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Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Paint Your Front Door to Boost Curb Appeal

Monday, June 11, 2012 posted by tommi

    One of the secrets of professional home flippers is nothing more than a coat of fresh, bright paint on the front door.   

   Knock, knock.  What’s the first thing a buyer sees?   The front door is the most important thing in selling a home that most homeowners overlook.    A welcoming new front door in sassy hues like red, green, tangerine or indigo blue can make a snazzy first impression on the pickiest homebuyers.

    Any do-it-yourselfer can repaint a front door in less than a hour…and, for less than $50….so no excuses.   No better return on your investment than paint, where it counts most.

Thank you for visiting   Our Flat Fee or Entry Only MLS listing places your property in front of millions of homeshoppers each and every day.  If you aren’t on the MLS or, you are selling yourself and your home short.

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Before and After Examples of Curb Appeal

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 posted by tommi

The term Curb Appeal was first used in conjunction with real estate in 1975.  And, in case you aren’t sure what curb appeal is…this house has it in spades.  It is welcoming, it is neat, clean, colorful and inviting…it makes me want to go inside and see what else is there.

Accoring to Webster…Curb Appeal is the visual attractiveness of a house, and its surrounding landscape, as seen from the street.  Why is Curb Appeal so talked about among real estate professionals?  Because it is crucial to selling homes.  Without it, the buyer has no motivation to see inside, so the seller misses all opportunity at a sale.  

For example of how simple it can be to improve your Curb Appeal…this house has good bones…but showings increased exponentially after the seller removed overgrown shrubs and tiled over an ugly cracked concrete walk and steps.

A coat of paint and landscape spruce up makes all the difference in the world.  

   Shutters can change everything.  The homeowner made these himself and the change in balance and curb appeal was instant.

Showings doubled after this seller removed overgrowth to show off a beautiful porch that anyone would love to have.

This home sold in 3 days after the owners painted the front door an attractive color and added a splash of color to the landscaping.

This spring has been the best home selling season in years.  If you aren’t getting the showings and activity you should be getting, step back and take an objective look at your home from the street.   If your home isn’t inviting, then change that immediately.  The need for Curb appeal is so univeral to us all, that Home buyers will even look inside homes that are slighltly overpriced, if they are attracted and drawn to them.  Don’t sell yourself short or blame a poor housing market if your doesn’t shine from the road.

Thank you for visiting   We marked 3 more homes SOLD today… best market we’ve seen in a while.  Make sure you have an MLS or listing…these programs will bring you buyers…all you have to do is get them in the door.

If you plan to buy a new American flag this Memorial Day…make sure it is Made in the USA.  Here is a company that makes all their flags here at home.  Check out Veterans Flag Depot.

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Switch Out Shiny Brass Fixtures and Wall Plates

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 posted by tommi

                                                                                                                                                         From switch plates to chandeliers…builder grade, shiny yellow hardware is OUT.

Home sellers should  replace it with satin, nickel or stainless fixtures for a contemporary look. Or, replace it with rubbed bronze or black for a more traditional decor.

This updating project is inexpensive, straighforward and perfect for any homeowner.  Buyers will notice!!

Thank you for visiting  The home selling season is here.  Get your home in front of millions of home buyers everyday with one of our turnkey marketing options.  

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To MLS or Not to MLS? Separating Fact from Hype

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 posted by tommi


What is the MLS?

What are the Benefits of advertising on the MLS

What is all the “Hype” of the MLS

What Should You Consider? 

What is the MLS? 

The Multiple Listing Service is a database of homes and property that are for sale.  The MLS is operated by the local Board of Realtors®.  The MLS is the resource agents use to find homes for their buyers or advertise their home listings to other agents.  MLS listings include detailed information about the property.  In addition to selling price and address, an MLS listing generally includes number of rooms, size of rooms, interior and exterior features, lot size, local school district, property taxes, association dues, directions to the property and comments.  Most also include photo’s of the home and a lockbox.  At the sellers discretion, most MLS listings can also be upgraded for a fee to include additional photos or virtual video tours.

 To MLS or Not To MLS;  Separating Fact from Hype 

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a powerful tool for real estate agents and home sellers.  It allows seller’s and agent’s to cross-sell all properties in a given market, which greatly expands the sales force of all the properties for sale.  The Internet has expanded the power of the MLS by providing information in real time to not only agents, but to home buyers and home sellers alike through its website.  The MLS and Realtor,com it is looked at by thousands of real estate agents who may have a buyer for your property and individual home buyers searching the Internet.  

Note:  In addition to, properties listed on the MLS  also appear on other major real estate search engines like Zillow,,,, Yahoo, Google and a host of others. 

