Santa Legacy Lives On – RE/MAX Alliance

RE/MAX office embodies spirit of late Broker/Owner 

By Lisa A. Beach

SantaCollage

No matter how much you’re helping others, you can always do more. That was the philosophy of RE/MAX Alliance Broker/Owner Mick Hoff.

Back in 2004, staff at his Virginia Beach, Virginia office had already been taking annual tours of nearby Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD), were regular volunteers at the hospital’s fundraising telethons, and agents participated in the Miracle Homes Program – donating a portion of their commission from the home’s sale to support the hospital.

But Mick, his wife/business partner Trudy, and real estate agent Traci Lewis Vancamp, wanted to do more. The trio talked with CHKD and decided that a visit from Santa would be a welcome sight for the children staying at the hospital during the holidays. So in 2004, Mick donned a Santa suit for the first time. It was the start of an annual tradition.

Delivering Magic Moments

With his long white beard and soft heart for children, Mick was a natural to play Santa. He made a lasting impact on hundreds of CHKD children and families over the years.

One little girl, in particular, epitomized the sheer delight brought to the hospital by a visit from Saint Nick. Dressed as Santa, Mick delivered a dream-come-true gift: a ballerina outfit and slippers. She quickly put on the slippers, tip-toed into the hallway, and began pirouetting down the corridor. “I knew you would come, Santa!” she exclaimed. “I even told my dad you would come.” The staff, patients, and visitors could hear the awe, gratitude and hope in her voice. She, in turn, lifted everyone else’s spirits with her joyous, impromptu dancing.

The Norfolk and Virginia Beach area is home to a large military population, which is another reason CHKD held a special place in Mick’s, a retired Navy captain with the Civil Engineer Corps, heart. He knew many of the children treated at the hospital came from military families.

“Because CHKD is close to our office, we have agents, staff, and clients who’ve had children in the hospital for lengthy stays,” explains Trudy. “We think this is a fantastic way to honor those families.”

Keeping the Spirit Alive

When Mick passed away in 2013, the RE/MAX Alliance team was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to continue this treasured holiday tradition. After all, Mick embodied the generosity of Santa – even growing out his beard for months so he could look the part in December.

The entire office decided to keep the spirit of Christmas alive at CHKD in Mick’s memory.

Enter RE/MAX Alliance agent Christian Phillips, who agreed to play Santa and fill Mick’s shoes to continue the beloved tradition Mick started years ago.

“I love being able to bring a brief moment of joy to these families during terrible times,” Phillips says. “When I come into the room, it seems to calm stress levels and put smiles on people’s faces. My favorite part? It’s all done in complete anonymity. Being part of this program is the greatest privilege of my life!”

The tradition has now been going on for 14 years, growing bigger each year.

Preparing for Santa

This company-wide tradition begins long before December, with agents bringing in gifts and dropping off monetary donations months in advance. Trudy and Traci use the donations to shop for more gifts, ensuring they have presents for all ages. They even buy gift cards for the parents of children staying in the hospital. Finally, the RE/MAX Alliance staff gathers for a party to sort the gifts by age range, wrap them, and load them into cars.

At the hospital, a small RE/MAX Alliance team hand-delivers candy canes to patients, staff and families in the lobby and hallways. Then they pile the presents into wagons and visit children room by room, usually spending the entire day at CHKD.

“We usually visit 200 children in their rooms, and many more throughout the hospital,” Trudy Hoff says. “We bring about 1,000 gifts each year. Whatever we don’t deliver, CHKD keeps for birthday presents, for the playrooms, or the ER.”

In addition to Santa 2.0, the program continues to grow and change. Last year Trudy and Traci bought more expensive gifts for the newborns, like swings and playpens, because they wanted to give families something to use at home. They also want to boost community involvement in this feel-good tradition.

“We’ve received more donations of larger sums by a lot of our agents or their clients the last few years,” says Carrie Webber, marketing coordinator for RE/MAX Alliance. “We hope to continue to see the donations rise each year.”

Mick Hoff is missed, but the spirit and generosity of the original Santa lives on.

“Mick liked the nurturing part of the visits,” Trudy recalls fondly. “He always tried to get the children to smile. And for a few minutes while he was there, they were not in pain.”

No matter how the program evolves, it continues to tap into the heart of the tradition — making kids smile.

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Virginia Beach Homes

The #1 Reason To Put Your House On The Market TODAY!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the results of their latest Existing Home Sales Report which revealed that home sales declined 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in June from 5.41 million in May, and are 2.2% below a year ago. Some may look at these numbers and think that now is a bad time to sell their house, but in fact, the opposite is true.

