Larry Costa REALTOR®'s Blog
When spring arrives it brings everyone out to the backyard for games, cookouts, picnics, and a number of other fun, fair weather activities. It also brings yardwork.
With the busy schedules that most homeowners have, it can be difficult to find time to spend hours working in the yard each weekend. Depending on where you live and the size of your backyard, there are many options for making it a bit easier to take care of your lawn and garden.
In this article, we’ll give you some advice on how to make caring for your backyard a lot simpler so that you can spend your time outside enjoying the weather rather than working up a sweat.
In most suburban and rural neighborhoods, lawncare seems like a competition. Everyone wants their grass to look as green as their neighbor’s. But keeping a meticulous lawn can be difficult if you have kids, pets, or just don’t have the time to spend manicuring and fertilizing your lawn. What’s more, lawncare can get expensive quickly and can go wrong just as quickly in the case of droughts and pests.
There are many ways you can simplify your lawn care. If you love having a lawn, but mowing is a pain, it can be easier to remove some obstacles from your yard. Bird baths and other decorations can be a nice accept, but sometimes they make mowing more difficult than it needs to be.
If you don’t want to deal with grass at all, or want a smaller area to mow, you have a few options.
You could make your yard more of a natural meadow by planting wildflowers and encouraging long grasses. Laying a brick path down the middle creates the air of a walkthrough garden where you can view the many florae that will be ever-changing in your yard.
If you like your yard to look neat and tidy, creating a patio and placing a few choice potted plants and trees on it will save you a lot of time pushing the lawnmower.
Choose the right plants
Many people plant bushes, trees, and flowers based solely on the fact that they like them. It makes more sense in the long run, though, to choose your plants based on their hardiness, and your ability to care for them.
Some plants are marketed as being impossible to kill. However, you should still read the care requirements to make sure they’ll work with your yard’s climate, light, and water conditions.
In warmer climates, cacti and succulents are a good choice and will likely fit the scenery. For colder climates, there are a number of conifers, shrubs, and bushes that will stay green throughout the winter, adding a bit of color to the dreary season.
A good way to make sure your yard will be low maintenance year-round is to use plants and trees that are native to your area. Since they’re in their natural habitat, they’ll likely require less work on your part.
Moving locally might not seem as stressful as a long-distance move, but it can still be hectic if you’re not well-prepared for it. Whether your local move is just down the street or to another part of town, make sure you start getting ready for it early. The following tips can help make your upcoming move a bit easier.
Start Sorting & Packing Early
Even though it won’t take as long to get to your new home when you move a short distance, you should still get started on sorting and packing your belongings as early as you can. Waiting to begin may mean you’ll feel rushed and opt to skip the sorting process. Instead of donating or tossing items in order to downsize, for example, you might end up bringing everything with you to your new home. If you’ve closed on your new home and know your moving date, you can begin sorting through your household items.
Label Your Boxes
Being as organized as possible can help your local move go smoothly. As you go through your belongings and pack them up, put labels on each box or container. Your labels should let you know what’s inside and where each box or container should go. You can either write the room on the label or use color-coded labels for different rooms. Having all of your boxes and containers clearly marked makes it easy for you or your movers to know where to put them at your new home.
Switch Your Utilities
As your move gets closer, keep in mind that you’ll need to change your utilities over to your new home. Since you’re moving locally, you might not have to deal with switching to new utility companies. Instead, you might just have to contact each company to provide them with your new address and let them know when to shut off services at your current home and turn them on at your new home.
Make Multiple Trips
Since your new home isn’t far away, you should be able to make several trips back and forth instead of having to move everything in one trip. You can load up your car with smaller items and boxes for these trips, and unload them in your new residence. For larger items, such as your furniture, make plans to rent a truck or hire local movers to handle these for you. Moving into your new home a little at a time through multiple trips helps make your actual moving day less stressful overall.
The home selling journey may prove to be long and arduous, particularly for those who fail to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to expedite the house selling cycle and quickly achieve your desired results.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the home selling journey.
1. Understand Your Target Audience
You know you have a great home. Now, you just need to figure out who may want to purchase it. If you analyze the buyer's perspective, you can determine your target audience and map out the home selling journey accordingly.
Think about why you decided to buy your house in the first place. Also, consider any unique features that may make your home an attractive option to potential buyers.
If you assess the buyer's perspective, you may discover innovative ways to stir up interest in your home. As a result, you could reap the benefits of a fast, profitable house selling experience.
2. Craft an Engaging Home Listing
A home listing is important, as it enables you to introduce your residence to prospective buyers. Therefore, it is crucial to create an engaging home listing that captures a buyer's interest.
As you craft a home listing, it usually is a good idea to provide clear, concise details about your house. Furthermore, you may want to include pictures of your residence's interior and exterior to help buyers see the true beauty of your house.
In addition, you should include accurate information about your home in your listing. Because if you educate buyers about your home's features, you can help them make an informed decision about whether to pursue your residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
For those who want to speed up the home selling journey, there is no reason to work alone. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available around the country, and these housing market experts can help you seamlessly navigate the house selling cycle.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. He or she will teach you about all aspects of the housing market and help you create an effective property selling strategy. Plus, if you have concerns or questions throughout the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them right away.
Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent provides as you review an offer to purchase your house, either. Deciding whether to accept, reject or counter an offer to purchase your home sometimes can be difficult, but a real estate agent can help take guesswork out of this decision. In fact, a real estate agent can provide honest, unbiased recommendations to help you make the best-possible decision regarding a home sale.
Want to expedite the home selling journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble selling your home without delay.
It’s a difficult time to be a first-time home buyer. Post-recession buyers are wary--and for good reason--of how and when to save money for a down payment on a house. One thing to remember, however, is that it’s always a good time to start saving.
In this article, we’re going to cover the four most useful methods of saving for a down payment on your first home. That way you can feel confident in taking the first and most important step toward homeownership.
Choosing the right savings account
Unlike riskier investments, a savings account is a safe and proven way of building interest and saving for a home. However, not all savings accounts are created equal.
Typically, brick and mortar banks offer interest rates that are low--the current national average is only about 0.06% annually. While these banks offer conveniences such as in-network ATMs and check-cashing, their physical locations make them expensive to run.
Enter the online bank. Since online banks don’t have all of the costs associated with running branches, they can afford to offer better rewards--namely, high-interest returns on your savings accounts.
So, should you take all of your money out of your current savings account and transfer it to an online bank? Maybe. But let’s talk about the benefits of having multiple savings accounts.
Open a dedicated account with automatic deposits
Saving isn’t just difficult due to financial reasons. Managing money also takes time and effort. To simplify this process, it’s preferable to direct deposit or automatically transfer a percentage of your weekly income into your down payment savings account.
While it may seem like pinching pennies at first, even small weekly deposits add up, and within a few years the compounding interest can earn you enough for a higher down payment than you thought possible.
Prioritize high-interest debt now
Have student debt or a car loan that’s keeping you from focusing on saving for a down payment? Oftentimes the best coarse of action is to aggressively pay off high-interest loans. In the long term, this will save you money that can then be used toward a down payment.
For debt that will take several years to pay off, consider refinancing for a lower interest rate, or consolidating your student loans. Speaking with a student loan adviser or financial planner is a good first step to take toward managing your debt.
Make a real budget
Most of us think of a verb when we hear the word “budget.” However, it’s more useful as a noun.
Creating a real budget, whether it’s in Excel, Google Sheets, or with the help of an app, having a budget you can refer to once a week is vital to making good savings decisions. It will help you monitor your spending and stay on top of your savings goals.
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