Fertilizing: Both spring and fall are good times to fertilize your lawn. In the northern third of the country, where winters are cold, fertilize in fall — cool weather grasses go dormant over winter and store energy in their roots for use in the spring.
For the rest of the country, apply fertilizer just as your grass begins its most active growth. For best results, closely follow the application directions on the product. You’ll spend about $50 to $75 per application for an average 1/4-acre lot.
Aeration: Aerating punches small holes in your lawn so water, fertilizers, and oxygen reach grass roots. Pick a day when the soil is damp but not soaked so the aeration machine can work efficiently. Read More about lawn aeration.
Here’s a fantastic spring cleaning checklist we found thanks to Terry’s Fabrics.
Like so many maintenance jobs, everything goes smoother — and you’ll get better results — with proper preparation. Early spring is the time to get ready for lawn-growing and mowing season.
Related: How to Bring Back Your Lawn After Winter Damage
Sharpen mower blades to ensure clean cuts. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving jagged edges that discolor the lawn and invite pathogens.
Sharpen mower blades once each month during grass-cutting season. Have a backup blade (about $20) so that a sharp one is always on hand.
Tune up your mower with a new sparkplug ($3 to $5) and air filter ($5 to $10). Your mower might not need a new sparkplug every season, but changing it is a simple job, and doing it every year ensures you won’t forget the last time you replaced your sparkplug.
Buy fresh gas. Gas that’s been left to sit over the winter can accumulate moisture that harms small engines. This is especially true for fuel containing ethanol, so use regular grades of gasoline.
If you need to dump old gasoline, ask your city or county for local disposal sites that take old fuel.
From Andy Fulton of MarketLeader.com comes this helpful list:
The Internet is awash with short and incomplete lists of tips for homebuyers. For the many Americans unfamiliar with the home-buying process, trying to determine which tips to focus on could be confusing. Upon reading these lists, aspiring homebuyers must ask themselves, “Are these tips that industry experts would actually recommend, and are they worth spending my valuable time on?”
To remedy this problem, Market Leader gathered tips for homebuyers from half a dozen sources, put them all on one giant list, and, after removing the trivial and contradictory ones, surveyed almost 400 real estate agents about the importance of each tip. For the 17 tips featured in this survey, participants indicated whether they found them to be very, moderately or slightly important for homebuyers – or not recommendable at all!
The Market Leader blog staff also created an infographic, “The 6 Most Essential Homebuyer Tips,” that you can share on your website to educate current or prospective clients.
When “CBS This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell asked the chief executive of Zillow recently about the accuracy of the website’s automated property value estimates — known as Zestimates — she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.
Zillow is the most popular online real estate information site, with 73 million unique visitors in December. Along with active listings of properties for sale, it also provides information on houses that are not on the market. You can enter the address or general location in a database of millions of homes and probably pull up key information — square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and baths, photos, taxes — plus a Zestimate.
Shoppers, sellers and buyers routinely quote Zestimates to realty agents — and to one another — as gauges of market value. If a house for sale has a Zestimate of $350,000, a buyer might challenge the sellers’ list price of $425,000. Or a seller might demand to know from potential listing brokers why they say a property should sell for just $595,000 when Zillow has it at $685,000.
Disparities like these are daily occurrences and, in the words of one realty agent who posted on the industry blog ActiveRain, they are “the bane of my existence.” Consumers often take Zestimates “as gospel,” said Tim Freund, an agent with Dilbeck Real Estate in Westlake Village. If either the buyer or the seller won’t budge off Zillow’s estimated value, he told me, “that will kill a deal.”
Back to the question posed by O’Donnell: Are Zestimates accurate? And if they’re off the mark, how far off? Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff answered that they’re “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%.
Whoa. That sounds high. On a $500,000 house, that would be a $40,000 disparity — a lot of money on the table — and could create problems. But here’s something Rascoff was not asked about: Localized median error rates on Zestimates sometimes far exceed the national median, which raises the odds that sellers and buyers will have conflicts over pricing. Though it’s not prominently featured on the website, at the bottom of Zillow’s home page in small type is the word “Zestimates.” This section provides helpful background information along with valuation error rates by state and county — some of which are stunners.
For example, in New York County — Manhattan — the median valuation error rate is 19.9%. In Brooklyn, it’s 12.9%. In Somerset County, Md., the rate is an astounding 42%. In some rural counties in California, error rates range as high as 26%. In San Francisco it’s 11.6%. With a median home value of $1,000,800 in San Francisco, according to Zillow estimates as of December, a median error rate at this level translates into a price disparity of $116,093.
Some real estate agents have done their own studies of accuracy levels of Zillow in their local markets.
Last July, Robert Earl, an agent with Choice Homes Team in the Charlottesville, Va., area, examined selling prices and Zestimates of all 21 homes sold that month in the nearby community of Lake Monticello. On 17 sales Zillow overestimated values, including two houses that sold for 61% below the Zestimate.
