Miami #SquadGoals: Coldwell Banker’s 2016 Social Squad!

It’s officially official. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC has announced another lineup of stellar [social] peeps to represent the entire Coldwell Banker brand for the 2016 Generation Blue Experience [aka #GenBlue] for this year’s hottest location yet… Miami, Florida!

Personally, I’m beyond humbled to be asked to return to the ‘Squad for the 4th year in a row, as this socially savvy group is compiled of some of the most brilliant social media personalities in the industry.

This year’s line-up:

Taylor Corey:                  @taycorey
Andrea Geller:                @AndreaGeller 
George L. Rosario:        @BIG_George_NYC
Sunny Lake:                    @bhamsunny
Kim V. Colaprete:         @seattledivas
Chavi M. Hohm:           @chaviH
Heather M. Ostrom:    @RosevilleRockLn
Sharon Steele:               @sharonsteelenj
Sean Carpenter:           @SeanCarp
Ashley Houseman:      @brokerEXCLUSIVE
Audrey Maine:              @audrey_maine
Linda Aaron:                 @skynnard
Melissa Mummery:     @melissa_mummery


I guess that means it’s time to hit Elite Fitness with Trainer Carrie [most patient trainer EVER] in between tweets and it’s now socially acceptable to buy that “Squad Goals” shirt I’ve been eyeing at Target. Forget “fetch”, thanks for making “squad goals” happen, Alexandra!

2016 Gen Blue Social Squad (1)

Bucket List: Pro “Realtor of the Day” [check!]

Hundreds. Thousands. [Hundreds of thousands?] of Realtors® all over the world share and market their listings on social media marketing daily.

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. LinkedIn. Snapchat. Just a few of the favorite avenues that help get you and your seller’s goods in front of a seemingly limitless global audience at the click of a button.

Likes. Loves. Favs. Double-taps. Comments. Shares. Retweets. Just a few ways for people to show you some love, support and straight up help you to boost your goods to the top of the their news feeds or timelines to help you to increase your visibility among their network to get your listing in front of an even bigger audience and hopefully, a potential customer.

Receiving this kind of love and support on social media is always exciting, encouraging and more often times rewarding – I mean, who doesn’t love leads, referrals and new potential customers – right?

In the small little part of the world known as Houseman & Co, this ultimate compliment was given to us today, as we had the opportunity to be featured as the “Realtor of the Day” with Pro®. Not only was our b-e-a-utiful condo in the desirable Harbor Walk Condominium with stunning sunrise and sunsets views from 3 balconies featured as the listing of the day, our profile was also featured on the main page of their Instagram profile. Basically, in the world of social media love, likes and shares – this is the upmost compliment to us as a growing team, to our seller, to Coldwell Banker, and to me as a whole.

Thank you, Realtor Pro® for the feature. Thank you! Who knows, maybe my next step will be a co-hosting a commercial [in plain English] with Elizabeth Banks?! Yes, please!

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 12.35.03 PM

Post by @RealtorPro on Instagram featuring @HousemanAndCo as their #RealtorOfTheDay

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@RealtorPro’s profile on Instagram featuring Ashley Houseman’s Profile


February 2016 “Market Minute”

“Hey, John/Ashley! How’s the market?!” – The most common question consumers – future buyers and sellers alike – ask us about the local real estate market on a daily basis.

“It’s great! We’re busy! Inventory is low! Buyers are buying! Know anyone who wants to sell?” – Most common short answers we typically provide when we’re out and about, usually in line at the grocery store or in passing. Of course, when time allows, more detailed explanations, thoughts and answers are given and usually end up in great conversation.

*light bulb moment* – If everyone wants to know how the current market is doing and how it stacks up against this time last year, why don’t we put the facts together and share it?

Let us introduce… the “Market Minute”… last months hard number statistics compared to the same time last year. Facts directly from the MLS stating how our local Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda markets are doing.

