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The 7 Worst Habits Homeowners Need to Break Now

by The Schnoor Team

Guilty of buying cheap stuff? Pack-ratting? Here’s how to change your ways.

Your Money, Save Money, Add Value, Money-Bad habits are so easy to fall into. But in the end, we know they only make us miserable.

They’re “the opposite of what makes you happy. They’re what make you miserable,” says M.J. Ryan, author of “Habit Changers: 81 Game-Changing Mantras to Mindfully Realize Your Goals.” Especially when they cost you money.

Here are 7 bad habits to break now for a happier you (and a fatter bank account):

#1 Taking Long, Steamy Showers

Spending 20 minutes in the steam may be good for your pores, but it’s also great for mold and mildew. Run the exhaust fan while you’re singing in the shower, squeegee the walls afterward, and scrub that grout every few months.

“Once you let the grout go, it gets worse and worse, and harder and harder to maintain,” says Mylène Merlo, a REALTOR® in San Diego. Grungy grout is a big turnoff for buyers. And redoing it is a pain and expensive to hire out.

#2 Keeping Out the Sun

Shutting your shades on winter days might seem smart. More insulation from the chilly weather, right? Your energy bill disagrees. A sunny window can warm your home and lower your heating costs. And as a bonus, you could see a decrease in seasonal depression.

But your original idea wasn’t totally wrong. Closing those blinds at night can keep your home toasty.

#3 Compulsively Buying Bargains

Finding a deal feels so good, but cheaper isn’t always better. In fact, budget buys might cost you more in the long run. For instance, dollar paintbrushes will leave annoying streaks, requiring a costly re-do.

And when it comes to appliances, permit a little splurge — especially if selling your home is on the horizon.

“I always err with going for high-quality appliances,” Merlo says. “There is a noticeable difference between the cheapest and next-cheapest models. And buyers want to see stainless steel.”

#4 Running a Half-Full Dishwasher

You get a gold star for always remembering to start your dishwasher before bed, right? Clean dishes every morning! Go you! Yeah, about that: Your dishwasher wastes water unless it’s completely full.

Dishwashers do save more water than washing by hand (just try telling that to your mom), but most machines use the same amount of water regardless of how many plates you’ve stuffed inside, making a half-empty cycle significantly less efficient. For a household of one or two, once a day can be overkill.

#5 Mega-Mulching

A “tree volcano” might sound like a grand ol’ time, but it’s actually damaging your foliage. Too much mulch suffocates your tree, causing root rot and welcoming invasive insects. Protect your precious trees by packing mulch loosely, letting water filter properly toward the trunk.

#6 Going on a Remodeling Rampage

Don’t break out the sledgehammer for a demo three weeks after moving in unless your home needs serious, obvious work. Give yourself time to understand the home’s quirks before renovating.

“You don’t know what your needs are when you first move into a home," says Merlo. “You should live there for at least six months to figure out the space you need. If you do too much too soon, you’ll regret it.”

For instance, you could dump $15,000 into a kitchen remodel — only to realize the original layout would have worked better for holiday parties. Or you paint a room your favorite color, Wild Plum, only to realize the natural light in the room makes it look more like Rotten Plum. Whoops.

#7 Packratting

You know clutter is bad, but you just… can’t… help it. You had to put that unused exercise bike in the spare room instead of by the road as a freebie because what if? Plus, there’s so much in there already, and decluttering seems like such an insurmountable goal — even though every jam-packed square foot is space you can’t enjoy.

If the task seems impossible, Ryan recommends starting small.

“Do one small thing,” she says. “Clean out a drawer or reorganize your counter, and then you feel the satisfaction of having done it. It becomes easier to do the next small thing.”

Just remember: Breaking habits takes time and a lot of slip-ups. “It’s important to be kind to ourselves when we blow it,” Ryan says. “When we create new habits, we’re building new wiring, but it’s not like the old wiring disappears. Don’t turn goof-ups into give-ups.”

Source: "The 7 Worst Habits Homeowners Need to Break Now"


Hot Springs

by The Schnoor Team

It’s easy in New Mexico to wind down while things heat up. Because the state is geothermically active, the Land of Enchantment has all-natural hot springs, where relaxation is just a few steps off the beaten path.

When the Spanish explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries stumbled across New Mexico's natural hot springs, they discovered the healing properties that the Native Americans had known about for centuries. Some claimed they'd found the Fountain of Youth. Visitors now discover the relaxing and calming hot springs are a cure for their souls.

Battleship Rock & McCauley Hot Springs - Clothing is optional at these large, 99°F hot spring pools located in a high mountain meadow near the Battleship Rock in Jemez Springs, named for its similarities to the prow of a ship. Embedded in the rock are pieces of glassy-smooth obsidian, which is black rock created from 5-million-year-old volcanic eruptions.

Directions: Off Highway 4, take the trail at the foot of Battleship Rock and follow it up the canyon.

Black Rock Hot Springs - Located along the spectacular canyon of the Rio Grande, Black Rock Hot Springs is a small grouping of hot springs that forms a small pool alongside the Rio Grande when the river is low. It consists of a small collection of hot springs bubbling into the Rio Grande, which have been captured into one rather large soaking pool. Depending upon river level, the pool can be quite deep (4 feet at times). During the winter and during spring runoff, the hot-spring water is completely inundated by cold river water and impossible to locate. Because Black Rock is fairly well known and easy to reach, so don’t expect to be alone. Be sure to practice good hot-spring etiquette when visiting. The only improvement has been the continual reconstruction of the rock pool that holds the hot-spring water.

Directions: Drive north from Taos on Highway 3. Turn left onto a dirt road at the traffic sign reading "Hill." Go approx. 2.5 miles then turn right. Go approx. 0.5 mile and turn left. Go until you cross the river and find the parking area. Follow the trail downstream.

Bubbles Hot Springs - The pool west of Arroyo Hondo is replenished by the hot-spring water that bubbles up from the bottom and overflows back into the river. The pool is large (measuring about 50 x 100 feet) and several feet deep with a sandy bottom. Since it is located underneath a cliff, the pool is also under constant shade and is a bit primitive.

