Mary O'Brien's Blog
For anyone who is intimidated by the idea of working with garden pavers, for those who may think they are tools only for professionals experienced in masonry, be assured that you too can beautify your garden and yard with these smooth finishing touches. Perfect for taming and refining wild, overgrown areas, concrete pavers are easily customizable building blocks for framing or accenting outdoor spaces. And making a permanent commitment or leaving the option to change it up is all up to you--in most cases using grout is optional depending on the purpose and look you’re going for.
Rock Garden Borders
To complement any small trees in your yard, you can dot the area surrounding the base of the tree with smaller plants and flowers, either potted, in the ground or both. Creating freeform borders allows you to build around the existing trees and plants, and curved lines give your yard a flowing atmosphere. Concrete pavers serve this purpose especially well since many styles offer interlocking shapes or flat edges that can be tightly lined up against each other to hold in mulch, natural stones, gravel, or other attractive fillers.
Flat-edged pavers or designs with interlocking shapes offer an easy way to elevate potted plants and keep them out of the dirt, upright, and steady. Set a few pavers together on either side of the front door or at the entrance to your garden and place a potted plant on top. Giving plants some extra height adds interest and spotlights them as welcoming touches.
If you enjoy having a fair amount of lawn space and particularly if you live out in the country, having a beautiful yard to curate usually comes with the price of tracking dirt into your house. Use concrete pavers to form a natural, neutral walkway in the hue and shape of your choice, or arrange several together to create stepping stones to your front door. Both solutions help keep dirt off of shoes on the way in and don’t take up much of your yard.
Border For Your Outdoor Kitchen
For sheds, pet houses, or even outdoor kitchens made of wood, the sides collect dirt and sand, particularly in seasons of stormy weather. Concrete pavers let you easily build a border around these structures to beautifully frame them as well as help protect them from dirt and dust. You can also add a stepping stone pathway to the building that matches its border.
Border For Garden Beds
Evoke the ambiance of an English garden by filling unused garden space with concrete pavers. Line the ground beneath first with weed prevention cloth if your garden is especially prone to weeds; without grout you will likely still get some growth between the stones anyway but, when well maintained, adds to the rustic look.
Whether you’re putting your home on the market or planning to sell down the road, the right home improvements have the power to boost your home’s value. Of course, big home improvement projects add up fast, but you don’t have to spend big bucks or dive into a complete kitchen remodel to improve your home, keep up with your neighbors and maximize the value of your home. Here are five home improvement projects you may want to consider, especially if you’ll be selling your home within the year.
1 – Energy Efficiency Insulation
It doesn’t cost much to update your home to save on energy costs, and it increases your home’s appeal to buyers. For a couple hundred dollars you can put extra insulation in your attic, which will save you money on your utility bills immediately. Other simple projects that boost energy efficiency include sealing cracks, adding a programmable thermostat or replacing the old water heater with a high-efficiency hot water heater.
2 – Add New Lighting Fixtures
Old lighting fixtures around the home can be eyesores, but this is an easy fix. Simply updating the lighting fixtures throughout your home with eye-catching modern ceiling fans, chandeliers, sconces and other fixtures can change the look without spending a lot of money. While you’re at it, upgrade to energy efficient light bulbs, too.
3 – Reinvent a Room
Additional living spaces or flex rooms are really appealing to home buyers. One option is to refinish a basement and turn it into a bonus room, an additional apartment, game room or family room. However, refinishing a basement can run between $15,000 to $30,000. If you don’t want to spend the big bucks on a project that large, another option is to create your own flex room. Take a bedroom, repaint it, change the flooring and leave it as a blank canvas that can be used as an office, exercise room, game room, play room or study room.
4 – Update Fixtures
Beyond your lighting fixtures, a complete update on fixtures throughout the home can make the whole place look more attractive and boost value. Think replacing switch plates, doorknobs, outlet covers and even curtain rods. Instead of going with plastic switch plates and outlets, considering swapping out to metal. If you go with colors, choose options that will appeal to anyone.
5 – Eliminate Popcorn Ceilings
Popcorn ceilings can date and devalue your house, and they may make potential buyers pass on your home. With the proper equipment, it’s possible to remove popcorn ceilings on your own. However, if you own an older home, have a professional check out the ceiling to ensure it doesn’t contain asbestos. If it does, you’ll need to have it professionally removed.
