What we could learn, if that 1970s home could talk

The 1970s were a boom time for home construction. In fact, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the median U.S. home was built in 1974.

Homes built in that decade have many qualities that fell out of fashion but are gaining ground today, especially as we become more environmentally conscious. Here’s a look at 10 things we can learn from ’70s homes.

Size matters

In 1973, the average size for a new single-family home in the United States was 1,660 square feet, the Census Bureau says. In 2011, it was 2,480 square feet. But that elbow room comes at a high price.

“Bigger homes are more expensive to heat and cool and to maintain,” says Pam Kueber, who runs a blog called “Retro Renovation.” “Pretty much every single cost related to owning a home is scalable based on how big it is.”

Environmental concerns may be making smaller homes fashionable again. A 2011 National Association of Home Builders survey found that 74% of builders, designers and architects think the average single-family house will be smaller in 2015.

Energy conservation

The 1973 energy crisis wasn’t just an issue for drivers. It got the attention of homeowners, too. Policymakers also took notice, and the Energy Tax Act of 1978 promised credits of up to $2,200 for homeowners who invested in solar- and wind-energy equipment.

In recent years, these “green” improvements have come back into vogue for numerous reasons, with governments again offering energy credits for homes. Experts say today’s residences use as much energy as those built in the 1970s, despite advances in insulation and the use of energy-efficient appliances. Possible reasons: Houses are bigger, and people have more electrical gadgets today than before.

Simple roofs

Ranch-style homes became dominant in America in the 1950s through the 1970s. They had roofs that were low and simple, often with wide eaves to help shade the windows. The Cape Cod-style houses that were popular on the East Coast after World War II also sported simple roofs .

The larger and more complex houses that became popular in the 1980s and 1990s often had more complicated roofs, with multiple gables and dormers. These roofs are arguably more visually interesting, but their complexity also means more potential for leaks or costly repairs.

Green walls

Homes with ivy-covered walls once were common, but vines fell out of favor, because people thought the creeping greenery was damaging their brickwork.

But scientists at Oxford University, itself home to numerous ivy-covered buildings, found in 2010 that the plants actually protect walls from extreme temperatures, moisture and pollution.

In 2011, the Montreal Urban Ecology Center issued a guide promoting the use of climbing plants on walls in that Canadian city. The nonprofit group says ivy-covered walls provide insulation and help keep homes cooler during summer, through evapotranspiration and shade. They are also good for the environment, the group says, because they capture carbon dioxide and provide a habitat for birds.

Awnings

Central air conditioning was not ubiquitous in homes built in the 1970s and earlier, which meant that people needed other ways to keep their houses cool in summer. Awnings were a great option, shading windows during the summer, when the sun was higher in the sky, and letting in more light and heat during the winter, when the sun was lower.

“Awnings get very little respect today, but they are an old-school and extremely efficient way to keep your house 10 to 20 degrees cooler,” Kueber says. “It’s an environmentally sensitive way to cut your air-conditioning bills.”

The chance to cut energy costs and reduce homes’ carbon footprint is making awnings and other passive-energy design features cool again.

The case for no staircase

Single-story homes were popular well into the 1970s, before split-level residences gained favor with homebuyers. Since then, multistory houses have become the norm.

But not everyone likes climbing stairs, and older people, in particular, may appreciate homes that are all on one level. These residences may now appeal to aging baby boomers who are looking for places to live during retirement.

Cork floors

Shag carpeting is just one of the unfortunate flooring choices from the 1970s that can induce shudders in contemporary homebuyers. But at least one retro floor covering deserves a second look.

Cork was commonly used to cover bathroom floors in the ’60s and ’70s, and the material is enjoying a bit of a renaissance. Cork is naturally mold-resistant and sound dampening, and it is eco-friendly, as well. Unlike wood, which requires that forests be cut down and converted to lumber, cork can be harvested by trimming the bark from living trees. It is the rare building material that is both retro and sustainable.

Old-growth wood

Older homes were made from wood from older trees. The practice of using lumber from old-growth forests — those with trees that had been growing for 200 years or more — was arguably bad for the environment but good for builders and homeowners.

Lumber from ancient trees is less likely to shrink over time, which makes it more durable and dimensionally accurate than boards cut from the fast-growing, farmed trees .

The good news is that alternatives to old-growth timber now exist, and they are used for the same reasons older wood was used in the ’70s.

