Thursday, July 22, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Moving can be daunting! Don’t stress. Follow these 5 steps to make your move seamless.

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So Get Organized and Prepare Yourself

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1. Contact a professional organizer. A few years ago our friend started such a business. Our Sellers in Piedmont were her first clients. She took a 4800 square foot home and coordinated the entire move from organizing to packing, purging and donating to shipping and storage coordination and finally hauling and cleaning, until the home is 100% empty. Kimberly works tirelessly with her clients, our client referrals. Somehow she is able to help reduce the stress of a move tremendously. She provides a schedule and timeline and keeps her client on target. I am not sure how she does it. During the process of this first job our client started referring to Kimberly as her “moving angel,” thus the name, Moving-Angels. If you live locally in the Bay Area, reach out to myself, or Kimberly to hire her, or to obtain a referral. Kimberly is also part of a professional organization called NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. Moving Angels is an approved NAPO company. We refer Kimberly to each of our Seller clients; I am not sure how we lived without her and this amazing service!!

2. Contact your Realtor for a moving company referral if you don’t have one of your own. A good mover is crucial. You will want to work with a reputable company who feels accountable and will do a good job. There is nothing worse than having people in your home and mishandling your personal possessions carelessly.

3. Schedule your move ahead of time. People are always moving, in, out and within town. Be sure to book your movers at least two months out and schedule a consultation and walk through so there are no surprises with time it will take and the cost of the move. One of our more recent moves ended up taking much longer than expected. It happened to be on my birthday. We had dinner scheduled to be at with friends so we had to stop the move after a very long back breaking day to get to my birthday dinner in time. And the next day had to continue the move. We were lucky they were able to fit us in and complete the move for us. Poor planning is definitely something you will want to avoid. In this case it was my fault for not packing enough ahead of time. There are two ways to move, 1. the movers pack you. And if that is the case be sure to allow enough time. 2. You pack your contents, the movers come in and wrap your furniture and move your pre-packed boxes. I always say we will pack, but that has NEVER happened. I should remember this for next time! Note to self.

4. Find a place for your pets to be while you are moving. Moving is not only stressful on the you and your family but for your pets as well.

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5. A soft landing. Be sure your home on the other end is ready for you, your belongings and your family. Do you need to hire an unpacker to set up your household? Are you going to do it yourself? Where will you sleep the first night? At the house or in a hotel? These are the sorts of questions you might jot down and then review with your spouse, significant other, a friend, your moving angel or your Realtor.

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This Blog entry was inspired by my client and friend. She is making a move and had a list of questions. To her they were disconcerting. She was overwhelmed by the thought of moving and didn’t know where to begin. We went for a walk, talked it through and then sat down so I could address each question one at a time. I know our little walk, chat and plan helped ease her stress.

Moving is never easy, but with a plan in hand you can tackle anything.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

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A tower of stones representing balance and harmony

If you’ve ever considered implementing a more spiritual approach to life, you’ve likely heard about feng shui. While these two words ring a bell in many people’s minds, most are unsure about their meaning. Feng shui translates to wind and water. This ancient Chinese philosophy is supposed to aid in creating harmony and inviting positive energy to flow through our living spaces. To achieve this, one must practice mindfulness and pay attention to details. However, without knowing a few basic principles and the reasoning behind them, it’s unlikely you will feel the benefits. To help you deepen your connection to the world around you, here are 6 simple tips for using feng shui in your home.

Start with your entryway

According to feng shui, your home’s entryway and front door represent a connection to the outside world. This is where new energy enters your life, so it’s easy to understand why you should pay special attention to this part of your home.

To keep the flow of good energy uninterrupted, start by decluttering the entry. Get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose, and make sure to keep this area clean and tidy at all times.

Your entryway should be clean, well-light and tidy.

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Don’t forget to give some TLC to your front door and doormat as well. Doors play an essential role in feng shui; therefore, make sure they are clean and squeak-free.

Lastly, to brighten up the area, consider adding more light fixtures or brighter lightbulbs.

