Portable Gardens for Curb Appeal

To make your home more attractive to homebuyers, you could plant fresh flowers or you could put plants in containers and take your garden with you when you sell your home!

Containers can accent your home’s personality – like washtubs for a farmhouse look or colorful fired pottery for a bohemian vibe. They’re the perfect solution for styling a porch, entry or walkway.

Follow these easy tips to make sure your potted gardens thrive:

Pick the right container. A confined space means substituting what the plants would get if they were in the ground. You need to have enough space for plants to grow and proper drainage holes so your plants don’t become sodden.

Use fresh potting soil. Good potting soil doesn’t clump and allows roots to spread. It contains nutrients to give plants a good head start.

Group plants according to sun and water requirements. A mix of cascading plants, tall leafy plants and various flowers make a beautiful composition. You can even mix in edibles like vegetables and herbs, but make sure all the plants in one container require the same amount of sun and water.

Water frequently. Container gardens dry out quickly, especially smaller pots. Check that the container is draining properly and you don’t have to worry about overwatering. Water daily in warm weather.

Bigger is better. Larger containers hold more soil, allow plants to grow larger, offer more room for variety and require less frequent watering.

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How to Decorate Your Kitchen with White Hues

Kitchens decorated with mostly white hues never seem to go out of style but there’s a fine line between white that’s serene and beautiful and white that’s stark and clinical. If you love the color white, here are some tips to make your kitchen modern and sophisticated:

  1. Include a little grey. Choosing a light grey to accompany white in your kitchen will still give your white color some dimension. It’s like a shadow that helps define the white.
  2. Go monochromatic. Monochromatic doesn’t mean using all the same hue. If you look at paint colors, tiles, countertops and appliances, there are hundreds of whites. Each white has an undertone, typically blue or yellow. Choose the shade you like best and make sure all the colors you use are in the same family.
  3. Break it up. White can bring the drama if you have an element like stainless or black matte appliances instead of white. Or choose a backsplash in a color that you can repeat in a fabric like curtains or placemats.
  4. Bring the outdoors in. A great view of side or backyard landscaping can bring a lot of color indoors. And what looks lovelier with the color white than nature’s woods and greens?
  5. Pop your white colors with art. Your only “color” in a white hued kitchen might be a contemporary painting with splashes of red, orange or blue. Accessorize with dishes or enameled cookware to complement other color accents.

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Kitchen Design Trends for Spring 2018

Kitchen design doesn’t change as quickly as other fashions, so when trends evolve, it’s time to pay attention, especially if you’re considering remodeling your kitchen. Here are five trends to consider:

Color. White kitchens are clean, pristine, and modern but they don’t have to be monotone. Colors that are coming on strong are teal, a deep bluish green and marine blue, a saturated greenish blue. If you love white, or white and grey kitchens, think about adding more color to the island, walls, cabinets or backsplash.

Matte black fixtures. Matte black looks a lot like traditional polished bronze, so for the look to work, the style needs to be sleek, geometric and contemporary. The look is also a great update for your bathroom fixtures.

Workstations. Whether you’re baking, grilling or using the stovetop, install multiple food preparation areas for chopping and mixing. Family and friends can cook together, making meal preparation a fun bonding activity. You can separate foods for individual diets, like gluten-free, and clean up is easier.

Beverage stations. Taking the place of butler’s pantries, when no one has a butler these days, are beverage stations adjoining the kitchen. Chose the appliances around your favorite drinks, including coffee machines, smoothie makers, wine storage, juice bars and cocktail mixing.

Waterfall islands. To really show off your choice of granite, dress your island with a waterfall, where the granite cascades down the sides between the seating area and food prep area. The look is worth the extra expense.

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Five Must-do Improvements For Resale

Most buyers want a move-in ready home that’s clean, updated and functional and they’re willing to pay more to get what they want. Here are just a few improvements you can do that will go a long way with buyers.