Engineered lumber uses lamination and other technologies to make the best of wood from younger trees. Also gaining popularity is reclaimed wood from remodeled or demolished buildings, abandoned barns, railroad trestles and even long-submerged logs recovered from lakes or rivers.

Paint awareness

Beauty can have a dark side. For homes, that became clear in 1978, when the federal government banned paint containing more than trace amounts of lead from residential use. Lead has been linked to health issues that include behavioral problems and learning disabilities in children. Paint chips and dust can contain dangerous levels of lead, the Environmental Protection Agency says.

This concern has picked up again in recent years with a focus on paints, varnishes and cleaning products that release volatile organic compounds that include benzene, formaldehyde and other potential toxins. Many paint companies have started offer low-VOC and no-VOC paints for use in today’s homes.

Outdoor focus

Many of today’s “outdoor living” features were born in 1970s “patio homes.” These abodes allowed residents to concentrate on living instead of maintenance.

The patio home was built as a marriage of an apartment and ranch house: The one-story home often featured a large patio to allow residents to enjoy the outdoors in a private setting, while a housing association often took care of the exterior and landscaping.

The trend for a prominent outdoor living space continues. The National Association of Home Builders cites outdoor-living spaces as one of the top five trends in new homes, with features such as fireplaces and outdoor kitchens.

To read the article as published on realestate.msn.com, please click here.

What can influence your home’s resale value?

Home-for-sale-sign-300x219While home sellers hope to get top dollar for their property – and some have an inflated idea of what to expect – establishing a home’s value can be a complex, multifaceted process. Do home renovations really pay off? And which is more valuable: a three-bedroom or a four-bedroom with the same square footage? We talked to real estate insiders to find out.

1. Location. The classic real estate refrain says, “location, location, location.” Location includes factors such as the price of recent nearby transactions, the quality of local schools and whether the area has a strong sense of community. “Buyers increasingly value community in the community where they’re buying,” says Amy Anderson, an agent with Davidson Realty, Inc. in St. Augustine, Florida. “They come to me not looking for a house for four years, but focusing much more on the community, the activities and the school district.”

As Americans scale back their dependence on automobiles, some homebuyers seek out communities that don’t require cars to get around. One resource is WalkScore.com, which rates neighborhoods throughout the U.S. based on access to public transit and proximity to grocery stores, parks and more.” I think walkability has become more important in many markets, especially amongst millennials,” says Ken Wilson, president of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association for real estate appraisers, and founder of Wilson Realty Advisors in Dallas. “You’re also finding empty nesters that are looking into properties that have walkability.”

But as Zillow.com chief economist Stan Humphries points out, location encompasses many other considerations. “Does it have a view? Is it a waterfront home?” he asks. “What’s it next to? Is it near retail establishments? Or a highway?”

2. Size and layout. While homebuyers used to swoon over ample square footage, many have fallen out of love with the McMansion. “I think people realize when they buy a 3,300-square-foot house, they’re not getting what they thought they were,” Anderson says. “There’s more upkeep and a lot more involved with taking care of these huge houses.”

Layout is a key factor because an open-concept design can look much more spacious than a boxy space of the same size. The number of bedrooms also influences a home’s value, so think twice before putting up a wall and subdividing one room into two. “Adding a bedroom will take away value,” Humphries says. “Fewer but larger bedrooms tend to boost value.”

3. Age and condition. Historic homes (assuming they’re livable and well-maintained) and new homes are typically more valuable than homes built somewhere in the middle. “Generally, as a home gets older, it becomes less valuable,” Humphries says. “Then there’s a U-shape where, at some point, homes become so old that they have historical significance. A home that’s built in 1910 is probably more valuable than one built in 1970.”

Age aside, condition matters too. “Someone will pay $15,000 more for a well-kept house that’s move-in ready than they will for a house that needs $5,000 worth of work,” Anderson says.

4. Upgrades. Renovations play into a home’s value, but if your home is considered “over improved” compared with other properties in the neighborhood, it can actually hurt the property’s value. “You want it to be common for the neighborhood or subdivision,” Wilson says. “It wouldn’t hurt to visit neighbors’ homes or visit a home via an open house to see what people are marketing [before undertaking big improvements].” You could also hire an appraiser to prepare a feasibility analysis that will help you determine the impact of renovations on your home’s value.

Unless you live in an area where granite countertops and built-in wine fridges are the norm, Humphries says you might be better off saving the money and choosing more basic finishes. “It’s harder to recoup [your investment] if you guild the lily, if you will, on granite this and chrome that in your kitchen,” he says. “You’re spending a lot of money on something that might have a lot of personal taste attached to it.”

