The Power of Buying Local

This blog post is not on the topic of real estate specifically, but it is about a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Supporting local businesses has always been a very important thing to do, whether you live in a small rural community or in a large city. These business owners and employees all count on the patronage of people who live in and around their same communities.

Coming from a long line of small business owners, I know the amount of work and passion that it takes to create a successful and flourishing local biz. It takes an incredible amount of hours, money, networking, self-sought education, and devotion to take an idea and turn it into a profitable and top-of-mind business. Every day is looked at as an opportunity to grow and become better.

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When facing an unprecedented scenario like the one we are currently in, COVID-19, the vast disruption to “business as usual” can be incredibly destructive to our local businesses. So many of these businesses are operating on limited funds as it is, they do not have the reserves necessary to withstand being closed for weeks on end, let alone pay their employees and other bills that do not disappear (utilities, rent/lease, taxes, etc.).

Since the beginning of this sequence of events that the virus has caused, I have noticed so many businesses seize this opportunity to be there for the public. Restaurants are remaining open with take-out/drive-up options available, auto shops (shameless plug for Eureka Brake & Automotive and Old Town Auto Service) are offering pick up and delivery options for those who choose not to leave home but still need vehicle maintenance done, and local wineries are offering free delivery, right to your door (does it get any better?). This is amazing! It goes to show you that these people who have adapted, and will continue to adapt as this pandemic progresses, are truly here for their community.

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We are so lucky to live in such a county with such deep roots, and now more than ever is the time to keep our local businesses supported. These businesses have found ways to be there for you in this time of uncertainty, so let’s be there for them! This could be as easy as purchasing gift certificates from restaurants or local shops to use at a later time (or make early Christmas shopping a cinch!). We live in a time where almost anything is available to us from our smart phones, so use them!

I see this temporary pause to life as usual as an opportunity to alter some of our spending habits and really focus on building each other up as a community, rather than focusing on the fear of the unknown. One thing is for sure, we will get through this. My hope is that once the coronavirus pandemic is over with, Humboldt County will bounce back and local businesses will be stronger than ever. Let’s do everything we can to make sure that happens.

Here are a just few of the local businesses that I would like to thank for what they are doing:

Eureka Brake & Automotive

Old Town Auto Service

Septentrio Winery

Land of Lovely

Jitter Bean Coffee Co.

Humboldt Cider Co.

LoCo Fish Co.

Fieldbrook Winery

Salt Fish House

Ramone’s Bakery and Cafe

Humboldt Soup Co.

Larrupin Cafe

Brick and Fire Bistro

Esmeralda’s Mexican Food

Sammy’s BBQ

Babe’s Pizza & Pasta

Chin’s Cafe

Pho Thien Long

Old Growth Cellars

Luis’s Mexican Restaurant

Redwood Curtain Brewing Co.

If you can think of any other local businesses that need mentioning, I encourage you to leave a comment and I will add a link for them as well. And, as always, thank you so much to the medical professionals and first responders that we rely on so heavily. Your efforts are so greatly appreciated!

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Wishing you all the best in health and happiness!

 

Yours truly,

Mallory and Charlie

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Travel Bug

We are currently in the heart of winter, and the cold, wet weather has me daydreaming about visiting a warm sandy beach with a cocktail in hand, or perhaps being on a snowy ski slope with my best friends, snowboarding all day until we finally retreat to our cabin to spend the night hot tubbing and dancing to Usher. Either way, I think a winter vacation is long overdue!

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After the busy holiday season, I think we all tend to get back into our grooves with work and get so busy with normal routines that we forget to take much of a break. I know I’ve felt this myself. The days are shorter this time of year, we “just don’t have the time” to do some of the things that truly make us happy and this can sometimes result in a winter slump. Taking a vacation this time of year probably isn’t the first thing on most people’s minds, but I think it should be somewhere on the list!

IMG_0401 A winter vacay doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive. It could just be a weekend spent a few hours away from your hometown with friends or your sweetheart (Valentine’s Day is coming up). Recently, I had the opportunity to do just this with my besties and my sister. Sometimes all you need is just some quality time with the ones closest to you. Activities don’t necessarily matter, since we have no matter what we are doing, but a little wine tasting never hurts! This time away is so important for your relationships, whether your friends or significant other. It puts everyone in a different frame of mind and allows you to step away from the normal stresses and potential monotony of your every day life.

