We’ve all been there: completely overwhelmed by the busyness of the holiday season and wondering how to fit it all in! I’m no expert, but here are some things I’ve learned about balancing home and work life during this time of year:
Leave your job at work as much as you can. When you leave at the end of the day, try to turn your focus to your family on your drive home. The holidays are a crazy time of year and often work becomes frantic as you wrap up things before the end of the year. Try to keep them separate or devote specific pockets of time to work while at home, but don’t try to manage both at the same time.
Say no more often. Chance are, you’ll get invited to so many Christmas and holiday parties, open houses and gatherings that you won’t be able to keep them all straight. You will run yourself ragged if you try to make it to all of them! Don’t be afraid to say no, especially to the ones that don’t fit easily into your schedule or for those that aren’t as important to you.
Don’t feel guilty. In order to take care of yourself and your family during the holidays, you need to be able to say no to things without carrying around guilt afterwards! Allow yourself to prioritize during the month and then don’t feel bad that you can’t make it to everything or do everything that you’re asked!
Set priorities. Make a list of the things about the holidays that are the most important to you and then check that list often so you make your schedule based on the top priorities. For example, if buying extended family Christmas presents are really important to you, pencil in time to do the shopping on your calendar. If you don’t really care, try to outsource those responsibilities to others who could help you out or share the burden.
Make deadlines and stick to them. When one deadline gets extended, it starts to have a ripple effect on the rest of the scheduled deadlines too. If you make a deadline, whether it’s at work or at home, don’t allow yourself to miss it or you will find that it will make everything else more stressful too!
Simplify. During the holidays it’s easy to get sucked into the chaos and busyness of the season. Don’t be afraid to majorly simplify your life at home and at work to only focus on the necessities. You may not need to get presents for everyone in your office or make cookies for every holiday party that you need to attend. Take a look at what you think you “have” to do and see if really there are a lot of things you don’t actually have to do.
How do you balance it all during the holidays?
To search for homes on the MLS, click here.
Annette Masterson is a licensed broker with EXIT Realty Bob Lamb & Associates in Murfreesboro, TN. She has developed one of the most successful real estate teams in Rutherford County, known as Masterson Network, that specializes in new home construction and residential listings and sales throughout Middle Tennessee. You can email Annette at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 615-896-5656 (Office) or 615-533-1660 (Cell) for more information.
I love December in Murfreesboro because of all the fun things there are to do in the city! Check out some of the fun events happening soon!
Functional Art Show
Through December 17th (Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm, Saturdays 12pm to 5pm)
Come shop beautiful art pieces by various participating artists that will be both functional and lovely in your home. Items include tables, light fixtures, coffee mugs, planters and more.
Admission is free.
The Center for the Arts
110 West College Street
Murfreesboro, TN 37037
Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm Experience
Through December 17th open at various hours
Country Cove is a family-operated Christmas tree farm located just eight miles north of the city. You can cut down your own tree, pick up a pre-cut tree. There’s also a wreath and ornament shop and refreshments for purchase.
Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm
1189 Cutoff Road
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Winterfest at Fountains at Gateway
Through January 3rd
Winterfest will feature the first outdoor skating rink in the county. There will be movie nights, Christmas caroling and picture opportunities with Santa.
Admission: $15 for adults, $12 for kids ages 4-12 and kids 3 and under are free
Fountains at Gateway
1500 Medical Center Parkway
A Christmas Carol
Through December 17th
The Center for the Arts presents the classic ‘A Christmas Carol’ just in time for Christmas!
Admission: $15 for adults, $13 for students, seniors and military and $11 kids
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
A Christmas Spectacular by The Murfreesboro Symphony
December 14th at 7pm
You’ll enjoy beautiful arrangements of favorite Christmas carols by the Murfreesboro Symphony Chorus, directed by Charlene Parkinson and conducted by Kelly Corcoran.
First United Methodist Church
265 W. Thompson Lane
What are you looking forward to doing in Murfreesboro this month?
To search for homes on the MLS, click here.
In an ideal world, we could all perfectly time the transition between buying a selling a home since most of us will need the money from the sale of our home to use for purchasing our new home. Unfortunately, real estate timetables and transactions can often be tricky and unpredictable, leaving us uncertain in what steps to take first. Some people choose to take their time selling their first home and then scramble to find their dream home after they have a contract on the first. Others may try the opposite approach by putting a contract on a new home first and then hoping that they can quickly unload their first house. Although it’s not an exact science and every situation should be handled differently based on the client, there are a few options of how to make the transition smoothly even if the timing doesn’t work out perfectly.
Buying Contingencies – Buying contingencies don’t often work well in a sellers market as the seller may have multiple offers and the contingency makes your offer less desirable. If your home is already on the market or even better, under contract, including a contingency will be a stronger offer than submitting a contract contingent on a home sale that hasn’t even happened yet.
