Predictions for 2018's Housing Market

The Michigan real estate market is no exception, 2018 is projected to be a strong year in real estate.  Here are some pros and cons of buying and selling your home in the Michigan real estate market in 2018.

 

Mortgage Rates are on the Rise

Although rates are projected to increase in 2018, they are only projected to slightly rise. This means now more than ever is a great time to buy as they will only continue to rise over the next year or so, and you can still get a great rate!

Rent Prices Increase

Millennials are reaching the point in their life where they are having to make the decision of continuing to rent or becoming a homeowner. As rent prices rise it is becoming increasingly affordable to take on a mortgage. Many renters are finding they are able to take on a mortgage for the same, or at times, a cheaper monthly payment!

Low Inventory on the Market

Low housing inventory will continue into the new year, which will make it a great time for sellers. This trend will result in homes to selling quicker at a higher price. It's more important than ever for buyers to have a real estate agent working for them. Having an agent will get you the quickest access to homes once they're on the market.

Housing Prices on the Rise

As the demand for houses remains higher than the supply, many home prices will rise. Housing will become less affordable which will hurt Millennials and those that are renting the most. It's always best to work with a trusted real estate agent to best determine the listing price for your home. An experienced real estate agent has the knowledge and experience in your market and will be able to guide you to reach top dollar for your home.

The market for 2018 is really at a stage that can work well for both sellers and buyers.  Since rent prices are on the rise and mortgage rates are slowly increasing as well, now is a great time for renters to become homeowners!  with motivated buyers on the market and low inventory now is a great opportunity for sellers to get multiple offers on their home. If you are looking to buy, the first step is to consult an experienced real estate agent and get pre-approved for a mortgage.  Sellers will want to consult with a real estate agent for expert advice on their home value and the current market!

 

Nov. 7, 2019

Getting Your Home Ready for the Holidays

The holiday season is one of the most-traveled periods of the entire year. People drive and fly across the country to visit friends and loved ones. It’s wonderful to have those you care about coming to visit, but it can also be very stressful if your home is in disarray. Even though you tell yourselves that people won’t really care about what your home looks like, there’s always that fear that they’ll judge you if your house isn’t ready for guests. You don’t have to worry, though. There are a number of ways that you can make your home more festive in preparation for holiday visitors. Here are just a few suggestions to help get you started.

 

Rearrange the Furniture

Even something as simple as rearranging some of the furniture can have a big impact on the look of your home when company arrives. Changing the positioning of couches, chairs and other large pieces can open rooms up and make them seem more inviting to your visitors. Best of all, you can easily focus the changes around a Christmas tree or other holiday centerpieces to really tie things together and create a unified holiday look. Once your guests leave, you can either move the furniture back to its usual spots or leave it where it is to keep the new look going throughout the year.

 

Clean Up the Outdoors

Another place that you can make a big impact is cleaning up around the outdoors. Rake leaves, clean up flower beds, trim back trees and bushes… do whatever needs to be done to get everything looking great before the temperatures drop too low. If possible, you may even want to clean the bricks or siding and clean out your gutters. While you’re up there, you may as well install some hangers for holiday light strings, too!

 

Update Your Accents

One seemingly small change that can make a big impression is to change the accent colors on your home by painting the doors and shutters. This option isn’t right for everyone since it’s a permanent change, but for those wanting to update the look of their home it can make a big difference. While the color you choose is dependent on the color of your home and your personal preference, going with red or green can add a splash of holiday flair that will still look great the rest of the year through.

 

Spruce Up the Floors

If your carpets are stained, worn or otherwise need a refresh, don’t just install a similar carpet in their place: Consider going for woodgrain vinyl slats or laminate wood flooring instead. These flooring options add the beauty of a natural wood floor without the frustration, standing up to stains and other issues while requiring significantly less work to maintain. Best of all, a change to a wood look near the holidays can enhance the charm of your home when your visitors finally arrive.

