15 Brilliant Life Hacks to Speed Up Your Spring Cleaning

  1. Add a lazy Susan to your fridge

If you’re already taking everything out to give the fridge a good scrub, add a lazy Susan to each shelf before you restock. Being able to spin it to access things in the back will cut down on spills and make your next spring cleaning that much easier.

  1. Disinfect your sponge

If you’ve got a big job to do and only one sponge to do it with (the horror!), freshen things up halfway through by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute.

  1. Don’t forget to clean the garbage disposal

If you’re lucky enough to have a garbage disposal, don’t neglect it during spring cleaning. Drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt, and a few ice cubes to clear away any unwanted images (1)odors or built-up residue.

  1. Time Yourself

Not only will you be more likely to stay focused and get your tasks done efficiently with a timer ticking, seeing how long chores actually take makes them more manageable. If you know it only takes ten minutes to scrub the bathroom, maybe you won’t wait till next spring to do it again.

  1. Wax your stovetop

After you’ve scrubbed the grime off your stovetop, apply a thin layer of car wax and then buff it off with a clean towel. Not only will this make it look shiny and new, it will make wiping off future spills a breeze.

  1. Use a lemon to clean stainless steel faucets

Just cut the lemon in half and start rubbing to remove hard water stains and rust from any stainless steel in the bathroom or kitchen. Plus, this leaves behind a fresh, natural, citrusy scent instead of harsh chemical fumes.

  1. Steam clean your microwave

To remove old food stains from the inside of the microwave, steam them before you scrub. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1 to 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and zap the mixture for five minutes.

  1. Make space for clutter

One way you can ensure that your hard-earned neatness doesn’t disappear is by setting aside space for the inevitable clutter. If you have an entryway closet, mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack to store toys, hats, gloves, and unsorted mail.

  1. Wash your windows on a cloudy day

For a quick made-at-home window-washing solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water or add one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid to several gallons of water. But time your cleaning wisely: Sunshine will cause your windows to dry too quickly, leaving streaks.

  1. Dust with fabric softener sheets

Dryer sheets are a cheap substitute for more expensive electrostatic cloths, and they work just as well. Lone socks that have lost their mates, when worn as a mitten, also work for dusting tight areas and Venetian blinds. Always remember to work top to bottom when dusting to avoid wasting time going over surfaces twice.

  1. Toss expired toiletries

If your medicine cabinet is starting to seem over-cluttered, spring cleaning is the perfect time to re-check the expiration date on all your toiletries and trash anything that’s past its prime. You can check the Internet for specifics, but sunscreen should only stick around for a few years after you purchase it, and mascara should be replaced every couple of months.

  1. Use a hair dryer to banish water rings

Someone hasn’t been using a coaster and now your wood coffee table paid the price and has those telltale white water rings. Try erasing them with a hair dryer. Simply blast the offending spot on high heat until it starts to disappear. Once it’s gone, rub a little bit of olive oil on the area to recondition the wood.

  1. Use your dishwasher for more than dishes

There are tons of things that you can clean in the dishwasher that don’t have anything to do with place settings. Once every few months, toss some of the following into the dishwasher for a deep clean: contact lens cases, hair brushes, makeup brushes, pet dishes, plastic kids toys, refrigerator shelves, soap dishes, tweezers, various knobs and pulls, and even your showerhead (if it’s removable).

  1. Clean your dishwasher

What good is a dirty dishwasher? After you remove any visible grime, place a (dishwasher safe) cup of vinegar on the top shelf and run the hottest cycle your dishwasher has. After that, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom and run it through a short but complete cycle using the hottest water.

  1. Clean your showerhead

If your showerhead isn’t detachable and thus can’t be run through the dishwasher, you can clean it by letting it soak in vinegar overnight. First, fill a sandwich baggie with vinegar and then carefully secure the bag over the showerhead so it’s fully submerged—you can use an elastic hair tie or rubber band. Leave the whole thing to soak overnight—just be sure you remember to remove the vinegar bag before you turn on the shower in the morning.

www.mentalfloss.com March 2015

How dedicated is Bill Porter?

