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9 Ways to Share the Spirit of the Season

The holiday season is upon us, and the celebrations have begun. From trimming trees to lighting candles, it’s the time of year to fill your homes (and hearts) with holiday joy.

But there’s no need to stop at your front door. Let the spirit of the season radiate outward from your house into your community. Some homeowners hang outdoor lights and decorations to help make the neighborhood “merry and bright.” But that’s not the only way to share the magic of the holidays with others.

Not sure where to start? Check out these 9 inspirational ideas for spreading cheer far and near!

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME You probably don’t have to look far to find someone who could benefit from a gift or kind gesture this time of year. Try one (or all) of these ideas for sharing the season with those closest to home.

 

1. Host a Holiday Party

Hosting a neighborhood holiday party is a great way to reconnect with old friends and welcome new families to the community. And it doesn’t necessarily require a huge investment of time or money. Plan a potluck dinner and ask your guests to bring a dish or drink to share. Or host a holiday cookie exchange and ask everyone to bring a couple dozen of their favorite cookie to swap with other guests. Hot cocoa and caroling is another great way to bring neighbors together to celebrate the season.

If you have a neighbor who you’ve been at odds with in the past, consider extending them an invitation, as well. It could be the perfect opportunity to make peace in the new year.

 

2. Help a Neighbor in Need

The holiday season is the perfect time to offer help to a neighbor in need. Next time you head out to rake your leaves, take care of an elderly neighbor’s, as well. Or drop off dinner for a friend who is recovering from surgery. 

If you know of someone in your community with a larger need, consider setting up a Care Calendar through a site like CareCalendar.org. Then share the link with other neighbors who may be interested in helping, too. Users can sign up to run errands, cook a meal, babysit, wash laundry, clean the house, mow the lawn, or complete other household tasks depending on the individual’s needs. Even a small gesture of kindness can make someone’s holiday extra jolly.

 

3. Treat Your Mail and Package Carriers

Extend comfort and joy from your own front porch during your postal and package carriers’ busiest time of year.[1] While many of us love the convenience of shopping online for holiday gifts, the boom in e-commerce has exponentially increased the workload for our postal and package carriers, some of whom work up to 70 hours a week during the holiday season.[2]

You can help brighten their day by leaving a goody and note of gratitude in your mailbox or a basket of water and snacks by your front door. Attach a sign that says: “Thank you for working hard to deliver our holiday packages. Please take a treat to enjoy on your route!”

 

DON’T STOP AT YOUR STREET … BRING HOLIDAY CHEER TO EVERYONE YOU MEET

Surprise and delight those you encounter with a small act of kindness or a generous gesture. ‘Tis the season of giving, but the reaction you get in return may be the best gift of all!

 

4. Overtip

Don’t be a Grinch when it comes to tipping at the holidays. Your waiter, your Uber driver, and your hairdresser will all appreciate an extra-generous tip this time of year. 

International etiquette expert Sharon Schweitzer recommends that you start by setting a budget for holiday tips and prioritizing those you most want to thank. Place those who help you most frequently at the top of your list—such as your trusted housekeeper, nanny, or daycare provider. For those you regularly tip at the time service, consider frequency and length of the relationship to determine an appropriate amount.

Everyone could use a little extra cash around the holidays. If you can afford it, share a bit of your abundance with others.

 

5. Thank Those Who Don’t Get a Holiday

Santa isn’t the only one working on Christmas. Emergency workers, hospital staff, airline employees, toll booth attendants, movie theater staff, and many others will be working to make your holiday safe and bright. 

Say “thank you” by bringing breakfast to the firehouse or police station on Christmas morning or by dropping off a tray of goodies for the hard-working hospital staff on New Year’s Eve. Keep a stash of treats or coffee-shop gift cards on hand to pass out to those you encounter working over the holidays. And, if appropriate, a generous tip is always appreciated!

 

6. Fill Stockings for the Homeless

Not everyone gets to go “home for the holidays.” You can bring a little cheer and comfort to a homeless person this year with a holiday care kit. 

Pick up some inexpensive Christmas stockings from a craft store and fill them with a variety of useful items, such as:

?     Applesauce cup (and plastic spoon)

?     Baby wipes

?     Bandages

?     Bottled water

?     Beef jerky

?     Cereal or granola bar

?     Cheese or peanut butter crackers

?     Deodorant

?     Gloves

?     Lip balm

?     Lotion

?     Nail clippers

?     Socks

?     Tissues

?     Toothbrush and toothpaste

?     Tuna and crackers

?     Trail mix

As an added touch, include a sweet treat and a handwritten note wishing them a happy holiday. Hand the stockings out at a shelter or keep a stash in your car so you can offer one when you encounter someone in need.