 

Change Your Decorating Style

Consider ditching the tired old holiday decorations that you put up every year and go with a bit of a different look this time around. If you usually go cartoony, consider something classier like white lights and pine accents. If your decorations are usually sparse, do something a bit more over the top this year. It doesn’t matter how you refresh your decorations, just give your visitors something to see that they haven’t seen before. While this is especially effective if combined with other updates to your home, you can still wow your guests just by subverting their expectations of your holiday décor.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Oct. 25, 2019

Do you really need new cabinets?

Are you in the market for some new cabinets? While it might seem like a good idea at first, replacing your cabinets might end up being more of a hassle than you expect. You may be able to give your cabinets a refresh for a lot less money (and stress!) than getting full replacement cabinets. If you’re not happy with your cabinets, here are a few options to consider before you rip them out completely.

 

Add a Coat of Paint

One of the simplest fixes you can make when it comes to your cabinets is simply adding a new coat of paint. So long as the cabinets themselves are still in decent shape, painting them can completely renew your kitchen and turn drab or ugly cabinets into virtual works of art. This can help you to match your cabinets to new appliances or a new decorating style and is also a huge help if your cabinets are a bit old and have simply faded or peeled with time. Just make sure that you take the time to do this job right; slapping new paint on top of a peeling finish without sanding or trying to cover stains and discolorations without a coat or two of primer is just asking for trouble.

 

New Doors and Fixtures

If your cabinets need a little more than just a coat of paint, consider upgrading their hardware as well. Handles, hinges and other fixtures are easy to replace and can completely change the look of your cabinets with relatively little work. You can also replace latches or cabinet locks while you’re at it, helping those cabinets that always seem to hang open to finally stay shut when you close them. If your problems are a bit more severe and you have damaged, warped or otherwise bad-looking cabinet doors, you can change them as well! New doors will completely revitalize your old cabinets and can be a great solution if the cabinet body and shelving is still in good shape. Best of all, if you still want to add a coat of paint you can easily paint the new doors before mounting them – much easier than doing it after they’ve been hung.

 

Reface Your Cabinets

Okay, so maybe your cabinets need a little more work than just new doors but the shelves and interiors are still in good shape. This is where refacing comes in. When you reface your cabinets, you’ll not only replace the doors and fixtures but you’ll also add veneer or other coverings to the outside of the cabinet body as well. This will cover up any cracks or other damage as well as unsightly stains, giving you the look of a fresh install at a fraction of the work. You won’t have to actually remove the cabinets but everyone who enters your kitchen will think that you did!

 

Do You Need New Cabinets?

If the interiors or the shelves in your cabinets are warped, damaged or otherwise in rough shape, you might have to go ahead and replace the full cabinets. The process is fairly straightforward, insofar as it just involves removing the old cabinets and putting new ones in. It may cost more than you expect, though, and the process is often a little more involved than that basic description makes it sound. If the cabinets need to go, though, don’t settle for substandard cabinetry just because you don’t want to do a full replacement. The solutions above are great when they work, but if your problems are too severe for them then by all means get some new cabinets in there.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Oct. 15, 2019

Fall Clean Up Tips!

Periodic home maintenance is essential, both to keep your house looking its best and to prevent problems that could worsen over time. One of the best times to clean up and maintain your home is during the fall, when temperatures start to drop but winter freezes are still a little way off. Fall cleaning can be a big job, so here are a few tips on how to tackle it in ways that you might not have considered.

 

Watch Your Flower Beds

A lot of people let leaves and other plant material build up over flower beds in the fall, working under the assumption that doing so will get the beds off to a good start in the spring. After all, won’t the leaves break down over the winter and give the soil a natural boost of fertilizer? The problem with this is that the piled leaves can also give insects and other pests a place to bed down in the winter and possibly gain access to your home. If you have rose beds, diseases and fungal infections may also stick around on those leaves, only to resurface in the spring.

