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Tips For Holiday Travel if You’re Driving 🚗

by Lorna Calder

 

IF YOU’RE DRIVING

 

Make sure your car is ready. If you plan on going for an extended drive, then it may be best to take your car to the local mechanic for a tune up! They will check things like your tires and fluid levels to make sure you won’t have a blunder on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere!

 

You should plan your route ahead of time. It helps to know the route you will be taking whether you plan to drive a few hours or a few days. If you do plan to do a trip that takes a day or two, call and book your hotel stays ahead of time to ensure you get a room. Also, look up fun things to do along the route like restaurants and sightseeing activities.

 

Keep your insurance or roadside assistance information handy. Having this information at the ready will help if you are to get in a predicament, this will make it a bit easier instead of having to search for the paperwork when the incident happens.

 

Plug in your cell phone. Always keep your cell phone plugged into the charger in the car. Things like listening to music or using a navigation app will quickly drain your battery.

 

Purchase a safety kit. It will include things like jumper cables, flashlights, flares and caution cones. You can also buy ones specifically for winter travel that will have things like ice scrapers, tire chains, tow rope, snow shovels, blanket and first aid kit.

 

Have safe travels this Holiday Season!

 

With Love,

The Lorna Calder Team 

Tips for Holiday Travel if You’re Flying ✈️

by Lorna Calder


 

Many people use the Holidays as a time to get together and go visit family, making it one of the busiest times for Travel. If you plan to travel by plane, here are some very helpful tips to make it a bit less stressful!

 

TIPS FOR FLYING

Research, Research, Research! It helps to do your research, regardless if it’s a last minute trip or one planned weeks or months in advance. If you can, you may want to consider choosing flexible travel dates to help you nab the best prices. If your airport is a busy hub, consider flying out of an airport nearby, you may save time and money!

 

Plan Carefully. There are factors that can delay your flights like inclement weather with flying in the winter or holidays like Spring Break and Thanksgiving. Unless you have some quick feet, you may want to avoid short layovers so you don’t miss your next flight.

 

Pack Light. This is a hard one for some, especially us ladies, or if you are packing gifts to bring to your destination or back but most airlines are now charging for checked bags. You can save money by sending those gifts ahead of time or generally packing lighter and dong laundry at your destination.

 

LEAVE EARLY. This goes for flying AND driving! Leaving early will allow a buffer for things like traffic, security and parking. If you can take a light rail system, public transportation or something like Uber/Lyft, that can help save time and money.

 

Stay on Top of Flight Changes. You can download your Airline’s app and stay up to date on changes to your flight like delays, cancellations or early arrivals.

 

STAY HEALTHY WHILE YOU TRAVEL

Not only is it the Holiday Season but it’s also Cold and Flu Season! With the close proximity of other travelers to you in the airports and on the plane, it’s important to consider these tips to keep the germs at bay.

 

Stay Hydrated. Bring an empty plastic or reusable water bottle to the airport to refill after you get through security. The cabin pressure tends to dry out eyes and nose and staying hydrated will prevent this from happening and keep germs at bay. It may also help to prevent blood clots from sitting too long.

 

Bring You Own Pillow and Blanket. Some airlines still may provide these for you but you cant be sure that no one else has touched them. Be safe and bring your own to reduce the risk of coming in contact with germs or viruses. Those handy little neck pillows are also SO MUCH MORE comfortable than the flat limp pillows they provide.

 

Bring Some Healthy Snacks. Make it easy to tote items like nuts or dried fruits!

 

Move Around to Prevent Blood Clots. When flying, blood clots can be a major concern especially if you have a long flight overseas or cross country! Get up and walk around the cabin as much as you can, when it’s safe. Or when you are sitting down tap your feet or move your legs in a small bicycle motion to get that blood flowing. 

 

Enjoy your Holiday Season! 

