Must-Do Fall Activities

Pumpkins and Apples and Mazes, Oh My!


Fresh Outdoor Fun for your Family in the Flathead Valley


Have you spent a lifetime buying your Halloween pumpkins at the grocery store? Have your kids ever walked through a corn maze on a bright October day? Come home to Montana, and see what you’ve been missing!


Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch

Celebrating their 20th year in business, this iconic family farm is the place to be with your kids this fall. There is something fun for everyone in your family on this sprawling 40 acres outside of Kalispell. Don’t be afraid to bring your wild and rambunctious toddlers—the activities here are really geared towards little ones.

You will find a tricycle track, mini buildings to explore, and the (very popular) GIANT sandbox complete with big digger toys. Let everyone enjoy sweet treats and fresh kettle corn from the mercantile—they can wear off the sugar high on massive trampoline pillows.

On top of all the excitement, your kids will love a true Montana country experience at the petting zoo and pumpkin patch.

Cost:  $9 per person / $25 season pass / children 2 and under are free

Check website or call ahead for hours:

Location: 1990 Holt Stage Rd, Kalispell


Fritz Corn Maze

No fall is complete without a trip to this incredible corn maze that gets bigger and better every year!

Maze 2018 was all about Montana, and Maze 2019 had a Glacier Park theme. In this year’s maze, your kids can learn all about dinosaurs that were found in our amazing state. Come learn about our famous Montana Dinosaur Trail!  There is a scavenger hunt, and your kids will even get a small prize.

If you like the spooky side of the season, the maze hosts a Haunted Trail and Haunted Barn on October 23, 30, & 31st

Your little ones will love a ride on the cow train, and everyone—young and old alike—enjoys the culvert slides!

Hot drinks and snacks are available for purchase.

Cost: $8 per person / children 4 and under are free / Haunted Events are $10 per person

Check website or call ahead for hours:  (406) 755-4210

Location:  At the turnoff of 141 Birch Grove Rd, Kalispell


North Shore Farm

If a quiet and authentic country farm atmosphere is more your style, stop in at North Shore Farm on Hwy 35 between Somers and Bigfork.

Pumpkins can be picked fresh out of the field, or choose from those already picked. You can pick your own pie pumpkins, too!

Fresh local produce is still available, even Mountain View garden tomatoes. Winter squashes and gourds are in, and you’ll find local meats and other products as well.

Cost: Pumpkins 50 cents per lb already picked / .30 cents per lb  for you-pick.

Open: Monday-Saturday, 9:00-5:00

Location: 1803 MT Hwy 82, Somers


Getman’s Orchard and Vineyard

The best-kept secret in the valley for entertaining your kids, getting your family outdoors, and picking delicious fruit to bring home. The scenery along Flathead Lake is a bonus!

Call Farmer Dan at Getman Orchard and let him know you’re coming. He will greet you at the gate and bring you into the Orchard like honored guests. YES, kids are more than welcome! Farmer Dan is a character, and will entertain you all with stories and laughs.

No ladders required, everything is easy-reach.

Right now, during October harvest, you can come to pick Gala apples, Honey Crisp, and Macintosh. They even have a selection of heirloom apples. Coming along soon will be the D’Anjou winter pears.

You will come back for this experience year after year, guaranteed. Check in all year round for you-pick strawberries, cherries, apricots, and peaches: pears, plums, apples, and grapes begin in the fall.

Cost: Varies depending on produce

Open: Call to schedule: (406) 871-5499

Location: 21848 E Lake Shore, Bigfork


Are you ready to make apple-picking, fresh air, and country living your ‘normal’ instead of your vacation? Take a look at some of our beautiful rural Montana properties here.