Market Minute_2-2016.png

The  Minute’s “key” (see what I did there?!):

  • “Avg. List Price” is the total amount of homes that were listed last month, their listing prices added together then divided by the amount of homes listed
  • “Avg. Sale Price” is the total amount of homes that were sold last month, their sold prices added together then divided by the amount of homes sold
  • “Days on Market” this is the average amount of days a home was on the market before it fully went under contract. It’s the cumulative amount of days starting from day 1 when the home was listed to day “x” where the home’s offer was fully executed
  • “Homes Sold” you guessed it, the total amount of homes that had the opportunity to put the desirable “SOLD” status on their property!

Want more specific numbers to your home or what’s going on in your neighborhood? Just ask, it’d be our pleasure to help you!

**All statistics are from the Mid-Florida Regional MLS and include ALL of Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Florida**


Gen Blue + “New Life” = Your Business

         Alexander “Xander” Jacob, a Gen Blue inspired “Minion” with his “True Blue” parents,               John & Ashley Houseman, at only 20 hours old. (Photos by Kristina Stotlzfus Photography 2015)

This is truly one of the most special blog posts I’ll ever have the opportunity to write. Not because its content is made up of some profound wisdom or tips and tricks of our trade, but because this post was premeditated while this beautiful baby, Alexander “Xander” Jacob (whom we refer to as our Minion, in which I’ll get to in just a moment), was being knitted together in my womb. I had 9 months to think about this post and how the birth of this beautiful boy not only has so many parallels within our business life, he is a direct result of Coldwell Banker Generation Blue in Hollywood last October.

Literally. Think about that for a moment without me giving you the talk about “the birds and the bees”…

Last year’s Gen Blue was the 2nd one for the books for my husband John and I, as we also attended the one in NYC in 2013 (a-maz-ing). As parents of then 2 children, and like many of of other Gen Blue’ers, this is what we’ve been using as our annual excuse for a “vacation”. Yes, we attended sessions, met some fantastic people within the Coldwell Banker world, and we’ve managed to sneak in a day or two to explore, see the sights, and simply just get away from life from home for a brief moment. (If you’re anything like us, you looked up the Cubs schedule before your flight. You know who you are!) What we weren’t expecting, was life. New life, and adding new life to our business.

You’re thinking, “‘adding new life to your business?’ What does that mean and how could that benefit me?”. It’s simple. Gen Blue (as it did for us) will exceed your expectations on so many levels, you will have SO many takeaways, ideas, new connections, that you have NO choice but to utilize them to help to help you grow, strengthen and/or revitalize your business for the better – you’ll be adding new life – a breath of fresh air to your business.

My husband came to Hollywood as a “referring agent”, my travel companion and eye candy while we toured the California coast. He left the west coast as my business partner, master of CMA’s and my buyers agent extraordinaire. Something happened at Gen Blue for us, our business and our family. Here’s just a few of too many things to list that changed the way we do business because of attending the Generation Blue Experience.

Manager & Broker Sessions
So, my first session sounded really awesome but ended up being directed specifically towards Managers and Brokers – neither of which I am. Rather than leaving, I stuck around to see what Matthew Ferrara had to say and let me tell you, I WISH my broker (sorry, Don! Glad you ARE coming this year!) would’ve been in attendance. Although I’m used to the wildly awesome Prezi presentations that Matthew usually gives, this was so information packed towards managers and brokers bringing in new blood, structuring their business, and other manager-y things to make them successful, I was wondering WHY this wasn’t a packed house?! If you’re a broker or manager, there’s some knowledge to be had at Gen Blue tailored just for YOU!

Agent Sessions: Marketing, Organization, Social Media & Team-Building
Ooh, my! If I could name every speaker and panel that we attended at Gen Blue, you’d be tuning me out, because I could write a book on what I learned in 3 days! The inspiration we gained and ideas we came away with literally changed our life. Between listening to Jessica Edwards, Chavi Holm (Team Diva) and Danny Hertzberg (The Jills) talk about team building to hearing some cutting edge marketing tips in other sessions, we were so on fire to restructure and build our business that making this career change for my husband never would’ve been a reality had we not made the trek to Hollywood.

