Meet Our Smart Move Partners!  Spotlight: Fulcrum Properties Group

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Michael Lederman, Lead Listing Agent & Realtor at Fulcrum Properties Group.  We met at their sunny Capitol Hill headquarters located at 1328 G Street SE, which is just up the street from Eastern Market (conveniently adjacent to lesser known neighborhood gems La Lomita & Mangialardo’s),  and houses a prodigious and colorful bear statue aptly named “Stripey” to greet you out front.  Welcome, come on in.

As a successful real estate force, can you share a little about what makes the Fulcrum Group such a strong team?

We really try to hire from a place of culture first, rather than just focusing on recruiting the highest producing agents.  You can teach a lot of the skills to better learn the market, but the foundation is always getting people on the team who value taking care of clients.  

I love that!  So how did this team come together?  It’s always interesting to hear about the roots and inspiration for a business.

Fulcrum Properties Group is the coming together of 3 people (Principals Jim Lisowski, Tom Kavanagh & Ty Voyles) who had previously been working at a different brokerage with a more “dog-eat-dog” model where agents work on their own.  Fulcrum, by contrast, was created with a different model that encourages teamwork and rewards collaboration rather than competition between realtors.

What does this teamwork structure look like?  How does it affect the client experience?

Our model allows every individual on the team to have total expertise in their part of the process and really enjoy and leverage their contribution.  The Capitol Hill office has 5 agents that work exclusively with buyers, I (Mike Lederman) am a seller specialist, and there are also realtors with specific location expertise working out of offices in NW DC and Northern Virginia.  And there are other staff lending in house support to all locations for other crucial steps in the process, such as helping to execute the client contracts from ratification all the way to a successful settlement.  

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE:  The definition of “Fulcrum” gives a little insight into these team values where everyone take their part of the process and SLAYS IT.  

ful·crum, noun

1.) An agent through which vital powers are exercised.
2.) A thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation.

One of the many things that makes working at Bookstore Movers so invigorating is our company commitment to give back to the communities we serve.  I was excited to see that Fulcrum shares these same values by having a formal community giving program.  What is that exactly?

1% of each transaction is donated to a charity of the client’s choosing in their name.  So it’s been a great way to continuously give back to local schools, nonprofits and other community organizations. We are also very events oriented, and regularly host gatherings to stay in better touch with client’s and provide an opportunity for the community to come together.  Some examples would be our annual Water Works Party and Halloween Spooktacular at Congressional Cemetery. We also have been doing a Home Renovators Expo at Eastern Market’s North Hall where some of our favorite vendors can come together in one place to promote what they do, and be accessible to people in need of those services.

On a more personal note, I heard you used to work at Bookstore Movers!  How did this experience connect to your current profession as a realtor?

I did work as a mover with Bookstore for about a year starting in 2012.  Getting the chance to see so many neighborhoods and spaces all over the city, and the unique opportunity to help people through a stressful transition, it seemed like a natural next move to pursue real estate.  It was actually Matt (Wixon, founder & owner of BSM) who introduced me to Jim (Lisowski, principal at Fulcrum).  We had a burger and beer at Trusty’s sometimes towards the end of 2013 and that was how it began.

You know I have to ask.  What kind of boss was Matt back in those days? How would you sum up your Bookstore employee experience?

Bookstore is such a stand-up company, and Matt is an incredible leader. I was so grateful for the experience I had working there, and try to always carry those lessons with me.

Another question on the “must” list.  Favorite book?  Or just maybe a favorite thing you’ve read lately?

That’s one area where I’m much different from people at Bookstore.  I don’t read a lot.  I think I spend my energy that other people might spend reading taking in information and the world around me in a pretty intense way.

Brief interlude for me to initially be in shock, then laugh awkwardly.  I also used this a chance to poke a little fun at the Fulcrum Little Library out front that had only one book and seemed in need of some love (feel free to donate books!).  Not everyone is a reader though, even at Bookstore Movers! So what, right?  He did happen to mention at some point that he has been known to meditate up to 2 hours per day, and even successfully completed a 10 day silent retreat, so clearly he has found some pretty profound ways to replace reading that the average person could not muster.

