Get Ready Now: Tips For A Stress Free Holiday Season!

Planning

1.) Write — Sit down at the table with a blank notebook and do what I call a Time Out where you write down everything associated with your holiday traditions. Write all of the tasks, to-do’s and commitments you can think of and include things you are responsible for as well as what you take part in. Do you always travel? Are you hosting meals and house-guests? Do you set up or participate in a gift exchange? Annual parties and events? People you always buy gifts for?

2.) Sort & Prioritize– Take your Time Out and sort it into a task list, an events list and a gift list. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is an event, meal planning, grocery shopping and delegating who brings what, are tasks. Shopping for gifts goes on the task list, what you buy for whom goes on the gift list. You may choose to create more lists to further breakdown tasks or events that you are in charge of. In addition to the gifts your family exchanges, the gift list should include: hostess gifts, teacher gifts, holiday tipping, office gifts, Secret Santa and the like. Having these lists will help you prioritize and you should make a note of the must-do, non-negotiables (visiting grandma) and the things you might be able to skip to save your sanity (decorating 12 dozen cookies by hand).

3.) Schedule — Assign the events and tasks to your calendar. Notate all the travel, arrivals and departures of guests, the annual food drive and neighborhood caroling. If you are unsure of dates, put a question mark next to them and add a note to your task list to call people to clarify. This part helps other people make decisions and put plans in motion. Mark time and dates ahead of events for tasks, chores and errands so nothing sneaks up on you. Feeling frantic feels terrible; being prepared feels great! Decide when you have time to bake, write cards and shop online and schedule those tasks too.

Act Now! Looking at your lists and calendar, what can you do now to save time, energy and stress later on? Here are some ideas:

1.) Cooking — Plan your meals, choose your recipes and make your lists.

• Do you make the same Thanksgiving dinner every year? Make your grocery list and start stocking up on the non-perishables. Place orders for the turkey, pies and linen rental. Mark your calendar with dates to call and confirm as well as the pick up or delivery dates. Delegate side dishes to your guests now and don’t be afraid to be specific!
• Plan your recipes for holiday cookies and appetizers for parties and make your grocery lists. Can you make dough or sauces ahead and freeze? Double a recipe and bring the same item to multiple parties. This saves time and money by streamlining effort and ingredients. People will only remember your contribution and the fabulous flavor!

2.) Traveling — Plan your trip.

• Book your airline tickets, car rental and hotel reservations now! Prices are only going to go up as the holidays near.
• Set up your transportation to and from the airport. Arrange home and pet care while you’re gone. Again, set up dates to confirm in your calendar.
• Make lists for what to pack and get all the cold weather gear out of storage, cleaned and ready to go.

3.) Guests coming to you — Get ready for your guests and help them get ready for their travel.

• Make sure their travel is booked. Do you need to arrange lodging or are they staying with you?
• Make sure your home is house-guest ready and check your linens, towels and spare toiletries. What items do you need to buy to make their stay more comfortable?
• Plan events, activities and transportation now, purchasing tickets and making reservations when necessary.

4.) Minimize future errands — Stock up now on items you always need. Remember, being prepared feels great!

• Make shopping lists from your tasks list for the holidays and the normal things you shop for. This step will save you trips to places like the drugstore.
• These items might include your everyday toiletries, paper goods, wrapping paper, cases of wine, water and other beverages.
• Create a space in the closet, garage or even under the bed for all these extras so your home doesn’t get overwhelmed.
• Make a note of what you bought and where you put it!

5.) Holiday cards, newsletters and photos — Start now! Having these time-consuming tasks out of the way will allow you to breathe easier.

• Make your list, purchase your supplies, including postage and put a bag or box together with everything you need including pens and your address book (if you still use one) so you can have it at the ready, but put it away when you’re done.

• Do a few at a time so the task isn’t overwhelming and they’re ready to send on the date you’ve chosen.

• If you order pre-printed cards, do that now too.

• Newsletters are fun to send and keep people updated on your goings on so make an outline of what you’d like to include and start writing!

• If your card includes or consists of a photo, choose one now or set up your photo session ASAP.

