102 Hurricane Tips from Hurricane-Surviving Floridians

Florida is beautiful, which is why daily people move and retire here from all over the world (many to South Florida from the Northeast and Midwest) to trade their bitterly cold winters of shoveling snow for taking in sunshine, seemingly endless beaches and the warm salty air. With all the wonderful and good things the Sunshine State has to offer also comes the bad – mosquitoes, humidity (coupled with bad hair days) and hurricanes – just to name a few.

As Florida natives of 33 years, my hubby and I have seen ALL kind of storms. John lived through Hurricane Andrew in 1993. In college we waited out Wilma and Frances at his parent’s house in Fort Lauderdale. In 2004, Hurricane Charley leveled my hometown where my family lost our roof and I lost absolutely everything in my room (from yearbooks, childhood memories, etc). Then we’ve seen “big storms” that have ventured off course or dissipated. In fact, many times I remember growing up we’d be excited about “Hurricane Days” at school because they almost always turned into a gorgeous beach day (Florida friends, I know you remember these days and hurricane parties)!

Nonetheless, we’ve seen our share of hurricanes and the truth is, you never seem to know how things will turn out until it’s passed – or until Jim Cantore shows up to your ‘hood.

We’ve been blessed to make it to this day to say that we’ve survived all the storms in our past and we will – WILL SURVIVE – the storms that are yet to come. Scrolling through the newsfeed on various social media platforms, I’ve seen some pretty smart, practical, clever, silly and even insanely crazy ideas for some tips, advice and thoughts on how to prepare for and survive a hurricane from many of our Floridian friends (with some extra tips from my bestie, Nurse Kellee). Including this, which is sort of scary, but true. We live *here*.
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Whether you’re a seasoned storm survivor or if you’ve just moved to Florida and in panic mode because Publix or Walmart ran out of water, here’s a few list of things to keep in mind, put into practice and do when you’re preparing for a hurricane (note: these are in NO particular order, is not a complete or exact list that will work for everyone. Be smart and safe!):

1) Have a plan. If you don’t have one, start making a checklist now, an evacuation plan if needed and implement one or two of the suggestions you see below that you may find useful.
2) Get gas. Fill gas cans, top off vehicles. Last night around 10pm we called around to see who had gas and ended up going to a station that was filling up at that exact moment.
3) Buy bottled and gallon jugs of water.
4) Fill tupperware and freezer bags with water and start filling your freezer, you can use this as ice packs later, extra drinking water and water for pets. (have your littles help, it will get them mentally prepared for the storm and they will think this is fun!)
5) Stock up on some non-perishables. They always tell you to be prepared for 7-10 days, make sure you have enough goods for everyone in the household, even your pets!
6) First-aid kits. Scrounge up all you have around the house and pick up what you don’t have: including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly). Throw them in a bin!
7) Take pictures of important documents and upload them to your cloud (email yourself if you don’t know of any clouds other than the ones in the sky) or external storage device (such as a USB/pen/thumb drive) that you can easily take with you.
8) Take videos. Rooms. Valuables. Exterior of your home. Etc. Upload to your cloud (or other places) to easily access them after the storm for inventory and/or insurance purposes.
9) Fill your bathtub. Not necessarily for drinking, but flushing toilets or maybe rinsing your mouth out if you decide you brush your teeth to feel human
10) Put your shutters up. If you can’t, see if someone can help you.
11) Know your flood zone!! Check with your insurance agent to see what your zone is, you need to know if you’re prone to flooding, in which you need to make extra preparations (sand bags, flood insurance, etc). You can also check your address on the Evacuation Maps courtesy of www.FloridaDisaster.org/PublicMapping
12) Exterior goods need to be secured in a shed/garage/inside. Patio furniture, grill (we are brining this and all propane tanks inside), potted plants, bicycles, etc all become deadly projectiles during high winds and tornadoes.
13) Get cash out of the ATM. Lots of it, as you can’t use your credit card when there’s no power.
14) External battery packs. Thankfully we had a few Mophie chargers that will be a HUGE help (I’m not sure how I survived before without my wireless Charge Force Station).
15) Family up north you’ve been itching to visit? Now is a really, really good time to do so!
16) Determine what’s priceless and irreplaceable to you, keep them close or take them with you. Consider putting heirlooms & photos in plastic bins in a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them with you.
17) If you don’t have time to leave, now is the time to check with your local government on shelter locations. Here, most schools are locations so do not wait to check on these! (Click here for Charlotte County Emergency Management)
18) Medications. Get prescriptions filled asap, keep medical supplies together and prep a cooler to keep these things cold if needed.
19) What are the speeds of different hurricane categories?

