How to Have a Safe Thanksgiving in the Time of COVID -19

In typical 2020 fashion time has flown, and Thanksgiving is here. Sadly, also in true 2020 fashion we are having to celebrate the holiday a little different this year. Many people will be spending the holiday away from family and friends due to pandemic related travel restrictions or safety concerns. But that doesn’t mean you need to sit at your table sulking, this year is all about thinking outside of the box and Thanksgiving is no different!

There’s a multitude of ways you can still feel connected to family and friends while staying safe and we are here to help you with some ideas!

If you live close to family and friends, you can organize a meal exchange among a few households. Each household signs up for a dish or two to make and then divide it into equal portion and deliver them to the other households on Thanksgiving. Once drop off is done you can all jump on a video call or ZOOM (which has removed its time limit for the holiday) and enjoy your meals together!

For some people what they are going to miss is the joy of cooking together, so since we can’t all be in the same kitchen together, one way to re-create that atmosphere is for each household to prepare the same meals and prepare them together over a video chat.

We know that trying to do all of this virtually isn’t ideal, but we need to take advantage of what we have to try and make the experience the best it can be. If you’re limited to a small screen or laptop think of some of the other electronics you may already have that can make your family a little more life size! Smart displays like Amazon Echo Show or the Google Nest Hub are great ways to stay connected since they are easily controlled by voice commands which is super helpful while your hands are full cooking in the kitchen.

If you know of a family member or friend who will be alone for the holiday and you want to do something other than virtually, you could put together a little Thanksgiving care package if they live close or if they are long distance see if you can get something delivered locally that will make them feel part of the day even being far away.

Regardless of how you decide to celebrate we all know it’s not going to feel the same, but we hope these small tips will help you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Michigan’s New COVID-19 Restrictions

With COVID cases rising Michigan officials have implemented a new series of stricter COVID-19 regulations that will go into effect this week.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Sunday that the new restrictions will be in effect from Nov. 18 through Dec. 8.

What does that mean for real estate?

  • No open houses

  • One–party showings by appointment only

  • Masks are required in the homes

  • No overlapping showings

  • Practice social distancing

For more on the restrictions see the graphic below


5 Decor Trends to Try This Fall / Winter at Home

Since we are all spending a lot more time at home due to the pandemic and will surely be spending a lot more time indoors as the weather gets colder, why not make your space even cozier!

We have found 5 new décor trends that will be perfect for this fall and winter, that we are sure you will love!

Trend #1:  Decorate with Fall Leaves

No doubt this time of year there is an abundance of leaves outside and who would have thought they would be the perfect way for decorating your home! Filling a large minimal vase with some branches of fall leaves is the easiest way to add a warm natural touch at home, but you can also explore more creative solutions like garlands and centerpieces.

Trend #2: Add a Touch of Warm Caramel & Cinnamon

Fall always brings the thought of warm colors and hues and this year is no different! Colors like cinnamon, caramel, terracotta, immediately add a warmer touch to any interior. If you don’t feel like completely redoing your house and painting your walls, no worries, you can achieve the same result by replacing some cushions and textiles.

Trend #3: Add a Piece of Textile Art

Have some empty wall space? Consider buying a handmade piece of textile art that can turn a plain wall into the focal point. You could also use a statement rug with a bold pattern, which can not only be used on the floor but placed on the wall.

Trend #4: Cozy up with Tartan

Tartan never seems to go out of style especially in the winter, but we are seeing it become a big trend for this year. If the style seems a little old and outdated to you, consider it in black and white, or grayscale which will modern it up a bit.

Trend #5: Revamp Your Rugs

Modern area rugs are seeing a hug comeback this year and are a must have for your fall and winter décor. The key is to find one with a bold decorative pattern, or right now people are leaning more toward the traditional designed rug altered a bit to make them look older (if you can find a vintage one than that’s a bonus)


How to Practice Safe Trick or Treating

Halloween is going to be a little different this year, like everything in 2020. But don’t fret, you can still celebrate but with some changes that we will help you navigate to keep you and your family safe!

Traditional trick-or-treating is considered a higher risk activity because of the typically large groups of children, and potential for face-to-face and high-touch moments (like grabbing candy) but if you follow these simple guidelines you should be able to have a fun filled and safe trick or treating experience.

