Real Estate Information

Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Real Estate

JoAnn Gadkowski Team


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 234

How to Move Your Valuables: 6 Tips from


See full article here

How to Move Your Valuables: 6 Tips for Protecting Your Most Precious Stuff

 | Jan 8, 2018

Nothing can take away the thrill of finally moving into a new home quite as quickly as discovering that something you love was damaged in the process. What's even worse? If it's something you love that's also very expensive to repair or replace.

Accidents happen, and you can't control everything that occurs after you put your precious belongings on the moving truck. But you can take some safeguards to protect your stuff before the big day—and make sure that the watercolor painting you bought in Italy or your grandmother’s vintage vanity isn't irreparably damaged in the process.

To keep the good vibes rolling from the moment you set foot into your new place until every last knickknack is unpacked, follow this valuable advice from pros on protecting your valuables. You'll be glad you did.

1. Determine what's valuable to you

Sure, when you think of valuable items, you probably think of the fanciest things you own. But Christine Daves, a certified professional organizer and owner of the Twin Cities–based Think Organized, wants you to expand your definition of "valuable."

She considers items such as little ones’ favorite stuffed animals as precious when she’s organizing a client’s move.

“Kids are already going through such a big change," Daves says. "If they have a specific teddy bear or something, it’s a valuable item if they need it to sleep."

You should also pay special attention to necessities like prescription medications and important documents while relocating, she says. Replacing them can be a costly and stressful process—an emergency doctor’s appointment in a new city in order to refill a lost prescription won’t be cheap or easy.

2. Take an inventory—with photos

Once you've determined what's valuable, make sure you write it all down and take photos of each item—even the paperwork and the pills. It's tedious, we know, but you'll be grateful for the visual proof in case something goes wrong (we'll get to that in a bit).

3. Pack conspicuously

The No. 1 rule of packing is to label your boxes clearly. But when it comes to packing valuable items, Daves cautions against marking them in an obvious way.

“Don’t label a box 'My Gold Jewelry,'" she says. "You want to think that everyone is honest and all of that, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Another pro tip: Pack valuables in small boxes, advises Jon Daly, a mover with Matt’s Moving in Minneapolis.

“Big boxes are meant to be filled with a lot of goods," he explains. "Keep valuables by themselves in smaller boxes so they can go on the top of the load.”

And, of course, you should hit up a moving supply store to buy packing materials, Daly says. They’ll have everything you’ll need—from bubble wrap to specialized boxes—to keep your precious items safe.

4. Keep your small valuables with you

That said, your best bet for protecting your valuables is to keep them off the moving truck entirely. That means transporting them to your new home in your car, or shoving them into your carry-on luggage if you’re flying. (Try to avoid checking these items, as they could disappear somewhere between Point A and Point B.)

In fact, Daves recommends keeping valuables on your person as much as you can while en route to your new digs—even if you’re just stopping in a restaurant for a bite to eat. Toss your precious jewelry and your expensive compact camera into a backpack that you can grab and take with you as you stop, instead of leaving it in the car, no matter how concealed it seems.

5. Leave the big or extra-special items to the pros

What about those bigger valuables that you can’t transport yourself? (For example, that dining table that’s been passed down in your family for generations or the organic mattress your splurged on last year.)

If it fits in a box, go ahead and mark on all sides of the package that the contents need special care. Make sure to note any breakable items on the inventory, too, and tell the movers when they show up, Daly recommends. And don't forget about moving insurance.

That said, your highly valuable and precious items should be packed by professional packing or crating companies—which you might need to hire in addition to your moving company.

Daves recalls a client who once had to move a Steinway grand piano. “For things like that, there is absolutely no reason to go cheap," she says. "Hire the professionals.”

Whom do you call? Start by contacting the store where the item was purchased. It can recommend a company that specializes in crating such pieces.

“If it’s something like a statue, I might look up a museum services company," she says. "They’ll build beautiful crates that are specific to what you have.”

Yes, it'll cost some bucks. But dishing out the cash for packing professionals also takes the responsibility off of you.

“That’s one of the bonuses of having a moving company or [professional] third party pack your items—they’re liable for anything that gets damaged inside,” Daly says.

6. Check your stuff before you let the movers go

Unfortunately, all the planning in the world can’t stop accidents from happening—furniture gets scraped, boxes get dropped, antique crystal gets shattered. The key is to arm yourself against those scenarios with diligence and protections at every step of the moving process.

Once your belongings have been delivered to the final destination, make sure to do a final walk-through before the movers close up the truck and drive off into the sunset.

