THE ETIQUETTE OF THE REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION

REEtiquetteMar20#2-opt1Apparel, body language and attitude are among the factors that can make a difference when buying or selling a home.

Americans today enjoy the freedoms of the dressed-down workplace and relaxed attire standards that have become accepted at schools, churches, stores, restaurants and other places where people meet, greet and congregate—even formally. Indeed, comfort, casual and convenience are in, and the suit and tie, it would appear, are out.

Watchers of the new TLC cable program “Buying Naked” – in which nudist colony clients hunt for homes, and even meet with sellers, in the buff – may even get the idea that clothing itself is becoming optional in public places.

But when it comes to real estate transactions, appropriate attire and making a good impression via body language and demeanor remain important, particularly for buyers, sellers and agents meeting in person during an open house, private showing or other event, say the experts.

“We all judge each other based on first impressions, and certainly dress and attitude are seen first,” says Liz Recchia, owner/broker at We Sell Real Estate in Phoenix. “Standing with correct posture, speaking in clear sentences and dressing in an appropriate manner all assure the other party you are able and willing to fulfill your legal obligations.”

Jake Russell, a realtor with Keller Williams in Waco, Texas, says he often sees many sellers dressing like they’re running errands during a property showing.

“For most people, this real estate transaction will be the biggest they will ever make. My advice is to wear your very best clothes. People want to do business with great people, and buyers want to know that the home was well taken care of. Presenting yourself as having your life together leads buyers to believe the home is in great shape,” Russell says. “The way you dress and present yourself will also determine how a real estate agent treats you. If you and your house are sloppy, you may be put at the bottom of the agent’s list.”

The good news for sellers and buyers is that they don’t necessarily have to invest in a new business wardrobe or sign up for an Emily Post seminar prior to listing or shopping for a home. That’s because it’s less common nowadays for prospective purchasers to meet face-to-face with sellers and vice versa.

“In my area, we don’t close at the same title company, and it’s common that the seller is not in attendance when homes are shown,” says Jake Breen, managing broker/realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Utah Properties in Park City, Utah, who isn’t as strict in his advice to clients on proper attire.

“Most of my clientele are actually dressed casually when they go out to home shop. But on the occasion we do meet a seller who is home, I recommend that, no matter the attire worn, they put on a smile, display positive body language and exude a good attitude that’s engaging and inviting,” Breen says.

Keep in mind that overdressing can sometimes backfire, too, especially for buyers. Eric Grauberger, an agent with Team Denver Real Estate in Denver, had a buyer client clad in fancy garb and ample bling and pulled up at a home for sale in a flashy car.

“The seller, who was home at the time, noticed the buyer candidate and later rejected his offer because she thought the buyer could afford much more,” says Grauberger.

The bottom line? Buyers and sellers should follow the face-to-face meeting protocol golden rule: Treat the other party as you would want to be treated, says Recchia, and abide by common courtesy. That means dressing for success, being polite, making eye contact, avoiding rude comments, shaking hands, not speaking too loudly or softly, and, of course, saying “please” and “thank you.”

5 STEPS TO WOWING YOUR LADY

WowYourLadyPgFeb20#FINALHow will your 2020 Valentine’s Day be remembered? Good, bad, or, worse yet – indifferent?! Fear not – there is a way of attaining the best outcome this Feb. 14, which is just around the corner. Abandon old traditions and do something to sweep her off her feet with these five steps:

Before the big day, drive her wild with anticipation by telling her you have the most amazing surprise for her. This promise will keep her guessing and make her think about your evening.

Know her favorite flowers. If you don’t, don’t panic. You can find out by making a comment, like “I’ve noticed plants blooming early this year …” and steer the conversation from there. In a beautiful vase, arrange an exotic bouquet and hide it somewhere in your home on the special day. She’ll like that you created the presentation.

Go to your local chocolate shop and select her favorite kinds of chocolate. Have them boxed and nicely wrapped to prevent her from knowing what it is when you present the chocolates to her.

