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11 Halloween Candy Alternatives

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Perhaps you’re not feeling candy this year. Maybe you’ve experienced the wrath of an over-sugared six-year-old (or their parents). Maybe you can’t trust yourself to sit for hours by the front door with a massive quantity of chocolate without eating most of it yourself. Or maybe you’re a dentist. Don’t worry, there are plenty of things you can give trick-or-treaters instead of the sweet stuff. Here are a few Halloween candy alternatives.

1. Glow sticks

Could there be a more perfect accessory for Halloween? Kids can light them up with a snap and wear them as bracelets, necklaces and crowns. Bonus: they make it easier for parents to keep their eyes on their kiddos.

2. Stickers

Choose from the assortment of ghosts, witches and pumpkins available in stores in October or go with stickers with year-round appeal, like superheroes and animals.

3. Bubbles

Hours – or at least a few minutes – of bubble-blowing entertainment is in every little bottle.

4. Plastic spider rings

Kids love to wear creepy-crawly bling, making spider accessories a great candy alternative.

5. Crazy straws

Halloween-themed straws can easily be found in dollar stores.

6. Fake fangs

These could also add a point of interest to your annual holiday photo card, if you’re so inclined.

7. Temporary tattoos

What kid doesn’t want a cool spiderweb on their bicep?

8. Slime

What exactly is the ooey-gooey stuff in the little cans? It remains a mystery, but kids definitely love to squish this classic toy.

9. Plastic jewelry

Sparkly rings, bracelets, necklaces and cheap tiaras are not only fun for kids to wear, but you can dress like a pirate as you hand out your glittering treasures.

10. Bouncy balls

Beloved by all kids, but especially those who live in homes with hardwood floors.

11. Kazoos

Parents may hate you, but kids can lead their own parades as they head to the next house.

Looking for a home in a trick-or-treater-friendly neighborhood? I can help. Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Blog courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

DIY Pumpkin Carving and Decorating

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Fall comes with many traditions: football, apple cider, pies, festivals – and, of course, venturing to a pumpkin patch! If you are looking to carve or decorate a pumpkin this fall, here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Use a cookie cutter to create a pattern. Place the cookie cutter on the pumpkin, then use a hammer to pound it halfway in. Remove the cookie cutter, carve out the shape and repeat.

2. To add some extra flair to your pumpkin, tie or hot glue colored or sparkly ribbons on it. Find some ideas here.

3. Painting is another great way to decorate pumpkins. Maybe add a fall-themed quote, or paint the pumpkin to look like your favorite cartoon character. Be sure to use acrylic paint and a sealant spray after you’ve painted your pumpkin to ensure lasting results. Here’s some inspiration from the Creative Team at RE/MAX HQ:

4. Make a glitter pumpkin! Paint the pumpkin with glue (basic craft glue will work fine), sprinkle glitter onto it, and repeat. After the pumpkin dries, shake off the extra glitter. Use a sealing spray to avoid any more of a mess.

5. And of course, there’s always carving. Are you thinking about selling your home? This pattern is a great way to grab the attention of potential buyers. Adding tasteful items to your home's decor is always a great way to make your home stand out. 

Click here to download template

Looking for the perfect doorstep to display your masterpiece? When you’re ready to start your home search, I can help! Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Blog courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Beautiful Windows, Beautiful Home

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Have you ever driven up to someone's house for a holiday party or see a new home that's just been completed and think, "Wow, those windows really make that house look incredible!", or, "Who knew you could do that with your windows?"  Below are just a few ideas on how your home can generate that same kind of feeling.

Design Ideas for Dressing Up Existing Windows:

  • Looking for an inexpensive way to change up a window or provide some additional privacy but don't want to completely change out a window?  There have been huge advances in the quality of window films that are relatively quick and easy to apply.  Click Here for a series of amazing ideas on how to change the look, feel and function of almost any window in your home.
  • You can also Click Here and Here for some short videos on how to do apply window films yourself.

Energy Saving Options: 

  • With the cost coming way, way down and continuing to do so, it's now even possible to combine an old idea - the simple window awning - with the new technology of solar panels. Click Here to check out how this architect combined the two in this Seattle home.  You could easily do this in a new or even an existing home!
  • There's probably no limit to the amount of information online about different window types, efficiencies, designs and materials, but has a great page that summarizes quite a bit of it and you can easily branch off from there if you're looking for more technical information.