Create balance with colors

An easy and effective way to apply feng shui principles in your home is through colors. It’s widely known that colors have the power to influence our mood and emotions. However, according to this philosophy, they are even more mighty than that. It is believed that you can invite more of what you need into your life by using different colors in your home. Whether you want to refresh your current home or are thinking about a color scheme for your future property, here’s what you need to know:

  • Yellow, orange, and brown represent Earth. Use them if you want to be more grounded and centered on a physical and spiritual level.
  • Red represents fire. It is believed to ignite passion and increase energy.
  • Green symbolizes wood. It promotes harmony, good family relationships, and growth.
  • Black signifies water. Use it if you need to improve and expand relationships with friends and gain more wisdom.
  • Gray represents metal. Include more of it to invite more exploration, creative thinking, and support into your life.

Put your furniture in the commanding position

The commanding position affects how you position yourself in life. To put your furniture in the commanding position and thus gain more control over your life, you want to place it so that you can see the door while using it. However, avoid being directly in line with it. A diagonal position is best.

According to feng shui, you should be able to see the door while in your bed.

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Even though this is a powerful feng shui method, there is no need to do this will all of your furniture. Instead, focus on your bed, desk, and stove. These pieces are essential as they represent you (bed), your career (desk), and your wealth (stove). If the structure of your house doesn’t allow you to apply this tip, don’t worry. Placing a mirror so that you can see the door in it while using these pieces of furniture will do the trick.

Create space by decluttering

One of the best tips for using feng shui in your home is to stay on top of decluttering. Clutter takes up space and thus prevents anything new and fresh from entering your life. By downsizing on your possessions and keeping only the things that serve a purpose, you will create a happier and healthier living environment.

Although not many people enjoy the process, downsizing is essential for many reasons. These reasons are even more significant if you are moving into a new home. By decluttering, you will have fewer things to transport, which is critical, especially if you are planning a long-distance move. Therefore, to ensure a relocation handled with ease, a lower bill from your long-distance movers, and plenty of good feng shui in your new home, start letting go!

Invite life energy by adding plants

In feng shui, plants represent life energy. By adding a little bit of the outdoors into your humble abode, you will ensure a better connection to nature and increase vitality and freshness. According to feng shui, the more water a plant requires, the better. Some good options include chrysanthemum, orchid, bamboo, lotus, and narcissus.

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You can almost never go wrong with plants.

If you can, consider placing the plants on top of your kitchen cabinets. If the cabinets don’t reach the ceiling, negative energy (and dust) can collect in the empty space, which you can easily avoid with a bit of greenery.

However, remember that dying plants can have the opposite effect. Before you go shopping, research which plants can thrive in the environment your home provides.

Maximize natural light

Windows, much like doors, are essential for good feng shui. They represent the residents’ eyes. If they are dirty, you won’t be able to see things clearly. Therefore, remember to keep them clean at all times.

Additionally, clean windows let in more light which is an essential source of energy. Maximize the amount of natural light in your home by adding light curtains or drapes. If you are planning to move, team up with a reliable Realtor, and tell them you’d prefer a home with plenty of big windows. Sometimes you don’t have control over how much light your house gets, so make sure to supplement it with light fixtures, lamps, and chandeliers.

In conclusion

Even if you were skeptical about this Chinese philosophy, after reading this list of 6 simple tips for using feng shui in your home, you probably realize that it is much less esoteric and more logical than it seems. Feng shui is all about balance, harmony, peace, and prosperity. Therefore, even if you are still not convinced, give it a try! What’s the worst that can happen?

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Thursday, April 29, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Do Birds Fly?

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It’s 4PM on a sunny Friday afternoon having just finished up work, for the hour, returning from our fabulous listing in San Francisco to preview the staging and meeting with the landscapers; then back to the East Bay to meet our contractor and the homeowner who happens to be a past client, also a childhood friend and past neighbor, in order to ready his home for market. I rush home to meet Adam who gives me a ride to the eye doctor for a 4 o’clock appointment before dinner back in the City. From past experience if you are going to the eye specialist you will not leave with 20/20. If something is wrong, obviously, that’s why  I am there, so they dilate the new, bad eye. I was relieved it wasn’t the same eye they operated on during COVIID, because that would be a huge bummer. That would mean the surgery didn’t work. I told the technician, nurse, not sure of her title, but I told her, you can test my site, but I cannot see out of my left eye and I need surgery. (I am sure they just love when patients self diagnose.) I wasn’t being smart, just matter-of-fact, as 6 months prior it took at least 5 appointments and multiple tests to discover the issue until I finally was scheduled for surgery. (That was the easy eye!) Allow me to revel in how awesome doctors and technology are. The machines they have for testing our small eyes is nothing less than fantastic. I snapped a photo of the photo on the doctors machine of my yellow died eye — it looked like a planet in outer space, yellow and red with lots and lots of squiggly lines.