 

Start Garden Prep Early

What can you do with those unwanted leaves, then? Drag them over to your garden! Spread fallen leaves, compost and any other material that will break down over the winter and cover your garden soil with it. Run a tiller over the whole area, breaking up the soil and driving that compostable material into the soil. This will take care of your leaves and other material AND make starting your garden easier in the spring!

 

Wash, Then Dry

It’s fairly common practice to unhook and stow your hoses in the fall before cold temperatures set in. Before you do that, though, give them a workout! Give your house a good wash before you unhook the hoses, removing as much dirt and other debris from the siding or bricks as possible. Once you’re done, unhook the hoses and allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them for winter.

 

Aerate for Winter

If you have drainage problems in the winter, fall is a good time to aerate your yard. While you can do this using hand tools, a lot of outdoor and hardware stores have machine aerators that you can rent at a decent price. The aerator will break through the packed-down topsoil, giving water an easier route to drain in the event of a wet autumn or winter season. Best of all, grass will grow better in the spring so you can easily cover up any thin or bald patches in the yard.

 

Break Out the Mower

Even though the grass stops growing in the fall, there’s still a good case for giving your yard one final mow. Wait until a lot of your yard tasks are finished, then run over the yard with the blade set low. Use a mulching guard and/or mulching blade for even better effect. This will not only nab any stray leaves that might have fallen after your clean-up but it will also ensure that your grass has a nice even cut before it starts growing again in the spring.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
Oct. 11, 2019

Halloween Decoration Trends

Decorating for Halloween is a tradition that many families take part in year after year. As with most traditions, though, the decorating trends that dominate Halloween change from time to time. The over-the-top Halloween decorating style will likely never fully go away, of course; there’s at least one house in every town that goes all out with its display and people always love it. If you’re looking for something simpler (and easier on the power bill), here are a few trendy options to keep in mind.

 

Candles

With the right candle holders, basic white candles can add that spooky touch you are looking for. There are specialty candles that are available that are carved out to look like all different Halloween items such as bones and pumpkins! A few tapers burned to different lengths serve as the perfect subtle candle accent to your other decorations.

 

Pumpkins

What would Halloween be without pumpkins? While the traditional jack-o-lantern is still great, there’s an increasingly common trend to display uncarved pumpkins as well. White pumpkins are also seeing an upswing in popularity to really help set your decorations apart from the norm.

 

Halloween Wreaths

There is also an increased popularity for Halloween wreaths. These wreaths come in a variety of styles, as they provide a lot more room to experiment compared to the more traditional Christmas wreaths. You can DIY a wreath yourself or buy one of multiple pre-made varieties to give your home a really unique Halloween look.

 

Lighting and Signs

Halloween lights have been growing in popularity in recent years, providing a decorative option that can be enjoyed even once the sun goes down. Signs, both lighted and non-lighted, are also firmly establishing themselves as Halloween must-haves. Combining the two can give your home a unique look that neighbors can enjoy both during the day and after the night descends.

 

Window Decorations

Instead of going all-out with inflatables, animatronics and big clunky pieces made of plastic and rubber, an up-and-coming trend is to make use of silhouettes in front of plain curtains to give your decorations a more subtle flair. Some homes even take this a step beyond, using white sheets or similar coverings on the interior windows and then using creative lighting and figure placement to actually cast shadows onto the waiting windows. The shadow puppet feel gives an extra layer of spookiness.

 

Black, White, and Purple Trappings

While black and orange are the dominant colors of Halloween, a big trend in recent years has been to move away from the orange and embrace the holiday’s darker tones. White is used for contrast, with the predominant colors in decorations being black and dark purple. Splashes of other colors may be added as well, but the black, white and purple theme is definitely striking.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Sept. 24, 2019

Time to update your home's curb appeal!

If your homes curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone -- including potential home buyers -- will want to take a look at what's inside. The good news is that there are many lost cost options to increase your homes curb appeal. When addressing where to start in the curb appeal process it can be helpful to find a new set of eyes to determine what needs to be fixed based on the budget you have created. First impressions can make or break your chance to sell your home profitably.