We know: Moving is utterly exhausting, and you might be tempted to just skip it, sign on the dotted line, and be done. But if you find damage in the unpacking process that you didn’t note on your final walk-through, Daly says, you’ll be hard-pressed to get your moving company to take responsibility for it.

Take thorough notes and photos of any damage you discover. Don’t stop with just photographing the damage—make sure you snap a few pictures of the packaging and boxes, too.

“The idea is that someone can look at your documents and get an idea of what happened or what went wrong” when it comes to filing an insurance claim, Daves says.

Remember those notes and photos you took before the move? They'll come in handy now. Use them to bolster your claim that something went wrong—and that it wasn't your fault.

Cinnamon Janzer is a journalist and writer based in Minneapolis. Her work has appeared in Fast Company, USA Today, New York magazine, and more. You can read more about her at

see full article here

Here’s What to Eat for Lunch If You’re Trying to Slim Down, According to a Nutritionist

Whether you prep ahead or grab take-out, these energizing options will help you power through your day.

January 08, 2018


Breakfast gets all the glory as the most important meal. But lunch plays a key role in your day too, especially for anyone trying to slim down. If your midday meals are too skimpy, you may overeat at dinner; while too-heavy lunches can make you sleepy and sluggish—not the ideal mindset for your ongoing weight-loss efforts. Below are five options that strike just the right balance, to help you power through your afternoon and drop pounds healthfully. Each contains plenty of nutrient-rich veggies, lean protein, and beneficial fat, along with a small portion of good carbs (enough to energize you but not enough to keep you from losing weight). 

If you're all about efficiency ...


One of the simplest strategies I recommend is making a double portion of dinner, and packing the leftovers for lunch the next day. Include two baseball-sized portions of green veggies, prepped with EVOO and seasonings. (Think leafy greens dressed with EVOO, balsamic, and herbs; or EVOO and herb sautéed or oven-roasted spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, green beans, or zucchini.) Add a portion of cooked lean protein, such as a half cup of pulses, like lentils or beans, or three ounces of poultry or seafood. And include a half cup of a nutrient-rich starch, such as yam, sweet potato, skin-on fingerlings, quinoa, brown, or wild rice. To keep it interesting, change up the combos, herbs, and spices while maintaining the same overall proportions.

If you're into meal prepping ...


You can’t go wrong with a simple stir-fry. In a medium pan over low heat, sauté a quarter cup of minced yellow onion in one-third cup of low-sodium vegetable broth until translucent. Add a cup of broccoli and a half cup each of chopped red bell pepper and shredded purple cabbage. Stir in a teaspoon of minced garlic, a quarter teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, one-eighth teaspoon each of crushed red pepper and black pepper, and sauté until veggies are slightly tender. Add a serving of cooked lean protein to heat through, such as three ounces of chopped chicken breast or a half cup of black-eyed peas. Serve over a half cup of cooked brown or wild rice, and garnish with a quarter cup of sliced almonds.

If you appreciate an Insta-worthy meal...


It’s true that we eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs. Many of my clients say that beautifully crafted meals help them stay on track with healthy eating, and feel more satiated. One trend that hasn’t fizzled out is mason jar salads: Fill the bottom with a half cup of oven-roasted sweet potato or purple potato. Add layers of dark leafy greens, alternating with sliced grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, and yellow bell pepper; and top with three ounces of canned wild salmon or a half cup of cooked red lentils. Just before you’re ready to eat, top the salad with a dressing made from two tablespoons of tahini, thinned with one and a half tablespoons of water, and seasoned with a teaspoon each of fresh lemon juice and minced garlic, and one-eighth teaspoon each of sea salt and cayenne pepper. Post your Instagram pic, then dive in.

If you're grabbing takeout ...


It's a common misconception that sushi is a healthy and slimming lunch. The truth is, sushi rolls are generally packed with white rice, and include a scant amount of protein and veggies. A better Japanese takeout option is a salad with ginger dressing, three ounces of sashimi or seared tuna, a side of avocado, and small side of brown rice. Craving Mexican? Order an entree salad (no fried shell), made from a base of greens and grilled veggies, dressed with pico de gallo, topped with black beans, chicken or fish (or just beans for a veg option), and sliced avocado or guacamole.

If you prefer to graze...

