Fall Gardening Tips

Siberian Squill

Fall garden planning is key to a fabulous garden come the spring season. this is the perfect the time to clean up beds, manage soils and plant spring-blooming bulbs. Here are some tips for prepping your garden during the fall:

Water all your plants thoroughly, in particular, your trees. Their roots need an abundance of precipitation to endure the approaching months.

Shop for Bulbs
Browse catalogs or frequent garden shops early for the perfect assortment.

BONUS TIP: If deer, rabbits, or other wildlife are a nuisance to your garden, you can choose pest-resistant bulbs like Siberian squill, fritillaria, and daffodils.

Clear Debris Away from Roses
Decaying rose foliage provides disease a haven over winter and can cause complications in your garden next year.

Plant Evergreens and Shrubs
Prompt planting in fall provides young plants ample time to establish their roots by winter.

Amend Your Soil
Prepare the ground so it is primed for next year’s beds and fall bulbs by tilling the soil and adding compost.

Plant Fall Annuals
Flower Bulbs
Increase color in your garden by planting fall annuals, for example pansies, mums, and ornamental kale.

Lower Your Lawn Mower Height
Grass grows slower in fall, but it will still need to be trimmed to make ready for winter. A shorter cut assists the soil in drying out more briskly in spring.

Feed the Birds
Keep in mind your feathered friends; their food supply becomes meager in fall.

Cut Back and Separate Perennials
At the same time that you’re digging them up to separate them, rearrange plants that haven’t been doing well in their existing location.

BONUS TIP: Delay separating chrysanthemums, asters, and other fall-blooming perennials. It’s better to separate them in spring.

Forced BulbsDig Up Summer Bulbs
Do you love how your esteemed summer bulbs bloomed this year? Put them aside for a repeat next year! Dig up and store cannas, callas, dahlias, caladiums, and other delicate bulbs in peat moss or sand. Put them in a cool, frost-free spot for the winter.

BONUS TIP: If you reside in a region where your bulbs are hardy, you can go ahead and leave them alone. Digging up and storing summer bulbs is only crucial if they can’t handle the winter cold that your region encounters.

Rake and Mulch
If left neglected, fallen leaves may smother your yard. Shred them and utilize them as mulch.

Get Bulbs in the Ground
Now is the time to plant your best-loved bulbs.

BONUS TIP: You can pull off procrastinating on planting bulbs until the soil freezes hard enough that you can’t get a shovel into it.

Force Bulbs for Winter Color
Get a head start on spring by planting bulbs indoors in January or February. Bulbs such as hyacinth and narcissus will do exceptionally well if you plant them in fall and keep them cool until you’re set to delight in the colored blooms.

Feed Your Yard
Don’t allow your grass to start winter without the essential nutrients it needs to combat the winter weather.

Bring Sensitive Container Plants Inside
Remove any deceased foliage and break apart any hard soil before transporting your treasured tropical plants inside for the winter.

BONUS TIP: Be on the lookout for pests. Before escorting plants indoors, spray them to keep harmful insects out of your home.

Garden HoseEmpty Hoses, Fountains, and Drip-Irrigation Systems
Confirm that all standing water is drained from your watering apparatuses and store these items in a dry place.

Clean Up the Vegetable Garden
Pull any weeds
and remove any debris so pests are discouraged from making your vegetable garden their winter home.

Dig Up Annuals
Exhausted and deceased, your summer annuals can now cultivate and nourish your compost pile.

Protect Cold-Sensitive Plants
Roses, perennials, and shrubs that might capitulate to cold weather should be sheltered with mulch or another cladding.

Contact us for more tips on how to optimize your garden and enhance your home’s curb appeal for the real estate market! If you are looking to buy in Anacortes or elsewhere in Skagit County, we can guide you to finding a great home in this beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest.

15 Packing Tips for Moving

There are tons of things that you’d rather be doing than packing. But when you sell your home, moving is no longer a matter of if but when… it’s time to accept the inevitable.