​​Exterior Ideas: 

  • Adding or updating exterior window shutters can dramatically change the look and feel of your windows in one simple step.  The possibilities are almost endless and they are actually not that hard for the do-it-yourself person. You can Click Here to see a number of very inexpensive options.
  • Click Here for a downloadable quick "How To" guide for designing shutters on your own or with a contractor.
  • Window flower boxes can add an amazing amount of color and vibrancy to almost any window in your home regardless of location. You can Click Here for tons of ideas and, once you've gotten your window boxes built (or bought) and installed, taking care of them can't get any simpler than this!

​​Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Image by Kirk Fisher from Pixabay 

5 Winning Tips for Writing an Offer Letter

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

In some hot housing markets, including a letter with your formal offer to buy a home is all but required. Unfortunately, Hallmark doesn’t make a card for the occasion (yet). Here are a few tips:

1. Get emotional.
Take advantage of this opportunity to sail beyond the facts and figures to convey a personal connection to the home. Pick one or two features and talk about how they fit into your vision of the perfect home. For example, “Holiday meals are important to my family. Your large kitchen has everything I need to re-create my grandmother’s recipes, and would fit all of my relatives who like to gossip while cooking.” Or, “During our showing my children escaped to climb trees in your backyard. They fell in love with the home as much as I did.”

2. Connect with the seller.
Find one or two similarities between your family and the seller’s, based on what you can discern from the home. Show you have something in common, but be careful not to dig too deep (nobody wants to sell to a stalker). For example: “We’re so excited that your home not only has a beautiful, fenced yard, but also a dog door. Our lives revolve around our two rescue pups, Sonny and Cher, who would literally leap for joy in a yard of their own.”

3. Don’t be afraid to flatter.
Tell the seller why you adore specific features that have been upgraded: “We love those colorful tiles you used on the kitchen backsplash. They remind us so much of our honeymoon in Portugal.”

4. Don’t whine.
This is not the place to play the sympathy card. No sob stories about why you sold your last place, or how many deals have fallen through. You want the seller to feel good reading your letter.

5. Grammar matters.
Check spelling and grammar. Have a grammar-nerd friend triple check it for you. You want the seller to know you put time and care into your honest appeal.

Not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place. Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Change the Life of a Shelter Dog This October

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

You can become a dog’s superhero this month – October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month! You have the power to change the life of a shelter dog by welcoming a new fur-baby into the family. The American Humane Society first established October as the national puppy-loving month to help more than 7 million animals currently in shelters seeking “fur-ever” homes.

If you’re not convinced that adopting from a shelter is the way to find the perfect pooch, we’ve done the research to change your mind.

Don’t shop at a pet store when it’s easier than ever to adopt an animal from a shelter or rescue – the Humane Society reports that most shelters are 25-30 percent purebreds, and over 50 percent of cats and dogs in shelters are never adopted. If there is a certain breed of dog you are looking for, search the breed rescue groups in your area too.

If the landlord says no pets allowed, maybe it’s time to buy your own home where you make your own rules. More than three-fourths of Americans in their 30s own a dog according to one report and millennials now represent the largest demographic of homebuyers, so it’s no surprise that first-time homebuyers add a pet to the mix when purchasing their first house.

After factoring in the added costs many landlords impose on rentals in the form of deposits and pet fees, owning a home may be a better option than renting. Just think, you could give your new fuzzy-faced animal his very own backyard to run around in.

Find a shelter or rescue near you with the ASPCA’s Shelter Finder to start your search. If the search to add a pup to your family has you thinking about upgrading to a home to call your own, you’ve come to the right place! 

Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Transform Your Home into a Haunted House

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Now that we are well into October, the countdown continues as people wait in anticipation for the creepiest night of the year: Halloween. Want to give people the chills as they wander past your house on All Hallow’s Eve? Here are a few decor tips.


Tombstones: Give guests the creeps with a small graveyard in front of your house with tombstones. A great DIY project can be found on the Lowes blog. For a spookier effect, add some fake bones sticking out of the ground.

Smoke: A fog machine may be pricey, but it can really up the level of haunt your house will have. Think the graveyard scene from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Jack-O-Lanterns: A Halloween classic for a reason. The soft light fits right in with your spooky vibe…and will light the way for guests.

Sound effects: Scratching on windows, blood-curdling screams, witches cackling. Say no more! Play some sound effects to get guests pumped for their journey inside of the house.

Indoor Decor:

Set the tone: The most important part of a haunted house is the feeling people get when they enter. Play some eerie music as guests walk through. Dim the lights or light some candles for a haunting atmosphere.

Cobwebs galore: Decorative cobwebs always add that old, chilling element to a haunted house. Dry some flowers and put them on your mantle or table with the cobwebs. Or string the cobwebs in corners and over mirrors or lights with some fake spiders.

Bones and more: Adding a few skulls or skeletons around the house will really add to the effect. Extra props for putting a big one in a rocking chair.