6.) Gifts — As an organizer, I love to give people consumables: food, beverages, gift cards and charitable donations. You can buy many of these now and they will save you so much time and energy. Feel free to personalize, but it’s a real time saver to streamline and give everyone, or group of people, the same thing.

• Give all the teachers gift certificates where they can treat themselves to an indulgence, like a pedicure, shopping or restaurants.
• Make charitable donations for hostess gifts — a few favorites are the Heifer Foundation and Charity Checks which allows people to choose where their donation goes.
• The office or neighborhood can pool together and instead of individual gift giving, Adopt A Family, volunteer at or make donations to a local charity or animal shelter.
• If you give monetary gifts to people such as your hairstylist or garbage collector, visit the bank as you can afford to, write the accompanying notes and store the envelopes in a safe place.

7.) Dressing Up — Plan your party outfits now so you’re not scrambling through the mall on the day of the event.

• Comb your (hopefully organized!) closet and find what fits, is occasion appropriate and what you can reinvent?
• If you need to shop, consider basics and/or separates that you can change up with accessories and can be worn year-round. Or maybe you only need a few sparkly accessories to spruce up your favorite frock.
• If you have children, make sure their clothes fit too and that everything is clean and ready to go.
• Taking family photos? Do you need or coordinate what you’re wearing? Plan and shop now.

8.) Decorating — Where are the ornaments? Do I still like everything I have? How is it stored?

• When you take out your decorations, use only what you love or what has meaning and part with the rest. Sometimes we continue to use the decorations we have, even if we no longer like them, out of habit or because you only look at it for 30 days or so.

• Before you put anything away, make sure you have proper storage to protect your treasured ornaments, wreaths and lights. Plastic bins keep the critters and dust out and everything organized inside. Check out The Container Store for their fabulous and helpful products. Don’t forget to label everything!

I hope these tips help you to plan and get ahead for the holidays so you can enjoy this wonderful time with your family and friends!

Shopping For Used Clothing Accessories

We all know that accessories can make or break an outfit. Handbags, belts, shoes, scarves and more help to create a unique fashion statement for their wearers. Keeping up with the latest fashion trend can be expensive for shoppers. Accessories are a great option to create a fashion trend without changing your entire wardrobe each season. For affordable accessories, consider shopping in used clothing stores.

Millions of people donate and sell their unwanted accessories every year to charities, resale shops, consignment shops, flea markets and to online auction sites. A large quantity of used clothing and accessories that are available are barely used and some even have the original price tags on them. When you shop for used clothing accessories you will find quality pieces at affordable prices.

To start, browse your local physical stores by looking in the YellowPages, using your online search engine and asking your friends and family. Make a list of places that you would like to consider and then map out a plan to visit them. If you are looking for newer clothing accessories, consider visiting consignment shops first. Most items that you will find at a consignment shop are between 1-3 years old and you can expect up to a 50%-60% discount off of the retail price. If you are looking for a super bargain, start by searching thrift stores and flea markets. You may need to be willing to dig, but you will be sure to find some very nice, inexpensive items. Next, search your local resale shops as they offer a mix of old and new used clothing accessories and are generally a bit more organized than a flea market or a thrift store.

As you are shopping, be sure to also take an inventory of your current accessories and the items that you are looking to replace. As you are going through your closet, you will probably find unwanted clothes and accessories that you can even sell to generate funds to make some new accessories purchases. Be sure to take those items with you on your shopping trips.

When you are shopping on an online auction or consignment site, accessories are often sold in “Lots”. Lots are groupings of like items that are sold as a single unit. The advantages of lots are that you get a large selection in a single purchase, but the disadvantage is that you may not always know what you are getting. Single items that are more expensive are typically sold individually. Be sure to read the item descriptions carefully so that you know what you are getting and take into consideration what the shipping costs are going to be in your overall sales price. When you are making your online purchases, be sure to use a secure site and a reputable company to ensure your security and your privacy.

Shopping for used accessories online and in physical used clothing stores is a great way to build your wardrobe, to keep up with the trends and to find affordable items.

