Open Houses! North Port 6/25-6/26/16

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.13.51 AMSaturday, June 25th from 11am – 4pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the beautiful [& massive at 2,500+sqft!], 3 bedroom, 2 bath pool home located at 2852 Orchard Cir, North Port, FL 34288 with our wonderful open house hosts, Annette Sanders and Pamella Lockhart!

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John Pappa Jr_HeadshotSunday, June 26th from 1pm – 3pm, get an Exclusive Preview of the perfectly peaceful true 4 bedroom, 2 bath home with a spacious fenced back yard [also perfect for entertaining, little ones or your fur babies!] located at 4274 Troost St, North Port, FL 34288 with our open house host, John Pappa Jr!

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Adventures in First Time Home Buying (what to look for and what to avoid)

[Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/]

There’s nothing more exciting than researching homes on the internet, sifting through hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos of homes listed for sale until you narrow down the possibilities and compile your list of those you’d like to see in person. In most cases, a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

On numerous occasions, I’ve had the pleasure of walking through homes with First Time Home Buyers to discover some of the most outrageous and interesting features a house could possibly possess. Some in which you wish the Realtor would have posted pictures of, so you could’ve ruled it out as a possibility and saved yourself the gas and your precious time to see it.

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!

Epic Fail: Roadblock for Resale!
Blog content featured on Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter, May 16th, 2013: http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/adventures-in-first-time-home-buying-what-to-look-for-and-what-to-avoid/

Homes with holes in the floor (we could see the dirt fill below), bathrooms with the door against the toilet, homes that were previous crime scenes (which I found out later via “Googling” the address), an ENTIRE home that was a dedicated shrine of Dale Earnhardt Jr (I’m a fan, just not an entire house of it) and my personal favorite:  a bidet in the middle of a bedroom, yes, a bedroom.

It’s tough to see yourself in a home when either photos don’t do a good home justice or when a potential home is washed out by clutter or issues that are hard to look past. Here’s a few tips to help you to weed out the bad ones from the diamonds in the rough:

Do Your Homework:
Go online:  Did you know that most Realtors can send you listings via email to check out from the web from the comfort of your couch? Use their services to check out homes! Their MLS will be your most up-to-date source for what’s available on the market. Also check out www.ColdwellBanker.com and their app as well.
Do the Drive-by:  If it’s a good possibility, drive by the home and see if you like the location. This will help you to weed out more homes than you think.

Look Past the Surface:
Good Bones:  If shag carpet and gaudy wallpaper isn’t your thing, don’t sweat it. Those are cheap fixes to a home that may have great bones. Look past the things that are easily replaceable and look at the layout of the home, as adding an addition is way more expensive than that gorgeous granite you’ve been dreaming of.
Don’t Fall for the Bells & Whistles: Quite opposite of the last tip. A home may have some sweet upgrades like solid countertops and stainless appliances, but you aren’t too crazy about the layout. Just remember, you can always customize the home down the road but living in a home with an awkward layout can eventually get annoying. It’s more expensive to do a total renovation (knocking down walls, permits, etc) than it is to buy an entire stainless kitchen on a Memorial Day sale.

Think About the Future:
Resale, Resale, Resale:  That small bedroom that is a decent “office” now may not be a considered good-sized bedroom for a buyer down the road when you’re trying to sell, as this personally cost us 10+ buyers when selling our home!  Don’t compromise on things that you think may hinder your chances of selling the home in the future.
Replacement Costs:  Buying a home is an investment, especially if you have to replace a ton of stuff inside. Take a closer look at things like the roof, air conditioning unit, pool pump, and other high ticket items that could be in need of replacing. It’s good to budget replacement costs into your yearly budget, but you don’t want to take on a home that needs everything replaced all at once.

A Home Fit for a Family:
Busy Streets:  If you have or plan on having kids, that’s great, just make sure the house accommodates them! Any parent of a toddler will tell you that living on a busy street is one of the scariest things in the world as you watch cars fly by your driveway. Consider an area that has less traffic and will be safer for the little ones.
A Tub:  As silly as it sounds, you will want a tub in the guest bathroom. Unless you want your sweet munchkins taking over your master every night until they can bathe themselves, save yourself the insanity and make sure there’s a tub in the guest bathroom for the little ones.

These are just a few things to think about when you’re looking to buy a home for the first time. When in doubt about certain things, always consult your Realtor, as they are your best source of information in the home buying process.

No matter what your first time home buying adventure is like, just remember, you could always have a bidet in the middle of your bedroom.