Benefits of MLS Advertising: 

There is only one very significant benefit to having your home listed on the MLS…EXPOSURE!   The fact that your home is for sale will now be known by anyone searching the Internet.  Additionally, hundreds, if not thousands of real estate agents in your market will also know about your property.  To fully benefit from this exposure, you need to be willing to “co-op” with a real estate agent, if they bring a buyer whose contract terms are acceptable to you.  “Co-op” means that you agree to compensate the buyer’s real estate agent at the closing of your property.  Typically, a buyer’s agent will earn between 2%-3% of the sales price of the home.  If you are willing to “co-op” with a buyer’s agent, you should indicate this clearly in your Internet and classified advertising, and on your brochures. 

To list your home on the MLS, you will need to contract with a real estate listing agent that is a member of your local real estate board.  If your interest is purely to have your home listed on the MLS; you can contract with a new type of  Broker who charges a one-time fee to cover the cost of them listing your home in the MLS and allows you to act as your own listing agent. 

The flat-fee MLS listing concept is fairly new and not all agents will be anxious to provide this service, as they are in the full service real estate listing business.  To learn more about using a flat-fee MLS service, visit websites like     

In many areas of the United States, when a home appears on the local MLS, it will also appear on aggregator websites like MSN Home Advisor, Yahoo Real  Estate,, and local state and broker websites.  Many of the MLS  Boards send their inventory directly to these websites to enable even more exposure for the homeowner. 

In today’s transient society, thousands of people use the internet to search for homes far in advance of their relocation.  Many  people supply the list of properties that interest them to their agent, so the agent can set up showing appointments.  When a buyer is relocating to a new area, time is limited and critical.  This means the buyer’s agent becomes a critical part of relocation effort.  Therefore, the MLS can be key to exposing your home to people relocating to your area. 

What is the Hype of an MLS listing? 

1)      Your house will never sell if it is NOT listed on the MLS…False.

Your house may sell more quickly or for more money because of the tremendous exposure we discussed above, but your home can sell with or without the MLS.   

2)      Buyers will never find your home if it is NOT listed on the MLS…False.

According to the National Assn. of Realtors data, 60% of all home sales occur because of the sign in the yard.   Newsletters, directional signs, open houses, classified advertising and InfoTubes or InfoBoxes, filled with attractive home information flyers, will also help you find a buyer for your home. 

3)      Real estate agents will not bring a buyer to you if you are NOT on theMLS… False.

If an agent has an interested buyer and you indicate you are willing to pay them a commission, they have no reason to boycott your property.   If they do, they risk that the buyer contacts you directly and they don’t make a dime. 


The MLS has proven value and is certainly a wonderful way to expand your advertising reach.  If your goal is to make local agents aware that your home is for sale and reach the millions of buyers searching for homes on major real estate websites.  Keep in mind that you will need to pay a commission to a buyer agent at closing, if they bring you an offer that you accept.

If you decide to place your home on the MLS, consider it as a part of your overall marketing strategy and not a replacement for your advertising program.  Properly understood, the MLS can be another excellent part of your home selling process.

Thank you for visiting   Our national network of flat fee MLS brokers are standing by to assist you in marketing your home.  Please visit our website or phone 1-800-381-9496 to get started!

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Profitable 2012 Resolution:  Showcase and show off your home with great photo’s.

     Photographs are important and powerful tools in marketing real estate.    Statistics show that home sellers who provide numerous and good quality photographs of their property receive twice the amount of buyer interest than their competition.

When photographing your property, try to follow this advise from Dave Rezendes, #1 real estate photographer in the USA.

• Don’t assume that wider is better.  Sometimes a particular vignette or architectural detail will better convey the feeling of a house and give a stronger effect.


Thank you for visiting   Make 2012 your year to SHOW and SELL!!!!

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What the Real Estate Market looks like in 2012

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 posted by tommi

Would you like to see what the housing market has in store for 2012?  If so, take a moment to watch this video.

Housing Market 2012

Remember that in spite of the doom and gloom…10,000 sets of keys are handed to new homeowners every single day!!  

Thank you for visiting…we offer FREE marketing website for owners, builders and agents.    In addition, our MLS and packages can give you all the exposure of a full service listing…without the cost.

Remember that… Who you buy From is as important as What you Buy!   Look for Made in the USA products and support US workers!!

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Made in the USA School Supplies

Friday, July 8, 2011 posted by tommi

Americans spent a staggering $52 BILLION on “Back to School Supplies” in 2010.   

We believe that very little of your $52 BILLION spent at big box retailers benefited American companies and US workers. 

If you are worried about the future of the US economy….  If you care about the millions of unemployed and homeless Americans…Make a Pledge that in 2011 you will buy Back to School Supplies that are Made in the USA!!!    It’s that simple.  Keep your money in your pocket and Say “NO” to rewarding retailers and companies that sell out American companies and support foreign workers.

It’s easier than you think to find American Made Back to School Supplies.  Here is a short list of companies to get you started!

