Category Archives: Homeowner Tips

The Green Thumb: Four Easy Ways To Get More From Your Home Garden

The Green Thumb: Four Easy Ways to Get More From Your Home GardenGrowing a home garden creates beauty, oxygen and even food for our families to enjoy. If you’re looking to get more from your home garden, here are four easy ways to improve a green thumb.

A Good Foundation For Your Garden

Good soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. By using quality soil, you can give your garden plants the best start possible. Adding a variety of organic matter to soil will give plants a happy home to grow in.

Add two to three inches of organic matter to your garden bed at the beginning of each season. Compost, dried leaves, grass clipping and dry manure are all good organic materials to use in your garden.

Manures provides nitrogen, which is a great contributor to soil aeration and composting efforts. Being so far along in the decomposing process, the nutrients in manure are readily available for plants.

Fresh manure, however, is more likely to leach out of the soil into groundwater and streams (where the nutrients it provides can become pollutants).

Design Fundamentals To Achieve Harmony And Flow

Although landscaping your home garden is a matter of personal taste and preference, there are some fundamental principles for creating a good garden.

Balance and proportion establish the basic structure of a garden. Order is obtained through symmetry, repetition of plants, and colors or thoughtful contrast. This will create a garden space that is both balanced and proportioned.

Harmony and unity is achieved when different aspects of your garden work together as a whole. Strong focal points and a limited color palette can help with the overall look of your garden.

Prevent the eye from making sudden stops with good flow and transition in your garden. Gradual changes in height and color create the illusion of a larger space, and will make for a full and finished look in your garden.

Variety Is Important And Maintenance A Must

Have a good combination in your garden of annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees and food producing plants. Plants that require little maintenance and come back each year will take some of the pressure off when it comes to seasonal changes and garden preparation.

With more time to focus on bedding plants and vegetable gardens, you’ll yield a bigger reward for your gardening efforts. Water features and other structural focal points work in much the same way; they provide your outdoor space with added beauty and appeal that is easy to maintain throughout the year.

Don’t Be Bothered By Pests And Bugs

Although people have differing opinions on pests, at home a greener garden is always a healthier garden. Harsh pest control products can hurt wildlife and pollute groundwater.

You may be solving one problem, but using chemical pesticides contributes to another. There are many ways keep pests under control without chemical products.

With so many easy to make homemade pesticides to discover, gardeners can ditch the chemical alternative without sacrificing quality. There are also plants such as marigolds that can be incorporated into your garden that deter pests.

A garden is a labor of love that creates a welcoming outdoor space that your family can enjoy. Call your local mortgage professional for more information on creating or finding your perfect home garden.

5 Tips To Protect Yourself When Buying Newly Constructed Real Estate

5 Tips To Protect Yourself When Buying Newly Constructed Real EstateBuying newly constructed real estate isn’t much different from buying an “already used” home. What variances there are, however, can make all the difference between buying a diamond or a lemon. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when buying new construction:

Tip #1: Don’t Use The Builder’s Sales Agent – Hire Your Own

If they’re the builder’s agent, they’re being paid to represent the builder, no matter what they tell you.  Your own real estate agent, who is representing you, is required to tell you the negatives as well as the positives.  The builder’s agent doesn’t have to tell you the drawbacks of the transaction.

Tip #2: Find Your Own Lending Agency

Again, if you go through the builder, the lending agency may offer you a deal that isn’t in your best interest.  In addition, the builder may actually own the lending company, and will have full information on your personal progress. 

Your real estate agent can refer you to a reputable lender, if you don’t already have one of your own.

Tip #3: Talk To A Real Estate Agent Or Lawyer

Although standard agreements are made to keep everyone out of court, they aren’t necessarily in your best interests. Ask about cancellation rights and make sure you understand both your liability and your commitments.  Also, check your contract to make sure it doesn’t contain warnings about health issues.

Tip #4: Decide What Options Or Upgrades You Want

Remember that the profit margin for many builders is highest in upgrades.  Find out if your lender allows the options and upgrades you’ve chosen to be added to the loan. If your lender doesn’t allow this, the cost of the upgrades will come out of your pocket in cash. 

Tip #5: Research The Builder

It’s amazing how many people think a builder is good, simply because they can build a house. Unless you’re a licensed home inspector, the chance of you catching a cut corner or shoddy building practices is slim to none. 

Check out the neighbors’ homes and talk to them. Are the homes a consistent size or are they shrinking in size?  Do the neighbors have consistent complaints about the quality of their homes?  Also, check public records for lawsuits.

Owning newly constructed real estate and knowing that you’re the first person to live in the home can be a wonderful, exciting experience.  Make sure that you protect yourself so you can enjoy it!

Thinking of buying newly constructed real estate? Talk with me before you start shopping.  If you visit a builder prior to working with me, I won’t be able to legally represent you with that builder. 

To find out more about how I can help you save money and get the best terms when buying newly constructed real estate, call or email your trusted mortgage professional for more information.

Smart Ways To Create Equity Within Your Home

Smart Ways To Use The Equity In Your HomeHome equity is the difference between what your home can sell for and what you owe on it. Generally, the longer you own your home, the more equity you build.

This is money you can use before you sell your home through a home equity loan. Just keep in mind that a home equity loan is secured with your home. If you can’t make the payments, you can lose your home.

Use Your Home Equity In Smart Ways:

  1. Remodel Your Home - If you’ve wanted to add on a family room or modernize your kitchen, consider using your home’s equity to fund the project. Home improvements usually increase your home’s marketability and value.
  2. Make Needed Major Repairs - Your home’s equity can be a funding source for major repairs like plumbing problems and re-roofs. Once again, this is an improvement for your home that will help keep its value up.
  3. Buy Another Property - Real estate is still a safe investment. You can use your home equity to buy a second property when home values are down. When the market recovers, you can sell the investment property for a profit. This also works if you have to move out of town and are still trying to sell your home. If you can afford the payments, use your home’s equity to purchase your new home until the current one sells.
  4. Pay For Unexpected Medical Expenses Or Job Loss - You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will leave you in debt. A home equity loan can give you the money you need to get through this difficult time.

It’s easy to build equity in your home when you find the right deal. Let me help you find your perfect home and negotiate a great price and terms for you. Contact your mortgage professional today.