Managing Stress in the Age of #Coronavirus

The New 2020 Fashion

What a world we are living in! I hope you are all staying safe at home, and keeping your social activity limited to immediate family and only those friends who are doing the same. #COVID-19 is serious.

I am so fortunate to 1- have a home office and 2- live in a warm climate. I am able to spend lots of time outdoors. I have been keeping myself occupied with real estate related work, reading, yoga, puzzles, pickle ball (in the driveway), and gardening. Some friends brought their kayaks over last week and left them on our dock, so I am going to try to make use of them – if I can get my family members out there with me!

Enjoying nature #CreekLife

If you are finding yourselves overwhelmed with worry, here are some things that might help. (I borrowed several from this list I found in a post by Caitlin Constantine, Deputy Managing Editor of The Penny Hoarder).

  • 1) Take Deep Breaths. Breathing exercises are common in yoga. They are great for calming you down. Simply breathe in to the count of four, and then breathe out to the same count. Or, you can try breathing through alternate nostrils: put your middle and index fingers of your right hand on your forehead and close your right nostril with your thumb; breathe in through your left nostril to four counts; close left nostril with your ring finger and open right nostril; breathe out of right nostril for four counts. Breathe in through right nostril to four counts, then close it with your thumb and breathe out left nostril. Do this for a few minutes, and you will be very relaxed. Some fresh oxygen to the brain is good for you!
  • 2) Get Outside. Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress as well as depression. Take a walk or do some gardening. If you can’t get outdoors, look through pictures of your favorite nature scenes – beaches, forests, mountains, etc. Or listen to ambient sounds like ocean waves or birdsong.
  • 3) Meditate. If you need guidance, here are some free Mindfulness Apps.
  • 4) Journal. Writing your thoughts and feelings down is a great way to deal with conflicting emotions. It helps to focus when there are a million things swirling around in your head. Here is a great post about journaling to soothe anxiety.
  • 5) Learn a New Skill. Learning something new occupies your brain, so there’s less room for anxious thoughts. And what better time than now, when we’re all sheltering in place!
  • 6) Work Out. Working out releases endorphins, the hormones that make you feel good. There are so many options available: dance, walk in place, do sit-ups or yoga. Just do what you like, three or four times a week. There are lots of free YouTube videos out there if you need ideas.
  • 7) Reach Out. You are not alone! Everyone is in the same boat here, so throw an anchor out to friends and family. Call or FaceTime someone. Or get in on the #Zoom craze. Zoom allows everyone to get in on the fun at the same time.
  • 8) Take a Break from Social Media. This is important! We are inundated with news, both on television and the internet. Be aware of how much time you spend on your electronics and plan breaks during the day, especially around mealtimes. Turn off alerts! Puzzles are a great way to take your mind off things. You don’t have to spend hours on them (although that’s easy to do); just find a piece or two at a time. It makes you feel good!
  • 9) Create a Schedule. Being stuck at home for days on end can lead us to lose track of time and even what day it is. We don’t have to wake up to go to work or school. Establishing a daily routine will help you prioritize the things that need to be done, and it will also help create normalcy in a world that has suddenly been turned on its axis.
2000 Pieces!!

Most importantly, stay safe! If your state is opening up businesses and you personally feel it is too soon, STAY AT HOME. I am.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for staying sane in this crazy time!

Categories: Think About it | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Homebuying 101: 10 Steps to a Done Deal!

Jones St, Savannah

SO YOU’RE THINKING OF BUYING A HOME?

Buying a home is unlike any other type of purchase. The process begins with shopping for a mortgage and ends at the closing table—with several important steps in between. It can seem pretty complicated, but if you know what to expect, the process can go relatively smoothly.

The length of the home buying process is different for everyone – anywhere from 30 days (for all cash deals) to six months or longer. Once you have made a decision to buy, the average timeframe is one to three months shopping for the right place, a few days making an offer and negotiating, and 30 – 45 days to close the deal. It all depends on how well you prepare. If you’re new to home buying, this 10-step guide breaks down the process:

  1. Shop for a mortgage. Before you waste time looking at (and falling in love with) houses that are out of reach, talk to a lender. Don’t limit yourself to just one lender, either. You may get different rates from each one you contact, so you can end up paying more than you have to if you don’t shop around.
  2. Make a list of needs and wants. Once you have an idea of what you can spend, you should make a list of the most important things you want in a home. This will help narrow down the playing field, so you won’t waste time by looking at properties that don’t suit your needs. This might include a fenced yard for a pet, an office space, or a specific number of bedrooms.
  3. Find a real estate agent. You may think you can save money by trying to go it alone, but the fact is, if you don’t have an agent working to get you the best deal – and helping you navigate through all the paperwork – you are going to be relying solely on the Listing Agent of the property. And who do you think that agent is partial to? The Seller! You need someone on your side, and since it won’t cost you any money, it’s a no-brainer.
  4. Peruse listings online at home. You can do your own search on Zillow and Trulia, as well as on many other sites, but you will often find that those listings are not up-to-date. Your agent has access to the most accurate inventory of homes in your area of interest. He or she can set you up with listing alerts that will let you know the moment a house that fits your criteria gets listed. Even better, an agent has access to upcoming listings that aren’t even on the market yet! I personally recommend Homesnap – you can use it to find out the latest information on any property. One of the coolest features is finding out commute times (i.e. between a property and a place of work, school, shopping center, etc). You can check it out here: Homesnap.
  5. Visit potential homes with your agent. Once you have found a few homes that look like potentials, your agent can schedule viewings. Believe me, pictures can not take the place of visiting a neighborhood and actually stepping inside a home.
  6. Make an offer and negotiate. When you have found the perfect house, your agent can help you determine what to offer. This number will depend on several things – what comparable homes in the neighborhood have sold for, and what kind of market it is (buyers’ or sellers’), to name just two.
  7. Schedule a home inspection. Once you have a signed contract, your agent can recommend an inspector. You can go along if you want to, but it is not really necessary. The inspector will send you a detailed report usually within 24 hours. You may need to negotiate further if the inspector has found any issues with the property.
  8. Get your loan approved. At this point, you should have already submitted all the necessary paperwork  to your lender in order to get the underwriting process going. Your agent will be working closely with the lender to assure that he has all items needed so that you can close on the date stated in the contract.
  9. Wait for the appraisal. Your lender will arrange for an appraiser to contact the agent. This is an important step, because the house must appraise for at least the purchase price, or else the lender can not approve the loan. If it doesn’t appraise, you can either ask for a reduction in price or you can withdraw your offer. Both the inspection and appraisal must be done in a timely manner (known as the “due diligence” period of a contract).
  10. Wire funds and go to the closing. When your loan has been approved, you will receive a statement with all the credits and debits charged to both the seller and you. This has to be signed three days before the closing. Your closing attorney will then be able to tell you how much to transfer the day before closing. Most closing attorneys will not accept more than $5000 unless it is in the form of a wire transfer.

If you need help with any of the above steps, send me an email with your criteria, budget and timeframe: msnitsch@gmail.com. I’d love to help you!

Categories: Savannah, Think About it | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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