However, you should keep records of repairs and upgrades to show potential buyers that the home has been well-maintained.

5. Negative events. If your property has issues like mold or experienced a fire or was the site of a violent crime, it could be a harder sell – and command a lower price. “Nowadays, people are very concerned if there was a fire, prior mold damage or even if there were some sort of death or crime at the property,” Wilson says. Federal law requires the disclosure of all known lead-based paints, but state laws vary in whether the seller must disclose issues related to natural disasters or crimes committed on the property.

To read the article as published on homes.yahoo.com, please click here.

Did you know…..13,397 houses SOLD yesterday?

Sm House For Sale-SOLDIf you read certain headlines, you might be led to believe that the housing recovery has come to a screeching halt. Naysayers are claiming that the threat of rising mortgage rates and a lack of consumer confidence are keeping Americans on the fence when it comes to purchasing real estate. That is actually far from reality.

After all 13,397 houses sold yesterday, 13,397 will sell today and 13,397 will sell tomorrow.

13,397!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. According to the report, annualized sales now stand at 4.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 13,000 homes sell every day.

If you are considering whether or not to put your house up for sale, don’t let the headlines scare you. There are purchasers in the market and they are buying – to the tune of 13,397 homes a day!

To read the article as published on The KCM Blog, please click here.

3 Signs that you might need to choose another Real Estate Agent

Real esate AgentYour partnership with your real estate agent plays a large role in the success of your home sale. To get your home sold quickly and for top dollar, you should follow your agent’s advice about pricing your home and getting (and keeping) it in tip-top shape. You’ll also need to keep your schedule open so your agent can show your home to as many potential buyers as possible.

If you’ve done all your agent has asked of you but you’ve only had a few nibbles while other homes in your area have sold, you might need to step back and figure out why. Take a close look at your agent and their advice, and evaluate their performance in these areas:

Your Agent May or May Not Call You Back—It’s a Roll of the Dice

Good real estate agents are busy people, so it’s not always easy to get in touch with them. But a good real estate agent also knows it’s important to keep in contact with their clients, and they make a point of returning calls as soon as possible. If your communication with your agent feels one-sided, that’s a red flag. Even if nothing new has happened, it’s reasonable to expect your agent (or someone from their team) to contact you every week to discuss strategy and whether you need to make any changes to get buyers’ attention.

Your Agent’s Marketing Plan Is Based on Positive Thinking

You made the decision to work with an agent because you know you aren’t a real estate marketing whiz. You should be able to depend on your agent to develop an effective marketing strategy that will attract buyers. If the plan isn’t working, your agent should also be willing to step up their game and try new methods to reach buyers. Most importantly, your agent should not blow off your concerns and questions about how much time your home is spending on the market.

Your Agent Has More Attitude Than Most Teenagers You Know

That leads us to overall attitude. Do you feel like your agent is super-serving you? Or do you feel like you’re one more box to check off their to-do list? Is your agent showing up late for appointments? Avoiding you altogether (see Roll of the Dice)? Showing a lack of patience with your questions (see Positive Thinking)? Always remember, you don’t have to put up with a bad attitude to work with a great agent who will get your home sold.

You Can Do Better

If you’ve decided your current agent isn’t the right one to help you sell your home, you might need to choose another agent. When you work with an agent you should be confident about these two two things:

1. That your agent has got this! They’ll know what to do in tough market conditions because they’ve been through them before. They’ll know how to price your home to attract buyers, and if they don’t hit the bull’s-eye, they’ll be ready with a back-up plan. You can trust them to base their decisions on solid research, and they’ll be willing to discuss all the details with you.

2. You’ll feel like the center of the universe. Word gets around, and real estate agents with a reputation for poor service simply don’t stay in the business long. An agent with several years’ experience has learned to focus on meeting their clients’ goals, and they’ll work hard to make sure you meet your goals as well.

To read the article as published on DaveRamsey.com, please click here.

Sell Now to avoid the New Competition

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????For the last several years, home sellers had to compete with huge inventories of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales). The great news is that the supply of these properties is falling like a rock in the vast majority of housing markets. Many homeowners are now thinking of selling as the impact of this substantially discounted competition has disappeared.

However, every seller of an existing residential property must realize that there is a new form of competition about to hit the market: newly constructed homes.

As the economy improves, builders will again be bringing their housing developments to the market. Trulia recently reported that the purchaser, given a choice, actually prefers new construction. Here are two charts showing the results of the Trulia survey:

 

New-Construction-2

To read the article as published on The KCM Blog, please click here.