Directions: From the parking area at San Francisco Hot Springs, hike downstream approx. 0.5 mile, crossing the river 3 times.

Frisco Box Hot Spring - Frisco Box Hot Springs, located near Luna in Catron County, is more of a warm spring because the 98° F water cools off considerably in the small concrete tub.

This primitive river campground is about two hours north of Silver City along the banks of the Gila River, has three mud pools ranging in temperature between 105-110 F. Be aware that clothing is optional at these hot springs.

Directions: Go on Highway 15 approx. 40 miles north of Silver City, NM.

Gila Hot Springs Vacation Center - This primitive river campground, about two hours north of Silver City along the banks of the Gila River, has three mud pools ranging in temperature between 105-110° F. Clothing optional.

This primitive river campground, about two hours north of Silver City along the banks of the Gila River, has three mud pools ranging in temperature between 105-110 F. Clothing optional.

Directions: Go on Highway 15 approx. 40 miles north of Silver City, NM.

House Log Canyon Hot Springs - This little hot spring is northwest of Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument and is found only when the Gila river is low. It is unimproved and surrounded by trees and ferns. Clothing optional.

Located northwest of the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Visitors Center (505) 536-9461 Stop in for directions.

Directions: Obtain current information at the Gila Wilderness Visitors Center. From there go approx. 10 miles on a well worn path.

Lightfeather Hot Springs -Just a short hike to this wonderful collection of hot springs alongside the Middlefork of the Gila River. The hot springs themselves are very hot (about 149 degrees F) and will scald you if you sample them near the source. The only way to enjoy the hot water is in one of the rather ephemeral rock lined pools along the river where the hot-spring water mixes with the cold river water, making for a comfortable bath. The best time to visit the springs is during the late summer or early fall. Despite its rather isolated location, because it is well known, don’t be surprised by the presence of other hikers or riders on horseback.

Directions: Go along NM 15 approx. 45 miles through the Gila National Forest. Allow approx 2 hours for the drive.

Manby Hot Springs - Located southwest of the town of Arroyo Hondo, which is northwest of Taos, Manby Hot Springs has two hot pools located in the ruins of an old stagecoach stop. Clothing optional. Easy hike.

Directions: Go southwest from Arroyo Hondo, NM to the parking area. From the parking area at the end of the gravel road go downhill along a worn path of an old stagecoach road to the springs.

Montezuma Hot Springs - A collection of hot springs bubbling out of the side of a hill, feeding a variety of rock and cement tubs. Though the springs were originally used by the historic Montezuma Castle Resort, they are now accessible to the public. Three groupings of hot springs has been diverted into rather rustic cement and rock pools and tubs along the side of the road in the small community of Montezuma. Originally the numerous indoor hot-spring pools were operated by Montezuma Castle and several other resorts. Though most of the bathhouses are gone now, and the hot springs are out in the open - they have been kept rather clean, and bathers tend to be orderly because the owners, the United World College, maintain stringent regulations for using the tubs. Pools and tubs range in size and temperature, and with a little experimenting, you can find the perfect soak.

Directions: From Las Vegas, NM go approx. 6 miles northwest on NM 65. Watch for signs on the right side of the road near the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West.

San Francisco Hot Springs - This clothing optional hot spring has a few primitive pools. They are located two miles southwest of Pleasanton, NM, on US 180, on the San Francisco River. Look for the signs & the parking area. There are rangers around.

Directions: Go along US 180 approx. 2 miles south of Pleasanton, NM. Turn off US 180 onto a gravel road. Caution: this gravel road crosses two creek beds and can be muddy.

Spence Hot Springs - This is a very popular collection of pristine natural hot springs on the side of a steep hill, forming several soaking pools. Spence is heavily visited because it is easy to reach (7 miles northwest of Jemez Springs) and has had a reputation as a hangout for nudists. The water is about 100 degrees F, so it’s not extremely hot. A small waterfall can even be found in the lower springs, which also may contain up to three other pools, depending upon how the water has been diverted. From the lower pools you can continue uphill, following the water and a small trail. Several other pools are located alongside the small creek formed by the hot-spring water. All of these pool set in a beautiful locations are fantastic.

Directions: From Jemez Springs, NM, go approx. 7 miles north on MN 4 to a large parking area on the right (east) side of the highway. Follow the trail.

Directions: From Los Alamos, NM, go west on NM 501 to the intersection with NM 126 and NM 4. Go west on NM 4 for approx. 1.5 miles to a large parking area on the right (east) side of the highway. Follow the trail.

Turkey Creek Hot Springs - This remote hot springs in the Gila Wilderness of the Mogollón Mountains, requires a difficult drive and hike to reach and can be difficult to locate, which keeps most casual visitors away.

For those looking for a challenging hike and a little bit of hot-spring hunting, Turkey Creek Hot Springs offers several fantastic bathing opportunities. Although the hot springs themselves are very hot at 165 degrees F, they are obscured by Turkey Creek. Rock-lined pools are occasionally built in the creek bed to trap the hot water, but they’re frequently washed out. There is one large swimming hole that has substantial amounts of hot spring seepage, making the temperature quite warm. Soaking pools will vary depending upon what volunteers have built at Turkey Creek, but you can usually count on some type of pool or tub. Despite being remote and primitive, Turkey Creek Hot Springs is rather well known, so don’t expect to have the area to yourself.

Directions: North of Gila, NM. From the end of trail FS 724, cross the Gila River several times before coming to the junction with trail FS 155 which goes up Turkey Creek Canyon. Approx. 2 miles from the junction on FS 155 the trail begins to climb onto a ridge separating Turkey Creek Canyon and Skeleton Canyon. Stay on the bottom of Turkey Creek Canyon even though there is often to visible trail to follow. Go approx. 0.5 mile to the first of the springs.

Please note many of these springs are located in remote destinations and may require a certain amount of hiking, climbing or other physical activity to reach.

