Bumping Up Curb Appeal on a Budget

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter. The outside of your home should draw prospective buyers in and make them want to see more. If you’re going to put your home on the market this spring, one of the first things you need to do is take a step back and turn a critical eye to the front of your home. Even if you’re not contemplating a move, a beautiful façade will make your home a joy to, well, come home to.

 

In its 2018 Remodeling Impact Survey, 99% of members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) said that curb appeal is important when attracting homebuyers.[1] So you know you need to give the front of your home a freshen-up — but uh-oh, you’re also trying to save money to move once your house is sold. Fear not! Many tasks that enhance curb appeal can be done for little or no cost. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to boost your home’s looks. 

 

When prospective buyers pull up to the front of your home and take in their first view, they want to see a clean, pretty building that they can imagine as their own. Washing the front of your home and the walkway will refresh the façade, and may even make repainting the front unnecessary. 

Concrete driveways can look refreshed after a power wash too!

 

Your windows should sparkle. They should be so clean that you can’t even tell there’s glass in them! Be sure to clean them inside and out. While you’re at it, giving your blinds and curtains a wash is a great idea too. 

A freshly painted door in a bold color with shiny new hardware can make a bright change for less than $75. New house numbers in a modern style add appeal, and a new doormat can send a welcoming message to all who approach. Finish off the rehab with a stylish letterbox that just shouts Buy me! 

Your front yard should be green and neatly trimmed, with no bald patches or brown grass. Trees and shrubs should be pruned and shaped. Clean up your flower garden and put down some fresh, dark mulch for a rich-looking bed. No flowers? Fill large tubs halfway with pebbles or wood chips, add soil on top, and plant bunches of bright flora that will bloom for at least a month. 

Turn on your sprinklers before viewings. The sparkle on your greenery and the fresh scent of water on plants will enhance your home’s attractiveness. 

 

It’s something you might not think about, but it’s the least expensive job on this list: Ensuring convenient parking for real estate agents and their clients — and having open space in front of your home — can make your property seem more accessible and slightly bigger. Can’t guarantee a front-row parking space in your neighborhood? At least be sure to remove toys, lawn tools, and any other unnecessary items from your front yard. A buyer needs to see your home with nothing blocking the view. 

Once you have your home looking great from the street, the challenge is to keep it looking wonderful through all of the upcoming showings. Make a schedule to stay on top of mowing, weeding, watering, and other lawn and plant maintenance, plus keeping the driveway clean and the porch swept. And be sure to include pulling weeds from between stepping stones or bricks on your list. All of those little details mean a lot when it comes to curb appeal.

 

 

Sources:
[1] National Association of REALTORS®, 2018 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features.
[2] Houselogic, “8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home.”

Your Guide to May

Make it a May to remember

 

 


Still using your birthday as your password? Make today the day you up your password game and take steps toward keeping your online info secure.

 

  

 

Ramadan Begins

 Marks the ninth month on the Islamic calendar and commences a month of fasting and reflection.

 

 

 

 

National Teacher Day

 Every day, teachers impact millions of lives in countless ways. Use this opportunity to show your appreciation and #ThankATeacher.

 

 

 

 

 Mother’s Day

 “A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” — Cardinal Mermillod

 

 

  


Bike to Work Day

 Join with other cyclists in your community to pedal your way to better health and a cleaner environment. Discover more cycling tips and benefits.

 

 

  

 

Memorial Day

 Honoring the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

 

 

  

 

 

“Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day” is a superstition that dates back to ancient Rome. The Romans considered May an unlucky month for weddings as it coincided with their festival for honoring the dead.

On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American astronaut to travel into space.

May is the birth month of Audrey Hepburn, Cher, Clint Eastwood, and former presidents Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy.

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Pesticides and chemical fertilizers may give your garden a boost at first, but in the long run they’re doing a lot of damage to the environment as well as to your little plot of land. Here are some alternative ways to green your gardening.

 

 

Fertilizer

Also called “soil conditioners,” natural fertilizers don’t only help your current garden grow, they also promote healthy soil for your future plant growth by making the earth more inclined to hold water and nutrients. Manure is one of the best natural fertilizers you can use.

 

 

Compost

If you’ve already got a compost pile going, you’re one step ahead! Compost can give your fertilizer a boost by holding the nutrients until the plants are ready to use them. Not a composter yet? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has some tips.

 

 

Insects

It may sound odd, but there are a variety of little critters that you can purchase to benefit your garden. Ladybugs will eat those awful aphids and many other plant-eating pests. Earthworms will help aerate the soil, allowing nutrients to soak down and roots to expand. Other multi-legged fauna you should encourage in your garden include spiders, praying mantises, bumblebees, lacewings, and braconid wasps. Best of all, most of them can be ordered online and shipped directly to your home!

 

Rainwater

Setting up a rain barrel will help you save on your water bill while providing untreated water to your flowers and food. Water from your utility has chemicals and additives that your plants can do just as well without, and some of the treatments may even inhibit the soil from holding the nutrients you’ve added and your plants from absorbing them properly.

 


Lay the foundation.

The organic matter, that is. Mix your compost and manure well and spread it generously on your garden — about a half inch to one inch deep.

 

Loosen the earth.

Using an aerator, a tiller, or just a trowel, stir up the earth to mix in the organic matter and allow plenty of oxygen to infuse the dirt. This is a good time to “plant” some earthworms as well.

 

Mulch much.

