ramirez is dedicated to helping Hispanic people succeed in Minnesota During a time when first-time homebuyers across the state compete for affordable properties, many members of Minnesota’s burgeoning Hispanic community face not only economic challenges, but language and cultural barriers, too. And because so many of them work in the hospitality, restaurant, and other service industries, it can be hard to take time off for house hunting. “Scheduling showings for properties around their work schedules in a hot, sellers’ market is difficult,” said Jairo Ramirez, a bilingual Realtor® who serves a largely Hispanic clientele in the Minneapolis area. ...
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Interest rates and inflation give buyers pause MINNEAPOLIS (September 13, 2022) — In August, closed sales were down 17% compared to a year ago, with 8,256 transactions across the state. New listings followed the cooling trend, falling 17.9% compared to last August even as the total number of homes for sale increased by 2% to 13,271. This bumped up the supply of homes on the market to 1.9 months, an 18.8% gain over last year. Although the median sales price increased 4.4% to $330,000, sellers were receiving slightly less than their asking price, down 2.2% to 99.3%. Homes were sitting longer, too, with days on the market averaging 29 days, up 7.4% from August ...
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Using social media can sometimes feel anything but social. Most of us have experienced the mind-numbing effects of scrolling through our feeds and ingesting a brain-breaking amount of content. Others have seen the power of social media for societal good or at least found a way to use it more productively. Whether you think that social media is a necessary evil, a sure sign of the apocalypse, or simply a good way to watch viral cat videos, one thing is clear: it’s great for your business.  Gone are the days when social media was considered optional for the motivated Realtor®. It’s now a must-have tool for professionals who are serious about staying current, engaging ...
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What is Realtor® Safety Month?

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If you were asked for a short-list of the most dangerous professions, you almost certainly wouldn’t include Realtor®. After all, how dangerous can it be to help people buy and sell real estate? Surely, there are far more perilous jobs. While that’s true, it doesn’t negate the unique risks involved in the realm of real estate. Realtor® Safety Month The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) has designated September as Realtor® Safety Month. Even though being a Realtor® isn’t fraught with danger, aspects of the work present specific threats. For example, much of a Realtor’s® daily work involves dealing with the unknown—be it new clients, showing homes, or ...
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Seems like summer just gets rolling when the leaves start yellowing, the days cool, and the sun drops out of sight. Although there’s still plenty of time before you swap shorts and t-shirts for a parka and snow pants, winter is on the way. Fall is a great time to walk your property, assess seasonal damage, and lay the ground for a lush and vibrant spring. Following are nine must-do tasks to ready your lawn for our tough Minnesota winter. 1.    Test the soil A soil test profiles the composition of nutrients in your lawn and includes suggestions for fertilizers that will improve its health and vitality. In Minnesota, you can obtain test kits through your ...
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Dream as if you’ll live forever, but plan like you know you won’t. This is the delicate balance that older prospective home buyers must strike. The age-old question remains: How do you make the most out of your retirement years by living where and how you want without straining your financial portfolio and taking unnecessary risks? In life’s many great transitions, perhaps none feels starker than retirement. It is quite literally a life-changing experience—personally, professionally and financially. Even for those who don’t stop working entirely in their mid-60s, many scale back their professional responsibilities or find part-time work that better fits ...
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MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 26, 2022) — Today, the Minnesota Realtors® Political Action Committee (MN-RPAC) announced its support for Governor Tim Walz in his bid for re-election. “The MN-RPAC Board of Trustees had the honor recently of meeting with both Governor Tim Walz and Dr. Scott Jensen. While we share common ground with both candidates on many housing and homeownership issues, we believe Governor Walz is best prepared to work with us over the next four years to expand homeownership opportunities and address Minnesota’s housing challenges,” said Wayne Gilbert, chair of the MN-RPAC Board of Trustees. “During the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, ...
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Five Mindful Moving Hacks

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America is a nation on the move. Every year, over 15 million of us pack up our lives in bags, boxes, and bundles, and move on down the road. In a lifetime, the average American will move up to 12 times. After expending so many miles of packing tape and bales of bubble wrap, you’d think we’d all be master relocators. But the truth is, most of us find moving an exercise in contained chaos that stirs a broad range of emotions: excitement, hope, fear, anxiety, and even depression. In fact, moving is classified as the third most stressful life event, just after death of a loved one, and divorce. How do you fit all that in a box? There are two major kinds of stress ...
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New listings down as total number of homes for sale increases MINNEAPOLIS (August 15, 2022) — In July, closed sales fell 19.2% compared to a year ago, with 7,904 transactions across the state. New listings were also significantly down, declining 14.2% compared to July 2021, although the total number of homes for sale rose 6.4%. Across the state, there was a 1.9-month supply of homes on the market, up almost 19%. Despite signs of a slowing market, the average home price was up 9% to $391,958, and total days on the market decreased nearly 4% to 25 days, indicating that competition for homes in an affordable price range remains high. Sellers were still receiving ...
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August Maintenance Guide

