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Tinsel and the Christmas Spider

Do you know about this Christmas tale? A spider is not something I am usually looking for on my Christmas tree…until now. It is Only 11 more days until Christmas morning!

Tinsel and The Legend of the Christmas Spider

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Tinsel was created in Germany. Tinsel was originally made from thin strips of beaten silver. But when plastic/man made tinsel was invented, it became very popular as it was much cheaper than real silver. Also, it was lighter to go on the tree!

There are also folk stories about how tinsel was created – by The Christmas Spider!

These tales seem to have started in Eastern Germany or Ukraine but are also told in parts of Finland and Scandinavia. The stories are now also popular in other countries too.

All the versions of the story involve a poor family who is so poor, they can’t decorate a Tree for Christmas (in some versions the tree grew from a pine cone in their house, in others the family have bought a tree into the house).

When the children sleep on Christmas Eve a spider covers the tree in cobwebs. Then on Christmas morning the cobwebs are magically turned into silver and gold strands which decorate the tree!

Some versions say that it’s the light of the sun which changed the cobwebs into silver and gold but other versions say it’s St Nicholas / Santa Claus / Father Christmas which made the magic happen.

In parts of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine it’s meant to be good luck to find a spider or a spider’s web on your Christmas Tree.

Spider’s web Christmas Tree decorations are also popular in Ukraine. They are called ‘pavuchky’ (which means ‘little spider’) and the decorations are normally made of paper and silver wire. You might even put an artificial spider’s web on your tree!

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

Black Friday – Up and At ‘Em?

The retail frenzy known as Black Friday is now an integral part of many family Thanksgiving traditions. From looking at the ads days prior, to getting up in the middle of the night to spending money on things you “can’t live without”.  All of this has become part of the norm. We understand you have to have those things that make your house feel like a home! 

But how did Black Friday start?

This is a great question. I had to consult http://history.com for the answer to that. It wasn’t as cheery and uplifting or festive as I thought it would be.

History.com says:

The term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis. Specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.

As the story goes, two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.

On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.

This isn’t what you have heard?

The most common story behind the post-Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday tradition links it to retailers. After an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise.

Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday’s origin is the officially sanctioned—but inaccurate—story behind the tradition.

Here is a Visual History of Black Friday: From Financial Crash to Today’s Shopping Mania

1924 – The first Macy’s Day Parade

Today the parade is held on Thanksgiving Day this wasn’t always the case. The very first Macy’s Parade on November 27, 1924 was advertised as a “Christmas Parade” with the arrival of Santa Claus signaling the official start of the holiday shopping season.

The original parade, promoted a full-page advertisements as a “marathon of mirth”, including live animals from the Central Park Zoo. In 1927, the live animals were replaced by giant balloon animals.

Black Friday

Today, Black Friday looks like this:

Black Friday

Not only do we have Black Friday but Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday now too.

 

Do you get up and go out on Black Friday? I’d love to hear what your family traditions are.

 

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

Baby, It’s Cold Out Here

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Brrr it’s cold. The air is nipping back the greenery and the trees are changing from green to gold, orange and burgundy hues.

It is beautiful in spite of the cold.

Though we’d all like the temperatures to say warm, the reality is they are dropping as we head into the tail end of November, December and frigid January.

With the extended warm weather, no one told the plants and shrubs it was winter yet. Therefore, they and acting as if it is summer – growing new vines, sprouting crops and growing feverishly.

The hard part of an extended warmer fall is that we must choose which plants are protected and which ones we let go. Keeping your yard’s appearance and curb appeal is important and yet tricky during this season of change.

Let’s peek into your vegetable garden:

In my opinion, I always try to save the sweet potatoes, pumpkins, kale, boy cos, lettuce and peas because they are still growing.

Beans, melon and zucchini are pretty much done.

Frost protection consideration

Success in frost protection comes when you try not to touch the plant but ensure it is covered all the way to the ground – kind of like a tent.  Cloth works for frost but never for cold rain or snow. Plastic is always best as we move into the moisture season but keeping it from touching your plants is vital, as it conducts cold temperatures.

Best practices say cover them in the evening and then remove the covering in the morning so the soil can get warm again in the daylight.

Here is a really cool thing you can purchase for seasonal vegetable gardens – a grow tunnel. This is a great $20 investment!

