Fri, 16 Mar by realtyexecutivesnw

A good chef knows that herbs and spices can make or break a dish. Growing your own plants in a garden will supply you with fresh ingredients that can take your home cooked meals to the next level.

If it’s chilly outside where you are, or if you don’t have enough space for an outdoor garden, don’t fret. You can create an indoor garden for all your cooking needs.

Popular Plant Options

The sheer number of plant options you have can be overwhelming. But for the home chef, it’s best to stick to plants and herbs that can be used for a variety of dishes.


You can buy potted basil at the grocery store, or you can choose to start from seed.

This herb is used in everything from pasta sauce to fancy cocktails, and it can be easily grown indoors. Basil loves a lot of sun, so be sure to position the pot or the container close to a sunny window.

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves have a complex flavor that is both sweet and bitter. They’re often used in dishes that have long cook-times, like in stews, soups, and sauces. Steeping bay leaves in warm dishes for long periods help release the amazing flavor.

Bay plants are shrub-like perennials that grow well in containers. The plants may need to be pruned as they can get quite large and overcrowded. Overcrowding is bad for the bay plant, as it needs plenty of air to grow healthily.


The smell and taste of oregano brings back great memories of pizza, pasta, and comfort food. Oregano is aromatic, delicious, and an easy addition to your indoor garden.

It’s recommended to begin your indoor oregano plant with a tip you cut from an outdoor plant. Once planted, oregano does well in a south-facing window.


You can start a parsley plant from either seeds or from an existing plant. If you start from seed, it’s a good idea to soak them in warm water first.

Parsley is another herb that can be implemented in a great variety of dishes so that your indoor garden will be put to good use. You can use it in meat marinades, in a pasta sauce, in hummus or other spreads, and even just as a garnish.


Rosemary is a strong smelling, fresh, and pungent-flavored herb. Wherever you grow it, it will fill the whole room with a fresh smell that will have you dying to cook with it. You don’t need to grow as much rosemary as some other herbs because of its strong flavor.

Rosemary does best in a south-facing window and can be used in many different dishes: try it with garlic and olive oil to give fish and other meat great flavor. Or you could go classic and throw it in sauce, pasta dishes, and pizza.


Many indoor herbs are used primarily in savory dishes. Mint, on the other hand, is able to be used in both sweet and savory dishes. You can make mint chocolate chip ice cream, mint cocktails, mint marinades for meat, and you can even throw it in a smoothie for a refreshing kick.

Many have better luck growing mint indoors versus outdoors. Mint grows quickly and can spread throughout your outdoor space, taking over every spot in the garden. Growing it indoors allows you to tame it to a single container.

Indoor Gardening Tips

Once you’ve selected the plants you want to include in your indoor garden, it’s time to focus on how you can keep those plants healthy and alive.

Pay Attention to Positioning

Some plants prefer direct sunlight, some like south-facing windows, and some don’t like sun at all. The positioning of the plant will significantly affect its growth and health. Be sure to do your research and position your plants so they can thrive.

Keep the Plants Away from Drafts

Drafts from your heater, from the air conditioner, or even from a door or window can be bad for your indoor garden. Fluctuating temperatures can damage the plants, and even kill them if you’re not careful.

Don’t Over Water Your Plants

In your desire to keep your plant healthy and take good care of your garden, it can be tempting to water your plants constantly. A little extra water can’t hurt, right?

Actually, it can hurt a lot. Over-watering can over-saturate the soil and the roots of the plant, which blocks it from getting nutrients and oxygen. Over-watering is one of the top causes of plant death for indoor gardeners, so be aware of how much you’re watering.

To test whether the plant needs water, touch your finger to the soil. If you lift your finger and there’s no soil stuck to it, then it’s time to water. If there’s soil on your finger, that means the soil is moist and has enough water already.


This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. The point of view and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Realty Executives International.
This post was written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh. Elliot is a dual-degree graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S in Cell Biology and a B.A in English Literature. He is a full-time freelance writer from Boston, specializing in veganism, humor, and health. His articles have appeared in The Rival Rochester and his work experience can be found here:


Fri, 02 Mar by realtyexecutivesnw

A good old-fashioned spring cleaning does the home, and the homeowner, good.

Some spring cleaning tasks tackled “the old-fashioned way” bring tried and true results. While other chores have a modern day, high-tech upgrade that can make your life easier. Keep reading for more options to help you accomplish some of the most popular spring cleaning tasks.