The General Session
Last year we took over Dolby Theatre (you know, where they host the Academy Awards?) and Gen Blue kicked off with some crazy pumped up action by some of our fearless leaders (Budge, Mike and Sean), an American Idol-esque rendition of Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” sang by Renee Savoy and was lead by the one (and only) ever-so-famous Jane Lynch. This year, Gen Blue is taking over The Chicago Theatre with more awesomenss from our leaders and an epic Lip Sync Battle between 3 Gen Blue’ers in attendance (still a few days to enter, click here)! I said it, epic. So much epicness in one theatre, experiencing in person is the only way to go.

The Speaker Line-up
Although the stellar speaker line-up for Chicago is still yet to be announced, let me tell you… Don’t. Miss. This. A few of the headliners last year were Tom Ferry, Zan Monroe, Matthew Ferrara and Katie Lance, plus many (many!) more. If you’ve never heard of them, Google’em. If you’ve heard the names but never looked into them, don’t wait another minute to hear their goodness. If you’ve heard of them and know of this awesomeness that I’m trying to convey, don’t fret, this year in Chicago it will be even MORE fantastic and you will learn even more than you ever have before so you need to be there!

The People
One of my favorite things about being on the Social Squad is meeting some of my other True Blues that I’ve connected with online IRL (cyber code for “in real life”). Having relationships online is fun, but there’s nothing like having the opportunity to connect with 3,000 other Coldwell Banker agents world-wide IN-person. Don’t ever underestimate the power of relationships that you build with agents from coast to coast (or even Monaco!), as you never know where your next referral may come from. Meeting other agents, managers and brokers in person also gives you the chance to share, learn, and take away some of the most amazing tips that have helped them to be successful by hearing their personal trials and experiences. The relationships you’ll create and build at Gen Blue will last you a lifetime – you can’t build if you don’t go!

The Party
I don’t know if I should compare last year’s closing party to being like “a kid in a candy store” the size of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or the excitement of Christmas Eve x’s infinity. Coldwell Banker – I KID YOU NOT – shut down an entire theme park just for Coldwell Banker Gen Blue attendees. Yes, thousands of agents, managers and brokers alike had the time of their life at Universal Studios Hollywood riding rides, having a massive dance party with DJ MARY MAC, food and beverages galore until we closed the park down. It was pretty exclusive, True Blues only. This year, I can not WAIT to see what they do, as we are taking over Soldier Field as our final “hurrah” to the best few days of your business life in 2015.

As promised, back to the Minion (if you don’t know what that is, they just made a Minion Movie). New life. Gen Blue. Tying this baby (no pun intended) all-together. Our littlest man (we now have 3!) was born just shy of 9 months after our Gen Blue Hollywood Experience. Again, I’m not going to reiterate the talk you probably had with your parents in your teenage years, but it’s the truth. Baby “Xander” is our little Universal-Studios-Gen-Blue-Closing-Party-inspired Minion. This was the trip of a lifetime for us, as my husband went to California for vacation and came back as a member of our team. The Generation Blue Experience was just the “experience” he needed to bring our real estate business to the next level – isn’t it time for you to do the same?

Sign up your broker, your manager, your assistant, prospective team member and yourself by clicking here, you won’t regret it!

11 Hollywood Inspired Must Do’s While Attending Gen Blue

Last year, my husband and I added few extra days to our Generation Blue Experience to make a little time for vacay. It was our first “us” trip without our two sweet minions (see what I did there?) since our honeymoon 5 years prior. Result = a HUGE success, which leads to our now 6 day venture in the land of the rich and famous – 6 days in Hollywood and the ‘Hills, SO much to do and so little time!