As a realtor, you are traveling around the city quite a bit.  Any favorite “go-to” spots you can’t resist?

Maketto was formerly my favorite place for coffee, but my current go-to is the Wydown by Whole Foods on H Street. In addition to really good coffee, they have excellent scones and breakfast sandwiches. For dinner, I’d say either the Red Hen on First Street, or All Purpose, a newer pizza/Italian place over by the Convention Center.

And if you are enjoying a rare day off, what would you be doing?

Resting, spending time with my wife and dog.  We also like to travel, and have been on a number of trips lately to Europe, Mexico, Costa Rica and Pompano Beach, FL (where family lives).

 

Interested in becoming a Smart Move Partner?  Connecting with other great businesses to further enhance our customer’s experience is something we love too! Email me at jackie@bookstoremovers.com for more information about this exciting opportunity.

 

Ditch the Grinch and Choose Your Own Holiday Adventure: New Ways to Slay this Controversial Time of Year

The holiday season is a whirlwind, whether you are captivated by the magic, or stuck in a repetitive groundhog day-like list of must do’s.  No matter where you fall on this scale, breaking the mold and trying new things can feel rejuvenating during a time where many of us are in a rut relying on coffee and spiked eggnog to get through.  You may even find yourself inspired to create some new traditions!

Volunteer:  This is something you can do on your own or with friends and family, including kids.  There are so many options out there that allow you to provide some real support without a long term commitment being required.  Nothing zaps the holiday doldrums like the opportunity to be of service to others and feel the real spirit of the season. Here’s a great list of ideas!

 

Up your skills in the kitchen:  Instead of letting another year go by wishing you had more impressive selections to bring to parties or the office potluck, actually do something to up your game!  Cooking classes are a great way to channel your inner chef and take your culinary game to the next level. Learn how to throw down some impressive creations (or the experience will at least give you some funny stories and fond memories).   

The Hill Center is a great resource for this, or you can check out some other classes in the DC area!

 

Make wellness a priority: This time of year it’s harder to prioritize a routine that focuses on daily self-care.  Sign yourself up for something that will allow you to treat yourself to a much needed indulgence for the mind, body and spirit.

You can make an appointment for Massage or Reflexology, learn more about Aromatherapy, or even put on your boogie shoes and take some dance lessons. Celebrate the power of the Winter Solstice and start the New Year off with mindfulness and healing (instead of hangovers and overspending)!

 

Spend some time outside and in nature:  Spring, summer and fall are the seasons that really tend to steal the show for outdoor activities.  We all know those people who are part arctic fox and really keep up their enthusiasm when the temperatures drop, but the truth is many of us start spending a lot more time indoors by December. Bundle up and have an adventure!

The Arboretum is still an incredible place to visit this time of year, and the Sculpture Garden now has a skating rink. You can hike or bike with a local meet-up group, or go see the lights at the National Zoo!

 

Learn more about local DC history:  If you haven’t already visited the Anacostia Community Museum, this current exhibit is a great excuse to check it out.

 

See a holiday show:  There are some fun options out there that are appropriate for all ages (and a nice break from the Nutcracker).

 

Go see a movie on the big screen:  Instead of Netflix and chill, get off the couch and head to the Miracle Theatre on Barracks Row.  This month they are featuring holiday favorites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf and The Polar Express.  Added bonus: wearing a festive sweater will entitle you to a discount.  

 

Get to Know Your Furniture, Part 3!

Fainting Couch
If the name of this item makes you picture a scene from a Victorian era novel, you would be on the right track.  The fainting couch is a furniture piece similar to a more modern day chaise lounge or a traditional settee with the back raised higher on one side.  They were popular in the 19th century and were particularly used by women, who were said to often have daybeds in their boudoirs to receive guests and to have a safe place to fall when wearing a corset for extended periods left them light headed.  According to historians, this type of reclining furniture actually originated in 7th century BC, so some think the Victorian attempt at Greek and Roman revival was actually more of a fashion statement to impress guests in public rooms like a parlor, rather than an intimate furniture piece hidden away for the lady of the house.
 