Quiet Hair Dryers

Loud hair dryers are a nuisance, just ask the neighbors. Have you ever visited a professional hair salon? The full-size professional hair dryers make enough noise to wake the entire neighborhood, but no one really complains because a salon is meant for such noise, just like a construction site creates noise from all the machinery and tools used. When you’re at home, however, having the noise of a professional salon isn’t ideal, especially in the mornings when everyone else is trying to sleep. What’s the solution? Find yourself a quiet hair dryer.

There are great benefits with owning a quiet hair dryer which makes the investment worthwhile, plus you won’t have to continue receiving complaints about interrupted sleep!

The first benefit is of course: less noise.

Now, a quiet hair dryer isn’t a silent hair dryer, it will make some noise. There aren’t any completely silent hair dryers available yet (but we’re still hoping!) but if you compare the typical whoosh of a full-size hair dryer to the low hum of a quiet one you will notice how big of a difference it makes. What makes noise in a hair dryer? It’s basically the air being released from the tunnel plus the running of the motor, which is why it can seem so loud, like a small car running. With a quite hair dryer, the noise of the motor is greatly subdued and you mostly get the humming sound of air coming out of the nozzle. If you want your quiet hair dryer to function as quietly as possible, you can adjust the airflow and choose a low setting to minimize the air release.

Another benefit of a quiet hair dryer is that it can protect your hearing.

After constant use of a full-sound hair dryer, your ears can become affected in the future. Also, every time you need to talk or listen to something, you will have to switch the hair dryer off and this makes the process more time consuming. You can find yourself some ear protection or buy a quiet hair dryer, and a lot of people prefer the latter because it’s much more practical for them and the rest of their household.

A lot of companies offer a ‘silent’ line of hair dryers to help those who live in full households blow dry their locks in relative quiet. Just remember that quiet hair dryers can be a little bit pricy, because of their unique design, but you’ll decide if it’s worth it!

A Close Look at Top Reasons to Buy E-Cigarettes

The latest buzz on quit smoking products are electronic cigarettes or ecigs, as they are popularly called. An electronic cigarette is made up of two or three parts, consisting of a cartridge unit, an atomizer and a rechargeable battery. When the device is activated with the button, the nicotine cartridge is heated up by the heating unit to give off vapor that is inhaled. In automatic ecigs, you just have to inhale to activate the device.

Though there are many quit smoking products available, the most effective are e-cigarettes. They look like traditional cigarettes, feel like them, but they are better and cost less.

Here are lots of advantages in buying e-cigarettes. They are environment-friendly because they do not have any of the carcinogenic elements that are present on traditional cigarette smoke. The smoke from an ecig is vapor that quickly dissolves in the air, without toxins. You can beat the smoking ban with e-cigarettes because they can be used in public places where smoking is not allowed.

Ecigs do not contain tar or let out carbon monoxide and this removes the danger of second-hand smoke. As you drag on an e-cigarette, you get that real sense of satisfaction as that of smoking a traditional cigarette, but without letting toxins into your system.

E-cigarettes cost lesser than traditional cigarette and one cartridge is worth a couple of packs. An average smoker would be spending about $2000 or even more on cigarettes but you can save on all of this through e-cigs and this is one of the biggest advantages in buying e-cigarettes. Buying e-cigarettes saves you from problems like stained teeth, hands, finger, and breath, and smelly clothes. You don’t need an ashtray or a lighter to use them. E-cigarettes are easy to use because, you just have to press a button to activate them. The automatic ones can be started with mere inhalation.

If you find using an ecig starter pack to be expensive, check out a disposable electronic cigarette. Disposable e-cigarette types come with an atomizer, battery and a nicotine cartridge that usually lasts for about 12-20 traditional cigarettes. After the nicotine cartridge is completely used up, the cigarette has to be disposed and the device’s battery cannot be used again.

Vacation Rentals and Holiday Home Rentals – "Tips For Renting"

So you’re planning the holidays, you fancy something in the sun, but where to go? Who is coming? How many?
Will we rent a luxury condo or house instead of staying in a hotel? Well you can make big savings by taking a Villa. Plus, you’ll have more space and privacy to relax and enjoy your home away from home. Renting a vacation home is an especially smart choice if you’re traveling with a group of friend or with kids.