Source: "Hot Springs"

The Ins and Outs of Setting a Price for Your Home

by The Schnoor Team

It’s a big decision with a lot of factors, but don’t worry — you have backup.

Everything has value. Especially your home.

And when it comes to selling your home, assigning a price to that value is complicated. You made memories there. You’ve got a major financial interest in the place, too.

Buyers think of value, but they’re more concerned with price. And your home’s price is one of its most attractive — or unattractive — features. The right price can attract buyers, quickly. The wrong price may mean the house sits on the market, which can create the vibe among buyers that there’s something wrong it. (If the home buying process is Instagram, think of a wrongly priced home as a photo that isn’t getting any likes.)

It’s your agent’s job, as the real estate expert — mining his or her expertise and knowledge of the market — to determine the best price for your home. But it’s your house. You need to have your own idea of how much your property is worth. Here’s how to get it.   

Work With Your Agent

This is crucial. Your agent brings the right mix of industry expertise and knowledge of your local market to the table.

To understand whether your agent is pricing your home properly, read through each of the steps below. Use what you learn about your home’s fair market price to evaluate any price your agent recommends.

Throughout the pricing process, a good agent will:

  • Listen to your needs
  • Take into account your research
  • Use his or her knowledge of the local market to help you pick the best asking price

You’re a team. It’s in both of your interests to price your home correctly — a timely, profitable sale is win for everyone.

And Yeah, You Should Also Check the Internet

Pricing a home is both art and science. To understand what will inform your agent’s pricing decisions — and to be prepared to bring your own educated input to the conversation — start with a pricing research phase.

This includes taking advantage of online estimating tools — but only to an extent. Property websites like realtor.com® and Redfin enable you to plug in your home’s address to see approximately how much your house is worth. They base their estimates on your home’s square footage and real estate data they’ve collected, such as recent home sales in your local market.

But those results are estimates based on generalized factors, not your unique situation. If at any point the price you see in an online calculator doesn’t align with what your agent suggests, prioritize the agent’s advice.

Online estimators also have a reputation among real estate professionals for misleading buyers and sellers alike with less-than-optimal pricing information. But as a starting point, they have their utility.  

Know Your Local History

What your home’s listing price should be largely depends on what similar homes, or “comps,” recently sold for in your area. To price your home, your agent will run the average sales prices of at least three comps to assess your home’s value.

What constitutes a comp? A number of factors, including a home’s:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Square footage
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms

Agents will look into the difference between each comp’s listing price, and the price it sold for. He or she will consider price reductions and why they happened, if relevant. All the while, your agent will also rely on inside knowledge of housing stock and the local market. That nuanced understanding is invaluable, particularly when measuring the unique aspects of your home with raw data about comps.

When selecting comps, agents generally look for properties that sold within a one-mile radius of your home, and in the past 90 days. They find these homes using the multiple listing service (MLS), a regional database of homes that agents pay dues to access.

Size Up the Competition

In addition to recently sold homes, your agent will also look at properties that are currently for sale in your area. These listings will be your competition. But because listing photos don’t always tell the full story, a good agent will check out these homes in person to see what condition they’re in and to assess how your home sizes up.

You can do the same. For additional perspective, you can also get in touch with your local association of REALTORS®. Ask if they have information to offer about your neighborhood and the local market.

Understand the Market You’re In

The housing market where you live can greatly impact your pricing strategy.

If you’re in a seller’s market, where demand from buyers outpaces the number of homes for sale, you may be able to price your home slightly higher than market value.

But if you’re in a buyer’s market, where buyers have the advantage, you may have to price your home slightly below market value to get people interested.

You can see local market trends by checking the online resource realtor.com®. It offers charts that display important housing market data, such as a city’s average listing price, median sales price, and average days a home is on market. It’s a lot of information. At any point, you can ask your agent to help you make sense of how your local market will influence your home’s price.

Put Your Feelings Aside

As previously mentioned, many sellers think their home is worth more than it is. Why? Because memories. Because sentiment. Because pride.

But you have to stay objective when assessing your home’s value. Buyers, after all, won’t know your home’s personal history. What makes your home special to you may not be something that entices them. Read: They may want to convert that craft room you worked so hard to perfect into a man cave.

The lesson: As much as possible, set aside your emotional attachment to your home. It will make it easier to accept your agent’s realistic, clear-eyed calculation of its price.

Remember: It’s All Relative

As you and your agent are talking price, the local market may throw you a curveball or two.

In some markets, for example, it could make sense to price your home slightly below its fair market value to spark a bidding war.

Of course, there’s no guarantee a pricing strategy such as this will pay off. Similarly, there’s no one-size-fits-all playbook. Your home should be priced for its own local, or even hyper-local, market. Period. Confer with your agent before you decide to try any market-specific pricing tactics.

Be Savvy With the Dollar Amount

Pricing your home requires careful attention. In some cases, fair market value may not be precisely what you should list it for — and the reasons can be subtle.

For example, if comps show that your home is worth $410,000, setting that as your asking price can backfire — the reason is that buyers who are looking online for properties under $400,000 won’t see your home in search results in that case. This explains why many agents use the “99” pricing strategy and, for example, list $400,000 homes for $399,000. The idea is to maximize exposure.

Have a Heart-to-Heart With Your Partner

Not the sole decision maker in your household? Talk to your partner about your home’s price before it’s listed. You can use this worksheet as a guide for that discussion.

The reason isn’t just to foster the kind of open communication that’s important to any relationship. It’s that if you’re not on the same page about price or the other things that are important to you about sale, each subsequent step of the selling process will be impacted by that tension.

Keep Your Head in the Game

You’ve considered your agent’s advice, and the two of you have agreed on the right price for your home. Hey, champ! Your house is on the market.

Even after the listing date, price should be an ongoing discussion between you and your agent. Markets are fluid, so it’s possible that you’ll have to make tweaks.

In any case, it’s important to to stay in continuous dialogue with your agent, the MVP of Team Sell Your House. Together, keep your eyes on the price.

