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10 Simple Things to Make You Happier at Home


Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.

It’s amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.

1. Make your bed.  This three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.

2. Bring every room back to “ready.”  It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)

3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.

5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it.  The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.

9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)

Health Benefits of Living in a Warmer Climate



Florida is one of the warmest places in the USA. The warm weather in this region affords many health benefits for residents here, as was proven from studies at Stanford University. Living in warm tropical climates has many benefits to our day to day life. 

Tropical climates sunshine is beneficial to the body. Sunshine provides the body with vitamin D, which is essential for bone development, as well as skin rejuvenation. It is through the vitamin D that the skin generates enough melanin to handle hot weather, and protect skin cells from UV light. The warm weather also makes work easier for body systems and functions, as the body does not have to strain to accomplish required tasks from within. 

The warm climate in the Naples affects the lifestyle here. People and residents in this area can take life easy because they are blessed with warm weather, which allows them to wear lighter clothing, which allows the body perspire,resulting in healthier skin. Unlike other geographical locations where nights are extremely cold, the weather here is warm enough for night activity. 


The warm weather also noticeably reduces the numbers of pneumonia occurrences here. 
Many people in other parts of the country worry about heating bills at the end of the month. In Naples; energy bills are minimal because the of the warm weather. Noise and other forms of pollution are also reduced in Naples. This makes life a lot easier and more enjoyable. In addition people are not exposed to hard chemicals that can affect body chemistry and cause infections. 

Another notable factor with Southwest Florida geographical location is that, there is basically no ice during the winter months, which means roads are always clear. In Florida you can forget about straining to remove ice and snow from driveways and roofs, hence a more stress free life. 🙂

Another major advantage of living in Florida, due to the sunshine and warmth, outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round. Resulting in more physical exercise which promotes better health.  Let’s face it, you’re probably more motivated to exercise, or just get up and go, when it’s nice outside.  The couch and TV just look a little less appealing when the sun is shining through on a clear day.

Why It Pays To Move To Sunnier Climates?  While many people relocate to Southwest Florida in order to escape the wind and cold of their previous hometowns, there are lots of other reasons that make just as much sense. The truth is that warmer locales offer a broad range of health and wellness benefits for those willing to seek them. Furthermore, southwestern Florida provides a wealth of employment, education and recreational opportunities that will appeal to everyone. 

The bottom line is that the region represents a truly wonderful way of life.  Come join us here in Naples and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Janet Santiago, Realtor

Premiere Plus Realty

Naples, FL






10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Skip A Home Inspection




Let’s face it, after your offer to buy a home enters into contract, the process of near-endless check writing begins. There are many necessary costs, such as realtor and lawyer fees, and the total of these expenses may have you looking for ways to save money elsewhere. You may be tempted to skip the home inspection  and its $200 to $500 invoice, but there are good reasons why you should get one. Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t skip a home inspection.



1. It Provides an “Out”

A quality home inspection can reveal critical information about the condition of a home and its systems. This makes the buyer aware of what costs, repairs and maintenance the home may require immediately, and over time. If a buyer isn’t comfortable with the findings of the home inspection, it usually presents one last opportunity to back out of the offer to buy. This step is important when purchasing a property because it may save you thousands. 


2. Safety

A home inspection can detect safety issues like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold, which all homes should be tested for. Make sure that your home-buying contract states that should such hazards be detected, you have the option to cancel the offer to buy.


3. Reveal Illegal Additions or Installations

A home inspection can reveal whether rooms, altered garages or basements were completed without a proper permit, or did not follow code. If a house has illegal room additions that lack a permit, it affects the insurance, taxes, usability and most of all the overall value. In essence, a buyer is purchasing something that legally does not exist. Even new homes with  systems that were not installed to code will become the new homeowners’ financial “problem” to fix (and finance). The home for sale/purchase must pass inspection.


4. Protection

Home inspections are even more critical if you are buying an “as-is” foreclosed property or short sale. Dwellings that have been boarded often develop hazardous mold problems, which are costly to remedy and pose health concerns. It is  common for home inspectors to find that copper plumbing lines and outdoor compressors have been removed from foreclosed properties by people trying to sell copper to recyclers for money.