Our “itinerary” last year was inspired by some of our favorite flicks that took place around the Big Apple, so to keep the merriment going, we’ve revisited some of our favorite films that were filmed in (or around) Tinseltown to inspire us to make a few pit stops while we’re west coast bound.

1. Golf ‘n Stuff – Karate Kid
Location: 10555 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA 90650
Karate Kid Golf n Stuff







Who hasn’t wished they could’ve tagged along on Daniel and Ali’s first date full of go karts, bumper boats, arcade games galore with a little hand holding in the photo booth? Ok, maybe not tag along, but definitely have your inner kid just dying to go there for yourself. Yeah, that’s me. Golf n’ Stuff is actually family fun park that’s still around today – and it’s on our hit list.

2. “McFly House” & “Enchantment Under the Sea” Dance – Back to the Future
Location: 9303 Roslyndale Ave & First United Methodist Church of Hollywood, 6817 Franklin Ave
BTTF McFly Guitar Dance






I couldn’t tell you how many years growing up I asked for a “hover board” for Christmas or just *wished* I could find the ultimate prom/homecoming dress to resemble Lorraine’s iconic attire from Back to the Future’s (I & II) “Enchantment Under the Sea” Dance. This trilogy has been (and probably forever will be) in my top 3 all-time favs, which is why getting a glimpse of Methodist Church of Hollywood (where the dance was held in the gym) on Franklin Ave, as well as checking out the McFly Residence in “Lyon Estates” is on list of places to pass by.

3. Randy’s Donuts – Iron Man 2
Location: West Manchester Ave, Inglewood, Los Angeles
Randys Donuts Ironman








Some like to travel for the sights, I like to travel for the food. In this case, the combination between the two is epic – as in the sunrise scene of Iron Man 2 where Nick Fury finds Tony Stark/Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr after this birthday bash lounging – literally – in the donut of the famous Randy’s Donuts. Although this is no fancy cuisine, who can turn down a hot, fresh glazed donut and a good ol’ cup of joe?

4. Rodeo Drive – Pretty Woman
Location: Rodeo Drive is a two-mile long street, in Beverly Hills, California
Pretty Woman Shopping







Julia Robert’s character was sent out enjoy the ultimate shopping spree – with or without a personal shopper – along Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive. Here you’ll find the most desirable window shopping as well as do some heavy plastic dropping at some of the world’s most exclusive designers such as Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Etro, Tiffany & Co, Chanel and Cartier.

5. Sunday Drive through the Hills – Weezer’s “Beverly Hills”
Location: Beverly Hills (residential areas)

“…Beverly Hills, that’s where I want to be! Living in Beverly Hills…” Here is where my inner “Realtor” kicks in: Mansions. Lush landscaping. Potential Previews properties heaven. Not to mention, some of these residences are owned by the most famous faces in the world, which is why we’ll be cruising through the ‘Hills jamming out with Weezer with the dream “rolling like a celebrity!”

6. Hollywood Sign & Griffin Park – Friends With Benefits
Location: Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains
Friends with Benefits Hollywood Sign






H. O. L. L. Y. W. O. O. D. The most iconic symbol of Hollywood is the Hollywood sign itself. One can arguably say that when you think of Hollywood, THE sign is the very first thing to populate your thought process – which is no surprise as to why it is on the list of things you must see. Although there is an overabundance of flicks to choose from that frame up this site, one in particular tops off the others – where Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis hike up to the top of the sign and climb into one of the “O’s”, where LAPD shows up demanding them to jump down. Frozen in fear, Timberlake can’t jump, and is forcefully removed from the sign via helicopter. Hilarousness.

7. Rose Bowl – Draft Day
Location: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr, Pasadena, CA 91103









This is going to be a stretch… although Draft Day was NOT filmed at the Rose Bowl (nor has a Rose Bowl reference, for that matter), I’m doing a throwback to some personal family ties. My brother, John Hall, was the place kicker for the Wisconsin Badgers (ON WISCONSIN!) during the 80th  Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 1994 where the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the UCLA Bruins 21-16. Draft Day features the Badgers and hubby and I have tix to watch the Bruins take on Utah Saturday, October 04, 2014 at 7:30pm. Lifelong mission to see the famous Rose Bowl in person: fulfilled.