Wind speeds of hurricanes:
Storm Category Winds
CAT 1 74-95 mph
CAT 2 96-110 mph
CAT 3 111-130 mph
CAT 4 131-155 mph
CAT 5 Over 155 mph

20) LAUNDRY! My most dreaded chore, but get it ALL done now. You’ll thank yourself later.
21) Itty bitties: diapers, wipes, formula, blankets, pillows, pacifier (or 4-5).
22) Littles: Pull-ups, wipes, blankets, pillows, favorite comfort snacks or special teddy.
23) Pencils/crayons/notebooks, a board game (we will likely be playing with Pokemon cards and learning the ins and outs of every single Pokemon in existence if we go without power for a few days) and a few things to pass the time with littles.
24) Teens: I don’t have any teens, but I’d think now would be a good time to pick up a good book series (maybe a Harry Potter book or two?) and to bring back the Walkman!
25) Since you just did all your laundry, sort out enough clothes for at least a week to 10 days (at least it’s less to put away, woo hoo!)
26) Unless you’re Jim Cantore, as tempting as it is to go outside to see what’s going on mid-storm, please be safe (and smart)… don’t do this:

27) Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the freezer.
28) Bug repellent!! (mosquitos are no fun)
29) Pick up extra pet and livestock food & supplies.
30) Share your evacuation plans with loved ones and family members so they know where you’re headed.
31) Secure ALL firearms and ammunition properly.
32) Old rags & beach towels on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels is better than soaked drywall or floors.
33) If you don’t already have your hurricane supplies, you need to please stop reading this and start heading out now. Many places are running low, you may be able to call ahead or do in-store pickup. *resume reading when you get home… here*
34) Brush up on your non-electronic solitaire skills with REAL CARDS (rules on how to play courtesy of Bicycle: click here)

