Reality TV vs. Reality Realty


By Christine Groves, Licensed Broker, Realtor®

Like a lot of people, you can find me watching one of those great real estate shows featuring home buyers and home renovators. As a real estate professional, my family finds it humorous that I continue to think of real estate during my down-time, but those television shows are so entertaining. Buying your first home, home transformations from outdated to updated, property flipping, DIY projects, etc. is great reality television. However, the perception of what the process is really like differs greatly. So many of my clients are surprised at the reality of the home buying and home renovation process that I thought it best to clarify 3 glaring differences between reality television and the reality of real estate:

  1. TIMELINE – In a half hour or hour television program, the journey of a homeowner or home buyer is portrayed from start to finish. Viewers wait for the happy ending when a home is transformed from blah to beautiful, property virgins find the perfect home to call their own, and investors flip a revived home for a tidy profit. Most shows take you through this nail-biting process over the course of days or weeks, when in reality all good opportunities take time with lots of potential delays and trials of patience. Home buyers do not typically see three homes and then pick one, designers and contractors do not usually transform our homes in a week, and investors don’t ever buy a home to renovate and sell at a profit 30 days later. In reality, a home search can take a lot of homework and seeing several homes before finding what truly works for you; a home renovation can take months of planning, contractors, and dust; a home flip is far more complicated and risky, taking great resources and determination. One of the biggest investments in life is not supposed to be as easy as television glamorizes.
  2. BUDGET – The idea that you can completely redecorate a room for $1,000 or convert a “hot mess” ready to list for $10,000 or gut kitchen, bathrooms, and load-bearing walls into dream spaces for $40,000 is too good to be true for most people. All good things come with a cost and the majority of us don’t have sponsors and limitless resources to finance our transformations. Whenever considering a home project or renovation, you must have enough of a budget for quality materials and quality contractors. Shop for bargains, obtain several estimates and referrals, and work with people that respect your budget. Be prepared for unforeseen additional construction costs and changes to closing/moving expenses. Real estate is a long-term investment and not an area to cut corners.
  3. DETAILS – So many of my clients say to me “buying/selling a home is so much more complicated than I thought” which is followed-up by their appreciation for having a real estate professional’s help. Buying a home is not as simple as “I want that one, do you take credit cards?” Renovating a home is not “please transform my home, I will be back next week.” All good things come to those who wait…..which means hard work, big decisions, and patience. Ratings for reality shows would drastically drop if you had to watch hours of documents, legal issues, market statistics, permits, lender underwriting, phone calls, emails, etc. The key is to find the right professionals to guide you through a complicated process and maximize your outcome.

Real estate demands realistic expectations. Do your homework and work with experienced professionals. Instead of waiting for a camera crew to show up and make your dreams come true, you need to make things happen by hiring the right people for the job and making well-thought decisions. The end result is actually better than what you see on television because it’s your home.


Super Bowl Sunday Funday

By Shannon Perkins, Marketing Coordinator

I am a bit ashamed to admit that I am the stereotypical female who knows very little about football. In fact, the only reason I paid attention to the Super Bowl last year is because I tricked myself into believing it was a Beyonce concert. This year I’ve decided to celebrate the Super Bowl by making sure everyone knows how to prepare a hearty spread of dips, snacks and drinks while they cheer on their favorite team.

Make a signature drink

It’s expensive to buy an assortment of beer, wine and liquor. Make your party memorable and simple by creating a signature drink and putting it in a big punch bowl. Mix vodka and lemonade and toss in some ice, create “beer-mosas” with beer and orange juice, or go for simple sangria with a bottle of wine, ginger ale, and a pile of colorful fruit. Click here for even more game day drink ideas.

Buffalo Wings from Parade

Buffalo Wings from Parade

Just wing it

I love wings in any shape, flavor or fashion and it goes without saying that the Super Bowl is a holiday for wing-lovers! Buffalo-style is still the favorite flavor of most wing-lovers, followed by barbecue, breaded or fried, teriyaki and sweet and sour sauce. Most wing connoisseurs dip their wings in ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, blue cheese or hot sauce. Click here for more wing recipes your party goers will love!

Slider Burger Party by PS by Dila

Slider Burger Party by PS by Dila

Create a slider bar

Make small patties, grill them, and pile them onto a big tray next to a platter of slider buns. Fill the table with bowls of onions, pickles, mayo, salsa, cheeses, jalapenos, bacon bits, and anything else you would like to see on your burgers. Make sure to have turkey and beef burgers to please your diverse audience! Hint: This works for tacos, too.

I dip, you dip, we dip

All Super Bowl parties must have a dip. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cheesy, gooey concoction or a fresh veggie salsa. Making dips is easy, and your dishwasher will thank you come post-game cleanup time. Check out a few of my favorite recipes here.

It’s time to consume flavor-packed, easy-to-eat treats without a care in the world for diets. I’m sure there are healthier ways to celebrate the Super Bowl, but how much fun would that be?

For more Super Bowl Party ideas, visit our Super Bowl Sunday Funday board on Pinterest.

Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving in a Small Space

Space Solutions for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

By Shannon Perkins, Marketing Coordinator,  Regional Support Center

The task of hosting holiday celebrations should not be limited to homeowners. While this may prove to be challenging for renters, proper planning makes it possible for things to go smoothly. In addition to preparing as much of the meal ahead of time as possible, it is important to have small snacks on hand for the crowd before dinner. Below are a few tips that can help apartment renters prepare to host thanksgiving dinner.

Delegate tasks

A good hostess knows that delegating tasks is just as important as preparing meals. Consider having friends and family bring a dish as it may cut down on the amount of storage needed and post dinner cleanup. Be prepared to delegate the following items:

  • Drinks
  • Bread / rolls
  • Pie
  • Salad
  • Side dish
  • Appetizers

Finding space

Having company in a small and cluttered home is a recipe for disaster. In order to have a large event in a small area, it is imperative to make the most of your space.

  • Rearrange furniture and look for new possibilities in each room. Use your largest space as the dining room or major seating area.
  • If your apartment has a nice view, think about arranging the seating near the window. A focal point such as a picture or mirror can make tight space appear larger.


  • Trying to find an extra table may be difficult if you are not accustomed to hosting large parties. Ask guests that do not cook to assist by lending useful furniture. Renting these items may also be an option.
  • Thanksgiving dinner can work well if you make your bookshelves, counters and tables serve multiple purposes. A tall bookshelf would work well for serving drinks and appetizers, as well as a bar area. Trays can also be a wonderful way to serve extra guests, particularly if they are sitting on a comfortable couch or chair.

When everyone is finally sitting around your table , enjoying their delicious meal you’ll be thankful your hard work paid off… and that Thanksgiving only comes once a year!

Clean Your Refrigerator Day Checklist

By Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist, Regional Support Center

Clean your fridge day

November 15th is “Clean Your Refrigerator Day.” If you’re like me, this probably doesn’t sound like a holiday you want to celebrate, but it is a reminder to get this chore out of the way before the holidays. The fridge is one of those places you visit multiple times a day, but rarely makes it to the chore list as much as it should.

If you’re selling your house, remember people look in, under and behind the fridge (eek!). So for refrigerator-cleaning-procrastinators, like myself, here is a checklist to break it down into easier tasks to tackle:

  1. Purge: Unplug the refrigerator, then empty out the contents and get rid of anything past its expiration date. Put everything perishable into coolers.
  2. Drawers: Remove the drawers and glass shelves set in the sink to soak with sudsy warm water. Let glass shelves get to room temperature before washing.
  3. Inside: Spray the sides, top, bottom and wire shelves with a multi-surface spray and wipe down. Use an older toothbrush to scrub the seals and seams.
  4. Under:  Slide a duster with a long handle under to remove dust and dirt.
  5. Behind: Don’t forget to pull out the refrigerator a bit to sweep and mop.
  6. Outside: If you have stainless steel, a little bit of distilled vinegar on a microfiber towel rubbed in the direction of the grain works best. For other surfaces, multi-surface cleaner and paper towels will suffice.

Now replace all the food, plug it back in and enjoy the rest of “Clean Your Refrigerator Day.” I think you deserve it.

*Additional trick: If you have a stubborn stains on a white fridge exterior or interior, then turn to magic erasers – they can be your best friend.

Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

Guest blogger: Brooke Balco, Communications Specialist, Regional Support Center

Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Holidays

With Halloween in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to the holiday frenzy that’s about to ensue. For many, the holiday season means gathering with loved ones to celebrate tradition, but for others it can mean stress and chaos.  The good news is that when it comes to prepping your home for entertaining family and friends, there are many tricks of the trade that will get your space party-ready in no time. Before you stress out, take a deep breath and read on.  

“Entertainment space in a home can be a major selling point, and more and more homes are being built with this in mind,” explains Fran Broude, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.  “This is one reason why open floor plans are some of the most sought after designs.  Especially in the kitchen and living room areas, it offers great space conducive to hosting gatherings.”

How can I possibly fit all of my friends and family in my living room?
Open up your living room by removing large pieces of furniture and rearranging the remaining to allow guests to move around freely.   Not only will this free space for more standing room, but it will also make your room look larger.  If you’re hosting a formal dinner party and don’t have a dining room, use the cleared out living room space to rent large tables that will accommodate your guests.

How can I make my home look festive but elegant?
There’s a fine line between tasteful décor and distracting clutter.  Your home will feel most inviting with subtle personal touches and holiday cheer, without going overboard with holiday trinkets.  Other great ways to create a comforting ambiance is to burn lightly scented candles, light the fireplace, play with the lighting to set the mood and be sure to play festive music.

How can I make my home feel inviting to my guests?
This time of year it’s likely that you will have visitors from out of town or travelling further than normal distances that need a place to stay.  By enhancing your guest room with plush bedding, fresh flowers, and stocking up on toiletries they may have forgotten, your guests will feel right at home.

Holiday gatherings are meant to bring loved ones together to celebrate cherished memories from the year’s past and to look forward to the year to come.  There’s no better place to create new memories than home sweet home.