No time to sit down to an actual meal? Nibble on finger foods that add up a balanced lunch. Include a few handfuls of raw veggies (like sliced cucumber, red bell pepper or celery) with a quarter cup of olive tapenade or guacamole, or a few tablespoons of seasoned tahini or almond butter for dipping. For protein, include a half cup of oven-roasted chickpeas, a few hard-boiled eggs, or three ounces of chilled, sliced grilled chicken breast. Round it out with a serving (about three cups) of popped popcorn. Munch away at your leisure.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.

see full article here

Just Moved? 7 Tips for Making Your New Community Feel Like Home

 | Nov 15, 2017


Moving into a new house involves more than arranging furniture and getting your kids acclimated to a different school. To feel truly comfortable and settled in another city or state, you'll want to make connections with neighbors and community members.

Sure, it can feel awkward extending a hand to introduce yourself. But if you dive right in, you'll soon get beyond the "new guy" label and feel welcome.



Here are seven ways to settle in after a move and make your new community feel like you've been there for years.

1. Network before you move

It's much easier to go from one friend to two than it is to start from zero, points out Ali Wenzke, a blogger at the Art of Happy Moving.

"Reach out to your network of friends to see if anyone knows someone in your new city ... and then reach out via email and maybe meet up for coffee" once you're there, she suggests.

If you hit it off, great. But if you don't, at least you've met someone who can possibly steer you toward fun things to do in the area—where you can meet your new BFF.

2. Host an open house after you move in

Throwing a party for a bunch of strangers may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it's a great way to meet a ton of new people in one shot. Plus, your neighbors are probably dying to see the inside of the place you just bought.

Make your open house casual and easy by scheduling it for a few hours on a quiet Sunday afternoon and offering simple fare (think beer, chips, apple cider, and brownies). Your new neighbors will have a chance to meet you, and you'll get to hear some news about the community.

3. Venture outside

Still dealing with a ton of cardboard and packing peanuts? Rather than work in the garage, take your box cutter out to the lawn or driveway and break down your boxes outside. Bagging recyclables and tying up cardboard bundles are more fun when you can take a break to chat with passers-by.

Or do a little gardening such as potting hardy mums, raking leaves, or planting bulbs. Time these tasks for when people are picking up kids at the bus stop, and you'll create an easy meet-and-greet opportunity.

4. Hit the local shops

Sure, you'll shop at Target and the other big-box stores for new throw pillows, but make an effort to patronize the smaller shops in town, too. And do the same at restaurants—because who wants to cook after days of unpacking?

Frequent a couple of cafes or diners and get to know the servers and owner by name, suggests David Meek, a broker at Keller Williams Arizona Realty. "Restaurateurs are well-networked members of their community," he points out.

5. Grab the dog's leash

Your pup might be able to run out the back door to exercise, but you can also use it to your advantage when it comes to meeting new people.

"Dogs allow you to make quick and smooth introductions to other pet owners," Meek says. "Plus you'll meet more community members if you hang out at the local dog run."

6. Join a group

Love to fish? Or is pottery your jam? Indulging in a hobby might not be top of mind right after a big move, but now's the time to make yourself have a little fun. Try a site such as to find folks with similar interests.

In Phoenix, "hiking is really popular here and there are hundreds of Meetups on the trails for singles, seniors, and beginners," Meek says.

Michael Kelczewski, a Delaware- and Pennnsylvania-based Realtor® with Brandywine Fine Properties Sotheby's International, is a fan of the social network "And many homeowners associations have websites and Facebook groups you can join," he adds.

Or sign up for your local CSA, or community-supported agriculture, suggests Jill Ginsberg, a licensed salesperson with Bohemia Realty in New York City. "You'll get to meet new people and support local farmers at the same time," she adds.

7. Stuff some mailboxes

Theresa Jones, a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway in San Diego who's moved a half-dozen times in the past decade, suggests putting together a fun letter or postcard.

"Write a little bit about your family in the note and then leave it in your new neighbors' mailboxes," she says. You'll spread the news of your arrival and inform people of your contact info.

Or bake a batch of your house specialty and share it, suggests Lorrie Cozzens, communications manager at Help-U-Sell Real Estate. "Pick up inexpensive containers and make little gifts to drop off as you introduce yourself," she says.


big sky subtlety from Homes by Design Magazine

by Homes by Design Magazine

see full article here 

Home By Design

big sky subtlety

A Montana Ranch Makes a Big Impact with Subtle Details



For Lisa Kanning, it’s all about the details. And when it came to her clients’ sprawling Montana alpine ranch situated on 160 acres, creating interest beyond the breathtaking setting was of the utmost importance. “I love to design a home so that when someone walks into a room, it takes them a few minutes to really take it all in,” says the Brooklyn-based designer. “I want them to notice little details every single time they enter that space; things that they didn’t recognize before. It’s all about creating this new experience every time you’re in that room.”

