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Creating Holiday Traditions, One Room at a Time

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

There’s no place like home for the holidays. Whether you are a new homeowner, or are celebrating another holiday season in your well-loved home, your living spaces can be integral in making memories with family and friends. Time to put some holiday music on, gather up the kids and start creating these holiday traditions now, one room at a time.

Kitchen
With so much delicious food to make and bake during the holiday season, your kitchen is an easy place to begin creating holiday traditions. Baking cookies, frying latkes or building gingerbread houses (complete with a RE/MAX sign!) are activities in which the whole family can participate. You can go one step further and take your cooking skills to a local soup kitchen to support your community during this season of giving.

Living Room
Often the center of the home, your living room-is where the hustle and bustle of the holidays melts away. Kick back with a holiday movie, start a fire and decorate the Christmas tree as a family in matching holiday sweaters, no less! Light the menorah or host a New Year’s Eve party. The holidays can be stressful-use your home as a sanctuary to focus and reflect on what this time of year means to you.

Outdoors
When you think of holiday traditions outside, colorful lights and an inflatable Santa come to mind. But don’t dismiss other low-stress outdoor activities like sparklers in the snow, sky lanterns or caroling. If you can handle the cold, or live in a temperate climate, plan a get-together around an outdoor fire (complete with a yule log) on the Winter Solstice.

I can help you find a home that matches your life and style. Are you ready to start making traditions in a home of your own? Contact me today. 

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

Cold-Hardy Plants Add Color to Winter Gardens; Fresh Produce to Dinner Tables

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

As fall arrives, leaves turn and colder temperatures set in, the bounty of bright colors in your spring and summer gardens have faded. Garden beds that popped with colors of purple, pink, orange and yellow flowers and seasonal fruits and veggies. Now the beds are covered in mulch, winterized for the approaching cold season.

Wait! Just because the typical gardening season winds down doesn’t mean you still can’t mix things up in the backyard. Visit your local nursery or garden store to shop around for regional cold-hardy plants that catch the eye with color! Here are a few seasonal favorites to try for winter.

Kale and Chard

Kale and chard plants aren’t only tasty, but quite beautiful with shades of green and reds – and bonus, they are awesome for you! Look for varieties that feature purple coloration for even more of a pop! Kale continues to grow until the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Some gardeners argue that the leaves are crisp and taste even better with a touch of frost!

Hosta

The great thing about hosta is that they require little attention and are available in a wide variety of colors. Just a few of the varieties include ‘blue angel’, ‘big daddy’, ‘halcyon’, and ‘Gold Standard’. Though they bloom in the summer, their brightly colored leaves remain vivid during the winter months. While they are low-maintenance, hostas prefer lots of water with well-drained soil. As for sunlight, hostas prefer full-sun, but can tolerate shadier locations.

Camellias

If you’re on the hunt for a beautiful plant that can survive just about any cold condition, search no further because camellias are your flower. In northern climates, camellias bloom in October and can continue through December. Their white, pink or red petals bloom in a variety of different ways, making them quite a unique addition to your garden. This versatile flower can be trained to grow into a shrub or into more of a tree-like shape. Preferring acidic, well-drained soil, these winter beauties do best in a semi-shaded area.

Pansies

For some lower-growing color, consider pansies! Blooming year-round, pansies come in just about every color imaginable and can be arranged to create colorful groundcover art. Pansies prefer moist, well-drained soil and thrive in colder temperatures. Farmer’s Alamanac mentions that the reason pansies die is because they aren’t being watered enough, so shower them with plenty of love and attention and they’ll return the favor in the form of a colorful winter display!

Holly

Holly brings up thoughts of Christmas trees and mistletoe for its bright red color that it can add to your garden in the winter. It’s especially eye-catching after a recent snowfall. Holly bushes prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil and do best in full sun. With that said, holly is a pretty tough plant that can be ignored for a bit and can flourish in less-than-perfect conditions.