Clutter: Start this process by putting yourself in a buyer's position, remember that there are many things a buyer would notice about your house that you might not notice anymore. As you stand in your front yard look at the outside of your home to see if there is any excess clutter laying around. If your home is cluttered on the outside not only will this make buyers assume what the inside of your house look like, but it will also create an image in their head that since you don't have enough room for your belongings inside there won't be enough room for theirs in this house either.  

Dress up front entry way: When potential buyers are looking at your home the front door and entry way is a major focal point. Good news is that there are a lot of easy ways to spruce up your entry way. Start by taking care of any sticky cobwebs, rusted hardware, and peeling paint.

  • Dress things up with a fresh coat of bold paint, a brightly colored door will turn heads and create the "wow" factor. When picking a color choose one that is in harmony with your exterior, landscaping, and neighborhood feel. In the end what's important is that the front door looks clean and attractive to potential buyers.

  • Greeting your buyers with a clean and neutral doormat will show buyers a clean start to seeing your home. 

  • Replace your old hardware! If you already put a fresh coat of paint on your front door, a new door knob and knocker will add to the fresh new look. 

  • Adding a new light fixture is a popular way to brighten up your front door curb appeal. Look for products with great reviews and ones that will economically meet your style. 

  • Place brightly colored flowers in decorative planters to add a dramatic pop of color to your outdoor entry area. Display your flowers proudly in decorative planters rather then the plastic containers they come in. 

There are also many other ways to spruce up the exterior of your home, here are just a few to get you started:

  • Adding a fresh coat of paint to shutters to create a warm layer of beauty to your homes curb appeal as well. 

  • Clean out the gutters, or if needed replace the older gutter system with a newer system. Odds are that if your gutters are in need of being replaced that they are also suffering from peeling paint, rust spots, and other problems that convey a sense of neglect.

  • Trim down your shrubs to allow buyers to see the full front of the house and windows. This will allow for a much cleaner look.

  • Pressure wash to remove dirt, grime, and mold from driveways, walkways, patios, and decks so they look like new. You can also use the pressure washer to clean your roof to remove and stains from trees or algae.   

  • Clean the windows, this may not seem like a big deal to potential buyers however you'd be surprised with the amount of light that is let in by a dingy window compared to a crystal clear one.  

Sept. 24, 2019

How to improve your homes marketability today!

Selling your home isn’t always easy. While there’s always a buyer out there somewhere, connecting with that buyer and agreeing on a price sometimes takes a little effort. There are a lot of little things that you can do to make this a lot easier, though. Many of these solutions are fairly easy on the budget and can also be added on short notice – and some of them may only take an hour or two to implement!

 

Add a Coat of Paint

Touching up the paint in your home can do wonders for the marketability of the place when you’re looking to sell. Fresh paint can cover up colors that weren’t a great choice in retrospect and will also make whites seem whiter. 

 

Change Dull Doorknobs

Swap them out with new hardware for an instant front-door face lift. You can also change out cabinet and drawer handles if you want to add some extra flair to the various rooms of your home.

 

Update Your Light Fixtures

Other changes you can make to your home’s existing hardware include things like light fixtures, replacing old fixtures with something a bit nicer looking. While you’re at it you can also update your light switches and even electrical outlets to replace anything that seems worn or out of place.

 

Hang Some Mirrors

Few things can open up a room as quickly as adding a mirror. A few mirrors around the house will create the illusion of more open space and will also help to fill blank spaces on your walls if you’ve taken down family photos or other personal items. (Here’s a tip: Take down family photos and other personal items.) Just make sure that you don’t position the mirrors where they’ll be hit by direct sunlight during the day, since nobody wants to be blinded by their wall furnishings.

 

Tame the Lawn

Now is the time to put extra care into your lawn maintenance, taking the time to weed, seed and feed that lawn into emerald perfection. Trimming the shrubberies, adding some tasteful decorative bushes and finally doing something about that tree stump from three years ago might be a good idea as well.