This dedicated: Once, during an ice storm, the door-to-door salesman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, crawled the last part of his seven-mile route on his hands and knees. How positive and upbeat is Porter? This positive and upbeat: He describes that day—during which he also dragged his briefcase full of catalogs and order forms up his iced-over driveway—as “one of the best I ever had selling. More people were home because of the storm.”

Porter’s is one of those jaw-dropping, grit-and-gumption stories that could be a TV movie, and is: Door to Door, which […] tells a very personal tale of quiet heroism and private victories. “Bill’s whole attitude is ‘I never did anything heroic. I had to pay the rent,’ ” says actor William H. Macy, the Fargo star who plays Porter and cowrote the script (with director Steven Schachter) after seeing a 20/20 piece on Porter. “It’s because of this stoical, can-do attitude, this indomitable spirit, that we’re allowed to cry.” Inspiring Quotes Picture

Porter would probably prefer you didn’t. Born in San Francisco in 1932, the only child of a housewife and a salesclerk, he says he wasn’t allowed to dwell on his disability, which left his right side twisted and his speech slurred. His mother, Irene, “was always very positive,” says Porter, “and she insisted that I be the same way.” When he was 17, she enrolled him in public high school, and upon graduation his father, Ernest, insisted that he get a job—a task easier said than done. After four months of daily rejections, Porter’s employment agency told him to go home and collect welfare. So he combed the want ads himself, eventually applying for a job with Watkins, the nation’s oldest door-to-door sales company. “I had to convince them,” recalls Porter. “They gave me the worst territory, and I worked strictly on commission.” His mother would write out the word “persistence” on a slip of paper and hide it in his lunch bag.

After a year Porter began winning sales awards. Nothing could dampen his enthusiasm. When people refused to open the door or slammed it in his face, he would silently repeat the mantra “The next customer will say yes.” Many did—even if Porter had to work on them for years. “He just never takes rejection personally,” says Watkins president Mark Jacobs. “He’s relentless. He’s irresistible.”

Each day Porter—who lived with his mother—would wake at 4:45 a.m. and spend 90 minutes dressing himself before catching a 7:30 bus, the first of two that would take him to his west Portland, Ore., sales territory by 9. Often he wouldn’t return home until after 7 p.m. When his mother went into a nursing home in the mid-1980s (his father had died in 1962), Porter had to ask the bellhops at a downtown hotel to take over one of her tasks—buttoning his collar and attaching his clip-on tie each morning.

But Porter kept working. In 1985 he hired a young mother, Shelly Brady, to be his delivery driver and housekeeper. They soon progressed from “employer and employee to just great friends,” she says. She helped Porter cope with the loss of his mother to Alzheimer’s in 1989. Then, in 1993, after a five-month recovery from back surgery left him without any income and unable to make his mortgage payments, Brady and her husband, John, scraped together enough cash to buy his house and rent it back to him for next to nothing.

In 1998, after the 20/20 piece ran, Porter was barraged by invitations from corporations like Amway and Nike eager to have him visit as a motivational speaker. At Brady’s urging he agreed and would stand beside her while she did most of the talking. “You meet him and realize that what’s important is what’s inside of us,” says Brady, 39, whose book Ten Things I Learned from Bill Porter came out in June. “Once you hear his story it just puts everything in perspective.”

Porter says he’s happy to inspire, but selling will always be his main game. Hit by a car in 1997, he hasn’t been able to walk his beat, so he now phones his 500 regular customers from a tiny desk in his bedroom. “I can’t imagine ever retiring,” he says. “My customers are like family.” He never married (“There was a time I had a crush on someone,” he says, “but nothing ever came of it”) and still lives in his mother’s home, spending his free time watching Matlock reruns or listening to sports on the radio. Asked if he’s surprised by what he has achieved, he looks nonplussed, then replies, “It never entered my mind that I couldn’t.”

People Magazine 7/22/02

Do or Do not?

The best is yet to come. Have you ever heard this expression? It applies to more than you think. It is not just a marketing term, or a term reserved for an audience sitting and waiting for the best entertainers to come on stage. Sadly, though, it is not an expression that everyone knows, or adopts as a way of life.