 

Moving? Tips for Packing

Moving to a new home can be exciting, the sign of new beginnings. It can also be an exceptionally stressful time.

Getting all your furniture, clothes, kitchenware, electronics and valuables from one place to another is no simple task – whether you’ve hired professionals or are managing the move yourself.

The specifics of each move are different. Moving down the block, from one studio apartment to another, is less complicated than moving from a 3,000-square-foot home in New York to a similarly sized house in California. No matter how or where you’re moving, preparation and careful planning will make the process smoother.

1. Sort, sell, donate or toss

Why move what you don’t need or use? During the days and weeks leading up to your move, mercilessly sort through every closet and drawer. Organize a moving sale, donate items to a charity like Goodwill, The Arc or The Salvation Army, or list them via an online reuse/recycle-type website. Throwing things away is OK, too; some items will simply be outdated or too worn to be of much use to others.

2. Make lists, check them twice

Organization is the key to any good move. Make lists of all the people and institutions you need to contact before moving: schools, utility companies, government offices, subscriptions you need to change, etc. You’ll need another list that includes the names of everyone who needs to know your new address, from family members to co-workers. Perhaps most important of all: make a list of things that will be moved, room by room. If you’ve hired a moving company, the movers will work with you to put together an inventory. If you’re moving your own stuff, consider getting an app like Moving Day for the iPhone, which allows you to build a complete inventory and create barcodes for your boxes that you can scan with your phone and document damaged items.

3. Over-prepare

If there’s one thing you don’t want to run out of on moving day, it’s boxes. If you’re packing yourself, ask nearby stores, friends and neighbors for boxes. If you buy special moving boxes, ask if you can return any you end up not using. Also make sure you have plenty of tape, furniture padding and bubble wrap to ensure your stuff arrives undamaged. Borrow or rent a dolly for moving heavier items. If you’re relying on friends and family to move you, make it as easy as possible for them. Have all the boxes packed and labeled before they arrive, so all they have to do is pick up a box and carry it to the moving van. If you’ve got professional movers handling the packing, they should come armed with all the supplies you’ll need.

4. Label absolutely everything

Mark your boxes with clear descriptions so you can remember which boxes are fragile and which can wait to be unpacked. Even better: In addition to listing contents, label with a destination such as “master bath” or “basement.” Avoid mish-mash boxes and “misc.” labels – those boxes will cause frustration on moving day and beyond.

5. Pack an ‘open me first’ box

When you get to your new place, the last thing you want to do is sort through a half-dozen different boxes to find the toiletries and clothes you need. Your ‘Open Me First’ box should include a change of clothing for each family member, towels, soap, shampoo, medicines and favorite toys for the kids. If your morning isn’t complete without a cup of tea, include a tea kettle, tea and mug; granola bars or a box of crackers might also be a nice pick-me-up on unpacking day.

To read the original article, please click here.

Flag Etiquette For Flying “Old Glory” at Your Home

According to federal code, here’s how to honor those broad stripes and bright stars as you fly them at home today and everyday!

The patriot’s guide to flying the U.S. flag at home

•Fly the flag outside only from sunrise to sunset, unless it is illuminated for night time display.

•Especially fly the flag on New Year’s Day, January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12; Washington’s Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday; Mother’s Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27; Veterans Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25; state birthdays (dates of admission); state holidays; and other days as announced by the U.S. President.

•Do not fly the flag outside during inclement weather unless you use an all-weather flag.

•Do not fly another flag above the U.S. flag, or if the other flag is on the same level, do not fly another flag to the right of the U.S. flag.

•Fly the flag with the “union” (the blue field of white stars) at the peak of the staff (unless the flag is at half staff) when flying the flag from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building.

•When you suspend a flag over a sidewalk from a rope extending from a house to a pole at the edge of the sidewalk, hoist the flag, union first, from the building.

•When you display the flag over the middle of the street, suspend it vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street, to the east in a north and south street.

•When you display a flag horizontally or vertically against a wall or in a window, place the union uppermost and to the flag’s own right, or to the observer’s left.

•Display the flag with the union down only as a distress signal.

•Fly the flag at half-staff (positioning the flag one-half the distance between the top and bottom of the staff) at times specified, often according to presidential instructions.

•When flying the flag at half-staff, it should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The flag should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day.

•Never allow the flag to touch anything beneath it, including the ground, the floor, water or other items.

