Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 72

Perfect Your Patio on a Budget

by Melissa Thompson


Now that warmer weather is here, you will want to start spending more time outside.  But chances are you might have let your patio go over the winter months and it doesn’t look or feel too appealing right now.  Now is the time to give your patio a little makeover so you can bask in the fresh air, whether you are simply enjoying a good book and a cup of tea, or you are dining al fresco.  Here are some ways to upgrade your patio without breaking the bank:

  1. STOP PESTS

Pests can cause your patio to become unsightly with debris from their digging and trampling.A great way to keep them away is to surround your patio with simple pine cones instead of mulch.While critters will be deterred by the spiny cones, your plants will love them because they add acidity to the soil.They will make plants like azaleas and rhododendrons burst with color!Also, pine cones are slow to decompose, so they will last a long time!

  1. REMOVE RUST

If you have metal furniture on your patio that has become covered in rust, you won’t feel much like lounging on it.But you don’t have to get rid of it or replace it with expensive pieces.You can remove the rust and have it looking good as new!There are many ways to get rid of rust.If it’s not too bad, you can simply scrape it off using a wire brush, sandpaper, or steel wool along with a bit of elbow grease.For more severe cases, try an acidic agent like vinegar to help take it off.You can also use a chemical rust converter (such as Rust-Oleum), which changes the rust into a different substance and gives added protection from rusting again. Patio Furniture Rust Removal

  1. ADD COLOR

Nothing brightens up a gloomy concrete patio like a pop of color!You can keep it simple and paint your patio floor a nice, bright color to spice it up. Or you can be super creative and try painting patterns or even using stamps to create a bold design.If painting the concrete seems like too much for you, then add color with accessories like chair cushions and pillows, side tables, and planters. How to Paint Your Concrete Patio

  1. BUILD A FIRE PIT

Did you know that you can build a fire pit with no tools?A fire pit adds a focal point to your patio and creates a cozy atmosphere.The best part is that it doesn’t require much time or money to build one.For a small fire pit you can purchase heat-resistant pavers (or “fire bricks), which cost about $5 each.Stack two layers of them in a small circle, about six blocks in circumference on top of a stone slab, and voila! You have a fire pit!Remember that this will only work on a patio surface that is fire-safe.So, don’t try to do this on a wooden deck!And be sure to check your Local Fire Codes!

  1. DETER INSECTS

There are many ways to keep your patio as insect free as possible.First, keep your patio clean.Be sure to sweep up any crumbs and wipe up spilled liquids after dining. Any tiny morsel or stickiness is sure to attract ants and other insects.Second, replace white light bulbs with yellow bulbs or Sodium-Vapor Lights which are less likely to attract bugs.  Third, plant pest-deterrent flowers and plants. And finally, while on your patio, burn citronella torches or candles to help keep bothersome bugs away.  These are just a few ways to keep your patio insect free.  Here are some others: Keeping Flies and Pests Off the Patio.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs!  Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Lawn Basics: Where the Green Grass Grows

by Melissa Thompson


No green thumb? Don’t worry!  The grass CAN be greener on your side of the fence. With spring right around the corner, now is the perfect time to start working on a thick carpet of grass for your yard. Here are some tips for growing a lawn that will have your neighbors GREEN with envy:

  1. Start by reseeding and fertilizing. If you have bare spots in your grass, taking the time to reseed now will pay off this spring.  Make sure you fertilize for optimal growth and keep the area moist until you see new growth. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, you can hire someone to do it. Here are the 5 Best Lawn Seeding Companies in Memphis, TN.
     
  2. Look for problems that will hinder growth.  Steep slopes and shady trees can potentially keep grass from growing.  You may want to consider hydroseeding in sloped regions.  And planting fescues in shady zones will help as well. What is Hydroseeding? All Of Your Questions Answered
     
  3. Patch dead areas with sod.  Re-sodding is the best bet if you have large dead areas. Sod can be installed any time of year…just make sure you water it frequently until it sets.
     