Duluth Pack  
Tough Traveler  
Mimi the Sardine  
Laptop Lunch  
General Pencil  
Clementine Art  
Basic brand  
Mead (select items)  
New Leaf  
Union Built PC  
Green Guru (laptop sleeve)  
American Jeans  
Levis Capital E  
True Religion Jeans  
Rock & Republic  
Paige Premium Denim  
Robin’s Jean  
Frankie B.  
Genetic Jeans  
Hudson Jeans  
Rich & Skinny  
Earnest Sewn  
Citizens of Humanity  
Rag & Bone  
American Socks  
Fox River Socks  
American Shoes and Boots  
Alden Shoes  
Allen Edmonds  
New Balance (select)  
American Clothing  
Hard Tail  
American Apparel  
Basic Threads  
Fresh Produce  

SOURCE Made in the USA Foundation

Thank you for visiting  We have been making InfoTubes and InfoBoxes here in the USA since 1988.  We appreciate your business and please visit our website for FREE home selling services.   Thank You!

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Paul Choi, a long time supporter of the American worker and American dream, complied a list of Links for People who are interested in fighting the Chinese import tsumani. 

If you would like to Vote for Made in the USA products, please CLICK HERE.    If you want to express your outrage about the outsourcing of American jobs, CLICK HERE.  If you want to reach our politicians and news reporters and tell them what you t hink about the Companies who are shipping jobs overseas, CLICK HERE!!

Thank you for helping InfoTube Fight for American Jobs and Products!!!  Your Money is Your Vote…Spend it Wisely!

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InfoTube, The Hillman Group and China

Thursday, May 26, 2011 posted by tommi

I am very happy to report that the public outcry about outsourcing American products, specifically Infotube and Infobox, to China has been encouraging, enlightening, motivating and best of all…it may be working to save jobs and keep American made products on the shelves.

As a result of your emails, calls, petitions, Facebook posts, etc. some strange things have happened.  We have been contacted by a US Senator, offering his assistance.  We have been interviewed on radio news and talk shows and our story has shown up in print across the country.   And, we still have our fingers crossed that we might receive a call from Diane Sawyer and ABC news about our story and products. 

If you haven’t told Diane and ABC what your favorite American products are, click this LINK and do so, today!  Please don’t forget to mention InfoTube and InfoBox!   

Perhaps, the most surprising outcome, so far, has been our two discussions with senior management at The Hillman Group.  Surprising, because it is happening at all.  Surprising, again, because we are each sharing information and I feel that everyone is sincere about wanting to reach a resolution. 

Rest assured that we won’t give up the fight until we hear that Crow Erickson will continue to sell Infotubes and InfoBoxes to our major d-i-y retail customers, like we have done for nearly two decades.

Sadly, during our meeting yesterday, Hillman management confirmed  that they have shipped some of the Chinese copycat product…identifible by its Yellow lid…to Home Depot, Lowes and Menards.   The retailers, in turn, hung it up in the sign department where the InfoTube and InfoBox used to proudly hang.  

Please ask for InfoTube and InfoBox by name at the store!!  Simply, refuse to purchase the Chinese Yellow Lid product.  You know what is at stake and your money is counted as your vote. 

A concerned consumer may have said it best in their reply to an email they received from the Hillman Group. 

“See, we American voters may truly be powerless, but we American consumers are not.  We are fed up watching big corporations, like yours, screw American businesses, and so if you think this lame email has calmed me, you are wrong.  I am just getting started.”  Cynn Chadwick

If you have a problem finding our products in the stores, you can purchase through our secure our website or through one of our valued, loyal internet vendors….many of whom took action on our behalf…even though by doing so, they face more sales competition.

Thank you again for your support, your comments and your encouragement.  If this little company can find a way to beat the competition over in communist China…then, so can other companies!  

Buy American and Support your Homeland!!!  We aren’t anti-chinese…we are just Pro-American!

Tommi Crow

President, Crow Erickson Inc.  1854A Hendersonville Rd #221 – Asheville, NC  28803.  1-800-858-6000

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For those of you who are following our struggle and have ask how you can help next…  

I think that continuing to send requests to ABC news (the direct link is below) would really be helpful for moving our negotiations forward and for highlighting this David and Goliath story.   

My recent experiences have proven that the tide of consumer awareness is shifting in our country.  The grass roots support for American business, workers and products is gaining momentum quickly and we all need to stay involved to turn our economy and future around.

I would encourage everyone to submit your favorite American made products to ABC News.

I hope to see a lot of love for InfoTube and InfoBox, of course, but I know that a lot of American businesses are fighting against the outsourcing tsunami, as well.   Each one of them would appreciate your support and there is no limit on the number of products you can submit.

Thank you again for all your help!!!!  Without you, we wouldn’t be here today.   Please mention us to ABC News…I would love to tell our story to Diane Sawyer

Tommi Crow

President, Crow Erickson, Inc

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