The national slowdown in sales is directly tied to a lack of inventory available for the buyers who are out in the market looking for their dream homes! In fact, the inventory of homes for sale had fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months before posting a modest 0.5% gain last month and has had an upward impact on home prices.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say,

“It’s important to note that despite the modest year-over-year rise in inventory, the current level is far from what’s needed to satisfy demand levels. Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this modest increase will stick, given the fact that the robust economy is bringing more interested buyers into the market, and new home construction is failing to keep up.”

The few houses that are on the market are selling fast! According to NAR’s Realtors Confidence Index, properties were typically on the market for 26 days.

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners who is debating listing your house for sale this year, the time is now! Meet with a local RE/MAX Alliance professional who can guide you through the process and discuss the specifics of your market!

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RE/MAX Alliance VB Makes a Difference as ‘Miracle Office’ for CHKD for the 22nd Year

CMN_REMAX_4colorHorizontal_WebVIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia, May 24, 2018 – RE/MAX Alliance has made a difference in Virginia Beach and the overall Hampton Roads community by receiving the Miracle Office designation by fundraising over $166,000. Primary funds are generated by the Miracle Home and Miracle Property programs, RE/MAX Associates can make a donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® after each residential and commercial transaction that the company has streamlined to make it an easy process for their agents. All donations benefit Virginia’s only free-standing children’s hospital, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD), the local CMN Hospital. Miracle Office is a designation awarded exclusively to RE/MAX brokerages through their national partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network organization. The Virginia Beach office has successfully achieved this designation for 22 years, ever since the launch of the Miracle Home program and partnership. This office is to join just two other offices total with this privileged designation for 2018.

The second major source of support to this local hospital is an internally-initiated ‘full service’ Holiday Toy and Gift Drive hosted at the real estate office, complete with personal gift wrapping (wearing ugly holiday sweaters of course), followed by hand-delivering to the patients with their very own Santa. After over 14 years of participating in this annual staple, they now collect 1,000+ gifts per year- truly spreading holiday cheer throughout the four hospital floors. Due to their large presence, the RE/MAX Alliance VB-provided Santa is now the only Santa, replacing what was three that would share duties.

Holiday Gift Drive organizers Trudy Hoff (Co-Owner and REALTOR®, RE/MAX Alliance VB), the late Mick Hoff (Co-owner, RE/MAX Alliance VB), and Traci Lewis VanCamp (REALTOR®, RE/MAX Alliance VB) initially started this venture with the wish to support local terminally ill children, which progressed naturally from hospital tours by inviting their colleagues and friends, turning into an annual Christmas visit, ultimately advancing to the now mega 1,000+ gift collection annual event.

RE/MAX Affiliates across the U.S. and Canada have raised more than $165 million for 170-member hospitals across the country to support children’s services. In 2017 alone in Hampton Roads more than $37,000 was raised to support CHKD. RE/MAX Miracle Agents, Offices and Teams are dedicated supporters who pledge to donate after each closed property sale and take the time to personally thank their clients for choosing them and that a donation was made in their honor, known as Honor Cards.

The immense participation in both the commission program and the gift drive have resulted in value and connection to the Hampton Roads community out of the natural need to support their personal friends, colleagues, and clients who need this hospital at difficult moments in their lives. The Miracle Office and Miracle Home program is a simple yet impactful way to help raise awareness for the local CMN Hospital.

With the goal to continue to make a difference in the lives of kids such as “Ironman” who pens thank you notes to Santa via the real estate office, the little girl who dreams of ballet shoes, and the 16-year-old with depression who have had a lasting impression on their team and who serves as their ongoing motivation to continue to expand their program. “The few minutes Mick was there as Santa they were not in pain, as Mick was completely immersed in helping these special children” says Trudy Hoff. Per RE/MAX corporate, 62 children enter a CMN Hospital for treatment every minute. As Ms. Hoff continues to explain, as leaders in the Virginia Beach business community, “it’s vital that we show our support for the kids and their families”.

RE/MAX Miracle Agents, Offices and Teams help make a significant impact on the lives of sick and injured children treated at CMN Hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. Over the years, their support of CMN Hospitals has helped provide life-saving treatments, advanced medical equipment and valuable research and education. And the local hospitals determine the best way to allocate those funds based on local need. At CHKD this year, the funds raised support specific programs for Child Life (patient and family support), Buddy Brigade (pet therapy), pastoral care, social work, and more.

