Prevent Insects From Damaging Your Home

Household pests want the same things you do—food, water, shelter—and will seize any opportunity to satisfy their needs. You can’t stop every pest from ever flying, crawling, or burrowing into your home, but you can make sure the occasional intrusion doesn’t become an all-out invasion.

Once a major infestation occurs, you’ll likely need professional help. But if you focus on prevention, you can tackle many aspects of pest control yourself, save money, and avoid adding pesticides to the environment.

You’ll find the materials—hardware cloth ($8 per 6-inch-square swatch), door weather stripping ($8 per 17-foot roll of 7/8-inch v-strip polypropylene), O rings for faucets (pennies)—you need at most home improvement stores.

Stress Free Vacations Are Possible!

You finally did it. You’ve scheduled a week away from work and personal obligations. No doctor’s appointments, no painful small talk with Great Uncle Harry, no Mickey Mouse parade down Main Street in Magic Kingdom. You and the love of your life are going on a Caribbean cruise.  Passport – check. Cruise attire – check. Shore excursions booked – check. You even had enough frequent flyer miles to upgrade to first class for the flight to San Juan. The vacation you’ve saved for, planned for and dreamed about for years is just few weeks away. You have every reason to be on cloud nine. But you’re not. You’re stressed out!


On Gardening: Plant Coleus with Flowers for a Long Season of Color

 If you are looking for the perfect partner for your favorite flower then look no further than Gene Autry coleus. I often give seminars showing all of the hot new plants and captivating combinations. At some point in what may seem like a whirlwind lecture I stop and tell the class that if they get confused seeing so many plants then remember this—plant coleus. Whether you choose to plant coleus with coleus or coleus with flowers, you’ll be guaranteed to have a stunning garden.

Not long ago I had the opportunity to see and photograph an incredibly striking combination planting that would be easy for anyone to duplicate at their home. The garden featured the brilliant lime green and cream colored Gene Autry coleus contrasting with a Donalena verbena that was iridescent purple/pink.                        

The Fed's Dilemma...

Each time the Federal Reserve Board has met in the past few years, the questions have been the same. How do we overcome a huge recession and the economic hangover caused by this recession? The real estate market was a mess. Unemployment was soaring. Confidence was waning. The response by the Fed was comprehensive and massive--super low rates, purchase of mortgage and Treasury securities and providing liquidity to banks and other financial institutions. Even the end of the recession did not bring a pause in the Fed's work. The tepid recovery was fragile and required more of the same. But now things are changing. Overall, this is very good news because the economy, while certainly not roaring ahead, is moving forward. Jobs are being created and even the real estate market is starting to stir.

Top 10 Home Improvements That Pay You Back

If you're planning to sell your house any time soon, home improvements that build property value should be on your to-do list. It's a buyer's market, and between tighter purse strings and plenty of properties to choose from, shoppers want homes that are move-in ready and free of the need for home improvement projects that will add to their own bottom lines.

There's enough inventory out there right now that buyers can find what they like without having to compromise, They don't have the money or inclination to put in a down payment, get a loan and then turn around and spend more cash to do exactly what they want to improve a property.

Create a Memorable First Impression Through Successful Curb Appeal

Now that virtually all the winter’s snow has melted (in some areas of the country) and it’s easier to navigate the streets, let’s consider something calculated to get people slamming on the brakes: curb appeal, that special something that makes prospective buyers stop for a better look at a house for sale.

In normal market times, the National Association of REALTORS®, 49% of buying decisions are based on curb appeal. While we begin to understand and work through the “new normal,” curb appeal is still of major importance, especially with so many homes for sale.

In effect, curb appeal is “outdoor staging,” said Center City REALTOR® Joanne Davidow, of Prudential Fox & Roach. Even if the interior decor is Buckingham Palace-quality, no one will ever know if the place isn’t appealing from the street—because no one will ever ring the doorbell to see it. “You need to pay attention to the outside as well as the indoors,” she said.

Homeowners Willing to Tackle Remodeling Projects

Take Barbara Moreno and Robert Ptaszynski of Washington Township, N.J., who delayed plans to add a second story to their ranch house when the recession hit their industries—automobiles and title insurance—hard.

Now they’re ready to move forward, because they feel more confident about the economy. “Things seem to be—knock on wood—settling down a little bit,” Ptaszynski said this week at the Home Show in Secaucus, N.J.

Contractors said that customers seem willing to spend again—but cautiously.

“People have been procrastinating for almost three years now,” said Joe Tighe of Complete Roof Systems in Dumont, N.J. During the recent economic hard times, homeowners were more likely to ask about patching and repairing, rather than replacing, their roofs. But now, they seem more willing to tackle the big jobs, he said. “The general mood I get from people is that they’re ready to spend money again,” Tighe said.

Working with a Real Estate Professional is More Important Than Ever in Today’s Real Estate Market

In a landmark study examining the home buying and selling preferences of consumers in the Mid-Atlantic region, 95% reported that working with a real estate professional is just as important, if not more important, than it was just a few years ago. The survey results were released in a new research paper entitled Keepin’ it Real, by MRIS, the area’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and a leading developer of real estate information technology.

Understanding Capital Gains in Real Estate

 When you sell a stock, you owe taxes on your gain — the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. The same holds true when selling a home (or a second home), but there are some special considerations.

How to Calculate Gain
In real estate, capital gains are based not on what you paid for the home, but on its adjusted cost basis. To calculate, follow these steps:

1. Purchase price: _______________________

The purchase price of the home is the sale price, not the amount of money you actually contributed at closing.

What Not to Overlook on a Final Walk-through

It’s guaranteed to be hectic right before closing, but you should always make time for a final walk-through. Your goal is to make sure that your home is in the same condition you expected it would be. Ideally, the sellers already have moved out. This is your last chance to check that appliances are in working condition and that agreed-upon repairs have been made. Here’s a detailed list of what not to overlook for on your final walk-through.


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