With Love, 

The Lorna Calder Team

How to Host a Holiday Party Without Breaking the Bank!

by Lorna Calder

The Holiday seasons are upon us and now is the time to start planning for your Holiday party. Doesn't matter if you are a veteran at Holiday Parties or a first-timer, here are some great tips to help you plan a party that is fun, festive and budget friendly. 

Set a Budget. Map out all of your expenses, such as food and drink costs, entertainment, invites and decorations. If you are not sure how much any of these cost, do a little research online or ask friends and family. If you have hosted a party similar to this or the same as last year, you can get an idea of what it may cost from that experience. Also, there are programs you can use such as Party Budget Estimator from Evite, it will calculate your costs based on the information you type in, number of guests and the length of the party time. 

  • Prioritize the spending of your money. What is the most important part of your party? Is it the food or the entertainment or enhancing the decor? If you're on a tight budget, setting your priority list will help you to estimate how much things will cost.
  • Choose a venue carefully. If you plan to host at a restaurant or a venue outside of your hme, make sure you reserve it FAR in advance. Most of us host it in our own homes, that can save LOTS of money right there. 

 

Create That Guest List. Your budget may dictate the size of your party but there are other ways to cut cost so you can entertain more people. Is it a sit down type or party or something much larger? Kids or just adults? If you do decide to invite children you will want to keep their interests in mind like different types or foods or fun activities like cookie decorating, gingerbread house building, crafts or holiday movies.  

  • Send invitations. Be sure to send paper invitations as soon as possible. Everyone starts to fill up their calendars with Holiday activities pretty quick so you want them to get the invites ASAP. 
  • Save money with email invitations. Email invitations are FREE to send and allow you to have more management over who responds. You can also use Facebook and make an event page to invite guests and send reminders of the upcoming event. This can be especially helpful if you are having a potluck style, that way you can keep track of who is bringing what in the Comments below your event page. 

 

Plan Your Entertainment. You always want your guests to have fun at your event! You can use a digital music service like Pandora or Spotify to create a Holiday Playlist to stream through Bluetooth speakers or an entertainment center or TV. 

  • Do your guests like to sing? Rent or buy a Karaoke machine.
  • Encourage your guests to dress for the event. Make sure to let them know on the invite. Is it formal? Ugly sweater? Have fun with the theme.
  • If you are having kids there, hire someone or ask a family member to dress up as Santa Claus and pose for photos with the kids. 
  • Again, if you are having kids at your party, hand out goody bags filled with Holiday themed crafts, cookies or toys. 
  • If you plan to do a gift exchange or White Elephant, make sure you give a budget for guests to stick to. 

 

Plan a Great Menu. It always helps to plan your menu, whether you are having it catered or preparing it yourself.

  • If you are having the party catered then you should hire the caterer as soon as possible because the Holidays are the BUSIEST time of the year and they can book up quick. You can look online for recommendations, post something on Facebook asking for recommendations or ask your family and friends. If your guests have any dietary restrictions or you have a specific menu in mind, talk to your caterer and let them know. 
  • Have fun with it! Look all over the internet like Pinterest or scour magazines to find the perfect recipes. To help reduce stress, make as much of the meal in advance as you can and freeze or store it in the fridge until the party day. Also, if you care to cut down on cost even more, host a Holiday BRUCH, yes breakfast foods are much less expensive and it will be just as fun. 
  • If you are planning to do a potluck then you should supply the main dish and have everyone else bring the sides and desserts. You can manage when people are bringing by putting an RSVP card int he paper invite to send out asking what they are bringing OR if you choose to do an evite or Facebook event page then have them comment what they would like to bring. You can also post a comment on the Facebook event page with ideas of what to bring.
  • Everyone loves a good Holiday drink! But lets not break the bank with it! Serve up a Holiday punch or a signature Holiday drink that way you wont have to sit there constantly making them or making a multitude of different things. 

 

Decorate. In order to save money here, use decorations you already have or borrow from family and friends. If you have kids, get their help to make things creative and crafty. You can also take FREE items from nature, such as pine cones, branches and twigs and dust them with glitter or paint them. Also, discount store like Dollar Tree offer a wide variety of cheap decorations that you can make look great.