3 technicians later my amazing, awesome, magical doctor enters, the Wizard. Who else could operate on a tiny eye, while listening to rock and talking sports while performing surgery. I assume he was conversing with the anesthesiologist. I felt no pain but wasn’t totally under, just out of it, comfortably, very comfortably. I do recall thinking what if the stuff wore off and I could feel him working on my eye, could I even talk if I wanted to worn everyone? Maybe I should have tried? But if I did maybe I would have frightened my doctor and my right eye would not be so perfect. Yes, perfect. Not only did that first surgery go so well, bringing my blurry vision back into focus using laser technology but removed the floaters too. Did I say, amazing? Yes, he is no less than awesome, a wizard with a wand. Floaters, for those of you under 50, are little bubble like things that float around in your eye annoying the “s” out of you. In the beginning you use eye drops, (and I know is bad), rub your eyes and think it may be dust or allergies. Note to self: STOP! Don’t rub.

It’s 3:30 AM at present, the morning after my latest surgery. The time is not so unusual for me to wake, oftentimes I go back to sleep, at least until 5:30, but today like other early mornings when I have endured a unique experience like this, I have to unravel it all and put it on paper, like the time we had to plan and execute a Navy Seal extraction to remove Chase from India last March within 10 hours of lockdown; or a few years ago when I woke up early to write about the evening before when I was certain I was going to die in a plane crash on Spirit Airlines after having sent a last text message to my family saying, I love you.

Gratefully, this experience is not so bad. With the exception I type this out using Arial and font size 88 with my head facing down. I wasn’t told prior to surgery that I would have to keep my face in a downward position for 2 to 3 weeks!! Nor did I do any prior research until I was itemizing a huge list of things for my TC* to do in case I was out of it for more than a half day. —Meaning unable to give further direction, and doing a million little things, myself, while  making sure not to put any extra burden on Adam and his already huge pile of work. There is no better word in the English language than control freak, workaholic, words that describe me best. Last night after I returned from surgery I was barking orders, nicely, yet both orally and via text. A bit obsessive, maybe? Yep! You bet, I will be starting in a 8:30 (when most are available to me, including public offices by 9). That is a lifetime for someone who starts festering at 3:30AM!

Back to Friday. The Wizard reports this eye is a much bigger deal than my right eye. This time it’s a detached retina. He goes on to explain while asking when I first noticed it. I let him know it started on the far left side while skiing in Breckenridge and during the week it seemed to be getting worse. Like a snow storm that starts slow and begins to cover the mountain a little more and a bit more. (That description is for you, not the Wizard; he knew.)  When we returned from Colorado I still had some vision, then I flew east to help Bianca get re established in New York (after the COVID SIP) and settled into her new apartment. Within a day or two I noticed my eye was completely blurred out as if someone pushed their thumb into the middle of my eye just as you do when you are getting a document notarized, like when you buy or sell a home. All I could see was one big thumb print. (More real estate references. I suppose after 30 years of practicing, it just happens.)

I land Wednesday night (from NY) and by Friday at 4PM my appointment is booked. I hadn’t been that worried but looking back I am so grateful the doctor’s office scheduled me so quickly. After the eye testing, dilation and multiple images being taken I finally met with my doctor. As noted it was a much bigger deal. I think back now noticing he didn’t use the word serious, but I now think it was, compliments of Google.

My doctor inquired when I first noticed the blurred vision in order to gain insight and a timeline. I later learned on Google that a detached retina should be handled promptly. Thus the reason I am sharing this with you today. I wasn’t worried because he had fixed my eye perfectly the last time. I hadn’t been pushy to get in and I hadn’t called ahead from New York, although when I was up at 5:30AM in NY, I did try, but it was always too early on the West coast and then got too busy once we started in again running errands, shopping and getting Bianca’s apartment pulled together. (BTW, it’s SOOOOO CUTE!)

