If you’re planning to sell your Westchester County house sometime next year, don’t make this mistake!
48 hours ago this tree was in full bloom, its white flowers gently gracing this pathway, on a beautiful, sunny day. Today it’s remaining flowers are few, the rest are in various stages of decay, plastered to the walkway by a heavy rain.
Three days ago this azalea bush was a brilliant burst of color, an unambiguous sign of spring. Now it’s transition mirrors the day- blah and non-descript.
Buying is always about the future, about hope and promise, and what could be. It’s never too early to start planning to get your Westchester County house ready for sale.
While your Realtor will usually be responsible for having the listing photos taken, why be at the mercy of the weather or the available lighting at the time of the appointment? Instead, The Refreshed Home recommends picking a few scenic spots, or views from/on your property, and keep your smartphone/camera handy to record it’s best days, it’s most beautiful moments for your buyers to embrace and appreciate.
A number of years ago I worked with an agent on a wonderful listing way up on a hill in the north country. The outside was a huge selling point: Spacious wrap-around decks with great views, a generous patio that was beautifully landscaped. There was a pool, koi pond, thoughtful and mature plantings throughout.
Early in the conversation, he had the forsight to advise his sellers to capture these photos throughout the year. They got that delicate lacy first frost on the ornamental grasses, the hummingbirds at the feeder, the unobstructed mountain views on the clearest of days, the setting summer sun, filtering through the pine trees. He used some in the MLS listing, but put them all on a DVD which he played on a loop on the monster TV in the Family Room during Open Houses and showings, probably even emailed them to potential buyers who contacted him about the property.
That was forward thinking at the time…but today’s photographic and video technology is quality, and so much more accessible. And IMO a decent picture of something compelling that evokes positive feeling is better than no picture at all. Think of expanding the topic to what makes your neighborhood special…an upcoming holiday parade or nearby summer fair? Kids building snowmen, or playing in a nearby playground? The applications-and benefits!-are many, and the effort is minimal.
While I’ll always be an Ossining gal, have been graced to live on the perimeter of Turnure Park in White Plains for many years now. And for thirteen springs I have literally had a front row seat to the White Plains Annual Cherry Blossom festival. Always a wonderful and uplifting event, but tomorrow-Sunday April 28th 2013- will host the best ever-do not miss it!
Organizers at The Japan Education Center have worked just as hard behind the scenes…the entertainers will be just as enthralling…the White Plains’ DPW crews have busied themselves just as mightily this year-repairing damage from the ravages of this past season, then seeding, edging, mulching, planting and such…so why will this one be the best ever??
Two reasons…first: Mother Nature is cooperating. Am certainly not an expert, but like most flowering trees, the blooms of the Cherry Blossom trees have a short span.
Too many warm days speed up the process, too many cold days, or back and forth weather yields mild or uneven blooming. This spring has been on the cooler side, with a gentle trajectory toward warmer temps, PERFECT. Looking out my window as I write this, tomorrow will be MAGNIFICENT.
Other reason it’ll be White Plain’s best Cherry Blossom Festival ever? We are SO READY.
This festival celebrates the beginning of Spring- always an uplifting time of renewal. But this year, we are REALLY READY. Ready to see neighbors, and share new experiences. Ready to wear just one layer of clothes, and to feel the warm sun on bare arms. Ready to breathe clean, crisp air under clear blue skies, stroll and linger under canopies of fluffy, cotton-candy pink flowers. Ready to put the collective heaviness of the last 6 months behind us. Ready to be HAPPY.
Free, and open to the public, vendors start setting up early, but festivities run from noon to 5. The park is one block in off of Broadway, between Main and Lake Streets. If you’re driving, I recommend parking at one of the municipal lots like Hamilton-Main, (by Wal-Mart) and walking the 2 or 3 blocks…trust me, you’ll spend at least that much time stuck in traffic behind others who keep circling the block.
The Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in White Plains is a celebration of Japanese culture: music, singing and dancing will abound. Storytelling, and other events are suitable for kids of all ages, and popular food and beverages will be available for purchase. TODAY might be a great day to find and dust off (or go out and buy) those folding chairs that you can carry in a fabric tube, on your shoulder, as sitting space is minimal.