35) Flashlights, lanterns and glow-sticks (for the kids)… we bought a mini flashlight with a wrist lanyard for each kid so they felt safe.
36) B.A.T.T.E.R.I.E.S. you can never have too many, stock up. A few lighters would be good too.
37) Pick up some adult beverages (CM for you, Mike Martin!) or wine to keep yourself a just a bit sane. When the power goes out, you can drink whites first, as reds will still be good later. Just today a customer of ours brought me this as a “Thank You” and said to add to our “hurricane supplies” (thank you, Emily!)
38) Weather Channel does their updates “on the 8’s” of the hour. Hurricane updates at 5am/pm and 11am/pm
39) Dust off the emergency radio and listen to NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS)
40) Click here for the difference between hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones (American Red Cross)
41) Never underestimate the power of a nice loooong, hot shower. Do yourself a favor and take one before power goes out.
42) Generators are your friend.
43) If you have this said generator, purchase a wall A/C unit. Once power is out, you can board your family up in one room in the house with the A/C unit and seal off the door with a mattress to keep one room super cool while you wait for power to be restored (we did this during a storm at my in-laws in college, genius and kept us sane with no power for over a week!)
44) Park vehicles as close to the house as possible (we have them horizontally in the driveway close to the garage)
45) Stock up on Oreo Cookies. Just because, everyone loves Oreos.
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46) When you lose power, cook EVERYTHING that will go bad. Better to have too much food than let it spoil and you can share with those who don’t have much or any.
47) Boil water to make it safe for emergencies (more info here from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
48) Flooding/storm surge/water is the leading cause of deaths during hurricanes, NOT wind. “According to the National Hurricane Center, storm surge, rainfall flooding, high surf, and deaths just offshore (within 50 nautical miles of the coast) combined for 88 percent of all deaths in the U.S. from hurricanes, tropical storms or tropical depressions from 1963 to 2012.”  (more info here by The Weather Channel)
49) Check with your local school district about closures. If they aren’t closed and part of your family’s plan is to evacuate, call for an excused absence, family safety first! (Local friends for Irma click here: Charlotte County Schools & Sarasota County Schools)
50) Look for your vet records in case you need to shelter your furry friends at a storm-safe facility.
51) When riding out the storm in your home, gather your family into the most innermost room with no windows, if possible. We’re sticking with the half bath, “shoe room” and possibly the under-the-stairs closet.
52) The Dollar Store has a plethora of glow-stick necklaces and bracelets, this would be great at night with the kiddos to make everything a little more fun and less scary.
53) Get a few boxes of Uncrustables to accompany your few bags of Veggie Straws, Chewy Bars, trail mix and Goldfish… (or snack of your liking, of course)
54) Fill up your Sun Pass for tolls, or make sure you have change for them.
55) Make sure you have one of these bad boys (bonus: they can open beer too!)
can opener
56) Set aside cooking tools and fuel, charcoal and propane.
57) Paper plates and plastic utensils are your friends (you can’t run the dishwasher, remember?)
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58) Check on your loved ones, family and even your elderly neighbor that lives alone. See if they need help, if they have needs. If you can’t take them in, get them in touch with someone who can help or a local shelter.
59) You did laundry already, make sure with your clothing you have rain gear and sturdy shoes. I wanted to buy these but I’m pretty sure they don’t exist (Lilly Pulitzer, please get on this, I’ll take one in YGR or RRR) 🙂
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60) Toiletries and hygiene items. Toothpaste. Brushes. Face wipes. Deodorant (maybe more than one)
61) If all else fails with plumbing/sewer/septic, maybe have a shovel close by to create your modern day outhouse out back. Sh*t happens. (pun intended)
62) If you’re reading this early enough to get a shipment, Amazon Prime is my new favorite hurricane prep tool for everything… even if it’s an extra French Press (momma NEEDS coffee)
Amazon Prime
63) Amazon Prime for everything but water, that is, unless you’re cool with paying $10-14/gallon. I almost fell into this trap until I read the reviews!
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64) Do the dishes now, the dirties sitting in the dishwasher are going to be stankkk when you can’t run it and it’s too late.
65) Keys. To your house. Car. Shed. Storage unit. Motorcycle. If they aren’t all in one safe place now. Get ’em together.
67) Travel safe. Interstate travel during evacuations and emergencies are no joke. Know the conditions before you go, as gas is a precious commodity. (Florida Highway Patrol’s latest Traffic Incidents)
68) Toolset. Know where it is, put the tools back that have been laying around the house in random places, etc. You never know when you’ll need them.
69) Pets. Do you know where there carriers are? Leashes? Muzzles? Meds? Portable dishes/tupperware? Prep for your furry friends.
70) You thought you had enough together to entertain your littles? Maybe grab a few extra toys, books and games to keep your sanity by keeping them busy.
71) You have a family plan, how about work? Make any necessary arrangements you need to professionally, be safe and smart, your health and well-being is of upmost importance.
72) DO NOT wade through standing water after the storm, you never know what’s in them, between alligators or live power lines that have fallen.
73) Pools and spas are perfect for bathing.
74) Canals, ponds and lakes (in Florida) are NOT perfect for bathing, there are alligators!!
75) Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
76) Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
77) Again, know what’s going on in your community and be prepared to evacuate if advised by authorities. Be careful to avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
78) **Please check with your insurance agent**  standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov
79) Sunscreen, especially when you’re spending time putting up shutters/prepping your home as well as getting everything back to normal afterwards (and you may also want to pick up an extra bottle of bug repellant)
80)  When your internet is out, so is Google Maps. Invest in one of those old fashioned paper ones just in case (get a paper map of your county/town/area)
81) Draft a list of your family and emergency contact information.
82) If you are evacuating, be sure to only return home when local officials say that it is safe.
83) Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company (praise God for our lineman who will be braving the storm to keep us safe)
84) Thank a first responder, they are in most cases not with their families to protect them from the storm or evacuate… thank them for their service to our community.
85) Post-storm, inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
86) Safe & Well with American Red Cross: If your community has experienced a hurricane, or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site available through RedCross.org/SafeandWell to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family. (source: American Red Cross)
87) Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings.
89) If you don’t own hurricane shutters, protect windows with one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
90) It’s ok to eat ALL the Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food in the freezer, it would be a shame to let it go to waste.
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91) Storm Surge: is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm’s winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast. Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries. (NWS/NOAA)
92) Tornadoes. Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm (NWS/NOAA)
93) Other places to store water, in your washing machine (top loader) and well tank. Also good for rinsing off, flushing toilets etc.
94) Vitamins, keep your body going. (and in my husband’s case, a 6-pack of Monster)
95) Reinforce the garage door.
96) First I’ve heard this, but was told to put an ax in your attic in case of severe flooding.
97) Comfort foods. Really, no power. No A/C. No cell service. No Disney Jr for your kiddos. It’s stressful, have some of your favorites on-hand.
98) Whistles for every person, you never know.
99) I didn’t order this in time, but my bestie did. A solar panel charger, USB, external battery, 2LED flashlights and carabiner for your cell or tablet – it’s like the modern day Swiss Army knife. Brilliant.
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100) A Swiss Army Knife (or any multi-tool) has always been good to have on hand, since 1897. Quite the selection here.
101) As always, once you feel your checklist is complete and you are 110% prepared for a storm, ask yourself WWJCD? (what would Jim Cantore do?) Everyone knows he’s where all the action is, you can follow his tweets here.

