Dear Real Estate (A Valentine’s Love Letter)

Dear Real Estate,

Remember when we first got together? People didn’t think we’d last. Maybe they didn’t always say it, but they thought it.

“You could do so much better. Why would you be a real estate agent?”

“What’s your back-up plan?”

“You should get a real job…”

I’m sure they were well-intentioned. But I ignored them.

There were times, though, when even I wondered if you were worth the chase. You do tend to play hard to get. Not even sure you know you’re that way. But maybe you do. Maybe you just wanted to see how much I really cared.

I’ve come to love and appreciate that about you. If you were too easy, our relationship wouldn’t be so rewarding…and my love and respect wouldn’t be so deep.

Who knows, maybe I’d have scrammed when times got tough.

We jumped right into marriage

I’m glad we jumped right into marriage. If we’d just dated—if I’d kept my options open—we probably wouldn’t be where we are today. Commitment was a good thing.

For better or for worse…

We’ve certainly had our share of worse, right Real Estate? You remember 2005-2010, don’t you? Those were some tough years. You were sluggish. Money was tight. Things just didn’t seem right.

But we stuck it out. And we’re better and stronger because of those years. And I’m sure we’ll go through times like that again. We’ll be OK.

To me, you were never a one night stand

Not just anybody can see the depth of your beauty. Takes a special type. It’s weird how some people look at you like the “love ‘em and leave ‘em” type. You’re not… necessarily. But if that’s how someone treats you, you’re cool with it. The truth is, you’ll love anyone.

And you do. You have millions of lovers. Some new, some old. Some will come and go, some will be with you forever.

Used to bug me. Thought we had something special. But I’ve come to terms with it. I know many will be nothing but a quick fling. They won’t truly love you and will be out the door quickly. Nothing wrong with that. Things happen. Sometimes relationships don’t work.

I’m totally fine sharing you with others. I just hope they love and respect you as much as I do.

They say you’re moody

I get a little defensive when people say you’re in one of your moods. Sure, you have your ups and downs. Who doesn’t?

But it’s not you… it’s them. You’re never going to be perfect to everyone at every moment. Someone’s always gonna have something to say about you. But I dig that you ignore what everyone’s saying and how you just keep on being you.

Don’t get me wrong, I know we’ve had a few spats over the years. But now that I get that you’re not the boss of me, any more than I can tell you what to do or when, we almost never disagree.

But sometimes I wish you wouldn’t go around looking so sexy. Every time I hear people saying how hot Real Estate is right now, I can’t help but to question their motives in my own protective little way.

It’s not about the number of transactions

When I was younger, I never really got what people meant when they’d say that love grows deeper over time. But now I realize it does. It evolves.

I’m not sure about you, but for me, early on it was all about having as many transactions a month as possible. Heck, I was always hoping for multiple transactions in a day!

But the honeymoon is over. It’s not about the quantity for me anymore. It’s about the quality of the transactions. And don’t take that as me saying I’m “settling” for quality… I just yearn for quality more than quantity is all.

(But hey, don’t get me wrong… I’ll take as many quality transactions as I can get! Just sayin’…)

It’s not you, it’s…

There’s a lot of reasons people get angry at each other and break up. With you, I think it’s typically over money issues. Or, about not having enough transactions. They kinda go hand in hand.

You do stress people out.

Dragging you to counselling isn’t gonna work, though. It’s on them to make the relationship work. You couldn’t be more flexible, understanding, or accepting.

Maybe it’d be best if they just spent some quiet alone-time with you.

Real Estate, it’s not you when things are aggravating. It’s not you that causes the stress, the worry, the wasted time, and ups and downs. It’s people that cause these things…

It’s other agents. It’s buyers and sellers. It’s appraisers, attorneys, inspectors, and lenders.

It’s the economy.

It’s how they all interact and affect each other.

But deep down it’s not you, Real Estate.

Over the years, I’ve learned to help people understand you better. Calm them and help them see you for what you are. Help them love you as much as I do and deal with you as you are, not as they want you to be. And ideally, I help them all deal with each other with love and respect and an understanding that we all have a relationship with you, and we all need to get along.

To marry you is to marry your family

To marry you is to marry your whole family… and each and every one of their quirky ways.

Speaking of which, if another one of your relatives says, “You still doin’ Real Estate?” one more time… Don’t they know it’s more than that with us!?

But I’ve learned that it’s important to love them all, even if they are difficult to like at times. But I certainly have my favorites to sit next to at the holidays.