Source: "The Ins and Outs of Setting a Price for Your Home"

 

House-Hunting Tips to Avoid #Facepalm Moments

by The Schnoor Team

What to look for when buying a house — and what not to do.

The only thing more exciting than shopping for your first house is the day you move into it. And in your eagerness to get to that day, there are a bunch of opportunities to botch the shopping.

Here are some #facepalm moments and the house-hunting tips you’ll need to avoid them.

"I Saw the House Online. It's Perfect — Let's Make an Offer Before It's Gone!"

Buying a house sight unseen?!? Whoa. Online photos are a fun sneak peek — and that’s all.

Before you plan marriage after the house equivalent of swiping right, consider this:

  • It’s the photos that aren’t in the gallery you should worry about. You won’t see the hastily patched cracks in the home’s foundation. Or the mold in the attic.
  • Your other senses need to evaluate the place. There could be traffic rumbling by or a stinky recycling facility downwind.
  • Three words: Wide angle lens. (They make small spaces look deceptively big.)

So before you make an offer, tour the place. And the yard. And the neighborhood. It’s worth it.

"I Want to Buy This House. And Look, There's an Agent Right Here!"

While that might seem mighty convenient, it’s not in your best interests. The real estate agent at an open house most likely represents the seller.

That means they’re obligated to work in that person’s best interest. If you start blabbing about how you’re pre-approved for $285,000, but you’d rather offer $260,000, you’ll compromise your negotiating position.

As a buyer, you should contract with a buyer’s agent who works on your behalf. They’ll understand your wants and needs, counsel you based on your budget and priorities, and advise you through the negotiating process.

"I'll Rely On an Online Home-Value Estimator."

Google “home-value estimator” and you’ll get pages of tools that promise you a free estimate of home value. Plug the address into the tool, some algorithms do their thing, and in seconds you know what a house is worth.

But unless that algorithm’s been poking around the basement with a flashlight, it’s a ballpark figure at best.

Home valuation is both art and science. There are nuances within house and market that an online estimator just can’t see. What if the seller made major renovations last year? Or what if houses rarely turn over in the neighborhood, so there’s not enough data to work with online?

Your agent knows current market conditions and the inventory of homes in the market — all of which help you make a nuanced offer.

Use these fun tools as a guide, but don’t take them to the bank.

"I Don't Have Kids, So I Don't Have to Worry About School Districts."

Yeah … nope. School district matters regardless of your parenting status. Whether or not you have kids, a future buyer might. And neighborhoods with good school districts tend to maintain value and appreciate faster than those in other areas. People want to live near good schools, which leads to rising home values and better neighborhood amenities.

"If a House Doesn't Have Everything On My List, I'm Not Looking At It."

Definitely make your list. Your list is important. But use it as a starting point to help you prioritize. Because buyers who can prioritize have the most success.

They turn that list into must-haves and nice-to-haves — and they also consider which of their must-haves could turn into will-dos.

For example, you can switch laminate for quartz, but you can’t move a country home next door to your city office. Skip the listings that are in the wrong location, but why not check out the ones with the wrong countertops? Maybe the one thing you’d enjoy more than quartz counters are quartz counters you picked out yourself.

Not sure what should go on your list? This worksheet can help you get your priorities straight: The Ultimate “I Wanna Buy a House” Checklist.

"I'll Figure out This HOA Thing After Closing."

Homeowners associations (HOAs) might just seem like a cute little neighborhood organization, but some have the power to limit your pets, restrict your parking, and pick your paint colors.

Since how you live is likely as important to you as where you live, read and fully understand the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) before you buy. Restrictions that don’t fit your lifestyle could be as much of a deal breaker as a crumbling foundation.

That’s not to say HOAs are bad. Oh no — they can be great at preserving neighborhoods, keeping home values high, and some give you access to amenities. But the benefits and drawbacks of each one vary, so take a close look.

Source: "House-Hunting Tips to Avoid #Facepalm Moments"

2018 Balloon Fiesta Adventure Guide

by The Schnoor Team

23 New Mexico True Adventures You Need to Experience During Balloon Fiesta

For more than four decades, guests from all over the world have come to New Mexico to celebrate ballooning at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Mornings are filled with breakfast burritos, morning glows, and breathtaking mass ascensions. Evenings include live entertainment, “Glowdeos”, and fireworks. But how should you fill your time between ballooning events? Let us help you craft the perfect New Mexico True adventure based on your interests.

1. Fill Your Tank- Fill your tank with breakfast at one of more than 100 restaurants on the New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway. Remember: Mornings can be chile.

2. Ride the Rails- Ride the rails and see stunning fall colors on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Chama.

3. Find “Hoppiness”- Find “hoppiness” on the New Mexico True Ale Trail and see what the hype surrounding New Mexico’s craft beer is all about.

4. Enjoy an Excursion- Explore New Mexico’s stretch of Route 66 and check out all 465 miles of classic neon, vintage motels, and roadside oddities.

5. Play the Slots- Play the slots (slot canyons, that is) at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument near Cochiti Pueblo.

6. Just Relax- Just relax with a spa treatment that uses locally sourced ingredients.

7. Cowboy Up- Cowboy up with Old West traditions at the Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso Downs.

8. Reach for the Sky- Reach for the sky at Acoma's famed "Sky City", a USA Today award winner as "Best Native American Experience."

9. Play in Nature’s Sandbox - Play in nature’s sandbox and go sand sledding at White Sands National Monument.

10. Break Out Your Lederhosen- Break out your lederhosen and raise a stein at Red River’s Oktoberfest, located on the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway.

11. Sip it Up- Sip it up at wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms on the New Mexico True Wine Trail.

12. Savor the Flavor- Savor the flavor along the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, USA Today's '10BestReaders' Choice' award winner as "Best Food Trail."

13. Discover Native Treasures- Discover Native treasures with multicultural arts & crafts vendors, traditional dances, and hands-on demonstrations.

14. Taste Tradition- Taste tradition along the New Mexico Culinary Treasures Trail made up of family-owned restaurants in operation more than 40 years.