We have a Hurricane Season EVERY YEAR from June 1st – November 30th. Every. Year. We are survivors. We rebuild. The only thing we cannot replace are our lives, so no matter what you decide to do during a major storm, be safe. Be smart. Plan ahead. Prayers that the Good Lord be with you in your travels and all your decisions that you make to keep you and your family safe.

**Disclaimer: I am in no way an expert in hurricanes, a first responder, doctor, meteorologist, psychic or Jim Cantore – please be safe and take all necessary precautions to stay safe and always double check with your local government when planning and evacuating for an emergency.

102) If you are evacuating and can’t get out of the state or to a safe place, please visit https://www.expedia.com/florida, as they are working to create accommodations for residents who are evacuating. Thank you, Expedia!!

Exclusive Preview of [our!] Coldwell Banker Florida’s #PropertyOfTheWeek! {video}

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 11.53.09 PMIt’s not every day a beautiful home from small town of Fort Ogden, Florida gets an exclusive Coldwell Banker Florida’s “Property of the Week” feature out of thousands upon thousands of homes for the ENTIRE state of Florida, so this beauty is totally shareable, blog-worthy and the spotlight is on full blast!

This is more than just your future home, it’s everything you could ever desire for country living – fusing the sweet country life with everything you’d possibly need to love life – just 15 minutes away from downtown Punta Gorda. I think if Chip and Joanna Gaines ever laid eyes on this not-so-fixer-upper, they’d consider making it their own and expand out of Texas to open a 2nd Magnolia Market here and use their beautiful pole barn as a wedding venue.

Really, this needs to happen – someone please call up HGTV to do an in-home feature of their future show “Not-So-Fixer-Upper” and we’ll gladly star their pilot episode.