Vacuuming and Cleaning

There’s no escaping the need for vacuuming and general cleaning year-round. But spring cleaning is the time to get to hard-to-reach places and give your floors a refreshing, deeper clean.


The old-fashioned way to vacuum and clean the floors is, well, to just do it. It sounds simple enough, but it can take a lot of effort.

Get out your vacuum with all of its extensions along with your floor cleaner of choice, whether that’s a combination sweeper/duster, a mop, or a bucket and a rag, and roll up your sleeves. The trick is to get all the nooks and crannies that easily get overlooked during regular cleanings by removing obstacles in your path. Those areas behind the couch, in between counters, and under all the beds will benefit from an old-fashioned cleaning.

An old-fashioned cleaning agent to consider using is vinegar. This time-tested method may work just as well, and some even say better, than many modern day cleaning products. It can be used in many ways, including for:

  • Deep carpet cleaning
  • Window cleaning
  • Stain removal
  • Dish and glass cleaner
  • Tarnish removal
  • Grout/mildew cleaner
  • Unclogging shower heads and drains

When your spring cleaning tasks call for shining up, clearing away stains, sanitizing, and removing odors you can also tap into cleaning with lemon to solve a wide variety of household chores you only tackle once or twice a year. Just be sure to do your homework first as there are some surfaces and materials that may be damaged by lemon juice.

High Tech

While an old-fashioned vacuum you’ve had on hand for years might be perfectly sufficient, our high tech age brings many cleaning appliance options to help make things easier. Taking advantage of vacuums and cleaners that make Judy Jetson’s set-up a reality can be a smart choice for busy people.

Consider vacuums that are easy to maneuver, have different floor settings, various add-ons and extensions for electric dusting, steaming, and cleaning, all while vacuuming up debris with a high-powered motor.

Some of the most high-tech vacuums emit a UV light that will kill bacteria and other germs on your floor. If that wasn’t high tech enough, there are also robotic vacuums and robotic mops that will vacuum and clean the floors for you. Homeowners can plan to put in less effort for routine cleaning as many of these robotic appliances can be set on a timer to go through your home and do the daily dirty work.

Since spring cleaning is the time to give your carpets a good, deep clean, renting, buying, or paying someone else to use a high-tech deep carpet cleaner on your hidden and high-traffic areas can get the job done thoroughly.


With all the cleaning and organizing happening inside year-round, many homeowners find the outside of their home deserves a lot of attention when it comes time for spring cleaning.


Some outdoor tasks to do the old-fashioned way include: raking leaves, replacing your welcome mat, wiping down the garage door, and changing the outdoor light bulbs, just to name a few.

Vinegar and lemon can also come in handy for many outdoor cleaning tasks. You can use vinegar to kill weeds and unwanted plants in your yard. To gear up for your spring and summer BBQs, look to lemon to get your grill ready.

High Tech

Landscapers can make your yard and garden look ready for spring after a hard winter. Investing in professional services or in high-tech lawn tools and appliances may be worthwhile for those looking to make the whole process easier and quicker.

Power washers can help clean your porch or your deck to get rid of deep stains and crud that’s built up over the year. Window cleaning can be made easier with a high-tech window cleaning robots, similar to the vacuum robots we mentioned earlier.


Going through all of the stuff that you’ve accumulated each year can be a daunting task, especially if you like to hold on to things. But it’s well worth it to either throw away or donate things you don’t need or use; it will free up a lot of space and make your home feel less cramped.


The old-fashioned route of decluttering, while time consuming, is a great way to go. Start by getting out three bins: one for giveaways, one for trash, and another for storage. Then, go through each room in your home and sort your belongings that you are getting rid of into these three bins.

Go through your bedrooms, closets, living areas, garage, bathroom, and kitchen to uncover many forgotten yet space-consuming items. Donate clothes you haven’t worn in the last year. Throw away expired or old products. Becoming very critical about what you keep and only storing what you really need and what your family actually uses will leave your home less cluttered and more functional.

High Tech

Don’t forget to take the time to clear out or clean up your tech gadgets as well! Nothing can really replace the human eye to carefully sort through your stuff, but decluttering your high-tech belongings is a modern addition to spring cleaning that many generations never had to worry about.

Those old DVDs and VHS tapes you have in the back of your closet? Your 5 year old iPhone? A thumbdrive from college? An ancient stack of floppy disks? It might be time to let go of those and free up some space on your desk and in your closets.