Here are some tips to help you get the biggest bang for your buck.

1. Once you choose a destination.
If you’re looking for sensational savings your best bet is to choose a destination where there are a lot of holiday rentals on the market, keeping prices competitive. You can find some of the best bargains on vacation home rentals online if you know what to ask about and how to protect yourself as a renter. Don’t be shy contact the owner and ask for a deal.

2. Comparison sites- way to go!
Now it’s easier than ever to comparison shop when you’re looking to save on a vacation home rental. You can find some of the best rental home listings the net has to offer on sites like holiday121 and other consolidator sites like these. These are referral sites not booking site and you can check out many homes at the same time to get the best prices and most suitable dates and keep a record of sites visited.

3. Don’t send money.
When renting a vacation home, never send anyone money it’s a bad idea. Pay by credit card or PayPal where you have some come back.
Ask for references, and check out their Web site and their track record. Read their reviews! Read the fine print. Is there a cancellation policy? What if you have to leave early? Does it stipulate when you will get your breakage deposit back? Spend the time up front checking things out so you won’t have any hassles later.

4. Know exactly what’s included.
When you book a rental home for your holidays it’s a short term rental and everything should be included, if there are extras like pool heat, these will be stipulated on the invoice.
Most rental homes will say “everything’s included,” but you want to double-check to be sure that there are no hidden surcharges there should not be any.
If utilities, Internet and cable are included, does this mean the property has Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet? Is it basic cable or premium? If electricity is paid is there a cap? Many properties will say they include utilities, electricity and gas and then the fine print says it’s included, up to the first $200.
Recommendation; don’t touch a short term rental that is not all inclusive.

5. Who is the local management company?
Ask who has the local management of the property these are a very important part of the service and backup. Your rental contract should include who to call if your dishwasher breaks or there’s some other problem with the property. It should also state a time frame for fixing any major problems. You don’t want to rent a home and have the hot water heater conk out and end up with cold showers for two week. The information should also be posted in a contact book inside the property. Make sure you have a phone number and email address of the contact and if possible get a second person as a backup.

6. Is the home family friendly?
If you’re traveling with kids, make sure the property you rental is family friendly. Check the bed configurations. If you have three kids and the guest room only has a king-sized bed you could be in trouble. Does the pool have an alarm? (Toddler safety)
Also make sure you see lots pictures of the home. Do you really want to rent a place with a white couch and fancy décor if your 3-year-old still thinks it is fun to color on everything in sight? Make sure the home you’re renting fits your family’s needs so you’re all comfortable. What about the location? Where is the house what are the local amenities? Is it close to the attractions?

7. Can you bring a pet?
Some vacation rentals accept pets, but they may have a size limit. Some folks would not like to rent a property for their family that had the possibility of a pet staying in with previous guests in the home, unhygienic, so if that may be a problem eliminate pet friendly from your search.

8. Is a refund available if you leave early?
If you think you may want or need to leave early, check your contract to see if you’re eligible for a partial refund. Most vacation rentals are for a specific time period and don’t offer refunds because that leaves the homeowner in a lurch with no time to rent to someone else. Know going in what the rules are so there are no unpleasant surprises.

9. Pick a house that most suits your needs.
Keep in mind when you’re renting a vacation home you’re renting a property that’s individually owned. This isn’t a hotel where if you don’t like what you have you can get something else. Once you book and pay your deposit for a specific property, that’s the property you’re getting, so make sure it’s exactly what you want. Ask if reviews from other renters are available; also remember you get what you pay for so contact the owner. While scoring a good deal is the goal, if it’s too cheap there’s probably a reason check it out. Sometimes the cheapest price is not the best value.

10. Book early.
Avoid disappointment; there are certain times of the year when the villa rentals are on fire, so book early. Also you might look at the availability on the owners web site and pick a slightly out of season time, which brings me back to point one, don’t be shy contact the owner and ask for a deal. A last point to help is a lot of vacation rental owners have links to car rental and cheap flights sites or attraction ticket sites. Try and do a package deal for all three or four services. Good luck!!