You don’t have to go full-scale remodel to boost your home’s value. Pick a couple easy, cost-effective home improvement projects and increase your home’s value without expensive remodels or major transformations.
The homebuying journey may require many weeks or months to complete. As you approach the finish line of this journey, there are lots of things you can do to ensure a seamless conclusion.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly finalize a home purchase.
1. Conduct a Home Inspection
A home inspection generally is performed after a seller approves your offer to purchase his or her residence. At this time, a home inspector will walk through a house and identify any underlying problems. Next, a home inspector will provide you with a report that details his or her findings.
For homebuyers, it is important to review a home inspection report closely. If a home inspector identifies major problems with a residence, you may want to modify your initial offer to purchase or rescind your homebuying proposal.
You also should attend a home inspection. Although you are not required to attend an inspection, doing so may enable you to gain insights into a home that are not included in a house inspector's report. Then, you can use all of the insights at your disposal to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.
2. Maintain Flexibility
You may want to close on a home by a specific date, yet the homebuying process offers no guarantees. Delays may happen without notice, and you need to be able to adjust your homebuying timeline accordingly. As such, you should maintain flexibility as you try to finalize your transaction.
Remember, both you and a home seller share a common goal – to complete a property transaction as quickly as possible. If you maintain open lines of communication with a seller, you can reduce the risk of miscommunications that otherwise could slow down the homebuying journey.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Navigating the homebuying journey is rarely simple, particularly for individuals who want to acquire a terrific house at a budget-friendly price. Thankfully, you can collaborate with a real estate agent to achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying cycle.
A real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals and do everything possible to make your homeownership dream come true. He or she is happy to provide recommendations and suggestions as you conduct a home search. And when you find your dream residence, a real estate agent can help you put together a competitive offer to purchase it.
Of course, a real estate agent provides comprehensive assistance during the final stages of the homebuying journey as well. Reaching a home closing date may seem impossible at times, but a real estate agent helps take the guesswork out of finalizing a house purchase. Therefore, he or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure you can reach your home closing date without delay.
Simplify the process of buying a house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can minimize the risk of encountering homebuying hurdles and streamline the homebuying journey.
The home selling journey may be perilous, particularly for an individual who is unprepared for potential pitfalls. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to quickly identify house selling hurdles and address such issues before they get out of hand.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you detect and resolve a wide range of home selling hurdles.
1. Make a Home Selling Plan
If you are unsure about how to navigate the house selling journey, there is no need to stress. In fact, if you craft a home selling plan, you can prepare for any challenges that you may encounter.
A home selling plan should encompass all of the steps you will need to take to sell your house. It should start with a timeline that reflects how much time you have before you need to list your home. Furthermore, your home selling plan should account for how you plan to showcase your residence to prospective buyers, along with where you plan to relocate following your house sale.
Your home selling plan should remain flexible, too. Because if you have the flexibility to adjust your home selling plan as needed, you can modify your strategy based on any house selling challenges you face.
2. Price and Promote Your House Effectively
The ideal price for one home likely varies from the perfect price for a similar residence in the same city or town. If you conduct a house appraisal, however, you can get a property valuation before you list your residence. And as a result, you may use this property valuation to establish the optimal initial asking price for your house.
Think about how you will promote your residence to buyers as well. If you devote time and energy to enhance your house's curb appeal, for example, you could boost the likelihood of generating lots of interest in your home. Meanwhile, you also can clean each room of your home to help buyers fall in love with your residence as soon as they walk through the front door.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the home selling journey. Therefore, he or she can help you remediate any home selling problems, regardless of their severity.
If you are uncertain about how to showcase your residence to potential buyers, for instance, a real estate agent will help you schedule home showings and open house events. On the other hand, if you are unsure about how to price your residence, a real estate agent will help you establish a competitive house asking price from day on the property selling journey.
When it comes to adding a home to the real estate market, various problems may crop up. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can limit potential home selling problems. Plus, you can streamline the home selling journey and increase your chances of maximizing your house sale earnings.