Just incase Chip and Joanna doesn’t get the opportunity to make this farmhouse beauty their Florida home away from home theirs before they’re done helping out Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas (check out this article by Country Living, seriously, how amazing are they?!), don’t fret, you can “call dibs” before they do and make it yours. Just a few things to expect when making the move to your forever farmhouse:

• Wake up to deer and turkey outside your master suite window
• Have evening adventures roasting marshmallows over 1 of your 2 fire pits
• Create memories hosting BBQs, gatherings and a wedding in your 3-bay pole barn
• Fish in your pond
• Explore seemingly endless trails among your hundreds of majestic oaks throughout your 18+ acre property
• Spend Sunday fun-days lounging on your sun shelf in your gorgeous pool
• Whip up Thanksgiving dinner in your dreamy kitchen, prepping on your working butcher block island and cleaning up overlooking your beautiful circular drive above your farmhouse sink
• Host bonfires on chilly fall and winter nights in your field
• Enjoy fresh eggs daily from your chicken coop
• ok, I could spend daaays on this list, just come see for yourself!

All this comes with this HGTV-worthy farmhouse you’ve been dreaming about. Take a look for yourself, fall in love and make an offer!

Want more details? Visit your Future Fort Ogden Farmhouse.

PS – I may or may not be the proud new owner of a “Texas Forever” t-shirt

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Contact Ashley Houseman
Team Leader of Houseman & Co.
with the Griffin Group of Coldwell Banker
Direct: +1.941.456.0020

7 Year Workiversary Present = it’s HUGE!

Forget the flowers, cards, fancy dinner at The Perfect Caper or an elegantly engraved milestone paperweight from Tiffany’s this year for the 7th Workiversary (ok, maybe Tiffany’s crystal golf ball would be fun)! This year, we start off year 8 with blessings and opportunities. With a team of 40+, rich with culture and diversity communicating with our future clients in 15 different languages. With a dear friend we met at Gen Blue in New York turned amazing team leader who launched her career at a young age out of survival-mode then built an empire while having a newborn then being diagnosed and BEATING cancer.

These past 7 years were any but an itch, we’ve considered it ALL joy – but the transition into year 8 starts the next level of the legacy. It’s our pleasure to introduce to you: Houseman & Co. – a division of the Griffin Group with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate!

3 Homes to Preview, $30 to Starbucks


Do you love previewing beautiful homes AND coffee as much as we do? If the answer is “yes”, you’re in for a real treat! This weekend, take an Exclusive Preview of one of our beautiful homes that are hosting an Open House and you’ll be entered in up to 3 drawings for Starbucks Gift Cards! We’re looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

dorothy-livecchi_headshotSaturday, February 11th from 1pm – 4pm, Good thing comes to those who’ve waited… this spacious 4 bedroom beauty in desirable North Port is finally ready for you to move in and make memories! Get an Exclusive Preview of this beautiful home and pay attention to every quality detail that went into the creation of this home. This is the ideal home you’ve been waiting for, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to visit and see this beauty in person so you can make her yours!  Located at 2180 Zuyder Ave, North Port, FL 34286 with our open house host, Dorothy Livecchi!

heidi-m_headshotSunday, February 12th from 2pm – 4pm, get an Exclusive Preview of this b-e-a-utiful home with all the upgrades you could possibly dream of, including a patio out back to enjoy your beautiful fenced backyard oasis!!  This 3 bed (possible 4!), 2 bath home is nestled within a neighborhood in North Port area that is conveniently located to absolutely everything you could possibly need in both North Port and Port Charlotte!  Located at 2599 Atwater Dr, North Port, FL 34286 with our open house host, Heidi Marquardt!

Sunday, February 12th from 12pm – 3pm
, didn’t get a chance to visit this beauty in person yesterday? Not to worry, this spacious 4 bedroom beauty in desirable North Port is finally ready for you to move in and make memories! Get an Exclusive Preview of this beautiful home and pay attention to every quality detail that went into the creation of this home. This is the ideal home you’ve been waiting for, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to visit and see this beauty in person so you can make her yours!  Located at 2180 Zuyder Ave, North Port, FL 34286 with our open house host, Cindy Pennington!

Curious for more details on these homes or others available in the market? Feel free to fire away the questions via email/text/call/FB messages, John and I would love the opportunity to serve you!

Have Facebook? Check out the latest listings that we’ve added to the market and recent closing day parties as well as connect with us socially!