Before you look around and panic, take a deep breath. We’ve consulted knowledgeable real estate agents and moving professionals to collect the best packing tips to facilitate and simplify your move.

packing1. Start by assembling your all-star team. The first thing you can do is rally the troops. Many hands make light work, and you will need all the help you can receive. Use this event as an excuse to be together.

2. Inquire as to what the moving company will do for you regarding packing. Ask if the service package includes wrapping the furniture in plastic, including dressers, nightstands, and end tables.

3. Stock up on all of your moving must-haves such as boxes, packing tape and bubble wrap. If you’re packing up a whole house, it’s better to have extra packing materials than not enough.

4. Sort items into three separate piles: sell, donate, and toss. If you’re hurrying, you might want to start throwing random items into boxes. But you can streamline the process by keeping the focus on simplifying and downsizing down before you move. It is never too early to start planning your move. Smart sellers know less is more when it comes to showing a home and start the decluttering process well in advance.

5. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Why not host a pre-move party? Before putting perfectly good items in the trash invite friends, family, and neighbors over to go through your unwanted items. Give them your half-empty liquor bottles, cleaning supplies, and perishable foods. It will be less expensive to restock once you’re in your new home than moving those items.

6. Hold a weekend yard sale for the final purge. Plenty of people enjoy shopping at good old-fashioned garage sales.

7. Create a moving itinerary and take a home inventory. You can choose to write one or download one from the internet. A basic home inventory can help keep you on track before and during your move. We have a printable template to make things easier just let us know, we will gladly share it with you.

8. Calculate the number of boxes you’ll need in advance. Boxes are essential when preparing for a move. Keep an eye out for free boxes.

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9. Get creative with items that you already own that can be used as boxes. Use storage items such as plastic totes, recyclable grocery bags, storage containers, sturdy baskets, etc. This can cut down on your box expenses.

10. Label each box with your last name, its general contents, “Fragile” if necessary, and what room the box belongs in.

11. Begin by packing nonessentials, seasonal items, or anything you don’t regularly use such as art from the walls, clothing that is out of season, holiday decorations, or dishware for special occasions.

12. Take a photo of the back of your TV and any other electronics that need various cords or cables. You’ll need to know and where to plug everything in and it will save time setting up at your new home.

13. Be sure to plan for your first days in your new home. Just like it takes time to prepare for your move, it’s going to take the time to unpack and get situated in your new home. It helps if you have necessities ready and easy to locate such as your pillows, laptop, your favorite sweatpants, and snacks. Typically, these would be items that you packed last and transported with you.

 

new home14. Use a binder to store your important and sensitive documents. Make a file for critical personal documents and put them in your fireproof safe and transport that with you during the move.

15. Be sure to inform every one of your new address. Alert all your utility companies about your change of address a few weeks prior to your move. Organize a shutoff date at your old home and a start date at your new home. Be sure to change your address on all accounts and subscriptions.

Moving doesn’t have to be dreadful, but it can be a chaotic and nerve-racking time for some people. Outsource what you can and plan in advance as much as possible. Any stress will be well worth it once you’re enjoying your new home!

Moving with pets? Here are some tips to make the transition easy for your best friends!

Not sure where to start? We can help! Click here to start searching for your new home.

Fall Preparation List

autumn-speed-bumpsHere in Anacortes the leaves are falling, and cool breezes are blowing as fall has arrived. Now is the perfect time for homeowners and sellers to get their homes prepped before winter to aid in avoiding issues in the coming months. On the following list are some suggestions that you can use to assist in protecting your home.