In Carlsbad, Calif., Jeff Dowler, an agent with Solutions Real Estate, did a similar analysis on sales in two ZIP Codes. He found that Zestimates came in below the selling price 70% of the time, with disparities ranging as high as $70,000. In 25% of the sales, Zestimates were higher than the contract price. In 95% of the cases, he said, “Zestimates were wrong. That does not inspire a lot of confidence, at least not for me.” In a second ZIP Code, Dowler found that 100% of Zestimates were inaccurate and that disparities were as large as $190,000.
So what do you do now that you’ve got the scoop on Zestimate accuracy? Most important, take Rascoff’s advice: Look at them as no more than starting points in pricing discussions with the real authorities on local real estate values — experienced agents and appraisers. Zestimates are hardly gospel — often far from it.
Cobb County’s own Dan and Jill Petersen are included in Atlanta Agent magazine’s 2015 Who’s Who in Residential Real Estate. This exclusive feature was developed to showcase, celebrate and promote Atlanta’s residential real estate leaders. Atlanta Agent magazine showcases the “best in class” to highlight the creativity and accomplishments of our colleagues whose authority, leadership and vision drive the Atlanta market. Marci Sepulveda, co-founder and publisher of Atlanta Agent magazine, notes “We’re so excited to feature such a wonderful group of honorees in our 2nd annual Who’s Who in Atlanta Real Estate.
Each agent and lender earned this recognition by demonstrating his or her personal dedication to the highest standards of professionalism in the residential community.” The 2015 list includes 20 real estate agents and lenders. Atlanta Agent conducts research and gathers opinions from managing brokers, association officials, top-producing agents, loan officers, developers and affiliates in real estate in order to select participants for this exclusive feature. The selected participants include professionals who have distinguished themselves through production, commitment and excellence. The Petersens are thrilled to be included on that list for 2015 and were also included on 2014’s Who’s Who in Residential Real Estate.
Jill and Dan Petersen lead an award winning team that stands behind its commitment to experience and professionalism. The Petersen Partners team is the #1 team for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties.
See more at Atlanta Agent Magazine.
Looking for a thoughtful gift you can feel as good about giving as they will about receiving? Good Housekeeping has a list of 10 stylish gifts that all give back to good causes. Below are a few of the ideas. Check out the rest at Good Housekeeping.
Paws for a Cause
Gift one of these adorable pillowcases to a pet lover, and five bucks will go to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Featuring over 50 productis under $50, the new TOMS for Target collaboration has way more than shoes. Buy this throw — or any item in the collection — and the store will donate a blanket through the American Red Cross or one week of meals through Feeding America.
Out of Print turns beloved books into wearable fashions like tote bags and t-shirts to spread the joy (and importance) of reading to communities in need. For each product sold, a book is donated through their partner Books for Africa.
Even during the holiday season, serious buyers continue to look for their dream home.Buyers that are relocating often start looking during the holidays. January is typically the month when employees are transferred to new positions. To capture these buyers, your home must be on the market now because they often can’t wait until spring.
If you’re considering selling your home, don’t miss out on what can be a prime time for selling your home. Consider these other benefits to listing now:
- Twinkling with holiday lights, your house will shine bright to eager buyers looking for their perfect home.
- Homes are new beginnings for buyers and sellers. When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, sellers will want to start fresh and buyers will want to be all settled into their new home.
- Tax benefits are the ultimate holiday gifts for both buyers and sellers who close before the end of the year. (See your tax advisor for more details and the best advice to take advantage of a transaction that takes place before Dec. 31.)
- Serious buyers are out. Your home won’t be subject to casual window shoppers, (they’re too busy at the mall or on their computer searching for holiday gifts).
- Buyers have extra time off from work, which means more hours in their day to search for a home.
For more information on getting your home ready to sell, contact the #1 team in Georgia for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices today at email@example.com or check us out at www.PetersenPartners.com
Gather your family, friends and neighbors for an evening of holiday fun during the 45th Annual Vinings Jubilee Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 3rd from 6-8 pm in front of the Clock Tower for holiday music, delicious treats, Vinings Express train rides, face painting, balloon twisting, and Santa Claus!
The whole family can enjoy live holiday music from Whitefield Academy Jazz Band and Campbell Middle School Chorus, carolers, and delicious treats provided by the surrounding restaurants. Additional dance performances from The Studio Atlanta Dance and Lotus Performing Arts Studio. From seasonal face painting to holiday-themed balloon twisting, the event is sure to get the whole family in the spirit.
Santa will also make an appearance and is available for photos and gift requests. Last but not least, the Vinings Express Train is back again this year and making stops all around Vinings Jubilee. The 2015 Vinings Jubilee Christmas Tree Lighting is a can’t-miss tradition that is the perfect start to the holiday season!
The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting is a free community event sponsored by Paces Properties. for more info, visit ViningsJubilee.com.