  4. Look into xeriscaping. No matter what climate you living, xeriscaping is the best way to weatherproof your lawn.  This low maintenance, low cost method of landscaping will keep your lawn looking beautiful during all the seasons! Xeriscape Landscaping: Meaning, and How it Can Save You Money

Once you have your lawn looking fabulous, you can create a fun outdoor living space to enjoy with your friends and family.  And when you’re ready to sell your home, the first impression potential buyers get from your curb appeal will have them waiting in line to see your house! 

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: twitter.com

Money Saving Tips for Homeowners

by Melissa Thompson


There are a lot of perks to home ownership, but let’s face it; it can be expensive.  You’re not only making a mortgage payment every month, but you are also responsible for maintaining your home.  But there are lots of easy ways to save money without ever leaving the house. Follow these tips and start saving today!

  1. Save money on your electric bill by utilizing natural ways to cool your house.  During the spring and summer, open your windows and use fans to get the air circulating through your home.  Ceiling fans will help too. Moving the air through the house will help cool it down quite a bit.
     
  2. Another way to save on your electric bill is to line dry your clothes.  Dryers use a lot of electricity, and there are many good reasons to choose line drying.  Not only is it an energy saver, but it may extend the life of your clothing! Top 10 Reasons to Line Dry Laundry
     
  3. Get rid of cable television. With all the options for streaming shows on apps like Hulu and Netflix, you could save a lot of money by ending your relationship with cable and using apps to stream your favorite programs.  You might be surprised to discover that even after upgrading your internet, you will still pay less per month than you did for cable television.
     
  4. Always unplug.  Even when you are not using an appliance, if you keep it plugged in, it is still pulling electricity.  It may not seem like much, but over years you can save quite a bit by unplugging when not using things.  Chances are you are not going to want to be bothered with walking around your house to unplug everything, but to make it a little easier, consider using power strips so you can just unplug that at the end of the day.
     
  5. Use a shopping list.  This may sound silly, but when you go shopping without a list you often come home with way more than you need.  Make a list and stick to it. It will not only make shopping more efficient, but it will save you money in the long run.
     
  6. Learn how to do basic home maintenance.  You can save a ton of money over time by being able to take care of home maintenance yourself.  By doing small tasks like replacing filters and cleaning out dust, you can lengthen the lifespan of many appliances, thus saving money that way as well.  Home Maintenance for Dummies Cheat Sheet
     
  7. Bundle up and save on heating costs.  Invest in quality, warm blankets so you can turn the heat down and still be warm and cozy when you sleep at night.  Decreasing your heat by just a few degrees can save you a lot of money over time.
     
  8. Create a budget and try to stick to it. By creating a budget, you will be more conscientious about your spending.  It will not only help you to see where you are spending too much, it will also assist you in prioritizing your spending.

Saving money is important.  Whether you’re saving for retirement or for a special family vacation, it’s the little things you do that make a big difference in the long run!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Easy Home Updates That Won’t Break the Bank

by Melissa Thompson


Another year is coming to an end and like many people, you may already be thinking about what you are going to do to make next year better.  If home improvement is on your new year’s resolution list, but your budget is already a bit strained, there are a lot of home updates you can do that are inexpensive.  Try these easy upgrades to give your home a fresh look for 2019:

  1. Freshen Up the Front Door

Whenever I am decorating or even just cleaning, I always start with the places that guests will see first.Well, your front door is one of the first things people see when they come to your house, so why not make it as appealing as possible?Perhaps give it a new coat of paint with a color that makes it pop and say “welcome”!Or, if you already like the color of your door, give it a thorough cleaning to make it shine and add a pretty wreath.

  1. Modernize Light Switches and Outlets

If you are still living with the light switches and outlets that the builders put into your house, chances are they were the cheapest ones they could find.And if your home is older, they might not only be “dated” but also kind of faded or yellowed.You might be surprised how much it will brighten up your house to have clean, new switch plates and outlets!

  1. Embellish Mirrors with Frames

A plain sheet of mirror sitting above a sink is, in a word, boring.Take it down and replace it with a mirror with a frame and you will be amazed at the difference it makes! If you don’t want to take down the existing mirror, you can add a frame to it!

  1. Change Up Lighting Fixtures

Every space in your home is impacted by lighting.If you have outdated light fixtures, or you simply don’t like the ones that came with the house, switching them out for new ones is a great way to update your home!