  1. Update the finishes. If you’re going to improve a room, update everything, even the light switches. Get rid of popcorn ceilings, which are universally reviled by buyers. If you have wood floors, pull up your old carpet and polish the wood until it gleams.
  2. Reconvert the conversions. Conversions are usually awkward, such as garages turned into living spaces. The house and garage elevations are rarely the same, the driveway leads nowhere, and there’s no place to park cars away from the next hailstorm. Offer to reconvert on request.
  3. Paint neutrally. Nothing improves a home like fresh paint. Your Berkshire Hathaway Home Services network professional can help you choose sellable colors and finishes.
  4. Fix obvious problems. If you can see it, your buyer will see it, too, so fix the sticking door, the running toilet, the leaky faucet, the busted sprinkler head, the wobbly ceiling fan, the loose doorknob, and so on. Buyers are so turned off by dirt, so plan to deep clean every nook and corner.
  5. Say “Welcome!” with curb appeal. Fresh modern paint on the front door, a new welcome mat, potted flowers, shiny new porch lights all show pride of ownership – something you want your buyers to feel, too.

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Rainy Day Projects For Your Home

April showers bring May flowers, but they also give you time to check a few things off your to do list on a rainy weekend. Here are a few projects you can get done:

Spring clean.
Dust all the blinds, wipe down the quarter-round molding, and clean under the beds and furniture you haven’t moved in a while.

Organize your closets.
Unless you’re extremely neat all the time, you’re bound to have items you can sort. Create sections or piles to keep, throw away, and donate. Getting rid of clutter makes you feel good and it also makes your home look better.

Paint something.
Paint may take longer to dry in wet weather but it’s still fun to sand and finish an old table or spruce up a nightstand. Get your house paint from the garage and touch up dings on the doors and walls. Or paint some small terra cotta pots and fill them with plants for your kitchen window. 

Fix something.
Even if you don’t know how, it’s time to stop that leaky faucet or install that new sink. Just visit the Internet for instructions or invite a knowledgeable friend to help, and then serve them dinner. 

Make updating plans.
A rainy day is a good time to assess your home and think about projects you want to do later. Make a wish list of things you want to accomplish, like updating the kitchen or finding new lamps for the den.

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Should You Sell or Remodel Your Home?

Anything that gets as much use as your home shows wear and tear after a few years. Colors and decorative styles look tired and outdated, or you may need more room due to an addition in the family. So do you sell or remodel and stay?

Your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional can show you homes for sale that have the size, features and finishes you want, as well as create a comparative market analysis of homes like yours so you’ll know what you can reasonably expect to net, and if that is enough to help you qualify for your next home.

You’ll pay about 12% of the sales price and more in closing costs to sell and purchase another home. Moving costs are about $2,300, (4 movers at $200 per hour) for an intrastate move and about 7,400 pounds of household goods, according to the American Moving and Storage Association.

If you decide to remodel, make sure your design will meet your needs for years to come. You’ll need the right contractors, kitchen planners and interior designers to help you put it all together. You’ll also need to talk to your lender to learn how much you can borrow.

Change is an evolution, and will bring some upheaval to your life. You’ll either have to open your home to workers or to buyers. But if you come out on the other side with what you and your household desire, it will all be worth it.

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Before You Paint Your Brick Exterior

The Brick Industry Association touts brick for its strength, energy efficiency and low maintenance, but sometimes brick can just be dated or downright ugly. A fresh new color on your home’s exterior brick can go a long way toward updating your home.

Whether you choose to do the work yourself or hire a professional, the same steps, particularly careful preparation, should be followed.

Clean the bricks: Use a wire brush, soap and water to clean the bricks, or use a power washer. For hard to remove stains, you can mix water with trisodium phosphate (TSP). TSP is phosphate-free and formulated for hard surfaces. Use approximately one-half cup to a gallon of water. For mold, mix one part bleach to three parts water and scrub with a wire brush.

Repair cracks and missing mortar: If you’re painting the brick for the first time, buy a premixed mortar patch, then caulk and seal any cracks in the brick. If your brick is already painted use the wire brush to loosen any paint that may be peeling.

Use masonry primer: Like TSP, latex masonry primer is made for brick. It ensures that the paint color will go on smoothly and evenly. Allow the primer to dry before you begin to paint. If the paint was originally painted with oil, you’ll have to use oil-based masonry primer and paint or the fresh paint will quickly peel. Apply two coats of paint for coverage, and wait for the first coat to dry before applying the second.

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