Am always so grateful to The Japan Education Center, and the City of White Plains for this event.
LIKE it now on FB now to see photos and more details. It will be the best ever, do not miss it.
Preparing a property for sale is a very personal experience, there is not one absolute standard. It’s a collection of decisions that correlate to your needs, goals, and expectations.
Further complicating things-most everything you hold dear in this world is on the table: Family, your values and relationships, money and time, your hopes, dreams and fears. All this considered, critical thinking skills are essential, which is why I started running free Home Staging workshops a few years ago.
Free*, interactive and open to the public, The Refreshed Home is very pleased and excited to share the Spring 2013 schedule of upcoming Get Your House Noticed and SOLD! events.
My presentations are geared to the hands-on home seller: interactive and flexible, combining Q&A, easy ideas most everyone can implement on their own, and a slide presentation-including the perennial crowd favorite-BEFORE and AFTER photos!
While the local market is rebuilding, that’s no reason to assume buyers will now be taking their house-shopping any less seriously. The reasons a homeowner would choose to prepare their property boil down to this: to get a better price, and quickly. Homes that have been thoughtfully prepared garner the most buzz early on, and often attract the most qualified, serious buyers-saving you hassle and carrying costs.
Above links will bring you to each venue’s site, with registration info. Mark you calendars, and bring your questions, even your pictures-hope to see you there!
Legend has it that when when Winston Churchill was advised to cut funding for arts, in order to help support the war effort, he replied ‘than what is it we’re fighting for?’. Historians debate the authenticity, but it’s good enough for me, one of the reasons I am so fond of Churchill.
Art is good. It soothes, and makes you feel alive. It nourishes, inspires, and challenges. It can make you laugh, cry, ponder or react. But mostly art can make you happy.
This Sunday, December 2, Westchester Arts is sponsoring their annualFREE ARTS DAY. As good as art is for the soul, FREE ART is even better!
Your (inner) child will have a blast, and work through some serious ya-yas in this uplifting and creative format.
50 events, 21 locations! Click here now to see the entire listing, and plan your day. Some events might have limited class or audience size, so I’d call ahead and find out the logistics on your favorites. GO-you’ll like yourself a lot for it!
Communication skills are one of the things that set us apart in in life and business; vocabulary is one aspect.
Unexpected words elevate the message. They add interest and nuance, and help the message be heard more effectively.
I personally love using familiar, but under-used words; and new words, but only with a light hand, and if it reinforces the topic at hand.
But thesauruses can be predictable, or over-reach. Which is why I am so excited about finding this new (to me) online resource.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary lets you describe concepts, and it shoots you out 100 words to consider, in order of relevance, with links to its definition so you can see if it’s the fit you were hoping for. Words from other cultures, too…in my own searches for re-working my marketing materials Mensch, Fiduciary, Mahatma, and Saoi came up. Take a look, and be inspired!
This Sunday evening, July 22nd, lighten your step, and put a da-da-da-DA-DA-DA! da-da-da-DA-DA-DA!in your heart at a FREE CONCERT at the Gazebo at Routes 202 and 100 in Somers.
Presented by the Town of Somers, as part of their Sunday Summer Concert Series, The Bensen-Scott Big Band will be performing from 6 to 8pm.
Fresh from their very enthusiastically received concert at Westchester County’s annual Independence Day Celebration at Kensico Dam Plaza, The Bensen-Scott Big Band knows how to get their audience engaged…they hit those notes you feel in your toes-the ones that make you want to get up and dance. SERIOULSY.
Formed by trumpeters Gene Bensen and Regent Scott, this 20 piece band has been delighting listeners of all ages in the tri-state area since 2001.
Big Band music reaches across generations like few other genres. Bensen-Scott’s stylized vocals and updated arrangements stay true to the classic compositions, but give the music a fresh and supple sound.
Lots of brass sets the mood and tempo-adding both nuance and punch: The sound is, well, BIG. Notes can burst out of nowhere; bounce, like gentle raindrops, or linger, floating in the air like delicate, opalescent soap bubbles-listen to a preview here.