 

 

Escritoire
This small writing desk is said to have merged into different variations that we commonly call a secretary desk today.  The originals in 16th century Europe were hardly larger than a lap desk with small drawers and compartments to hold traditional items such as an ink pot, blotter, writing feathers and pens.  The Escritoire started to be mass produced in France during the 18th century and during that time new distinctive features such as the hinged drop down front, and the tall upper bookcase element were added.
Trundle Bed
Often called a hide-a-bed, this is a space saving pair of typically twin sized beds, where the second mattress pulls out from under the primary bed, and can be put out of sight when not in use.  These beds are mentioned in writings dating back to 16th century Europe, where servants would sleep in the same room as the Lord and Lady so they could be there for protection.  And more updated versions were seen again many years later in the pre-Civil War south where slaves would be assigned to sleep in children’s rooms to attend to their nightly needs.  Now trundle beds are commonly seen as an optional part of a kid’s furniture set since they offer a practical way to host sleepovers with friends.
Etagere
An etagere is a storage unit with characteristic open tiered shelf construction, and a light airy feel gives the appearance that it’s not taking up as much space as a traditional bookcase or curio cabinet.  These pieces were developed in France at the beginning of the 19th century and the word is actually french for “shelf”. Also called a whatnot, this style became a popular form of furniture in mid-19th century England where displaying collectibles became a common form of decorating, and during this time the pieces also became much more ornate and expensive.

Get to Know Your Furniture, Part 2!

Grandmother Clock
Thinking this must be a typo?  In very broad terms, a Grandmother clock is similar to a Grandfather clock, but typically about two thirds the size of it’s more well known counterpart without the signature pendulum.  These clocks tend to be slim and spring driven with chimes, a dome top, and although being under 6’3 in height is the rule of thumb, many are actually in the more petite 5’4-5’9 range.  Most of these were made in the 1920’s and 30’s which is well after the birth of the original Grandfather Clock in 1656.
 
Chifforobe
To the untrained eye, this utilitarian storage item could easily be mistaken for an armoire.  It’s actually a smaller piece that features both a long space for hanging clothes as well as drawer storage.  The name draws from both the French chiffonier, a tall piece with drawers, and a wardrobe which traditionally offers ways to hang items in order to serve as a move-able closet.  These are most commonly found in the southern United States and debuted in the Sears catalog in 1908. Most are factory made due to their post Industrial Revolution invention, but there are some unique hand made ones out there for those who like a shopping challenge.
 
Credenza
The name comes from the English word “credence” and the Italian word for “belief”. In the 16th century, the act of credenza was the tasting of food and drinks by a servant for a VIP guest in order to test for poison.  The name was then passed to the room where testing took place and then eventually to the furniture, which during this time was typically a small but solid legless cabinet. By the mid-20th century the Credenza took on a more modern look with a longer body, slender legs and sliding doors, and can sometimes be mistaken for similar furniture pieces commonly found in a dining room such as a sideboard or buffet.

Get to Know Your Furniture, Part 1!

Pie Safe

Although the name of this furniture piece tends to conjure up an image of a stashed sweet treat locked away in a foreboding metal vault, only part of that’s true. A pie safe was originally designed in the pre-icebox 18th century to hold pies and other perishable food items to protect them from vermin, but it is actually a free standing wood cabinet with ventilated doors that open out in front.  Today these antiques are more likely to hold collectibles than edibles but the unique design makes them noteworthy even if they are no longer functional.
 
Dry Sink 
This is not the arid vessel of a person who never cooks or does dishes but rather a piece of furniture that was common in homes before the invention of indoor plumbing in order to provide a convenient place to wash and store toiletries.  There are different styles but a dry sink is almost always a wood cabinet base with a top made to hold a basin and pitcher for water.  In more modern times these are sometimes re-purposed as a vintage bathroom vanity. Dry sinks are one of the most copied antiques out there today, so be careful if you are looking for an original.
 