2020 First Quarter Market Report

market watch
*Click Photo for Full Report
The 2020 First Quarter Market Report for Western Montana shows a robust market that is a continuation of the past several years.  We continue to see many of the transactions close that were written prior to mid March.  As expected, the Shelter In Place is a reality for most people in the State of Montana, which currently is in effect through April 24. Because of this, the stable market we have enjoyed in the recent past has slowed down as showing activity levels dropped over the past month. The good news is that Real Estate was deemed an essential business in the State; therefore, we are able to actively perform our duties to assist our clients during these trying times; while still offering the safety protocols that have been set forth. Technology has allowed us to work in very creative ways.   
Inquires and communication with clients show a continued strong interest in Western Montana’s real estate.  However, we are anticipating a softer beginning to our 2nd Quarter due to our current Shelter In Place for locals and Quarantine rules for visitors.  It is too early to predict how the market will be affected by the Coronavirus in the longer term although we are optimistic that people will want to be in our beautiful area.
As we move forward, we will continue to list and sell property based out of our home offices, as efficiently and safely as possible.  Feel free to reach out for a showing or meeting via video chat or go to or to preview our exceptional properties.  
We’re here and ready to assist with any questions you have regarding our market. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help you in any manner. We’re a community and we’re in this together. 
Stay healthy! 

Spring Cleaning | Pantry

Hack your pantry with these 26 space-saving storage ideas. These products will turn your kitchen into a thoroughly organized, well-oiled machine. . .


Rosti Mepal Modula 7-Piece Storage Box Set

Rosti Mepal Modula 7-Piece Storage Box Set

A stackable set of seven modular storage containers makes organizing drawers and pantries effortless, thanks to airtight seals, see-through lids and a streamlined, space-saving design.
Yamazaki 2-Bin Pantry Storage Container

Yamazaki 2-Bin Pantry Storage Container

Triple-decker. These containers are sized just-right to keep dry goods (say, like the staple trifecta of flour, oats, and sugar) close at hand without taking over your countertop.
Blomus OBAR Kitchen Multi-Storage Rack

Blomus OBAR Kitchen Multi-Storage Rack

Keep some of the most important kitchen tools together in one spot with the Blomus OBAR Kitchen Multi-Storage Rack. Great for keeping a roll of paper towels, a roll of cellophane or foil, or perhaps parchment paper, within reach of cooking surfaces for easier access.
La Boîte Modular Magnetic Walnut Spice Rack

La Boîte Modular Magnetic Walnut Spice Rack

Build your own spice shelf. Build the spice shelf of your cumin’s dreams—La Boîte, the spice experts, aficionados, and masters—have devised a genius system for storage (and display!). Walnut cubes perfectly fit La Boite’s spice jars and, get this, magnetize to each other.
Made By Design Square Food Storage Container

Made By Design Square Food Storage Container

From sugar, oats or flour to dry beans, rice or pasta, the Clear Plastic Food Storage Container from Made By Design™ will be your go-to food storage solution.  This simple, clear canister has a clean look and stackable design to save you space.
Planetary Design Airscape Acrylic Canisters

Planetary Design Airscape Acrylic Canisters

Contain your excitement. These canisters go beyond mere airtightness: As you push down the lids they actually remove air from around your food and seal it up, giving you the best preservation possible. Oh, and they’re lightweight and easily stackable. Crowded cabinet, do your worst.
Yamazaki Steel & Wood Storage Basket

Yamazaki Steel & Wood Storage Basket

Stash and store. Clean, simply designed steel storage baskets will find their way into all the rooms in your home. The small could live on a console table to collect keys and mail, or fill it with fruit (the wide holes will circulate air and keep them fresh!).
Acacia Wood Top Canister

Acacia Wood Top Canister

Practical and elegant, this glass food storage canister is outfitted with a rustic acacia wood top.
The Floral Society Multi-Purpose Canvas Wall Organizer

The Floral Society Multi-Purpose Canvas Wall Organizer

Everything in its place. This heavy-gauge cotton canvas hanger looks great in any room around the house, which is apt, because it’s also perfect for organizing any room around the house. With durable compartments in a variety of sizes, it can hold a humongous variety of doodads and whatsits.
IKEA VARIERA Flatware Tray