Consider donating your old electronics to charities once you’ve removed all of your personal information. As for those gadgets you intend to keep? Delete some of your old files or apps on your computer/smart phone to free up some memory space.

You can even clean your technology with a tech sanitizing machine that uses UV light to destroy germs and bacteria that have built up on the screen and keyboard. Always tech connected, that’s a cleaning task most of us can benefit from implementing all year long.

This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. The point of view and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Realty Executives International.
This post was written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh. Elliot is a dual-degree graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S in Cell Biology and a B.A in English Literature. He is a full-time freelance writer from Boston, specializing in veganism, humor, and health. His articles have appeared in The Rival Rochester and his work experience can be found here:


Fri, 16 Feb by realtyexecutivesnw

Do you want to sell your house as fast as you can for as much as you can? REALTORS® and home staging experts agree: staging your home should be at the top of your checklist. A big part of this process entails removing excess items and furniture. The inevitable question becomes, “Where do I put my stuff?”

It’s tempting to stuff everything you own into a closet or a spare bedroom, but even a single unorganized space could turn off buyers. For many years, the common solution to this problem was renting a storage unit. This was not convenient, and definitely time-consuming. You had to rent a truck, load it, unload it, and then subsequently do it all over again when you moved into a new place.

Fortunately, there’s a better option. With a portable storage solution, a driver will drop off a storage container at your house, and you can load it at your leisure, without the added pressure of having to get a truck back by the end of the day.

Driving is included

Once you’ve loaded the container, it will get picked up and driven to a storage facility by the portable storage provider. When you are ready for your container again, it will be dropped off at your convenience. This means you only have to load and unload once without worrying about renting a truck or borrowing one.

Built-in flexibility

While you’re staging your home, you might want to try different furniture arrangements or add or remove items. A portable container is convenient because of the flexibility. You can either easily access your container in a nearby storage center, or your container can be dropped off at your property if you need to retrieve some items or add to them.

Most real estate professionals recommend keeping the container at a storage facility, so your property will look tidier and more spacious. This also allows potential buyers to envision themselves more easily in your home.

Storage plus moving

If you’re moving out of state or long-distance, some containerized moving companies, such as PODS, can move your container to your next residence. PODS services 46 states and can even move containers to and from Hawaii and across the Canadian border. This means you can store and move with one solution, which can be very convenient to sellers.

Selling a home and moving is a stressful proposition in any circumstance. Portable storage is a smart solution to help you make the process easier. It also allows you to take care of two hassles at once, storing your items and then moving them to your next home when you’re ready.

This guest post was written by PODS®. PODS® makes moving and storage more convenient and less stressful through its innovative solution of delivering a level container and providing the customer all the time they need to load and unload their container.


Fri, 02 Feb by realtyexecutivesnw

Buying a new home can be a smart and satisfying financial goal. Is becoming a homeowner for the first time or finding your next dream home one of your heart’s desires? Aiming for a big picture strategy and breaking your plan into steps over time can help make your homeownership goals a reality. If you don’t see yourself making a move for quite some time but know you’d like to buy a home down the line, following are proactive steps you can take sooner rather than later, along with some ideas to keep in mind.
1. Get Your Financials In Order

Buying a home is a huge financial investment that requires planning and commitment.

Credit Score

Checking your credit score early in the process is an important step. When you apply for a loan or are looking into a mortgage for your new home, one of the first things lenders will check is your credit score. You don’t want to be surprised, stalled, or have a loan rejected because of factors impacting your credit score that you could start tackling now.

If you’re based in the United States, you can check out all three of your credit reports free of charge from If you’re based in Canada, you can go to the two national credit bureaus, Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada.

Checking on your credit score in the beginning stages — when you are only thinking about buying a home — will allow you to take a proactive approach if you are looking to considerably improve your credit score. Doing so will put you in a much better position when it comes to applying for a home loan.

When you start the process early, you can also begin to pay off other debts you might have, whether that is other loans, credit cards, etc. This will free you up to put more of your energy and money towards the new home instead of being limited by older debts.


You’ll also want to take the time to thoroughly research mortgages and home loans that are right for you. Not all loans are created equal: there are varying interest rates, stipulations, repayment plans, and other factors to consider. Keep your long-term plans, your income, and your family situation in mind. Choosing a loan officer and real estate agent early on will connect you to some of the best resources and most up-to-date information so you can better understand your options.

