September 2018

Natalie Swanson Real Estate Team
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Household Hacks

When You Need that One Thing You Don't Have...

Sometimes you just need one thing that you've run out of or don't have in the drawer. Here are three of those things...all with one easy around-the-house fix: aluminum foil (AKA tin foil).

Run out of dryer sheets? Toss a crumpled up ball (well-rounded to avoid snagging) of tin foil in the dryer with your laundry. It battles static—plus you can re-use it and avoid chemicals, making it eco-friendly.

Need a funnel to pour liquid into a bottle? Make a tin foil funnel that holds its shape and won't soak up what you're dishing out.

Need to get grime off your grill but don't have a handy souring pad? Wad up a ball of tin foil to scrub your grill or cast iron pans. It’ll do in a pinch.
The September 2018 Real Estate Weather Report features statistics and analysis about real estate activity during August 2018 in the East Bay. It compares market activity during August 2018 with August 2017. The information provided in this video is based in whole or in part on data supplied by the Bay East Association of REALTORS® or its Multiple Listing Service (MLS).


“How is it that some retirees are homeless? Did they just pay rent their whole life and never get any home equity?”

I’m sometimes asked a question like this when people hear I’m a Realtor, so thought I’d share my thoughts.

Buying a home is not within everyone's reach. And even if it is within reach, there are reasons a person might not want to buy. Perhaps they can only afford a home in a location that doesn't work, or they never felt income-stable enough to buy and didn’t want to risk losing their house. Often homelessness is due to a personal financial collapse at just the wrong moment, coupled with a lack of family resources to help a person out.

Interestingly, many people can afford to buy, but never “get around to it,” and then home prices eventually outpace their income. Even financially secure retirees can find themselves on a fixed income that doesn't keep pace with rents, much less home prices.

If you or someone you know is renting, it might be worth having a conversation with me about the possibilities of owning a property that could provide some security for later. Please call for a confidential appointment or referral.


The Power of Positive Deciding

Here’s a story that has stuck with me, reminding me that simply deciding something one way or another in advance has enormous power over the outcome:

The 92-year-old, petite lady was poised and proud. Fully dressed by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, she was moving to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After waiting patiently in the lobby, she smiled sweetly when a nurse showed up to say her room was ready.

As she pushed the wheelchair along a hallway, the nurse thought to prepare the lady for possible disappointment by describing her tiny room, including the living room, which had barely enough space for a small sofa.

When the nurse had finished, the old lady stated with the enthusiasm of a child, "I love it!"

"But you haven't seen it yet,” the surprised nurse said.

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," the lady said. "It doesn’t matter how the room is arranged. I have already decided to love it.”

Thank You Friends!

Thank You to all of our clients who’ve trusted us to serve them, and who have referred their friends, family and co-workers.
Special thanks to...

Joe and Janna Lamendola

Brian and Tiffani Schmidt

Tina Lanfri

Thank You To Our Clients For The Great Reviews

Win a $5 Coffee Card — Monthly Quiz Contest

Scroll down to find the September quiz question in this newsletter, then send your answer. Each month, one correct answer will be drawn to win. It's that easy!

August's Q&A:
  • Question: Your parents have six sons, including you, and each son has one sister. How many people are in the family?
  • Answer: Nine: 6 sons, 1 sister, and 2 parents.
Congratulations to last month's winner! Jim Muir

September Quiz Question

Name two companies whose names have become verbs.
Send Your Answer Now

Self-Staging Secrets


Staging Isn’t Just about Decorating

After staging, home sellers often say, “I wish I had staged it when I was still living here.” You can! Here are a few unusual tips for getting that “just-moved-in” feel without moving out.
Click to Read the Report Now
First Time Home Buyer Video - Click here
Andrew and Amanda bought their dream home in Livermore. Learn how Maureen Torretto helped them through the process.



UM... AH... SO... LIKE... YOU KNOW?

If you tend to lose people’s attention when you speak in meetings and presentations, or even among friends, it may be that you're over-using crutch words, like um, ah, and you know.

According to language scientists, rather than influencing others, overuse of crutch words might be "disinfluencing" people and diminishing your credibility.

Why do we use crutch words? Studies suggest that we verbalize hesitations because we’ve been conditioned to fill the void even when we don’t have something to say. For example, we use um and ah to hold the conversational floor because we’re thinking of what to say next, with ah signaling a short delay and um signaling a longer delay. Similarly, overly reflexive use of you know is a way of gaining encouragement or approval from others, but may subconsciously indicate your own lack of confidence.

The good news is that you can get some of those sought after benefits by replacing crutch words with pauses. Research suggests that most conversational speech consists of short (0.20 seconds), medium (0.60 seconds), and long (over 1 second) pauses. But great public speakers often pause for two to three seconds or even longer.

To the average speaker, pausing even for one second can seem like a long time. But despite the discomfort of pausing, adding one- to two-second, well-placed pauses makes you sound calm and collected, and serves the purpose of crutch words without disinfluencing listeners.

When not overused, a well-placed you know or ah coupled with a slight pause can also be useful. You know?
Reasons to work with the Natalie Swanson Real Estate Team
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Not sure how a certain style of flooring will look like in your space, use our Room Visualizer feature to test it out. Choose your room, your flooring and see your results before you make your decision!
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Surprise! Tips, Obligations, and Credit Cards

Tipping after a restaurant meal is still one of "life's great mysteries." OK, maybe it’s not that important, but it’s still a mystery to many diners, especially when signing the credit card receipt.

One thing that should be no mystery is this: If you are paying with a credit card and plan to leave a cash tip, do not leave the tip line blank. Instead write the word CASH on the tip line. Why? Because it's not unknown for unscrupulous servers to add whatever they want to a blank tip line, then doctor the total to match. This may only happen once or twice in a lifetime, but why take a chance when the word will do? It’s all too easy for us to pay a $33 bill and not notice later on our bank statement that the bill went through for $38.

Another tip about leaving cash tips: Always double check that the restaurant has not already added a tip to your bill. This is common for large groups, but may also happen at other times, so pay attention before signing on the dotted line. Restaurants will normally add 18% to 20% in those cases.

Do you have to pay the included tip? Is it required? Is it even legal to force us to pay it?

According to the website, there is no global law governing the adding of a tip or gratuity to a bill. However, there may be local laws. Cases have been decided both ways in court, where restaurants have had people arrested for not paying the tip portion of the bill, then a judge throws out the case. But other restaurants have seen their right to add the tip upheld because they demonstrated that the extra gratuity is plainly stated on the menu.

So before you order, look over the menu to see if the tip is included. Be clear about when it’s applied or not (such as a number of people in the group or a certain size bill), then decide if you're willing to pay that tip. If you do go ahead and order, what happens if you get bad service? Your best course of action may be to seek compensation on the spot from the restaurant for a bad meal or service, rather than to refuse to pay the added tip.

Fill up the bag that we drop off with non-perishable items & we will come by and pick up.



We would like to express our appreciation by providing a pie of your choice for your holiday dinner.



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Recommending a service is a way of giving a gift of professionalism, so people you care about don’t get caught up in the wrong situation.

A real estate recommendation is easy to give. It’s as easy as sending your friends and family of my newsletter, or sending them a text saying, If you’re ever in the market for a real estate agent, give me a call: 925.580.9829
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