Buyers (and Sellers) Be Aware!

Top 10 defects found during home inspection*

  1. Foundation and drainage issues
  2. Unprofessional (un-permitted) electrical work
  3. Minor roof leaks
  4. Heat and A/C maintenance issues
  5. Homeowner repairs that are un-permitted
  6. Structural settling
  7. Plumbing problems
  8. Water and/or air intrusion
  9. Crawl space or attic problems like mold or pest damage
  10. Upgrades, remodel, or repair work in which no permit was pulled (like a garage conversion into a bedroom).

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, getting a home inspection is key.

  • For sellers, getting a pre-sale inspection will help you in preparing your home for sale, and help you avoid any surprises that may pop up once you receive an offer from a buyer.
  • For buyers, getting peace of mind, gaining knowledge about the home you plan to invest in, and negotiating repair costs with the sellers can be a huge help!


* “Top 10 defects” provided by Mark Riccaboni, Licensed Home Inspector with The Whole Story Home Inspection LLC.

6 Home Staging Hacks


6 staging hacks to help you prepare your house for sale

1. Look through a camera lens to determine if the curb appeal is going to need enhancing. Spend $50 on annuals so the first picture pops.
2. Check under sinks in baths and kitchen for clutter. Use baskets to contain any products.
3. Use Design Master floral tint to camouflage a brown grass spot on the lawn. Get it at Michaels.
4. Nature’s Miracle is a wonderful pet stain remover.
5. Cedar blocks will deodorize closets. Cedar shavings in a zippered dog bed will deodorize the dog and repeal fleas.
6. Flavored coffee beans in a decorative container will make the kitchen smell like cookies are baking. The fragrance lasts for months.
Happy Feng shui Friday! 
Source: Becky Harmon’s Staging News at

14 Tips to simplify, happy-ify, and uncomplicate-ify your life

What is most important to you?

The holiday season has arrived.  And this time of year can bring added work, obligations, pressure, and stress. Here are tips that, combined together, will help you edit out what doesn’t support your health and happiness. Cheers!

  1. Decide what’s most important to you, and focus on that, or those items, people, or to-do’s.
  2. Cut out activities and make room for what matters most.
  3. Turn off all devices, or at least sounds and notifications, at a set time. Ah, peace.
  4. Just say no. It’s not selfish, it’s survival.
  5. Live your life the way YOU want to live it.
  6. Resign from any commitments that stress you out, or don’t add to your well-being. (Refer back to tip #2).
  7. Delegate. Everything and anything you can. (Remember tip #1).
  8. Get rid of clutter and uncomplicate-ify your life. It’s hard to do, I know. But it truly brings you peace.
  9. Redesign your day. Carefully evaluate how you spend your time, then reorganize it so you have time for what’s most important to you.  (Yup, right back to tip #1).
  10. Stop buying more stuff. More stuff builds up and means more clutter. (Back to tip #8).
  11. Slow down when you eat (as my grandmother would say). You’ll appreciate your food and enjoy the break from your busy day.
  12. Live in the moment. Slow down. Even standing in a long line, think about something you’re really thankful for, and not all the things you have to do later.
  13. Spend time alone or with family. (In connection with tips #4, #6, and #9).
  14. Do one thing at a time. We cannot truly multi-task. Because we cannot truly multi-focus. Our brains aren’t wired that way. So leave room in your mind for nothing else during that one conversation with a friend or loved-one, and gobble it up, every last crumb. (See tip #12).



Techie-Tuesday: iPhone tips 

Tip 1. Next time you’re hanging a picture, trimming your own bangs, or wanting to know–is it the shelf or the wall that’s wonky, take out your iPhone and open your Compass. Yes, you have a compass hanging out with those other apps you never use. And, it has a secret second function. Swipe left and the compass becomes a digital level.

Put that in your tech tool box, DIYers!

Tip 2. When you’re searching the internet and typing in a web address, take a shortcut and hold down the period icon to choose from the list of URL suffixes (.com, .edu, .org, .net, .us).

Tip 3. Choosing a focal point when you’re taking pictures is fairly simple. Tap the screen where you want the focal point to be and click. But, move your phone/camera and the focal point disappears. Ugh. Try this: press and hold the focal point box for a second or two and it will lock. Now, you can move or turn the camera and your focal point remains.

Cool, cool, cool…

Grill’n clean

Spring  Summer cleaning tip


As summer comes to an end, you may want to give your barbecue grill a good cleaning.