Understanding the types of personal and financial information you’ll most likely need to have on hand when the time comes to start a serious home search will help you get organized and stay one step ahead of the process rather than scrambling to track down important documents.

Start Saving

Beginning to save for a down payment as soon as possible can make what might otherwise feel like a major cost become a much more achievable goal. Depending on your mortgage, you’ll be required to pay a minimum down payment. This is where connecting with your real estate and mortgage industry professionals in advance can help you get a good estimate of what your price range and actual down payment might be. Having a clear dollar amount in mind can help you budget early in order to reach your goal over time.

Smart Spending

Be sure that you don’t make any other large purchases before taking out a home loan. You’ll want to avoid major spending throughout the home closing process as well. If you aren’t sure what might make a negative impact, consult your home loan professional ahead of time so you can plan expenses accordingly. Taking on other hefty payments will not only stretch your finances thin, it can also make it harder for you to get approved for a loan or close the deal.

Some important, larger purchases of course cannot be put off forever. As you begin to search for the perfect house, knowing how much home you can afford can help you stick to your limits and better plan for other major expenses you may want to budget for in the years to come, such as auto payments or new furniture.
2. Research Potential New Living Areas

Moving to a new home can often mean moving to an entirely new area, new city or across the country.

If you have kids, you’ll likely want to do some research on the schools in various areas you’re considering moving to. School district boundary lines may rise to the top of your list as the deciding factor for the neighborhood you ultimately choose.

Another important thing to consider is your potential new neighborhood’s proximity to your work. Think about how long your commute would be from various areas and whether it is economical to travel from your new home’s area to your workplace. You should also know whether you would have access to public transportation or whether you would depend on having a car.

Some other things to research are the population size and the general feel of areas you’re considering moving to. Is having a bustling town important to you? Do you want to live somewhere that offers a lot of things to do? Or are you more content in a small, quiet town?

These are all important questions to ask yourself and other members of your household well before you are ready to make an offer on a new home or decide on a new neighborhood.
3. Prepare Your Home for the Move

Before you buy a new home, you have to think about the one you’re in now!

Make an imminent move easier on yourself and your family by getting rid of any clothes, household items or belongings that you don’t need or use anymore. This means less stuff to pack and move later, which means less stress for you.

This is especially true if you’re planning on downsizing your living space. You don’t want to move into a house and literally not have room for all of your stuff. Be smart about what you really need and what can be given away. Decluttering is a process you can start early and may also make your current living arrangement more enjoyable.

If you already own a home, outlining what you’re going to do with your current home once you are closer to making your next move is another proactive step your can take. Are you going to sell your current home? Rent it out? A local real estate expert can help you sort through your options. Planning in advance will make it easier to focus on buying a new home when the time comes.

This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. The point of view and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Realty Executives International.
This post was written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh. Elliot is a dual-degree graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S in Cell Biology and a B.A in English Literature. He is a full-time freelance writer from Boston, specializing in veganism, humor, and health. His articles have appeared in The Rival Rochester and his work experience can be found here:


Fri, 26 Jan by realtyexecutivesnw

Parenting experts say that involving children in the execution of household chores teaches them responsibility and gives them a sense of accomplishment. It also helps cement their role in the family by helping them feel they are contributing to the household. But how young is too young to start children out with their own designated chores? Parents ultimately know best, but experts agree that children as young as two can start learning simple tasks that help out mom or dad. As long as each task attempted is accompanied by specific instructions, realistic expectations, and copious praise, you can teach your children these age-appropriate household chores.

Household Chores for Children Aged Toddler to 5 years. Kids this age can utilize household chores to learn other skills like matching sizes, shapes and patterns, and developing fine motor skills. Piling books and magazines, matching socks, folding washcloths, putting toys away, and putting their laundry in the hamper are all good starter chores for little hands.

Household Chores for Children Aged 6 and up. By this age, children have already mastered hand-eye coordination and advanced motor skills, and understand the concept of time. Rely on your child to set the table for dinner every night at a designated hour, clean their own room (make sure you both understand what you mean by “clean”), feed/exercise pets, take out the trash, clear the table, load and clear the dishwasher, put away groceries, help prepare dinner, pack their own lunches, change their own bed sheets, and water plants. Out of doors they can pull weeds, rake leaves, get the mail, and help shovel snow. Children this age can also help with younger siblings by helping them put on jackets and tie their shoes.