Cellarette
These wooden chests originally functioned as freestanding liquor cabinets and first appeared in 15th century Europe as a way to secure alcoholic beverages in public houses. Cellarettes then became popular in Virginia and other southern colonies during the 18th century as a way to safely store personal collections of whiskey and wine. They were often custom made with decorative wood such as mahogany, and came in many shapes and sizes.  Over time they became less portable and were commonly built into another furniture piece such as a buffet, with space for glasses and other drinking paraphernalia as well a lock to protect the goods from thieves.

Giving Tuesday

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Giving Tuesday is not just a day, it’s a movement!   This global day of giving is being celebrated on November 29th, and was created to unite us in kicking off the charitable season and to get more engaged by donating time, money, a gift or just the power of your voice.  Interested but not sure where to start? You can search for ways to get involved on their main website or check out some of our favorite nonprofits that are always in need of support to keep doing the amazing work they do.
 
Serve Your City – This Capitol Hill based nonprofit creates essential learning opportunities for at-risk District of Columbia students through innovative programming such as alternative sports (swimming, rowing, tennis), art, financial literacy, after school tutoring and college preparation with the help of passionate volunteers, community organizations, and academic consultants.  There are many options to get involved or donate to this unique organization that is helping to change the outcomes of local youth who are most in need.
 

Rural Dog Rescue – This local rescue group is dedicated to saving the lives of dogs in shelters who are often overlooked and most at risk of being euthanized such as the hounds, the black dogs, the seniors and those with medical needs.  There are many donation options and RDR is always in need of volunteers who can foster and help with events. And of course if you are looking to adopt a new furry family member, this organization is a great place to start your search!

 

Capitol Hill Restoration Society – Founded 60 years ago to help preserve and protect the historic neighborhood’s architectural and residential character, it is now the largest civic association on Capitol Hill, and one of the largest in the District of Columbia. CHRS continues to play a key role in maintaining the integrity, history and appeal of the neighborhood which has been a diverse community for more than 200 years, and is always in need of volunteers to assist with their annual house tour fundraiser and other events, write for the newsletter and provide website support.

 

Small Business Saturday!

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It may be tempting to get caught up in the hoopla of Black Friday madness or want to check out shopping deals from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday.  But please don’t forget to support all the wonderful independent businesses by getting out there for Small Business Saturday on November 26th!  Many of your local shops will also be offering promotions, and it’s a chance to enjoy the fun of chatting with store owners, running into neighbors and getting some real one of a kind finds.  Here’s a few ideas if you’re feeling stuck.
 
Hello, books anyone? – Of course we highly recommend a trip to Capitol Hill Books (as in, if you haven’t been, you must go), and also suggest checking out our friends at East City Books to search for amazing gifts for all those readers in your life or just to treat yourself during this stressful season.
 
Exercise lover in your life? – Sustainable brands of clothing and gear from Summit to Soul, a class pass to Be Here Now Yoga or a giftcard for a massage from Freed Bodyworks.
 
Pets are people too? Howl to the Chief has a large selection of goodies for dogs and cats as well as giftcards that can be used in the boutique or for services such as grooming and pet sitting.
 
Kiddos? Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is newly expanded and full of exciting gift ideas for kids (and adults) of all ages.
 
Home is where the heart is?Fragers Hardware and Garden Center is a good place to scope out both practical and interesting gifts, and Hill’s Kitchen literally has something for everyone who likes to cook, eat, drink or entertain. (and who doesn’t?)
 

Welcome to the Hill!