But at times, it seems we’re always around other people…

Alone time, just me and you

Whether it’s clients, inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, or other agents–the family of people it takes for us to get anything done–the busy-ness can get in the way of remembering what it is I love about you.

It’s funny though, isn’t it? When we’re alone, I just can’t wait to be around everyone, anyone…to be busy again. And then the noise, the motion and commotion of it all, gets in the way of seeing you for everything you are and could be.

So, sometimes it’s just plain good to sit down and be alone with you, and let you know I am constantly thinking about you and working on “us”. It’s good for you to know, but more importantly it’s good for me to remember.

And as we ride off into the sunset, I recognize your free spirit, and that’s a good thing.

Because ultimately, your love is meant to be shared with the world. We’re nothing without others.

***Shared from the Lighter Side of Real Estate

What is Luke Day?

What is Luke Day? 🐾
luke day nexthome mascot
An integral part of our brand identity and culture, NextHome wouldn’t be the same without our beloved mascot Luke.

In honor of his birthday, we have declared June 15th our company’s annual day of community outreach – Luke Day. This year, due to COVID-19, we are pushing the day out to July 15th.

On this day, NextHomies across the country step away from their business and come together to serve their local communities and the animals that thrive there.

By organizing pet adoption events, hosting vaccine clinics for local veterinary centers, or raising donations for our national charity partner, Canine Companions for Independence, our franchise network joins forces to make a difference on this special day.

Luke Day is about collaboration and service, bringing the local community together to support a great cause.

If you want to give to my Canine Companions fundraiser, please click on this link.  Every dollar counts!

Thank so much for your support!


Don’t you just LOVE a restored farmhouse?

You’ve found it: a beautiful, rambling old farmhouse, with wide-plank wood floors, original windows, maybe a big barn. And, out back, a few trees and a shady, rolling lawn—the perfect place to hang a hammock, just as soon as you tackle your own Fixer-Upper-style renovation. But be warned before you start: What you love most about your farmhouse might cause you the most headaches. Here’s what to know before embarking on a farmhouse renovation (and what to leave as-is).

 Photography by April Valencia, courtesy of Rip & Tan, from The Catskills Farmhouse of Two Brooklyn Creatives, Weekend DIY Edition.

Above: Photography by April Valencia, courtesy of Rip & Tan, from The Catskills Farmhouse of Two Brooklyn Creatives, Weekend DIY Edition.

1. Those wood floors might need to replaced.

The good news is, good-quality wood floors can withstand a lot of refinishing—the maximum is about 10, according to Denver-based MacDonalds Hardwoods—which takes more time but is less expensive than total replacement. But if the original wood floors in your farmhouse are getting close to that number, or are just in bad shape (MacDonalds Hardwoods says to look for warping, loose boards, termite damage, or under-floor damage), you may be looking at total-floor replacement while you’re living there. (Otherwise, consult What to Know About the 4 Most Popular Wood Floor Finishes for a few options.)

2. There may be hidden dangers.

Keep in mind that an old farmhouse (or any house built before 1978) may have lead paint on the walls—or asbestos. Lead paint is particularly a problem in window wells, where the paint can flake off or pulverize when the windows open and close. Check with the local authorities for the best, safest way to proceed, and be sure to work with contractors trained to handle toxic substances.

Above: Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista, from Saved from Abandonment: A Historic Hudson Valley Farmhouse Receives the Ultimate Makeunder.

3. You could spend a small fortune upgrading the basics.

The rule of thumb with any remodeling project is to remember that it will cost more than you think—but this is especially the case with old houses like farmhouses. Once you start, you’re sure to discover things that need replacing: old electrical systems (knob-and-tube wiring will need to be brought up to code), water pipes, and the HVAC system. If you don’t have room for a full-blown HVAC system or want to minimize the disturbance to the bones of the house, consider an efficient mini-duct HVAC system, with much smaller tubing and ducts that can be fitted easily and unobtrusively into the walls or floors.

4. The charming old windows might be drafty.

Those beautiful old windows might mean a long, chilly winter, since they’re likely single- (not double) paned. And replacing them can be costly: up to $800 or $1000 just for the window, according to Angie’s List. But some experts say slightly draftier windows are a small price to pay for having original windows: “Never, never, never throw away old windows,” Ipswich, Massachusetts-based architect Matthew Cummings told Forbes. Newer windows don’t last as long and aren’t built as sustainably, he says. Consider having old windows repaired by an expert, not replaced.