  • Seal and caulk around exterior doors and window frames. Check for gaps where pipes or wiring enter your home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape through these openings, but moisture can enter and cause mold or structural damage.
  • Check the roof for missing or flawed shingles. Water, wind, ice, and snow can cause serious damage to a susceptible roof, leading to a greater chance of damage to the home. It’s best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof if needed.
  • Clean out gutters and eaves of leaves, sticks, and any other debris. Using leaf guards can be a real time saver and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary repairs.
  • In regions where there is freezing weather, garden hoses should be drained and stored inside to safeguard them from the weather. Turn off outside faucets and be sure that exterior pipes are drained as well. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and break, causing leaks and serious water damage.
  • The furnace should be inspected to ensure that it’s safe and in good working order. Some utility companies will provide no cost inspections, but there can be a long waiting list in fall and winter. You should replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent ones according to the manufacturer’s instructions. By using a clean filter, you will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving money plus energy.
  • Homeowners can safely enjoy their fireplace on a chilly evening but be sure the firebox and chimney are professionally cleaned before use. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up and be at dangerous levels and cause a devastating chimney fire if not removed.

With these easy steps you can enjoy the comforts of your home all season long and know that you are protecting your investment too. Not a homeowner yet but are contemplating buying your dream home? Check out Anacortes homes for sale.

6 Home Inspection Myths

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Many real estate deals are dependent on a home inspection, so it is common that inspections cause a lot of anxiety for a buyer.  Here are some of the top myths surrounding home inspections that may help buyers adjust their expectations:

Having a license ensures a good home inspection – NOT TRUE

Not all states require home inspectors to be licensed, so make sure to check on the requirements in your state, in addition to other components of the inspector’s credentials, such as past clients, years of experience and customer reviews.

You can use a home inspection to identify problems that might be used as a tool to negotiate purchase price – NOT SO TRUE

While this is not the primary objective of a home inspection and the inspector is an unbiased, third party opinion, they inform buyers and sellers with an understanding of the physical condition of the home so the best decision can be made.

A home inspection tells you what your home is worth – NOT TRUE

An appraisal is intended to do this, not an inspection.

All home inspection certifications and professional education are created equal – NOT TRUE

Some programs are online certifications only without ever stepping into a home to conduct a real inspection.  The best certification offers both in-class and hands-on training, in addition to exam requirements.

Home inspections are not needed for newly built homes or condos – NOT TRUE

No home is perfectly built and its best to have an inspector pinpoint potential issues or future repairs.  Most inspectors can also give inspections during each construction “phase” of the property during development.

Home inspections are solely used on the buyer’s side – NOT TRUE

Although most inspections are performed for buyers, there are many advantages to a pre-listing inspection for sellers – including knowing about major issues before the house is listed for sale, which increases negotiating power to get the best sale price.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St.  We proudly serve Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan counties and beyond and are available daily to assist with all of your real estate needs.  Whether buying or selling, please contact at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

Modern Ways to Upgrade Popcorn Ceilings

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Realtors across the nation agree that popcorn ceilings repulse buyers as they are viewed as outdated and often give buyers suspicions of asbestos in the home.  Removing asbestos has the potential to raise your home value and keep buyers interested!

Simple updates, like replacing popcorn with a different texture, can as cheap as $1 to $3 per square foot according to HomeAdvisor. These easy-fixes might do the trick but can underwhelm new buyers.

While the tarps are down, you have an opportunity to make room-changing, home-value-increasing updates. Here are some fantastic options to bring your ceiling into the 21st century:

Coffered

To make the coffered style, beams are installed in a grid pattern with panels in between. The result is dynamic while the beams make each panel look recessed. Thicker beams will create more depth, while thin ones will be subtle. You can use one uniform color for the beams and panels, or you can make dramatic color choices to further accent your ceiling.

Beamed

This design will take your ceiling miles away from the manufactured look of popcorn texture. Beautiful wood or faux-wood beams can be installed across your ceiling in a variety of ways to accomplish your desired look. Select a natural wood stain for a cozy cabin feel, or paint the beams and the ceiling one color. You can also create the illusion of fully exposed floor beams, to turn any room into a rustic escape.