Paintings/pictures: Make people question, “Are those eyes following me?” Pillage your local thrift store or yard sales for some old portraits that induce chills.

Crystal Ball: Scavenge for a crystal ball or a DIY one and give this Haunted Mansion inspired prop a try.

Ghosts: Have an extra sheet lying around? Throw it over a light and put it in the distance to add an element of mystery to your decor.

Child’s Play: There’s something chilling about a porcelain doll’s stare. Put them out to give adults a flashback to The Twilight Zone.

Looking to buy or sell a home? I can help. Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Breast Cancer Awareness: Coping Behind the Pink Ribbons

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

By Kayla Roofe

Editor’s note: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It’s a disease that affects our friends, sisters, co-workers and mothers. In this post, Kayla Roofe, Social Media Manager at RE/MAX LLC, shares her family’s experience.

When I think of home, I think of my mom. My fondest memories were made at the start of every football season, when my mom would make her “famous” chili and we would spend time around the TV cheering on our favorite teams. But then, on October 1, 2010 (the official beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month), my mom called me with the three-little words no one ever wants to hear, “I have cancer.”

Hearing Those Three Dreaded Words

Cancer. It felt like I got stabbed with a knife to the heart. It sounded like my life coming to a screeching halt. Being a sophomore in college at the time, the biggest worry I had up until then was not knowing if I was going to pass my midterm exam or not.

You Don’t Cry When You Think You Will

Of course, I cried when my mom told me of the diagnosis over the phone. But then there was nothing. I became immune to my feelings and instead focused on research. My mom was too frightened to Google any solutions to itchy skin or nausea, so I delved into the web. I visited forums and searched hashtags on Twitter before I eventually became so well-versed in the “cancer lingo” that I always answered every “How is your mom doing?” question with “She’s doing great – except for the nausea!”

It wasn’t until I saw my mom after her double-mastectomy surgery – lying helpless on the hospital bed – that it hit me. She should be OK, right? It would be over in a year. Right? But it dawned on me that maybe it wouldn’t be. There was always a chance that the treatment wouldn’t work. Or that the cancer would have spread. I cried harder than I have in my entire life.

The Irony Behind the Awareness

I could do without the pink ribbons, the pancake fundraising breakfast or the marathon. Being a single mom with two kids, my mom’s battle with breast cancer changed all of our lives forever. When my mom was diagnosed during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there was a line of people out the door to help. As soon as November 1 came around, we were left alone dealing with the struggles cancer would bring. We lost our childhood home because my mom couldn’t work during her treatment. My little brother dropped out of high school to help support the family. I failed that semester at college due to the amount of time I took off from school.

The damage cancer did to all of our lives is something that we will remember forever. Through it all, we realized that a home can be replaced, you can always go back and graduate from high school and a college semester can be retaken. What matters most is that my mom can proudly say she is a survivor – and she will always be the heart of my home.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Never Too Early to Plan Your Halloween Party

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

To all those naysayers out there who say it’s too early to plan a Halloween party, just say, “Booooooooo!” Now is the time to scare up some creepy and creative ideas for a fun-filled fright night!

Who doesn’t love planning a party? Especially if it’s a costume party. Start looking for inspiration to pick a Halloween theme that your guests can really sink their teeth into. Search news and popular culture, pick a moment in time or connect to characters from your favorite movie.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – the warehouse Halloween stores are great, but you need to find boos at a bargain! Start at the second-hand store, search your zip code for the nearest thrift store and set off hunting for some spooks. Hey, even just a visit to the thrift store can inspire the theme of your Halloween hoedown. Start visiting the thrift stores early because the good Halloween decorations sell quickly.

Host a Halloween dinner party and invite your guests to gobble up some ghoulish goodies. Mix up your favorite poison at the bewitching bar or dive into some cherry cheesecake brain. Find 28 Halloween Cocktails to die for.

Whether you’re catering to kids or adults – don’t forget to feed the beasts with entertainment. Party games are a great way to have some freaky fun and help your guests meet one another. With some extra lead time, you can craft your way to creepy by making the party games yourself.

Looking for a new house to haunt for the holiday season? You’ve come to the right place. Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Demand for Housing Increases in August 2019

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

According to the August 2019 RE/MAX National Housing Report, buyer demand continues to exceed available housing supply, extending the favorable seller’s market that has been in place for years. While sellers have had the upper hand in negotiations in recent years with constricted inventory remaining nationally, more buyers entering the housing market could increase momentum.

“The modest inventory growth that started last fall has been swallowed up by demand as buyers have returned to the market, likely spurred on by attractive interest rates,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “Home sales dipping at the same time inventory falls suggests there may have been some reluctance on the part of sellers to list their homes,” added Contos.

