How To Never Have a Bad Day

Some days start off bad and get worse 

You wake up at 4:15 because the wind triggered your neighbors car alarm. Or maybe you wake up to a pounding headache or hip ache. Sometimes it's just a feeling, left over from a weird dream or drama from the previous day. Whatever it is-some days feel like a struggle.

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Like many people, I tend to heap stuff together.  The worries, drama and insecurities loop around and around in my head. In fact, my husband jokes that I am the "designated worrier".

He says there's no need for him to worry about anything-I have it covered! Without question, there are life events that are bad. Read the front page of the Washington Post  to witness world and local tragedies and bad news. But most of the time, in day to day life events, having a bad day is not necessary. 

The truth is-having a "bad day" is really a bad habit.

I believe that giving up on an entire day is an incredibly bad idea. I've worked hard at breaking this habit. Here are a few tips I can share if you want to break your "Bad Day" habit too. 

  • Try not to wallow in bad feelings-okay, sometimes life is challenging and difficult. This is absolutely true. People get sick, fired or hurt and when this happens, it takes time to work through it. However, once the event, situation or feeling passes, let it go. The situation doesn't have to define who you are.

  • Feelings are not always accurate-heard the expression, "worried sick"? Hanging onto negative emotions like hate, jealousy, fear and worry can make you feel sick. Why choose to feel bad? If you are replaying something in your head that isn't making you feel good-notice it and then let it go. If it comes back up again, acknowledge that it's there and let it go again.

The practice of acknowledging and letting go will take the power out of a feeling.

With enough practice, you will create a new habit; giving you the freedom to choose how you feel. 

  • Be grateful-for every little beautiful part of your life. I have a friend who keeps a gratitude jar. On little strips of paper, she writes down everything she is grateful for-honey crisp apples, soft sheets, good health etc. Sure it sounds weird at first but with practice, it makes perfect sense.

  • Don't compare yourself to anyone else-there is only one You. No one is exactly like you with the same talents, opportunities, personality-why compare? I think about my daughter and her wonderful friends. They are similar but not exactly alike. Each young woman is bursting with personality & power-expressing unique talents and interests that will positively affect our world. 

 Yoga Journal on Meditation

Tara Brach

Insight Meditation Community of Washington


5 Things to Know When Buying a Home from the Owner

We recently worked with a buyer who purchased a house for sale by owner. The owner was actually a flipper who had hired a listing brokerage to put the property into the Multiple Listing Service. The owner was the point of contact and handled all the negotiations. 

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Top 5 things to know to protect your best interest when buying a FSBO

  1. THE SELLER DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE DOESN'T KNOW - Every jurisdiction has addendum and requirements which become part of the contract. Several of these addendum are provided by the seller. For example, in Montgomery County Maryland, it's mandatory for the seller to perform a radon test and provide the results to the buyer. The seller is not required to pay for remediation but the test has to be done. If the FISBO hasn't done their homework, they could miss important documents & requirements which are in place to protect the buyer. A good buyer's agent will make sure all required documents are included in the contract.

  2. CONTINGENCIES IN THE CONTRACT ARE THERE TO PROTECT THE BUYER - If you are buying a for sale by owner house, be sure your buyer's agent includes inspection, financing and appraisal contingencies. The home inspection should include the right to negotiate and the right to walk away from the deal. There will be a time period written into the contract that allows the buyer to hire a home inspector and complete the inspection. The inspector writes a detailed report and based on this information, the buyer decides to negotiate repairs and credits or walk away from the deal. The financing contingency is in place to protect the buyer should they not be able to purchase the property through no fault of their own. And if the appraiser determines that the value of the property is less than what the buyer is offering, the appraisal contingency gives the buyer the right to negotiate the price and get out of the deal if they can't come to an agreement with the seller. 

  3. THE SELLER IS NOT BOUND BY A CODE OF ETHICS - Real estate agents are supposed to follow the rules and the code of ethics. This includes not misleading buyers, responding as quickly as possible to offers & counter offers and disclosure of pertinent facts and latent defects about the property. If real estate agents break any of the rules they could be fined and/or lose their license. A seller has not agreed to a code of ethics or standard of practice. This leaves room for dishonest people to not disclose all the important details of a property. 

  4. SELLER MAY OVERVALUE THEIR PROPERTY - It's not uncommon for a homeowner to overvalue their property. I remember a conversation I had with a FISBO who listed the cost of the back deck and bathroom renovations he had done 10 years prior. He was expecting to be compensated for the expense! Review the comparables provided by your buyer agent.  These will show what similar houses sold for over the past 6 months to a year. Look closely at the condition of the other houses. Using this information, you can determine what you want to offer for the house. Keep in mind that you may also be negotiating repairs and/or credit for items found during the home inspection.

  5. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING - Did the seller say they would take the junk out of the backyard? Get it in writing! Everything you have either verbally or via email agreed on, write up an addendum that spells it out and is signed by both parties. If it's not in writing, it's not enforceable. 

Beautiful Home and Bad Neighbor

It's the single biggest disappointment-to find a house...

next to a very messy neighbor

My Buyer and I stood in the backyard of a large brick colonial style house near a Metro station. He checked off three major items from his "What My House Must Have" list. 

1. large beautiful backyard backing to trees and then a soccer field

2. brick colonial home classic style, built in the 40's with crown molding, arched doorways and hardwood oak floors

3. walking distance to Metro-everyone in the DC area knows the value of an easy commute. Buying a home near a Metro station is a great find!

