Real Estate Tips

So, You've Done Your Spring Cleaning, What's Next?

So, You’ve Done Your Spring Cleaning, What’s Next?

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Summer is in full swing and it’s time to get out and enjoy the sunshine! You’ve been tackling clutter and investing in smaller projects around the house to spruce things up, whether you are looking to sell or just update a little, but what’s next on the list? It’s time to talk about curb appeal, and more specifically, landscaping.  Curb appeal has to do with how your home looks to passers-by and often times it’s thought of as a large, expensive investment but it can be done in a budget and environmentally friendly way.

Something that can make one of the biggest differences in your homes appearance is trimming shrubs and trees and keeping the lawn mowed. Trim away dead branches as well as ones that may hang in the way of walkways and obstruct the view of the home. When mowing your lawn, it’s actually a common misconception that you should mow it shorter so you won’t have to mow as often.  If a lawn is kept short it will dry out more easily resulting in brown patches and gives opportunity for weeds to take over. Ideally the grass should be about 3” tall.

Another simple option is to add colorful flowers in pots to front porches, by entry ways or next to stairs.  This will make the house feel bright and inviting without breaking the bank.

Now on to the toughest, and most fun, part of landscaping: picking your plants! One of your best options is to go with native plants. This means plants that will naturally thrive in the environment and will often need little care (meaning you won’t have to be outside watering them every day). You have to also be careful not to select any invasive plant species.  These are species that are not native but are well adapted to the environment and will thus multiply rapidly.  This will often come at the expense of helpful native plants.  A good example is purple loosestrife which is choking out local cattails which serve as an important food source. It may be beautiful but it does more harm that good. Seven Days has a short informative article on the aptly named “Botanical Bad Guys” which can be found here.  Another common no-no is a burning bush, they look lovely but they will quickly take over the areas where they are planted.

The items listed below will provide a quick checklist to determine which plants are the best for you!

  • Know your zone!
    • This refers to the temperature zone that you live in.  This will allow you to know what plants can grow and thrive in your environment.
    • Vermont covers zones 3-5 so if you aren’t sure your exact zone within the state picking plants that can survive in zone 3 is your best bet.
    • The zone for a plant can be found online as well as on the seed packet or the label that comes in the pot of the plant.
  • Know what your looking for in a plant
    • For example, if you want to stop mowing the lawn all the time pick plants like creeping thyme to serve as ground cover.  They have beautiful flowers, don’t grow very high and they are boot friendly! You can walk on them!
    • Want to attract butterflies? Swamp Milkweed is a great option. Contrary to its name it doesn’t need to grow in a swamp and it’s a favorite of Monarch butterflies.
  • Decide where you’re planting, if the area is very shaded planting a shade loving plant like Maidenhair Fern so it won’t need much tending. The same goes for the inverse, a sun loving plant won’t need constant watering to survive.

There are tons of easy to find resources online and in local libraries to discover what sorts of plants will work best for you.  Also, check when local nurseries (also a great source for information) are having sales or events you may be able to get the plants you want for a lower cost.  Large stores are also an option to purchase plants from just make sure to check the plants over so you know they are in good condition.

Happy Planting!

Get the Highest Return on Your Home Improvements!

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Whether you want to sell your house or just freshen up your home, summer is here and it’s the perfect time to make those improvements. However, you want to make sure that you have a plan and can get the best return for your investment. Remodeling a home is a quite daunting task but often making smaller improvements/replacements will generate a higher return and drastically change the appearance of your house.  Make sure to look up and familiarize yourself with current market trends before you start.  Listed below are some easy home improvement ideas that won’t break the bank!

  • Reinvigorate Your Curb Appeal!
    • Paint or replace your garage door and front door. These will have a big impact on making the house standout but can also be done in just one weekend.
    • Replace exterior hardware like door handles and house numbers.
    • Make sure the yard looks neat and landscaped
      • Plant some native plants so you won’t have to worry about watering them or lots of maintenance.
  • Swap out old single pane windows
    • Swapping your windows out for dual paned ones will not only make your house look fresh but will also help lower heating and cooling costs!
  • Create living space outdoors
    • Decks are both fun and functional! They are also a great selling feature for any home.
  • Replace your kitchen appliances
    • Nice new appliances look great and will often be more energy efficient allowing you to save a little on your electric bill!
  • Swap out old flooring
    • New carpet is always a great selling feature
    • For tiled surface you can elect to paint it rather than replacing it. Ask at your local hardware store about what type of paint would work great for your tile.
  • Upgrade your bathroom
    • Not ready for a major overhaul? Replace the faucets, light fixtures, towel bars and mirror.
  • Add built in storage
    • Don’t forget all your nooks and crannies, these are excellent places to add more storage.
    • Revamp closets with new shelves and places to hang items
    • Add workbenches and built in storage to basements and garages – you’ll have room to work on your projects and places to keep your extra materials
  • Repaint!
    • An inexpensive and cheap way to drastically change the feel of a space
    • Use Behr’s color of the year, In the Moment – a cool, calming blue hue, to create a relaxing feel in bedrooms.  It goes great with crisp whites and neutral color palates.
    • Don’t forget the outside of your house, even if you’re not ready or able to afford fully repainting the house repaint the trim and shutters.  It will revive the house and help up its curb appeal.

While it may seem intimidating to take on the tasks above to help refresh your home break it down into smaller tasks.  Each weekend can be for a different task and before you know it everything will be done!

8 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal this Spring

Spring is here and with it arrives a fresh, welcome change. This brings a great opportunity to boost your home's curb appeal. Even if you are not looking to sell this season the infographic below offers great insight for sprucing up your home's exterior. Nothing feels better than hitting the refresh button! Check out the tips below for the best ways to renew your home's outer glow.