Create a dish and name it after her. For example, if her name is Anne, you might call the dish “Tournedos Princess Anne.” This step is the most important. I can assure you after having spent time in some top-notch restaurants, food that is named after a person is a special honor. We all know how women love it when their men do the cooking. What I do is cut and precook the vegetables, and I even make the sauce beforehand to make sure I get it as perfect as I can. Leave everything in the fridge. Then, on Valentine’s Day, I set the table before I start the cooking part. On both plates, place a fresh RED ROSE. The single rose is just part of making her think that is all the flowers she will be getting (but we know differently). When she gets home, make sure to get her to promise she’ll stay out of the kitchen. Tell her not to spoil the surprise!

When everything is ready, plate the food, cover it and take it to the dining table, and then ask her to come and sit. Before you uncover the lid, have her close her eyes. Retrieve the hidden bouquet, place the flowers on the table, and ask her to open her eyes. Pay attention to how she responds. Tell her what you’ve named the dish.

But that’s not all – after the meal, take her by the hand, walk her to the living room and sit her down. Bring out the boxed chocolate, go on one knee and tell her, “This is for you,” or, “You make me feel whole,” or, “You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I love you.”

Overkill? – Not at all. Remember, you don’t have to know why this works, but only that it does work.

About Ernest Quansah

Ernest Quansah (www.relationshipadviceforsuccess.com) is a love relationship success expert with more than a decade of experience. He is the president of Relationship Advice for Success, and founder of Online Dating, Relationship, and Marriage School (ODRMS). After much research and experience with heartache – divorce, breakups and the devastating consequences – he has discovered the keys to finding and maintaining meaningful, long-lasting romantic relationships. He is also the author of Do’s and Don’ts of Relationships: Nine Steps to a Deeper, Richer Love Relationship, 2nd edition.

RESOLVE TO BE A HEALTHIER YOU

15069_A_UF(Family Features) While traveling more, losing weight and quitting bad habits are annually among some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, the turn of the calendar does represent a perfect opportunity to better yourself in multiple ways.

15069_C_UFThe impact of taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle – from committing to eating well, sleeping better, drinking cleaner water or boosting your nutrient intake – can be far-reaching, but also overwhelming. Gradually incorporating the health-focused habits you hope to make permanent fixtures in your life can help ensure the process isn’t overly taxing, and some products can help ease the transition as well.

Find more tips to help keep you on the right path toward reaching your wellness goals at eLivingtoday.com.

New Year, Cleaner Water

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Download Wellness this Year

To help achieve your health goals in the new year, consider downloading the free Nature’s Pharmacy app. It cross-tabulates 57 health priorities, such as increasing good cholesterol, preventing cardiovascular disease and easing insomnia, along with desired outcomes like improving energy levels or reducing wrinkles with 74 fruits and vegetables. By selecting a concern or desired outcome, the app, which is available on iOS and Android devices, generates a selection of produce that can aid in reaching those goals. For more information, visit limoneira.com.

15069_D_UFA Simple Vitamin Solution

If you’re tired of swallowing multivitamins, consider an option like Vitamin Booster+ to help make your morning ritual more enjoyable. Simply dissolve one drink stick in water to get 100% of your daily essential vitamins along with 610 mg of electrolytes. Containing real fruit juice and only 15 calories per serving, this vitamin-dense drink is ideal for the whole family and is available in single-serve lemon-lime flavor sticks for an on-the-go boost. Find more information at drinknutrient.com.

A Sleep Apnea Solution

For those who suffer from sleep apnea, one of the best ways to get the sleep you need is the DreamPort Sleep Solution, which is small, lightweight, headgear-free and easy-to-use. You can say goodbye to bulky headgear and uncomfortable straps as nothing constricts your movement or gets in the way. Plus, it fits the shape of your nose for zero leaks to provide a better 15069_F_UFnight’s sleep and more energetic days. Visit bleepsleep.com for more details.

COUNTRY SIDEWALKS

CountrySidewalks19pageBETHANY

Start off your holiday season on December 7 by celebrating at Bethany’s “Christmas in the Village.” Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m., you will find tours, open houses plus holiday experiences and activities at numerous venues.

As you stroll around town, be sure to enjoy the hospitality of our popular bed and breakfasts—E. Kellogg and James Manning House; sample some holiday treats and, at James Manning House, join in the festivities by singing carols led by Honesdale High School’s Chamber Choir.

Down the road and across the street, Mrs. Claus will visit Bethany Library to help children write their letters to Santa, and Bethany Historical Society will offer tours of the historic “fireproof” borough building and a display of Christmas trains. Around the village be sure to look for Victorian Strollers.