•Never carry the flag flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

•Never use a flag as wearing apparel, bedding, drapery, ceiling covering or decorative element. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free.

•Never use the flag for advertising purposes. Don’t embroider it on articles, print or impress it on disposable items.

•Don’t use a part of the flag as a costume or athletic uniform. A flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police, and members of patriotic organizations. A lapel flag pin should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

•Protect the flag from display, use or storage that will cause it to be easily torn, soiled or damaged.

•Never place things on the flag or attach marks, insignias, letters, words, figures, designs, pictures, or drawings

•Don’t use the flag as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

•Aged flags no longer fit for flying—like those wind whipped ones on personal vehicles—should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferable by safely burning it.

To read the original article, as published on realtor.com, please click here.

Easements and Rights-of-Way and your property

In certain types of real estate transactions, it’s not not until the middle of the deal that home buyers realize the land they’re purchasing with their home is not 100 percent theirs. They are startled to discover that they must allow their neighbors to “share” part of their land, or that the local utility company has a right to access a pipe buried in their back yard.

How can this be? In both examples, the properties have what’s known as an “easement,” otherwise known as a “right-of-way.” This easement grants other designated people the right to specific types of access. Easements can be granted to another person, such as a neighbor, or to an entity, such as an electric and gas utility.

A property easement is generally written and recorded with the local assessor’s office. The documented easement will show up when a title search is conducted and it stays there indefinitely, unless both parties agree to remove it.

Without getting too deep into legal details, here are the types of easements worth knowing about.

1. Right-of-Way Through Your Property

As a homeowner, you would probably assume that you’re purchasing the land around your home, front yard, back yard and driveway. But that’s not always the case. Often, when you review the preliminary title report, you may discover that someone actually has a right-of-way through your property.

This is common in the case of a long driveway or a home that may be set back from the street. It could have been that in order for a neighboring home to have been built, that property’s owner negotiated with a previous owner to gain a right-of-way through the front of the parcel or driveway for the home you are buying.

In this scenario, you own the land, but the owner of the neighboring property has been granted right to pass through your property. In some instances, the previous owner might have been compensated for granting this access. The important thing to know is that easement carries over when a new owner assumes the property.

2. Right-of-Way Grant

If you’re the homeowner who needs access to a neighboring property, or you discover that the driveway or walkway to your home is actually not 100 percent yours, there’s usually nothing you need to do. It’s just important to be aware of these conditions, and that this is not entirely your land.

Depending on the size of the easement and the type of land it covers, there may be some issues regarding maintenance. For example, it may be your responsibility to keep up the land: Mowing the lawn, shoveling the pathway or maintaining a fence. If there’s a maintenance ambiguity, check with the current seller to understand how she and the other owner worked this out in the past. Many times an easement like this, known as a “Right-of-Way Grant,” has been on title through the course of three or four owners, making the original intentions or understandings not explicit. Understanding how the easement has worked in most recent practice is your best course of action.

3. Other Types of Easements

Anyone who lives in a condominium or some type of planned development likely spends many hours working on property they don’t own outright but have access to. Most likely, the condo or planned development’s homeowners association (HOA) actually owns those areas, but each resident or owner has a right to pass through, which is one obvious type of easement.

But some easements aren’t so obvious and take buyers and homeowners by surprise. A classic example is one in which a utility company, such as an electric and power company or a telephone company, has an easement through your land for the purpose of maintaining the utility.

There was a situation near San Jose, CA, in which the electric and gas utility had an easement through someone’s backyard. It had been on title for many years, but the existing owners didn’t know about it. One day, the electric company showed up with digging machines and materials and made a mess of the yard digging to fix a faulty line. Though the owners were shocked, there was nothing they could do.

Situations like these show why it pays to be cautious if an easement shows up in a property title search. Ask the title company, attorney or your real estate agent to retain all documents pertaining to the original easement in order to review the details. That way, you will know the exact location of the easement, its size and scope and how it’s to be utilized.

Often, there’s not a problem with easements, but it’s still important to check. Any potential red flags might wind up affecting the value of your home.

In the case of the house in San Jose, for instance, what if the utility company had done permanent damage? What would be the homeowner’s recourse, if any? It’s best to vet these things before closing, rather than facing a serious real estate dilemma down the road.

To read the original article, please click here.

How to best showcase your home’s first impression.

Whether you’re prepping your home for sale, or just want it to look good, don’t forget about the exterior — especially the front yard and door!