 

SEND JOY TO THE WORLD BY BECOMING A SECRET SANTA

Reach beyond your sphere by sending some holiday magic out into the community. Surprise a stranger with an anonymous gift that’s sure to make their holiday shine.

 

7. Offer Warmth on a Cold Day

As temperatures drop, some members of our community will be left out in the cold. Our local homeless population is especially vulnerable this time of year, but so are many families living in poverty. Health experts warn that a two-degree drop in body temperature can result in reduced heart rate, lack of coordination, and confusion, making it difficult for adults to work and children to learn.[4]

You can help by bringing your old but gently-used coats to a collection site. Leave a note in the pocket wishing the recipient a warm and happy holiday. Or tie a scarf around a tree and attach a sign that says: “I am not lost. If you need this to stay warm, please take it!”

Check with local homeless shelters to find out if they accept donations of old blankets. Well-worn blankets and towels can often be donated to an animal shelter to help keep four-legged friends warm this winter, as well.

 

8. Pay Off a Stranger’s Layaway

Some large retailers offer layaway options during the holidays so that shoppers can pay for their purchases a little at a time. Media stories often surface this time of year about anonymous donors who pay off a stranger’s layaway account to the surprise and delight of the recipient. 

This is a great way to help a family that may not qualify for charitable assistance but is on a limited budget for holiday gifts. If you have a particular interest in helping kids, you can ask to pay off an account that consists primarily of children’s items.

You don’t have to drop a bundle to become a family’s “Secret Santa.” Ask the layaway attendant to search for accounts with balances that fit within your budget. To make a bigger impact, ask friends and family members if they want to pitch in to help, too.

 

9. Donate Toys to a Tot

One of the most popular ways to give back during the holidays is to participate in a toy drive. There are a number of great charities that collect toys for children of low-income families.

Before you shop, find out if the organization has a wish list of preferred items or guidelines for wrapping and labeling the gift. And check the drop-off deadline to ensure your gift will reach its intended recipient in time.

If you have children, involve them in the process of selecting and purchasing the gift so they can experience the joy of giving to those less fortunate, too. 

Enjoy the season everyone!

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What is PMI?

Having a traditional down payment of 20% isn't something everyone can do when buying a home. There are many loan options out there for you that don't require 20%.  We work with a few different lenders and each have a different product to offer. So it is beneficial to talk to a few to see what would work best for you and your situation. 

PMI is a form of mortgage insurance that is required, if you are purchasing a home with a conventional loan and have under 20% percent down payment. There isn't a set cost of this montly mortgage insurance.  This insurance is to protect the lender. Your credit score and your actual down payment amount will determine your premium each month. 

MIP (Mortgage Insurance Premium) is the same type of insurance when purchasing a home with an FHA loan. 

There is a difference between PMI and MIP.  PMI can be cancelled once your reach 80% equity in your home.  MIP often requires you to refinance as the way to eliminate the MIP. 

If you have any questions on PMI or MIP give us a call at 480.369.0072.  We have a few lenders for you to speak with on how you can begin to purchase your next home!

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 Do you live in a buyers or sellers market?

Here is our 85086 zip code in North Phoenix. Inventory has dropped quite a bit this summer. Still have a slight sellers market here.

Remember Real Estate is local, comment with your zip code and we will generate a report for your neighborhood! #finninzechgroup#tramontocommunity #northphoenixhomes #phoenixhomes#cavecreekhomes #carefreehomes #anthemhomes

 

 

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 Is now the best time to sell?
 
 
 
 This is a question we get a lot. What is the best time of year to sell? Well that depends on each market, but there are consistent factors that impact buyers each year.
 
Here in Phoenix you can see a year over year trend in selling real estate. For instance, the first of the year brings a new perspective. With the holidays behind us, buyers are on the move. Home inventory and price of homes tend to rise. While days on market decrease. All good for sellers.
 
As we move into late spring and summer, buyers are becoming more concerned with with the end of the school year and the planning of summer vacations. So moving into summer, we tend to see, home prices and inventory fall, while days on the market increase.
 
Bring on back to school. August and some of September are quiet as buyers get back into their routines. But late September through Thanksgiving you can begin to see a slight rise again in inventory and sales price.
 
But as we get into December we have seen a few types of buyers, ones that want to be in a new home before the end of the year. And others are focused on the holidays and their families. Bringing their focus again to the new year and a new home.
 
One important thing to remember is it only takes one buyer. It is when they find the right home at the right price at the right time they need to buy. Consider your own needs when selling.
 
We are here to help. Lets meet to discuss your selling needs and find out when the best time to sell is for you.