Next door, Bethany United Methodist Church will be open for tours, and visitors experience the advent season in a family friendly activity.

Bethany Village, the senior living facility and personal care home in the borough, hosts a tricky tray and Christmas tree lighting.

Seasonal food and beverages will be available at most locations, and there will be many other surprises. Bethany is located three miles north of downtown Honesdale on Route 670.

For information call (570) 253-5573 or the library at (570) 253-4349.

 

HONESDALE

There is plenty to do throughout December for people of all ages, from holiday open houses to train rides.  Shop till you drop and then head to these businesses for festive fun.

  • 25th Annual Ornament Hunt: December 7th at 10 a.m. in Central Park. Children can “hunt” for ornaments for a chance to win prizes. No child goes home empty handed.
  • Annual Holiday Open House at Highlights for Children: December 7th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., complete with music, crafts, refreshments, free gifts, and more fun for the whole family.
  • Holiday Craft Fair: December 7th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ladore Lodge, Ladore Pavilion and Carousel & Staff Lounge Building in Waymart. Enjoy handmade items, baked goods, maple products, homemade soaps, jewelry, refreshments, and more. The best place to find that one-of-a-kind gift!
  • 8th Annual Holiday Artisans’ Market: On December 8th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cooperage, showcasing the work of many talented artisans of the Upper Delaware Region. You’ll find a selection of unique handcrafted gifts for friends & family.
  • Annual Chorus and Band Holiday Concert: On December 17th at 7 p.m., the Honesdale High School Chorus and Band will perform holiday favorites in the high school auditorium on Terrace Street.
  • Honesdale High School Annual Light Show will take place in mid-December. Don’t miss the spectacular light show timed to holiday tunes playing on the radio. The show runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Luminaries on Main: On Christmas Eve, enjoy 300 luminaries lining historic Main Street.
  • Throughout the month, Santa Express train rides on the Stourbridge Line will be available. Join the fun as Santa Ho Ho Ho’s his way through the train visiting all the good boys and girls and posing

for pictures and giving the children a special gift.  Call (570) 470-2697 or visit www.thestourbridgeline.net.

For more information about these and more December events, visit www.visithonesdalepa.com.

MILFORD

Stroll along the streets and alleys and step into antique stores, unique restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, a historic theater, and specialty shops.  There are also historic architectural structures including Grey Towers, the former home of America’s first forester Gifford Pinchot; and The Columns Museum, where the Pike County Historical Society is with historical artifacts and memorabilia including the famous “Lincoln Flag.”  Both buildings are open to the public.

  • Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony: The free event is held December 7th on the lawn of the Community House at the corner of Broad and Harford Streets. The beloved event features free hot cocoa and cookies for children of all ages. Enjoy a performance by the Dingman Delaware Middle School Chorus beginning at 4:30 p.m.  The ceremonial countdown and lighting will be at 5:15 p.m. As part of the countdown, Santa Claus will arrive on top of the Milford Fire Department’s Engine 33 with a very cool team of reindeer on motorcyles.  Come out for a great evening with friends and family and enjoy extended shopping hours, open house celebrations & dining throughout town.
  • Craft Store Holiday Open House: On December 6th, the Pike County Developmental Center hosts an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Find hand-crafted gifts for all occasions.  Enjoy complimentary refreshments.  The center is at 107 West Ann Street.  For more details, call (570) 296-6319.
  • Girls’ Night Out: December 5th from 5 to 8 p.m., Enjoy a night out in Milford hosted by Milford Presents. You can enjoy extended business hours, product sampling & promotional offers. For more information, visit www.milfordpa.us.
  • “A Christmas Carol” at Grey Towers: Four shows of the dramatic reading on December 7th & 8th.  For more information on Grey Towers, visit www.greytowers.org.
  • Holiday Tours & Photography Exhibit at Grey Towers National Historic Site: Beginning December 9th through the 22nd. Guided holiday tours of all three floors of the beautifully decorated mansion are available at 1 and 3 p.m. Each floor is decorated with a different theme or era.

In addition to the guided holiday tours, visitors can enjoy the photography show with pieces representing nature, forests and Grey Towers, by members of the Pike Imaging Council.