  1. Wear a mask (and not just the costume kind): Yes, most costumes come with masks, but those masks alone aren’t effective at stopping the spread of germs. So, make sure your child wears at least a two-ply face mask, under their costume one. Or a better way to go – a Halloween-themed two-ply face mask!

  2. Limit the group size: Keep your trick-or-treating group to a max of 5 people that have been in your sphere of exposure.

  3. Limit the houses you visit: To limit unnecessary exposure to others, visit just the houses that you know or if that is not possible just go to a few homes on your street.

  4. Social distance: Leave lots of space between any other trick-or-treaters.

  5. Avoid contact: Whether passing out candy or walking with your children you should wear masks and gloves and stay outside their front door or at the end of their driveway or yard, so kids don’t have to touch door surfaces.

  6. No Communal Bowls: Instead of having kids reach into a communal candy bowl, people passing out candy should use gloves to hand out individual bags to each child, or better yet you can go buy a big PVC pipe to pass candy through which not only keeps you social distanced but it creates a fun new way to pass out candy!

  7. Practice good hand hygiene. Remember to have kids use hand sanitizer in between homes to further reduce risk.

Hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween!


Tips for Getting a Tough Listing Off the Market

We’ve either encountered one or heard the horror stories about it. The dreaded tough listing…

Even the most experienced agents have issues with these, so that’s where we want to help so let’s dig in!

It’s happened the property you listed weeks ago is still on the market, it’s had its peak of showings with no signs of budging. First thing you need to do is mentally re-list the property. Go through a checklist of things that you can do to help your sellers realize they need to either make some updates to the home or lower the price.

With that being said it is important to tread lightly. To start it’s a good idea to avoid using certain language. Avoid using “highest price,” and instead use the term “fair market value.” You can also use phrasing like, “This is the initial list price,” and, “We have an ambitious list price.” That way your sellers are mentally prepared to bring the price down, if needed.

 Selling a home can be stressful and in turn sellers can be on edge especially when their home has no signs of moving off the market. If your sellers want to keep their home at a certain price point, then they need to entertain the idea of making improvements to the home. If they want to keep their home as-is without making any updates, then they need to understand that they may have to lower the price after 30 days on market. It’s not a pleasant topic but one that necessary to discuss.

The key to navigating this whole process is “don’t give up.” Once you’ve reached the point with your sellers that they have decided to either make upgrades or change the list price, you then just need to change your marketing plan from a 30 day to 60, and that’s ok! Know that you can manage the process for your seller to get their home sold successfully and get them to where they want to be.


Ways the Real Estate Market Changes For Buyers After Labor Day

Still looking to buy a home? Before you start, we have some tips on how the market changes post Labor Day that can hopefully help you navigate through these changes and help you get the best deal!

Home Prices Start Falling

Leaves aren’t the only things dropping in the fall, so are house prices. This is due to the fact that most homeowners who listed properties in the summer weren’t able to close and end up re-evaluating their asking price. Also, homeowners can tend to be more accommodating in terms of negotiations because they want to get their home off the market!

The Market Turns into a Buyer’s Market

Summer is notorious for being a seller’s market. They can set their asking price, compare offers, and then select the best one, but this takes a turn after the holiday.  The market does a switch and turns into a buyer’s market. The reason seems to be that those buyers who are still shopping suddenly gain more negotiating power due to the decline in the competition. Also, the fall market is very appealing to singles, or young couples without children because they don’t have to worry about school start dates etc.

Fall Season Doesn’t Have a Deadline

Most home buyers tend to select certain neighborhoods because of the school system so in turn they need to be in said neighborhood before the school year begins. But, for those who don’t have children and are looking to buy in the fall they don’t have to worry about those types of deadlines. This means you can extend your search as long as you need to find the home of your dreams. Now there are those who want to buy a home before the holidays but waiting till after Labor Day or even after Thanksgiving gives you the opportunity to snag an even better deal!


Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Indiana

Looking to start a career in real estate? We are here to help! Getting your license can seem daunting so we have taken the time to break it down into steps to make it easier for you!

First Things First: Meet the Requirements

You need to be at least 18 years of age and must have a GED or High School Diploma as well as no violent crime convictions.

2: Complete Pre-Licensing

You need to take and pass a 90-hour Indiana Brokers Pre-licensing class (www.REIEDU.com for more information) Once the course is passed, you will receive a certificate of completion and have one year to take pass the Indiana State Brokers Examination.