Happy Fall/Soon Coming Winter!

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Buying and Renting

Buying and renting are both viable ways to live.

Deciding which is best for you is a big decision.

Here are a few tips to consider when looking into the bigger picture of your lifestyle and financial choices when it comes to your living arrangements.

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Pros of Buying A Home

Tax benefits

There are many pros to buying a home, but perhaps none are bigger than the tax benefits. Tax breaks, a tax concession or advantage allowed by the government, can be rewarding to homeowners. These can include lucrative benefits, such as the property tax deduction and mortgage interest deduction. In fact, homeowners can deduct interest expenses on up to $750,000 of mortgage debt from their income taxes.

Equity

One of the biggest advantages of buying a home is purely building equity. Home equity is the current market value of your home, minus what’s still left on your mortgage. It’s an asset that comes from a homeowner’s interest in a home. 

Security & stability

Unlike renting, homeownership gives you a sense of security as long as your mortgage is continually paid. You become your own landlord without the uncertainty of lease renewals and price increases. This particular pro is helpful to people with children who want to stay within school districts, those who like stability within their neighborhood or professionals who live near their work. Purchasing a home can help dodge any undesired disruption to your way of life.  Best of all, owning a house means making your own rules. Barring any city or HOA policies, you have freedom when it comes to home improvements, pets, company and guests, and renting out the space.

CONS: 

Cost

Ownership of a home comes at a large cost. Before taking the plunge, it’s important to fully grasp what this means. Not only will you need to make a down payment, but you should also consider property taxes, private mortgage insurance), homeowners insurance, and maintenance and repair costs.

Risk

Your biggest risk will be the hefty amount for the down payment. For example, imagine putting down $30,000 to purchase your property, and over the lifetime of your 30-year mortgage, the value of the home doesn’t increase. Your return, in this instance, would be nothing. While this does not take into account financial benefits such as the money you saved on taxes, it is a large investment to make nonetheless.

One of the biggest risks is the unknown. What if, for reasons out of your control, you are forced to quickly move and sell your home? Depending on the timeline between the purchase and your move, you might not earn back your closing costs even if you sell for the exact same price for which you bought.

Further cost risks include damage to the home itself such as foundation issues or the need for large repairs. It’s a good practice to have an emergency fund in place to offset these costs.

I know whatever you choose – buying or renting, it will be perfect for you. If you are unsure, Picket Fence Properties can find you a place to be while you decide.

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

How to Feed the Birds in the Winter Months

Here Birdie Birdie!

I just love birds.

You may be seeing less and less birds (and people too) out as the weather turns cold, gardeners are tidying up for the season the everything is preparing for winter.

This is the time of year were spiders and looking for the nooks and crannies of the sidewalks, rock gardens and storage areas.

Though I am sure, like many, you prefer the birds stay around and the spiders go away.  One way to ensure this happens is to provide them an ongoing supply of food and water.

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Birds that food and water provided for them have a higher winter survival rate, especially if we have a long, cold winter.  Food is energy for staying warm. There are wide variety of feeders you can purchase for your landscaping.

Here are some bird feeding tips you might not have known:

Sparrows and doves, and many other birds, prefer to feed on large, flat surfaces and may not visit a hanging feeder. To feed these kind of birds, spread seed on the ground.

Some of you may consider that too messy. Consider a platform feeder or a hopper feeder. If squirrels are not a problem, place your feeder on the ground. Many of these feeders have squirrel resistant solutions and some kind of coverage over them to keep the snow and rain off the feed. There is also something called the tube feeder.

So now that you have the feeder, what do you feed your little friends?

Suet is pure fat with some seed, fruit or insect carcasses and provides birds energy in the winter.  The most common type of seed is black-0il sunflower seeds. Hulled sunflower seeds have the shell removed which provides quick eating for many bird species.

Either way you go, both food and water are essential to birds in the winter.

All my best,

 

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

Colorado Real Estate Trends and Predictions

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Colorado Real Estate – it is a beautiful place to live! What are the trends and predictions?

While it is no longer a surprise that Colorado and much of the nation are experiencing improved employment rates, a growing economy, and a healthy real estate market- what is surprising are the oftentimes fluctuating trends that occur in real estate.