15. Intermingle with Artists- Intermingle with artists on the self-guided Abiquiu Studio Tour. The landscape alone, made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe, is worth the drive.

16. Craft Shop ‘til you Drop - Craft shop ‘til you drop for unique works of art at the Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival.

17. Grab Some Green Chile- You will find New Mexico’s signature pepper on almost every menu. But you can also pick your own at Big Jim Farms in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, and they’ll roast it for you right there.

18. Hit the Links- Hit the links along the New Mexico True Golf Trail, showcasing New Mexico’s many stunning—and affordable—golf courses.

19. Complete Your New Mexico Bucket List- Check off all of our can’t-miss experiences on our New Mexico True 30 list. It includes many of the state’s best-known sites, and a few that might surprise you.

20. Crafting and Mastering the Art of Chocolate- Indulge in the handcrafted chocolate at Cacao Santa Fe where you, too, experience the process behind making fine chocolate while working alongside the master.

21. Peek the Peak and Explore- Take a ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway. From the observation deck at more than 10,000 feet, watch a New Mexico sunset produce a spectacular array of color.

22. Art Like You’ve Never Seen Before- Dive into the art museum at Meow Wolf. Climb through windows, walk through refrigerators, and explore mind-altering dimensions at the most immersive art exhibit you’ll ever find.

23. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star- New Mexico is one of the only states in the U.S. with a protection ordinance for dark night skies. Connect with nature, explore how our ancestors navigated via the galaxy, and enjoy a sky filled with twinkling stars ready to be wished upon.

Source: "2018 Balloon Fiesta Adventure Guide"

 

Staging Your Home: How to Make Buyers Fall in Love

by The Schnoor Team

With these tips and tricks, your house will be swoon-worthy in no time.

All the world’s a stage, said the Bard.

That includes your house. Which is for sale. And thus needs to look bee-yoo-tee-ful.

Staging entails hiring experts with a flair for interior design. They reimagine your living space and give your house a makeover (with temporary decor and furnishings) so that it gets “oohs” and “aahs” from the buying masses.

Great staging isn’t an insurance policy — there’s no guarantee it will bring in more money when you sell your home — but it’s an important marketing tool. It presents your house in a flattering light and helps you compete at a favorable price. (In that sense, staging is like dressing your house for the price you want, and not the price you have.)

Staging also leads to eye-catching listing photos, which are especially valuable given that most homebuyers begin their search by scrolling through listings online.

So, are you thinking about hiring stagers for your home? Here’s what to consider.

Staging Really Does Help. Like, a Lot.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. A recent survey from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® revealed that:

  • 77% of buyers’ agents said staging makes it easier for their buyer to visualize the property as their future home. It’s like helping the buyer dream it so they can achieve it — and so you and your agent can make the sale.
  • 39% of sellers’ agents said staging a home greatly decreases the amount of time a house is on the market. For you, time saved could mean moving into your new house even sooner.
  • 21% of sellers’ agents said staging a home increases its dollar value between 6% and 10%. Simply put, that may lead to more money in your pocket.

Before You Stage, Budget Accordingly

Many listings agents offer staging services to clients as part of their services. If you want to use someone you find yourself, you typically will have to pay out of pocket.

Staging costs vary depending on where you live and how many rooms you’re staging. On average, home sellers pay between $302 and $1,358 for staging, according to HomeAdvisor.com. If your house is empty because you’ve already moved, you might also have additional expenses for renting furniture and other homey decorations to make it look lived-in.

Many stagers offer consultations for as low as $150, Fixr.com reports. Using the advice you learn during the consultation to try DIY staging may be your best option if you’re on a tight budget. Listen for tips on how to use the furniture and decor you already have to show off your home’s best assets.

For the Best Results, Declutter

Spoiler alert: No buyer wants to walk into a messy house.

So, take time to clean and declutter your home. Organize everyday household items into crates and keep them out of sight. Stow away seasonal decorations (that means no Christmas in July). Make time for — or invest in — a whole-house cleaning, including carpet shampooing. Change lightbulbs, finally make those minor repairs, and add a fresh coat of paint to any room that needs it. Clean out closet spaces — because buyers will want to check out the closets.

Also worth considering? Removing personal items from view, such as copious family photos, artwork, or religious keepsakes. The concern is not that home buyers will be offended by you or your lifestyle. The goal is to neutralize the space and help home buyers imagine themselves living there. (But don’t go overboard. You don’t want rooms to feel sterile, either.)

Yes, we did just tell you to clean out your closets. So where are you supposed to put all this stuff? If you don’t have a discrete place to tuck things away, consider renting a storage unit.

To Find the Right Stager for Your Home, Ask Questions

If your agent doesn’t offer staging services, he or she can likely recommend local stagers for you to work with. Before you hire a stager, it’s best to interview at least three candidates in person. You’ll want to get a sense of how much they charge — and whether they have good taste.

To do your due diligence, here are 10 questions to ask prospective stagers:

  1. On average, how many days were your staged homes on the market last year? Experience is important, but it’s not the only factor to consider when vetting stagers. You want someone who stages homes that sell — ideally within 30 days, because that’s when agents often recommend making a price reduction if your house is still on the market.
  2. What price range do you typically work in? Staging luxury homes is a totally different ball game than staging starter homes. Find someone who specializes in homes near your listing price.
  3. What styles of homes do you usually stage? Staging different types of homes also requires different skill sets (think of a penthouse versus a bungalow, for instance). Look for someone with experience working in homes similar to yours.
  4. What formal training have you received? A number of staging organizations, such as the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) and the International Association of Home Staging Professionals (IAHSP), offer certification or accreditation. Training from these associations can distinguish professional stagers from beginners.
  5. Do you have insurance? Your home could get damaged when the stager moves furniture in and out. Find someone with business insurance so that you’re protected.
  6. Can I see your portfolio? One of the best ways to judge a stager’s skills is to look at their work. Ask to see photos from the person’s three most recently staged homes.
  7. Do you select the accessories, furniture, and paint for the homes you stage, or do you collaborate with other experts? Some stagers work independently, while others collaborate with other vendors. Make sure you know everyone who will be involved in staging your home, so you don’t have surprise guests rearranging your living room.
  8. What are your rates? Some stagers charge a fee for decorating services, plus a monthly fee for renting furniture, while others charge a flat fee per room for the duration of the listing. Ask about how a stager determines costs before you commit to working with him or her.
  9. What’s your availability? If you’re on a tight timetable, make sure the stager can get your house ready by the date you want to put your house on the market.
  10. Can you provide contacts for past clients? Get in touch with two or three people who have worked with the stager before. Ask how the stager’s services helped with the sale of their homes, and what they might have done differently.