  1. Don’t Like It? Paint It!

A new coat of paint can transform just about any surface!Kitchen cabinets dull and drab? Paint them! Paint stores will allow you to purchase samples so that you can try different colors before choosing one.Whether you decided to paint the walls of a room or just some accents like cabinets or furniture, a change in color can give things a whole new aesthetic.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson, and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: freshhome.com

Home Ownership - A Dream that Can Come True!

by Melissa Thompson

The idea of purchasing your first home is exciting, but can also feel overwhelming.  Before starting your home search, you need to figure out how much you can afford.  If you’ve been hesitant to move forward because you’re afraid you won’t have enough cash for a down payment or that you won’t qualify for a loan, you shouldn’t despair.  There are programs available that can help you!  So, stop padding your landlord’s pockets and take advantage of programs that will assist you in making a sound financial investment in a home of your own.

The Tennessee Housing Development Agency  has two programs designed to assist people with down payment assistance once they have qualified for a Great Choice Home Loan:

  1. Great Choice Plus Loan - Anywhere in Tennessee, all homebuyers who qualify for a Great Choice Home Loan can also apply for down payment assistance in the form of a Great Choice Plus second loan worth a maximum of 5% of the home’s purchase price.  The beauty of this program is that this loan has no monthly payments and no interest for as long as you own and live in your home.  You won’t have to pay back any of it unless you move out, sell or refinance. If you do move out, sell or refinance, you will only have to pay back exactly what you borrowed.
     
  2. HHF-DPA -  If you are purchasing a home with a Great Choice Home Loan in one of the Participating Zip Codes, you can apply for the HHF-DPA program, which offers $15,000 in down payment assistance.  If you’re approved, your financial assistance comes in the form of a forgivable $15,000 second mortgage loan on your home.  This second mortgage has a 0% interest rate a defers monthly payments for a ten- year term.  The loan is forgiven at 20% per year in years 6-10.  If you do not sell, refinance or move out in that ten-year period, you will get full loan forgiveness.  This loan is only available on purchases of existing homes (no new construction) and again, only available to homes purchased in participating zip codes. 

    You must complete a THDA Homebuyer Education Course to participate in these programs.

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

How to Avoid Expensive Visits from a Plumber

by Melissa Thompson

If you’ve ever had to call a plumber to come out to your house to fix a clogged sink or jammed garbage disposal, you already know how expensive that visit can be.  Here are some tips for things you can do to take care of your kitchen sink so that you won’t have to call a plumber to fix it for you:

  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
     
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
     
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous materials like corn husks, celery stalks, onions, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains.
     
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
     
  • Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
     
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
     
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
     
  • Don’t grind large animal bones of any kind.
     
  • Don’t put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the disposal but they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.
     
  • Most importantly: Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners to unclog the drain. They damage blades and pipes.

Follow these tips to take care of your sink and garbage disposal and save yourself from writing that check to the plumber!!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: blog.cinfin.com

Fabulous Fall Flowers

by Melissa Thompson

Fall is just around the corner and with it comes Fall foliage and a burst of majestic colors. But if you would like to add some of the glorious autumnal colors to your home’s landscaping, now is the time to start planning and planting.  Whether you are partial to yellows and golds, burnt oranges and rusts, or deep reds and burgundies (or if you like to mix it up with a variety of hues), there is something for everyone when it comes to fall flowers. Here are some favorites:

Chrysanthemums -  These popular flowers come in a variety of sizes. With seasonal, festive shades of yellow, red and orange they provide a perfect backdrop for all your outdoor fall décor.  Learn how to plant and grow chrysanthemums here.

Pansies - Found in just about every shade of the rainbow, these versatile flowers create a majestic ground cover and look equally amazing in hanging baskets.  If planted in fall,  pansies can last up to eight months, so you definitely get your money’s worth of beauty with these hardy plants! Growing Pansies

Goldenrod -  Many people think that goldenrod causes hay fever, but ragweed is the real culprit, not this beautiful fall flower!  It is a late bloomer, bringing a blast of gorgeous gold to late fall.  You can grow tall varieties to stand guard over your garden or dwarf versions for the front of your beds. John Muir, a naturalist known as “Father of the National Parks” said of goldenrod, “The fragrance, color, and form of the whole spiritual expression of Goldenrod are hopeful and strength-giving beyond any others I know. A single spike is sufficient to heal unbelief and melancholy.”