When teaching a child how to do a chore for the first time, show them step-by-step how to do it, and then have them do it with you to reinforce the lesson. Depending on the task’s complexity, you can either then supervise while they do it alone, or practice a few more times before letting them handle it solo. As a deadline for completion, experts suggest employing the “When/Then” rule. For example: “When you have given the dog his walk, then you can go play video games.”

Lastly, experts discourage rewarding children with money for completing regular household chores because they are routine tasks that are mandatory for the whole family. If you want to set up a rewards system, offer your child monetary incentives for doing extra chores above and beyond assigned responsibilities. You can even create a fun chart to keep track of bonuses (and then use the opportunity to teach kids about the value of money).

When doing chores with your child, don’t forget the most important thing – praise. Children of all ages glow with pride at words of approval from their parents (so soak up the adulation before they become teenagers and want nothing to do with you). As the saying goes, “many hands make light work,” but many hands working together also equals time spent together as a family, a treasure far more precious than a spotless house.

This post was written for Realty Executives by Estelle Weber, a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. You can read more of her work here.

Home Design Trends for 2018

Fri, 12 Jan by realtyexecutivesnw

With the new year comes brand new home design trends. And while some trends seem to continue on from years past, like the ever-popular metallic accents as well as sleek, simple designs, there are new and exciting home design trends you can implement in 2018.
Darker Wood Is Making a Comeback

This one might be surprising seeing as the past few years have emphasized lighter, blonde wood as the main design choice for the home. However, richer and darker woods like mahogany, rosewood, and walnut are making a comeback for the upcoming year.

The darker brown hue of these types of wood will make any room feel luxurious and grand. Whether this means getting a new dining room table, a new chair set, or even just décor featuring darker wood, this modern trend will make your home feel cozy and luxurious.
Some New Hit Colors

2016 and 2017 saw rose quartz, serenity blue and revitalizing green take center stage.

As we move into 2018, we are going to see ultra violet take the place of the colors of years past. Another interesting color you’ll see a lot more of is darker, richer greens including forest green and olive green.

Another color trend of 2018 is the use of vibrant and contrasting colors. While this trend might have begun in 2017, it’s going to be even more relevant in this upcoming year. You can try implementing some splashes of bright color whether that’s with paint, accent pillows, or even rugs.

If bright color isn’t your style, you can still have some great, eye-catching contrasts in your home. Try using some rich and noticeable colors and contrast them with white to really make a room pop.
Natural Materials

As our lives become more complex and filled with technology, it seems that we are reverting back to our natural roots. While the industrial style and metal accents are definitely here to stay, using natural materials is a trend for 2018.

There are a multitude of ways to use natural materials in your home, including:

  – Natural limestone walls
Reclaimed wooden furniture
Cork for floors, cabinets, and walls
Wood accessories and décor
Natural stone floors and countertops

Using these types of natural materials will give your home a natural and rustic feel, which is definitely on trend for 2018.
Tribal and Circular Geometric Patterns

Geometric and tribal patterns are both going to be huge in 2018. For the geometric patterns, you should expect to see a lot of soft, circular patterns instead of sharper lines like years past.

How you implement these patterns in your home’s design is up to you. You could keep it simple with some accent pillows, a patterned throw, or perhaps some artwork. Or you could go big with a patterned wallpaper or even paint.

These patterns can be done in the year’s vibrant colors trends. You can also keep it simple with elegant black and cream, which is another popular color combination you’ll see this year.

This post was written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh. Elliot is a dual-degree graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S in Cell Biology and a B.A in English Literature. He is a full-time freelance writer from Boston, specializing in veganism, humor, and health. His articles have appeared in The Rival Rochester and his work experience can be found here:


Fri, 08 Dec by realtyexecutivesnw

Whatever your reason for downsizing, it’s a process that requires careful planning and savvy storage ideas. The key to your success – and also the hardest part of the process – can be figuring out what to do with all the stuff you no longer have space for. Here are a few helpful tips.
Get a reliable layout of your new home

The first step is knowing how much room you’re going to have by obtaining a layout of your new home, with accurate measurements. Use this to make a list of all the items you’re going to take with you and the ones you’re going to get rid of.