  • Holidays Around the World: December 14th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Milford Theatre. Croatian-born singer Astrid Kuljanic and musicians of the Transatlantic Exploration Company will delight the audience with an array of music and song of the Balkan region and Western Europe, American jazz standards, Brazilian sambas, and more, including a holiday-related repertoire. Presented by Kindred Spirts Arts Programs.  Tickets at the door $20, $15 in advance.

HAWLEY

Friday December 13th – Sunday December 15th

Hawley Winterfest has been planning all year to welcome visitors and neighbors to this favorite seasonal event in our region.  Driving through town on a chilly December day brings happy anticipation where you can almost hear the clip-clop of the majestic horse & carriage as it strides through the historic town. Listen closely for the train whistle of The Stourbridge Line as it will be gliding down the tracks along the scenic Lackawaxen River taking Hawley Winterfest passengers for a ride in its decorated coaches.

During Hawley Winterfest, you will smell the crocks of delicious homemade hot soup served at the Hawley Library, and taste tempting cookies with steamy cups of hot chocolate as you navigate the festive sidewalks.

Hawley will be alive with activity for all ages to enjoy in this epic event celebrating over 20 years of tradition. Guests will love the cheery music and entertainment, including a free performance of an original holiday show at the marquee building, The Ritz. Churches will open their doors and offer craft activities, hand bell concerts, the infamous Cookie Walk and the poignant story of Christmas via a live presentation of the Road to Bethlehem.

Everyone is invited to park their car and hop on the free shuttle to travel in comfort from one end of town to the other.  Pop into the Artisan Fair for unique crafts and one-of-a-kind gifts, visit the small shops for store specials and give away gifts, watch demonstrations, and be sure to grab a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a Victorian setting. Don’t forget to bring your pet too for fun photos at various locations.  Purchase a ticket for the Holiday House Tour of Lakeville featuring unique properties and showcasing lake lifestyles.

Wake up early for a morning yoga stretch and a cup of hot coffee and feel energized all day. For after hours events, grab a Beer Tour card and sample some seasonal sips at 12 participating establishments.  Buy a ticket to hear world renown harpist Erin Hill from New York City perform a special concert “Christmas Harp” with her amazing quartet.

This event is hosted by volunteers and business owners of the Downtown Hawley Partnership.  Come home to Hawley whether for the first time or the next time.  Hawley Winterfest looks forward to welcoming you!

To learn more and purchase advance sale tickets please visit: www.hawleywinterfest.com.

See you there!

STROUDSBURG

One of the many great holiday events in Stroudsburg is Quiet Valley’s Annual Old Time Christmas, taking place on December 7, 8 and December 14, 15 with candlelit tours leaving every 15 minutes beginning at 3:00 p.m., with the last group going out at 7:00 p.m.

More than any other holiday, Christmas celebrations center on the traditions of our families and our heritage.  Begin a new tradition with your family this year during an outing to Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, where the Christmas customs of the past are brought to life. From the softly glowing lantern light to complimentary hot chocolate and cookies, Old Time Christmas is sure to become a favorite holiday pastime for many years to come.

Gather around a bonfire while you wait for your visit to the 1800s to begin. Guides in period clothing will lead guests on their

journey into the past beginning with this year’s Victorian skit. Glimpse an 1890s Christmas as the family reminiscences and makes new holiday memories. Before you leave, take a peek at their Christmas Putz, a homemade nativity and village scene that was a custom the Moravians began and was soon enthusiastically adopted by the Pennsylvania Germans.

Afterwards it’s on to the living nativity located in the barnyard which includes the Quiet Valley farm animals and offers a look at the foundation of this special celebration, including a soloist and scripture readings. Then off to a simple log cabin where visitors experience the rustic Christmas of the early 1800s. At the one room schoolhouse, it is a jolly time as the school marm leads both the musicians and guests in singing their favorite seasonal carols. There is plenty of nervous excitement in the cellar kitchen as folks await a visit from the Belschnikel, a traditional Pennsylvania German character who made his rounds during the Christmas season. He is the one who really knows if you were naughty or nice.

The final stop is in the Engel Education Building for complimentary refreshments which adds a final festive touch to the visit. As you leave, be sure to stop in the holiday gift shop which is stocked with heritage crafts handmade by Quiet Valley artisans. It is the place to find unique gifts at reasonable prices.