IKEA VARIERA Flatware Tray

Do you also have to look around for the necessary cutlery and utensils to make the evening’s dinner a reality? With this box you stay organized, while the bamboo adds a warm, natural feel to the kitchen.
HAY Sowden Storage Tin (Set of 4)

HAY Sowden Storage Tin (Set of 4)

A splash of color (or four). Well, hello, color-happy containers. These steel tins were dreamed up by Milano-based designer George Sowden, who gets his inspiration from the 1970s (we can tell). Use ‘em to store coffee, tea, dry grains, lil’ treats…anything that calls for a fitted lid, really.
Yamazaki Stovetop Grid Organizer Panel & Storage Accessories

Yamazaki Stovetop Grid Organizer Panel & Storage Accessories

Down to the wire. You’ve seen pegboards sure, but what about this more minimalist organizer? Not only is it a dream to assemble (phew) but it’s also a born de-clutterer. Intended to stand on its own thanks to the sturdy base.
Onyx Clips (Set of 24)

Onyx Clips (Set of 24)

No more stale chips. Small but mighty! Made from one continuous piece of 18/8 stainless steel wire, these clips are perfect for laundry, papers, in the kitchen — both in the cupboard, the oven, and whatever else you can think of. We particularly love using them on open bags of flour, crackers, or…
Nils Strinning String Chef Kitchen

Nils Strinning String Chef Kitchen

In the late 1940s, Swedish publishing house Bonnier decided to encourage the public to display more books at home, so it sponsored an international bookshelf competition. Out of 194 entries received from around the globe, first prize was awarded to architect and designer Nils Strinning.
Yamazaki Measure & Store Grain Organizer

Yamazaki Measure & Store Grain Organizer

Made to measure (and pour). You can give your measuring cups a rest…this handy storage container has you covered. It’s got 12 compartments for your go-to grains, and—get this—each one holds exactly 3/4 cup (perfect for when you’re whipping up a pot of rice, quinoa, lentils, or oatmeal).
Planetary Design Airscape Ceramic Canisters

Planetary Design Airscape Ceramic Canisters

Signed, sealed, delivered. From the makers of that brilliant push-down canister seal comes a ceramic model we know you’ll love: Its opaque design is perfect for keeping coffee and tea out of the sun, and its bamboo lids are a pretty, organic complement to the white ceramic base.
The Container Store Hermetic Glass Storage Jar

The Container Store Hermetic Glass Storage Jar

The traditional Glass Storage Jars have airtight bail & seal closures to hermetically seal out air and moisture. From freezer to countertop, use them for dry, fresh or leftover foods.
Yamazaki Expandable Countertop Rack

Yamazaki Expandable Countertop Rack

Room to grow. It seems we’re always itching for a little more counter space—you too? Now, thanks to this sturdy stainless-steel rack, you’ve got inches to spare.
Made By Design Food Storage Container With Snap Lid

Made By Design Food Storage Container With Snap Lid

Perfect for cereal, oats, rice and other dry goods, this Plastic Food Storage Container with Snap Lid from Made By Design™ will make a great addition to your pantry or kitchen counter. Clear sides make it easy to see what’s inside, and an indented back lets you easily lift and hold the container.
Onyx Stainless Steel Canisters (Set of 6)

Onyx Stainless Steel Canisters (Set of 6)

Hold everything. We’ll admit to being slightly obsessive about a clean, tidy kitchen—so this 6-piece stainless steel canister set is just what we need. Use them for anything from flours to beans to spices.
Yamazaki Fit-Anywhere Slim Storage Cart

Yamazaki Fit-Anywhere Slim Storage Cart

A moveable feat. Oh, we love the simple genius of small space solutions! And sometimes what you really need for that space between the wall and washing machine, or the stove and the cabinet, or the sink and the door… you know what we’re talking about.
JK Adams Wall-Mounted Pot Rack With Shelf

JK Adams Wall-Mounted Pot Rack With Shelf

How’s it hanging? This rack is giving us room to stretch out once again thanks to its 3-foot-wide shelf and hooks aplenty for pots, pans, and lids (six of ‘em, to be exact).
Made By Design Kitchen Cabinet Organizer Corner Shelf