Focus On the Rooms That Count the Most

You don’t have to stage your whole house to make buyers swoon.

Staging the rooms where people tend to spend the most time usually makes the biggest impression on buyers. Start with the living room, followed by the master bedroom and the kitchen.

Keep in mind that you’re not going for an HGTV-worthy overhaul: Even small touches, like putting fluffy towels in the bathroom or replacing shabby throw pillows in the family room, can make your home that much more attractive.


Oh, and BTW: Stage Your Yard, Too

Your house has to look its best — inside and outside. After all, buyers form their first impression when they pull up in front of your home. It’s no surprise, then, that curb appeal — how your home looks from the exterior — can increase your home’s sales value up to 17%, a Texas Tech University study found.

If you’ve never had your yard professionally landscaped, now may be the time to do it. Landscaped homes have a sales price advantage ranging from 5.5% to 12.7%, according to research by Alex Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech. That would mean an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in value on a $300,000 home.

Professional landscaping, however, can cost a lot. You’re aiming for polish, not a new garden of Versailles. If budget is a concern, start with these DIY improvements:

  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery. Even if it’s winter, you can add colorful winter blooms and seasonal touches such as garland or lights.
  • Mow the grass.
  • Reseed bare patches of lawn and add fresh sod, as needed.

Then move on to these easy upgrades to your home’s exterior:

  • Wash the front windows.
  • Power wash siding and walkways.
  • Repaint or stain porches and stairs, as needed.
  • Make sure house numbers are easy to see, visible, and pretty.
  • Make sure important outdoor features such as the front door, porch, and sidewalks and paths are well lit. (If not, install new fixtures or lighting.)

Even basic upgrades — like laying fresh mulch, changing porch lights, or installing a new mailbox — can help a buyer fall in love at first sight.

Just wait ’til they come inside and see what else you’ve done with the place.

Source: "Staging Your Home: How to Make Buyers Fall in Love"

Your Inner Child Will Love These Creative Ways to Organize

by The Schnoor Team

There are 5 personality and organization types. Find the one that fits you.

Being organized isn’t about putting everything into a beautiful, new organization system— it’s about how well you’re able to maintain it.

And it’s your psyche that determines that. Find creative ways to organize your home by choosing a strategy that fits you. Which of the five personalities are you?

The Pile Maker

If you like everything out and visible, you’re likely a creative, right-brained sort, says Beth Randall, a professional organizer and speaker.

The piles on your desk make sense only to you (well, until they don’t), and you get energized and inspired by the visual stimulus of stuff.

Strategy: Keep your stuff in view and organized with open-face organizers that have a place for everything in plain sight.

Tips:

  • Store your jewelry on a corkboard covered with fabric, using push pins to create a work of art, Randall suggests.
  • Stash items in clear bins or cubbies that don’t cut off your view of the contents, like an over-the-door shoe organizer with clear sleeves.
  • Take a moment every couple of weeks to look at your desk and countertops and purge or put away clutter.
  • Rather than plopping your paperwork in one big pile on your desk, use paper organizers or shelf dividers that only allow about six or seven inches of clearance per shelf, recommends professional organizer Thalia Poulos. Then, use labels as your new visual trigger. This can work in entryways for mail, in kitchens for recipes, or anywhere papers start to pile up.
  • Pegboards: Put ‘em everywhere. Pegboards give you customizable, highly visual storage in the garage, office, closets, bedrooms, kitchens — pretty much anywhere. To accommodate your creative brain, space out your hooks enough so you’re not limited to one configuration where everything fits.

The Minimalist

You like everything to have its place — and that place is out of sight. You find nothing more restorative than a tidy, minimalist space. But life happens, and you’ve been known to “stash and dash” and forget where you put things. And sometimes you pitch something you end up needing later on.

Strategy: You need behind-the-scenes systems that are convenient and efficient.

Tips:

  • Go virtual: You can ditch all that paper. Use an app for your to-do and grocery lists, and use scanning software (or a simple snap of your phone!) to turn any paperwork into a digital file.
  • Make it easy to quickly put stuff away with personalized classification systems, recommends Cena Block, a productivity expert and former professional organizer. From clothes to craft supplies, and from bins to drawers, group things the way your gut tells you to: by size, function, alphabet — whatever. The less thinking you have to do, the fewer “stash and dash” mishaps you’ll make.
  • Organize your organization: Think drawer sorters, hanging file cabinets, closet systems, or even ice-cube trays for jewelry drawers.
  • Have storage options where you need them that match the function of each space — like cubbies under the front stairs for shoes or rolling bins under your bed for sheets.

The Designer

Sure, you want your stuff to be organized, but if it doesn’t please the senses, you’re not gonna use it. That sometimes leads to more Pinterest-browsing and project-dreaming than actual organizing.

Strategy: You need organization options that look good —but are super-functional, too.

Tips:

  • Use woven baskets or wood boxes, rather than plastic bins, to organize items around the house.
  • In the office, rely on color-coded file folders, Poulos says.
  • Keep a beautiful notebook for jotting down your to-dos. An app simply won’t give you that tactile satisfaction you crave.
  • Use color-coordinated hangers to group ensembles together in your closet, Poulos suggests.
  • Include artwork among items you’re storing on shelves, or even on pegboards, to make even the most utilitarian spaces a delight to use.