All funds raised support the mission of the non-profit farm museum.

Those looking for a truly meaningful way to start their Christmas season will discover it at this very special event.

Old Time Christmas is held annually the first two full weekends of December.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-12, with those under three admitted free.  You will be outside part of the time, so remember to dress warmly. No pets or smoking please. Groups of 12 or more with reservations, receive a discounted price any of the four days, when going out between 2:30pm through 3:30pm. Perfect for scout troops, church groups and large families that want to go together. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to see all of Old Time Christmas.

For more information contact Quiet Valley at 570-992-6161, farm@quietvalley.org, or visit the website at www.quietvalley.org.

SMOKE DETECTORS AND TEN YEARS… WHAT’S SO SPECIAL

FireSafety19By Gary Ryman

You know that smoke detector in the hallway? Yeah, the one you (hopefully) change the battery in once a year—the one that has been there for, oh, it seems like forever.  If it’s over ten years old, and it probably is, that smoke detector may not work when you need it most.

Smoke detectors were never intended to last forever, and now new models designed for a ten-year life with sealed batteries which never need to be (and can’t be) changed are readily available.  Some states now require the use of these “10-Year” smoke alarms.  Maryland recently implemented a law that will require all apartments and homes to have this type of detector by 2018.

These new style detectors come with sealed lithium batteries which eliminates the need to get the ladder, kitchen chair, or stool out for that annual replacement.  If you’re like many folks, it’s only the irritating beeps of the low battery alarm that remind you of the need for a new battery in any case.  The 10-year detector batteries are non-replaceable, which forces the resident to replace the entire unit when the battery eventually expires.

So why should I buy one of those ten-year detectors?  There’s nothing wrong with my existing smoke alarm.  I even saw new 10-year batteries on line and at the local home center that I can use in my present detector.  Problem solved.  Well, not really.  The National Association of State Fire Marshals has an answer.

“Just like any electrical appliance, the components of smoke alarms wear out over time.  When a smoke alarm reaches ten years of use, the potential of failing to detect a fire increases substantially.”  They note this applies to both hardwired and battery operated detectors.  The National Fire Protection Association agrees, recommending replacing all smoke alarms at least every ten years.

So how many detectors should a home have and where should they be located?  The answer can differ depending upon the home and local or state codes.  National standards recommend that for new homes, a smoke alarm is provided in each bedroom, and at least one outside the bedroom area, but near enough to be heard in the bedrooms with the doors closed.  In addition, there should be at least one detector on each floor level of a home, including basements.  This is so regardless of where a fire starts, inside or outside a bedroom, the occupants receive prompt warning.  For existing homes, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends a detector outside the bedrooms and at least one on each level of the structure.  Both they and the National Association of Fire Marshals agree that more is better, and providing the numbers called for in new construction is best.

There are two types of detection, photoelectric and ionization.  They each look for different signs that combustion, a fire, has started, and both have advantages.  Photoelectric detectors more readily pick up signs of a smoldering, slow developing fire.  Ionization units are better for fires with open flames.  The NFPA recommends homes have a combination of both installed.  You can buy detectors of either type or dual sensor units, which use both technologies in a single detector body.

For those with hearing disabilities, special smoke alarms are available.  These units use strobe lights and can have supplementary vibration devices to alert residents.

Where should detectors be mounted?  Since smoke rises, high on ceilings or walls is best.  On ceilings, detectors should be at least four inches from the closest wall.  If installed on a wall, the detector should be at least four inches down from the ceiling, but no more than one foot.  If your ceilings are pitched, the high point is the preferred location.  Near doors or windows where air flow can interfere with their operation should be avoided, and never paint a detector.  Paint, stickers, or other decorations can prevent the unit from functioning.

Still not sure what to do?  Some fire departments have programs to assist homeowners with obtaining and installing detectors.  At a minimum, your local department can be a source of good advice.  For questions, call the local fire department non-emergency phone number.

Statistics vary, but all show that a frightening number of homes in which smoke detectors are installed have non-operational units.  Installing 10-year sealed battery smoke detectors can help ensure functioning alarms are present and ready to help reduce the chances of tragedy.