Made By Design Kitchen Cabinet Organizer Corner Shelf

Keep essential kitchen items organized but still within reach with the help of a Kitchen Cabinet Organizer Cabinet Storage from Made By Design™.  This two-tiered storage shelf provides plenty of space for plates, glasses, spices and anything else you want to store — without monopolizing space…
Planetary Design Opaque Airtight Coffee Storage Containers

Planetary Design Opaque Airtight Coffee Storage Containers

For your best beans. Coffee beans start to lose their flavor and freshness the second they come out of the roaster, and that process speeds up as soon as they’re exposed to air and light.
The Container Store Chrome 3-Tier Hanging Basket

The Container Store Chrome 3-Tier Hanging Basket

Our Chrome 3-Tier Hanging Basket is a kitchen classic. From traditional to contemporary to high-tech, any kitchen can use the infinitely flexible storage these three baskets provide. Store fresh fruit and vegetables in a handy spot – simply hang it where you need it. It’s also a fabulous…
JK Adams Modular Wine Rack

JK Adams Modular Wine Rack

This good-looking wine rack made in the USA is modular, so it can fit together with more sections (sold separately) to custom fit your wine-storage space.
Source: Dwell Magazine,

10 simple ways to engage kids struggling with social distancing

Here are some ideas you can implement to alleviate cabin fever


1. Start the day with meditation

Meditation and mental health app Calm released a number of quick, easy-to-do meditations and relaxing playlists. Six meditations with titles such as “A Heart Less Heavy” and “Softening Fear” will help you and your family work through anxiety and panic caused by the coronavirus.

Calm’s Sleep Stories will lull your children to sleep for naptime, with narrations by Matthew McConaughey and David Walliams. Lastly, Calm offers a number of playlists with spa-like music that soothes the mind and soul.

2. Make time for easy learning with Scholastic’s Learn At Home Program

In light of Covid-19 school closures, Scholastic is offering a free learning program, Learn At Home. The program provides four weeks of lessons timed at three hours per day for all grade levels.

Kindergarteners can learn about how plants grow, while first and second graders are introduced to weather patterns and the environment. Older elementary school students can take a virtual field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution, and middle and high schoolers can learn about chemistry through a fun lesson called “Extreme Candy.”

“We designed Scholastic Learn At Home knowing that administrators and teachers need to create extensive virtual learning plans, quickly, and that students need uplifting and engaging experiences,” Scholastic Classroom Magazines Editor-in-Chief Lauren Tarshis told The Hill. “Our hope is that even though daily routines are being disrupted and students may not have valuable time in school with their educators, together we can support meaningful learning at home while it is necessary.”

3. Host a Netflix Party for your children and their friends

Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that enables Netflix users to gather virtually and watch a show or movie. To get started, choose a movie, and click the “NP” logo. Once you do, the Netflix Party extension will generate a URL invite code that you can share with partygoers.

The extension also has a chat function, so everyone can share their reactions in real-time. If you’re concerned about what might happen in the chat (looking at you, tweens and teens), you can ask a parent to act as a monitor or shut the chat function off.

For small children, PJ MasksShaun the SheepThomas and Friends and Octonauts are currently Netflix’s top picks. For older children, Stranger ThingsUnbreakable Kimmy SchmidtOne Day at a Time and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse are good options.

4. Bolster creativity and practice writing skills with The New York Times’ Learning Network

Perfect for high schoolers, The New York Times‘ Learning Network offers free, thought-provoking articles, quizzes, lessons and writing prompts. The Times covers current events, with a quiz dispelling Covid-19 myths, and basic subjects, including language arts, science, mathematics, social studies and arts.

5. Help your children battle procrastination with this Smarter Living guide

Children (and adults) may be tempted to procrastinate on important tasks while working from home. In this installment of Smarter Living, opinion columnist Adam Grant shares that procrastination isn’t a matter of laziness, but a matter of “avoiding negative emotions.”