The Collector

You see a lot of value in things. Sometimes too much value. You have a hard time deciding when to let go, which makes clutter control an endless challenge.

Strategy: Maximize your storage space, and keep things away enough to avoid clutter but close enough to appreciate the value your things add to your life. Also, regularly chip away at your collection where possible.

Tips:

  • You love your stuff. So before a quarterly purge, pick a charity or friend who could use some of your non-essentials. Loving your stuff’s next home can help get it out of yours.
  • Display your favorite things a few at a time, rotating them in and out of storage. It will make you feel like you have more stuff and will cut down on the clutter.
  • Set limits on how many of any one item you can have, whether it’s shoes or spatulas, Randall says. For magazines or catalogs, for example, give yourself one basket or bin. When it’s full, it’s time to pitch.
  • Use every cubic foot in your home with nice-looking, built-in, floor-to-ceiling storage systems. It’ll give you more storage space and keeps the things you love nearby and accessible, even when they’re put away.

The Speeding Train

You’re constantly moving from one location, appointment, or task to the next. Who’s got time for reading every email or finding a hanger for your coat? But man, you can leave a mess in your wake!

Strategy: Keep home organization solutions simple, flexible, and (most importantly) right in your path.

Tips:

  • Use simplified systems. Store any documents (physical or digital) you may eventually need in a single 12-folder system - one for every month of the year. Then conduct just one yearly purge, Randall suggests.
  • Systems that will work for you are those that don’t require much of a pause — like hooks for jackets, bins for shoes, and open cubes for, well, anything, Poulos says.
  • Because you’re always on the move, daily items like your keys often get lost in your dust. So create rituals around stashing these essentials in an in/out station, right where it’s most convenient to drop them.
  • Always keep a donation box by the door. When you don’t have to stop and find a trash bag or bin, you’ll be that much more likely to get rid of something.

Source: "Your Inner Child Will Love These Creative Ways to Organize"

 

Santa Rosa Lake State Park

by The Schnoor Team

This reservoir on the plains of eastern New Mexico offers fishing, boating, camping and hiking, as well as abundant bird watching opportunities. Equestrians are welcome at the Los Tanos Campground. 

 

 

Source: "Santa Rosa Lake State Park"

 

7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster

by The Schnoor Team

Creating personalized bins is a good start.

It’s so easy (and so unfair) how quickly your entryway can go from clean to chaos — and that chaos makes trying to get out the door brutal.

Think of all that time wasted hunting for your keys and umbrella, or digging through a pile of coats to find the one you need. Five minutes spent searching for stuff each morning becomes 35 minutes a week, or more than 30 hours a year!

Corralling your clutter can feel overwhelming, but with the right mindset and a few clever hacks, your entryway can be what helps you get out of the house on time — not what slows you down.

Here are seven ideas to help you out:

#1 Personalize Buckets

How do those hats and gloves end up all over the entryway? Half the time, it happens when someone tosses them aside while searching for their own stuff. That’s why separating each person’s storage space is so ingenious.

“Susie has her own basket, Tommy has his own basket,” says professional organizer Yve Irish. Assigning space and responsibility to each individual family member saves you — and your kids — time digging through other people’s belongings.

You don’t need a huge closet to do this — even little baskets in an inexpensive Ikea shelving unit can do the trick.

Irish recommends pairing a storage system with training to make personalized buckets work: “Teach your children to return items to their basket when they come home,” she says. “You want to make sure that happens and they get into the habit.”

#2 Hang Your Purses and Bags

Digging through a forest of coats to find the right purse for your outfit is a hassle. It’s also not great to shove your bags onto a cluttered closet shelf or (ugh) pile them on the floor — a practice some believe is bad luck. There’s a feng shui saying, “A purse on the floor is money out the door.” So hang your bags from the closet rod using S-hooks instead.

Lacking a closet? If your walls are less than five feet apart, you can install a tension rod between them. Or choose a decorative wall shelf with hooks.

No matter how you hang them, do a purse purge first to avoid creating a handbag jungle. Keep that oversized bag you only pull out for special occasions tucked out of the way.

#3 Create a Charging Station

While you might charge your primary smartphone overnight by your bedside, creating a charging station in your entryway can save valuable time, especially if you have a work phone or use the kids’ tablets for car rides. When they’re always charging in the same spot, you won’t waste time in the morning hunting down chargers.

Assemble tech storage using assigned baskets with neatly-organized cords, or go big with a built-in. At organization blog “A Bowl Full of Lemons,” a cabinet with plugs inside was installed in the mudroom to serve as a neat home for laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which all charge up inside.

#4 Install an Information Station

Papers can be pernicious devils, accumulating in ugly piles, blocking surfaces, and creating stress. Cut off the problem at its head with an information station, starting with a customized paper organizer on the wall.

“We had an extreme amount of clutter,” says Aniko Levai, the blogger behind “Place of My Taste.” As part of a grand entryway remodel, she created a wall organizer to keep papers and small items out of the way.

The process is simple enough for even the newest DIYer. Levai created the organizer by combining painted wood, fabric, a few small hooks, and a $15 wall magazine rack from Ikea.

But not all paper needs to be saved, and mail-sorting procrastination is the stuff cluttered entryways are made of. Setting up your recycling center near your entryway — in the closet or a free corner — can turn paper sorting into a quick, easy to-do task every time you walk in the door.

If you have the space, add a shredder into the mix or add a whiteboard for reminders.

#5 Add Lots of Shoe Storage

Step into any big box home store and you’ll find two dozen shoe storage options, from stackable organizers to hanging canvas cubbies. The perfect option for you is a matter of taste and space, but let’s be serious: However many shoe cubbies you think your family should need, the truth is probably three times that amount. That’s why we’re partial to this clever solution from Sara Davis, who transformed an old wooden mail sorter — found at a local antique shop — into a gorgeous, 45-slot shoe cubby.