Go on a Shopping Expedition With Gold Coast Car Rentals

It would be practically impossible to think of a holiday, without indulging in a little retail therapy, and if you have to come a shopper’s paradise like Gold Coast, there is no way you can leave without at least a few bags. With cars for rental, Gold Coast becomes easy enough to traverse.

Now, when you come to the Gold Coast, you really need to think about and plan your shopping trips, because there is simply too much for you to choose from. Perhaps, the first thing you should do when you get into town is get yourself Gold Coast car rentals. This way, not only will you be able to get to all the places you want to visit, but also get your purchases back to your hotel.

As mentioned before, the choices on the Gold Coast are extensive and these range from high-end shopping to local markets. It is up to you where you want to shop and what you want to shop for. The local markets include those held at Surfers Paradise, Burleigh Heads, Broadbeach and Coolangatta. Other popular markets include Tamborine Mountain, Robina Town Centre, Canungra Country Market, Paradise Point Art and Craft Market.

With cars for hire, Gold Coast shopping can be much more fun, because you can shuttle from branded shopping to street side, with ease. Perhaps one of the first places you should head to is the Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, which is home to some of the best retailers in the country. You can find almost anything and everything you need, under this roof and at reasonable rates as well. If at any point of time, you feel hungry or thirsty, there are several restaurants, bars and cafes.

The Oasis Shopping Centre is another place, worth visiting, because here you will find over 100 stores, which deal in specialty products. You will be able to find gifts to take back home, latest trends and fashion, including clothes and accessories as well as a supermarket. The best thing about this place is that you will also find a range of services, such as a bank, a post office and salon.

If you want a slightly more stylish shopping experience, then Harbour Town is the place for you. This is where you will find all the big brands, including, end of season lines of renowned designers. The shopping center also boasts of the country’s premier purpose built outlet shopping experience.

When Shopping For Shoes-Make Certain You Walk Away With Style And Comfort

When it comes to footwear, everyone wants to sport the latest styles. However, over the years, following fashion trends has seemingly come to signify that trendsetters must endure a bit of pain on their feet. After all, what counts as fashionable footwear if it’s not high-heeled and narrow-shaped? It’s a notion that’s exemplified in magazines, on catwalks and on the feet of our favourite celebrities. But does the statement, ‘no pain, no gain’ really hold any bearing in the world of fashion?

The answer is simple: absolutely not. Simply put, fashion is all too often considered as something you see – not feel. Thus, too many women un-necessarily force their feet into suffering the wrath of high heels all day, every day, simply for the sake of fashion! If you’re one of these women, perhaps it’s time you considered something a little more comfortable. There are numerous styles of shoes available that can make a fashion statement without needlessly torturing your feet. For example, wouldn’t it be pleasant to slide your feet into a flat, slip-on shoe with a padded insole? Or maybe, think about all the extra comfort you would gain from a shoe with a rubber outing.

Rest assured that comfort can mingle with style – whether it’s by means of colour, shape, design or material; and there are certainly loads of products on the footwear fashion market which aim to show you how.

If you’re required to wear formal shoes within your work environment, you can still wear casual footwear to and from work, as well as on your days off; so, you can finally experience what it’s like to take off a pair of stylish shoes without having to endure the throbbing pain that your feet have come to expect.

If you’re looking for shoes that will make a statement, yet won’t require you to limp your way around town, you’re sure to find plenty of high-street shoe retailers who can provide you with exactly that. For example, Vans’ classic slip diagonal trainers are an eye-catching bargain; moreover, they exude original style and make a distinct fashion statement that everyone around you will recognise. Be confident in the fact that if you take the time to shop around, you’re likely to pick up some great deals on sale items – meaning you’ll walk away with style, comfort and some extra cash in your pocket. When it comes to shoes, there’s no better outcome!

No Teletrack Loans – Instant Cash For Bad Credit People

Put this way, no teletrack loans are a boon for people who have bad credit history and face a financial emergency. Teletrack is a system used to check the borrower’s checking account and credit history. The system usually exposes your bad credit history, including bankruptcy and outstanding checks against current loans, etc. Fortunately, there are many loan companies who do not use teletrack as part of their requirements to giving you a loan. These companies offer cash loan until payday, meaning that you will get cash advance and simply return it when you receive your next pay.