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Thanksgiving is a time when many of us have a more heightened awareness of all we have to be grateful for, and prioritizing giving to others.  The Bookstore Movers family spreads generosity all year long by regularly donating time and resources to many, many great causes that benefit our local community (as I write this we have crews out delivering trucks full of turkeys that will go to deserving people and families for the upcoming holiday, and next week those same trucks will be making Christmas tree deliveries for a local school fundraiser).
So it is not surprising that November was the kick off month for our new Welcome Packet.  Thanks to the power of collaboration, all BSM clients moving onto the Hill (our original neighborhood stomping grounds, the home of Capitol Hill Books and where our roots run the deepest) will now be receiving a folder filled with materials and promotions from some of our favorite independent businesses and nonprofits here in the neighborhood.  So for customers new to the ‘hood, we’re providing a great kick off point for places to check out for local services, shops, classes and volunteer work.  As a small business, we are committed to supporting other small businesses and nonprofits, and it’s only fair that in the season of giving we share with new residents some of the many resources that make living on the Hill enjoyable and unique.  And for those of you not living on the Hill, it’s an open invitation to come visit our quirky village, and also to make similar commitments and collaboration efforts wherever you do call home.

Thanks, Hill Rag!

Lookin' Jolly

Thanks to local Capitol Hill realtor Heather Schoell for entrusting Bookstore Movers to provide the type of top notch industry expertise that her monthly column in the Hill Rag “Real Estate Matters” is known for! In addition to providing a high quality service for our clients, BSM takes pride in being able serve the local community and partner with other like minded people, businesses and organizations in this mission, and are grateful that we had the opportunity to connect with Heather and offer some practical moving advice for this month’s readers.  The Hill Rag is an incredible resource for a variety of information and we congratulate them in recently celebrating their 40th anniversary. Check them out online, go directly to the rest of our blog for more moving specific tips and other relevant relocation related information, or our estimate form to schedule your next move!

 

How to Get Settled in After Moving – Moving Tips #3

Sometimes the last step of a move is the most forgotten one: How to get settled in after moving?

The Bookstore Movers van pulls away, and you turn around to a house full of boxes and furniture, you’re tired, you’re probably a bit hungry, and you’re generally overwhelmed.  Your new life in your new house has just begun, the culmination of what can be years of searching in some cases.  So, what do you do next?

Here are our latest moving tips, designed to help guide you through this last step of the moving process.

Unpacking:
•    Unpack the music first – an ipod with speakers, a laptop, a massive stereo, whatever your fancy, a little music makes whole process easier and makes an otherwise empty house feel like home…
•    Clean – We know, we know, it’s the last thing you want to do, and hopefully your house was cleaned before you moved in, but still just passing through a room with a broom or a vacuum before you start opening moving boxes might be a good idea. It will prolong the time before you next have to clean, and will give the whole place an even fresher feeling when it’s all set up.
•    Start with the … – The bedroom?  The kitchen?  The kids’ rooms?  This is all a personal preference, what really matters though is to start with unpacking a whole room and work from there rather than just opening moving boxes hither and thither.  Starting with one whole room will give you a beach head on the whole process, a place you can retreat to to relax when you need a break.  If it’s late when you start, the bedroom might be the best bet; if you’re hungry, maybe the kitchen or dining room; if you have kids or pets, getting them set up first might save you some stress later.  Whatever the solution that works for you is, just keep it organized.
•    Organize your trash – depending on where you live, a lot of moving supplies can be recycled. No matter where you live, lots of moving supplies are re-usable.  Come up with a plan before you start unpacking so you know what you’ll be doing with the moving boxes and bubble wrap that are about to start piling up.

Settling In:
•    Introduce yourselves to your neighbors – Knowing your neighbors can really change your impression of an area and your experience living there.  When you’ve just moved in is the best time to swing by and say hello, you can ask them little questions about things like trash pickup and already feel settled in you new community.
•    Check out a local newspaper – or website or coffee shop bulletin board, whatever there is local to your town or neighborhood that will give you a sense of what is going on there and what you can get involved in.
•    Go for a walk – This can even be a great way to take a break from packing, just go outside to get some fresh air. Walking around your new neighborhood now that you live there will give you a different perspective on the place, you’ll see your new home in a new light and you’re bound to notice things you hadn’t seen before.

Getting settled in after moving takes time. Over the coming weeks and months you’ll learn more about your surroundings and meet more of your neighbors.  Hopefully it will all work out and you’ll never have to move again – but please do remember if you wind up changing houses, you know where the find the best movers in DC!