Spring Lawn Care

Check soil temperature to see when to apply herbicide

Depending on your weather, your grass will now start growing in earnest, so be ready for the first cutting. Don’t mow when the grass is wet — you could spread diseases, and wet clippings clog up lawn mowers.

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.

Pre-emergent herbicides: Now is the time to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent crabgrass and other weeds from taking root in your lawn. A soil thermometer is a handy helper; you can pick one up for $10 to $20. When you soil temperature reaches 58 degrees — the temperature at which crabgrass begins to germinate — it’s time to apply the herbicide.

Start Getting Your Lawn Bare Foot Ready Now With These Tips

Early Spring

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.

Clean up your lawn. Time to get out the leaf rakes and remove any twigs and leaves that have accumulated over the winter. A thick layer of wet leaves can smother a lawn if not immediately removed in early spring. Cleaning up old debris clears the way for applying fertilizer and herbicides.

The Ultimate List of Homebuyer Tips

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.


Click here to read a list of more homebuyer tips

Neutralizing Your Home To Appeal To Both Genders: 5 Tips

Hesitant to paint your living room accent wall that bright new trending color before listing your home this spring? Worried those beautiful floral patterned curtains in the bedroom will scare your husband away? Whether preparing your home for sale or updating your décor with a fresh new look for the season, it’s important to keep the following styling tips in mind in order to appeal to both gender’s personal tastes.

PJ_great room

1. Choose a neutral color base.
A hard and fast rule for neutralizing is starting with shades of gray, beige, and white for walls, flooring, countertops and larger furnishings. To add some depth, use deeper tones like navy or black paired with pops of color in accents such as pillows, rugs, curtains, and wall art.

PJ_familyroom

2. Choose tailored furniture with modern accents. Big tufted velvet or floral patterned sofas speak more to feminine tastes with a more formal style while a streamlined sofa (pictured above) in a neutral fabric paired with a contemporary coffee table and modern accents creates a relaxed, welcoming feel. Adding an orange leather chair with a herringbone couch fabric will please both sexes. 

3. Bring in texture and pattern in accents. A patterned rug along with fun accents such as cozy woven throws and textured pillows is a great way to add generic, chic appeal. Avoid delicate trinkets on tables and shelves. Instead, try adding a little industrial or vintage style with chrome, metal, and brass side tables, floor lamps, and other finishing touches.

4. Mix and match fabrics. Leather or velvet fabric furniture can be neutralized by adding accent pillows in linen, cotton, or canvas and simply draping a cashmere throw. Window treatments should be kept simple with soft, easy flowing fabrics or a tailored roman shade style.

PJ_bathroom

5. Add elements from nature. Add a natural touch with earthy elements such as reclaimed wood tables, tree stump stools, woven baskets, natural fiber rugs, and twisted tree branch arrangements. Instead of a feminine style silk floral arrangement, try a cactus plant or other faux potted greenery. And wall art with a coastal or nautical theme or any landscape scenery are all perfect ways to add a mutually pleasing style.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.

Originally Posted in Home Trends, by on December 7, 2015. By Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Inaccurate Zillow ‘Zestimates’ a source of conflict over home prices

The LA Times recently reposted a February 2015 article by Kenneth R. Harney that merits reposting. For the full article, please visit: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-harney-20150208-story.html

Zillow execs follow housing data to surprising conclusions

Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, shown in his downtown Seattle office, says Zestimates are “a good starting point” but that nationwide Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%. (Ellen M. Banner / TNS)

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.

Jill & Dan Petersen Honored in 2015’s Who’s Who in Atlanta Real Estate

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.

WhosWhoATL-JillDan

 

Stylish Holiday Gifts That Give Back

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.

 

1

 

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.

$17, pbteen.com

 

3

 

 

Thoughtful Throw

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.

$30, target.com

54fef84a1dc34-tote-bag-de

 

 

Tote-ally Awesome

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.

$18, outofprintclothing.com

 

 

 

 

Why You Should Consider Selling Your Home During the Holidays

Aluminum_christmas_tree4Many sellers mistakenly think that they should wait until after the holidays to list their homes. Turns out, there are actually some advantages to selling your home during the holidays.

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 info@petersenpartners.com or check us out at www.PetersenPartners.com

Vinings Village Christmas Tree Lighting

CatMax_Photography_Vinings_Jubilee-96111Gather 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.