Take a Look at That Yard! Home and Garden Accents That Will Revamp Your Lawn

Summer is around the corner and a quick look around prompts you to want to find some home and garden accents that will revamp the lawn. Since homes are not selling as they had, many home owners are looking to better what they have. Whether it is inside the home or outside, curb appeal is making a huge comeback. After all, that is what attracts a passerby to look at your home as they drive by.

Home and Garden Accents

Major landscaping is not needed to make a difference and a huge difference is not needed to create a pleasant lawn. Just some home and garden accents and a new look is formed. Flowers to brighten the area around your home and that pretty much will be all that is needed to add major curb appeal.

Start with a keen eye to creating a flower garden. If you also want to grow a vegetable garden but don’t have the room, why not plant some vegetables in your flower garden. Lots of showy colors will help offset a green lawn and you will even be able to harvest fresh vegetables. The first thing to do is to mow your lawn in the spring. Apply weed killer and fertilizer. Then turn to creating that flower garden. The size will depend on the size of your lawn.

Next would be some home and garden accents. Perhaps new address numbers on the house and a new porch light. Solar lighting around your newly laid flower garden will be a nice added touch. Already built water fountains add the sound of soothing waters trickling over rocks.

Clearing a small area around all the trees and laying down bark will tidy up even the most untamed place. Wind chimes gently moving in the night’s breeze add to the charm of your landscaping and your hard work will be have been rewarded.

Some Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

Homebuyers want home inspection tips as they consider making a large financial investment. Tips about home inspection are especially valuable for those who have not purchased a house before. This article is intended to provide such readers the most important pointers to follow so that the real estate buying process is not so overwhelming.

The home inspection tips contained herein address three primary concerns, namely, how to select a home inspector, how to ensure you get the inspection you want and need, and how to get the most benefit out of the inspection report. These pointers apply whether or not you are working with a real estate agent. In fact, if you are working with an agent, these tips will help you get more involved so that the agent doesn’t make all or even some decisions unilaterally.

Our first tip is to consider why you should have the house you plan to buy inspected. There are various motives or reasons for doing so, the most common of which is to avoid buying a money pit. Sometimes the lender requires an inspection, and in general it’s a good idea to discover what may need to be remedied prior to closing. Also, though at one time a home warranty policy was commonly incorporated into the purchase agreement (perhaps seller and buyer sharing the cost), today the home inspection is in essence the only step taken to protect one’s investment.

But this makes it all the more important to get a report that covers all the bases and serves as a kind of owner’s manual to help you get acquainted to your new residence. Unfortunately, too often the inspection is somewhat rushed or even cursory. Minor problems might get glossed over and occasionally a serious major defect is missed. In such a case, if damages occur down the road, the buyer has some recourse by filing a claim, assuming the inspector is bonded. But the liability may be limited to the price of the inspection.

So our second tip is to find a home inspector who is thorough and who writes a complete report that puts everything he finds in proper perspective. If something is wrong, it is important to know what the implications are, just how serious the problem is, and how necessary it is to fix it.

To accomplish this, your inspector should not be too beholden to the real estate agent. If his primary goal is to please the agent (so he can continue to get referrals), he may take shortcuts. (Agents in general prefer quick inspections and summarized findings of major issues only.)

Don’t ignore or discount an inspector referral from your agent, but ask for more than one name and research them. (Most inspectors have a website with sample reports, and you may find there or elsewhere reviews or client testimonials appraising their work.) Be sure you are going to get the kind of home inspection you want before choosing the inspector.

Our third tip builds on the first two and is similar to them. The first tip was the why, whereas the second advises care in determining who inspects the house and how it is inspected. This next tip advises taking care to establish what is inspected.

A number of things can cause an inspector to exclude items from the inspection. Examples are Standards of Practice, his contract, the utilities not being on, inaccessibility due to blocking objects or locked doors, and dangerous situations. Some of these things are under the inspector’s control, some are not, but he is not liable for unintended exclusions and will charge the same fee despite them.

Thus, we recommend reviewing the contract carefully, identifying normally excluded items you want included and possibly normally included items you don’t care about. Also, be sure that lender requirements and constraints will be accommodated. Discuss changes to the list of exclusions and inclusions with the inspector, potentially negotiating a reduced inspection fee.

Then, we advise leaving as little to chance as possible. Ask the inspector what his expectations are to ensure that all inclusions are actually inspected. Relay this information to your real estate agent, who is responsible for seeing that the expectations are met by making arrangements with the owner via the owner’s listing agent. Now, any unintended exclusions that arise would suggest a deliberately uncooperative seller.

Our fourth tip is to get maximum leverage out of the inspection report. Study all findings in the body, not just the major items listed in the summary. If you followed our second tip faithfully, there should be nothing unclear, vague, or out of context. Even so, don’t hesitate to ask the inspector for explanations or elaborations, who should be more than willing to comply.

Some findings may be purely informational and not defects. Some defects may be more or less trivial and not worth pursuing. Serious problems can be addressed in three different ways: as deal breakers, causing you to withdraw your offer; as things you want the seller to remedy prior to closing at his expense; or as conditions you will accept possibly with some form of compensation such as reduced sales price.

We advise against sharing the inspection report with the seller or listing agent. You have paid for it and it belongs to you. The lender may require a copy, but you may request him to keep it confidential. Simply work up a brief contract addendum with your agent covering items falling into the last two categories mentioned in the previous paragraph.

By following these home inspection tips, you stand the best chance of minimizing if not eliminating home-buying surprises.

Useful Ways to Create a Better Home and Garden

In areas where the cold has begun to thaw out and there are dry sunny days, you know that it is that time of the year again when it is time to rake snow mold off lawns. If the soil is too wet, do not venture out as this may damage the soil. Before starting work in the garden make sure, the soil is crumbly and not sodden. Air out your home and start getting ready for spring. Make a checklist of the gardening equipment required, empty out window boxes and birdbaths and get them ready for re-potting and watering. Be innovative and create a garden trellis for a new look.

Brighten the first weeks of spring

Make a checklist of what seeds you would like to plant. Flowers and vegetable seedlings are available in packets at many home stores. Towards the end of March and early April would be the ideal potting time but preparations require time and it is a useful home and garden tip to plan sensibly a vegetable patch apart from the usual flowering beds, which highlight the garden d├ęcor. It is a good idea to plant some bare-root woody plants first. Remove all dried grass and shrubs, piled under snow. Check if mulches are in place or if they have been heaved. Protectors like burlap etc., aid in protecting the soil from unnecessary plants shooting up.

Record bloom times as part of the plan

Select flowers and vegetables that grow well in this cool season. A good choice of garden vegetables would include cabbage, broccoli, kohl-rabi, brussel sprouts and even broccoli. A useful home and garden idea is to start planting small compact seedlings like leeks and onion indoors at this time. Transplant them outdoors when they start sprouting and the weather gets warmer. Flowers that do well at this part of the year would be ephemerals. These little flowers rear their pretty heads between March and early April and disappear when the heat comes on. Depending on the area one is in, one can plant flowers like hydrangeas, peonies, pansies, daffodils and roses.

Look out for those pests

The wet soil gives rise to a host of pests like the mealy bugs, spider mites and scale insects. Several useful home and garden insect repellents and sprays are available in home stores that take care of these mites successfully. Preparing your own compost in one corner of the garden is a good idea as it provides manure to your plants. Make your garden bloom this season.