While antique mail sorters may not be available everywhere, you can create your own by converting a bookshelf or cabinet, bundling cut PVC piping into handmade cubbies, or buying a large shoe cubby. Davis’ solution is perfect for her long, thin mudroom, which is 17 feet long, but only five feet wide.

“It’s hard to miss, so it’s a great reminder for the kids to take off their shoes,” Davis says.

#6 Assign Lockers

Industrial-style decor is in — take advantage of the trend in your entryway by installing lockers. (Yes, we mean the aluminum models your kids use at school.)

While not ideal for a super-small entryway, lockers can instantly triple your storage space if you have the room, as each one has hooks on three surfaces, as well as shelving. Even better, install short tension rods and use S-hooks for even more hanging storage.

And they provide plenty of room for creative decoration. You can paint them to match a variety of decor.

#7 Make a Station for Wet, Muddy Footwear

Your entryway is always one of the first victims of nasty weather. Is it a rainy autumn? Say hello to a puddle of dirty leaves. Winter? Snow boots can leave the entire room soaking and soiled.

Weather-safe storage solutions can be the key difference between an unorganized mess and a pristine entryway. The biggest culprit is shoes. While a mat can go a long way toward preserving the cleanliness of your entrance, you’ll need to develop a plan for storing boots — without them dripping everywhere.

Try this DIY solution: Line the bottom of a chest with a mud tray, and then fill the tray with a layer of river rocks. The rocks allow the water to drain away from the soggy boots so they’ll be ready to use the next morning — and the whole process is hidden away inside the chest.

Source: "7 Genius Entryway Storage Ideas to Get You Out the Door Faster"

 

4 Funky Odors In Your House Only Your Guests Can Smell

by The Schnoor Team

You could be nose blind. Here’s how to find and eliminate the funk you can’t smell.

Stand in your kitchen and take a deep breath. Smell that? From last night’s fish to your son’s nasty lacrosse pads (why did he leave them on the table?), you probably can’t detect any of your home’s rankest odors. You’ve got nose blindness.

“You adapt to the smells around you,” says Dr. Richard Doty, the director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

On a sensory level, your processing mechanism becomes less sensitive to the continuous stimuli. Or, on a cognitive level, you can become habituated to the smells and basically learn to ignore them. Or you can do both.

Here are some of the most common nose blindness culprits, and how to ban them from your home.

#1 Pet Funk

There’s one easy way to tell if your home smells like pets: Do you have them? Then yeah, unless you’re an obsessive cleaner and groomer, your abode has at least some Fido funk.

It could be pee, but more likely it’s just hair, gunky ears, and weeks-old slobber.

The first step to cleaning up pet smells is — sorry, pets — cleaning the pets themselves. Bathe and groom them regularly.

Then, vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. If they have a favorite couch or cushion, cover it with a blanket and run it — and the cushion cover — through the wash weekly. Every time you vacuum, start with a hearty sprinkle of baking soda on the carpet.

And use that crevice tool liberally; pet hair loves tight spaces like the border between the carpet and the wall, the edges of your steps and that little crack of space between the stove and your cabinets.

Hopefully urine isn’t the issue, but to be sure, you can use a black light to out any dried stains your pet was hoping you’d never notice.

Use more of that baking soda followed by a half-water, half-vinegar solution to neutralize the odor. Lots of people also swear by store-bought neutralizers, like Nature’s Miracle.

#2 Mustiness

Fortunately, nose blindness only affects one of your senses, and you don’t need your nose to verify a basement with a musty smell.

Mustiness is caused by mildew and mold, which — for better or for worse — your eyeballs can easily detect. Do a careful inspection of your basement, from the darkest corner to the surface of every cardboard box or bookshelf. If you find gray or white splotches anywhere, it’s probably mildew. If it’s fuzzy, (oh no!) it’s mold.

First, you’ll want to bust up those existing odors. Then, you’ll want to make sure they never return. Some elbow grease with regular household cleaner will scrub away mildew. Bleach isn’t the cure-all for mold. If often can exacerbate the problem.

To prevent mildew and mold from returning, consider running a dehumidifier or improving air circulation and sunlight exposure in the affected area if possible.

For chronic mustiness, you can deodorize rooms by setting out bowls of vinegar, cat litter, baking soda, or — as crazy as this sounds — an onion also will do the trick. Cut one in half and let it sit in a bowl in the room. The onion smell goes away in a few hours, and so will the dankness.

#3 Smelly Bedding

Similar to pet odors, knowing if your mattress could smell is easy: Do you have a human body with skin and oils? Do you sleep on it?

Eventually, all the dead skin and body oils you shed while sleeping are going to build up, and stink they will, especially if your bedding is older.

You can’t exactly toss your mattress in the washing machine, so you’ll have to deal with it where it lies.

But it’s an easy fix: Sprinkle baking soda on it, let it sit for an hour or more, and then vacuum up the soda. (This works for memory foam, too.) Add a couple drops of essential oil to the soda (drip directly into the box and shake it well to mix evenly) for a pleasant smell. Bonus: Lavender has been shown to help you sleep.

#4 Fridge and Freezer Grime

It’s your fridge and freezer’s job to keep your food fresh, but they need a little help staying fresh themselves.

Itty bitty food bits hang out long after you’ve tossed the item from which they came. Although you might not notice the odor creep, you may notice your ice starting to taste funny or see those food morsels start to accumulate in the corners of your fridge shelves.

If you see or taste something icky, you can bet others can smell something icky.

To zap odors from from your freezer and fridge, unplug and empty them and do a thorough cleaning with a mix of hot water and baking soda.

You can sanitize with a solution of one tablespoon bleach and one gallon of water. Let it air out for 15 minutes. Try wiping it down with vinegar for extra odor eliminating, or even leave the door open for a few days.

What better excuse is there for a long weekend away, or to treat yourself to takeout?

Source: "4 Funky Odors In Your House Only Your Guests Can Smell"

 

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Contact Information

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The Schnoor Team
6711 Academy Road NE, Ste B
Albuquerque NM 87109
Jon: 505.385.2154
Jeanne: 505.328.6060
Fax: 505-892-7733

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