Adding mulch to your garden is especially critical in dry climates, as it helps retain moisture. Mulch can also reduce the amount of weeds that poke through your carefully cultivated land. Gardens generally need 1 to 4 inches of mulch, depending on the type you’re using and the plants you’re protecting, with most recommendations coming in at 2 to 3 inches. More than 4 inches could suffocate your garden.

 

Scientifically Speaking …

If you’re so inclined, testing your soil before planting season will let you know exactly which nutrients are lacking so you can make up for them with additives.

When you switch to green gardening, you’re not only cultivating your own bit of earth — you’re also helping to strengthen and enrich the soil for future generations. Who knows what will be growing in your garden in 50 years?

 

Celebrate Earth Day!

It’s Earth Day, and while every day is technically a day to be kind to the planet, this is a day to show appreciation and get into new habits if needed. There are so many little things you can do to celebrate and help save the Earth, and I have some super easy ideas below!


Plant something

Trees not only cool things down (collectively, they can help decrease a city’s temperature by up to 10 degrees) but they also clean the air and give off more oxygen, among a ton of other benefits. Plant one in your yard (it’s been proven that trees can increase your property value by 15%). Another option is to plant your own fruits and veggies which will benefit your health and reduce the amount of fossil fuel emissions by not having to transport the food to stores.


Ride your bike or walk

If you live close enough to your work, ditch the car and ride a bike or walk to and from. It not only reduces your carbon footprint but it’s also great for your body. And if you aren’t nearby or don’t have a bike, carpool or take public transportation. The fewer cars on the road mean less gas such as carbon dioxide in the air that can contribute to global warming.


Clean up an area

Organize a cleanup, pick an area and remove as much litter as possible! Join Billerica’s Clean up, Green up Day on May 4th!


Buy reusable bags

It’s been estimated that Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, and just the production alone for those requires about 12 million earth day 2019barrels of oil. Not to mention, they take up lots of space in landfills and cause major problems for marine wildlife. Instead, buy some super cute reusable bags to use when you go to the grocery store. You’ll not only be stylish but eco-friendly as well! OR ask me about some free canvas bag giveaways!

 

Use a refillable water bottle

Just because you’re tossing your plastic water bottles into the recycling bin doesn’t mean they’re not hurting the environment. Besides the fact that it takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture all of those bottles each year, there are still over two million tons of water bottles that have ended up in U.S. landfills. Buy a reusable bottle!


Get produce from a local farmer’s market

Besides supporting area businesses, you’ll also be helping the Earth by buying your fruits and veggies local. That’s because food in the grocery stores travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to you, and all that shipping can cause pollution plus an increase of fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions. When you buy locally, it’s transported in shorter distances.

Patriots Day & Local History

Aw Patriots Day – no, it’s not just about Marathon Monday…Patriots’ Day commemorates the Battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 – the start of the American Revolutionary War. Since 1969 this day has been observed over a period of days before, on, and after the third Monday in April, with reenactments and parades.

Do you realize how lucky you truly are to live in an area with so much history? I didn’t always appreciate it! Yes, we had our school field trips and I remember being dragged as kid by my parents but, I honestly didn’t learn to appreciate it all until I was in my early twenties and went for a bike ride thru the Minuteman National Park. I stopped and read every informational plaque, stopped in every open historic home, watched the re-NCM_0719enactments and investigated every nook along the trail. I fell in love with the history. Since, I have re-explored every historical location I was brought to as a child and discovered new along the way!

 

Now we all know the history we have in Boston, but did you know how much history is thumbnailjust 15 minutes away from Billerica??? Have you visited Concord or thumbnail (3)Lexington yet? If not, I highly recommend it! Walk the Battle Road and imagine the Minute Men from Billerica, Bedford, Lexington, Concord and the surrounding communities coming together – banning together!

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Take a Liberty Ride Tour and visit many historical sites including the infamous Battle Green, the Belfry Tower, the Old Burying Ground, the Old North Bridge and so much more!

 

OR Better yet on Monday April 15 meet in Lexington and witness first hand at 5:30 am thumbnail (2)(yes, sorry it may be too early for some of you) how it all started! The ring of the bell, the gathering of minute men and the first shot heard around the world! (rain date April 20th at 5:30am)

 

Schedule of events – more fun stuff through out the entire weekend and also on Patriots Day in the afternoon if that 5:30am event is just way too early for you!

 

Your Guide To April

Find the fun in rain and taxes!

 

 

Image result for world autism awareness day 

World Autism Awareness Day

World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day on 2 April every year, to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder throughout the world.

 

 

Siblings Day

They can be your best friend or the bane of your existence, but probably no one knows you better. Hug your sibling today!

 

Teach Children to Save Day

Helping kids develop healthy money habits today will lead to smarter financial decisions down the road.

 

  

 

Tax Day

Don’t wait until the last minute! The sooner you file, the sooner you’re done for another year.

 

  

 

Passover Begins

A celebration of hope and freedom. Happy Pesach!

 

 

Easter

Colorful eggs, marshmallow chicks, and chocolate bunnies: Happy Easter to you!.

 

 

 

Earth Day

 With the habitats of many animals under attack, “Protect Our Species” is this year’s Earth Day theme. Learn how you can help.

 

 

  

 

 

The Boston Marathon has been run in April since its inception in 1897.

“April showers bring May flowers” is a famous saying that may have been around since 1560!

Odd taxes through history include those on fireplaces, dice, windows, illegal drugs, wig powder, blueberries, body piercing, and fur.

April is the birth month of Billie Holiday, Leonardo da Vinci, William Shakespeare, Maya Angelou, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Emma Watson