Which was exactly the approach Kanning took when creating the interiors for the 10,000-square-foot modern mountain home located in the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club, a 13,600-acre private residential community. Anchored by a statement piece, each room seamlessly works in tandem with another but still maintains its own personality. “I love to add one prominent item in each space and then build around it with smaller, textural details,” explains Kanning, who was inspired by the sleek, modern interiors of New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel for this particular project.

The foyer sets the tone for Kanning’s subtle aesthetic with a rug inset into the Montana moss stone flooring. “It immediately defines that space when you walk in,” she says. An adjacent mudroom boasts floor-to-ceiling cowhide panels on the wall complemented by rustic, hammered metal hooks that serve as extra character but also functional design. Though the home is modern in context, with its clean lines in the furnishings and accessories, Kanning didn’t want to detract from the organic elements that are the foundation for the home’s design. To highlight the earthy details, Kanning showcased them in a more modern way. In the media room, logs were cut in one-inch-thick circles and then hung on the wall in lieu of a traditional wall covering. Though it’s not subtle in its appearance, the wall feels natural amongst the more modern elements in the room and creates that textural detail that Kanning strives for in her projects.


While Kanning loves to adhere details to the walls of a home—especially in this home where organic textures such as cowhide, leather, and white birch adorn the blank spaces— she never forgets to address the ceilings. “The ceiling is one of the most under-utilized design elements in a home,” she says. Which is exactly why nearly every ceiling in this home boasts an oftentimes subtle design detail. Locally sourced, reclaimed wood beams run throughout several of the rooms; however, it’s in the empty spaces that Kanning put her magic to work by adding wall coverings and textured paneling to create interest. In the game room, a modern woven leather vinyl complements the rustic wood beams while in the lounge area, which functions as the casual entertaining and dining area of the home, Kanning added an ultra-suede wall covering to the ceiling. This choice immediately softens the space and creates a warmer, more comfortable place to relax with friends.

In addition to the details, it was important to Kanning that the home age well with her clients. With children grown and out of the house, the clients wanted it to be a home that was not trendy but suitable for their lifestyle as they age. By mixing those organic textures and finishes with more modern surfaces such as slate-gray concrete counters and minimally detailed cabinetry in the kitchen with more contemporary light fixtures throughout, the resulting product is an interior that transcends time. “It’s truly one of those aesthetics that can grow with a homeowner over the years,” says Kanning.

While the main house is now complete, the homeowners continue to expand on their land—a helipad, horse barn, and fishing shack to name a few of the additions. “These clients are so savvy and knew exactly what they wanted,” says Kanning. Lucky for them, their designer knew how to implement the look they wanted without it feeling over-the-top trendy. “We really just had the same vision from the very beginning,” says Kanning, “which made this process so enjoyable.”

Big Sky Subtlety






Happy Valentines Day!

by JoAnn Gadkowski Team

Happy Valentines Day from the JoAnn Gadkowski Team.

Image result for hearts and houses

We LOVE where we live!

see full article here

5 Reasons It'll Pay to Sell Your Home Early in 2018

 | Jan 10, 2018


It's been nearly a decade since the Great Recession delivered the worst housing crash in modern memory. But these days, the fallout feels squarely in the rearview mirror. Markets have bounced back with fervor, and confidence is skyrocketing: From Charlotte, NC, to Stockton, CA—and everywhere in between—homes are flying off the market at record prices, and buyers are still clamoring to get in the game.

One thing is clear: It's a great time to be a seller.

"We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation, as well as an inventory shortage that resulted in a record low number of homes for sale across the country," says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for®.

In other words: Today's buyers are exhausted. And in many cases that means they're willing to sacrifice to get a toehold in the market.


Sounds like the stuff of seller's dreams, right? But know this: If you plan to sell in 2018—and you want to unload your home quickly and for maximum money—your window of opportunity may be rapidly narrowing. Here's why you should get moving ASAP.

1. Rates are still historically low, drawing buyers into the market

We may not be enjoying the rock-bottom interest rates of yore, but by historical standards, today's 30-year mortgage rates—hovering just above 4%—are still low. And experts agree mortgage credit will remain relatively cheap for most of the year.

That means the getting's still good for buyers—and, subsequently, for sellers looking to unload their homes.

But rates are on the rise, and it's been widely predicted that they'll reach 5% before year's end. Buyers know that the longer they wait to buy, the more expensive it will be.

Roughly translated, that means you'd be wise to list your home earlier in the year, before more rate hikes kick in. Not only will you capture the market of buyers scurrying to close a deal, but if you're buying after you sell, you'll also benefit from those lower rates.