 

Biggest thing is to remember to HAVE FUN and DON'T STRESS! 

 

THE Holiday Party Checklist 🎄

by Lorna Calder
The Holiday Season is right around the corner and if you are planning to host a party it can become stressful! But don't let it be! Here is a great checklist you can use to plan a fun and budget-friendly party that everyone is sure to LOVE!
Click HERE for a PDF version to print out!
 
 
© 2017 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK NOVEMBER EREPORT S
 

❄Tips to Winterize Your Texas Home❄

by Lorna Calder

I always get a good chuckle when I see a Texan in a thick jacket when it’s 60 degrees outside. Even though we only get maybe a good 4 weeks cumulative of weather under 40 degrees it’s still important to winterize your Texas Home. Here a few simple tips of how to do just that!

                                    

 

1. Replace Worn Out Weather-stripping

Drafts are no good, especially if you want to keep your home nice and toasty this winter and save money on heating costs. There is an easy way to tell if your home’s weather stripping is failing, making your home smell delicious at the same time. Light a stick of incense and hold it up to windows and doors where they meet the window sill and door jamb. If you do in fact have a draft, you will see the smoke travel towards the draft area on in away from the draft area. You can purchase and replace weather stripping yourself, finding the necessary tools and items you will need at your local hardware shop OR you can get a handyman to do the job for you. We have recommendations on who to use if you need it!


2. Caulk and Seal

Whether you have 40 year old windows or new windows, the “glazing” they use to seal those windows over time will crack and break causing gaps that will let the outside elements in. Take a caulking gun and some caulk to any cracks or gaps that you may see around your windows and door frames. This will help to save you money on heating costs by not allowing that precious heat to escape and also keep the outside cold from coming in.


3. Clean Your Gutters

Those fall leaves and fallen pine needles will surely clog up your gutters. If left they can cause blockages that make the gutters heavy and fill with rain water that could freeze and possible make them pull away from fascia boards. A few ways to clean them yourself are by getting up on a ladder and hand scooping them out or you can try to use a leaf blower. If you have a two story or don’t feel comfortable getting up on a ladder, you can call a local handyman to help with this task. We know a few, give us a call and we can give you a recommendation.


4. Hire a Chimney Sweep

If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in a while then it may be time! This will help prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from entering your home. It is recommended to do this once a year, let us know if you need a recommendation on who to hire!


5. Get Your Furnace Inspected

Let’s be proactive instead of reactive on this one! Instead of having your heater go out on you mid-January, have a service technician come out during Fall to inspect and run a bit of maintenance on your furnace, that will ensure you have a smooth winter ahead of you when it comes to heating. Need a professional, we know a few. Call us today for a recommendation.


6. Trim Trees and Bushes

Cut all dead and living branches hanging over your house to minimize risk of them coming down with the next storm. Also, trimming bushes away from your home will prevent water penetration into your home. Need a professional, licensed Tree Trimmer? We know a few!


7. Change Your Air Filter

THIS IS AN EASY ONE PEOPLE, and one that is forgotten about too commonly. First, changing the filter will make your heating system have to work less hard to get warm air into your home saving you money and your heating system stress. Secondly, don’t you want the air filter to do its job by removing dust, allergens, mold spores, dander, etc. from the air? Yes, well change it! I personally change mine every 3 months but you can do it more often than that or longer than that depending on your living condition: kids, pets, types of outdoor trees, indoor plants, etc. Set yourself a reoccurring reminder on your phone to replace them, you can find them at hardware store or big box stores like Target even Costco!


8. Gather up That Firewood

Fun Fact: Ash is the only tree that will burn “green,” right after it’s cut down. Stock up on firewood NOW before it becomes more of a demand and prices go up. Search Facebook Marketplace or local Social Sites like Nextdoor!