2180 Zuyder Ter, North Port, FL 34286:

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2599 Atwater Dr, North Port, FL 34288:

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Ashley Houseman & John Houseman
Associate Broker / Associate Sales / REALTORS®
Multi-Million Dollar Producers
Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty
1951-D Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
C: 941.456.0020 D: 941.627.8125 F: 941.625.3653
Coldwell Banker® – National Profile

Market [in a] Minute – July 2016

“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 072016

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**

Want to view local MLS listings for free?  Visit www.BuyMeFlorida.com and feel free to ask us any questions about any homes for sale on the market or if you would like to have an exclusive preview of one in person!


North Port OPEN HOUSE 7/16/16!

Gini Smythe_HeadshotSaturday, July 16th from 12pm – 3pm, get an Exclusive Preview and be captivated by this beautifully updated 3+ bedroom (optional 4th bedroom!) home that is beaming with custom finishes throughout the inside while being surrounded by gorgeous landscaping on the outside located in the desirable & newer area of North Port, located at 2943 Belleville Terrace, North Port, FL 34286 with our open house host, Gini Smythe-Park!

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Curious for more details on these homes or others available in the market? Feel free to fire away the questions via email/text/call/FB messages, John and I would love the opportunity to serve you!


Ashley B. Houseman
Associate Broker / REALTOR®
Multi-Million Dollar Producer
Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty
1951-D Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
C: 941.456.0020 D: 941.627.8125 F: 941.625.3653
Coldwell Banker® – National Profile


Open Houses! Deep Creek & North Port 7/9-7/10/16 [+video!]

Annette Sanders_HeadshotSaturday, July 9th from 1pm – 4pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the 5 bedroom – yes, FIVE – 3 bath pool home that’s nuzzled up in between a cul-de-sac and a greenbelt in the desirable area of Deep Creek is located at 26293 Asuncion Dr, Punta Gorda (Deep Creek!), FL 33983 with our open house host, Annette Sanders!
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Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.14.00 AMSunday, July 10th from 1pm – 4pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the beautiful [& massive at 2,500+sqft!], 3 bedroom, 2 bath, privacy fenced pool home located at 2852 Orchard Cir, North Port, FL 34288 with our wonderful open house hosts, Sherry Wizieck and Pamella Lockhart!
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Curious for more details on these homes or others available in the market? Feel free to fire away the questions via email/text/call/FB messages, John and I would love the opportunity to serve you!

Don’t have time to visit Orchard Circle this weekend? Here’s an exclusive walk-thru with our Team Leader, Ashley HOUSEman!

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Ashley B. Houseman
Associate Broker / REALTOR®
Multi-Million Dollar Producer
Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty
1951-D Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
C: 941.456.0020 D: 941.627.8125 F: 941.625.3653
Coldwell Banker® – National Profile




History of a [not so] Boring Town

Have you or someone you know ever grown up in a super small town and said that when they “grew up” that they couldn’t WAIT to move away? Yeah, I grew up in a town like that.

One of those tiny towns where all my friends said they’d never come back. In fact, there was a song written about our little ol’ town to that effect. A song by one of my all-time fav bands growing up, a punk-ska band that originated in Florida – because everything amazing comes from Florida like Publix Subs, Lilly Pulitzer (shop local at The Palm on Park!) and Boca Grande Beaches, for instance. A band by the name of Less Than Jake (I hear they’re also big in Japan, just sayin’).

To hear its awesomeness, here’s their song direct from their album “Hello Rockview” and YouTube channel; but don’t stop there, this “boring town” gets better. So, so much better!


Ok, so where do things look up?