Brussel Sprouts

You’re in for a treat if you’ve never seen a Brussel sprout plant growing. It looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie! Not to mention, you’ll have a terribly-tasty vegetable to enjoy all spring long. Brussel sprouts wrapped in bacon, anyone?

Crocus

You may recognize the crocus as one of the first signs of spring after a long winter. These purple, yellow and white bulbs prefer full sun or partial shade and appear in late winter or early spring. For all you foodies out there, consider planting Crocus sativus, or autumn crocus-it’s a crocus variety that produces saffron!

Tips for Winter Gardening Success

Keep in mind that while you can daydream of an amazing winter garden all you want, when it comes to successfully growing one, you want to make sure you’re choosing plants suitable to your USDA growing zone. Depending on your area’s local climate and temperature, some winter plants may not grow as well as others.

To help your winter garden reach its full potential, protect your plants from getting hit with winter’s worst. Make sure you’re diligent about weedingapplying lots of mulch and keeping an eye out for pests. Taking advantage of row covers, portable cold frames and covering crops when the frost rolls in is a good idea too. Visit the RE/MAX blog for more tips on house, home and garden this winter season.

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

Think You’re Ready to Compost? Let’s Talk Dirty

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

 

As fall harvesting ramps up, it’s the perfect time to reflect on our gardening successes and failures as we look forward to boosting the backyard garden’s performance level next season. We have a gardening-pro secret, a magic soil solution to solve those production problems: composting-it’s ridiculously easy and equally rewarding. We have a list of everything you need to know to master the art of the compost pile.

The Perfect Compost Recipe
You may have heard compost buzzwords like “activator,” “aeration” or “carbon and nitrogen”-it can begin to sound like a complicated science project. Start your pile with three essential components: carbon-heavy elements, nitrogen-heavy elements and moisture.

  1. Carbon-heavy elements include wood, shredded cardboard and newspaper, sawdust, woodchips, straw, pine needles and shredded leaves.
  2. Nitrogen-heavy elements like coffee grounds and filters, food scraps, manure and grass clippings, ideally outweigh the carbon-heavy elements.
  3. The brown to green ratio should favor the brown or carbon components. Moisture is key; don’t forget to water the pile if the food scraps don’t provide enough moisture or rain to naturally keep it damp.

Subdue the Stink and Critters
Some homeowners never consider starting a compost pile for worry of the stink and the pests that it can attract. Fear not-if you avoid spoiling the pile with certain elements, there’s no reason to worry about the stench. Moisture is key-if it’s too high the pile can begin to stink, so water sparingly and increase aeration by adding more brown components to the mix. Avoid composting meat and bone scraps because dogs, raccoons, rodents and flies will see it as an invitation to dig through the scraps. Exclude diseased plants, both garden plants and weeds, from the mix to avoid poisoning future plants that will grow in the soil.

Turn Baby, Turn
Aeration is so important to the composting process. An occasional turn mixes thing up and keeps the soil decomposing. Turning is a task that can be done easier by investing in a compost bin with a turning handle or on the simpler side, you can hand-turn the pile with a shovel to mix it up while adding more dry or wet, brown or green and carbon or nitrogen components to the pile. Add it to the chore chart and let your kids take a turn-it will be educational and fun for them to watch the scraps that they’ve been adding to the bin break down into something brand new.

Composting is sure to be your easiest, and likely favorite, backyard experiment to date. If you’re looking for a new backyard to experiment in, head to http://www.winstonrealtygroup.com/  to get your home search started.

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

Don't Give Up on Produce this Winter: Know Your Seasonal Picks

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Summer produce season has ended, but don’t give up on fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies just yet. Even though today’s grocery stores stock most fruits and vegetables year-round, that doesn’t mean they are in peak season or naturally harvested. If you’re purchasing produce that isn’t naturally in season your grocery bill will show they come at a high cost. Health experts also suggest out-of-season produce doesn’t pack the same punch in nutrients as fresh, in-season produce offers. To help you find what’s fresh-RE/MAX created a list of winter produce purchases that add zest and variety to your winter meals.