2. Inventory remains tight—and demand high

Simply put, there are more buyers than available homes—particularly in red-hot markets where land is scarce and it isn't cheap to build.

And the housing shortage will likely get worse before it gets better: data predict inventory will remain tight in the first part of this year, reaching a 4% year-over-year decline by March.

Sellers, that means this is your opportunity to be wooed. Buyers, their choices limited, are going to great lengths (and making some major concessions) to win the house, says Katie Griswold, a Realtor® with Pacific Sotheby's in Southern California.

"We're in a very favorable seller's market," she says. "We're seeing bidding wars—which push up prices—and buyers are submitting offers with very pro-seller terms, like forgoing the repair request or waiving the appraisal contingency."

And cash investors are in the mix, too, accounting for 22% of all home sales transactions in November 2017 (up from 20% in October), according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Those cash buyers are snapping up homes in an already tight market and keeping some first-time buyers at bay (sorry, buyers!). But if you're selling, you stand a better shot at an all-cash offer—one you just might be crazy to refuse.

Of course, there's a catch: Inventory levels are predicted to begin rising in the fourth quarter, marking the first inventory gain since 2015 and setting the stage for more dramatic housing gains to come. So if you're thinking of selling, start preparing now in order to walk away with a sweet paycheck.

3. Home prices are still increasing

From coast to coast, home prices continue to rise—which translates to more money in your pocket when you sell.

But the gains are predicted to be more moderate than in years past. data suggest a 3.2% increase year over year, after finishing 2017 with a 5.5% year-over-year increase.

Bottom line: You still stand to make a pretty profit if you sell this year, but the earlier you can list, the better off you'll be.

4. People have more money in their pocket

Record levels of consumer confidence, low unemployment, and stock market surges are setting the stage for high home buyer turnout in 2018. For the first time since the 1960s, the Fed has projected that the unemployment rate will drop below 4%, and the domestic stock market is enjoying a nearly unprecedented rally.

The housing market is already reflecting this boom: Existing-home sales soared 5.6% in November 2017 (the most recent month for which data are available) and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years, according to the NAR.

"Incomes are growing and people are finding better and more stable jobs," Vivas says. Buyers "are feeling pretty good about (their) finances."

And thanks to the GOP tax legislation, which nearly doubles the standard deduction, we'll see fewer people itemizing, says National Association of Home Builders Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

"The income effect of that is that most people are getting a tax cut—which should help (buyer) demand," Dietz says.

All of these factors combined mean more buyers could be on the hunt, with more money in their pockets to shell out on a home for sale—possibly yours!

5. Millennials are ready to commit

Millennials, often crippled by student debt, have been especially hampered by rising interest rates and high home prices.

But the aforementioned conditions are ripe in 2018 for these first-time buyers to take the plunge, and experts predict that millennials will make up a vital part of the buyer pool over the coming year: Millennials could account for 43% of home buyers taking out a mortgage in 2018 (a 3% year-over-year increase), according to data.

"As people move into their 30s, they're looking to move from renting to homeownership," Dietz says. "And we predict that trend will continue even more this year."

More home buyers flooding the market can only mean good things for sellers—at all price points.

Based in San Diego, Holly Amaya is a writer, lawyer, and communications strategist. She writes about real estate, legal, lifestyle, motherhood, and career issues.

see full article here

How to Price Your Home Like the Savviest Sellers

4 things canny home sellers do when pricing their homes.

Home pricing is more of a science than an art, but many homeowners price with their heartstrings instead of cold, hard data. 

Smart sellers know that crunching the numbers is always the better route to an accurate home price. Here’s how they do it.

#1 They Avoid Overpricing

Homeowners often think that it’s OK to overprice at first, because — who knows? — maybe you’ll just get what you’re asking for. Although you can certainly lower an inflated price later, you’ll sacrifice a lot in the process.

Just ask Candace Talmadge. She originally listed her Lancaster, Texas, home for $129,000, but “eventually had to accept the market reality” and chop $4,000 off the price.

The home’s location proved challenging: Buyers were either turned off by the area — a lower-income neighborhood south of Dallas — or unable to afford the home. 

“Sellers have to keep in mind the location,” says Talmadge. “Who are going to be the likely buyers?”

The most obvious pitfall: A house that remains on the market for months can prevent you from moving into your dream home. Already purchased that next home? You might saddle yourself with two mortgages.

“You lose a lot of time and money if you don’t price it right,” says Norma Newgent, an agent with Area Pro Realty in Tampa, Fla.

And worse: Continually lowering the price could turn off potential buyers who might start wondering just what is wrong with your home.