“What are you doing today?

“Not much.”

“So what are you going to do today since you have the whole day to do whatever you want?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll play a few video games, watch some movies, and go and hang out with my friends at the mall later.”

“I thought you were going to apply for a couple of colleges since you just finished high school?”images (13)

“Na. I don’t have the smarts – I just can’t seem to get into the whole study thing.”

“Well have you ever really studied the right way? I mean studied with no distractions, no music, no TV on, and dedicated a specific amount of time?”

“I’ve tried to do that but haven’t been able to do it very often.”

“Interesting. But, tried is not the same as doing it. You either do or you don’t. You cannot get anything in life no matter what you do if you only try. Would you want to hire yourself if you only tried to do what you wanted to get done.”

“I suppose not.”

“Think about it. If you were hired to pile a bunch of product in a certain way and you only tried to do it but didn’t, do you think you’d last very long at the job. I certainly wouldn’t pay you very long if you didn’t get the job done. There are lots of people to hire that CAN get the job done.”

“Kinda mean aren’t you?”

“That’s not being mean; that’s being truthful. Nobody wants to hire a person who just tries but can never get it done. If you are taught how to do something and know everything it takes to get the job done, and then only try but don’t use your training, what contribution do you actually make – none. Might as well do the job myself.”

“I suppose.”

“Suppose. That’s the same thing as trying. Do you agree with me or not?”

“Yeah. I agree then.”

“Okay. If you agree than you know the difference between trying and doing it. The same applies to studying. You either do it, or you don’t. There is no try. You have the potential to make a life that you want instead of just wasting it playing video games, or watching TV, or just hanging out. What kind of future will you have if you just do things that are easy to do but really add nothing to your life?”

want to realize everything you can do, it means getting down to work not just pretending or making a few feeble attempts.

Each day you arise, is the start of a brand new time for you to actually advance the yardsticks of life. Just remember that a mountain is not taken down in one big scoop but is done by taking one small chuck away at time. The same methodology applies to anything that you may do. The taking out the try and putting in the do does not have to be huge steps. It needs only be a positive step forward. The easiest way to look at any task is to break it down into little bits and by doing so, the little bits are now able to be gobbled up one bite at a time without thinking about all the little bits.

Brian Pulsifer: www.wow4u.com

3 Things Affecting Phoenix Real Estate

If you’ve been paying attention to the real estate market in Arizona, you know that Phoenix has seen quite a roller coaster over the past few years. While it’s impossible to predict what will happen next, we can take a look at what the market is doing now.

Fewer Foreclosures

According to data from The Information Market of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, foreclosures in home-priceMetro Phoenix fell in January. There were 337 homes in the Valley taken back by lenders. That is a drop from recent months. In December, there were 346. In January 2014, there were 591 foreclosures. These numbers look a lot better than what we were seeing in January 2011, when 4276 homes foreclosed.

The steep drop in foreclosures since the market crash is welcome news. Foreclosures are an important indication of market strength, and can give clues as to what is coming next in any particular market. For instance, a leap in foreclosures can often lead to a drop in home prices, as lenders resell the foreclosed properties at lower rates.

While Phoenix’s home sales slowed in the last six months of 2014, the drop in foreclosures is a good sign.

Less Canadian Interest

One factor that may have played into the slowing sales is a slowdown in interest from Canadian buyers. Arizona’s sun makes this a tempting place for snowbirds to purchase second homes. From 2008 to 2013, Canadian buyers rushed to purchase second homes in the Sunbelt. At the time, the value of the Canadian dollar, and the prices offered by a market in distress, helped drive sales. Prices have risen 30 per cent across the metro Phoenix area since 2011, and the Canadian dollar is now at 80 cents to the dollar.

What we may see is some of those Canadian buyers reselling their homes at a higher price.

Possible Shortage of Homes

Some experts suspect that we may see a shortage of available homes in Phoenix in the near future. Down payments and interest rates are dropping on many conventional loans, which is liable to bring more buyers to the market. When supply drops, potential buyers often end up in bidding wars.