The Child Life program is particularly close to the heart of Trudy since her personal creation of her Santa Mick Memorial Fund, to honor her late husband Mick, is the only endowment for Child Life at the hospital. Mick Hoff retired as a Navy Captain for the Civil Engineer Corps. in the Navy, where “supporting military children and families” was a true calling and purpose they shared in together, says Trudy, as they continued to build their relationships and real estate business in Virginia Beach since being stationed here for Mick’s Naval career. One of the hospital’s primary focuses this year is “seeking approval to build a pediatric mental health facility here in Norfolk to improve access to critically-needed inpatient psychiatric care for children and adolescents in our community”, as Kate Ryan in Development for CHKD explained.

As co-organizer of the Annual Christmas Gift Collection event, Traci says, “over time we have developed a system to fully categorize the gifts by gender and age so the donated gifts can be distributed throughout the year”. The future goal of this program is to turn it into a Foundation to be able to receive more outside donations so they can impact even more families year-round.

This office truly proves that that they are actively engaged and remain consistent with their stated mission “To be the Hampton Roads real estate leader, achieving our goals by helping others achieve theirs. Everybody wins.”

Many homes on remax.com are flagged as a Miracle Homes with a CMN Hospitals yellow and red balloon icon. For more information about the Miracle program or RE/MAX Alliance office, please visit www.remax-alliance-virginiabeach-va.com or call 757-456-2345.

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RE/MAX Alliance VB Makes a Difference as ‘Miracle Office’ for CHKD for the 22nd Year

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RE/MAX Alliance has made a difference in Virginia Beach and the overall Hampton Roads community by receiving the Miracle Office designation by fundraising over $166,000. Primary funds are generated by the Miracle Home and Miracle Property programs, RE/MAX Associates can make a donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® after each residential and commercial transaction that the company has streamlined to make it an easy process for their agents. All donations benefit Virginia’s only free-standing children’s hospital, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD), the local CMN Hospital. Miracle Office is a designation awarded exclusively to RE/MAX brokerages through their national partnership with the Children’s Miracle Network organization. The Virginia Beach office has successfully achieved this designation for 22 years, ever since the launch of the Miracle Home program and partnership. This office is to join just two other offices total with this privileged designation for 2018.

The second major source of support to this local hospital is an internally-initiated ‘full service’ Holiday Toy and Gift Drive hosted at the real estate office, complete with personal gift wrapping (wearing ugly holiday sweaters of course), followed by hand-delivering to the patients with their very own Santa. After over 14 years of participating in this annual staple, they now collect 1,000+ gifts per year- truly spreading holiday cheer throughout the four hospital floors. Due to their large presence, the RE/MAX Alliance VB-provided Santa is now the only Santa, replacing what was three that would share duties.

Holiday Gift Drive organizers Trudy Hoff (Co-Owner and REALTOR®, RE/MAX Alliance VB), the late Mick Hoff (Co-owner, RE/MAX Alliance VB), and Traci Lewis VanCamp (REALTOR®, RE/MAX Alliance VB) initially started this venture with the wish to support local terminally ill children, which progressed naturally from hospital tours by inviting their colleagues and friends, turning into an annual Christmas visit, ultimately advancing to the now mega 1,000+ gift collection annual event.

RE/MAX Affiliates across the U.S. and Canada have raised more than $165 million for 170-member hospitals across the country to support children’s services. In 2017 alone in Hampton Roads more than $37,000 was raised to support CHKD. RE/MAX Miracle Agents, Offices and Teams are dedicated supporters who pledge to donate after each closed property sale and take the time to personally thank their clients for choosing them and that a donation was made in their honor, known as Honor Cards.

The immense participation in both the commission program and the gift drive have resulted in value and connection to the Hampton Roads community out of the natural need to support their personal friends, colleagues, and clients who need this hospital at difficult moments in their lives. The Miracle Office and Miracle Home program is a simple yet impactful way to help raise awareness for the local CMN Hospital.

With the goal to continue to make a difference in the lives of kids such as “Ironman” who pens thank you notes to Santa via the real estate office, the little girl who dreams of ballet shoes, and the 16-year-old with depression who have had a lasting impression on their team and who serves as their ongoing motivation to continue to expand their program. “The few minutes Mick was there as Santa they were not in pain, as Mick was completely immersed in helping these special children” says Trudy Hoff. Per RE/MAX corporate, 62 children enter a CMN Hospital for treatment every minute. As Ms. Hoff continues to explain, as leaders in the Virginia Beach business community, “it’s vital that we show our support for the kids and their families”.

