Your Guide to March

National Grammar Day 

“Let’s eat Grandma.” Do you know what’s wrong with this sentence? Thank grammar for ensuring Grandma joins you for a meal and doesn’t become one!

National Day of Unplugging 

Take a break from digital connectivity and give your mind time to unwind. Hug your kid, talk to a friend, and connect with loved ones face-to-face instead of face-to-phone.

Daylight Saving Begins 

That must mean spring is on the way! Remember to spring forward one hour.


International Women’s Day

Each and every person can make a difference for gender equality. Celebrate women and their achievements, contributions, and abilities today. #EachforEqual

Tournament Time

Choose your brackets and prepare for a descent into basketball madness.

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First Day of Spring

The days grow longer, the nights grow warmer, and spring fever takes hold. Happy spring!

Bug Repelling Plants You Need!

Its that time of year….warmer weather….longer days….and being outside! If you are like me though, you don’t appreciate the mosquitoes and flies joining you.

I am not a fan of spraying my yard with chemicals to keep these pesky bbq visitors at bay and have found that certain  plants can help serve as a replacement for those synthetic insecticides, as long as you know how to use them to your advantage. Plants have unique natural abilities to emit different chemical substances with them they repel or attract specific insects. Flowers bring a pretty sight and a pleasant fragrance for us, however, for pests they often pose a life threat.

 

Herbs That Repel Insects


Lavender

Apart from mosquitoes, lavender oil can chase other bugs, such as fleas, flies and moths.lavender

 

Mint

Although a domesticated plant, the mint still spreads like weeds if left in the ground, minttherefore it’s best to grow it in pots. Placing mint pots around your patio and garden will also help you keep mosquitoes away.

 

 

 

Basil

Mosquitoes are repulsed by the basil scent. A pot of basil, or a stalk hung is a natural  basil repellent. There’s an oil in basil that kills mosquito eggs too.

 

 

Rosemary

Rosemary is one of the herbs that are multifunctional. It’s extremely resistant to outer conditions, however, it needs a lot of sunlight. Repels mosquitoes and a variety of insects harmful to vegetable plants.

 

Lemon Balm
Having lemon balm in your garden will repel mosquitoes, thanks to the natural essential oils and strong smell of the plant.

 

Lemongrass

The lemongrass is a perennial tropical grass plant (so sadly only an annually up here in the cold states) Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass so its the perfect repellent not only for mosquitoes but flies and other unwanted bugs!

 

Lemon thyme

The lemon thyme is a bush, with yellow-green small leaves that smell like lemon. The lemon thymefully-grown plants blossom during the summer with pink, lavender-like flowers.

In order to infuse its qualities and repel the nasty mosquitoes, you must first release the chemicals in the plant by crushing the leaves. Make sure that, at first, you are not allergic to those chemicals by smearing a piece of crushed leaf on your arm for a few days.

 

Oregano

Oregano is one of those universal spices used throughout the world and is well-known to everyone who’s spent at least some time in the kitchen. Not many knows, on the other hand, that oregano belongs to the family of natural insect repellents. Mosquitos, cabbage butterfly, and cucumber beetle don’t stand a chance, amongst others, however, some insects won’t bother, such as spider mites, leafhoppers and aphids. Therefore, you can plant the oregano near garlic and onions.

 

 

Flowers That Repel Insects


Marigolds

In the wild marigolds are agile and also happen to grow out of dumping-grounds. The marigoldmarigold is a peculiar barometer – if the blossoms remain closed after 7 in the morning, then it means it will rain during the day.

There are different kinds of marigolds – lighter and darker, with larger and smaller blossoms, but they all carry the same health benefits. Plus, marigolds’ smell chases off not only aphids and mosquitoes but also big animals such as rabbits.

 

Ageratum

This seasonal flower effectively repels mosquitoes with its fragrance. During production of some repellents, one of the important ingredients comes from the plant. However, it’s not recommended to rub your skin with ageratum leaves . That might cause unwanted and very unpleasant allergic reactions. The ageratum is extremely easy to grow – undemanding to the soil and light-loving.