The loans are called payday loans or cash advances. They are short-terms loans and usually range between $100 and $1000 for the duration of two weeks or more. These companies do not feel the need to verify information provided by the prospective borrowers in term of their credit history as they will mainly check your employment to ensure that you have regular income deposited into your bank account.

How to Apply for a No Teletrack Loan?

The easiest way is to go to a payday lender’s website. If they don’t say anything about teletrack usually they do not bother checking your account with that system. You will then simply complete the application form online with some basic personal information, employment details, and your bank account information. Once submitted, a loan officer will do verification by either contacting you directly or checking your details with your employer.

These days, you can be sure that you would not need to fax any document when submitting a payday loan application online. To improve the speed in loan processing, payday lenders have been able to cut-off the need of checking paperwork manually, which otherwise creates much hassles from your end to submit documents through fax.

After approval, the funds are transferred to your checking or savings account directly the next day or even the same day as you submit the application. The loan repayment is also simply. On the due date, the lender will take the loaned amount plus fees automatically out of your bank account. You just to make sure that the funds are available that day to be deducted as otherwise it will cause an overdraft for you.

Instant Solution with No Teletrack Loans

Whatever may be your income, a payday loan would meet your expenditure requirements and short tern financial needs. After you have gone through the existing loan programs of different cash advance lenders you can go for the one which offers you the best loan amount at a discounted rate.

Toolbox Tactics in Commercial Real Estate

You may say that the commercial real estate sales and leasing market is difficult at the moment. You will not be the first agent or investor to observe that fact. This is however a major opportunity market with properties adjusting to the beginning of a new property cycle.

You are at the beginning of new opportunity. Tenants, buyers, and sellers are still out there. It’s just that their sales, purchase, and rental strategy has needed to shift. So if you are a commercial real estate agent that works on retail, office, or industrial property, we are going to let you in on a major marketing secret that works tremendously well to generate listing opportunity in this economy and investment property shift.

Moving Your Business Forward?

So how do you move forward in this market to create real opportunity? You create a significant pipeline of opportunity from speaking to many people and helping them with the market adjustment process. This means that the help they require may be a listing or property this year, next year, or the year after, however they will need well qualified and experienced property professionals.

You must be that solution for them. You must be confident in this market. You should use a marketing point of difference and most particularly your ‘toolbox’ to attract and convert the clients that you need.

Sales and Leasing Together

In this market the best commercial real estate agencies specialise in both investment property sales and investment property leasing. In those specialist categories they can bring significant strategy and understanding to the property, together with a ‘toolbox’ approach for the customers and clients.

A great lease will one day support a great property sale. This means that every lease should be planned and structured to optimise the situation for the property owner. This is where ‘toolbox’ stands head and shoulders above generic marketing of commercial real estate services.

Solicitors Awareness of Property

Whilst talking about leases I would like to make an important and relevant observation. In doing so I do not want to upset the solicitors and legal people of the ‘property investment world’ however the following is a real fact.

Most solicitors and legal people that do the lease documents for the investment property owner have little awareness of the actual property in question and probably have not even inspected the property.

My apologies to the legal people that are the exception to the rule!

This random process of lease preparation is not good investment practice, considering that the property lease is to produce a cash flow over a number of years. Solicitors and property agents need to get together and make sure that all the elements of the property that enhance cash flow are well considered and placed in the property lease before it is signed!

In only this way can they bring real strategy and stability to the occupancy and cash flow!

What’s Your Agency Point of Difference Today?

Only yesterday I was speaking to a real estate agency that was working on identifying a point of difference in this market. They realized that the competition agencies they were up against in the market place were doing nothing special to attract and retain new business.

Those competition agencies were simply continuing the same practices of prospecting and conversion that they have been doing for years. They were not offering any new approach or support process to the clients in the market today.