I encourage you to plan a winter vacation of some kind! Whether big or small, plan a trip that gets you out of your normal routine and allows you to spend quality time with loved ones. Reconnect with yourself and with them. It’s so important to get a little refresher every now and then, even in the cold months!

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What My First Year In Real Estate Taught Me

If you’ve been following my journey at all, you probably know I am a rookie in the real estate world. I got my real estate license on November 1, 2018 and have spent the past year with my nose to the ground. I’ve faced challenges that I didn’t know could possibly exist. Most of these challenges have been mental and emotional. I’ll get into that soon. Some challenges have been financial, and others have been social. If you are someone who has considered changing directions in your life, leaving the security of an hourly wage job for a purely commission-based one, or are just someone curious about what I’ve experienced over the past 12 months, keep reading!

Challenge #1: Mental

I am someone who does well with routines. I was so accustomed to the 7:30-5:00 Monday through Friday work schedule that when I left my hourly wage job, I felt a little lost with my time. I knew that being a Realtor® meant that I would likely be working nights and weekends, but what I didn’t plan for was scheduling time for myself. I would feel extremely guilty if I took a few hours mid-day on a weekday to relax or take care of myself. To tell you the truth, I still feel that guilt sometimes. I was so used to the “typical work day” hours defining when my free time was and, more importantly, when it was not. The mental guilt that I felt and still sometimes feel can be overwhelming, but I am starting to get better at not caring what others think. I work very hard and do my best in my business. That’s all that matters.

Challenge #2: Financial

Aside from the routine challenge, I felt so much pressure to perform well. I had heard horror stories of people getting started in real estate and not making any sales in their first year, which translates to having no income. This wasn’t an option for me. I am lucky to have a strong support system at home, with a partner who could take on more of the financial burden than before, but the pressure to be bringing in my own stream of income was and still is very apparent. I have learned that the typical amount of time it takes for someone new in real estate to feel comfortable with their income can be anywhere from three to five years. That’s a long time to feel uncomfortable! I am learning to cope with it and be grateful for what I have. So many people often think that all real estate agents immediately make large amounts of money, and I am here to tell you that it’s just not true.

I also had not fully taken into account just how expensive it can be to get started. Marketing and advertising is so expensive, and it is incredibly important to get your name out there as fast as possible to generate business, right? I would recommend saving at least 6-8 months in expenses before making the jump to a fully commission-based job like real estate. Having a sizeable cushion will help alleviate some of the financial stress and allow you to focus your energy on kicking ass in your business! One of my first clients told me, “You can’t afford to worry about money in the beginning, just focus on taking care of your clients and the money will follow.” Good advice from a very wise man.

Challenge #3: Social

I don’t have a large amount of friends. I have my small network of my closest friends and I pretty much stick to those people. I have had to step really far outside of my comfort zone, not just with clients, but with new co-workers, other Realtors® and affiliates, industry peers, etc. I can definitely say that it was not easy, and it probably never will be for me, but I feel so good about the progress I’ve made in creating new relationships with people! A quote I heard from my sister recently sums it u: “If you are comfortable, you’re not growing. If you’re growing, you’re not going to be comfortable.” -Unknown.

Real estate is my passion, and the past year has definitely taught me that even through the ups and downs, I love what I do!

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Planting Hobbies

There is something about the promise of sunny days and spring air that makes me want to get some plants in the ground. Living in Humboldt County, our winters sometimes seem to drag on for eternity. The long, wet, gray days get a little bit ominous, and as soon as we get a beautiful sunny day, I find myself headed straight to the garden shop to get my seeds and starts! (I should preface this with the fact that I am by no means a green thumb. I’ve killed more plants than I’ve grown, definitely.)

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Because I am so ready for spring to show itself and for winter to go back into hiding, I tend to jump the gun so to speak when it comes to planting. I usually rush things. (Gardening may not be the most ideal hobby for me since patience is not easily a virtue of mine.) I’m really a novice at vegetable growing. I started last year and became hooked. This year, I planted seeds rather than starts. My thinking is that I can get them in the ground sooner than starts and forget about them for a few weeks while we ride the rest of this rainy season out. I have no idea if this method will be successful. “Trial and error” is my life motto.