5. Negotiating Tool

The home inspection report presents an opportunity to ask for repairs and/or request a price reduction or credit from the seller. Work with your realtor to understand what requests can and should be made to negotiate a better deal.

Forecast Future Costs

A home inspector can approximate the installation age of major systems in the home like plumbing, heating and cooling, and critical equipment like water heaters. They can diagnose the current condition of the structure itself, and tell you how long finishes have been in the home. All components in the home have a “shelf-life.” Understanding when they require replacement can help you make important budgeting decisions, and it will determine what type of home insurance coverage or warranties you should consider.


7. Determine “Deal-Breakers”

Home inspections can help buyers identify how much additional money or effort they are willing and able to spend to take the home to a condition that is personally acceptable. If you are unwilling to repair issues like faulty gutters, cracked walls or ceilings, perhaps you are not ready to end your home buying search.


8. Learn to Protect Your Investment

The home inspector is a valuable educational resource. He or she can suggest specific tips on how to maintain the home, and ultimately save you thousands of dollars in the long term.


9. Reveal the Big Picture

People use the home inspection to understand the nuances of what may be the biggest purchase they ever make. People fall in love with a piece of property based on the color of the walls, the location of the home, or something else; they are completely blind to the issues that can make that dream home a nightmare.


10. Insurance

Some insurance companies will not insure a home if certain conditions are found, or without the presence of certifications like Wind Mitigation and four-point inspections. Qualified home inspectors can do these things at the same time as their other services and save the home buyer time and money in the long run.



The Bottom Line

It is your responsibility to understand as many details as you can about the property you may soon call home. Home inspections reveal the inner workings of the property allowing you to be informed of all the perks and pitfalls the home has to offer.







Foreign Buyers of Naples Real Estate


Foreign Buyers of Naples Real Estate


If you are a foreign buyer wanting to make a real estate purchase in Naples, then you will not be alone. Nearly 20% of home purchases in second home communities are foreign owners, of which Canadians make up the majority share.



It makes no difference whether you are from the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Brazil ,New York or Naples Fl, the process for purchasing a home is the same. There are no additional fees or expenses involved with the home purchase transaction. The steps of home purchase are described to  provide you with an understanding                        .

Working with a real estate broker in Naples is sometimes different than in  other countries. Real estate brokers cooperate through the local Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Where they share all their listings with each other. So a real estate broker in Naples will have access to not just their listing, but all listings in the Naples area.

Upon a sale, the seller pays the real estate commission to their broker, who then shares it with the selling broker (buyer’s broker). The buyer does not pay any commission related to the sale. Through this cooperation, the seller get the greatest amount of exposure, to the greatest number of potential buyers.



Foreign buyers can take advantage of a wide range of services provided through me to help locate the right property, submit a purchase agreement and negotiate with the seller. This is all at no cost to them.


Other Very Important Information for Foreign Buyers

  • Once a property is purchased, it would be more convenient to open a US bank account to make bill paying easy. Naples has plenty of banks to choose from!
  • Mortgage Financing – Foreign Buyers will either have difficulty getting a mortgage, or pay a high premium for one. The best course is to work with a bank in your own country that has USsubsidiaries that lends.
  • Rental Income – If the property is rented, then the rules are the same as for US citizens. A tax return needs to be filed showing the income or loss. (Note some countries might have tax treaties, so it is always best to check with a tax advisor).
  • Selling – FIRPTA (Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980) requires that 10% of the selling price of a foreign own property, be withheld to cover taxes on any potential gain (Selling price, less original purchase price). The foreign owner would then have to prepare a tax filing to get a refund, for the excess amount held.

Top 5 things to look for in a Realtor

What are the top 5 things to look for in a Realtor?  You need to know.




A good Realtor MUST have these five basic qualities…


1. Listens and looks out for you and your families needs


2. Continues searching for the right place and keeps you updated


3. Doesn’t waste your time by showing you properties that don’t match your criteria


4. Doesn’t tell you only what you want to hear


5. Has appropriate credentials and experience


I listen.  I work for you.  Your satisfaction is the most important thing to me.





Janet Santiago

Premiere Plus Realty

Naples, FL








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