Let’s face the facts. This market today requires experienced real estate agents that can bring solid levels of property strategy to the investor including:

  1. Rental strategies for the long term that match the lifecycle needs of the property owner
  2. Lease documentation which minimises cash flow and vacancy exposure
  3. Strength of tenancy profile that gives an element of prestige to the building
  4. Tenants that bring financial strength and stability to the building
  5. Lease deals that will enhance the opportunity of sale when the time comes
  6. A balance of net and gross rentals to optimise the best return on investment for the property owner
  7. Well controlled building operating costs that are contained within the averages of that property type for the area
  8. An occupancy experience in the property which strengthens the relationships between landlords and tenants
  9. A target market of tenants that are clearly identified and pursued in the marketing campaign.

So this list is in fact the elements of a ‘Lease ‘toolbox” approach to the market. Many commercial real estate agents will generally say that they do these things anyway. The reality is they do not. Most lease transactions today are undertaken in a ‘one off mindset’ with little balance to the long-term future and strength of the building.

In recent seminar workshop I asked the agency staff in a larger industrial agency to tell me what they would do for ‘me acting as the client’ in a lease transaction of a vacant space in a sample building. Many of the agency staff gave me a broad variety of initiatives and processes that were fairly standard in the industry. It was interesting to note that all of these ideas were not ‘bundled and packaged’ into something that was even remotely attractive to the ‘me’ as the property owner.

Let’s understand a simple fact. If you do not logically document and display for the client the stages of your professional commercial real estate property service and give it a name that the can client relate to, you are affectively a generic marketer. This is the major problem in the industry today. The client needs specific help and you must market your services in a ‘toolbox’ approach. Give your ‘toolbox’ a name and then market your business around it.

I also recommend that you use the advantages of PERT and GANTT models to do this ‘toolbox’, given that this great illustration approach really interests most clients. This helps you stand apart from the competition. You become the agency of choice.

‘Toolbox’ is Your Tactical Advantage

Every sales and leasing program should be subjected to the processes of the ‘toolbox’ so that the client knows that the best results, controls, and outcomes are seen to be achievable. The ‘toolbox’ process also suggests that you have a quality control procedure that every property is exposed to.

This ‘toolbox’ is simple marketing; however it can be easily implemented into your agency business making you more professional and desirable as the commercial real estate agency of choice in your region. Your ‘toolbox’ becomes your marketable point of difference. You should have a separate ‘toolbox’ for:

  • Commercial real estate sales
  • Commercial real estate leasing
  • Commercial real estate property management

Within each of these elements of service you should have a specific ‘toolbox’ which supports the property disciplines of:

  • Retail Property
  • Office Property
  • Industrial property
  • Specialist tourism and leisure

Listing Strategy in this Market

Let’s talk about the sales ‘toolbox’ now for a brief moment. In most cases the time needed to sell or rent a listing would be no longer than 12 weeks even in a tough market. After that time a listing becomes stale and a waste of your time. Choose your listings and the time on market with care.

A couple of essential rules need to be set here and incorporated into your sales ‘toolbox’. They are:

  1. Always seek vendor paid advertising – you are not the source of advertising funds to promote property no matter how good you think the property is. Vendor paid advertising sets the foundation of vendor commitment.
  2. Always seek exclusive or sole listings when you can
    – controlled stock is the only way to go. A seller of an open listing cannot be trusted and is likely to ‘shift in the wind’ on who they deal with. It should also be noted that exclusive listings are much more desirable than sole agency listings. It is your choice as to whether you would take on a sole agency.
  3. Always seek to list properties for sale on the basis of a ‘time driven’ method of sale such as tender, auction, or expression of interest. This is the best way to go to get and sustain momentum in the property promotion. Properties that are listed for sale at a fixed or nominated price are likely to be this undesirable hard to sell listings or over priced listings with little momentum. In such situations a buyer will make an offer; maybe that works for you; maybe it doesn’t.

These 3 rules above infer that you are the driving force that creates the quality listing. Nothing could truer. You drive the quality of the listing appointment that you want. If you let the owner of the property dictate the rules of engagement, you are likely to suffer poor results. Remember that you are the expert consultant to help people with commercial real estate needs; you are not the agent that lists everything and anything that comes your way at any price or rental.