9. Cover Outside Faucets and Pipes

Whether it’s an old sock, towel with duct tape or professional insulating material; your pipes and faucets should be covered during winter to make sure they won’t freeze if the temp gets too low. I usually wrap mine up at the end of Fall and just leave them wrapped until the end of April. No harm in leaving it on there that long, you don’t want to be running outside when it’s 11pm and 28 degrees outside to cover pipes you forgot!


If you need a recommendation on for a Tree Trimmer, Handyman, HVAC professional, Chimney Sweep or anything else, we have a HUGE database of folks that we have worked with before both personally and professionally! Call us today to get their information 281-361-2280

🍂 House Hunting Checklist 🍂

by Lorna Calder

"When I was searching for my First Home, I was starry-eyed with the whole process: "OOOH look at the size of the bathroom, the granite is SO PRETTY, wow the new fixtures are perfect, the home is so cute, the paint color is great!" I wasn't  really looking at the meat and bones of WHERE I was going to be living, WHO I was living by, WHAT was near, etc." - Christina (Client Care Coordinator, The Lorna Calder Team)

 

This is a great start to the home hunting process, although it doesn't replace the eyes and knowledge of a Realtor on The Lorna Calder Team, it's something great to bring along to showings so you can jot down notes and answer questions you may need to be asking yourself. I have attached the PRINTABLE PDF version right below! Enjoy!

 

HOUSE HUNTING CHECKLIST

 

Want to maintain that Good Credit?

by Lorna Calder

You can make sure that when you get your credit in good shape that it STAYS THERE!

Here are a few ways to do just that!

Maintain low balances on your credit cards and revolving lines of credit.

Once you’ve paid them down, keep the balances low by using them only for emergencies.  If the balance is currently high on one or more cards or credit lines, begin paying them down, starting with the card or credit line with the highest interest rate first.

 

Set up automatic bill pay.

Many creditors and utility companies make it easy to pay your bills on time by sending reminders before the payment is due. Additionally, setting up an automatic payment will ensure the bill is paid on time.

 

Keep rate shopping within a 30-day window of time. 

If you’re thinking of taking out a loan to buy a car or a home, limit your rate search to a small timeframe so the inquiries will likely be treated as a single one. The more inquiries into your credit, the more likely they’ll count against your score.

 

Reconsider closing accounts.

Even if you don’t use a line of credit anymore, it may not be a good idea to close it. Closing several accounts at once may raise red flags and impact your credit. Instead, leave the balance at zero and try not to use it. 

 

Be responsible.

It takes time to build great credit; it also takes time to rebuild your credit once it’s damaged. Once you’ve earned a great credit score, continue good financial habits to maintain it.

 

The difference between "Good Credit" and "Excellent Credit"

 

What is a "Good" credit score?

Its usually lenders who decide what they would consider as good credit, the credit tier generally breaks down as follows:

 

What is the dividing factor between people with "Good" credit and people with "excellent" credit?

Although people with excellent credit have more open revolving credit accounts, they don’t actively use them  and the debt they do carry makes up a lower percentage  of their overall available credit. 

 

 

© 2017 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK AUGUST EREPORT S

 

 

 

 

 

WHY do we work by referral?

by Lorna Calder

Referrals are one of the main sources of business when it comes to Real Estate. It is great to be able to service the needs of our client's friends and family, especially after we had such a great transaction with them! We LOVE to work with referrals.

 

 

We are committed to serving YOU!

We have made a commitment to work by referral to provide our clients with the BEST service whenever we are needed. A long-term relationship is so important to us, we want to be able to knock your socks off with what we can do more than just once!

 

These are a few ways that we can serve you.

  • When you need to be referred to capable service and trade professionals that are trusted like local lenders, legal professionals, pool service companies, roofers, contractors and so much more, just give us a call. We would be happy to give you a list of local vendors that our clients have used and that are recommended in the Real Estate Community. 
  • We can give you up to date information about the Market! It is every changing so dont hesitate to ask, it is part of what we love to do; staying on top of the key trends and local market statistics. 
  • Would you like to know what your home is worth? Would you like to know if those upgrades you want to do will bring true value? We would love to be your trusted advisor. 