8. Balboa Island (The Banana Stand) – Arrested Development
Location: Oceanside Wharf boardwalk, on Balboa Island in Newport Beach
Arrested Development Banana Stand






“There’s always money in the banana stand…” the famous words of George Bluth in one of the must underrated comedy series of all time, in the life of the Houseman household. Featured along the beautiful boardwalk of the Balboa Pier, this is one of many places to visit for some beautiful views and a chance to dip your toes in the Pacific. You may also want to check out the Santa Monica Pier, Venice Boardwalk and Malibu.

9. Dolby Theatre – Academy Awards/American Idol
Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028








Lights, camera, action! How many famous faces have visited this venue? Hundreds, thousands… probably way too many to count. And who will be sitting amongst the seats of the stars? YOU!! Our opening session which will be jam packed with some incredible speakers and lead by someone super famous (see “must do” number #10) and will be another event in the book, right behind American Idol and the Academy Awards.

10. Hollywood Game Night – Jane Lynch Selfie
Location: My. Camera. #Selfie
Jane Lynch_SELFIE_Social Squad










“Selfies” are totally the thing right now, especially after Ellen Degeneres walked into the crowd to take one the most epic selfies with some Hollywood stars ever taken with a few faces such as Jennifer Lawerence, Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum, Meryl Streep, Jared Leto and Kevin Spacey. Although the Social Squad hasn’t quite hit “A List” status, I like to think that they’re a pretty stellar group – which is why I went ahead and created the ultimate Gen Blue selfie with Jane Lynch (host of Hollywood Game Night & Fox’s GLEE Star) just in case we don’t all fit into the picture.

11. Universal Studios Hollywood – Despicable Me
Location: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
Despicable Me



“It’s so FLUFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFY!” I think I spit out my soda when I heard this in theaters since it was so stinkin’ cute! This animated feature is fun for kids of all ages (yes, that’s adults too) and is loaded with these adorable yellow beings called “minions.” Minions are the mastermind behind everything that is genius, and hilarious, in this movie and is also a ride at Universal Studios – in which you will have the opportunity to experience since this will be the location of our CLOSING PARTAAAAAY! That’s right, last year we were livin’ it up in the American History Museum, this year we’re closing down an entire theme park – just because you bleed blue and are a part of the Generation Blue Experience! I couldn’t imagine being a part of any other brand other than Coldwell Banker, not only because they know how to put together one incredible lineup of speakers to help us to grow our business, but they sure now how to throw one heck of a party for its brand. Can’t wait to see everyone this week at #GenBlue!!

Adventures in First Time Home Buying (what to look for and what to avoid)

[Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013:]

There’s nothing more exciting than researching homes on the internet, sifting through hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of homes listed for sale until you narrow down the possibilities and compile your list of those you’d like to see in person. In most cases, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

On numerous occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of walking through homes with First Time Home Buyers to discover some of the most outrageous and interesting features a house could possibly possess. Some in which you wish the Realtor would have posted pictures of, so you could’ve ruled it out as a possibility and saved yourself the gas and your precious time to see it.

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!
Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013:

Homes with holes in the floor (we could see the dirt fill below), bathrooms with the door against the toilet, homes that were previous crime scenes (which I found out later via “Googling” the address), an ENTIRE home that was a dedicated shrine of Dale Earnhardt Jr (I’m a fan, just not an entire house of it) and my personal favorite:  a bidet in the middle of a bedroom, yes, a bedroom.

It’s tough to see yourself in a home when either photos don’t do a good home justice or when a potential home is washed out by clutter or issues that are hard to look past. Here’s a few tips to help you to weed out the bad ones from the diamonds in the rough:

Do Your Homework:
Go online:  Did you know that most Realtors can send you listings via email to check out from the web from the comfort of your couch? Use their services to check out homes! Their MLS will be your most up-to-date source for what’s available on the market. Also check out and their app as well.
Do the Drive-by:  If it’s a good possibility, drive by the home and see if you like the location. This will help you to weed out more homes than you think.