In closing this ‘toolbox’ topic, here are some important rules:

  • In every listing know what you are doing and why.
  • Focus on the outcome that you want for the client.
  • Use your ‘toolbox’ as your point of difference to attract the client’s interests.
  • Understand that your time and expertise is precious.

10 Shopping Tips – Fashionable Finds Are Possible For Under $25!

When it comes to shopping sometimes the $20 sandals flatter you more than the $400 designer sandals. Style is not in the price, but in your approach. You can get more for less if you are savvy about your shopping. Fashionable finds are possible for under $25. How do you do it? Here are 10 Tips to think about when you’re out on a shopping expedition:

1. You Can Find Deals in Unexpected Places.

I got a purse for a steal at a Nine West shoe store in New Jersey. Not a shop I would normally think of to buy a purse. But I spotted it in the front window and fell in love. (Although maybe not as deeply as with my husband.) When I went into the store to ask a sales clerk about it, I thought this gorgeous tan satchel would be expensive. It looks like something that would be appropriate in Grace Kelly’s or Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe closet. But now it’s in my closet.

2. Set Your Budget and Stick with It.

Yes, you’ve probably heard this before. However, forced to work within a box, you will come up with creative ideas. One year for Christmas, I set a working budget of $25 each for my nieces and nephew. Instead of getting them each one gift, I got them a number of small funky gifts and they each had 3 presents to open. It made opening gifts more exciting for them.

3. Read fashion magazines to get an idea of the trends.

Many clothing companies with budget-happy fashion lines will replicate the “look” or “feel” of pricey designer fashion. I read everything from New York magazine and the NY Times Fashion to Vogue, Elle and fashion catalogs to see what’s happening out in the fashion world. Go to your nearest public library and those fashion mags are FREE! If you learn what is cutting edge then believe me you will find cheaper versions of the trends. Or you will learn how to put an outfit together in your own expressive way.

4. You can find reasonably priced gifts at even the most expensive stores.

For example when I go online to Saks Fifth Avenue I can look under the gift category “Under $50.” Today for “$25 and under” I find: a Kate Spade notecard set, a hip style book on Dolce and Gabbana and Fresh waterlily soap—all would make lovely gifts. The price is so reasonable for the soap you could even include a little something else so that the recipient has another gift to open–always more fun. Go to a pricey chocolate shop. Then buy the smallest, but always tasteful box, sometimes under $15. Put it in a nice gift bag with the heavenly scented waterlily soap. Your gift card can read: “You deserve a little elegance in your life.” What friend wouldn’t be flattered.

5. Be open to new opportunities.

When I travel to new cities I like to explore new shops. I usually end up in the artsy section of town. To me that means galleries, museums, maybe a university–and fun shopping. I collect business cards of the stores I love and make notes or take pictures of what they have so I can call them and order from them later. If a town has a college or university it has plenty of stores with low prices to satisfy the students. And me too.

6. Know your own style.

Allow your self the luxury of an expensive item that you just can’t pass on. Especially if it defines “YOU.” Find deals for other purchases. I coveted a $99 sweater from J.Crew, but then I bought a purse for only $20 for a wedding. You can justify the expensive purchase. The sweater will last for years, amortizing into less money. If I wear the sweater often, cost-wise it pays for itself, while the wedding purse I might only use that one time.

7. Accessories are inexpensive ways to refashion the look of your outfit.

An $8.00 leopard print scarf I bought at H&M compliments my chartreuse cardigan, jeans and black boots. It’s a dressy-casual look that suits my style. And the scarf goes just as well with a knit purple dress and heels. A few strategically picked accessories means less outfits to buy.

8. Consider buying your purchases in the months they are traditionally on sale.

If you’re not in a rush to buy new towels then why not wait until January or August. Or if you thinking of painting your bedroom Robin Egg blue, that paint will be cheaper in April.

9. Sign up for email blasts from your favorite stores.

Stores will alert you to their sales and often give email subscribers exclusive discounts. You will learn about sales before the average customer. Then instead of spending a fortune on the skirt you admired earlier in the season you can scoop it up at a bargain.

10. Shop from your home and comparison shop online.

Yeah, why not. Shop in your pjs, my favorite way to shop. What do you think?