Painted

Paint is a great way to incorporate your ceiling into a design scheme, rather than leaving it out entirely. Match the ceiling to the walls or paint it a strong accent color. Build dimension with flourishes like faux medallions, ceiling rings and moldings, and paint them in either the same color or one that contrasts. Interior designers suggest bold finishes, like metallic or lacquer.

Tiled

Ceiling tiles come in a variety of materials, including Styrofoam, wood and tin, and can completely change the atmosphere of a room. Styrofoam and faux-tin tiles are light and easily installed, and they can add instant beauty and structure. These tiles can be as ornate or simple as you prefer.

One of the purposes of popcorn ceilings was to dull sound. If you’re concerned that the acoustics of your room will go haywire after you remove this texture, acoustical tiles are a great replacement. They are specifically designed to mute or muffle sound and can be applied directly to your ceiling.

Paneled

Beadboard and wooden planks are perfect materials for a paneled ceiling. You can maintain the raw wood stain of the planks or paint them to fit your color scheme. Panels have a streamlined and organized appearance, which is in strong contrast to the splotchy look of popcorn ceilings. They can make a room seem more put-together and calming.

Mix and Match

Having a hard time deciding which design you want more? You can mix some of these styles together for an even stronger impression. Wood-paneled ceilings look excellent with thick beams hung across them. Coffered ceilings pair well with faux-tin tiles in place of panels. It might be best to consult an interior designer, so that you get choose the materials and colors that work best.

For all of your real estate needs, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, is available daily at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com. Located in Old Town Anacortes at 809 7th St., Team Groesbeck proudly serves Anacortes, Skagit, Island, San Juan counties and beyond.

Thinking of Listing Your Property “For Sale By Owner”?

FBSO

Homes for sale by owner, or FSBO, transactions are commonly seen in seller’s markets or whenever homeowners want to maximize their profits by not having to pay commission.

Statistics show that selling your home with the assistance of a professional real estate agent like Anacortes-based Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. will garner you a higher profit, enough to cover the commission as well as put more money in your pocket. According to the National Association of Realtor®’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average FSBO sales price was $185,000, while the average price for a home represented by an agent was $245,000. That’s a difference of $60,000!

Houses for sale by owner leave a seller to do the negotiating. You’ll be relying on your own skill to finalize a contract, leaving yourself open to potential legal problems and a smaller profit when all is said and done.
Here are some of the top reasons why for sale by owner homes can cause major headaches.

Marketing your home online isn’t as easy as you think
Using an agent automatically offers widespread exposure for your listing through the multiple listing service. Your real estate agent will also have the means to promote your house to fellow agents to share with their clients. FSBO sellers would have to shell out big bucks for advertising and still might not reach the most important audience.

Homes for sale by owner could be priced wrong
Those who put their homes on the market as FSBO tend to set a price based on an online assessment tool or the lofty sum that the neighbor down the street claims they were offered—two methods that are liable to put the listing price way off.

A real estate agent will provide an accurate home value based on a comprehensive market analysis to help you arrive at the right listing price. The goal is to make sure you’re pricing your home in the sweet spot—not too high so that you are turning off potential buyers, and not too low so you are leaving money on the table.

You could underestimate (or overestimate) how much money to spend on curb appeal
Even if you’re not up for a full home makeover, your agent has an eye for detail and can recommend simple, budget-conscious swaps that can translate into real dollars when it comes negotiation time.

Showings
FSBO sellers don’t realize how draining it can be to set up showings. And on top of scheduling actual potential buyers, you also have to deal with both looky-loos, whereas your agent will handle all the scheduling and staff for the tours for you, so all you have to do is quickly tidy up and vacate.

In fact, that is another key reason to have an agent: Buyers can get uncomfortable with a seller hanging around during the showing. Agents also will weed out unsuitable offers and collect feedback that potential buyers might be unwilling to share directly with the seller, which can make subsequent showings even stronger.