Free, and open to the public-come early, bring seats, and good friends.
The weather will be perfect, and you will just be SO darn glad you were a part of it!
Westchester County NY: FIREWORKS and The Bensen-Scott Big Band July 3rd Kensico Dam Plaza
Music under the summertime skies was one of my earliest and fondest memories of childhood summers. Being serenaded while stretched out on a blanket at Nelson Park, looking up at the stars, fireflies blinking in silent accompaniment was magical.
Happily, summer brings many opportunities to repeat the magic, and create new memories, right here in our ouwn backyard…just have to get there early, because you definitely won’t be alone!
This coming Tuesday night-July 3rd will be your next opportunity, when Westchester County hosts their annual Independence Day Music Fest at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla.
The Bensen-Scott Big Band will be performing, and Westchester ears-not to mention hearts, and even feet!-will be very very happy. Formed by trumpeters Gene Bensen and Regent Scott, this 20 piece band has been delighting listeners of all ages in the tri-state area since 2001.
Big Band music reaches across generations like few other genres. Bensen-Scott’s stylized vocals and updated arrangements stay true to the classic compositions, but give the music a fresh and supple sound. Lots of brass sets the mood and tempo-adding both nuance and punch: The sound is, well, BIG. Notes can burst out of nowhere; bounce, like gentle raindrops, or linger, floating in the air like delicate, opalescent soap bubbles-listen to a preview here.
Pre-concert entertainment begins at 6PM, Bensen-Scott Big Band performs at 8:00, and will segue into the fireworks display, starting at roughly 9:15. Free, and open to the public, this event is typically the biggest draws in the county. Bring folding chairs or blankets for seating, and a light picnic dinner, and plan to dance on the plaza, but plan to get there early, and CARPOOL!!
Let’s Get Your House SOLD! Staging For The Average Homeowner
Remember the classic cereal commercial -where two older brothers did not want to try this new breakfast cereal-and instead, gave it to their younger brother, wanting him to go first? I get a similar reaction when I speak with sellers about how to prepare their property for sale: they want to see someone else make the first move.
“Thanks” to HGTV, most have their own idea of what Staging is, and kind-of how it might work, but it’s still perceived as dicey territory, or of questionable value.
Sellers will protest, their house is fine, they want to see some buyer interest first. Well,sorry, but if that was working for you, chances are you wouldn’t be reading this.
Agents-who are always being accosted to buy things, or sign up for the newest and latest-are understandably wary…they have invested much in establishing a good relationship with the seller,they don’t want anyone mucking things up. They are also very busy. Your agent might not have the time, or the eye to discern what needs to be done…or they might simply not know how to bring it up.
The Refreshed Home suggests considering Staging the proverbial third leg of a stool that supports getting a house sold quickly. It supports the seller who is genuinely willing and ready to do get their house sold, and the agent who prices and markets the property diligently.
Even with recent hopeful signs of recovery, buyers still have a lot of choices…and for many, one of those choices can be continuing to wait.
Staging-or preparing your property for the market is a business decision. It’s a commitment made by people who really want to sell-to attract the attention of, and engage serious buyers.
Yes, the goal is to make the house look as good as possible, but at The Refreshed Home, a good solution takes a number of things into consideration: the agents’ pricing and marketing strategy, the local market, and the sellers needs, goals and expectations.
If you have a property you want to-or need to- sell, come to my next interactive workshop at the Mamaroneck Public Library on Monday evening, July 9th at 6:30.
We’ll discuss this mysterious entity known as Staging, look at lots of before and after pictures, learn how to see a property through the eyes of a buyer, and send you home with things you can do to put your property’s best foot forward. Hope to see you there!
Meteorologists define winter as the time span from December 21 to March 20th.
To baseball fans, winter is that flat, joyless time that kicks in sometime in October, and lasts clear up until around Valentines Day. Depending on how your team did, symptoms can be resignation, disgust, determination; on rare occasions it’s a glow that slowly fades. The only known remedy is the green grass and blue skies of Spring Training.
