Posts made in June, 2010


“M” is for Mortgage


Posted By on Jun 8, 2010

Nine out of ten homebuyers are going to need to finance at least a portion of their home.  So, of any blog topic I could choose to do, this blog is probably the most relevant.  This topic is also one of the most difficult to write, due to amount of information available.  Fixed, adjustable, balloon, interest only, FHA, VA, 50, 40, 30, 20, 15…… The options, and information available for each option is endless!  No wonder why people are confused and intimidated by the financing process.

During my research for this blog, I found an AMAZING website:  The Home Buying Institute.  This site is geared more toward buying an existing home as opposed to building a new home; however most of the information is still relevant.  Information about credit scores, interest rates, and real estate news.  The information is clear, concise, up to date, and free.  There are very few advertisements on the page (links from Google Ads).  The information I have reviewed is unbiased and factual.

Their page on Mortgage Types is the best I have been able to find.  I highly encourage you to visit this page (link below) for explanations of each type of mortgage.  Their information is better organized and more complete than I could ever hope to be on this topic, so I will defer to their expertise:

http://www.homebuyinginstitute.com/mortgagetypes.php

Read More

How much time do you spend on your landscaping each year?  How much time do you want to spend?  Between mowing, weeding, planting, watering and maintenance care, the typically homeowner spends hundreds of hours doing yard work.  While the creative side of landscaping ie: planting, can be relaxing and enjoyable; most of us find the aspect of maintenance tedious, and by the end of the season dread the chore.  Here are some basic tips to create low maintenance landscaping:

  1. Plan ahead.  If you are just starting your yard, don’t just go out and by plants and seed; plan your yard.  Have a soil test done, not from one sample, but throughout your yard.  Group plants by their growing needs, soil type and sun exposure.
  2. Avoid sharp angles in your mowing area.  Use curved edges for flower beds and planting boxes for a more natural look and ease of mowing.
  3. Mulch, Mulch, Mulch… it is a wonderful, versatile landscaping product.  Use it!  A thick layer of mulch will help hold weeds at bay, and protects soil from the drying rays of the sun; which means less watering.
  4. Ornamental grasses and perennials tend to need less maintenance care than annuals.  Use annuals as colorful highlights and in pots, hangers and flowerboxes.
  5. Use a grass seed that has a high content of clover seed.  Clover is more resilient than many grass varieties.  It requires less water, and is more drought resistant.  Clover is short, which means less mowing.  It attracts beneficial insect and does not suffer from “dog spots.”  On top of this, clover is extremely soft.

Here are some links to articles with Low Maintenance Landscaping ideas:

Top 10 Tips for Low Maintenance Landscaping. from About.com

What is the most low-maintenance way to landscape? from HowStuffWorks.com

11 Ways to Save Water, Time and Money on Your Landscaping. from ThisOldHouse.com

Lawn-Less Yard Solutions. from ThisOldHouse.com

Read More

“K” is for Kitchen Office


Posted By on Jun 8, 2010

“The kitchen is the heart of the Home.”  This has been a catch phrase for years.  It is printed onto décor and embroidered on kitchen towels in kitchens around the world.  I have a new phrase “My kitchen is mission control.”  Whether I am doing homework with the kids, cooking a meal, paying bills, planning a family trip…. I’m in the kitchen.  Because so much happens in the kitchen, it is essential that I have an area to organize my life within the kitchen space.  Hence the Kitchen Office.

Kitchen Office in Martha Stewart's Home

A kitchen office is a small space tucked into the kitchen design that allows you office space.  This space may only be a cabinet with a message board, charging station and bill basket tucked inside.  Or it could be a computer station with print drawer, mail slots and a filing cabinet.  It can be counter height, bar height, desk height, they even have standing workstations!  Kitchen offices can be designed into any kitchen to suit the needs of any family.  You know ‘It’s a good thing’ when Martha Stewart has one in her kitchen.

Here are some links to get you started on your Kitchen Office:

Fit Functional Office Spaces in Kitchen by HGTVPro.com

Kitchen Offices and Message Centers from 1001 Idead for Kitchen Organization by Joseph R. Provey

Read More