Valley real estate experts believe the housing market in Phoenix could have a supply and demand issue in the near future.

There has been a decrease in the new homes listed since April. Generally, when demand increases, prices also rise.

We are a Multi-Market Home Selling Team. If you’re looking to buy or sell in Scottsdale, Phoenix or Flagstaff, please contact me by phone at 602-471-8299, or email me at georgina@relatesgroup.com

I am available to sit and answer your questions, and there is never any obligation to buy.

 

Upcoming Events in Flagstaff

Are you in the Flagstaff area? If so, these upcoming events may interest you!

Paint & Wine In The Pines
Looking for a fun girls’ night out? Artist Vangie Rodriguez leads this painting session themed around Valentine’s Day art. For $25, you get a 16×20 canvas and all necessary art supplies. The class size will be limited to 20 students. Bring your own beverage. Snacks will be provided. RSVPs are also being accepted for smaller DIY artwork. These are $12, not including paint. This will take place Feb. 6 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church & Cultural Center
Click here for more info

Arizona Beer Week 2015 kk
The growing craft beer trend has some loyal fans in Arizona! The fifth annual Beer Week allows you to sample craft beers and food pairings from our finest breweries. Enjoy tap takeovers, pub crawls, special giveaways, and meet the brewer nights! Arizona Beer Week 2015 will take place February 12, 2015 – February 21, 2015 at various Arizona locations.
Click here for more info

Free Bagpipe Lessons
Have you ever wanted to learn to play bagpipes? Southwest Skye Pipes and Drums will be giving free bagpiping lessons through the month of February. Pipers of all levels, from beginner to advanced, are welcome. There is no charge for the lessons, but you will need to buy a tutor book and a practice chanter. Tuesdays in February. LDS Church, 111 Stockmens Road, Williams, AZ 86046
Click here for more info

A Highland Tea with Diana Gabaldon
Fans of the author’s popular Outlander series will love this one! Join Diana Gabaldon for a traditional tea including sandwiches, scones, and treats. After the tea, the author will be doing a reading. There will also be a silent auction, and photo opportunities! Saturday, Feb 07, 2:00 pm, The Kilted Cat, 2600 W. Kiltie Ln., Flagstaff, AZ 86005
Click here for more info

Couples Day At The Zoo
Looking for something different to do on Valentine’s Day? Check out Couple’s Day at the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. Admission is buy one get one free. HPZS members and children under 3 can visit for free.
Click here for more info

We are a Multi-Market Home Selling Team. If you’re looking to buy or sell in Scottsdale, Phoenix or Flagstaff, please contact me by phone at 602-471-8299, or email me at georgina@relatesgroup.com
I am available to sit and answer your questions, and there is never any obligation to buy.

Surprising Real Estate Facts

Surprising Real Estate Facts

Did you know that homeowners are more than 120 percent more likely to sell their home if using a REALTOR? Or that in Scotland, homeowners paint their doors red when they pay off their mortgage? The real estate world, like any other sector, is filled with fun and interesting tidbits. Here are a few:

house-tiled-roofRenovations

Many sellers consider renovations before putting their homes on the market. After all, well-planned renovations can more than pay for themselves. But what’s the best renovation? The front door is actually a front runner for this honor. Your home’s front door is what people look at first, and it can make a huge difference on your house’s overall appeal. When it comes to buyers and sellers, they like to see remodeled kitchens and bathrooms. These remodels can cause your home to sell faster!

Wording

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but choosing the right words in a real estate ad can be worth thousands. Stay away from phrasing like ‘unique’ and ‘one-of-a-kind’, as these can draw buyers to the conclusion that a home is, well, strange. ‘TLC’ and ‘Potential’ also repel many buyers, causing the impression that a home is in poor condition. Phrases like ‘executive’ and ‘luxurious’ tend to attract buyers.

Timing

When you sell is just as crucial as your asking price. The holidays tend to be a slower time to sell overall, although there are low supply advantages to selling during the slow season. March begins an uptick in inventory and sees the fastest home sales, over the remainder of spring and summer the average sales price can be up to 2 percent higher in what is deemed a healthy buying market.