Gleaning information from the world’s top psychologists, Grant encourages us to stop worrying about perfection, to adjust our schedules to fit when we’re naturally most energized and to consider working near someone (which in this situation, could be a spouse or loved one you live with).

For parents, this could mean allowing your night owls to tackle take-home assignments in the evening, allowing children to work in pairs, and taking time to talk about anxiety and fears they have about missing school or the virus.

6. Have storytime with celebrity guests

As reported by Inman’s Veronika Bondarenko, celebrities are bringing stories to life by hosting daily storytimes on social media. Keep an eye on Josh Gad, Jennifer Gardner, Amy Adams and Reese Witherspoon’s social media feeds for new reads. If you’re not a social media lover, then download Libby on iOS and Android to access children’s audiobooks at your local library.

7. Use YouTube to find educational videos

Although YouTube is primarily known as an entertainment platform, the site has plenty of channels that offer educational content perfect for children and adults.

SciShow Kids offers short videos for young children on topics such as “How are raisins made?” and “Why is fire hot?” Crash Course Kids offers more fun, partially animated science videos fit for older elementary and middle school students, and the main Crash Course channel covers everything from philosophy to media literacy.

Thought CafeThe Brain ScoopSmarterEveryDay, and ASAPScience and the PBS Idea Channel also have plenty of thought and conversation-provoking videos.

8. Let them play outside

If you’re not living in an area with a shelter-in-place mandate, consider allowing your children to play outside in a fenced-in backyard, or take them for an afternoon stroll in your neighborhood (remember, to stay at least 6 feet away from others). Use this opportunity to get some fresh air, or teach them schoolyard games that you used to play. Freeze tag, anyone?!

9. Loosen your restrictions on tablets and games

Inman design guru Ted Irvine suggests keeping a tablet or gaming device charged up to quickly calm anxious children. “Audiobooks and Nintendo Switch are really good things for parents to have around when the kids meltdown,” he said.

Although you don’t want to let them play it all day, have a few go-to games uploaded when you need a quick fix in the midst of a work rush. Animal Crossing, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and Super Mario Party are bestsellers.

10. Rely on your community

Although most of us are living in near or complete isolation these days, Bruch said it doesn’t mean that we can’t connect. “I’m happy to offer resources and help to anyone who needs it,” she said while mentioning there are thousands of teachers and parents who are quickly connecting via social media to conduct virtual lessons, storytimes and babysitting sessions.


Source: 10 simple ways to engage kids struggling with social distancing, Inman

6 Museums You Can Tour from the Comfort of Your Own Home This Weekend

While staying at home and practicing safe social distancing are the best courses of action to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t mean we have to miss out on cultural landmarks around the world. Thanks to the Google Arts & Culture Project, from New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, to Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, here are 6 museums you can tour right now from home.

MoMA, New York

The first museum founded to showcase modern art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been doing just that for more than 90 years. From Picasso to Van Gogh, the MoMA is home to incredible pieces of history from the world of contemporary art.

Museo Frida Kahlo, Mexico City

Tour La Casa Azul, the former home of world-renowned artist Frida Kahlo – and current home to the museum honoring her life and legacy. Visible here are not only works from Kahlo, but also numerous personal belongings including her clothing and a body cast she famously painted while ill.

Musée d’Orsay, Paris

On display at the Musée d’Orsay, you’ll discover famous works from French artists who lived and worked between 1848 and 1914. Paintings by Monet, Gauguin, and Cézanne – among others – are featured on this Parisienne art tour.

La Galleria Nazionale, Rome

With just about 500 of its approximately 20,000 artworks digitized for this virtual tour, La Galleria Nazionale in Rome features everything from antiquities to seminal pieces representing the Futurist and Surrealist art movements.

Georgia O’Keefe Museum, Santa Fe

Honoring one of America’s preeminent artists, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum settled in the same New Mexican desert she once called home. It is dedicated to enriching visitors in the incredible legacy left by the late artist with its collection of her paintings; of which 30 can be viewed online.