It had been about 10 days. Now close to 5PM on a lovely Friday afternoon, the doctor swung open his door started directing his staff to book appointments, he started filling out forms on his computer and barking more orders. He asked if I had any trips planned?  Do birds fly? I thought to myself?  Yes, 3, I shared. I could cancel or drive. He reported I could not fly for 2 months. He moved on to ask if I could get in on Monday to see my primary care doctor so they could release me for surgery — a COVID test, EKG & vitals.  I told him they were very slow and most likely not, so he said as last resort he could do it. He closed the door, took my blood pressure and pulse, checked my heart and replied to my previous comment, —I promise I am healthy, and my blood pressure, if anything, will be low. The words that finally stuck, his reply after reporting my blood pressure, “Even after this bad news your pressure is super low.” His words lingered for a moment. 

He then told me I was set, surgery would be on Tuesday, and I didn’t need to see my primary, and said he was going to go reserve the hospital now, himself. I have never seen a doctor so hands on. And like that he was off, I checked out and was told his office would follow up Monday with details of Tuesday’s surgery. Adam had been waiting in the car for an hour and a half working, then visiting with the HIGHLAND PARTNERS agents on Friday’s Happy Hour. I jumped in the car, having no idea I was announcing my upcoming surgery to the office on Zoom! Crazier occurrences have happened on Zoom. This, not such a big deal considering all the crazy stories we have heard over the past year during COVID.

Once I knew of my impending surgery I stopped moving around, and stopped driving. Tuesday came as fast as turtle   moves. 130PM Tuesday could not come fast enough. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and finally Tuesday. One of the positive outcomes of COVID is how waiting rooms have become a thing of the past. It really is  awesome. I zipped through check-in and headed straight down into the bowels of the hospital, to the frigid basement. I was told to sit and wait for a moment. A kind doctor watching TV asked if I was a Betta. When anyone asks if I’m a Betta I always think they must be a relative because most who know me, know me as a DiMaggio. I was most surprised to be recognized behind glasses and a mask. We had a nice chat. She was the mother of one of Chase’s childhood friends. It was nice to be sitting with a friendly face in the cold depths of the dull beige basement. I’ll never forget the day — the TV was tuned in to the news — the country, maybe even the world sat awaiting the George Floyd verdict. I was praying for a guilty verdict;  if the alternative occurred I’d be waking up to a city in chaos. After the last year, I just didn’t want to witness any further unhappiness and destruction. 

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The attendant brought me into a private room since I hadn’t had the opportunity to have a Covid test. An hour later they swabbed both nostrils. And sometime after that I was given the news of a negative result. I continued to nap. Fast forward to questions — Name. Birthdate. Allergies. What are you having done today. The dreaded IV. Finally the anesthesiologist came in. More questions. Followed by The Wizard. After being wheeled into the operating room looking at huge machines, and being parked right in between two. That’s where things go black. And if almost seconds later I was out. The best sleep ever. I don’t recall seeing the doctor. I do recall the nurse barking to keep my head down. They should give you post op instructions prior to surgery, not when you are half baked. The next thing I knew I was in a wheelchair, outside, then in Adam’s car.  Head down. Now 7 days and 2 follow up appointments later, all is healing. (If you looked at me you would not think so. I just looked at my eye and it is bloody red.) I’m still sitting and sleeping face down. Grandma hangs out with me during the day, makes lunch and cooks dinner for Adam, myself and my Dad every night. You can listen to TV and movies, but cannot watch. I’ve been listening to Sam the Cooking Guy because he’s so animated and talks so much you can almost see what he’s doing without looking. Documentaries are also entertaining. I can look down at my phone and laptop so I am able to keep up with work, emails and marketing our new listing. Not sure how I’ll make it another week and maybe another 2 weeks. It’s not a small surgery. At my last appointment I asked The Wizard if it was something I had caused by rubbing my eyes. The Wizard simply says, it’s just bad luck and age. I don’t believe there is anything one can do to prevent a detached retina. If there is, please do tell. I don’t wish this recovery time on anyone!