Luck of The Draw

Some rather interesting factors come into play when looking at general real estate data. For some reason, homes with ‘777’ in their street address for some reason sell for 2.1 percent less than their estimated value. Homes with a street number of 7, on the other hand, tend to sell for nearly 2 percent more!

Tried But True Tactics

Listings with a nine in the sale price sell between four days to a week faster than homes whose price ends at 0. For instance, a home listed at $449,000 will generally move faster than the home priced at $450,000. This is the real estate version of pricing practices often seen at retail stores, where items may often be marked $4.99, instead of $5.00.

TGIF

Friday has many charms! Not only is it welcomed as the start of the weekend, but it’s also the best day to accept showings to begin when your home is newly listed!

We are a Multi-Market Home Selling Team, if you’re looking to buy or sell in Scottsdale, Phoenix or Flagstaff, Please contact me by phone at 602-471-8299 and 928-863-8562 or email me at georgina@relatesgroup.com

I am available to sit and answer your questions, and there is never any obligation to buy.

Mixed Signals For Phoenix Real Estate Market

According to recent studies done by Fitch Ratings, Phoenix is the fifth most overvalued housing market in the nation, behind Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Riverside, Calif. In 2011, Phoenix housing market was also undervalued. 2012 prices were considered sustainably valued, but by 2013, it was 10 to 15 percent overvalued.

GD

Other studies paint a cheerier note for the Valley. According to mortgage-research firm HSH.com, Phoenix was the eighth most affordable large metro area for homes. Another study, this one by PwC and the Urban Land Institute ranked Phoenix 26th of 75 for growth, development and investment potential.

 

The Phoenix metro area’s real estate market finished 2014 in a bit of a slump, with both home prices and the number of sales down. While no one is predicting that 2015 will be a stellar year, most experts think 2015 should be brighter than 2014 was.

 

Some of the factors that will come into play are job and population growth. The federal plan to lower mortgage premiums could also have a huge impact on the market’s 2015 performance. And of course, there is always the behavior of interest rates, the performance of new low-down payment loan programs, and any national finance reform for mortgage markets.

 

According to RL Brown Housing Reports, new home construction was down 16.7 percent as of November, with 9,858 construction permits for houses issued Valleywide.

 

Many market experts are watching the Millennials with great interest, as whether that generation decides to buy or rent can also have a large effect on the real estate market.

 

Currently, Phoenix’s median home value is $169,900. Phoenix home values rose 2.5% in 2014, and are expected to go up about 3% in 2015. The median price per square foot is now $128, with the Phoenix metro area at $124. The median price of Phoenix’s current listings is $219,000, while that of homes that sold is $186,950.

 

RELATES Group maintains a focus in the North Valley. Here are some of the recent stats for those areas:

  • North Scottsdale – median list price $717,000 and median sold price $667,500; a 96% ratio.
  • Cave Creek/Carefree – median list price $450,000 and median sold price $430,000; a 98% ratio.

 

We are a Multi-Market Home Selling Team, if you’re looking to buy or sell in Scottsdale, Phoenix or Flagstaff, Please contact me by phone at 602-471-8299 or email me at georgina@relatesgroup.com

I am available to sit and answer your questions, and there is never any obligation to buy.

 

 

 

Tips On Staging Your Home

Are you going to be putting your home on the market? If so, you’ll need to prepare it. Getting your home ready to be shown is known as staging, and it’s a crucial part of all real estate transactions. Here are some tips on how to stage your home.

Choose Color Wisely

Different colors can affect people’s moods, and present a very different feel for a room. Use bright colors, like yellow, in kitchens or ‘nooks’, to brighten up spaces. Green and blue tends to work better in bathrooms or bedrooms. Don’t shy away from bold color, but don’t overdo it either. If you have a child’s room with alternating colored walls, make one of the colors a neutral.