 

Chrysanthemums

A special chemical in the chrysanthemums, called pyrethrum, is the thing that keeps chrysanthemumbugs away. Roaches, ticks, fleas, bed bugs, spider mites, Japanese beetles and ants – be gone. The ingredient is part of different insecticides in the USA and is used in sprays and flea pet shampoos. Be careful with the spray bottles, if you happen to have one, since pyrethrum is poisonous to people in certain amounts.

 

 

So get out there and plant and enjoy your backyard and beautiful weather!

Are you ready for the spring market?

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There may be snow on the ground but Spring is just around the corner!

In most real estate markets the spring is the most common time to be selling a home, for multiple reasons.

  • Supply of ready, willing, and able buyers is the highest in the spring
  • Buyers typically get their income tax returns during the spring which can be put towards the purchase of a home
  • More daylight meaning homes will typically show better
  • Landscaping and curb appeal during the spring is better than the fall or winter months

 

What can you do to get ready?

Get Pre-Approved Before Spring
You need to be pre-approved for your loan, of course. Why get pre-approved months in advance? In most cases, there are ways to massage your circumstances to get you approved to borrow more, or to get a better rate.

 

Get your home ready!

Clean & Organize
I know it’s cliché but it’s imperative to give your home a thorough “spring cleaning.” This doesn’t mean wait until spring though. Be proactive and start cleaning now; you’ll be glad you didn’t wait. A huge turnoff for prospective buyers are foul odors. Things such as smoke odors and pet odors can kill home sales.

Begin Packing and Organizing Your Belongings
There’s no way to know for sure how long it will take for your home to sell – it could take a month, or years – and while it may seem crazy to start packing up your stuff before a sale occurs, it’s best to be prepared for any outcome.

Make Repairs and Improvements
The last thing anyone wants to do before they sell their home is to dump a bunch of money into it for an extensive renovation; however, there are minor repairs and improvements that can be made to make a home look fresher for potential buyers. (fresh paint, fresh hardware, etc…)

 

For more tips for Sellers & Buyers visit HomesWithCathy.com

Your Guide to May

As you’re busy juggling your spring to-dos, be sure to check out what’s happening this month … and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”
– Edwin Way Teale

May 1 — May Day/International Workers’ Day

This twofold holiday celebrates both the spring season and the rights and achievements of working people. So whether you want to spend more time in your garden or stand in solidarity with your fellow workers, there’s no wrong way to celebrate!

If you’re not familiar with this holiday, here are some fun facts to get you up to speed:

  • May Day traditions can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Celtic and Roman cultures, where they held festivals to celebrate the coming of spring.

  • The holiday took on a different meaning in the U.S. in the late 19th century, when laborers joined forces to fight for safer working conditions and an eight-hour work day.

  • The distress signal “Mayday! Mayday!” has nothing to do with May Day, but is actually an adoption of the French word m’aider, meaning “help me.”

May 4 — Star Wars Day

PYou don’t have to be in a galaxy far, far away to get in the Star WarsTM spirit on May 4th. This is a day for fans everywhere to revel in all things Star Wars. From hosting a movie marathon to cosplaying your favorite character to trying weird things like this blue milk recipe, there are a million and one ways to celebrate the beloved saga. Find more ideas at starwars.com.

May 5 — Cinco de Mayo

 

Officially a celebration of Mexico’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla, this lively holiday has become a fun and popular way to honor Mexican culture and heritage. Take part in the fiesta by heading to your nearest Cinco de Mayo festival, where you can enjoy traditional Mexican food, dance, art, and other cultural treasures.

May 13 — Mother’s Day

 

Let the moms in your life know they’re loved and appreciated, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Whether it’s quality time, a home-cooked meal, or a day at the spa, think of ways you can give Mom a break and make her feel extra special this Mother’s Day.

May 28 — Memorial Day 

On Memorial Day, we pause to remember those who bravely gave their lives for our freedom. Please join me in honoring the memory and sacrifice of our nation’s fallen heroes.