Leafy Greens

As cool season vegetables, dark leafy greens can be grown through fall and into the winter in the northeast or northwest regions of the U.S. Leafy greens produced in those areas tend to taste better once exposed to frost. Many of these vitamin-packed varieties, including lettuce, arugula and spinach grow fast in the fall. Be quick to use harvested dark leafy greens because they have a shorter shelf life.

Brussel Sprouts

Many winter dishes include brussel sprouts for good reason: their peak season picks up in the fall through early winter. These smaller versions of cabbage are great to use as a side dish and can easily be stored for a few weeks after purchasing. You may see some of the outer leaves start to die, but removing them before cooking should leave plenty of these nutrient-rich little gems.

Apples

This fall fruit grows all summer to be picked at the peak of freshness once fall arrives. Purchasing apples in the winter is almost a guarantee that you will be getting the freshest apples available. Look for signs that state “new crop” to ensure that your apples were recently picked from the orchard and aren’t last year’s harvest. Choose firm apples that are shiny and bright to make sure the freshest apples are added to your winter dishes.

Potatoes

Although these beauties are harvested during the late summer, their ability to stay fresh for a long amount of time makes them an easy choice for winter produce. Potatoes are known for their long shelf life and are used all over the world for this reason. Store them in a dark, cool and dry area of the kitchen to keep them from aging. Use them as a main or side dish in plenty of winter recipes.

Onions

This tasty veggie is also known for its ability to keep all through winter. Onions are a great way to add flavor into a dish and sneak in a vegetable for picky eaters. They provide a lot of fiber and Vitamin C to winter diets and can help reduce cholesterol levels. Store onions in a cool and dry part of the kitchen to support their long-lasting qualities. Consider storing them individually, without touching other onions, to give them an even longer shelf life.

Squash

Gourds are a great winter produce option that won’t spoil easily. Varieties like butternut and acorn squash are popular in many fall and winter soups and stews. Winter squash continues to ripen after they are picked so make sure to store them in a cool environment that is slightly humid. These vitamin-packed varieties are available from fall through late winter making them a prime option for adding freshness to your winter dishes.

Citrus

Look for citrus to hit markets right around the end of the year. The southern climates of Florida, Texas, Arizona and California make oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit ample during this time.

Get picky about your seasonal produce-thanks to our southern growers you can still grab the freshest fruits and vegetables, like winter citrus, to add flavor and nutrients to your cold-weather meals.

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

Sellers Find Fall is the New, Sneaky Selling Season

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Summer is traditionally thought of as the best time to buy and sell a home. But, just because the cold weather is approaching and people are getting cozy by their fires, doesn’t mean there aren’t sneaky advantages to going against the grain to sell your home. Here are some reasons to consider fall as the new selling season!

People Move All the Time

Just because the most popular time of the year to move is in spring and summer, does not mean it’s the only time to sell. There are countless reasons why people move and they can spring up anytime of the year – Mom or Dad gets a new job, families move to be closer to relatives or Grandpa retires. The demand for houses is there. Buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase this autumn season! If you’re a seller, get ready for those fall buyers.

Buyers are Looking for Deals

The warmer months are more popular to purchase a home, but there are surprise discounts and perks that have homebuyers searching in other seasons too. As a seller, be aware of the benefits buyers will find if they wait until the fall. There are year-end tax breaks, cheaper moving prices and quicker transactions. Buyers want to be in their new homes for the holidays, that means quicker and simpler closings – huge incentives can entice buyers to purchase a home that is listed in the fall.

No Need to Compete

It’s a myth that no one wants to sell or buy in the fall, so your competition steps out of the game. Take advantage of a less crowded housing market and set the price confidently. Housing inventory is leaning towards a sellers-market, so get out there and sell! Prepare the home to be the ultimate fall oasis: pumpkins everywhere, curb appeal at an all-time high and stage the inside like you work for HGTV. Buyers will be impressed, sellers will rejoice – that’s a score in the fall season.