Outdoor Living

Outdoor kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms are very popular, and we don’t see this trend disappearing soon. Make the best of your outdoor space to create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Clean

Rule #1 when it comes to staging is to give your house a thorough, top-to-bottom cleaning. Replace any old grout, scrub those windows, baseboards and vents, and make sure your kitchen and bath are spotless. Don’t forget the outside, either! Weeds, old toys, peeling paint, dead brush, and debris can all detract from your home’s appeal.

Spruce Up Your Entryway

Your front door is rather like your home’s face. Make it inviting by framing the door with large plants, and adding a pop of color. Replace old house numbers, light fixtures, and doorknobs.

Arrange Furniture

Rearrange your furniture to create conversational holes, or to focus on one key point, such as a fireplace.

Declutter

Most of your home should be bare and free of photos, nicknacks, and other personal items. Just keep a few carefully-chosen accent pieces, in a style that has a broad appeal.

 

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Phoenix or Flagstaff? Please contact me at by phone at 602-471-8299 or email me at georgina@georginaproperties.com if there is any way I can be of assistance.

Live

Live

What Will 2015 Bring For The Real Estate Market?

While no one has a crystal ball, and predictions should never be taken as more than, at best, an educated guess, it’s always interesting to see what is expected for the market. Freddie Mac recently released their predictions for 2015’s real estate market. Here’s what they had to say:

mortgage rates

 
Mortgage Rates
Interest rates are expected to rise in 2015. Recently, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell below 4 percent, but predictions are for a swing in the other direction. Freddie Mac predicts that mortgage rates will average out at 4.6 percent, but will rise to 5 percent by 2016.

 

Home Prices
Home appreciation is expected to slow from 9.3 percent to 4.5 percent for the end of 2014. In 2015, another 3 percent drop may be in store.
Construction
Freddie Mac projects a 20 percent rise in homebuilding over 2015. If this prediction holds true, home sales are expected to climb as well, by roughly 5 percent. This would mean the best sales pace in eight years.

 

Single Family Homes
Mortgage originations for single-family homes are expected to drop by about 8 percent, due to a sharp decline in refinancing volume. Refinancings are projected to comprise about 23 percent of originations in 2015. In comparison, refinancing has made up about 50 percent of mortgages in recent years.
I want to wish all of you a safe and happy New Year! I look forward to serving your real estate needs in 2015 and beyond.

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Phoenix or Flagstaff? Please contact me at by phone at 602-471-8299 or email me at georgina@georginaproperties.com if there is any way I can be of assistance.

Holiday Events in Phoenix

It’s hard to believe the holidays are here already. Many of us are really anticipating taking some down time, and enjoying some quality time with family and friends. If you’re in Arizona, and you have some holiday vacation time, here are some events you can enjoy in the Phoenix area:

Arizona Celebration of Lights Through January 6 christmasi

This extraordinary light display features more than 7 million individual lights! You can drive through nightly starting at 5:30. The show is $15 per car Mon-Thurs, and $20 on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Westside Sports Complex

Christmas at the Princess Through January 6

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort will look and feel somewhat like the North Pole over the holidays. A four-story musical tree, a new ice rink, a high-definition light show, a nativity garden, perfomances by the Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill, and many other activities and attractions will take place daily. Admission is free, though there is a charge for the ice rink, which is $15 for adults and $10 for kids.

ZooLights Through January 12

This year the zoo’s popular holiday festivities include a Wizard of Oz – themed wonderland, light shows, a polar slide, and other attractions. Phoenix Zoo

Holiday Hidey-Hole December Film Series Through December 30

Movie buffs, pay attention! The downtown Phoenix movie house Filmbar has several special screenings planned over the holidays. Go to filmbarphx for showtimes and titles. Filmbar

Cactus Garden Holiday Light Tour Through December 28

Follow a guided tour through two acres of desert cacti and other flora, which are all wrapped in beautiful lights. The tours leave from the Grape & Grain Retail shop at 6 p.m. every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The Phoenician

I’d like to wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, and a fantastic New Year! I look forward to serving your real estate needs in 2015 and beyond.

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Phoenix or Flagstaff? Please contact me at by phone at 602-471-8299 or email me at georgina@georginaproperties.com if there is any way I can be of assistance.

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