VictoriarayHendersontrashyard

So there we were, loving the yard, house, and commute and staring at piles of blue plastic containers that looked like small beer kegs.

There were dozens of them strewn around the neighbors back yard. In one corner of the neighbor's yard, the blue containers were stacked to create a makeshift table covered with piles of paint cans and heavy black plastic. And then we saw the back porch-piled with wet paper boxes. The porch was packed! There was no way to open the back screen door and no space to walk inside.

I pointed out every container and pile of trash in the neighbor's yard. While we were upstairs admiring the master bedroom, I showed my Buyer how much more trash we could see in the neighbor's yard from the bedroom window. Finally, he said, "let's go".

It's not easy walking away from a great house with an awesome backyard. It's especially difficult to walk away when the only problem is the house or yard next door! Just consider this-

A neighbor's yard is an expression of who they are, it's a display of their passion and a reflection of their true personality

Still, think neighbors don't really matter? ReadThe Best Bad Neighbors of 2015 these true stories will scare you into the reality that you cannot change your neighbors.

Moral of the story-

When you want to buy a home,research neighborhoods & communities, review the master planfrom the county and always evaluate the homes and yards adjacent to a house you are touring. 

To learn more about exclusive buyer agents visit

BuyersAgent.com HomesBuyHendersons

and NAEBA.org

Habits of Millennial Home Buyers

Who are Millennials?

Is their approach to buying a home different than Gen X'ers or Baby Boomers? 

Millennials, according to Pew Research, are 18-34 years of age in 2015. These men and women overtake baby boomers as America's largest generation-according to population estimates by the Census BureauImmigration adds more numbers to this group than any other. By the year 2036, Millenial population is expected to peak at 81.1 million

So what are Millennials looking for in a home? Are they confident, city dwellers with expectations that are wildly different from previous home buyers?  

Not really-they have the American dream of owning their own home, just like home buyers before them. Here's a breakdown of the survey done by the Responsive Home Project

  • 83% of Millenials want space in a less populated community
  • 85% of Millenials buy a home to build personal equity
  • 86% of Millenials want outdoor space for entertaining and plenty of space in the home
  • Walkability ranks very high for most Millenial home buyers. They want to be close to parks, grocery stores and schools with community activities close by too. 

Millenials are searching for homes, on their own, more than any other generation of home buyers. Mobile apps make it easy and fun to learn about schools, communities, and home prices in neighborhoods. And finally, Millenials are more likely than other groups to interview several Realtors before choosing someone. 

Buying a home is an expensive adventure...and it should be fun! If you're buying a home or just thinking about getting started, here are a few things to do-

  • Interview several Realtors and trust your gut instinct. Are they listening to you? Will they promptly respond to your texts & phone calls? 
  • Review their Buyer Broker agreement. Can you really break up with them or are you wedded to their company? At Buyer's Edge, you can end your agreement by email. Again, trust your gut before signing with a real estate company.
  • Are they showing you houses & condos that you want to see or houses they want to sell? Remember, you are the one financing this transaction. You deserve to be fully represented by a qualified professional who will guide you through the home buying experience.  

Resources for Home Buyers

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents

U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development

Forbes-10 Things You Have to Know Before Buying a Home

NAEBA Strict Code of Ethics

Buyers Edge

Homes Buy Hendersons

Ready to downsize?

We became Empty Nester's this week. We dropped our daughter off at college and drove home in a bit of a daze. 

Victoria Henderson downsizing

Danny Zuker, the writer and Executive Producer ofModern Family recently tweeted-

"My twin girls left 4 college this week but I'm trying to stay positive as I start this exciting new chapter of my life where I wait to die."

Marshall and I are feeling a little more positive than Zuker but we do appreciate his sentiment. Our home is a reflection of a life shared with our children.

We now have two empty bedrooms that will stay empty until Thanksgiving break. But for now, we are staying in our 2600 square foot house. It's not too large for the two of us and we want the space when family and friends spend time during the holidays.

Are you ready to downsize?

It's a big step! Here are a few things to consider before you downsize and sell your current home.

  • Will your children need to move back home? We've watched our friends welcome home their children after they've graduated from college. The cost of a college education is ridiculously expensive. Many young people need to move back home to save money.
  • Is it a good time to sell your home?Research home sales in your neighborhood and community. It may make sense to wait a year or two before you sell your home.
  • How will downsizing affect your lifestyle?Entertaining family and friends in a smaller house can be a challenge. If you are downsizing, consider how you use your current home and what habits you would change if you were in a smaller space.
  • Ready for a walkable neighborhood? Many empty nesters are moving to walkable neighborhoods. The idea of walking to a coffee shop or restaurant is very appealing. When you downsize, you have the option of moving to the country or the city. Whatever you feel fits your lifestyle. My friend moved to Washington D.C. and now entertains family and friends at local restaurants. She loves that she has no clean-up after a big family meal!
  • Read Marie Kondo's books! The Life-Changing Magic of  Tidying Upchanged my life. When my mother passed away several years ago, we had to clean out her house. The task would have been overwhelming had I not read Marie Kondo's book. She has written another book titled,Spark Joy a comprehensive manual on how to declutter and organize your home and life. 

Downsizing begins with thoughtful conversations about what matters most in your life. 

Here's Marie Kondo's Tidying-Up Lesson