A Mom’s Guide to Selling a Home While Maintaining a Family Life

What do you do to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life? Watch this video and tell us your tips and ideas below.


[Video featured in Coldwell Banker’s Blue Matter Blog, Mother’s Day 2013]
[Like the home featured in this video? It’s for sale, 5+ Acres of Southern Charm]

Being a mom is a lot of work, whether you’re working or even a stay-home-mom. Finding time to get everything done in a 24 hour period can be tough and adding keeping your house perfect for a buyer viewing your house at any moment is just icing on the cake.

Here are a few tips that you can do to stay on top of your busy mommy lifestyle, raising kiddos, and keeping your home ready for that perfect buyer to walk in the door.

ORGANIZE & DECLUTTER!
1) Keep it Simple- Pack furniture, toys and other stuff away that’s not being used. Good rule of thumb is if it’s not used on a weekly basis, you won’t miss it if it’s in stored away for a while.

2) Get a System– Whether it’s the playroom, the kids rooms, your office (in this case the crafting mommy’s dream den), or the closets – get an organization system that works for you. If everything has a place, you’ll be more likely to keep it organized that way.

3) Clean out the closets– The simplicity factor should carry over to your closets. If there’s seasonal clothes in there that you aren’t wearing or if you’ve been putting off donating clothes to charity, now’s the time to do it. The less you have in your closet, the more room the buyer has to visualize their own stuff in that space.

CLEAN UP!
1) Curb Appeal & Entry– First impression is everything! Have some family time on a Saturday or after school one day to have the kids help pull the weeds, mow the lawn, and trim up the bushes. This will give the buyer a good first impression as they walk up to the front door. [check out 5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend you may also like 5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects]

2) Clean as You Go- Although it may take a little more time to complete your task at the moment, you’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you only spend a few minutes tidying up as opposed to an hour. Done with dinner, give the kids a chore and rinse/fill the dishwasher! Hamper is full, throw it in the washer before dinner, dryer after, then fold it together watching a movie before bed. I promise you’ll thank yourself later when you get more time to yourself at the end of the night rather than cleaning.

3) Break it Up– I’ll usually take on different cleaning tasks every other night. For instance, one night vacuum, another sweep and mop, and another night wipe down bathrooms. This will keep you from being overwhelmed and doing it all at once when you get a call for a showing, which can be super stressful.

4) Spot/Speed Clean- I’ve managed to get a cleaning caddy that keeps all my supplies together and am able to make a quick sweep of the house once I get a call for a quick showing. Even if you just did a deep clean the night before, the spot clean comes in handy, as it did for me just the other day when I was doing a quick check of each room about an hour before a showing just to find a crayon mural on the kitchen window. After a chuckle, quick picture for Facebook, and some Windex from my caddy, I was on to the next room. Once I’ve finished a room, I turn on the light so I know that room is finished and move on to the next one. Lights (especially accent lights!) liven up the home and make it feel more inviting as the buyers walk through… take the time to turn them on before you leave, it makes a difference!

There’s  just a few tips I have for busy mom’s to help sell their home while keepin’ up with the kiddos.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you’re doing to keep your home in showing condition while balancing your family life below!

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Connect with Coldwell Banker (@ColdwellBanker), Lindsay Listanski (@LListanski), and myself (@brokerEXCLUSIVE) on Twitter for the latest in real estate.

For more local real estate information in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port Florida, check out my personal Realtor source   www.AshleyHouseman.com

5 DIY Deck Makeover Projects Under $300 For The Weekend

  • Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. (Photo courtesy of www.houselogic.com)

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. (Photo courtesy of http://www.houselogic.com)

     

    You won’t have to plug them in or wire anything, either. Their solar-charged batteries are renewed every day, and the lights are built to withstand all kinds of weather.

    Types and cost:

    • Paper lanterns (made from synthetic, weatherproof nylon; $20-$30) are made for hanging and come in all sorts of fun shapes, sizes, and colors.
    • Carriage lights can be fixed on top of a pillar or railing newel post. $45-$150.
    • Solar illuminated replicas of old-fashioned mason jars can be set on any flat surface, about $35.
    • Rope lights have small LED bulbs inside a flexible cord. A 25-foot-long rope with solar charger and stand is $25.

    What else: Suspend lanterns from overhead trellises, railings, and nearby trees, where they’ll shed a soft, colorful glow. Wind rope lights around rafters and railings.

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs
    3. Put up a privacy screen
    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking
    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    2. Install a stone landing at the foot of your deck stairs

    Dress up the transition from your deck to your yard with a little hardscaping — a stone landing at the bottom of your deck stairs. Stones are a natural compliment to wood decks, and they’ll help prevent mud from forming where there’s heavy foot traffic.