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Things to do in and around your home as we approach summer’s end Whether we like it or not, the month of August compels us to think about the end of summer. As we steadily approach cooler days and a change in seasons, it’s a good time to take stock and consider several things for late summer home maintenance. Interior Check your washing machine connections—Yes, you read that right. It’s good to check these every few months. And with kids home all summer and your washing machine likely working overtime, August is a great time to inspect the hoses and look for any bulging or signs of wear. HVAC filters—As fall approaches, consider replacing ...
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Minnesota’s sunny season is short. Here’s your guide for making the most of it. Officially, Minnesota’s warm season runs a scant 3.9 months, from May 22 to September 17. That’s why the moment our state thaws and greens, Minnesotans are biking, hiking, rollerblading, skateboarding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and camping across every corner of the land. And when they’re not burning calories on the trails, they’re loading up on great grub and drink at patio and sidewalk restaurants across Minnesota. From the pristine Boundary Waters (and about 10,000 other lakes) to the vibrant Twin Cities and rolling river bluff country in the south, Minnesota is a spectacular ...
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When you think of the term midcentury modern, do you picture yourself lounging on a leather sectional couch with a tumbler of amber liquid in hand while listening to vinyl records? You may be watching too much Mad Men, AMC’s hit TV series set in the late 1950s and early 60s. But midcentury modern architecture and aesthetics are much more than the nostalgia of wall ovens, oversized teak desks, and lunchtime happy hours. In recent years, the midcentury modern (MCM) style has surged back into the consumer consciousness. Demand for MCM furnishings is frenzied in commercial and private marketplaces. Buyers are also flocking to midcentury-built homes, which are ...
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Natural Insect Management

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5 things you can do to deter pests without harming the environment Summers in Minnesota are short, sweaty, and buggy. Though we dream of sun and outdoor spaces all winter, we forget that insects are ready to bite, sting, and pester us the moment we set foot in the backyard. Worse—they eat our veggie gardens, decimate our flowers, and ruin our lawns and trees. From bluegrass billbugs and cutworms to iris borers, Japanese beetles, and mosquitoes, bugs are the scourge of summer. Or are they? Although they can be irritating, insects play a vital role in our ecosystem and economy. They pollinate our crops, sweeten our food with honey, give us silk for clothing, ...
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Median sales price climbs and number of overall homes for sale rises MINNEAPOLIS (July 15, 2022) — In June, closed sales of homes declined by nearly 14% compared to a year ago, with a total of 9,208 properties sold across the state. New listings were down 6.4% year-over-year even as the total number of homes for sale increased 8.2% to 12,298 properties. Overall housing inventory increased significantly, up 21.4% over last June to 1.7 months’ supply of homes on the market. Despite softening activity relative to last year, consumer demand drove the median sales price up 6.2% to $345,000, and the average price increased 9% to $401,319. Sellers were still ...
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Annual gathering offers Realtors® education, inspiration, and casino-style entertainment UNITE!, Minnesota Realtors® (MNR) annual convention for the state’s real estate professionals, returns to Mystic Lake Event Center in Prior Lake this fall. Running from September 21 – 22, the two-day event will offer continuing education classes, a leadership installation dinner, and an expo featuring businesses that cater to the real estate industry. The lineup of national and local speakers includes, Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center For Nonviolent Social Change, and daughter of the late civil rights leader. “As we return to a more normal pace ...
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Summer can feel like a tropical paradise for Minnesotans. The sun stays out longer and so do the people—who can blame us? Whether you’re weekending up north at the cabin, lounging on the lake, or grilling in the backyard, Minnesota summers are all about soaking up the sun in the great outdoors. But the warmth of the sun brings with it rising indoor temperatures, humidity, and perhaps worst of all: higher home energy costs. Approximately 30% of your monthly summer utility bill comes from the energy it takes to cool your home. The national increase in utility costs has made it feel like homeowners must choose between comfort and savings when spending time indoors. ...
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A well-tended deck sets the stage for decades of lasting memories. It’s a place where family and friends can gather to share meals, reconnect with the outdoors, and relax. Decks can also greatly increase the curb appeal and value of a home. Despite the rise of composite material construction, many homeowners still prefer wood decking— it’s still the most affordable and popular decking on the market. And there’s no question that traditional timber brings a tranquil energy to deck-related activities, as well as a timeless natural quality that others don’t. Though they may feel timeless, wood decks are indeed more susceptible to the wear and tear of time, weather, ...
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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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