Croton - An ideal plant for autumn, croton has brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow and purple.  It works as a houseplant in cold-weather regions or as a shrub in frost-free areas.  It also can be grown outdoors as an annual. Be on the lookout for different varieties to find the best crotons to complement your fall garden. Care of Outdoor Croton Plants: How to Grow Croton Outdoors

Black-Eyed Susan - These golden-yellow stunners bring to mind happy daisies.  Bees and butterflies love them and they brighten up any landscape or container garden. Learn How to Grow Black Eyed Susans and create a blanket of color for fall!

Helenium - Also known as “sneezeweed” (don’t worry, it doesn’t make you sneeze…the name comes from when they used to make snuff out of their dried leaves) they look like small, copper hued coneflowers.  They can grow quite tall and add a burst of warm cheer to your fall garden. How to Grow Helenium

Take advantage of what’s left of late summer and start your fall garden while the days are still longer and the temperatures are still mild.  Before you know it, you will be enjoying the glory of Autumn!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: blog.gardenloversclub.com

Making House Guests Feel at Home

by Melissa Thompson

Many people travel to visit family and friends during the summer.  If you are expecting house guests, you will want to prepare your home so that is comfortable and welcoming.  Here is a list of things to do before your guests arrive:

  • Buy Fresh Flowers - Even if you don’t keep fresh flowers in your home all the time, it’s nice to splurge a little to have them for your guests. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can often find lovely bunches of flowers at your local grocery store.  If you have a green thumb and grow flowers in your yard, that’s even better! Just clip some and place them in pretty vases around the house.
  • Clean Out and Restock the Refrigerator - Get rid of any lurking left-overs as well as any condiments that have passed their expiration.  Plan your meals for the duration of the visit and Stock the Fridge accordingly. Make sure you know your guests’ dietary needs and allergies prior to their arrival.
  • Make a Spare Key - Unless you plan to spend every second of the visit with your guests, you will want to give them a key so that they have the freedom to come and go if you are not home.
  • Have Extra Toothbrushes on Hand - You will be doing your guests a great favor by having extra personal items on hand in case they have forgotten something.  There is nothing worse after arriving from a long trip than having to go back out to purchase forgotten items.  Other items to have on hand: razors, deodorant, feminine hygiene products etc.
  • Clean Out the Guest Room Closet - If you’ve been using your guest room closet for storage, now is the time to clean it out.  Even if you don’t clear it out completely, make sure there is enough space for your guests to store their bags and hang clothes.
  • Clean Up the Clutter -  Having a cluttered home might be ok when it’s just you and your immediate family, but you will want to have a neat and tidy home for your guests.  You don’t have to go overboard.  You can leave out things you use daily, like the bag of dog food or the tv remotes. But put other extraneous items away for the duration of their stay.
  • Wipe the Ceiling Fan Blades - There are some things that often get overlooked in your normal cleaning routine.  Make sure to wipe down the ceiling-fan blades along with other nooks and crannies you might have missed before.  It’s also a good time to change your air filters if they haven’t recently been changed.
  • Replace Shower Curtain Liner - If you haven’t changed your shower curtain liner in the  guest bathroom recently, check it to make sure there is no mildew.  Liners are inexpensive and new one will give the bathroom a fresh feel. 
  • Prepare Guest Bath - Speaking of the Guest Bathroom - make sure it is fully stocked with plenty of toilet paper, facial tissues, shampoo, conditioner and body wash.  Splurge on some fragrant fancy soaps to place on the sink. Provide a stack of freshly laundered towels so that your guests don’t have to go looking for them.

Having guests in your home can be a little stressful sometimes. Preparing for their visit ahead of time will alleviate some of that stress so that you can enjoy their visit to the fullest!