Make sure grill is off/cooled and gas is disconnected before you start. Remove and soak the grates in warm soapy water for 10+ minutes, then rinse. Use a cleaner designed for barbecue grills (found at local home/hardware stores) and spray the inside of the grill, its hood and walls. Take a stiff brush and scrub the grime away. Once everything is dry, put your grill back together and plan your next cookout.

BBQ and Feng shui?

  • QUICK CLEAN TIP: For quick post-grill cleanups, rub your barbecue racks with an onion.
  • GRILLING TIP:  Brush your meat or fish with your marinade every 10 minutes as it cooks. This will add moisture, trap the smoke flavor and will caramelize your meat/fish gradually.
  • FENG SHUI TIP:  Fire increases enthusiasm and encourages expressiveness, inspiration and boldness.

Happy Feng shui Friday!

4 simple steps to boost curb appeal

Front Angle
Jacksonville, FL

Let’s start at the curb.

The majority of buyers find homes on the Internet.  And then most buyers like to hop in their car and drive by those homes that looked good on paper.

The goal is to impress buyers at the curb! Make them want to see more. And ultimately, get an offer above your asking price. What? It could happen.

Four simple (and low-cost) steps to entice buyers:

1. Paint the front door. Try out a bold color – such as red – to get buyers’ attention.

2. Paint the mailbox. (It’s all in the details.)

3. Trim shrubs and freshen mulch in the flower beds.  This looks and smells good.

4. Change outdoor light fixtures. This dresses up and brightens the outdoor space.

8 flooring ideas to make you rethink hardwood

Wood-look tile flooring
It’s not hardwood…it’s tile!  Beautiful, even before grout!  (Flooring by John Cibula, Jacksonville, FL)

Want to upgrade your home’s flooring, but stuck thinking traditional carpet or hardwood?

Today, there are so many options to choose from: tile that looks like wood and carpet that looks like tile!

8 flooring ideas that will add value and make a big impact:

  1.  PORCELAIN – newer earthy designs today, like planks that look like wood (shown in photo).
  2.  CORK – durable, quiet, comfortable and eco-friendly.
  3.  BAMBOO – modern, eco-friendly alternative to hardwood.
  4.  VINYL- economical, practical, and quick to install.
  5.  CONCRETE- flooring and countertops can mimic natural stone .
  6.  LAMINATE- durable, replicates hardwood, money & time-saving to install.
  7.  RECLAIMED WOOD – salvaged from older homes, earthy, old yet modern.
  8.  CARPET TILE – durable choice for heavily used rooms and play areas.

Adding value to a home is a critical component of upgrades, so ensure your new look will suit the rest of the home before you decide.


Source: Coldwell Banker’s “8 Flooring Ideas To Rethink Hardwood

50 Things to Eat in Jacksonville


Got a hankering for Bam Bam Shrimp or Squawking Goats? How ’bout Donut Burgers, Coffee Tangerine Tacos, or  Chicken & Waffles?

For you foodie homeowners or house-hunters, here’s a list of 50 things to eat in Jacksonville.

Bon Appétit!


Source:’s “50 Things to Eat in Jacksonville Before You Die

Tech Tuesday: Digital Clutter

Where will you focus your energy today?

Is you mind over-stimulated with unnecessary and unimportant distractions? Do you feel like your work is never done? Wonder if you’ll ever get to the bottom of the virtual pile/s? Or remember which password you used for which app? Have you lost your creative and productive edge?

You have 1,440 minutes each day to split between resting, eating, working, family, personal time, errands, housework, and many other things. You don’t want to waste your limited minutes being caught up in hundreds of daily notifications and unnecessary stress over digital clutter.

Choose a time and set aside minutes out of your day in which you let calls go to voice-mail; leave emails unread; turn down your phone’s sound, or just ignore it. Focus on one project at a time without distractions. This project may even mean doing nothing for 10 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how much more you’ll accomplish when you focus on a project without allowing anything else to get in the way, even if that project is 10 minutes of nothingness. Aaah.

Dee’s out!

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Looking for a new owner

My sign needs a yard, a good home, and a caring owner.


It’s such a good sign—housebroken, quiet, low maintenance, and will happily greet you.

Previous owner kept it for 30 days, but had to say good-bye after we, my sign and I, sold her house in the Thornewood community of Mandarin, Jacksonville, Florida.