Each year, Realtors attending the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conference have the privilege of learning about the most current real estate research and analysis to help their clients make informed decisions. A highlight at this year’s conference in Boston was NAR Chief Economist and Senior VP of Research Dr. Lawrence Yun’s annual report presentation and predictions for the year ahead.

Dr. Yun reported that nationwide in 2017, we saw the highest number of home sales in a decade. Sales for existing homes and new homes totaled 6.1 million. He called his prediction for the future slightly “boring” with home sales for 2018 predicted to be 6 million homes, increasing to 6.1 million in 2019 and 6.3 million in 2020.

According to Dr. Yun, homeownership is still one of the best wealth creators in America. In the last real estate boom, as prices rose so did the level of mortgage debt. In the boom since 2012, wealth has been created at a much more rapid rate due to lower mortgage debt and the absence of the subprime and greater- than-100-percent financing.

All of this being considered, in 2018 we are still seeing rising prices in 90% of metro markets. Lower price ranges have had stronger price gains, but not as much in the upper price ranges. Notably different have been higher price gains near downtown areas as opposed to suburban areas.

The most common things Colorado buyers are wanting are as follows:

  • Soft, comfortable and contemporary home design, furniture and accessories.
  • Slightly smaller homes and condos is trending
  • Open floor plans including higher ceilings, full walls of windows and fewer hallways
  • A place to retire as Colorado ranks second in the country for retirement.
  • Patio homes that require smaller square footage, simplicity, and the ability to get outside and live healthier lifestyles (but not yard work)

With all this said, keep in mind that all real estate is local, right down to the street. National statistics are very general trends.

The only thing constant in real estate in Colorado is that trends will continue to ebb and flow.

All my best,

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

7 Tips to Prepare Your Home For Winter

Cooler temperatures and occasional snow are reminders that it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Here are steps to take to get ready for falling leaves and freezing temperatures, as recommended by House Beautiful.

1. Prepare your gutters


Clean and well-functioning gutters are a must for winter. Now is the time to clear gutters of leaves and debris and replace damaged sections.

2. Ensure against drafts

Windows are a major source of heat loss in the home. One simple solution is to eliminate drafts with weather stripping. To check for drafts, close the door or window on a strip of paper, and then slide the paper. If it slides easily, it’s time to replace your weather stripping.

3. Disconnect outdoor faucets

Take action sooner rather than later to avoid frozen and bursting pipes in your home. Drain and disconnect your hoses from outdoor faucets before the first freeze.

4. Protect outdoor furniture

Outdoor furniture lasts longer and looks better if it is protected from winter snow and freezing temperatures. Either store the furniture inside for the winter or cover it with a waterproof furniture cover.

5. Repair driveway and sidewalk cracks

When water freezes in small cracks, the small cracks become big cracks. It’s easy to prevent by filling those small cracks with concrete crack sealer. Your drive and walkways will look much better over the years – and will be safer – if you take this preventive step.

6. Fertilize your lawn

As your grass prepares for winter, it needs to be fertilized to prevent stress and damage through cold temperatures. When days shorten, turf grass shifts food reserves from leaves to roots. Fertilizing grass in the fall feeds the roots and paves the way for a healthy green lawn when spring comes.

7. Check your snow blower

Go ahead and dig your snow blower out of the garage now. Check the oil, tires, and shear pins and crank it up now, before the snow flies consistently this winter.

To read the full article, click here.

All my best,

 

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

What’s Cooking This Fall? Beef Pot Roast

One of the things I love to do is cook!

As a Property Manager, I envision all of our tenants making their houses/properties their homes. Perhaps they have friends and family over to enjoy the things they are cooking.

So every once in a while I like to throw our some good ‘ole home cooking ideas for you to enjoy.