How about my birthday, for starters. For the last 31 years, I’ve had pretty much the worst birthday date in the history of birthday dates. I was born the day – one day – after Christmas, December 26. One my Canadian friends would call “Boxing Day.” Why is that so bad? How about for the last 31ish years I’ve heard… “here’s your Christmas… aaaaand birthday gift!!” *hands me combined gift*

Tis’ the season to give and not receive. Totally cool with that, but still, had I been born on Christmas in July, that’d be total awesomeness. Well, my friends, I’m happy to say the

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John (my hubby), Chris DeMakes, Me on his 1st Solo Tour at The Celtic Ray Irish Pub, 12/26/14

suckiness streak ended 2 years ago… when Chris DeMakes, lead singer of Less Than Jake, decided to do a “solo tour” and not ONLY play in my hometown at my favorite Irish Pub, The Celtic Ray, but he’s played the last 2 years in a row ON MY BIRTHDAY. Not going to lie, the holy grail of all birthday gifts came to me this past year when not only did Chris sing (& dedicate!) my favorite Less Than Jake song “History of a Boring Town” (see above), he – along with the rest of The Ray – sang “happy birthday” to me. Mind. Blown. Best. Birthday. EVER!


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Me, my bestie Kellee & Chris DeMakes on the 2nd Solo tour at Celtic Ray, 12/26/15

Yay, a great birthday tradition for me, so what makes this town even more awesome? How about my job, and my newest co-workers-of-a-team? My hubby, John, and I work together as a real estate team we call Houseman & Co with Coldwell Banker Sunstar Realty… and as of a few months ago, we have had the opportunity to work alongside another team – THE DeMakes Team – composed of papa Doug DeMakes and the one and only, Chris DeMakes.


It’s ok, you can be quasi-jealous. We daily have the pleasure of brushing shoulders with a world-renowned rock star celeb who was also not only one of our favorite musicians growing up, but is one of our lifelong family friends.


Doug DemakesDoug Demakes started in the real estate biz in 1980 with a main concentration in new construction and residential sales.  He says his favorite thing about having his son Chris in town when he’s not on the road is “Spending time together, and working out as a family at Krav Maga with the Shumans ATA Martial Arts and “getting excited for Chris’ new addition in December 2016!”  When it comes to working together, Doug feels that Coldwell Banker is a generous and giving company. Even when Chris is on tour, we’re multi-tasking while he’s on the road and working [everywhere and] anywhere from Florida to California to England, whatever the real estate need is for our customer, we can take care of it from the bus – phone or computer. One of us is always available, whether we’re entertaining on the road or in town at the office, we’ve been in [and selling] Florida for 40 years!”

Chris is quite the busy guy, and when he’s not on the road rocking out his talents, he’s at the office, he’s spending quality time with clients, he and dad are at the closing table. When I asked him what his favorite thing about real estate is, Chris replied, “Seeing the joy on the faces of first-time home-buyers when I help them find their dream home. Such a rewarding feeling!”

So what brought all this awesomeness together into an inspiration for a blog? Simple. I’m going with my bestie, who we’ll call Nurse Kellee, to witness Less Than Jake “Make Warped Tour Great Again” and rock the faces off of thousands of fans this Friday (July 1st, 2016) in St. Petersburg, Florida at Vinoy Park.

Want to know when the Vans Warped Tour ’16 is making a stop near your house? I’ve included the schedule, the killer line-up as well as the direct link to get your tix… because if you haven’t been to Warped Tour at least once in your lifetime, your bucket list is missing an action item –  and that, my friend, would make you a victim of living in a boring town!


Less Than Jake live at Vans Warped Tour ’16 in Dallas, Texas (photo credit: Mike Brooks)


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Open Houses! North Port 6/25-6/26/16

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.13.51 AMSaturday, June 25th from 11am – 4pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the beautiful [& massive at 2,500+sqft!], 3 bedroom, 2 bath pool home located at 2852 Orchard Cir, North Port, FL 34288 with our wonderful open house hosts, Annette Sanders and Pamella Lockhart!

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John Pappa Jr_HeadshotSunday, June 26th from 1pm – 3pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the perfectly peaceful true 4 bedroom, 2 bath home with a spacious fenced back yard [also perfect for entertaining, little ones or your fur babies!] located at 4274 Troost St, North Port, FL 34288 with our open house host, John Pappa Jr!

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Bucket List: Realtor.com 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 Realtor.com 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 Realtor.com 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!

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

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@RealtorPro’s profile on Instagram featuring Ashley Houseman’s Realtor.com Profile