 

Add Accent Lighting

While you’re working on the outside of your home, consider adding some path lighting, home accent bulbs or other outdoor lights. This will not only add to the beauty of the home but it will also give you a chance to show off some of the home’s best features in the evening and at night. As an added bonus, additional lighting around the home can be a good selling point from a security standpoint.

 

Get Smart

If you really want to impress, consider swapping out some of the light bulbs with LED smart lights. Be sure to choose Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs that can easily sync with Alexa or Google Home for maximum compatibility – and keep a copy of the syncing instructions for the eventual buyer. If you really want to go the extra mile, pick bulbs that can provide multiple colors of lighting… then have a smart speaker set up so you can show off how they respond to voice commands to your buyer.

Posted in Home Maintenance
Sept. 5, 2019

What to expect after a home inspection

Inspections are an important part of the home-selling process. The home inspector will locate any potential problems with the property, making sure that all involved know what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed. It is after this that open ended questions begin to arise. Questions such as:

  • What happens then, though?
  • Whose responsibility is it to fix the issues that the home inspector discovered?

Here are a few things that will help you get a better idea of what comes next!

 

Gauging Severity

One big determining factor in how problems found in a home inspection are dealt with is how severe the issues are. A major problem with a property can be a deal breaker for many buyers. Depending on where you live, such a problem may even have to be addressed before the property can be sold. State-level restrictions vary, but most are rooted in making sure that sellers can’t avoid fixing potentially dangerous problems or leave them for the buyer to discover on their own. Even if a problem isn’t critical, most states require that any problems found by a home inspection be disclosed to potential buyers. This disclosure is a big deal, as it can significantly affect how much the buyers are willing to pay.

 

Loan Program Requirements

Beyond repair and disclosure requirements that vary from state to state, different loan programs (such as those offered by the Federal Housing Authority or Department of Housing and Urban Development) may have additional requirements when it comes to problems discovered during a home inspection. Many programs have very specific guidelines regarding the condition of the property that a buyer can purchase using those loans. If a loan program won’t allow a purchase while unsatisfactory conditions exist, the issues must either be repaired or have satisfactory arrangements made to facilitate the repair before the purchase can continue. Keep in mind that not all loan programs will make allowances for future repairs, either; in those cases, the repairs will either have to be made in full or the buyer will have to find a different lender that does not follow the same strict requirements.

 

Negotiating Repairs

In the event that there aren’t specific regulations at the state level or restrictions in the buyer’s loan program concerning problems with the property, it falls to the buyer and the seller to determine what repairs will be made. This is typically part of the price negotiation, as buyers are willing to pay more for a property that they don’t have to make extensive repairs to. In many cases, sellers may offer to cover the most pressing repairs and address any serious issues while the buyer assumes responsibility for any other issues found in the buyer’s home inspection disclosure. In many cases this will be agreed to in writing, either at the request of one of the parties or as a condition of the mortgage loan that the buyer is using for the purchase. By formalizing the agreement in writing, it ensures that both parties understand their responsibility and protects the seller from potential legal action regarding issues that weren’t addressed (provided that the seller completed all of the repairs that they agreed to.)

 

Market Strength

The strength of the housing market can have a big effect on who does the bulk of repairs on a property. If similar properties are plentiful and interest rates are low, it creates what’s referred to as a “buyer’s market”; buyers have a lot of options and can easily walk away from the purchase if they don’t get what they want. In this situation, the buyer has a lot of leverage and can usually get the seller to agree to either a lower price or a higher percentage of the repairs. When the opposite occurs and there are few choices and higher interest rates, a “seller’s market” is created. Buyers can’t walk away as easily and be guaranteed a good deal elsewhere, so sellers can often hold their ground more and get buyers to agree to higher prices or a greater percentage of repairs.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 20, 2019

Septic Tank Ownership

Septic tanks are common in rural areas, though depending on where you live, you might have a septic system, even close to town. So long as things are going smoothly, it’s often difficult to tell that there is even a septic system in place. If your septic tank starts having problems, though, it may not take long for it to become very obvious that something is wrong.