New Listing!

39 Pequot St, Billerica
$449,900

An outdoor enthusiasts dream location!! This well maintained 3 bdrm colonial abuts the conservation land of the Vietnam Veterans Park which offers an abundance of trails, you can also launch your canoe or kayak directly across the street or just relax on your front porch admiring the views of Winning Pond!! The open floor plan is ideal for entertaining! Eat in kitchen with pantry, formal dining room open to the large living room and a little nook for an office! Hardwood floors are through out the 1st floor & 2nd floor hallway. Upstairs offers 3 generous sized bedrooms, full bath and pull down attic access. Basement is partially finished and great potential for additional space! Easy to maintained fenced yard with oversized deck that overlooks the conservation land where you can catch many of mother natures little furry friends!
More Details and Pictures

It certainly feels like spring today!

Spring is certainly right around the corner and even though the flowers aren’t quite blooming just yet, this is a great time to prepare your home for the spring market! 434_large_image

If you are a prospective seller, it is important to use this time to start getting your home ready:

 
Start Interviewing Prospective Realtors
One of the most important thing to do when selling your home is to find a great agent to represent you. If you don’t have one already, then get recommendations from friends and interview different agents to find one who will be the best fit for you. A good listing agent should have a great marketing plan, experience, and deep knowledge of the area and market. Don’t simply go with the one who tells you they can sell your home at the highest price – choose someone who can present you with a detailed and realistic market analysis to back up their numbers.

 

Make a Plan
A big mistake a lot of sellers make is not having a plan. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:

Are you planning on buying another home once your home sells?
Do you have the option to move in with family?
Can you rent?
Can you buy non-contingent?
Think about these things and discuss your financing options with a local lender before you list. If you can get pre-approved to buy a home non-contingent it will give you a huge advantage over another seller selling their home subject to finding a suitable property to purchase.

Clear the Clutter
This may seem like a no-brainer but its really important! Be proactive and start the cleaning process now.

Wash your windows, Dust your blinds, Dust baseboard trims, Clean appliances, Clean showers and toilets, Clean inside cabinets. When you’re selling your home, it’s important to de-clutter too. Plus it will give you a head start on moving packing. Clean out your closets and pack away anything that’s not a necessity. Your home will look so much better and most likely sell a lot faster if its organized and de-cluttered.

Prospective buyers are going to want to step into your home and see a place they can visualize living in and making their own. The best way to do that is to create a blank slate. Keep it neat, reduce the amount of clutter you have on shelves and surfaces, and depersonalize as much as you can. The idea is to showcase your home without distracting from it.

 

Make Repairs and Improvements
The last thing anyone wants to do before they sell their home is to dump a bunch of money into it for an extensive renovation; however, there are minor repairs and improvements that can be made to make a home look fresher for potential buyers. Here are a few worthwhile improvements that can be made without spending a fortune:

Freshen Up Paint, Front Door and Hardware, Applying a coat of paint to walls and trim, or even touching up certain areas, can make a world of difference in the appearance of your home. If painting isn’t an option, you can give the walls and trim a thorough cleaning to improve the overall space. It’s also a good idea to spruce up your front door, since that’s the first thing a buyer will see when they walk in.

 

Spruce up the Curb Appeal
You want to impress potential buyers as soon as they step onto the property or take a drive by, which means making the outside of your home look as appealing as possible. Make the extra effort to rake leaves, weed the garden, and mow the lawn. Clean and put out your outdoor furniture, and even consider adding some colorful plants to the front of the house.

 

Know Your Local Spring Market
Every market is different. The best way to be informed about yours is to connect with your realtor. They should advise you on current, past and projected market conditions as well as give you advice on when to list.

The time you list is critical! Wait too long and you could miss the prime selling time frame. There are some realtors who suggest listing earlier and not waiting till spring in order to beat the spring market competition. However, as stated above, it all depends on your local market. This is another reason having a good realtor is of key importance.