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Posted by Julie Shanks on 7/14/2019

Owning your own home is a beautiful feeling. However, this feeling comes with the responsibility of maintenance. This maintenance does not apply only to appliances, but also the small problems that you tend to overlook in an apartment. When you fail to address these little problems on time in a house, however, it may result in more significant problems with a bill of a few hundred dollars turning into thousands. To prevent the worst from happening, here are small homes issues that you need to catch on time:

Faucet and pipe Leak

A leaky faucet or a slight leak in a pipe in the wall may seem like nothing to be worried about, but if left unattended, it could lead to severe damages. Failing to fix a leaky faucet at a slow drip can lead to expensive water bills as well as resulting in drain clogs and overflow. Furthermore, if a pipe in the wall has even a slight leak, neglecting it can damage the walls which can cause a serious issue that can impact your home's structure negatively.

Stain on the ceiling 

A weird blemish or damp spot on your ceiling is typically a sign of roof leakage. However, if you neglect the stain, then your ceiling could collapse because the drywall lining won't be able to hold the weight of water. In a worst-case scenario, untreated stains may result in dry rot in the roof beams which may cause structural damage and illness from mold growth.

Sticking doors

If you have sticking doors, they may not seem not like a big deal, but they are caused by expansion because too much moisture gets into your home. If your entry does not close properly, it will be difficult for you to heat a room efficiently, leading to a higher energy bill. Also, the moisture that gets into your room can lead to the growth of mold spores which are harmful to your health.

Dull hardwood flooring

"What possibly could go wrong?" is the question many homeowners ask when they notice the protective top coat of their hardwood floor has dulled or worn out. However, leaving a dull hardwood floor untreated will make it prone to discoloration and dirt, and you could possibly end up spending several thousand dollars on replacing the entire floor.

Missing or damaged caulk around the tub

If you notice some water is seeping behind your wall tiles or your tub, you need to seek the services of an experienced plumber or tile repair person as soon as possible. Leaving damaged caulk untreated can lead to dangerous mold deposits and also ruin the floors of the bathroom.

Do not ignore small signs of issues in your home and call a general contractor if you are unsure of the cause.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 7/7/2019

Xeriscaping, or dry-scaping, is a method of gardening intended to minimize the need for irrigation and ongoing watering. You can develop a xeriscape in any climate, using the right plants, but it most commonly appears in drought-prevalent areas with more mild winters and hot summers. If you live in a desert or southern climate, this might be the right solution for you. Xeriscaping is an excellent option for those dealing with yards that are tough to irrigate. They're also a fantastic cost-saving solution to avoid needing any additional irrigation for your yard, and for lowering water usage throughout the life of your yard.

In this series discover some great go-to plants to consider when building your xeriscape plan. One of the best types of plant you can employ in your xeriscape is ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses grow big and full making them tremendously useful for fleshing out your xeriscape. Add a selection of different grasses for variation in color and size throughout your landscape. Here are some beautiful species to consider when designing your xeriscape.

Purple Fountain Grass — Of all ornamental grasses this fountain grass is one of the most popular and preferred grasses for gardens of all types and is perfect for your xeriscape. It is a perennial that loves full sun and only occasional watering. You can plant Purple Fountain Grass in all seasons and enjoy rusty, rose and purple colored plums from summer through fall. This plant combines very well when clumped with other drought-tolerant plants but can also stand on its own as a statement piece in your landscape.

Mexican Feather Grass — This annual grass is a very light wispy and finely textured grass. It produces green and brown coloring year-round with small flower heads through Summer. Mexican Feather Grass, a highly drought-tolerant plant, prefers full sun and dry soil. This grass has scant watering needs and is very sensitive to water. For best results keep the plant dry. Though it is an annual, this grass reseeds on its own making it an excellent option for creating coverage in sloping yards or meadows. It also adapts very well to flower beds and containers for more controlled growth.

Blue Oat Grass —The silver-blue leaves of this grass are a striking addition to any landscape. Blue Oat Grass is drought-tolerant and even salt resistant, allowing it to thrive in warm environments with dry soil. Considered semi-evergreen this beautiful grass requires little maintenance while providing color year-round and creating beautiful plumes through the summer.

Artificial Turf — A significant part of xeriscaping involves reduced lawn areas in your yard. You want to create a sustainable xeriscape, but you also need some area of your yard for children or pets to run around. So maybe it's not an actual plant, but artificial turf grass is an excellent solution for your lawn. Add a small amount of turf for the final touch on your perfect eco-friendly yard. The initial cost of artificial grass is higher than live turf, but the ongoing maintenance and environmental costs saved on watering, fertilizing and mowing are significant. Before you start planting ornamental grasses, flowers and trees determine whether or not you need an area of turf. 

Now that you have some essential grasses to start your xeriscape plan read on to the next part of this series for some beautiful flowering plants to add for pops of color in your landscape.





Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/30/2019

If you plan to sell your home, it often is a good idea to learn about property showings. That way, you can prepare for showings and boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable property selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three things that sellers need to know about home showings.

1. A showing may make or break the house selling journey.

As a house seller, you only get one chance to make a positive first impression on a potential buyer. And if your home fails to impress a buyer, this individual is likely to move on to other residences.

By taking care of your home, you can make it easy for a buyer to fall in love with your residence during a showing. In fact, completing home maintenance tasks can make a world of difference in the eyes of property buyers.