Whether you’re new to septic tank ownership or are wondering what sort of maintenance your existing tank requires, here’s a rundown of what you need to know about owning a septic tank.

 

How Septic Systems Work

Wastewater from your home flows into the septic tank, which is a large tank typically made of concrete, steel or other materials such as plastic or fiberglass. Once there, any waste solids in the water settle out and are broken down by bacteria. As particles settle out, the water itself is able to flow out of the septic tank where it is distributed through a series of gravel-filled trenches known as leach fields where the water is absorbed into the ground. Any remaining waste materials are then broken down by microorganisms in the soil. Some systems will also separate greywater (water that comes from waste-free sources such as laundry, bathroom sinks and showers) from the “black” water that contains waste. While this water is not directly recycled as drinking water, it can be filtered and used as part of an irrigation system for non-food plants and lawns. This not only makes more efficient use of your household water but also reduces stress on the septic system as a whole.

 

Basic Maintenance

Ideally, a septic system shouldn’t require too much maintenance to keep it functioning properly. With that said, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your system doesn’t develop problems. Key points of septic system maintenance include:

  • Avoid flushing inorganic materials that cannot be broken down by bacteria
  • Conserve household water use to avoid flooding the tank and causing a backup
  • Don’t flush cooking fats, coffee grounds or other hard-to-break-down materials
  • Use septic-safe cleaning materials and avoid using an excess amount of any cleaners
  • Do not pour saltwater, antibiotic medications or other materials that could kill helpful bacteria into your wastewater. In addition, it’s recommended that you have your septic tank checked every 1 to 3 years and have solids pumped out of the tank every 3 to 5 years to maintain optimal function. 

 

Inspections

Whether you suspect a problem with your septic system or just want to stay on top of septic tank maintenance, periodic inspections will help you avoid major problems down the road. The most basic inspections are simple visual inspections, where water is run through the sinks and the toilets are flushed to check for backups or other obvious problems. These are often performed by home inspectors but provide only a very limited amount of information about the condition of the system itself.

 

If you have a septic company do the inspection, you’ll likely get a much more in-depth job. These inspections check for signs of septic tank problems such as visual damage to the tank or depressions around the tank area that could indicate sagging in the tank walls. They will also check for odd odors, signs of leaks, the condition of liquids and sludge within the tank and even backflow once a portion of the tank is pumped. You should receive a report on the condition of the tank after one of these inspections, and most likely will have the results explained to you as well.

 

Life Expectancy

Provided that it is well maintained, a septic system can theoretically last for decades. More realistically, though, you can expect a septic tank (and the system it’s a part of) to last for between 15 to 25 years. The actual lifespan of any given septic tank depends on the material it’s made of, how well it was installed, the types of waste that are dumped into it and how often it is pumped or maintained. The more care you put into maintaining your septic system, the longer it’s likely to last.

 

Of course, once a septic tank starts reaching the end of its life it is important that you deal with it before hazardous conditions can form. If a tank is leaking or sagging, it needs to be collapsed or crushed and filled in around. In some cases, a new tank can actually be installed beside or on top of the old one after it has been properly taken care of.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
July 29, 2019

Pros and Cons of Filling in your Pool

An in-ground pool can be a great way to relax around the house, enjoying the water on a hot summer day. However there are a few potential issues with in-ground pools that  can get to you after a while. Not only do you have to spend time and money getting the pool back in swimming shape each spring, but the various other maintenance costs can really add up over time. As well as the legal issues, child safety concerns and home insurance rates that go along with pool ownership.

 

In time, you might decide that it’s just not worth keeping the pool around. The good news is that there are specialists who are experienced in pool removal that can get the job done for you. Before you rush into getting your pool filled in, there are a few things that you should consider.

 

Insurance Premiums: One big benefit of filling in your pool is that your home insurance premiums can go down. Swimming pools are considered to be a potential hazard by insurance companies, so removing the pool makes your home safer as far as your insurance provider is concerned. The amount that you’ll save depends on your insurer and how much they charged for pool risk, but in some cases, it could result in a substantial savings.