Take note of door sizes and potentially difficult corners that might make it challenging to move large pieces of furniture in and out. If a sofa is too big for a room, it might be better to simply sell or donate it, rather than deal with the hassle of wrangling it into a smaller space.
Donate, give away, or throw away

Now that you have a sense of what you’re going to take with you, it’s time to figure out exactly what you’re going to do with all your excess stuff. Luckily, there are a lot of options. Check with local thrift stores to see if they’ll be able to take and possibly pick up your items. Check out or the Salvation Army, which also has locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Sometimes, they have regulations about wear and tear so it’s a good idea to do your homework first.

On the Freecycle Network, you can give your items away to people who are specifically looking for them. There’s also eBay, if you’re feeling particularly entrepreneurial.
Hire someone

When you’re getting rid of belongings, it can be time consuming having to coordinate pickups and keep track of appointments and viewings. If you don’t have the time or the energy to sell or donate things on your own, you’re in luck. Services may be available in your area that will handle the heavy lifting for you. One of those is called eBay Valet, where you can get up to 80 percent of an item’s worth, depending on the selling price of the item.There’s also a site called Stuffhopper, which will send you a box you can fill with various belongings for the company to sell for you.

If you’re looking to get rid of everything, another option is hiring a company to hold an estate sale. Real estate professionals can often help you locate an estate sale company in your area.
Stop storing other people’s stuff

How much of the stuff you own is actually yours? You might not realize it, but you could be stowing away Grandma’s old heirlooms in the attic crawlspace, or your adult child’s baseball trophies and hand turkeys. Call your friends and relatives and ask them to pick up their things or help themselves to the heirlooms you’ve been storing. Politely let them know that you will be donating or getting rid of the items they fail to claim.
Rent a portable storage container

Even after tossing, donating, and selling items, you’ll most likely have items that don’t fit in your new smaller space but are too important or valuable to get rid of. Portable storage containers, such as those offered by PODS, are ideal for belongings that fall in this category.

Whereas traditional self-storage units often require you to rent a truck and make multiple trips back and forth to the self-storage facility, portable storage containers are dropped off at your home and picked up at your convenience. Some portable storage companies even offer long-distance moving, so you can have your storage container transferred wherever you need it.
Store seasonal items elsewhere

Consider using your portable storage container for storing seasonal items, such as decorations, serving dishes, roasting pan, napkins, and other holiday accoutrements.

Do you have sporting equipment that you only use part of the year? Bicycles and skis are often used only seasonally. Similarly, you may only need your backup generator and emergency supplies during hurricane season, or your winter wardrobe, space heaters, and snow shovel during the colder months.

This guest post was written by PODS®. PODS® makes moving and storage more convenient and less stressful through its innovative solution of delivering a level container and providing the customer all the time they need to load and unload their container.


Fri, 01 Dec by realtyexecutivesnw

Winter weather can create extra challenges for homeowners, between shoring up vulnerable areas against wind and rain, and winterizing structures against freezing cold. But wintertime can pose serious risks for your pets, too, so follow these tips to help keep your home a safe and comfortable place for your pet in winter weather.

1. Keep them inside your home. Domestic pets don’t have inherent traits that protect them from extreme conditions any more than you do so if it’s too nasty for you to be outside, it’s too nasty for your pet. Keep domestic pets inside and make sure outdoor livestock has adequate shelter, dry bedding, and blankets, if necessary, to protect them from cold, wind, rain, ice and snow.

2. Hydration is key. Dehydration isn’t just a problem in hot weather. If your pet relies on an outside water source, make sure you have a way to keep it from freezing. Pets cannot get sufficient water from eating snow.

3. Gear up for outdoor activity. Whether strolling your neighborhood or taking in local outdoor amenities and attractions, if your pet enjoys time with you outdoors, make sure they’re equipped for the conditions. To keep them warm and dry, a rain slicker, coat, or sweater serve as more than just cute accessories, and weatherproof booties keep paws dry and provide extra traction on frozen ground. Make sure you don’t stay out longer than is safe for your pet, and monitor activity and behavior to make sure they don’t become hypothermic.

4. Check underneath. Ice loves to cling to hair and fur. Keep your pet’s paw hair neatly trimmed, and if your pet has been outside, clean off and dry wet bellies and inspect paws and tail for ice balls.