Look Past the Surface:
Good Bones:  If shag carpet and gaudy wallpaper isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Those are cheap fixes to a home that may have great bones. Look past the things that are easily replaceable and look at the layout of the home, as adding an addition is way more expensive than that gorgeous granite you’ve been dreaming of.
Don’t Fall for the Bells & Whistles: Quite opposite of the last tip. A home may have some sweet upgrades like solid countertops and stainless appliances, but you aren’t too crazy about the layout. Just remember, you can always customize the home down the road but living in a home with an awkward layout can eventually get annoying. It’s more expensive to do a total renovation (knocking down walls, permits, etc) than it is to buy an entire stainless kitchen on a Memorial Day sale.

Think About the Future:
Resale, Resale, Resale:  That small bedroom that is a decent “office” now may not be a considered good-sized bedroom for a buyer down the road when you’re trying to sell, as this personally cost us 10+ buyers when selling our home!  Don’t compromise on things that you think may hinder your chances of selling the home in the future.
Replacement Costs:  Buying a home is an investment, especially if you have to replace a ton of stuff inside. Take a closer look at things like the roof, air conditioning unit, pool pump, and other high ticket items that could be in need of replacing. It’s good to budget replacement costs into your yearly budget, but you don’t want to take on a home that needs everything replaced all at once.

A Home Fit for a Family:
Busy Streets:  If you have or plan on having kids, that’s great, just make sure the house accommodates them! Any parent of a toddler will tell you that living on a busy street is one of the scariest things in the world as you watch cars fly by your driveway. Consider an area that has less traffic and will be safer for the little ones.
A Tub:  As silly as it sounds, you will want a tub in the guest bathroom. Unless you want your sweet munchkins taking over your master every night until they can bathe themselves, save yourself the insanity and make sure there’s a tub in the guest bathroom for the little ones.

These are just a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy a home for the first time. When in doubt about certain things, always consult your Realtor, as they are your best source of information in the home buying process.

No matter what your first time home buying adventure is like, just remember, you could always have a bidet in the middle of your bedroom.

A Mom’s Guide to Selling a Home While Maintaining a Family Life

What do you do to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life? Watch this video and tell us your tips and ideas below.

[Video featured in Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog, Mother’s Day 2013]
[Like the home featured in this video? It’s for sale, 5+ Acres of Southern Charm]

Being a mom is a lot of work, whether you’re working or even a stay-home-mom. Finding time to get everything done in a 24 hour period can be tough and adding keeping your house perfect for a buyer viewing your house at any moment is just icing on the cake.

Here are a few tips that you can do to stay on top of your busy mommy lifestyle, raising kiddos, and keeping your home ready for that perfect buyer to walk in the door.

1) Keep it Simple- Pack furniture, toys and other stuff away that’s not being used. Good rule of thumb is if it’s not used on a weekly basis, you won’t miss it if it’s in stored away for a while.

2) Get a System– Whether it’s the playroom, the kids rooms, your office (in this case the crafting mommy’s dream den), or the closets – get an organization system that works for you. If everything has a place, you’ll be more likely to keep it organized that way.

3) Clean out the closets– The simplicity factor should carry over to your closets. If there’s seasonal clothes in there that you aren’t wearing or if you’ve been putting off donating clothes to charity, now’s the time to do it. The less you have in your closet, the more room the buyer has to visualize their own stuff in that space.

