Be the One to ‘Bring Help Home’

A natural disaster can bring a community to its knees. But with the help and hard work of NAR members, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF) is there to help pick up the pieces.

RRF is holding its second annual online silent auction Nov. 7–9 – coinciding with the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans – to raise funds and increase awareness of the foundation’s mission: “Bring Help Home.” A full 100 percent of all donations goes directly to victims of tornados, hurricanes, floods, fires, and other disasters that result in the need of housing-related assistance.

In addition to participating in this year’s auction, YPN members can also support RRF by donating auction items such as gift baskets, gift cards, electronics, trip packages, hosted events, and more. The deadline to submit donated items is Sept. 15. All companies donating items will be showcased with their company name, URL, and logo. Download the silent auction donation form.

Last year’s auction raised $55,000 for RRF. This year’s fundraising goal is $100,000. Here’s how it works: Online bidding will take place over 48 hours, opening Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. CST, and closing Nov. 9, 3 p.m. CST. Anyone can bid via computer or mobile device from anywhere in the country. Go to the auction site, to register to bid. Registration is required to bid on items. Items will be available for preview before the bidding period opens. Winning bidders will be notified via e-mail at the close of the auction. Not interested in bidding?  You can show your support by clicking the “Donate Cash” link on the auction site to make a tax-deductible contribution to RRF.

The REALTORS® Relief Foundation started in response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. REALTORS® and others raised $8.5 million for 1,300 families who lost a loved one to help offset their mortgage or rent. Since then, the foundation has raised another $16.5 million to provide mortgage and temporary housing assistance to nearly 9,000 families in 41 disasters. Most recently, $1.4 million was distributed to those suffering severe damage or total loss of their homes caused by Hurricane Sandy, massive flooding in Colorado, and EF4 tornadoes in Illinois and Arkansas.

Erica Christoffer is a senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at

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Mow in the Know: 5 Common Mowing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Cutting too short. Each time you mow, only remove about one-third of the grass blade. Shorter clippings break down more easily, allowing some of the natural nitrogen to return to the soil. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth. Removing only a small amount of the blade each time you mow is a good practice and will give you the best quality turf.

 2. Mowing pattern monotony. We all have our habits, but mowing your lawn in the same pattern all year is one you need to break. Mowing grass in the same direction all the time can mat down the turf and inhibit growth. By varying the pattern in which you mow your grass, you will avoid missing or double mowing areas and reduce wear on the turf. This will encourage a healthier, more beautiful lawn.

3. Bagging it. Though bagging clippings is a common practice, mulching is much more beneficial to your lawn. Mulching returns essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, back to the soil. As noted above, removing only a small amount of the grass blade each time you mow produces shorter clippings that can decompose more quickly and discourages the development of fungus diseases. Many mowers, like the John Deere 100 Series, have mulching capabilities built in. If you do decide to bag, be sure to compost your clippings and reuse on site.

4. Ignoring the roots. A common lawn care mistake is only managing the parts of the lawn you can see. Caring for the grass roots and soil is one of the most important things you can do now to ensure healthy growth year round. Consider taking a soil sample and having a local university extension program or your local landscape supplier provide a soil analysis. The results will give a measure of fertility based on nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels, and can help determine the best type of fertilizer to use throughout the year.

5. Blunt mower blades. A dull mower blade will shred grass blades creating entryways for disease. Sharpen the mower blade to a thickness of about 1/64 of an inch to keep the blade strong and not too razor sharp. Be sure the blade is balanced to warrant a clean cut and avoid damage to the mower.


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