5. Beware of toxic chemicals around your neighborhood. Where there’s ice, there’s antifreeze. This is highly poisonous to pets and the neon green puddles can be tempting for pets to try to drink from when all other water is frozen. Likewise, de-icers such as salt and other chemicals can be harmful to pets who walk on ground that has been “de-iced” and later lick their paws, ingesting the toxins. If your pet has been exposed to de-icers, make sure to rinse paws in warm water and thoroughly dry.

6. Chase pets from dangerous “hiding places” around your home. Cats and other small animals frequently look for warm places to burrow, such as next to the warm engine of a parked car. Before you start your car, knock on the hood or honk the horn a few times to scare away stowaways – you will be saving their life.

7. Pets’ joints hurt in cold temps, too. Like some of us, older pets can experience arthritis flare ups and increased discomfort during cold weather. A trip to the vet for a check of your senior pet prior to the onset of winter can ensure your pet’s health and medications are on track. Remember to handle sore older pets extra careful, and diligently keep up medications during cold snaps.

8. Be prepared for emergencies. Have you just relocated to a new area? One of the most important parts of settling into your new home is preparing for emergencies, and this includes prepping for your pet’s care. In the event you need to evacuate your home, make sure you have pet necessities packed and ready: food, water, litter, medication, towels, blankets, and a favorite toy or other comforting item for your pet. A recent photo of your pet is also a good idea in case you get separated. Many times, pets are not allowed with their owners at evacuation shelters so have a plan for this ahead of time too. Research local pet friendly hotels, or make arrangements to stay with a friend or family member who lives in a safe area.

9. ID is a must. Above all, keep a collar and tag on your pet with your current phone number. If your pet gets lost, the first place the finder will look is on your pet’s collar. Additionally, your pet should be micro-chipped and registered with your current info. Check your microchip registry and update your information anytime you move or get a new phone number.

This post was written for Realty Executives by Estelle Weber, a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. You can read more of her work here.


Fri, 10 Nov by realtyexecutivesnw


The holiday season is now upon us. It’s time for family visits, warming up by the fireplace, and holiday decorations.

What house is complete during the holiday season without holiday lights? Here are some tips to make hanging your holiday lights easy and fun so that you can focus on how good they look instead of worrying about proper installation.

Make a Plan

This step is key: hanging lights without a plan will be frustrating and difficult.

Think about what kinds of lights you want to put up, how many you’d like, the size of your yard, your budget, and the overall design you want to see. Do you want colored lights? White lights? Large bulbs? Miniature bulbs? Animated displays?

You should know the answers to these questions before you get into the actual task of hanging them. Be sure to take measurements of where you want the lights to be, take notice of the surface where you’re hanging the lights, as well as how much this is going to cost. Having a specific plan will keep you on task and will make the whole process easier.

The planning stage is also the best time to test your lights before you hang them. Imagine spending hours hanging lights all over your yard and on your roof only to discover they aren’t working when you plug them in. It’s best to find out they’re faulty before you spend long, cold hours on your rooftop!

Get the Right Materials

Getting the right materials will ensure not only that your light display will last throughout the holiday season, but it will also ensure your safety, as well.


Check that the lights you are using are suitable for outdoor use. You should also use waterproof lights if you live where it snows.

If you’re using older lights, make sure the cords aren’t damaged, as this can be a huge safety hazard.

Also, make sure that the color of your lights are what you want. Different brands, different types of lights, and lights made during different years will have a slightly different color to them.

Extension Cords

As with the lights, you should only use extension cords that have been approved for outdoor use. You should set up the extension cords so they are above the ground, away from water and snow.

But also be aware of where you set extension cords so that they won’t trip anyone.

Clips and Holders

While some of the lights will be wrapped around columns, railings and trees, some will require something to hold them in place, like those along your gutters or on your roof. In order to keep them secure, you should purchase special light clips or holders.

Do not use nails or tacks of any kind; this is a huge safety hazard. You’re better off using clips, holders or staples.


If you want lights all over your house, you’ll definitely need to use a ladder. We’ve all seen the movie gag of someone trying to hang lights and falling off a ladder: don’t let this be you. You could be seriously injured.

Get a sturdy, safe ladder for hanging lights in high places to avoid injury.

Time to Get to Work!

You’ve got your plan and your materials, so now it’s time to start! It can’t hurt to have someone helping you as you work: they can hand you materials, steady the ladder, and even help hang things themselves to speed up the process.

Start with the easier jobs, like wrapping lights around railings and trees, and stringing them through bushes. Next, get out your ladder for the slightly harder to reach places, like around your windows, up higher in trees, and along your gutters.