RE/MAX Miracle Agents, Offices and Teams help make a significant impact on the lives of sick and injured children treated at CMN Hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. Over the years, their support of CMN Hospitals has helped provide life-saving treatments, advanced medical equipment and valuable research and education. And the local hospitals determine the best way to allocate those funds based on local need. At CHKD this year, the funds raised support specific programs for Child Life (patient and family support), Buddy Brigade (pet therapy), pastoral care, social work, and more.

The Child Life program is particularly close to the heart of Trudy since her personal creation of her Santa Mick Memorial Fund, to honor her late husband Mick, is the only endowment for Child Life at the hospital. Mick Hoff retired as a Navy Captain for the Civil Engineer Corps. in the Navy, where “supporting military children and families” was a true calling and purpose they shared in together, says Trudy, as they continued to build their relationships and real estate business in Virginia Beach since being stationed here for Mick’s Naval career. One of the hospital’s primary focuses this year is “seeking approval to build a pediatric mental health facility here in Norfolk to improve access to critically-needed inpatient psychiatric care for children and adolescents in our community”, as Kate Ryan in Development for CHKD explained.

As co-organizer of the Annual Christmas Gift Collection event, Traci says, “over time we have developed a system to fully categorize the gifts by gender and age so the donated gifts can be distributed throughout the year”. The future goal of this program is to turn it into a Foundation to be able to receive more outside donations so they can impact even more families year-round.

This office truly proves that that they are actively engaged and remain consistent with their stated mission “To be the Hampton Roads real estate leader, achieving our goals by helping others achieve theirs. Everybody wins.”

Many homes on remax.com are flagged as a Miracle Homes with a CMN Hospitals yellow and red balloon icon. For more information about the Miracle program or RE/MAX Alliance office, please visit www.remax-alliance-virginiabeach-va.com or call 757-456-2345.

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Miracle Makers

We Are Miracle Makers

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Our agents actively support 24+ causes and have deep connections in our community. In our recent office survey, we were overwhelmed with the positive response displaying the great teamwork and community involvement that is evident in our agents and staff. The following is a partial list of what causes are represented by RE/MAX Alliance. Do you see your favorite cause listed? If so, ask us how to partner with us:

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD)
Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore
Greater Hampton Roads Diaper Bank / Hampton Roads Diaper Drive
Seton Youth Shelters
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Susan G. Komen Tidewater / Susan G. Komen
Wounded Warrior Project
Best Friends Animal Society
USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia / USO
Veterans Resource Center
Habitat for Humanity of South Hampton Roads, Inc. / Habitat for Humanity International
Best Day Foundation / Best Day Foundation Chesapeake Bay
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
VAREP National
Special Olympics Virginia / Special Olympics
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Young Life
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk VA
American Cancer Society – Hampton Roads
CMN Miracle Office / Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Southwest Virginia
PIN Ministries
JCOC
VA/ VRC Memorial Fund
Phi Beta Sigma, Inc.
Crisis Pregnancy Center
OrphaNetwork
and many more…

Keep up the good work!

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4 Gardening Tips for the Lazy Landscaper

By Kath Johnson

4 Gardening Tips for the Lazy Landscaper

Keeping up with landscaping can take a lot of time and energy. Between weekly mowing, picking weeds, and tending to all of the plants it can be a lot of work for those who are busy. Check out these easy gardening tips for those who simply don’t have a lot of extra time for a jungle inspired garden.

1. Plant a Xeriscape

If you live near a metro area surrounded by a natural flush of trees, or if you simply like the look of plants but don’t want the hassle of watering them, consider planting a xeriscape. This kind of landscaping is composed of plants that require little to no irrigation and are easy to take care of. Plants that do well in a xeriscape include lavender, ornamental grasses, and coneflowers. If you don’t live in a drought prone region, consider planting those native plants that already do well in your area. Native plants will need less attention as they are used to the conditions of your area and grow abundantly everywhere.

2. Add a Timer

Take advantage of technology by setting up the watering on an automatic timer. Simply plug in the timer at the hose connection to the spigot and allow the timer to water your plants on a regular schedule. This will work well for those extra thirsty plants that need more water throughout the summer and you won’t forget to water since it will already be taken care of. Setting up a drip system for your plants is another easy way to make sure that they get watered without having to have added hoses or sprinklers constantly in the flower beds as well.

3. Use Evergreens

There are many different evergreens that can be planted to add depth, height, and appeal to a yard. Evergreens are easy to maintain as they require little to no pruning and will stay green all year long. Plant a row of evergreen shrubs to add privacy to a yard as well as a constant wall of beautiful green color throughout every season. Evergreens may need a little extra watering during the hotter months as well as some pinecones that need to be picked up once a year. However, they are a great option for those homeowners who don’t want to have to mess with a lot of leaf raking or careful pruning like other trees.