Preparing your own paperwork can be tricky
The closing process can entail more than 20 pages of complicated paperwork, including the contract and addendums designed to cover all of the situations that could go wrong. Your agent will take care of all property disclosures and corresponding documentation to avoid future liability.
Considering selling your home, or are you ready to list now? Licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC can help! Located at 809 7th St. in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027, or at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com for all of your real estate needs!

We look forward to working for you!

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Top 4 Turn-offs for Buyers

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If you are thinking of selling your home or are in the process of selling your home, there are a lot of things to consider. Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC based in Old Town Anacortes has compiled a list for you of the top four things to avoid doing when listing your home for sale.

1. Don’t intimidate the buyer! This seems like a no brainer, right? However, you may not realize that you are in fact, intimidating the buyer, simply by giving them a tour of your home. It seems innocent enough, but when you are with them every step of the way, perhaps pointing out hand crafted features you made with your own two hands, the buyer may feel obligated to seem appreciative of these additions, when in fact they prefer a different style. In short, the buyer can’t be as open and honest as they would be with a Realtor®.

2. Get rid of those unpleasant odors!  Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods like broccoli, cabbage, fish, or garlic on showing dates. Make sure all clothing is freshly laundered and put away neatly. Wash pet items like towels, beds, toys and keep these items out of sight. Also, make sure you don’t go wild with air fresheners or incense. What smells wonderful to you might be quite unappealing to the nose of your buyer or they can even be allergic to some fresheners.

3. Don’t overprice your home! We don’t mean to be offensive here, but because of sentimentality, you might have an elevated sense of how much your home is worth. Talk with our experienced Jean Groesbeck & Associates LLC real estate brokers to find out how much your home is worth in the current market. When potential buyers see an overpriced home online or in a flyer, they often won’t even bother to look at it. Those who do, will expect certain standards of a home in this price range.

4. Be careful with home improvements! Your house may have some years on it, and perhaps the walls need to be painted, or the master bath needs an update. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Bright colored walls in the guest bedroom, or an exotic themed bathroom may be lovely to one person, but not so much to someone else. It’s always better to go with understated than overstated. If your home needs improvements before you sell it, consult with us! We can help you make choices that will get you the most return on your investment.

Contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC any time with any questions you have on selling your home in Anacortes, or other areas in Skagit County. Our team of full-time real estate agents are here to help you with any questions you have. If you are thinking about selling your home in Anacortes or Skagit County, contact us today!

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Buying or Selling Soon?

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Are you going to be buying or selling a property soon? There are expenses that you may not have considered yet; such who’s responsible for paying which fees, what does a real estate professional do, or other common questions including:

What is the standard compensation structure for real estate professionals?
For the most part, real estate professionals are compensated by commission, based on a home’s selling price. Commission rates vary, as does how the sales commission will be divided between the agents on the selling and buying side of the transaction. When a seller signs a listing agreement, their contract is with a brokerage firm. All fees must pass through that brokerage firm. Typically, the seller’s representative—and your buyer’s rep—will be paid by the listing broker after the transaction closes.

What services can I expect to receive?
The terms vary from state to state, and each buyer’s representative can set their own guidelines within their state parameters and their brokerage practices. So you should clarify, preferably in writing, the services you are entitled to receive before you start viewing properties.  It’s also important to understand that if you do buy a property, your buyer’s rep will probably receive compensation through the listing broker.

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC in Old Town Anacortes has a full-time team of brokers who are available daily to work for you, whether you are buying or selling. Not only do we negotiate pricing based on trends in similar homes or within the area, we market your home to sell using professional photography, advertisements and online marketing, in addition to hosting showings, open houses, tackling the paperwork, inspections and more.

Do you know that statistically homes sold using a real estate professional net more of a profit than those transactions that are for sale by owner? Team Groesbeck can address any questions you have about the buying and selling processes, as well as put you in touch with local lenders and more!

Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC is licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain and can be reached at (360) 941-3734, (360) 899-5027 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

 

Real Estate Terms Defined

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Both buying and selling a home can be intimidating experiences, especially if your Realtor® begins using terms with which you are not familiar, before really explaining them. Team Groesbeck’s goal as your Realtor® is to make the home buying or selling process as smooth as possible, beginning with defining a few terms for you!

Adjustable Rate Mortgage – An adjustable rate mortgage is one that has a fluctuating interest rate; they typically have a lower initial interest rate for a set time, then adjust according to an index.

Certificate of Title – This proves that the property is legally owned by the seller, and that no other party has any claims over it.

CMA – CMA’s (Comparative Market Analysis) are done by agents when you are looking to sell your home. They will put together a report to determine a fair asking price based on the current market and how other homes are doing in your area.

Comps – The term “comps” refers to properties that are comparable to your property. This takes into account the home’s size, close amenities and location, in addition to other factors.

Deed – The deed is a legal document proving transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer.

Disclosures – Disclosures are details about the home that a seller must provide to a buyer. For example; if the basement often floods in heavy storms or if there is lead in the home, the seller would need to disclose this information.

Due Diligence – Due diligence refers to the buyers’ responsibility to research and verify details about the transaction. For example, it is the buyer’s responsibility to coordinate an inspection, and confirm that the information coming from the seller’s attorney and broker are legitimate.

Escrow – Escrow is the time period when purchase funds are released from one party to another and the transfer of the home is completed. The escrow company is a neutral third party who executes the transaction utilizing the purchase agreement and other documents.

Firm Commitment – A firm commitment is a promise from a lender that they will enter into an agreement with another entity (typically a buyer) within a certain period of time.

Fixture – Fixtures are items of value that are permanently attached or a part of a property. This can include lighting, carpeting, or landscaping; these items have the potential to cause disputes between the buyer and seller and are sometimes used as leverage for negotiations.

HOA Docs – Some homes fall under the jurisdiction of a Homeowner’s Association. In this case documents outlining the association’s regulations will be provided either by the association, or through your Realtor®.

Pre Qualification – Borrowers (home buyers) must go through a process where the lender confirms that the borrower qualifies for a loan, based on their credit history and current financial standing. This is done using only the information the buyer provides the lender. The amount for which one is pre-qualified is to be considered an estimate, and is not set in stone. This information does, however, show your Realtor® and the seller of the home in which you are interested that you are serious about the home buying process.

Pre Approval – Getting pre-approved is the next step, and is more involved than the pre-qualification process. The buyer will complete an official mortgage application with their chosen lender, and supply the lender with necessary documentation so an extensive check can be done on their financial background and current credit rating. You will be given an exact amount for which you are approved and completing both the pre-qualification and pre-approval process will allow you to know how much you can actually afford.

While these are only some of the many real estate terms, Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC will guide you along the way to ensure your transaction runs smoothly.  Located in Old Town Anacortes, Team Groesbeck is available daily to work for you and can be reached at (360) 941-3734 or Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.

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Move-In Ready, Single Level Home in Skagit County

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1803 E Fox Hill St. (MLS 1204699) in Mt. Vernon is a move-in ready and spotless one level home located on a quiet cul-de-sac, listed at $250,000.

Featuring 3 total bedrooms including a spacious master suite and 1.5 total baths, the home’s fully fenced yard has a shed for additional storage, as well as raised flower beds, compost box, patio, dog kennel on a concrete slab with dog house and plenty of room for an RV!

The attic was also configured to provide additional storage space.

1803 E Fox Hill St. is located just two blocks to College Way, which makes for easy access to I-5 and travel about Skagit County.

For additional information about this property or to schedule a showing, please contact Jean Groesbeck & Assoc. LLC, licensed under Coldwell Banker Bain, at 809 7th St. in Old Town Anacortes.  Team Groesbeck can be reached daily at (360) 941-3734 or via email at Jean@JeanGroesbeck.com.