Carrying Two Loans – If you have the financial resources to do it, putting an offer on the new house and then taking your time to sell the second one, at the risk of carrying two loans, ensures you get the house you want and that you get the best price for your first house, too. This works well for those who have paid off their first house or have the assets required to get the bank to sign off on two home loans at the same time.
Renting Elsewhere – You could sell your house first and be ready with back up housing options. The downside is if you have to sign an extended lease and may need to pay to get out of it early as well as extra moving costs and hassles in moving twice. The upside to this option is the ability to close quickly once you find the house you’re looking for. That’s attractive to most sellers and would make your offer a good one to them.
Renting Your First House – You could also try to sell your home to someone who is willing to rent it back to you until you find a new home. You can even offer this when you are listing your home as it may be an attractive option for someone who has their own flexibility and could use some extra monthly income until they move in.
As you can see, there are many different ways to ensure you can both sell and buy a home without causing too much disruption to your housing situation. Contact me if you’re thinking about how to make this transition and we can talk through ways to make it work for you!
Do you have an empty-handed crowd showing up at your doorstep for Thanksgiving dinner? Or maybe you have a crazy week before Thanksgiving and need a quick side dish to make the morning of? Whatever your reason for needing a quick side dish (and we all have them!), here’s a few simple but delicious ones you can make quickly and with few ingredients:
2 cans whole kernel corn
2 cans sweet cream-style corn
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
Mix all ingredients and put in a greased casserole dish. Bake at 325 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Green Bean Bundles
2 cans green beans
1 package bacon
Microwave the bacon for 1 minute and then cut each piece in half, creating shorter pieces of bacon. Wrap 8-10 green beans in a piece of bacon, secure with a toothpick and pour 1 teaspoon of French dressing on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
3 cups sliced yellow squash or 2 packages frozen squash
½ cup butter
½ cup chopped onions
½ cup chopped bell peppers
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sharp grated cheese
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup bread crumbs
Cook squash in salted water until tender. Saute onion and pepper in butter. Add squash, mayonnaise and cheese. Whip 1 egg and add sugar. Add to squash mix. Pour into greased casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Top with bread crumbs.
What are your go-to easy-to-make side dishes for Thanksgiving?
Annette Masterson is a licensed broker with EXIT Realty in Murfreesboro, TN. She has developed one of the most successful real estate teams in Rutherford County, known as Masterson Network, that specializes in new home construction and residential listings and sales throughout Middle Tennessee. You can email Annette at email@example.com or call her at 615-896-5656 for more information.
When you hire a realtor to help you sell your home, you’ll probably be aware of many of the things he or she will do for you. Giving you advice about how to best stage your home and what updates may need to be made, hosting open houses, fielding calls about your home and negotiating the sale of your home, just to name a few. But there’s so much more that happens behind the scenes that you may not ever even know about! For every step you see, there are typically hours and hours of time that you don’t see! Here are just a few of the many things that a great realtor will do to help you sell your home:
- Realtors constantly stay up-to-date on the real estate market in your area. This includes knowing about all the recent sales in your area; finding out information about new schools, businesses and roads or traffic patterns that could impact your area; and staying abreast of general real estate trends that could affect the process of selling your home.
- Realtors use the MLS or Multiple Listing Service database to list your home. Only real estate agents are able to post homes for sale on the MLS, which is the main place that buyers and their agents go to search for a home. A good realtor not only posts your home on the MLS but also knows the best terminology to use and what features to list to make your home the most attractive to potential buyers.
- Realtors use their network to proactively contact potential buyers. An experienced and respected real estate agent will be able to proactively find buyers for your home, not just sit back and let buyers come to you. Your realtor should be aware of which realtors typically work with buyers looking for homes in your area and price range.
- Realtors answer all the questions about your home that you may never hear. A realtor will not only work with potential buyers and their agents to set up showings, but they’ll also answer all the questions that inevitably come with selling a home. A good realtor can expertly answer questions about any problems that may arise during the process, often saving a home sale with their experience and knowledge.
- Realtors negotiate to get you the best price and terms on your home sale. Negotiating a home sale is an art and a good realtor knows exactly how to do it to ensure that you get the best price and the best terms available. The back-and-forth process can be time consuming and tedious in some cases, especially when multiple offers are on the table and there’s a need to communicate with multiple potential buyers.
Contact me today if I can work hard behind the scenes for you to sell your home!
Get ready for some fun in November. There’s quite a lot going on before Thanksgiving arrives towards the end of the month!
‘Catch Me If You Can’ Musical
November 3rd through 19th (Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm / Sundays at 2pm)
Enjoy The Center for the Art’s production of Catch Me If You Can, a fun musical set in the 1960s about one of the most famous con artists of all time.