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: littlehouseliving.com

Clean Up the Clutter with Creative Family Room Storage

by Melissa Thompson

Some people call it a Family Room, others a Great Room, but whatever you call it, for many families it is the heart of the home.  It’s where you gather to spend time together, to watch television, to play games, to socialize with friends and to relax.  Since so much time is spent in this room, you want it to be comfortable and inviting, while also being neat and tidy.  A cluttered room does not promote a relaxing vibe. But where do you keep everything?  Here are some creative storage solutions for your family room:

  • Ottomans - A pillow for your feet and a great place to keep extra blankets and pillows!

An ottoman that opens does double duty and provides hidden space for items that you don’t want sitting out in the open all the time.


Photo Credit: westelm.com

  • Coffee Tables - Another piece of furniture that can serve more than one purpose is the coffee table.  Does your family love board games?  With the right coffee table you can conveniently store them and have room to play them!


Photo Credit: pinterest.com

  • Open storage - You don’t have to hide everything. You can achieve a neat and tidy aesthetic by organizing items such as books and magazines in stacks.  There are many ways to style a coffee table so that it is both useful and pretty! Coffee Table Styling and Decor Tips


Photo Credit: thespruce.com

  • Baskets - Find baskets that blend in with your décor to hold various items.  Large baskets can hold blankets, pillows, dog toys and games.  Smaller baskets are great for holding remote controls, phones and chargers.


Photo Credit: iconhomedesign.com

  • Drawers - Furniture with drawers is a great way to hide all the “stuff” that might otherwise clutter your family room.  Everything from pens, crayons, coloring books, remotes, eye-glasses, books, magazines and more can be efficiently stored in drawers!


Photo Credit: mathifold.org

If you are in the market to buy or sell a home in the Memphis area, contact professional Realtor, Melissa Thompson and let her help you with all your real estate needs!Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Don’t Get Blindsided by Unexpected Expenses!

by Melissa Thompson

Buying your first home is exciting.  After getting approved for a mortgage loan, working with a professional realtor and finding your dream home, it’s time to settle in and start enjoying your new digs.  Then BAM!  The shock of an unexpected expense slaps you in the face.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Being informed about the possible expenses of being a homeowner will not make spending the money any more fun, but at least you will be prepared.  Here are some ancillary costs of homeownership that you should be aware of:

  • CLOSING COSTS - When closing on your mortgage you will be presented with a long list of costs: mortgage taxes, lender application fees, attorney’s fees, title insurance, recording fees and any potential real estate tax reimbursements if the seller has paid them up front.  Altogether, closing costs are an average of 2 to 5 percent of the total cost of the home.  They will vary state to state.  Closing cost information for Tennessee can be found here: Tennessee Average Closing Costs
     
  • HOME MAINTENANCE - Now that you are a homeowner, you are solely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of your property.  Everything from yardwork to cleaning; pressure washing to clearing the gutters…it’s all in your hands and on your dime.  Oh…and fixing things.  Yeah.  When the AC isn’t working or there is a leaky faucet, you will be footing the bill for repairs.  This all sounds a bit scary, but the key is to be prepared.  Go into your home purchase knowing that you will likely be spending about 1% of the purchase price of your home on maintenance annually.
     
  • PROPERTY TAXES - Property taxes vary by state and can also vary based on city, ordinance, and even specific house.  You can utilize a Property Tax Calculator  to get an idea of what your taxes will be when planning for your expenses.
     
  • UTILITIES - If you’re coming from a rental where your utilities were included with the rent, you may not have considered how much you will need to set aside to pay for electricity, gas, water and sewage costs.  Added to internet, cable and phone bills, it can be quite a chunk of change.  Planning for utility costs is crucial to making sure you can afford to live in a home of your own.
     
  • HOMEOWNER'S INSURANCE - When you get a mortgage, you must get homeowner's insurance as well.  Be sure to do your homework and shop around for the best possible price.  You can get discounts for things like security systems, working from home or bundling coverage for your home with your auto insurance policy.  Educate yourself on what your insurance policy covers so that you’re not left disappointed when you must pay for something you thought would be taken care of.

Don’t let these expenses scare you off from purchasing a home.  Again, the key is to be aware of them going in so that you won’t be caught off guard when they come up.

If you are ready to purchase your first home, let professional Realtor Melissa Thompson  assist you in your home search. Give her a call at 901-729-9526 today!

Photo Credit: moneyweek.com

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 72

Syndication

Categories

Archives