Rijks Museum, Amsterdam

One of the more thoroughly digitized experiences is Rijks Museum in Amsterdam. With over 145,000 works available to view virtually, enjoy incredible works from artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Verspronck, to name a few.

Looking for more? Travel + Leisure offer more digital tours of incredible art museums



Source: 6 museums you can your from the comfort of your own home this weekend, extraordinary living blog, sothebys realty

5 Ways to Keep Your Mind and Body Healthy While Working from Home

Taking care of your mind and body should always be a top priority when it comes to ensuring that you’re living your best life, but in these trying times, it’s more important than ever. If you’re beginning to feel trapped and stagnant as you adjust to working from home, here are 5 tips to help keep your mind sharp and your body healthy from your home office.


Whether or not you currently attend a yoga class or have tried from home, I’m sure you’re familiar with the practice. A blend of stretching for the body and meditation for the mind, yoga can boost your mental and physical fitness by improving sleep, busting stress, strengthening your heart, and more. What’s more, yoga studios like Sky Ting bring professional instruction directly to you with both live streaming classes, and on demand options; Namaste.

Don’t Lose Touch

Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t connect with loved ones. Using FaceTime or apps like Houseparty give us the chance to catch up virtually – face to face. Maintaining these relationships keeps you truly connected with the world that matters.

Take a Break

Between completing your job-related tasks, trying to absorb (or avoid) the non-stop news cycle, and potentially keeping your child (or children) busy, working from home can be stressful; give your mind a rest with a nap, listening to some of your favorite music, reading from a magazine or book, or even taking a relaxing shower or bath. Studies show that even just a minute of deep breathing can relieve stress.

Plan Your Meals – And Enjoy Them

Making fewer trips to the grocery store means that you’ve likely stocked your pantry up – and being in close proximity to that stockpile might make you more inclined to snack more frequently. Resist the urge to snack by creating a schedule and prepare for meals in advance. Staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t eat well either; there are manymany tips on how to make hearty (and healthy) comforting meals.

Stay Clean

If you have to leave your house for essentials, staying healthy means sticking to a cleanliness regimen. Any time you return home, wash your hands properly – it’s also a good idea to daily disinfect high-trafficked surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, bathroom utilities, light switches, phones, gaming controllers, and remotes.


Remember that we are all in this together; sharing what works for you on social media or through conversation may help others struggling to adjust. Your network of clients and colleagues may benefit from your successes – and you from theirs.



Source: 5 Ways to Keep Your Mind and Body Healthy at Home, Extraordinary Living Blog

Take Out Blitz

Let’s show the Flathead Valley some support!

With recent dine-in options changing, many local establishments have added take out, carry out, meal kits and delivery services. We encourage you to participate in a “Take Out Blitz” to inject some business and dollars into these businesses that are impacted. If you don’t want to order take-out or delivery – go online and buy some gift cards to use at a later date when they reopen all services.




Putting Down Roots | How to Settle in to a New Home

Boca Raton, Florida | John Poletto & Mark NestlerONE Sotheby’s International Realty

There’s a difference between a house and a home. It can take time to personalize the interior of a new house with your own sense of style and décor, making it a welcoming place that becomes a family’s central hub. To help give any new house a head start, or refresh during an extended stay at home, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to make your new property feel distinctly yours.

Start Organized

Bluffton, South Carolina | Renee MeighanCelia Dunn Sotheby’s International Realty

The best way to start off in a new home? Make sure you’re organized from the get-go. To make unpacking a breeze, ensure boxes are clearly labeled and organized by room, and that any furniture is placed in its proper spot from the very beginning. You’ll receive an instant sense of familiarity when you walk into your new house and see all of your belongings close to—if not perfectly—where they’re supposed to be. If you’re having renovations done, like painting or decorating, schedule them in advance to avoid chaos as much as possible.