Here are some great tips from home stagers and curb appeal experts on how to best showcase your home’s first impression.

Walk to the curb

The first order of business: Walk to the curb or street and look at your home from the road.

This will probably be the buyers’ or the buyer agent’s first, real-live impression of your house. Take the time to review the way your front yard looks. Does the front door look fresh and inviting? Is the landing or porch neat and tidy? These are the details that can make a huge difference for that ever-important first impression.

And if you sense something’s off, clip home improvement ideas from books, magazines or professionals who can really help you maximize the appeal of your home and get it ready for the market!

One professional, Michelle Molinari, has the perfect way to consistently spruce up exteriors of listings. She adds flowering white flowers to yards in Louisiana because they “always look great on photos,” she said.

Molinari also recommends a layer of mulch to finish out garden spaces and — a fun little tip — she suggests coordinating the mulch color with the roof color. The match will make the entire front appear more complimentary to the eye.

In lieu of green grass in the U.S. Southwest, xeriscaping is used because of the way this water-conserving method makes use of natural landscape items like rocks and desert-friendly plants.

The money shot: Your front door

One big item: Don’t forget the front door!

A brightly painted front door and decorative house numbers lend to this home’s curb appeal.

Some home stagers recommend using the same exterior color for the front door, but I prefer to a color to complement exterior house colors. For instance, a Tudor-style house with cream walls and grey trim would be great with a hydrangea blue on the door. A gray wall Colonial with white trim would look stunning with a black door. Most of the paint manufacturers have suggested exterior combinations (walls, trim and doors) to help sellers determine which color works well with the exterior paint colors and style of their house. (See: How to Choose Exterior Paint Colors).

In addition to the front door, potted plants and tables and chairs are great additions for a front porch. For the smaller landing, Karen Eubank of Eubank Staging in Dallas, Texas suggests a pot of rosemary by the front door. What a great way to have potential buyers enter your home after taking a nice whiff of rosemary at the door, signaling their welcome.

Numbers add a punch

Last, but not least, don’t neglect the house numbers or lighting. House numbers are best seen with dark numbers on a light background and are very important when selling! Ensure there is enough light to read them comfortably from the road. And if the front of the house is hard to see from the road, place another set of numbers closer to the road so buyers don’t miss the house!

Hopefully all of these tips will help your home make a great first impression!

To read the original article, please click here.

Mowing Your Lawn the RIGHT Way

A chore though it may be, mowing your lawn properly will do more than just improve its appearance.

When it comes to your landscape, one of the most time-consuming summer chores is mowing.At this time of year, under the right circumstances, the grass puts all its energy into growing, leaving you struggling to keep a tidy lawn. But mowing is not just a chore–done right, it’s one of the most effective ways of maintaining healthy turf. Here’s how to mow properly…

Mow more often
It might be more convenient to wait for the lawn to get straggly before mowing, but doing it every 4-5 days during the growing season will keep you from cutting too much off for healthy growth. Aim to take off no more than one-third of a blade’s height at once. This leaves enough leaf tissue so that the plant can continue photosynthesis. If you get behind one week, raise the mowing height to keep from cutting off too much at one time.

Don’t bag the clippings
Assuming you are mowing often enough so that the clippings aren’t excessive, leave them on the lawn to decompose and fertilize the soil. If it looks untidy, redistribute with a rake.

Sharpen those mower blades
Start the season with a sharp blade and replace as necessary. Help maintain sharpness by mowing when the grass is dry to keep wet leaves from clinging to the blades.

Switch directions
It doesn’t actually matter whether you mow in rows or spirals, but switching it up will help reduce soil compaction and turf wear.

Get the right mower for your lawn

- Manual-reel mowers: The best for the environment but requiring a lot of manpower, reel mowers demand keeping the grass quite short, which means cutting more often. They are easier to store for those lacking garage space and are perfect for those with small lawn space.

- Electric mowers: With an electric motor that pushes a rotating blade are second best in turns of minimal effect on the environment because they don’t produce exhaust. They are best for homeowners that have level lawns. Try a cordless one with a side or rear bag to catch the clippings if you chose to bag, otherwise get one that cuts finely enough to let them settle on the yard.

- Gas-powered mowers and lawn tractors: The exchange for power and usability does come with a heavy toll on the environment, so please choose a newer model that produces less exhaust emissions. Also part of the exchange for convenience comes the required maintenance—regular tune-ups, refuels, and oil changes. But for larger yards, they are the most practical solution.

To read the original article, please click here.

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