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Even though I am not always successful in my gardening endeavors, I still enjoy it deeply. I am always so excited to plant new flowers in the front yard, to see the new colors and textures. Veggie growing is another animal, and I love the challenge of growing all different types of food. I feel like there will always be something to learn with a hobby like this. There will always be variety and variance between seed types, weather variations, watering patterns, etc. A good hobby is one that doesn’t get monotonous over time. I don’t think I will have a problem with this one! I think Charlie enjoys it, too!

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What is a hobby of yours that will continuously push you to improve over time? Do you have anything that you absolutely love to do, even if you’re not particularly good at it? Maybe you share the same love for gardening with me! I’d love to hear. Let me know what hobbies hold your passion!

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What Your Front Door Says About You

It’s starting to feel more and more like spring! I think the turn in seasons from cold, wet winter to bright and cheery spring may just be my favorite time of the year. It reminds me how much the sunshine improves my mood and feels instantly refreshing! This time of the year also makes me excited to get to work on my own home which has been somewhat neglected during the rainy season. It’s time to give it a face-lift! Each year, I tend to have a different project to improve the curb appeal of my home.

A couple of years ago, I decided to jump in and paint my front door black. This was a bold decision because the door was previously white and tan, and the color of the rest of the house is dark gray with cream colored trim. I bounced around ideas of what color to paint the door for a few months. I originally thought dark blue would be the one, then I changed my mind and settled on a red door…what a statement! Finally, while driving around doing errands one day, I saw it. I saw a home with similar coloring to mine with a BLACK door. The idea of a black door seemed dark and uninviting.

Until I saw it in reality, I didn’t think this was the color I wanted for my home, which is a cheery place! The sheer class that the black added to the home I saw surprised me. I remember thinking, “Yeah, that’s it!” I went down to the hardware store that same day and bought the paint. My parents thought I was crazy when I told them what I had decided on for paint color. I didn’t have any doubts though. I’ve never given it a second thought!

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*Disclaimer, this picture was taken before I knew how to properly pot pretty flowers in my entryway!

It is interesting to me the importance of the color of a home’s front door. The entrance into a person’s home says a lot about them and their personality. I’ve found that a pop of color added at the front door adds excitement to the overall look of the home as well as makes the guest excited to come inside! Right now, I’ve seen many teal or aqua colored doors. This may be less classic than a deep and vibrant red or canary yellow, but adds plenty of interest nonetheless! A red front door will always be one of my favorites. It just stands out so much compared to other typical housing colors like grays, whites, tans, and other neutrals. I would suggest adding a red front door to a white home, light or dark gray, or even a deep navy color!

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Check out this article to find out what the color of your front door says about you! And don’t be afraid to get creative with this on your own!

The Dollars and Sense of Homeownership

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It’s tax season! This is the time of the year to be reminded of all the things that we can use as tax write-offs in order to get a little extra cash in our wallets. The tax system is set up in a way to encourage investing in ourselves, our businesses, and our future. I want to talk about one way to really benefit largely from this system and give advice on why homeownership is a financially wise decision.

There are so many benefits to owning a home. The obvious one is having a place to live that is truly yours. Some not-so-evident perks to those who have never owned a home are the financial benefits. Sure, we’ve all heard saying like “it’s good to build equity” and “real estate is a good investment for your future.” What I’d like to talk about is more specifically why these sayings are true and what they really mean.

Buying may seem like the expensive option when you have a choice between that and renting. No doubt, it very well might be more expensive in the short term. However, in the long term, buying is definitely the way to go. The first reason why is because each month when you write that check, you aren’t paying for someone else’s mortgage payment. You are essentially paying yourself by putting money away and thus building equity bit by bit each month.

Other financial benefits of owning a home are tax-related. Many people don’t understand the amount of write-offs possible when you are a homeowner. These write-offs translate into cash directly back in your pocket! Firstly, you can write off all of the interest paid on your home. This is especially important during the first few years of homeownership because those are the years most people pay the highest amount of interest. Secondly, you can write off property taxes. Again, this means more cash back to you during tax season! Who doesn’t love the sound of that?

For more details on why homeownership is financially beneficial, check out Forbes’ article: 7 Benefits of Homeownwership This Tax Season