Mowing the front lawn and trimming the hedges can help you bolster your residence's curb appeal. Meanwhile, removing clutter, vacuuming the rugs and scrubbing the floors enables you to improve your home's interior. And if you perform these home maintenance tasks prior to a showing, you can help a buyer envision what life may be like if he or she purchases your residence.

2. Even an unsuccessful home showing provides a valuable learning opportunity.

If a home showing fails to result in an offer to purchase your home, there is no need to worry. A home seller should view each showing as a learning opportunity and use it to find ways to upgrade his or her residence.

Remember, there is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to differentiating your house in a competitive real estate market. And if you take a buyer's feedback after a showing to heart, you can use this feedback to explore innovative ways to improve the look and feel of your home.

3. A home seller should strive to be flexible with property showing requests.

Ultimately, a seller may receive home showing requests on short notice. And in these instances, it helps to accommodate buyers' requests.

If a seller is willing to temporarily vacate his or her house to accommodate a last-minute showing request, this individual can make it simple for buyers to view the residence without delay. As a result, this seller can show his or her house to many potential buyers to speed up the property selling cycle.

As you get ready to show your residence to buyers, it usually helps to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can teach you everything you need to know about the house selling journey and ensure you are fully prepared for any challenges that may come your way. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you promote your residence to dozens of prospective buyers so you can maximize your home sale earnings.

Hire a real estate agent today, and you can start showing your residence to potential buyers.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/23/2019

Working from home can be both distracting and unproductive. It's easy to forget about the work that you're assigned to do and reflect on the household work right in front of you. Be more productive when you are working from home by applying these habits to your daily routine.

Get dressed for work.

Working in your pajamas all day can be an appealing thought, but it can lead to unproductivity. By getting dressed and ready to work, you’re sending yourself a mental reminder that this time is set aside for your career. Prepare your outfit as if you’re going to meet with a prestigious client. You’ll quickly lose the temptation to lounge around. Get yourself out of the pajama mindset and get ready to own the day! 

Create a designated workspace.

At first, working from the couch seems comfortable, but it can lead to many distractions. Most of your time on the couch is probably spent watching television. Trying also to make it a place to conduct business is nearly impossible. Remove the temptation to grab the remote by having a designating place to work. You can create a home office in a spare bedroom by adding a desk and office essentials. If you don't have the additional space, work from the dining room table. Wherever you decide to set up your office, create an area free of distraction with endless opportunity for productivity.

Set boundaries.

It may a challenge to rid yourself of the day to day distractions of your home life while working. Set boundaries for yourself by scheduling the times you're working, and the times you're "home." Enforce these boundaries with your friends and family by letting them know that you won't be free for impromptu chats during work hours. Also, enforce this boundary with yourself to ensure you aren't overworking and can clock out of work. Setting this boundary will free you of frustration for your lack of productivity during the day.

Cultivate productivity 

Keep your mind focused and ready by adding the necessary tools to your workday. Try working to instrumental music to fuel creativity and focus. If you don't work well to noise, purchase some high-grade noise-canceling headphones to prevent interruptions. Get organized in your workspace to save time spend looking for necessary items. Having a clean, organized space will reduce stress while working and also benefit your workload.

Working from home doesn't have to be unproductive. Apply these simple habits to your day-to-day work life and anticipate your most excellent idea to arrive soon. If you're having trouble creating a workspace, call a local interior designer who specializes in home offices to take your workspace to the next level.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 6/16/2019

After you submit an offer on a home and complete a property inspection, there may be only a short amount of time until you close.

Ultimately, it pays to prepare for closing day. If you start planning for your home closing today, you can identify and address any potential problems.

To better understand how to get ready for a home closing, let's take a look at three questions to consider before your closing.

1. What needs to get done before my closing date?

Your closing date may be a few weeks away, but time moves quickly, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to get into a new residence as quickly as possible. Fortunately, homebuyers who understand what needs to get done prior to a closing can plan accordingly.

Typically, a homebuyer will need to secure homeowners insurance and title insurance before closing on a house. Insurance companies are available to provide information about both types of insurance. If you reach out to these companies immediately, you can guarantee that your home and personal belongings will be covered against loss or damage.

You'll need to contact utilities providers as well. That way, you can ensure that your gas, electric and other utilities are good to go as soon as you close on your home.

2. How much are my monthly mortgage payments?

You know that you've been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you don't know how much that you'll be paying for your home each month, you'll certainly want to find out sooner rather than later.

Monthly mortgage payments can add up quickly, particularly for homebuyers who fail to budget properly. If you know exactly how much that you'll be paying each month for your home, you can effectively map out a budget.

3. What do I need to bring to my closing?

Homebuyers are required to bring a government-issued ID to a closing. In some instances, you may need to provide a certified or cashier's check to cover assorted closing costs as well.

If you are unsure about what to bring to a home closing, it often helps to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you seamlessly navigate all stages of the homebuying cycle.

Prior to a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. This housing market professional will explain how the home closing process works, how long the process generally takes to complete and, perhaps most important, when you'll receive the keys to your house.

A real estate agent also goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can help you compare and contrast a broad range of houses, submit a competitive offer on a home and ensure that you can discover your dream residence in no time at all.

Get ready for a home closing – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can prep for your closing date.




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