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Greenscape Your Lawn

by Toni Tygart Real Estate Group, Inc.

 

 

 

 

Five Spring Fix-it Projects

by Toni Tygart Real Estate Group, Inc.

t's time to Repair and Refresh

 

Cleaning Gutters

Cleaning gutters is one of those heavenly springtime tasks made simpler here with a new tool from Gutter Tongs.

Forget May flowers, for most homeowners April showers bring rust, clogged rain gutters and all manner of sticky doors and windows. To help you solve these troubles, here are some sure-fire solutions to common spring problems. They're easy enough to tackle in a weekend so you can spend more time smelling those flowers.
Rain gutter repairs
Nobody likes to clean or repair gutters. However, there are a few ways to make the job easier. First, for clogged downspouts, try using barbecue tongs to reach in and pull the leaves out. This doesn't always work but considering the alternative -- using a hose to flush the clog out, getting wet and covered with gutter goop -- it's worth a try.
Second, to repair loose gutter nails try replacing them with extra-long lag screws. The lag screws tend to be stronger, hold better and can easily be installed with a cordless drill equipped with a nut driver bit.
Repairing cracks in concrete
Concrete always cracks, but that doesn't mean you have to live with it that way. For most cracks less than 1/4", applying concrete caulk is a good way to make repairs. Just clean the crack out with a high-pressure hose nozzle, let it dry and then apply the caulk into the crack. For larger cracks, substitute concrete patch for caulk.
Large cracks or small, repair is necessary because water that finds its way into cracks will soften the ground underneath and cause more cracking. The situation worsens if the water freezes.
Sticky windows and doors
With all the wet weather that spring brings, wooden windows and doors can't help but swell and stick. To repair a sticky door or window, first mark where it is sticking. Next, remove the door or window by taking out its hinge pins, prop it up securely and with a hand plane, carefully remove any excess material. Power planes will work, too, but there is a tendency to remove too much. When the wood shrinks back during the drier, warmer days of summer, the gap will be too wide.
For sliding windows, often the trim around them is the culprit and must be removed and reinstalled to allow for more movement. To do this, carefully remove the trim with a flat bar and pull the nails out backwards that is, grasp the nail point with pliers and pull. If the trim was installed properly with finishing nails, you should be able to do this without damaging the wood. When reinstalling, keep the fit snug but not as tight as it was. If you reinstall the trim too loosely, the windows will rattle when the wood shrinks again.
To keep windows and doors from sticking in the first place, make sure that they are sealed with a good coat of paint, including the tops and bottoms. But don't paint the channels where windows need to slide. Instead, use a light coat of linseed oil as a sealer.
Painting over water damage
The problem with water stains is that painting over them will not make them go away unless you use a primer-sealer first. When looking for a sealer, follow these basic guidelines: First, oil-based sealers usually work better than water-based. Second, choose a sealer that has a high amount of solids. Solids consist of pigments and other elements that do the actual covering of the stain. Paint, hardware and home centers carry primer-sealers (sometimes called sealer-primers) such as Kilz and Zinsser.
One other tip when using an oil-based sealer, consider using disposable brushes and rollers. Cleaning up after using oil-based products can be messy and often requires that you spend more on paint thinner than your brushes and rollers are worth.
Painting and repairing rusty fixtures
It used to be that the only way to do a good paint job over rust was to get out the naval jelly or wire brush and remove the rust first. Thankfully, paint additives are now available to help paint stick to rust while also neutralizing the rust and stopping corrosion from continuing under the paint.
If left untreated, rust will eventually cause your fixtures to lock up. Prevent this by keeping fixtures well lubricated. One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to lubricate outdoor fixtures with light oil or silicon from spray cans. Because these oils are so light, they often evaporate and/or dilute existing lubrication thereby making the problem worse. For fixtures like gate hinges and latches, use heavy grease. It will not evaporate and its heavy viscosity is the best thing for heavy-duty parts. Most auto parts stores have heavy grease.

 

For Women, Is Home Really So Sweet?

by Toni Tygart Real Estate Group, Inc.

Singles have been buying up houses like never before—but it may be time to rethink the American dream

By KATE BOLICK

My father is a small-town lawyer of the old-fashioned variety, by which I mean that he cares about his clients the way a pastor does his flock. Most days he gets up from his desk at noon and strolls the seven or so minutes downtown to Angie's Diner—that's four minutes for travel, three for all the helloing and how're-the-kids-doing that transpires whenever he goes from point A to point B in the Mayberry-esque town of Newburyport, Mass.

Bloomberg News

For the first time in centuries, the majority of U.S. households are headed by unmarried adults, at 51%.

When he learned that a newly divorced friend and client, Norma (not her real name), was looking to buy a house, he drafted a memo for her weighing the pros and cons. He understood that she wanted to launch her new life free of ghosts and to establish a secure foothold in the world, but he wasn't convinced that homeownership was the way to do it. He sent a copy to me, his unmarried, apartment-renting daughter, in case I ever found my thoughts traveling in a similar direction.