Admission: Adults - $15 / Seniors/Students/Military - $13 / Children - $11
The Acorn Music Festival
November 4th from 12pm to 6pm
This festival features Indie and Americana live bands, delicious local food trucks and craft beer and plenty of fall fun!
Admission: Wristbands are $8 online or $10 at the gate
410 Roberts St.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
November 4th at 6:30pm
MTSU Football takes on the UTEP Miners in what is sure to be a great matchup that the whole family will enjoy!
Admission: $18-$24 for adult tickets
Middle Tennessee State University’s Floyd Stadium
1500 Greenland Drive
Journey Tribute Band
November 4th at 8pm
The Journey Tribute Band, Resurrection, is always a hit!
Main Street Music
527 West Main Street
NaturALE Beer Fest
November 5th from 2-6pm
A souvenir glass and unlimited beer samples are included with the price of your ticket!
Admission: Tickets $30 in advance / $35 at the door
816 Old Salem Rd
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Matthew West: The ALL IN Tour
November 12th at 7pm
WAY-FM presents Christian Recording Artist Matthew West with special guests Jordan Feliz and Leanna Crawford.
Admission: Tickets start at $30 and go up to $60
World Outreach Church
1921 New Salem Road
Murfreesboro, TN 37128
The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring
November 30th from 1-5pm
The Discovery Center is throwing it back to 1987 pricing from 1-5pm.
Admission: Just $2 per person
502 SE Broad Street
Annette Masterson is a licensed broker with EXIT Realty in Murfreesboro, TN. She has developed one of the most successful real estate teams in Rutherford County, known as Masterson Network Homes, that specializes in new home construction and residential listings and sales throughout Middle Tennessee. You can email Annette at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 615-896-5656 for more information.
Cooler temperatures seem to be here to stay and along with cold weather comes some responsibility to ensure that your home is safe. Here’s a quick checklist to tackle over the next few weeks so that you can know your house is in top shape for the new season:
Check your gas furnace. If you’re confident in your own abilities to check your furnace, make sure both the gas and electrical wiring on the furnace is secured tightly and functioning properly. Clean the area around your furnace indoors and clean out any stick, leaf and grass debris if it is outside. Make sure the furnace is easily accessible, keeping everything at least two feet away if it is inside and trimming bushes and trees back at least two feet if it is outdoors. If you’re less than confident in your DIY abilities, contact a technician to complete a thorough check-up before you heat your home this fall.
Check your batteries. Check both your carbon monoxide detector and your smoke detectors to ensure that the batteries are fresh and that they are both functioning properly.
Check your chimney. Before firing up the fireplace this fall, clear out debris of any kind. Check the structure to ensure it’s in good condition and if you have any doubts, contact an expert to give it a thorough inspection before you use it. Don’t forget to use a fireplace screen to keep sparks in their place.
Check your gutters. Falling leaves can make a mess of your gutters when rain follows. If the job is too much year after year, consider gutter covers to prevent leaves and debris from getting inside them.
Check your space heater. If you use a space heater, make sure it’s vented properly as some require venting outdoors directly. Keep it away from clothing, bedding and anything flammable. Shut it off before you leave and don’t ever run it while you’re gone. Never lay your hats and gloves on top of a space heater in an effort to speed up their drying.
Check your driveway. Get wet leaves out of the driveway and walkway quickly as they are extra slippery and can cause problems, especially in the dark.
Check your contact information. Keep numbers for the gas company and a furnace company on-hand for emergencies. Of course always call 911 immediately if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning at any point!
What is on your home checklist for the next few weeks?
Cooler weather is finally here! I love this season because of the yummy foods I can make that fill my whole house with the smells of fall. Here are a few of my favorite:
Baked Apples (recipe from here)
- 5-6 medium apples, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Put the apples in a small to medium baking dish. Mix the melted butter or coconut oil together and then dump it on the apples. Toss well to coat all the apples evenly with the cinnamon mixture.
3) Bake in the preheated oven until the apples are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Stir once during the baking time.
Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger (recipe from here)
- 2 butternut squash (about 4 ¾ pounds total), halved lengthwise, seeded
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1 Tablespoon golden brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 5 cups (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
- Chopped fresh parsley
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and oil baking sheet.
2) Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using paring knife, remove peel from squash; discard peel. Cut squash into 2-inch pieces.
3) Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes. Add squash and 5 cups chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon.
4) Working in batches, purée soup in blender. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.) Return soup to pot. Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, thinning soup with more broth if necessary. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Pecan Pie (recipe from here)Ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups corn syrup (½ dark and ½ light)
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1 ½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 unbaked deep dish pie shell
1) In saucepan boil sugar and corn syrup together for 2 to 3 minutes; set aside to cool slightly.