Add Some Greenery

Riverside, Connecticut | Steve ArchinoSotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage

Bringing a touch of the outdoors inside is a sure way to make a new space feel fresh and welcoming—and plants have the added benefit of purifying the air. To spruce up your new home, try large potted plants like palms and ferns to brighten entranceways and living rooms. And if you’re looking to instantly achieve that at-home feeling before you’ve settled on more permanent plants, add some fresh bouquets of flowers to the kitchen on your first day in your new abode.

Making Scents

Chicago, Illinois | Tim SalmJameson Sotheby’s International Realty

Smell is a powerful vehicle for nostalgia. Just a hint of a certain scent can transport us to a memory of a vacation or a moment with friends. Whether through a candle, incense, diffused essential oils, or your go-to soap, adding fragrance to your new space makes it even more welcoming. If you’re looking for new scents to christen your new home, try light florals in the living room, something fresh and herbal in the kitchen, and relaxing lavender in the bedroom to aid sleep.

Sounds Like Home

Singapore | Veniz KwongList Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s hard to resist a thrill when a favorite song comes on the radio. Bring that magic mood into your new home by listening to curated music as you settle in. Make a playlist, press play, and let the music of your life fill your new space as you decorate and adjust to your new environs. Creating new memories through sound can smooth the adjustment process.

Fill in the Blanks

Beverly Hills, California | Eric LaveySotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage

Unless you’re planning for a minimalist design in your new house, blank walls can be a deterrent in making your space feel homey. That’s not to say you should rush to add permanent artwork: while you decide on your chosen pieces, adding family photos and favorite decorative items from another home can quickly make your new space feel comfortable in the meantime.

Turn on the Lights

Beverly Hills, California | Almila GozenSotheby’s International Realty – Brentwood Brokerage

Lighting is crucial for setting ambiance in a new home. Consider if you need to make any updates to the placement and types of lighting in your house before you move in, so that rooms are cozy and welcoming when you arrive. Lighting candles can also set the tone for those first special evenings in a new space.

Stock the Kitchen

Wellington, Florida | Thomas BaldwinEquestrian Sotheby’s International Realty

The kitchen is the soul of the house, so your new address might not feel like much of a home while it remains empty. Fill your fridge upon arrival, whether you pre-order for delivery or pick up fresh produce on the way. Cooking a meal in your new kitchen is also a great way to feel settled. Invite some family and friends over for a casual meal in the early days of your residence: a celebration with company can make any house a home almost instantly.

Moving into a new space, whether as a permanent residence or a seasonal getaway, is always an exciting time. You may be looking forward to a change of scenery or the chance to create more memories with familiar faces. Regardless of the type of property or how much time you’ll be spending there, these simple ideas go a long way towards making your new home feel like you’ve lived there for years.


Source: Putting Down Roots, Extraordinary Living Blog

Homeowners may delay mortgage payments up to 1 year due to virus

The move by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came days after President Trump announced that delayed mortgage payments may be an option for borrowers amidst the coronavirus pandemic


Homeowners who are now struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus outbreak may be able to postpone their mortgage payments for up to 12 months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last week.

The move by the federal loan servicers came days after President Trump announced that delayed mortgage payments may be an option for borrowers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cover about half of all home loans in the U.S.

Individuals who have experienced a loss of income due to the outbreak may qualify to make reduced payments or be allowed a pause in payments altogether. Under the new plan, borrowers will not incur penalties or late fees, and delayed payments will not be reported to credit agencies.

“Our thoughts are with everyone who may be impacted by COVID-19 and we urge you to stay safe and well during these unprecedented times,” Malloy Evans, senior vice president and single-family chief credit officer for Fannie Mae, said in a press release. “Fannie Mae, along with our lending and servicing partners, is committed to ensuring assistance is available to homeowners in need. We encourage residents whose employment or income are impacted by COVID-19 to seek available assistance as soon as possible.”

To get the delayed payment process started, borrowers will initially only need to testify over the phone to their lender that they’re experiencing financial hardship; documentation will come later. However, borrowers are responsible for reaching out to their loan servicer themselves. Payment relief can also apply to any type of property, whether it’s a primary home, secondary home, or investment property.

