Friday, April 13, 2018

Making Use of Your Tax Refund


If you’re fortunate enough to get a tax refund from the government this year – there are many ways you can put it to good use when it comes to buying a new home.  A little planning ahead and you can trade that refund in for a key to your brand new home!
-        Use the refund toward your down payment. Most loans require a 20% down payment to avoid extra points or penalties.

-        Apply it toward closing costs to keep your out of pocket expenses down.

-        Take the refund and fix up part of your current home to make it more appealing to interested buyers. Put it into the big ticket rooms such as the kitchen and master bath.

-        Save it to help cover the cost of moving into your new home – from movers and truck rentals to boxes and pizza for friends who help out on the big day.

-        Put the money towards a home upgrade that you otherwise wouldn’t have had. Think about upgrading your flooring, countertops or appliances.

-        Save it for that new piece of furniture, d├ęcor or area rug that will make your new home feel complete!

-        Invest in some landscaping items such as additional plants, flowers or trees. Maybe it’s time to purchase some new yard equipment or a playset for the kids.

However you choose to use it put your tax refund to good use by planning ahead and thinking about your new home goals.  A quick impulse buy may seem fun, but your new home will be a place to make treasured memories for years to come.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Container Gardening Basics


When you’ve recently moved into a new home there are so many things to think about and set up. From placing furniture to hanging pictures and meeting the neighbors, there might not be time to set up an elaborate garden in time for the Spring planting season.  However, this doesn’t mean you need to forgo the delicious flavors of home grown veggies!  A container garden is a quick and simple set up that allows for fresh produce on a time crunch.
Start with choosing containers – this can be anything from large gardening pots to reusable shopping bags or specially designed fabric garden pots. Use your imagination! A larger container allows for more soil that will be less likely to dry out as quickly as a small pot.
No matter what container you choose there needs to be a way for water to drain out. Otherwise your plants may die. Drill a series of small drainage holes if there are not some already. Put a layer of newspaper in the bottom of the container to prevent the soil from draining out of the holes as well.
Place the containers where you want them and begin adding your soil. A planting mix or houseplant soil is the preferred option over plain garden soil.  Don’t fill the pots too high so that there is room for watering.
Choose what you want to plant and be creative! You can plant several things together or just focus on one large plant.  Here are some crops that do well in containers. (This is just a sample – there are many to choose from!)
-        Basil
-        Tomatoes
-        Squash
-        Strawberries
-        Rosemary
-        Peppers
-        Spinach
-        Cucumbers
-        Lettuce
Water containers thoroughly and don’t allow the soil to dry out.  A top layer of mulch can help keep moisture from evaporating too quickly.  Fertilize container gardens and be sure to prune back plants to keep from overcrowding.
With minimal space and set up you can still enjoy a wonderful summer harvest with container gardens!