Ahh…. the agony of aging. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

Looking to gain insight on real estate? Check out Debbi DiMaggio and Adam Betta’s Real Estate website, and get in touch for assistance with selling your home!14 (2)

Top Tips for Getting Your House Ready to Sell

Selling a home is a multi-step process. Taking a house from your family residence to an attractively presented listing requires a systematic approach and an eye for aesthetics. This is often a guessing game for sellers, but staging is, in fact, the most important step in preparing your home for sale.

Refresh Every Surface – Inside and Out

Staging actually starts with deep cleaning. Though a home may be broom-clean, you want it to look sparkling-clean for buyers. Your agent will probably recommend that you steam-clean the carpets, scrub the hard floors, and bleach the grout in the bathrooms. You may also want to power-wash your siding, driveway, and sidewalks to make the entire home gleam. Look for subtle signs of grime or built-up dirt on seldom-noticed surfaces, but don’t worry too much about scrubbing painted walls. We’ll deal with those next.

Repaint with This Year’s Neutral Colors

A simple coat of fresh paint can make a home look brand new. For this reason, every wall in the home should be repainted in fresh new hues. The colors most popular in the housing market shift from year to year. Your agent will be able to tell you which hues of paint look best in your home and will be most appealing to area buyers.

Strategic Furniture and Decor

With a freshly repainted home, it’s time to stage it with furniture.  You can stage with your own furniture, rented furniture, or even pieces your agent might have tucked away. The idea of furniture in staging isn’t actually to furnish a house; rather, it’s to give the impression of how each room can be used.

Moving Mountains Design explains going small and sparse will emphasize the spaciousness of each room, while still providing context for buyers to see “This is the living room,” or “This is the second bedroom,” instead of facing empty, featureless rooms. In other words, you’re sparking their imagination for how they will use the rooms.

In terms of decor, neutral is best, which means removing anything that reflects your own personal tastes. Potential buyers may not share those same tastes with you, and they may look elsewhere if you keep your personal style on display.

If you’re stumped on where to begin, you can search through local listings to see how other homeowners are staging their homes. Still need help? There are professional stagers who can help you make your home look fantastic.

Create Curb Appeal

Staging isn’t just about the home’s interior. Actually, many buyers will make up their minds whether or not they like your home based on the exterior. With that in mind, it’s crucial to amp up the curb appeal. Tidy the landscaping, manicure the lawn, and then add some blooming flowers for a welcoming appearance. Pay extra attention to your entryway, and if your front door looks tired, paint it and install new hardware. For the finishing touch, add a new doormat to greet house hunters as they arrive.

Take Amazing Photos

Once the house is staged, it’s time for photos. In the age of internet home searches, most people rely on property photos to cull homes. If you’re uncomfortable with a DIY approach, your agent will know exactly how to take a vivid and flattering photo-tour of the home. They will walk from room to room snapping photos in the best light and may come back for a better shot to make sure your online listing is perfect.

A proper presentation ensures your listing, showings, and open house events are top-notch. Clean, declutter, spruce up and arrange with house hunters in mind. By going the extra mile with your efforts, you’re sure to be rewarded with a quick sale.

Friday, February 5, 2021
Debbi DiMaggio

What are the first steps to buying a home?

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That may sound like a basic question, but when you don’t buy and sell homes everyday, it is a very good question, and not basic at all. When buying or selling real estate, no question is insignificant, and all questions are good. Most importantly, it is never too early to begin the conversation. Whether buying or selling today or in three years, education is key to achieving your real estate goals.

6 steps towards buying your new home

  1. Locate an agent through referrals or research.
  2. Allow the Realtor you chosen to work with put you in touch with a reputable and experienced lender.
  3. Discuss your wish list with your agent but know more often than not you will not get everything on your wish list, but providing parameters such as neighborhood, price and bed/bath count is a good start. Depending on the market – for instance in the East Bay in Northern California inventory is very limited at any given time. The more restrictions or items on your wish list, the fewer homes you will be exposed to. It’s important to see a variety yet keeping in your budget, so you will come to understand the market.
  4. Your agent will set you up on an auto listing feed so you can see a variety of homes and keep a log. Oftentimes home buyers will change their parameters after becoming more educated and seeing various homes even neighborhoods.
  5. Keep your options open.
  6. Writing an offer and prevailing (in our market) is another subject of its own.

Order one of our books, The Art of Real EstateReal Estate Rules! 52 ways to achieve success in real estate.

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