2) In large bowl beat eggs lightly and very slowly pour the syrup mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly.
3) At this point I like to strain the mixture to make sure it's smooth and lump free.
4) Stir in butter, vanilla, and pecans and pour into crust.
5) Bake in a 350°F oven for about 45 to 60 minutes or until set.
Caramel Apple Cider (recipe from here)
- 8 cups apple cider or juice
- 1 cup caramel flavoring syrup
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)
- 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
- Whipped cream, hot caramel ice cream topping and cinnamon sticks, optional
1) In a 3-qt. slow cooker, combine the apple cider, caramel syrup and lemon juice. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds; add seeds to cider mixture. Place the bean, cinnamon sticks and allspice on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add to cider mixture.
2) Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through. Discard spice bag. Pour cider into mugs; garnish with whipped cream, caramel topping and additional cinnamon sticks.
What are your favorite recipes for fall?Check out how EXIT Realty is in the business of making dreams come true!
Homeowner’s insurance is there whenever you need it, right? Wrong. Just because something happens to your house and you are eligible to submit the claim doesn’t mean that you should. In fact, in some states, filing a homeowner’s claim can lead to a 20% or more increase in your annual premiums. That means that if you pay $800 a year on your homeowner’s insurance, filing as little as a $1000 claim may make your premiums jump up to $960 for the year! Keep in mind that this premium hike will continue indefinitely and another claim could land you with a subsequent 20% premium hike as well.
Even more frustrating is that the insurance company can even deny your claim and still ding you in the future, even if they didn’t have to pay out a dime. In addition, even if you are to change insurers, the new insurer will base your new premium off of various factors, one of which being how many claims you’ve filed in the past. Multiple claims puts a red flag on you that you could be expensive to insure.
So when should you file a claim? Here are some dos and don’ts to help you know:
- DON’T file if your claim is less than your deductible. Most people have a $500 or $1000 deductible on your insurance. But you may want to even consider raising it to $2500 if you have the cash reserves to cover that as in most cases it doesn’t make sense to file claims less than $2000 just based on your premium increase over the next few years.
- DO make sure your home is covered for the claim you’re submitting. For example, damage from floodwaters isn’t covered by most policies unless you have an additional policy but that doesn’t mean the claim goes away. In most cases, the claim still ends up in your file and can be used against you down the road.
- DON’T file if you’ve filed frequently over the past few years. 2-3 claims over a 10-year period isn’t cause for concern but 1-2 per year or even every few years may make you seem like a liability and have your insurance company raising rates on your premium.
- DO file a claim when the initial damage could become major damage down the road. For example, insurance companies are often more willing to pay for hail damage to roofs and siding because leaving those small problems unchecked could lead to major damage and expenses down the road.
- DON’T file for minor and expected expenses. Your old and worn fence that got knocked down by wind in the last storm really should be paid for out of your savings as you’ve most likely been anticipating the future expense.
Finally fall temperatures seem to be here to stay! Murfreesboro has so many offerings for the month of October and I’ve highlighted just a few of them below:
Batey’s Farm Corn Maze
October 1st to October 29th – times vary per day
In addition to the 6-acre corn maze and hayrides, you’ll find concessions and pumpkins for sale as well as campfire sites to rent in 2 hour increments. Tickets start at $5 for kids.
The Grove and Williamson Place (Batey’s Farm)
3250 Wilkinson Pike
MTSU Homecoming and Festivities
The homecoming festivities kick off with the homecoming parade down main street at 10am, the tailgate around MTSU from 11am until 2pm and the football game against Florida International University at 2pm. Admission for the game is $14 to $24 per person.
Floyd Stadium-MTSU Campus
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
STEAM Festival at the Discovery Center
October 12th to 22nd
Celebrate science, technology, engineering, art and math at the Murfreesboro Discovery Center during the month of October. Partnerships with Vanderbilt Baseball, Schwan Cosmetics and more will make learning fun! Regular admission will be charged.
Boro Art Crawl
October 13th at 6pm
Check out local artists and stroll through downtown Murfreesboro as you sample local cuisine. Some shops will have special events announced closer to the event.
11th Annual Middle Half Marathon
October 14th at 7am
Experienced and first-time racers will enjoy this flat course that starts near the MTSU track and soccer complex.
MTSU Dean A. Hayes Track and Soccer Stadium
Murfreesboro, TN 37037
Evening on Main
October 17th from 5-7pm
Check out the beautiful home of Blake and Priscilla Smith at 446 East Main Street. Your entrance fee of $25 to the event includes both appetizers and drinks and can be paid at the door. All proceeds benefit Main Street Murfreesboro.
446 East Main Street
What events in and near Murfreesboro are you looking forward to attending in the month of October?