Last year Mel Ahrens started, and ran the ActiveRain Baseball Junkies League, I joined, and it was THE BEST. Free, all we needed was a Yahoo account, so what’s not to love?? Back from last year are Mel, Jeffrey DiMurio, Craig Rutman, Jim Patton , and myself. This year we are joined by two more GIRLS of summer: Tracy, CA Realtor extraordinaire Susan Goulding, and AR’s own sweetheart Kerrie Greenhalgh.
Hailing from the wild north is former baseball prodigy and Minnesota Realtor Bill Feela, and from the even wilder northeast-you know him, you love him, Phil Faranda. Rounding out our group is the skipper of the mysterious Brewster 9…that is my husband Doug…who is still trying to convince his wife (that’d be me-Commissioner, and OHYES, last years’ winner)-on the error of her ways in evaluating stats. HA!
At the start of the season, the league resembled a soccer game with five-year olds: lots of activity, but no clear trajectory. But the ensuing weeks have got everyone settled down, and we have ourselves A RACE!
Now-it’s a long season, and anything can happen. A slump-or breakthrough? A rainy weekend? A couple of Can Not Trade players on DL? It can happen to any of us-but one quarter into the season, here is where things stand:
ONE POINT-which scoring-wise is like one third of a stolen base, or being able to correctly spell the last name of the Red Sox catcher-is all that separate the top three teams: Doug, myself, and Jim.
TEN POINTS-which could be all your pitchers having a good outing, a couple of home runs, and a few rain-outs-or a bad fajita- for the other guys-is what separate the next four teams: Kerrie, Mel, Bill and Jeff.
SEVEN POINTS-what you’d score if say two guys broke out of a slump-or if one of the other managers were too busy SELLING HOUSES to update their pitcher rotation-is what separate the rest of the teams: Craig, Susan, and Phil.
Now, it’s a long season, and you can’t rule any of the players out. For example, experience has taught me that Jim can trade his way out of a jam in a heartbeat. Mel and Bill are both stat masters, and Susan has an awesome pair of bench coaches. The rest of us-Kerrie, Craig, Jeff, Phil, Doug and myself-we’re all from New York, so there you go, no worries about US!
Stay tuned, and hope you’re enjoying the season as much as we are!!
Well, it’s official, the buying orgies of the 80s and 90s have finally caught up to us, there is just have too much stuff in our collective lives.
Do you know about Freecycle? Green, SAFE, thrifty and fun, you can find a home for the stuff that still has life in it, and find other stuff you want/need/could really use, all for free.
Freecycle was born almost 9 years ago, in Tuscon AZ. It started as one person doing this for the community, them looking for a way to connect other communities is what grew it to a a national organization with over 5000 chapters, almost 9 million members.
Free to sign up, free to belong, and no spam. Each chapter is moderated by local volunteers, who first check out your application (no crazy, anonymous posts, a’la Craigslist-it’s a closed system, members only!), then monitor posts that all culminate in daily e-newsletters to chapter members. Who has, and who wants. If you have or want, you submit the details, and someone within the chapter who can can answer that with their own want or have responds to that member, and arrangements are made for goods to be picked up, usually ASAP.
Here in Westchester, (13,500+ members!) I get 2-3 e-blasts a day, have seen the standards-baby stuff, clothing, household and electronic goods, here’s a sampling of the blast that came through about an hour ago:
Offered: a light wood Eddie Bauer high chair, a Sears car top carrier, two Razor scooters and a bedroom set (Queen sleigh bed, dresser, night tables).
Wanted: were lamps, a SONY phone charger, a walker, board games, a sewing machine, a piano keyboard and BBB coupons.
Previously offered and now taken included 3 boxes of kids games and videos, snowboard boots and a bag of assorted crafts materials.
I, myself am the proud new owner of a Happy Bunny accent lamp from a recent offering…just the right bit of fun for a dark corner in my office. Free, safe and local, check it out, www.freecycle.org
Got some creative ya-yas you need to work out? This Saturday, January 7th, from 1:30 to 4:00, explore your talents, and shake off some winter yuks-all for a good cause-at the 12th Annual “Make A Bowl Day” at Clay Art Center in Port Chester.