3. Pass the Indiana Brokers Exam

To get stared you will want to visit the Michigan state/iCOLA website. You must apply for your license within 36 months of completing the required pre-licensing education. Log into www.michigan.gov/icola to begin your application process.

4. Obtain Broker Affiliation

Once the examination is complete and passed (YAY), you will need to affiliate yourself with a broker and submit your application and fee to the Indiana Real Estate Commission within one year of passing their examination.

5. Complete Licensing

The Broker will hold the license and that’s it! You’ve done it!

Head to https://www.bhhsnorthernindianarealestate.com/careers for more information about becoming a realtor in Northern Indiana. for Executive Realty in Northwest Indiana, email bhhsexec@gmail.com


Steps to Becoming a Real Estate in Michigan

Looking to start a career in real estate? We are here to help! Getting your license can seem daunting so we have taken the time to break it down into steps to make it easier for you!

First Things First: Meet the Requirements

You must at least 18 years of age and complete 40 hours of a Real Estate Fundamental pre-licensure course. After completing the course, your school should submit your certificate to the state of Michigan.

2: Obtain a Broker Affiliation

Before you submit your application for licensure, you will need an “employing broker.” They are responsible for ensuring you meet and maintain the requirements for a Michigan Real Estate Salesperson License.

3. Submit Your Application for Licensure

To get stared you will want to visit the Michigan state/iCOLA website. You must apply for your license within 36 months of completing the required pre-licensing education. Log into www.michigan.gov/icola to begin your application process.

4. Take the State Examination

5. Exam Records Imported to ICOLA

This is it; you’re almost done, you just have to wait for your state exam score to be received by the Department and have the broker confirmed. Then the state will send your license and pocket card to your broker’s main office. Also, good news! Your exam is valid for 12 months after passing.

Head to https://www.bhhsmichiganrealestate.com/careers for more on becoming an agent in MI


Tips for Moving During COVID 19

We have all had to adapt to this “new normal” that COVID 19 has brought about but moving during this time brings a whole new set of challenges and we are here to help you navigate those waters.

Step 1: Do as much as you can on your own but if you need help do your homework on the companies in your area. Ask about their sanitation procedures, and make sure that the movers are required to wear masks, gloves, and booties. Also, regardless of whether there is a pandemic make sure that the company you choose has a reasonable cancelation policy in case your plans change!

Step 2: Minimize your contact. See if the company you choose will do virtual quotes or if they offer fully contactless service. Need to tip the movers? See beforehand if they accept Venmo, PayPal, or another form of contactless tipping.

Step 3: Take extra sanitary precautions by wearing masks and gloves yourself, disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched especially doorknobs and handles. Lastly to lighten your move load and help those in need during this pandemic donate your shelf stable items to a local food bank!

Moving is hard no matter what, but adding a pandemic on top of it makes it extra challenging right now, but just do the best you can and know you can do this!


How to Stay Fit at Home

Quarantine seems to have done a number on most of us and with gyms still closed we all need to become creative when it comes to getting back in shape!

Switching to a home workout isn’t easy but there are ways you can establish a great home workout routine to get you through this pandemic happy and healthy.

Free home workout apps

If you love the atmosphere of a gym or studio then these apps are for you. They are prerecorded or live videos of classes that you can do right in your living room. These videos are typically between 25-60 mins and most require little to no equipment so you can jump right in and get your sweat on!

Now most do require a subscription or membership but due to the pandemic many providers are offering them either for free or for an extended trial.

Here is a list of all the ones we think you would enjoy:

Peloton

CorePower Yoga

Nike Training Club

Obé

No equipment or time to spare?

HIIT workouts need to become your new best friend. HIIT stand for “high intensity interval training,” and these short workouts are just as effective as a full gym session! What these workouts do is challenge you in the cardio and muscle department, improving your heart, lungs, muscles, and nervous system. Best part is these workouts can be done in 20 mins or less! Some of the mentioned apps above offer HIIT workouts but if you don’t want to deal with another app on your phone or a subscription to worry about there are a lot of trainers providing free HIIT workouts online

We’ve linked one you can follow here

Make it simple

Take advantage of your neighborhood or a local trail. Hike, bike, jog, or walk at least for 30 mins every day. Or use your own yard for some bodyweight circuits, might as well be outside than indoors! 

Here’s a great body circuit workout to follow

Hopefully these tips help you get back into a routine and bring some normalcy to these crazy times!