1) Curb Appeal & Entry– First impression is everything! Have some family time on a Saturday or after school one day to have the kids help pull the weeds, mow the lawn, and trim up the bushes. This will give the buyer a good first impression as they walk up to the front door. [check out 5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend you may also like 5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects]

2) Clean as You Go- Although it may take a little more time to complete your task at the moment, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you only spend a few minutes tidying up as opposed to an hour. Done with dinner, give the kids a chore and rinse/fill the dishwasher! Hamper is full, throw it in the washer before dinner, dryer after, then fold it together watching a movie before bed. I promise you’ll thank yourself later when you get more time to yourself at the end of the night rather than cleaning.

3) Break it Up– I’ll usually take on different cleaning tasks every other night. For instance, one night vacuum, another sweep and mop, and another night wipe down bathrooms. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and doing it all at once when you get a call for a showing, which can be super stressful.

4) Spot/Speed Clean- I’ve managed to get a cleaning caddy that keeps all my supplies together and am able to make a quick sweep of the house once I get a call for a quick showing. Even if you just did a deep clean the night before, the spot clean comes in handy, as it did for me just the other day when I was doing a quick check of each room about an hour before a showing just to find a crayon mural on the kitchen window. After a chuckle, quick picture for Facebook, and some Windex from my caddy, I was on to the next room. Once I’ve finished a room, I turn on the light so I know that room is finished and move on to the next one. Lights (especially accent lights!) liven up the home and make it feel more inviting as the buyers walk through… take the time to turn them on before you leave, it makes a difference!

There’s  just a few tips I have for busy mom’s to help sell their home while keepin’ up with the kiddos.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’re doing to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life below!


Connect with Coldwell Banker (@ColdwellBanker), Lindsay Listanski (@LListanski), and myself (@brokerEXCLUSIVE) on Twitter for the latest in real estate.

For more local real estate information in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port Florida, check out my personal Realtor source

April Showers Bring May… Showers?


Rainy Florida Day. May 1st, 2013  (Photo courtesy of: @brokerEXCLUSIVE on Instagram)

Rain, rain, go away. Haven’t you heard, now it’s May!
(Photo courtesy of: @brokerEXCLUSIVE on Instagram)


“April showers bring May flowers.”

You know the springtime saying, who doesn’t?

I thrive on irony-filled days, and today, this is my focal point. Although it’s been on and off downpour all day here in the usually bright and sunny Florida, you can’t help but still enjoy the view.

Although the literal meaning of the idiom is shot, it doesn’t affect the true essence of the phrase.  No matter what kind of April you’ve had, I wish nothing but success, prosperity and blessings to your May. In my case, that’d be kicking butt in southwest Florida real estate.

Don’t let the rain ruin your day as there’s always naps, classic Tom Cruise movies (Top Gun on repeat) and the excuse to lounge in your pj’s for the majority of the day.



Coldwell Banker Agents “Keepin’ it Real” with Social Media

Ashley Houseman, Broker Associate/REALTOR's profile on

Screenshot: Ashley Houseman, Coldwell Banker Associate Broker, profile on
(Courtesy of:

With the way social media has taken off, it’s no surprise that Coldwell Banker (with the help of their brilliant Social Media Manager, Lindsay Listanski) is on top of it.

When you’re looking for that perfect Realtor, you can not only check out their bio, you can see what they’re up to in real time! Facebook, Google +, and Twitter feeds all appear on your agent’s pages. Just for the fun of it, here’s mine for example (left):

(It’s small, I know. Go here for the real deal):

So now you know. Keep up the good work, Coldwell Banker (& Lindsay), keep telling the world how awesome our brand is and always be keepin’ it real!


Connect with Coldwell Banker (@ColdwellBanker), Lindsay Listanski (@LListanski), and myself (@brokerEXCLUSIVE) on Twitter for the latest in real estate.

For more local real estate information in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port Florida, check out my personal Realtor source 🙂

5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend

  • Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. (Photo courtesy of

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. (Photo courtesy of


    You won’t have to plug them in or wire anything, either. Their solar-charged batteries are renewed every day, and the lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather.