Since 2000 the Clay Art Center has partnered with Rye Presbyterian Church Youth Group to sponsor the Empty Bowls program, which raises money-and awareness- to support local interfaith soup kitchens; over $55,000.00 has been raised since the program first began.
Eleven months of the year, the Clay Art Center is a vibrant, totally self-contained clay-centric community where artists and students of all ages bring their inner child to explore creating in clay.
During the month of January, the entire community has one purpose: make-glaze-fire bowls for this event. Going into this weekend they are at over 200 bowls.
Simply, Clay Art Center provides the materials and facilities, and the community provides talent and imagination. The public is invited to come to the studio, free of charge, to create a special bowl to donate. It’s glazed and fired by the staff and artists of Clay Art Center, then brought to the church.
At the Empty Bowls event (to be held 1/29/12) bowls are purchased, then new owners are treated to a simple meal of delicious soup-in their new bowl- from Corner Stone Catering, served with fresh bread from The Kneaded Bread. The next post will go into more detail about the event (but here is the link for Empty Bowls info, if you absolutely can’t wait).
After the event, the bowls are taken home, a tangible reminder that even with all that we have, there is always someone with an empty bowl.
The Clay Art Center is located in the heart of Port Chester, at 40 Beech Street, in a complex adjacent to St. Don Bosco Church.
The event is free, and open to the public, including children 8 and over are welcomed with a supervising parent. Participants should wear casual clothes that they will not mind getting dirty. You can bring an apron if you’d like, or purchase one from CAC.
Reservations are not needed, but if you’d like further info, please contact Leigh Taylor Mickelson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 914.937.2047
When I first heard about this I thought it had to be a typo, that it was about electronically-controlled animals, but looked into it, what a cool idea!
If there is an e-reader purchase in your future, get thyself to the Mt. Kisco Library this Saturday, December 10th, between the hours of 10:30am and 12:30pm.
E-readers and tablets are one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. In this free and interactive program library staff will demonstrate how to download free e-books for the Nook tablet, Kindle Touch, Kindle Fire tablet and the iPad2-as well answer questions and share tips on fully utilizing the library via technology.
This is such a smart idea. Get the feel of the technology before you buy-or, how to better utilize these items if you already own them. I love libraries anyway, but am particularly fond of the ‘new’ Mt. Kisco Library-great space, ton of interesting programs, (and yes, still has that new library smell!)
Event is free, open to the public and no registration is required. It’s made possible from generous support from the Library Foundation. For any questions/etc., call 914.864.0038
Thank you Mel (and Scott, Jeffrey, Craig and the mysterious force captaining the Mustangs).
For baseball fans of any degree, last night was probably the most exciting, suspenseful, vivid-and depending on which team you were rooting for-exhilarating or disappointing- evening you will have for quite some time.
Both wild card slots came down to the wire, last game of the season. Astounding comebacks, historic collapses, herculean efforts, even extra innings.
The dust is still settling, but chances are good to excellent that Boston fans are searching their urban dictionary for an expletive to rhymes with Sox-killer Robert Andino’s name, to perhaps unseating New York Yankees’s Bucky Dent.
Myabe it was because my real-life favorites-Melky Cabrera, now of KC, and the Yankees themselves both did ok, but behind it all for me was a feeling of bittersweet, NO MORE FANTASY LEAGUE!!
Baseball is a long season, and anything can happen. But that is why baseball can really get under your skin. It’s a constant, reassuring presence, it’s the wallpaper and soundtrack of my spring, summer and fall.
“Mel” is Mel Ahrens, principle of Columbia Gorge FSBO Marketing Services in Hood River County, Oregon, and was the force behind the ActiveRain Baseball Junkies first-and hopefully, annual-Fantasy league.
For the last 7 months, daily checking in on how I fared against Mel, Jeffrey DiMuria, Scott Cowan,Craig Rutman, and the still un-identified Mustangs manager-has been a part of most of my mornings, and I will really miss it.