“Buyers are smart and educated,” says Lisa Hjorten of Marketplace Sotheby’s International Realty in Redmond, Wash. “You’re probably going to lose them.”

#2 They Don't Expect Dollar-for-Dollar Returns

It’s easy for homeowners to stumble into two common traps:

  1. Conflating actual value with sentimental value — how much they assume their home’s worth because they lived there and loved the time they spent there.
  2. Assuming renovations should result in a dollar-for-dollar increase in the selling price — or more.

“Many homeowners think, ‘Of course my home is worth a bazillion dollars,’” says Newgent. If they put in a few thousand dollars worth of new flooring, for example, they might overestimate the upgrade’s impact on the home’s value into the tens of thousands.

Talmadge’s Texas home came with a built-in renovation trap: It was already the nicest home in the area, making it harder to sell. Major additions had inflated the square footage — and the price, according to one appraiser — without accounting for the surrounding neighborhood. That created a disconnect for buyers: Wealthier ones who might be interested in the upgraded home disliked the neighborhood, and less affluent buyers couldn’t afford the asking price.

“Don’t buy the nicest home on the block” is common real estate advice for this reason.

That’s not to say that renovations aren’t worth it. You want to enjoy your home while you’re in it, right? Smart renovations make your home more comfortable and functional but should typically reflect the neighborhood. A REALTOR® can help you understand what certain upgrades can recoup when you sell and which appeal to buyers.

Another culprit for many a mispriced home is online tools, like Zillow’s “Zestimate,” that prescribe an estimated market value based on local data.

The estimate is often wildly inaccurate. A Virginia-area real estate company, McEnearney & Associates, has compared actual sold prices with predicted online estimates for several hundred homes in the area for the past few years and concluded the predictions failed half of the time.

#3 They Use Comparable Sales (also Known as "Comps")

The best pricing strategy? Consult a real estate agent, who will use something called comps (also known as “comparable sales”) to determine the appropriate listing price. They’re not just looking at your neighbors; they’re seeking out near-identical homes with similar floor plans, square footage, and amenities that sold in the last few months.

Once they’ve assembled a list of similar homes (and the real prices buyers paid), they can make an accurate estimate of what you can expect to receive for your home. If a three-bedroom bungalow with granite countertops and a walk-out basement down the block sold for $359,000, expecting more from your own three-bedroom bungalow with granite countertops and a walk-out basement is a pipe dream.

After crunching the data, they’ll work with you to determine a fair price that’ll entice buyers. The number might be less than you hope and expect, but listing your home correctly — not idealistically — is a sure way to avoid the aches and pains of a long, drawn-out listing that just won’t sell.

#4 They Adjust the Price When Needed

Once your home is on the market, you’ll start accumulating another set of data that will serve as the ultimate price test: how buyers react.

Agent Hjorten says there’s an easy way to tell if you’ve priced too high: “If we have no showings, it’s way too high. Lots of showings and no offer means you’ve marketed well — but it’s overpriced once people get inside.”

Talmadge didn’t struggle with showings. She says a number of people were interested in the home, but not enough at the price. In the end, Talmadge sold her home for $125,000, with a $5,000 seller’s assist, a discount on the cost of the home applied directly to closing costs.

“It all boils down to location, location, location. In [another] neighborhood, our house might well have sold for well over $130,000,” Talmadge says.

When it comes to finding a buyer, pricing your home according to data — and the right data, at that — is crucial to making the sale.

is a writer and editor with a focus on home improvement and design. Previously, she worked as a web editor for “House Beautiful,” “ELLE Decor,” and “Veranda.”

See full article here

7 Things Interior Designers Really Wish You Wouldn't Buy

 | Dec 29, 2017


One of the most satisfying parts of buying a home is filling it with brand-new furniture. But before you plunk down your credit card on that red leather couch or Eames-knockoff coffee table, listen up: Interior designers would like to sit you down and share some items they really, really wish you wouldn't get.

Why? Because these professionals see, client after client, home after home, what works and what doesn't. And, rather than silently cringe at seeing yet another horribly furnished space, they want to clear the air by revealing certain furnishings they absolutely hate—and explain why you'll end up regretting them, too.

We're focusing first on the living room, the site of many traditional furniture-buying blunders. Behold seven purchases to avoid if you know what's good for you.

1. Excessively formal furniture

Photo by the Sofa & Chair Company 

When it comes to furnishing your living room, consider how you actually live every day.

"The formal living room is a dying breed, along with all of the furniture that goes with it—nobody entertains this way anymore," reports Carole Marcotte, an interior designer with Form & Function in Raleigh, NC.