5. Soapstone counters are not quite zero-maintenance.

Soapstone is a popular choice for farmhouse-style interiors, and it’s generally a rugged one: It’s heat-resistant, stain-proof, and isn’t affected by acidic materials. But be forewarned that it can nick and scratch easily (cutting boards are important). Four years in, Fan reports, her soapstone counters have worn unevenly and dent from even dropping a can. (Read her full run-down in Soapstone Counters: Are They Worth It?) And soapstone does require spa treatments—in the form of mineral-oil massages—if a dark, almost black look is what you’re going for. Read more in Remodeling 101: Soapstone Countertops.

6. That clawfoot tub may have to go.

You might be picturing a vintage, cast-iron bathtub in your farmhouse. But sloping floors aren’t a good match for freestanding baths, and the floors might not be able to support the weight of the bath filled with water (and a human). For more, see 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Clawfoot Bathtubs.

7. Last but not least, get an inspection.

Consult an expert (or two): An official inspector can tell you the nitty-gritty of your house—before you start tearing down walls.

For much more on the fine points of buying (and renovating) old houses, see What to Know When Buying a House: 8 Small Signs that Signal Big Problems—as well as 6 Problems that Shouldn’t Be Dealbreakers.

And for more in our Things Nobody Tells You series, see:

N.B.: Featured photograph by Greta Rybus for Remodelista, from The House That Craigslist Built: A Bare-Bones Farmhouse in Midcoast Maine.

Front Porch Swings

To prepare for summer on your front porch, here is an amazing $30 DIY swing from “the sorry girls

What a great project to make during our safer at home orders.


Cost: ~$30

Difficulty:  ✂ ✂ ✂

– Saw
– Sandpaper or Power Sander
– Drill + Wood Screws
– Paint Brushes + Roller Brush
– Scissors
– Tape
– Lighter
– Ladder
– Sewing Machine (optional)

– 2 Pallets
– Outdoor Paint
– Durable Nylon Rope (make sure it’s rated to support a large amount of weight!)
– Outdoor Fabric + Patio Cushions (optional)


To make this hanging pallet swing we started with two shipping pallets

The first we cut in half use as our back support

Use an electric sander or some sand paper to give your pallets a good sand, try to get off as much dirt and wood grime as possible

Once they’re both completely sanded, front and back, wipe them off well to get rid of all dust

Before we get painting we’re laying down a drop cloth

To paint the pallet we’re using an outdoor wood paint in a deep navy tone

Using the combo of a roller for large flat areas and paint brush for tighter spots, we painted the entire pallet

Make sure once it’s dry you do a second coat! This keeps your wood protected and the color looks much more vivid.

Once both pieces were painted and dry line up your half piece behind the full pallet

Using some wood screws and a drill, drill into the vertical boards of the short piece and into the long back piece of the large pallet. This will hold it together pretty well but we’re also adding some rope for extra support

For our rope we’re using this white nylon rope, make sure you pick a rope that is durable and can hold up to a large amount of weight

We don’t want to put our rope solely through the thin boards so for extra support we’re having it go through the top and out the side. Use a drill bit the size of your rope and drill two holes

For the other side of the rope, we’re also going in through the top and out the middle stronger board.

After your holes are drilled lace your rope in through the side hole and then out through the top rope. Tie the rope tightly in a knot

For the other end, measure out how much you’ll need. To cut the rope, tie a piece of tape tightly where to want to make the cut. Cut the rope in half through the tape. Use a lighter to slightly burn the ends of the rope together. Now you’re good to finish lacing the rope through the other holes and tie it tightly in a knot

Our back rest is now super secure, make sure to repeat this on the other side as well!

For our main ropes we’ll be using to hang the swing, we’re adding two holes similar to the ones we just made. Start by drilling a hole down through the top board and then one out through the back board.

Thread your rope down through the top and out the back. Add a knot and repeat on the other side.

We drilled four sets of these holes on each corner but we’ve only knotted in the backs of each side. We’ll tie up the front two holes once we get to our tree

For our swing cushion we’re combining these two old patio cushions we had. We created one large slip cover out of this outdoor flamingo pattern fabric. We put the two cushions inside to create one large pallet sized mattress

To hang the swing, set it on something about the height you’d like it to sit so you don’t have to hold it up for the entire hanging process.

Make sure you choose a tree with a VERY secure branch because pallets are heavy!

Use a ladder to swing your first rope over the branch

Loop the rope around the branch once. To add the knot, wrap the loose rope around the tight rope twice. Bring the end of the rope through the top and out the bottom

Once on the ground, lace the untied ends of your ropes through the holes the same way we did the first side. Make sure your final knots are tight!

All of the rope lacing and knot tying is pretty hard to explain through text so make sure to watch the video below for full details!