Finally, you can make your way up to the roof if that’s a part of your plan. Be extremely careful, as it can get icy and slippery up there.

Use a Light Timer

Before you can sit back and admire your work, there’s one last thing to do: install a timer.

Light timers can be set so your lights will turn on and off at specific times. This way, they won’t be on all day or throughout the night. Because holiday lights can use a lot of energy, a timer can save energy and money on your next electric bill!

This post was written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh. Elliot is a dual-degree graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.S in Cell Biology and a B.A in English Literature. He is a full-time freelance writer from Boston, specializing in veganism, humor, and health. His articles have appeared in The Rival Rochester and his work experience can be found here:


Fri, 03 Nov by realtyexecutivesnw

While selling your home during the holiday season might be challenging, it is not impossible. For those venturing out into the real estate market during this time of festivity, snow, and sometimes stress, we have compiled a list of tips to help you with home staging during the holidays.

1.Use Décor To Highlight Your Home

Festive winter decorations are a great way to make your home feel inviting and cozy. A wreath on your door and some baubles here and there can go a long way in making your house feel like a home.

You can also use these decorations to your advantage. Use the decorations to highlight the key selling points in your home.

You can put a Nutcracker figurine on your mantle to highlight a gorgeous fireplace. You could put up a large tree to showcase high ceilings and a spacious living area. And you could have an inviting, edible display on your dining room table.

Each of these things will serve to make your home feel warm and festive while also showing off the best parts of your home to potential buyers

2.Don’t Go Overboard With Decorations

While decorations can help make your home feel warm and welcoming, there is a fine line between what is considered to be too much and what is just right.

Try not to use every decoration you have, as this type of clutter can distract potential buyers. Having too many unnecessary decorations can also cover attractive areas in your house: you don’t want an overly large tree to distract from or hide a bay window in your living area, for example.

You should also pack away some of the more gaudy items, like large Santa figurines or light-up reindeer. These might be your favorite items, but they could be a buyer’s worst nightmare. It’s safest to put those away while selling.

Keep décor simple and tasteful, even if it means going with only a couple of nice items, like a wreath, some lights, and a few ornaments.

3.Make Sure Everything Matches

Another thing to keep in mind while decorating is that you want items to fit in seamlessly with the rest of your house. If you can, try and follow a similar color scheme and design style so that your home’s style looks orderly and well thought-out.

4.Put Up Holiday Lights

As with indoor decorations, it is best to keep holiday lighting simple and clean. Skip the animated Santa going down the chimney and instead opt for some white lights strung around your windows, through your shrubs, and perhaps lining your gutter.

Putting up outdoor lights serves another purpose as well. Since it gets darker earlier during the winter months, buyers are more likely to see a house when it is dark out, which means they are likely to see whether or not a home has any outdoor lighting; sprucing up your lighting this way will leave a great impression on buyers.

5.Use Festive Fragrances

Having a great smelling home is one of the most important things you can do while staging your home. USA Today reported that making sure your home smells nice can actually increase the perceived value of your home.

Since it is the holidays, you can go for some comforting smells that everyone will know and love. Fresh pine, vanilla, apple, cinnamon, and even fresh baked cookies are all smells that people will find comforting during this season.

To get these smells to disperse throughout your home, you can use candles, air fresheners, plants, and diffusers. You can also try putting a pot of cider on the stove with a stick of cinnamon and some cloves to achieve a genuine apple cider aroma.

6.Be Inclusive With the Décor

You’re going to have all sorts of people viewing your home. Remember that not everyone celebrates the same holidays or religious traditions as you and your family, so be sensitive of that when you’re decorating.

You should definitely have some holiday specific items, like a Christmas tree or a Menorah, and non-specific winter decorations, like wreaths, lights, and pine cones. But be thoughtful about religious figurines or sayings so that you don’t create a barrier with a potential home buyer.

Amy Powers, the owner of Accent Home Staging & Interiors, says that, “You want to keep neutrality throughout, so you can attract any type of buyer.” You want people to come in and see themselves living there; you don’t want to make someone feel like they don’t belong.

Bottom Line

Selling your home during the holidays can be hard, but hopefully these tips will help ease your stress. Leave a comment down below if you have additional tips to share or have questions.

This post was written for Realty Executives by Elliot Walsh.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Grande Prairie Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.