Stiff couches, a chandelier, and pillows piled "just so" are simply too precious for modern families. And even if it all works right now, you'll want to think about how this style will age along with your family. When kids come along or you add a pet or three, you may regret a too-formal choice.

2. Overstuffed chairs

Photo by Custer Design Group

Home design experts are very clear when it comes to these puffy pieces, especially those with built-in cup holders.

"I get that lounge chairs are comfortable, but they're truly the elephant in the room," explains Karen Gray-Plaisted, a home staging and decor pro with Design Solutions KGP.

And very often, huge recliners won't fit in the space you have. Measuring is critical, she says.

"Sketch the sizes on graph paper and then take them to the showroom staff for help with layout and proportion," she suggests.

Or just skip these monstrosities entirely.

3. Outdated drapes


4. Matched sets

Photo by Coral Interiors

Snooze. Just because the store features matching sofa, chair, and ottoman sets doesn't mean you have to buy the entire package, explains Bee Heinemann, an interior designer with Vant Wall Panels.

When decor pros see this arrangement, they're faced with making it more interesting, says Marcotte.

"It's like walking into a sea of wood, which could have looked better with a mix of texture and color if the pieces had been chosen separately," she explains.

The fix: Buy a few pieces from one set and then integrate other styles.

"Start by removing the love seat and replacing it with two chairs from another collection," Heinemann suggests.

5. 'Trendy' furniture

Photo by Savvy Decor

Beware of trendy looks—like, say, this U-shaped couch above—which can quickly look dated. They might also sacrifice functionality.

"U-shaped sectionals with an ottoman in the middle are difficult to navigate in and out of, even though they seat a lot of people," explains Jenny Gericke, an interior designer with Gather and Home Design.

They're not necessarily a piece of cake to optimally place in a room, either. Add floor poufs to this list of impractical living room buys.

"They're trendy right now, but they're too low to sit on," says Gericke. If you must have them in the home, buy poufs to use as footrests or footstools, not seats.

6. Disposable furniture

Photo by Kristen Rivoli Interior Design

Yup, we're looking at you, futon. And, sadly, much of the furniture you'll pick up at Ikea falls into this category as well. Cheap pieces that are poorly made or constructed from particle board will chip, fade, and then fall apart, costing you more money in the long run.

"Buying furniture you plan to replace every few years isn't smart," points out Sara Chiarilli, owner of the design firm Artful Conceptions in Tampa, FL.

Instead, buy high-quality, neutral pieces and add pops of color with pillows or others accents to keep costs down and the space looking new, she says.

7. Too-small rugs

Too small rug
Too small rug


Having a hard time choosing a rug for your living room? You're not alone.

"Clients often underestimate rug size and there's nothing worse than having furniture surround a dinky one," laments Marcotte. You'll end up with a too-small carpet floating in the middle the room.

"The pieces don't need to sit completely on the rug—just aim for the front third or half of the chairs and couch to straddle it."

Jennifer Kelly Geddes has written for, Chewy, Modern Farmer, Celebrations, and


See full article here

9 Kitchen Hacks That Will Make Healthy Eating So Much Easier

This is the year that you’ll eat better—and spend less time cooking. Win-win.

December 29, 2017


We’ve all been there: You come home from a long day at work and you’re exhausted. You’re so hungry, you could start gnawing on your arm at any moment. Nothing sounds good, and at the same time everything sounds good—so you start munching on the bag of chips as you plan your meal, and before long you're not even hungry for dinner.

Luckily, learning a few smart kitchen hacks can help you throw together fast, simple, and healthy meals on even the busiest nights. And tapping into your inner chef is good for your health, too: A recent study in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that home-cooked meals help you stick to the dietary guidelines (more fruit, veggies, beans, whole grains, dairy, and seafood; less sodium and refined grains) and save money while you're at it.

We asked registered dietitians to share their strategies that make planning, prepping, and cooking easier, so you can get right to eating. Pretty soon, using them will become second nature and the "What should I make?" dinnertime crisis will become a thing of the past. Now, all you have to do is decide what you’re going to do with your extra free time. Self-care, anyone?

Go for freezer fish

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish per week, especially fatty fish like salmon or mackerel. To make that happen, pick up fish that can go from your freezer straight to your oven, suggests Vicki Shanta Retelny, RD, a nutritionist based in the Chicago area. Typically, frozen fish should be thawed before cooking, but "some brands are marinated, individually wrapped, and can be cooked from frozen, like Morey’s or No Name," she says. (Look for phrases like "no need to thaw" or "from freezer to oven" on the package.) Also smart: Pick up a bag of pre-cooked, peeled, and deveined frozen shrimp (a great source of low-cal protein) to quickly heat up and add to pasta dishes, stir-fries, and salads.