The last of 2019’s peak months for home sales also prompted encouraging signs for buyers with a steep decline in Median Sales Price from July 2019 to August 2019. Despite concerns over low inventory, the seasonal decline in inventory from July 2019 to August 2019 is on par with the national average since RE/MAX began releasing the RE/MAX National Housing Report over 10 years ago.

Here are some highlights of the latest data found in the RE/MAX National Housing Report:

  1. Home sales took a dip.

The overall average number of home sales is down 4.2% compared to July 2019, and down 1.6% compared to August 2018. Leading the month-over-month sales percentage decrease were Miami, FL at -13.5%, Dover, NH at -13.1%, and Washington, D.C. at -10.3%.

  1. Home prices became increasingly more affordable.

In August 2019, the median of all 53 metro Median Sales Prices was $263,000, down 3.6% from July 2019 and marking the steepest drop-off in report history from July to August.

  1. The number of homes for sale declined.

The number of homes for sale in August 2019 was down 3.9% from July 2019 and down 5.5% from August 2018. Based on the rate of home sales in August 2019, the Months Supply of Inventory was 2.8, a decrease compared to 2.9 in July 2019 and 3.5 in August 2018. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

Sellers, are you ready to put your home on the market? Contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

The One Where They Reconsider Apartment Living

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

In honor of the 25th anniversary of “Friends”, we’re looking into the living arrangements of our six favorite “friends”: Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe. They were in their 20s and living in New York City’s West Village – in relatively large apartments.

We’ve all thought it, and it has even been analyzed multiple times, but Monica’s and Rachel’s living situation is just too good to be true. Two roommates, with average incomes for most of the series, would have had a very hard time affording a two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Let alone one with a living room of that size.

While they made renting in the Big Apple look relatively stress-free, there are downsides to their apartment living that could make anyone consider buying a home.

Annoying neighbors

From the “Ugly Naked Guy” to the late Mr. Heckles, Monica and Rachel dealt with their share of strange neighbors. Yet, they never considered moving out. A recent study conducted by found that people living in multifamily homes, like apartment buildings, were willing to pay an additional $179 per month just for the ability to choose their neighbors.

While they had a ridiculous deal on their rent-stabilized apartment (1,125 square feet in Manhattan for only $200 a month!), the constant disturbances and lack of privacy would have probably led them, in real life, to at least consider finding a new home.

Lack of outdoor space

Outdoor space has become a must-have amenity for many homebuyers and renters, especially millennials who need to accommodate their pets. Throughout the series, the characters had a few different furry friends – Ross’ monkey Marcel, Chandler and Joey’s chicks and ducks – that may have benefitted from an enclosed outdoor space.

Additionally, the friends are seen using the apartment’s balcony for parties, barbecues and romantic moments. While it’s a nice addition, and one you can’t guarantee everywhere, a larger outdoor space – or even one that doesn’t require crawling out a window like Rachel’s and Monica’s – would BE (think Chandler’s inflection) more ideal.

Small/outdated kitchen

While most apartments aren’t praised for their kitchen spaces, it’s surprising that Monica, the professional chef in the group, seems to have no qualms with the lackluster space. While the gang seemed to get by with a somewhat-outdated kitchen (as evidenced by their many Thanksgivings held there), it’s one of the things that usually drives most renters to consider moving. Plus, any significant design change or upgrade would have needed the landlord’s approval. Given that Monica was subletting the apartment illegally from her grandmother, she probably avoided the landlord at all costs.

No elevator

The apartment building where Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joey reside is a five-story walkup, meaning there’s no elevator access. Ross lived in a similar walkup apartment across the street. An elevator would have been especially helpful in Ross’ apartment situation when he is trying to move a couch upstairs himself instead of having it delivered. With an elevator, they could have avoided having to “pivot!” After a long day at the office, climbing multiple flights of stairs to get to a front door can be daunting.

Perhaps the characters of “Friends” are not getting such a sweet deal on their apartment if it means they must deal with all of these “quirks.” If you are feeling more proactive that Monica and Rachel and are ready to move on from renting, contact Heidi Winston of Winston Realty Group for all of your real estate needs. For more information or to schedule a showing, visit or email Once you work with us, you'll be glad we're your real estate professionals.

Courtesy of RE/MAX Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 11

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Contact Information

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RE/MAX Central Realty
Heidi and Michael Winston
8921 W Sahara Ave, Suite A
Las Vegas NV 89117
Heidi: 702-277-6599
Michael: 702-219-8692
Fax: 702-974-2288