 

YOU are important to us.

As our client, we want to make sure you know how much you and your business mean to us. Our primary source of new business is referrals from people who already know and respect the great work that we do. And we are always delighted to build our business by working with such wonderful people like you! Our goal is to impress you SO MUCH that you run to family and friends and tell them about the great experience you had with us. We want to be refreshing, knowledgeable and caring. 

 


 

Just give us a call with your friend or family member's name and number and we will gladly follow up and take great care of them! (281) 361-2280

 

Sincerely, 

The Lorna Calder Team

 

 

 

 

 

© 2013 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. LGK  STARTER EREPORT SC

 

Don't be too shy to spring for BOLD colors!

by Lorna Calder

Okay, so you may be thinking "I'm over these bland neutral walls!" Yes, you may also be thinking, I want to keep it neutral because some day we will sell and that will be more appealing but listen you purchased this house to be YOUR HOME, why not put a little of your personality into it! 

 

"When my husband and I purchased our home we went with the neutral "Greige" Wall (Gray/Beige) After being in a very gray world for a month or so, we decided we needed some splashes of color! So we did an accent wall in orange, yes I know ORANGE, in the guest bedroom, A lovely aqua accent wall in the Master's Bedroom following that into the Master Bath, then we went into the kitchen with a soft aqua. This brought so much more personality to our home" - Christina Terry (Client Care Coordinator, The Lorna Calder Team)

 

Here are some ways to add some color in a way that will make anyone comfortable! Listen, it's only paint, if you don't like it then paint back over with your neutrals!

 

Look to the Front Door

A bright color on the front door can be SO welcoming, mind you, make sure that it would be a good match with your primary house color an your brick/stone. The more popular colors right now are Red, Coblt Blue, yellow and coral! WOW Go Bold!

 

Matte is a better way to add color

Shiny and bold color can come off too harsh! Matte paint in a bold, dark color is much more palatable. Make sure to use a good primer to better support a dark matte color!

 

Rooms with more traffic? GO BOLD!

Kid's Rooms, Half Baths and Sitting rooms can use a bit more color just because they are all rooms that have more eyes seeing them. Why not show your personality in the rooms that are seen the most. 

 

Smaller rooms may be a good start

Starting with a smaller, more confined space make make the transition into the "color world" a little bit easier. Make just one wall an accent or paint the whole thing! Don't be scared to even paint the ceiling a bright or bold color! 

5 Tips for Navigating the Real Estate Transation

by Lorna Calder

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home this year?

Here are a few ideas to help you get through the Real Estate process. 

 

1. Don't let timing consume you. A lot of sellers and buyers attempt to anticipate the actions of the market so they can properly time their purchase or listing correctly. When you're ready to buy or sell, is the time when you are ready. Simple as that. Instead of obsessing about the ideal perfect time, focus on making sure YOU are ready!

 

2. Check your Expectations. TV shows and experiences of your friends and family may fog your perception of the reality behind the buying and selling process. Absolutely everyone's experience WILL be different! Having your agent explain to you the process and state of the market will help you set more realistic expectations. 

 

3. Keep control of your emotions. Yes, buying a home is a HUGE investment and home buyers may put extra pressure on themselves to get that perfect home that checks everything on their list. Furthermore, selling home can be extremely emotional, you put a lot of time and money into making your home the perfect home for you and have made so many memories. It's easy to make a rash decision when emotions are involved. Trying to stay calm and focused will help you to feel more in control. 

 

4. Do your research. When you're thinking of buying, it's a good idea to check out the neighborhood you may want to live in, write down your must-haves and how long you want to live in that home. 

 

5. Rely on a Real Estate Professional. You don't have to be alone on this adventure! I'm here to answer any of your questions, to ease your concerns and guide you through the process. I'm never to busy to answer any of your questions so please feel free to call me anytime! 

 

Click HERE for a PDF of this information!

 

© 2017 Buffini & Company. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission. RMMK JANUARY EREPORT S

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