    Cost: Flagstone is priced by the pound; you’ll spend $60-$100 for enough stone for a 3-by-4-foot landing.

    How-to: Techniques for installing a landing are the same as putting in a patio, although you’ll have to temporarily support your existing stairway while you work around — and under — it.


    What else: You should be able to add a landing in less than a day. It’ll get done faster if you hire a pro, but it’ll cost you another $150-$200 in labor.

    3. Put up a privacy screen

    Whether you’re relaxing alone au naturel or entertaining friends, a little home privacy is always welcome. You can add some vertical supports and fill in a variety of cool screening materials that are as nice for your neighbors to look at as they are for you.

    Types and costs:

    • Bamboo fencing comes in a 6-by-16-foot roll for $20-$25.
    • Lattice panels are either wood or plastic, $15-$30 for a 4-by-8-foot panel.
    • Grow climbing plants on a trellis ($20-$100) to create a living privacy screen. Plant climbing vines in tall containers ($40-$120) to raise them above the deck surface and give them a head start filling in your screen.
    • Outdoor fabric resists moisture and fading; $12-$120 per yard. You’ll pay another $20 to have a seamstress cut and hem a 3-by-5-foot panel.

    How-to: Your privacy screen should integrate with your deck; make the framework using the same basic materials as your deck railing and structure.

    Add some flash by building a frame with 2-by-2- or 2-by-4-inch uprights spaced 1 foot apart, then weaving aluminum flashing between the uprights.

    What else: Make sure to position your privacy screen where you’ll get maximum benefit. Sit on your deck and check your lines of sight.

    4. Paint a faux floor rug on your decking

    Punch up a boring old deck with a faux rug. This is a fairly low-cost project with a big wow factor, and one you can share making with your (well-behaved) kids. It works best on a newly cleaned deck (see below.)

    Cost: Most of your cost will be deck stain or paint in various colors. Because you won’t be using that much stain per color, you can buy quarts. Figure $15-$20 per quart.

    How-to: Figure out a size, sketch out the design on your decking, and then all you have to do is paint or stain between the lines. You can use painter’s tape as a guide, but a little leakage is likely on a wood decking surface.


    What else: Keep a few basic cleaning supplies on hand for any drips or spills. After the stain is dry, coat the entire deck with a clear deck sealer.

    5. Wash and refinish your wood decking

    The ultimate deck makeover is none other than a good cleaning. Applying a coat of deck sealant afterwards ensures your wood decking looks great and will last for decades.

    Cost: There are many brands of deck cleaning and brightening solutions. Some require the deck to be wet; others need the decking to be dry. Some are harmful to plants and you’ll have to use plastic sheeting to protect your landscaping. Consult the instructions carefully.

    You’ll pay $15-$25 per gallon, enough to clean 300 sq. ft. of decking.

    How-to: Scrubbing with a good cleaning solution and rinsing with a garden hose is more foolproof than scouring your decking with a power washer that may damage the surface of the wood.


    What else: After you deck is cleaned, apply a coat of deck stain or clear finish. The sealer wards off dirt, wear, and UV rays, and helps prevent deck splinters. A gallon covers 250-350 sq. ft., $20-$35/gal.

    BackPorch1

    Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300.

5 Deck Makeover Projects Under $300

By: John Riha

Published: July 2, 2012

Want to upgrade your deck but watching your budget? Here are 5 easy deck makeover ideas, many well under $300. Read

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Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

For everything else real estate, visit AshleyHouseman.comContinue reading

5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

  • Metal edging around grass in yard


    5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

    Ramp up your curb appeal with cool landscaping
    projects you can easily pull off in a weekend. Read

  • Use a charged garden hose to lay out a smooth curve.

    Tip: A “charged” garden hose full of water makes for a smoother, kink-free curve; charge up by turning on the spigot but leaving the sprayer off.

    With the hose as your guide, use a lawn edger or spade to cut away excess sod and make an incision for the edging. Tap in the edging with a rubber mallet and add the stakes. Trim the edging with a hacksaw, using a speed square to mark for cuts.

    Specs and cost: Steel — $1.25 per lineal foot; aluminum — $2.25 plf; rigid plastic or fiberglass — $1.65 plf.

    Tools: Garden hose, flour or powdered chalk, lawn edger or spade, shovel, speed square, hacksaw, rubber mallet, hammer.

    Time: 1 day to edge a typical yard.