Don’t go crazy with Sunday prep

If you love getting all your veggies, proteins, and grains cooked for the week ahead, more power to you. But if it’s become something you dread, feel free to skip it. "It’s easy to get overwhelmed with meal prep," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. Instead, she recommends taking the prep down a few notches by just chopping a couple ingredients that you can incorporate into easy, healthy meals. For example, Gorin keeps sliced mushrooms and onions on hand for stir-fries or omelets; it removes some of the prep-cook burden, and you don’t have to start dinner from scratch every night.

Pick out fun store-bought short cuts

No one actually likes to peel and cube a butternut squash. Or mince garlic, or chop Brussel's sprouts. That’s why store-bought prepped produce can be a lifesaver. "They may be a little pricier, but they can save time and help you eat healthier at home in the long run," says Lindsay Livingston, RD, a nutritionist in Columbus, Ohio. Look for creatively prepped veggies to jazz up meals, like spiralized carrots and zucchini (found in many grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s), shredded Brussel’s sprouts, or bagged cauliflower rice.


Make smoothie cups

What’s better than a blend-and-go smoothie when you’re running out the door? Pre-pack an individual container with fruit, nut butter, and any other additions (think coconut, greens, cocoa powder, chia seeds, or cashews). The next morning, dump the bowl into your blender and add your liquid of choice (milk, nut milk, kefir). Gorin always keeps frozen wild blueberries in her freezer ("they pack more than twice the antioxidants of regular blueberries," she says), and combines them with plain Greek yogurt, milk, peanut butter, banana, and a tiny bit of maple syrup.

Keep these go-to foods on hand

There are days when you come home and think, What am I going to eat? Always have quick-cooking 10-minute grains on hand, like bulgur or barley, says Retelny. Toss with ready-to-eat bagged salad greens, and throw on a pre-seasoned package of tuna or salmon. This meal comes together superfast, so you can eat well even on the busiest weeknights.


More staples to keep in the house, according to Holley Grainger, RD, a nutritionist in Birmingham, Alabama: eggs, canned vegetables and beans, cooked chicken in the freezer, jarred spaghetti sauce, hummus, veggies, noodles, and frozen pizza. Yep, frozen pizza can fit into your healthy eating plan: You can jazz it up by adding more veggies on top.

Stock up on sauces

Even though Pinterest may tell you otherwise, "every night doesn’t have to be an elaborate dinner with specific recipes," says Livingston. To make dinner new and interesting, change up the flavors with sauce. Livingston recommends keeping a running list of simple sauces (tahini dressingThai peanut) that you can quickly throw together to top your favorite protein, whole grain, and veggies.

Get yourself a fast cooker

Pressure cookers are all the rage right now, and for good reason: This genius device truly puts dinner on the table in a flash by allowing you to cook foods faster so you can have a full meal ready in less than 30 minutes. These pots can even handle frozen meats (a slow cooker cannot). You can't go wrong with the Instant Pot 6-Quart ($75;, an Amazon bestseller with over 23,000 reviews.


Streamline shopping

If whipping up a complicated grocery list is too overwhelming (or you don't even want to bother with meal planning), ditch it completely. Instead, Grainger recommends this simple, winning formula to make getting your grocery haul less of a hassle. Two or three proteins, one or two bags of lettuce, two to three fruits, two to three veggies, one to two grains, milk (or milk alternative), and sauces as needed. "You'll have the components you need to throw together a last-minute dish," she says. Bonus: Doing it this way allows you to choose items you see on sale, which helps keep your weeknight meals new and fresh.

Don’t be afraid to make too much

Whenever you can, double a recipe and freeze half. Freezer meals can save you after a busy day, since all you have to do is pop it into the microwave or a pot on the stove. "It’s usually not much more work than cooking a single recipe, and it gives you a well-stocked freezer for busy weeks when you don’t have a lot of time to plan or cook," says Livingston. Freezing homemade leftovers also saves you a significant amount of money per serving compared to brand name, ready-to-eat freezer meals—plus, you don’t have to worry about extra sodium, sugar, or preservatives in the mix. Now get cooking!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 234




Contact Information

Photo of JoAnn Gadkowski Team Real Estate
JoAnn Gadkowski Team
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Rocky Mountain Realtors
660 Southpointe #200
Colorado Springs CO 80906

©2015 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.