Single women have been buying homes like never before—a development that my father has seen firsthand, given that his bread and butter is real estate. In 1981, six years after the Equal Credit Opportunity Act made it illegal for lenders to discriminate according to sex or marital status, single women represented 11% of all homebuyers. That figure reached a peak of 22% in 2006, although it has dropped a few percentage points since then, due to the economy. Meanwhile, single male homebuyers have held steady around 10%. According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, over a three-year period in the early 2000s the value of single women's home purchases added up to more than $550 billion.

[HOMEOWN] Alex Nabaum

Unmarried homebuyers are often making a poor investment decision, partly to feel more 'settled.'

Such a trend would seem the very image of female empowerment: a single woman buying a home of her own. Whether a middle-age divorcee or a professional in her 30s who has bypassed the marriage-and-baby track—for now, at least—she's seizing control of her life through real estate. In his eye-opening new book, "Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone," Eric Klinenberg interviewed quite a few of these women and found that, "Buying a home has become a powerful way to pivot from one life stage into another. It's a signal, to themselves and those who know them, that they are ready to invest in themselves."

This all sounds liberating, but is it really? That so many single women are proud to invest in themselves, and have the means to do so, is obviously an encouraging development. But I'm skeptical of the idea of anyone buying a home to "signal" his or her arrival. Homeownership, like marriage, is so encrusted with cultural projections and unquestioned assumptions that surely at least some of these women who have figured out that they should marry later (if at all) are unwittingly transferring a desire to feel "settled" or to be considered "grown up" into buying a house because "it's time"—which is to say, swapping out one piece of conventional wisdom for another.

Just as the "marriage crisis"—the fact that we are marrying later and less—has given us the opportunity to rethink traditional marriage as society's highest ideal, the housing crisis is our chance to reconsider the centrality of homeownership to the national psyche. Buying a home still works for many people, but it should no longer be taken as the embodiment of the American dream.

As Mr. Klinenberg sees it, the rise of solo dwellers represents the biggest demographic shift since the baby boom. For the first time in centuries, the majority of U.S. households are headed by unmarried adults, at 51%. The subjects of his seven-year study are the 31 million of these single people who live by themselves—that's roughly one out of every seven adults—comprising 28% of all households, even more than the nuclear family.

In small towns like Newburyport, these ranks are filled mostly by those like Norma—the divorced or widowed. Most young adults (ages 18-34) who live alone gravitate toward urban centers like Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, and they are the fastest-growing group, with five million people today as compared with 500,000 in 1950. In this age cohort, women are outpacing men in both education and income, across the racial spectrum.

Buying a home makes great economic sense for some of these singles, male or female, but not for all of them. In his memo to Norma, here's how my father breaks down the balance sheet: Buying offers "the ineffable qualities of ownership"—that is, presumed emotional rewards—but at the cost of immobility, lost investment returns and continuing expenses (taxes, insurance, repairs, maintenance), which, for a $300,000 house in Newburyport, add up to $18,000 a year, or $1,500 a month. That is for a single-family residence bought for cash. Condos, in his opinion, are merely "buying into trouble; just one difficult owner can be a costly misery" (though he concedes that large complexes with professional management have much less potential for problems).

Renting, by contrast, offers more pros than cons: greater mobility, no continuing costs, no maintenance responsibilities and investment returns on money not spent on ownership—which, in Norma's case at least, could likely cover her rent. He cites the downsides as "no ineffable qualities of homeownership" and "other tenants." (The mortgage tax deduction gives a slight break to homeowners, but not so much as to make a real difference, and generally only those with high incomes itemize their deductions anyhow.)

Last I heard, Norma was resolute in wanting to buy—and, despite meddlesome and unsolicited Bolick opinions, this may be the right decision for her. But it's hard not to wonder if those "ineffable qualities of homeownership" aren't clouding her judgment, at least a little, the way that society's dictate of marriage so often distorts our experience of relationships, pressuring many of us to marry because we "should," even when we shouldn't. As my father's daily routine suggests, even a small town's sidewalk culture can be a rich source of belonging and community.

What most of us look for in a home—a sense of security, safety and comfort—can be found without making such a major and complicated financial investment, one that, as the housing crisis has proved, can too easily end in calamity.

—Ms. Bolick is a contributing editor at the Atlantic and culture editor of Veranda. She is the author of the forthcoming book "Among the Suitors: Single Women I Have Loved."

 

Housing Recovery Underway 2012

by Toni Tygart Real Estate Group, Inc.

National Housing Report: Home Prices Start to Rise, Sales Trend Higher

Click Here: http://tllg.net/ycs1 to read on!

It's time to make a move, call Toni Tygart Real Estate Group or check out our Facebook page.

 

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Toni Tygart Real Estate Group, Inc.

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 71-75 of 75

Contact Information

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Toni Tygart Real Estate Group, Inc.
RE/MAX Elite
4243 NE Lakewood Way
Lee’s Summit MO 64064
Office: 816-795-2500
Mobile: 816-591-0275
Fax: 816-795-5005

Email Address

ToniTygart@ToniTygart.com