 

Removal Costs: Of course, a big con of having a pool removed is that you’ll have to pay someone to remove it. The cost of pool removal depends both on the contractor you hire to fill in the pool and the pool’s size, as well as any additional structures surrounding the pool that may be removed in the process. Depending on where you live, there may be additional costs for permits and inspections as well, as will be determined by city zoning ordinances.

 

Pool Safety Issues: If you’ve been concerned about accidents around your pool, another benefit of removing the pool is that pool-related accidents are no longer possible. With the pool filled in, pool-related falls, drowning risk and other possible safety issues are completely removed. Just make sure that small children and pets are kept away from the area until the removal is finished and it’s deemed safe by the removal contractor.

 

Land Use Restrictions: One potential con to pool removal is that some cities restrict what can be done with areas that once housed a pool. In some cases it may depend on exactly how the pool was removed, and whether it was what’s known as a partial removal (in which only part of the pool is actually removed and the rest is collapsed and filled in) or a full removal (in which everything is removed and the entire hole is filled.) If there are restrictions in your area, you may be limited to just basic landscaping and won’t be allowed to build on the area or do anything that would require digging deep in the soil.

 

Maintenance Cost Elimination: On the plus side, removing a pool removes all of the maintenance costs associated with pool ownership. This isn’t just the obvious things like maintaining pipes, fixing leaks and buying new chemicals each year, either. Just think about how much you’ll save on your water bill now that you don’t have to replace all of the water that’s lost to evaporation each week!

 

Property Value Effects: There are effects to your property value that are difficult to classify as a pro or a con because they depend so much on where you live and whether the pool was present when you bought your home. Getting rid of a pool changes your property value, but whether it’s an increase or a decrease depends on how much you paid and whether you were the one who installed the pool. It also depends on the type of removal that you choose; partial removals have to be disclosed to new buyers and may pull your resale value down. Full removals usually don’t have to be disclosed, but they can still affect your home’s value.

 

Posted in Home Maintenance
July 16, 2019

Gardening Doesn’t Have to Be Hard to Be Rewarding

 

If the idea of getting up early on Saturday morning to commune with your landscape is an idea that you cherish, but don’t dare pursue because of the high level of maintenance required, you may be surprised to find out that a perfect garden doesn’t always require backbreaking labor or gallons of water to keep it alive. In fact, there are lots of ways to make gardening easier. Here are a few things that might help make your gardening experience easier and more productive:

 

Sprinklers- The old standby for greener lawns everywhere, sprinklers can be used in other situations, too. For example, if it’s a nice sunny day and the risk of water standing on leaves is small, use one to water your vegetable gardens. You can also help young trees and shrubs get a good start by sprinkling them gently every warm, dry day.

 

Drip irrigation- Sprinklers are great for big areas, but when you just want to water a few specific plants, drip irrigation can be a great answer. You can use these systems with basic timers or upgrade to a much more sophisticated system that will let you slowly drip water at the base of plants that don’t like water on their leaves or otherwise need individual care.

 

Native plants- There’s no such thing as a plant that needs zero attention, but native plants come pretty close. Native grasses are a great start; those in the desert can do some pretty incredible things with barrel cactus and dramatic succulents. Visit your local nursery or ask your landscaper what plants are native to your area.

 

Containers- From pots on the patio railing to gutters loaded down with strawberries, containers make gardening so much easier. You can start with the perfect soil mix, ensuring that drainage isn’t a problem, then add a little fertilizer and your favorite plants. Now you just have to water and watch those babies grow.

 

Vertical gardens- Plants in and on the ground tend to end up in a mess — especially if those plants are vines! Vertical gardening isn’t limited to these twining climbers, you can also hang levels of containers, allowing you lots of extra space for growing things. Like with any containers, you are totally in control of the environment, but vertical gardening minimizes bending and kneeling.

Posted in Home Maintenance