Pan-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms

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This one came from MidwestLiving.com

  • Makes: 4 to 6 servings
  • Hands On 25 mins
  • Total Time 1 hr
This beautiful, buttery beef tenderloin is so simple. Brown the beef in a cast-iron skillet, roast it in the oven, then take advantage of the hot pan to toss together the thyme- and sherry-glazed mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 1 2 – pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • Kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon canola or corn oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms (or mixed cremini and shiitake), trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Pat beef dry. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Position rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 425 degrees . Season beef on all sides with 2 teaspoons each kosher salt and pepper.
  2. Heat canola oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and sear on all sides for 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast until internal temperature reaches 135 degrees , 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer beef to a platter; tent loosely with foil while preparing mushrooms.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil to same skillet. Add mushrooms and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to turn golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add shallots; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully add sherry; cook and stir until almost evaporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir juices from tenderloin platter into mushrooms with remaining tablespoon butter and thyme. Slice beef and serve with mushrooms.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 4, chol. (mg) 154, cal. (kcal) 506, vit. A (IU) 213, iron (mg) 7, Fat, total (g) 27, vit. C (mg) 5, sugar (g) 4, Potassium (mg) 1107, pro. (g) 54, calcium (mg) 53, Trans fatty acid (g) 1, Cobalamin (Vit. B12) (µg) 8, fiber (g) 2, sodium (mg) 757, Monounsaturated fat (g) 12, Pyridoxine (Vit. B6) (mg) 2, Polyunsaturated fat (g) 3, Folate (µg) 34, sat. fat (g) 9, Riboflavin (mg) 1, carb. (g) 9, Niacin (mg) 15, Thiamin (mg) 0

All my best,

 

Teresa

Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

What Do Renters Really Want?

As a property manager, this question surfaces all of the time. What do renters really want?

Most real estate expert agrees that personalized customer service ranks at the top of the list. Happy customers who feel valued are more likely to stay in a rental relationship.

“60% of renters plan to relocate within the next 12 months” according to Elizabeth Millar from Appfolio.

Ask Your Tenants What They Want

Ask them what amenities and neighborhood area characteristics are most important to them.

  • In-unit laundry
  • Pet friendly policies
  • High-end applicances

Communicate With Them In Their Preferred Style

Have you asked them how they prefer you communicate with them? There is paper, email, text and tenant portal options these days.

If you are wanting open, honest communication, you might consider anonymous forms. This will give you and your rental team accurate responses.

We like to ask such things like:

  • Which amenities are your favorites?
  • What could we do to add, change or remove to make this feel more like home?
  • Do you feel valued and appreciated by our team?
  • How would you rate overall safety and security?
  • Is the maintenance staff responsive and efficient?

Did you know that 13% of Americans don’t have smartphones while the other 87% use their phones to manage almost their entire lifestyle. Don’t leave out that 13% that might be attracted to the properties your company has.

All my best,

 

Teresa

Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.

 

Make White Walls Be Anything But Boring

All-white walls may be a blank canvas, but in the hands of textures, patterns and antiques, they’re anything but boring.

Have you ever walked into a white room and it felt sterile, cold or uninviting. Well today, I am going to show you some ideas of how to warm up the white and make it inviting for you and everyone that walks in your house.

When painting most people steer clear of white? Why do you think that is? It doesn’t get any more dirty than any other color. In fact, white can open up your space and make it look larger. How you accessorize and decorate to create the feel of the room will make all the difference in the world.

When you go to the paint counter of your local hardware or paint store, you might be shocked at all the difference variations of WHITE there are. I was quite shocked when I did this recently. I did not ever know there were so many versions of one color. It kind of made me chuckle. I always thought white was white.

I love white walls because it is just that, a blank canvas. You can create any look you want in your home, rental or apartment.

Paloma Contreras gives us a few decorating ideas to go by.

  1. Add texture.
  2. Curate accessories.
  3. Embrace bold accent colors.
  4. Create tension.
  5. Incorporate your TV into your design.
  6. Try oversized fixtures.
  7. Wallpaper a powder room.
  8. Command attention.
  9. Use mirrors.

You can read more what Paloma says about each of these here.

These white walls are anything but sterile or boring. If fact, white with all those accent colors has never looked so inviting and good.

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All my best,

 

Teresa


Picket Fence Properties, located in Windsor, CO is Northern Colorado’s Top Notch Property Management company helping owners with their rentals, income/investment properties and vacancies in Northern Colorado. Are you a owner of a home for rent or that you’d like us to manage? We help you have the perfect tenants in NoCO. Are you looking for somewhere to rent in Greeley, Loveland, Fort Collins, Wellington, Eaton, Evans, Windsor, Frederick, Firestone? Look no further, we have all your real estate and rental needs covered. Check out website for vacancies today.