Look no further to find an experienced agent than Heidi Winston. I can help you take the stress out of selling your home this fall.

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

Top 7 Home Preps to Tackle Before Fall Temps Drop

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

Ahhhh, fall – the air turns crisp and cool, yellow patches of leaves appear to take over the treetops and you’re prepped for sweater weather. But, is your home ready for the season? Whether you do the dirty work yourself or hire out, RE/MAX put together a checklist to help you tackle fall home preparations that can make a big difference of how your home handles the season.

  1. Get your mind in the gutter. If you’re not on top of clogged gutters, you’re just asking for water damage. Water with nowhere to go can lead to exterior and foundation damage and maybe even a flooded basement. It’s a dirty job, but you can do it-or hire it out.
  2. Check the chimney. While you’re up on the roof and the weather’s still calm-check your chimney for damage. Search for loose or broken joints and if the flue cap is still in place. Now’s the time to also attend to any damaged roof shingles or flashing.
  3. Let’s get physical. Once the temperatures begin to drop, you’ll crank up that furnace and put it through quite a workout. Make sure it’s ready to handle the workload by replacing the filter and keep all the vents open so heat can circulate throughout your home.
  4. Turn off outdoor plumbing. Blow out sprinkler systems, drain outdoor faucets and cover them to protect them from the freezing weather to come.
  5. Clean outdoor furniture and gardening tools. Don’t let the harsh fall and winter weather get to your outdoor furniture and garden gadgets. Give them a quick clean up so they are ready for storage over the winter.
  6. Stay safe out there. Fall is a good reminder to perform an annual check of the safety features in your home. Make sure the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors get fresh batteries, check the fire extinguisher or replace if it’s six years or older and take this chance to update or practice your fire escape plans.
  7. Pre-plan for spring-blooms. Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs for a big pay off in the spring. Set your sights on a spot in your yard that gets full sun and get digging.

Looking for that perfect home to be in charge of your own home maintenance? Look no further than http://www.winstonrealtygroup.com/ so I can help make your dream of owning your own home a reality.

September 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report: 3 Things to Know

by Heidi Winston, RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Recipie

The September 2018 RE/MAX National Housing Report shows home sales took a 12% tumble while prices remain at record levels.

“The big drop in September closings catches your attention. The market is clearly rebalancing as buyers and sellers continue to process the increasing interest rate environment and what that means to them,” said RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos. “The slower drop in inventory – a visible trend for nearly half a year – further illustrates the ongoing shift toward market equilibrium, and that’s healthy in the long-term.”

To access the housing report infographic, visit: https://rem.ax/2phKHWT.

  1. Home Sales
    The report showed trends of fewer closings and stabilizing inventory that continued through September, punctuated by a surprisingly big 11.6% year-over-year drop in home sales.
  2. Record Prices
    September 2018 posted a Median Sales Price of $241,000 that marked the 30th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases – the price is also the highest September price in the 10-year history of the report. Home prices rose by 5.6% over September 2017, more than twice the year-over-year price increase of 2.3% from September 2016 to September 2017. That reversed a trend seen in the previous three months, when year-over-year price increases trailed 2017’s rate of growth.
  3. Low Inventory
    The number of homes for sale in September 2018 was down 1.0% from August 2018 and down 4.7% from September 2017. Based on the rate of home sales in September, the Months Supply of Inventory increased to 3.7 from 3.0 in August 2018, and increased compared to September 2017 at 3.6.

“It’s a little surprising to see prices staying so strong, but it’s hardly shocking in such a tight market,” added Contos. “The headwinds of rising prices and interest rates amid already tight inventory levels have been crimping affordability and slowing sales for most of the year, but it varies by geography. In circumstances like these, where the market is tricky to navigate, both buyers and sellers can benefit by aligning themselves with a professional agent – a local expert who can cut through the noise and advocate on their behalf.”

To access the housing report infographic, visithttps://rem.ax/2phKHWT

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

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Contact Information

Photo of RE/MAX Central Realty Real Estate
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