    Read on for more easy landscaping projects:

    Add an Earth Berm
    Build a Wall for a Raised Bed
    Install a Flagstone Path
    Add a Brick Tree Surround

    Project #2: Add an Earth Berm

    The setup: Create an eye-catching front yard feature by shaping a few cubic yards of topsoil into an undulating berm. Topped off with mulch, groundcover, and bushes, a berm adds interest and buffers street noise.

    Use a charged hose to outline the berm. Remove sod a couple of feet in from the perimeter. Add a few mounds, but max out at 3 feet high.

    Specs and cost: Three cubic yards of soil is enough for a good-sized berm. Expect to pay $15-$20 per cubic yard and $15–$60 for delivery — a total of $60-$120.

    Tip: Don’t be tempted by those bags of topsoil at the home center: At $2.50 per cubic foot, a cubic yard (27 cubic feet) will end up costing you $67.50.

    Have a cubic yard of mulch dropped off as well ($15–$20). A dozen periwinkle starts, plus a few boxwood bushes and evergreens, will set you back another $140.

    Total for an 18-foot-long berm: $215–$280.

    Tools: Wheelbarrow, spade, shovel, garden rake, trowel.

    Time: A day to form the berm, another half-day for planting and mulching.

    Project #3: Build a Wall for a Raised Bed

    The setup: A stacked flagstone wall for your raised beds has an old-world look that mellows any landscape. Best of all, you don’t have to be stonemason to build one.

    Begin by laying out the wall with stakes and mason’s line. Tamp a level bed of sand for the first course. As you add courses, stagger joints at least 3 inches. Set each course back ¼-inch so the wall leans backward slightly. Once finished, back the wall with landscaping fabric before filling with topsoil.

    Specs and cost: Choose a stone of consistent thickness. Flagstone might be limestone, sandstone, shale — any rock that splits into slabs. A ton of 2-inch-thick stone is enough for a wall 10 feet long and 12 inches high.

    Cost: About $300 for stones and sand.

    Tip: Permanent retaining walls should be backed by pea gravel for drainage. In some locations, walls taller than 3 feet high require a building permit.

    Tools: Stakes and mason’s line, spade, shovel, a 2-by-4 that’s 8 feet long, a 4-foot level, garden rake, tamper.

    Time: 1 day for a 10-foot-long wall that’s 12 inches high.

    Want to see some cool retaining walls? Check out our slideshow, 8 Retaining Wall Ideas.

    Project #4: Install a Flagstone Path

    The setup: For a welcoming addition to your yard, add a flagstone pathway. Use a charged garden hose to mark a meandering path about 3 feet wide. Arrange flagstones within the path so they are 2–4 inches apart and mark their location with sprinkled flour.

    Tip: Sprinkling flour over the stones creates a “shadow” outline on the ground. When you remove the stones, you’ll have perfect outlines for cutting away the sod.

    Cut away 3–4 inches of sod beneath each stone, add a layer of sand, and level the flagstones as you place them.

    Specs and cost: For a 40-foot path about 3 feet wide, plan on 2 tons of flagstones and about a cubic yard of coarse sand. Cost: About $550.

    Tools: Garden hose, flour, spade, trowel, level.

    Time: 1 day for a 40-foot path.

    Want more detail? Get the inside scoop on our start-to-finish DIY paver project.

    Project #5: Add a Brick Tree Surround

    The setup: Installing a masonry surround for a tree eases mowing and looks great. All it takes is digging a circular trench, adding some sand, and installing brick or stone.

    Tip: To create a nice, even circle around the base of your tree, tie a big loop of rope around your tree. Adjust the length of the loop so when you pull it taut, the free end is right where you’d like the outer edge of the surround to be. Set your spade inside the loop with the handle plumb — straight up and down. Now, as you move around the tree, the loop of rope keeps the spade exactly the same distance from the base of the tree, creating a nice circle.

    Use the spade to cut into the sod all the way around the tree. Remove the rope, and dig out a circular trench about 8 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Add a layer of sand. Set bricks at an angle for a pleasing saw-tooth effect or lay them end-to-end. Fill the surround with 2–4 inches of mulch.

    Curious what trees to plant? Our popular slideshow tells you which trees you should never plant in your yard.

    Specs and cost: This is an instance where buying small quantities of materials at the home center makes sense. Brick pavers cost $.50-$1 each — figure about 20 per tree. A bag of mulch, enough for one tree, costs $2.50.

    Tools: Rope, spade, trowel.

    Time: 3 hours per tree.

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    5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

    By: Dave Toht

    Published: February 26, 2013

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