Throughout the loan forbearance period, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may reassess the borrower’s ability to pay the loan to ensure the plan is still necessary for that borrower. After this period is up, servicers will develop a feasible repayment plan with the borrower, including potentially extending the life of the loan.

Some banks are also offering mortgage forbearance periods for customers during this time, although, as of now, they are much shorter than 12 months. Fifth Third Bank, for instance, is offering borrowers a 90 day forbearance period on mortgages, and Ally is offering a 120 day forbearance period for mortgage customers. Bank of America also stated it will defer mortgage payments for borrowers who request it, although it did not specify a length of time.

“We don’t want people who have been responsible in making their mortgage payments to suddenly be declared delinquent and to lose their access to credit,” Chris Mayer, a real estate economist at Columbia University’s business school, told NPR. “Let’s fight the virus, and let’s hold people harmless for something that they didn’t control.”


Source: Homeowners may delay mortgage payments up to 1 year due to virus, Inman

Mental Health During a Public Health Crisis

Practitioners are offering telehealth and suggest structured activities, getting outside to cope with COVID-19 anxiety

Images courtesy of Kalispell Regional Healthcare. 

As social distancing becomes the new norm and coronavirus-caused closures continue to rattle Montana, mental health professionals are responding to an uptick in anxiety and fear of what the uncertain future holds.

Many clinics are transitioning to telehealth, but psychologist Dr. Sara Boilen of Sweetgrass Psychological Services in Whitefish says their doors remained open, with intense precautionary measures in place, as of March 20, while she also encourages remote appointments to prevent COVID-19’s spread.

“A lot of people want to sit in our space and feel normal and kind of feel the calm and security in our building,” Boilen said.

Boilen offers video chat and phone call services, encouraging people to find private spaces, even if it’s in their car. While Sweetgrass encourages this shift to telehealth, Boilen says some people have encountered issues like a lack of privacy or lack of WiFi for video chat or cell service in their home. Others don’t like telehealth.

“Not everybody likes looking at their face when they’re crying,” Boilen said.

But Boilen says telehealth poses challenges with children’s therapy too since there’s so much playtime involved in their sessions. She’s working to address these issues by coaching parents to help their kids.

Boilen is also seeing an uptick in new patients who are experiencing anxiety in the wake of coronavirus uncertainty.

“We don’t do well with the unknown,” she said.

Dr. Michael Newman, a psychiatrist at Kalispell Regional Healthcare, also points to the anxiety associated with coronavirus uncertainty. In a live KRH Facebook video stream, Newman answered community members’ mental health questions and offered coping mechanisms for dealing with elevated anxieties.

“There’s a fair amount of anxiety going around,” Newman said. “There’s uncertainty. How long will it last? How severe is it going to be?”

Newman says social distancing should not be confused with social isolation, and while it’s important to keep a safe physical distance, people can use technology and social media to replace in-person interactions in the meantime.

Similarly, Boilen prefers the term “physical distancing” and also encourages the use of video chat, apps and technology to remain social, while limiting the Netflix vortex.

Limiting media consumption is another way to avoid anxiety and overwhelming feelings, whether it’s giving yourself a time limit or the number of times you check per day, she said.

She also suggests picking up new hobbies to distract the brain and redirect to something positive. Getting outside is another coping mechanism, although remaining six feet apart from others is advised.

“Staying six feet apart is not that hard if you’re on a trail walk,” Boilen said.

Soothing practices like meditation, yoga and cooking are other beneficial ways to decompress, she said.

Newman suggests that people get into some sort of routine, whether that’s cleaning the house or tackling house projects.

“I just want to reiterate … don’t panic,” Newman said. “Panic doesn’t get anybody anywhere.”

Sweetgrass will offer a two-week online meditation course, starting Monday, March 23. For more information, visit

Pathways Treatment Center at KRH is open 24/7, call (406) 756-3940 for more information.

For additional COVID-19 resources, visit



Source: Mental Health During a Public Health Crisis, Flathead Beacon