Meantime, I still have a promising post-season to look forward to. And an exciting 2012: I love that former NYY skipper Buck Showalter and Joe Madden has widened the AL East rivalry with their great stewardship of the Orioles and the Rays.
But with the fantasy season over, thank you Mel for getting this going, and be sure toput me on the short list for February!
If your space, or your stuff isn’t working out the way you want, let the refreshed home help get you going in the right direction.
*Not sure what to do on your bare windows?
*Walls covered with sample paint dots or paper squares?
*Not sure where- or how to place your art in a new space?
*Have family moving in-or out-need to re-think, re-calibrate?
*Ready for a change, just don’t know where to start?
No matter if you are looking to down-size or upgrade; if you are staying or selling; need help in knowing how to buy a sofa, where to place it in the room, or just update what you’ve got- the refreshed home has got you covered.
Here’s how it works:
1. Gather relevant info: Send me link to your current listing, take digital photos of what you don’t like-or are considering, scan floor plans or blueprints, that sort of thing.
Detail is important, but so is context, so be sure to include shots of the whole space, even adjacent spaces/issues. Up to 3 links can be considered.
2. Send it to me:email@example.comInclude your phone contact info, along with a brief synopsis of your situation, use code THR53.
3. I will contact you: Your preference, one-to-one by appointment on the phone, or an emailed report-we’ll walk through some solutions together
Life is too short not to have a space that makes you happy!
Free 15 Minute Personal Online Consult available for a limited time only, so don’t delay-start the conversation now!
If It’s Free, It’s For Me: 2011 US Tennis Open Not a huge tennis fan, but always up for a new adventure with pals… Dee is an old friend I have not seen much of lately, so when she suggested this, it sounded perfect.
YES! Free parking, free access to all the qualifying tournaments-you just walk in and sit down. There were vendors selling programs, and I think , too, a listing of matchups and schedules, but neither of us really follow tennis, so we wouldn’t have known who was who, or how to pick, so we just wandered.
We got STUPID-LUCKY, the first match we wandered into featured #5 seed David Ferrer from Spain. In other matches, also caught Go Soeda, of Japan; and Jesse Galung, of the Netherlands.
Not being focused on the finer points of the game itself, was able to ponder all sorts of other incidentals:
Don’t understand the scoring, but the protocols of the game were fascinating: Everything from how the ball kids entered, then ran on the court, how towels and balls were handed to the players in between points, even pre-match preparations, like measuring the height of the net, and signing off on it all-was replicated with military precision on every court, for every match.
Makes sense, just not the stuff you’d see if you were watching on TV.
Also learned it takes a lot of people to make a match official: Not counting security or supervisors, there were a total 15: Six ball ‘kids’ , seven judges, and ohyes, the two players.
And a LOT of towels!! In between points players could signal for one, for a quick wipe. Even my untrained eye could see other strategies at work.
One player in particular signaled for a towel at every opportunity; most times it was a delicate dab to his mouth, like one would practice with a linen napkin, in a fine restaurant. He was losing; whether he was not good, or the other guy was just on fire-who knows, but it was a great stalling technique.
But that begot other questions-was each towel fresh-or just aired out? Then, WHO WASHES ALL THESE TOWELS??
Two other take-aways:
Decorative sports tape is the must-have sports accssory: Tape that functioned to support, or dispense some type of therapy made a fashion statement on several players. What looked like lace graced the back of one female player; blue (Painters’ tape!) complimented this player’s outfit, while doing something else more worthwhile, I’m sure.
Black Sharpie pens: bring your own-bring several! Better yet, inquire about investing in Sharpie concession. Collecting autographs on tennis balls were all the rage; but for every kid holding a ball-there was a black Sharpie pen in the other hand.
Also loved the un-automated brackets on the outer walls of the stadium.
Set on the grounds of the 1964 World’s Fair, it was a delightful two-fer to wander over and see the iconic Unishpere. Never been, always wanted to, and it was great. Beautiful gardens, lovely day-couldn’t have asked for more.
Yesterday was the last day for this year’s event, but if you’re a fan, make note for next year, you’ll have a blast.