4. Renew Mulch Coloring

Mulch looks great when you just put it down but a few years later it can easily fade and become an eyesore. Although a little unconventional, you can paint the mulch to renew the coloring and overall look of landscaping. Simply use a paint sprayer along with a nice brown paint to paint the top of the mulch in order to get an updated look. Make sure that the mulch is where you want it before you paint as only the top will get painted when you spray it.

Yard maintenance can take a lot of time so help yourself by planting a xeriscape garden or using evergreens in your yard for yearlong beauty. Set up your watering on a timer or even consider painting the mulch in order to give a quick makeover for a dull looking yard. Doing all of these things will help those of us who are lazy landscapers have a beautiful yard as well as time to enjoy it!

Kath Johnson is an avid gardener and regional representative for LawnStarter Lawn Care. When she’s not tending to her organic vegetable garden, she can be found exploring nature by bike or boat.

Homes In Virginia Beach

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7 Ways to Make Your Life Easier During a Home Renovation

7 Ways to Make Your Life Easier During a Home Renovation

By Jessica Thiefels

7 Ways to Make Your Life Easier During a Home Renovation

A home renovation is as exciting as it is hectic. Between coordinating contractors and choosing fixtures, your home is all out of sorts – which is overwhelming in and of itself.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Keep these tips in mind if you’re struggling through a home renovation. When all is said and done, you’ll finish with a gorgeous addition to your home and a still maintain your sanity.

1. Get Your Meals Delivered:

On-demand food delivery services will become lifesavers when dinnertime comes along. This is especially true when renovating your kitchen, which leaves you cooking out of your living room or on the grill every night-all while dodging obstacles like your misplaced table and boxes of kitchenware.

2. Delegate Your Laundry

Whether your laundry room is being remodeled, or you simply don’t have the extra time to get it done during the renovation, sending your laundry to a wash and fold service is a simple way to make your life easier. If there are a number of providers to choose from nearby, keep the following tips in mind, from the guide, Choosing Your Dry Cleaners:

  • What services do they offer?
  • What do the reviews say?
  • Is it easy to get a hold of customer service?
  • How affordable are they? (The key: avoiding hidden fees)

3. Escape for the Weekend

Sometimes, you just need a break from the non-stop drilling and paint fumes. Take time to relax and get away from the chaos with a staycation, feeling all the benefits of a getaway without the costs or time away from work.

4. Create a “Me Space”

The most difficult part about renovating your home is having to deal with the excess dust, dirt and clutter, not to mention being surrounded by the workers who are making it all happen. Create a “me” space within your home where you and your family can relax and enjoy quieter alone time.

5. Tackle One Project at a Time

While it might be tempting to get a few home renovation projects done, it’s better to tackle one at a time. Planning to renovate more than one room will not only make it more stressful, but could also leave you with minimal working fixtures to use for everyday tasks like showering, cooking or cleaning. Don’t make your life harder than it needs to be during this time and focus on just one thing at a time.

6. Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

A lot of things can (and will) go wrong during your home renovation. Budgets can be blown, contractors can unexpectedly quit, and pipes can break. To put your mind at ease, and be more prepared, Home Advisor shares a few common challenges you’ll likely face:

  • Cost and budgeting: “One of the biggest mistakes homeowners commit is not leaving cash in reserve in case anything goes wrong,” suggests Home Advisor.
  • Materials: Choosing materials on a whim that don’t fit with your home can be costly further down the road.
  • Contractors: Taking too long, charging unexpected fees, or not doing what is asked of them.

7. Prioritize

When you’re being asked to make dozens of decisions in a short amount of time, your priorities have a way of getting lost in the mix. Stay focused on what is most important to you and avoid getting sidetracked or swayed into changing your original plan if you’re not one hundred percent certain. Keep your plans in front of you as you make changes or additions to what you’re doing so you never lose site of what you originally wanted.

Stay Calm and Renovate

Home renovations take a lot of patience and planning, and these seven tips will help make your life easier and less stressful during that time. Delegate where you can-food and laundry-expect the unexpected, and keep your priorities front and center as options and ideas are brought to you from contractors. In the end, you’ll be able to say you survived your home renovation.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She’s worked with a variety of real estate clients, and has been featured on Forbes and Market Watch. She’s also written for House Hunt Network, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect on LinkedIn.

Hampton Roads Homes

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