    Types and cost:

    • Paper lanterns (made from synthetic, weatherproof nylon; $20-$30) are made for hanging and come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors.
    • Carriage lights can be fixed on top of a pillar or railing newel post. $45-$150.
    • Solar illuminated replicas of old-fashioned mason jars can be set on any flat surface, about $35.
    • Rope lights have small LED bulbs inside a flexible cord. A 25-foot-long rope with solar charger and stand is $25.

    What else: Suspend lanterns from overhead trellises, railings, and nearby trees, where they’ll shed a soft, colorful glow. Wind rope lights around rafters and railings.

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs
    3. Put up a privacy screen
    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking
    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs

    Dress up the transition from your deck to your yard with a little hardscaping — a stone landing at the bottom of your deck stairs. Stones are a natural compliment to wood decks, and they’ll help prevent mud from forming where there’s heavy foot traffic.

    Cost: Flagstone is priced by the pound; you’ll spend $60-$100 for enough stone for a 3-by-4-foot landing.

    How-to: Techniques for installing a landing are the same as putting in a patio, although you’ll have to temporarily support your existing stairway while you work around — and under — it.

    What else: You should be able to add a landing in less than a day. It’ll get done faster if you hire a pro, but it’ll cost you another $150-$200 in labor.

    3. Put up a privacy screen

    Whether you’re relaxing alone au naturel or entertaining friends, a little home privacy is always welcome. You can add some vertical supports and fill in a variety of cool screening materials that are as nice for your neighbors to look at as they are for you.

    Types and costs:

    • Bamboo fencing comes in a 6-by-16-foot roll for $20-$25.
    • Lattice panels are either wood or plastic, $15-$30 for a 4-by-8-foot panel.
    • Grow climbing plants on a trellis ($20-$100) to create a living privacy screen. Plant climbing vines in tall containers ($40-$120) to raise them above the deck surface and give them a head start filling in your screen.
    • Outdoor fabric resists moisture and fading; $12-$120 per yard. You’ll pay another $20 to have a seamstress cut and hem a 3-by-5-foot panel.

    How-to: Your privacy screen should integrate with your deck; make the framework using the same basic materials as your deck railing and structure.

    Add some flash by building a frame with 2-by-2- or 2-by-4-inch uprights spaced 1 foot apart, then weaving aluminum flashing between the uprights.

    What else: Make sure to position your privacy screen where you’ll get maximum benefit. Sit on your deck and check your lines of sight.

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking

    Punch up a boring old deck with a faux rug. This is a fairly low-cost project with a big wow factor, and one you can share making with your (well-behaved) kids. It works best on a newly cleaned deck (see below.)

    Cost: Most of your cost will be deck stain or paint in various colors. Because you won’t be using that much stain per color, you can buy quarts. Figure $15-$20 per quart.

    How-to: Figure out a size, sketch out the design on your decking, and then all you have to do is paint or stain between the lines. You can use painter’s tape as a guide, but a little leakage is likely on a wood decking surface.

    What else: Keep a few basic cleaning supplies on hand for any drips or spills. After the stain is dry, coat the entire deck with a clear deck sealer.

    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    The ultimate deck makeover is none other than a good cleaning. Applying a coat of deck sealant afterwards ensures your wood decking looks great and will last for decades.

    Cost: There are many brands of deck cleaning and brightening solutions. Some require the deck to be wet; others need the decking to be dry. Some are harmful to plants and you’ll have to use plastic sheeting to protect your landscaping. Consult the instructions carefully.

    You’ll pay $15-$25 per gallon, enough to clean 300 sq. ft. of decking.

    How-to: Scrubbing with a good cleaning solution and rinsing with a garden hose is more foolproof than scouring your decking with a power washer that may damage the surface of the wood.

    What else: After you deck is cleaned, apply a coat of deck stain or clear finish. The sealer wards off dirt, wear, and UV rays, and helps prevent deck splinters. A gallon covers 250-350 sq. ft., $20-$35/gal.


    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300.

5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

By: John Riha

Published: July 2, 2012

Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. Read


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