Kimberly McGrath - Janice Mitchell Real Estate, Inc



Posted by Kimberly McGrath on 1/23/2020

Photo by Chen Liang-Dao via Shutterstock

As a homeowner, sometimes you want to change things up about the appearance of your home, and a terrific way to do that is with a slight change to your landscape. Here are a few ways to make a positive, aesthetic impact on your landscape and keep your home fresh and new.

Mix in Mulch

One colorful way to make a significant visual impact, and help provide sustainably healthy soil, is to introduce some new mulch into your garden beds. There are distinct types of mulch that you can use depending on the design, color scheme and types of foliage in your landscape. There is natural bark mulch, chipped cedar or other softwoods, which look great under a more rural-looking scape.

If you have a more modern look to your landscape, you can always go with painted mulch (several brands make varied colors including red, brown and black painted wood chips) that add a great color pop. And of course, you can always go all natural with your mulch, by saving your grass trimmings, fallen leaves and other yard scraps and spread it in garden beds for a nutrient-rich natural mulch.

Try a Rock Garden

Another sustainable way to change up the visual impact of your landscape is to convert a garden bed (or garden beds) into rock gardens. A rock garden is a beautiful, minimal maintenance, easily sustainable option that is also very drought-friendly. You can make a rock garden with several large boulders or stones surrounded by smaller rock, different types of gravel or crushed rock. You may even opt to add a couple of succulents or hearty, drought-tolerant plants (like rosemary or boxwoods), and youíll have a beautiful landscape that is very water-efficient and low maintenance.

Plant a Tree

A new tree in the yard makes a big addition to your landscape that will last for many years to come. A beautiful, leafy maple or malleable, cypress tree can add variety, color and shade to your yard. With your innovative ideas on sprucing up your landscape, all you need to do is get your gardening gear and get to it! Your family, friends and neighbors will all be sure to notice your new rock garden, mulched beds or new tree next time you have company. And youíll get that incredible satisfaction that comes along with a visually stimulating addition to your landscape.




Tags: Landscape   mulch   rock garden   tree  
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Posted by Kimberly McGrath on 1/16/2020

When you decide to sell your home, thereís a long list of things that youíll need to do from finding a real estate agent to making repairs around the home. Itís nice to have a to-do list handy to help you figure out what you need to do and when throughout the course of the sale of your home. 


Find Out The Estimated Value Of Your Home


You should do a quick search online to see what your property is valued at. Some websites even have the number of views that your property has gotten over its lifetime on the site. This will give you an idea of how much you might get for the sale of your home as well as how much interest there may be in buying the home to begin with. If you see what your, home has listed in a basic online search, youíll be able to tell what needs to be updated when the home is actually listed by your realtor.   


Get Things Fixed


If there have been issues in the home, you should work on getting them fixed. Youíll also need to know what has happened in the home over the years in order to put together a proper disclosure. Has the basement flooded? Did you face an electrical fire?  All of these problems need to be listed. You can also disclose what you did to remedy the issues. The buyer has a right to know and understand that they are moving in under good conditions. 


Learn About Potential Real Estate Agents


Itís so important to hire the right agent when youíre selling your home. You are getting a return on your initial investment, so you want it to be a good one! Youíll also want to know that you have someone who will be there to do home showings, process paperwork, and be your advocate throughout the process. You can contact various references that real estate agents provide and ask how they felt about the agentís work. 


Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed


In Todayís technology-based world, there are so many ways that a home can be marketed. This includes the use of websites, social media, open houses, video tours, and photos. Your agent should be well-versed in all of these areas, or be able to hire people who do know how to best use these areas of marketing. Every avenue that is used to get buyers for your home is beneficial to you as a seller.



Understanding the process of how a home is sold can help you to be prepared when youíre ready to sell.





Posted by Kimberly McGrath on 1/9/2020

Although statistics may not be reflective of your individual real-estate buying habits, the "typical" homeowner tends to stay put in their home for around a decade -- give or take.

One of the few "drawbacks" of being a long-term homeowner is that, over time, you tend to forgot many of the details of the home-buying process.

However, an advantage of buying a home in the Internet Age is the availability of instant information on everything from interest rates and real estate agent reviews to house hunting tips and choosing a moving company.

Your Real Estate Journey

Buying a home can be an extremely satisfying experience... or it can be filled with frustration and disappointment. However, by having a basic understanding of how the house-buying process works, you'll be more effective at preparing yourself for what's to come, anticipating what you need to do, and creating a clear picture in your mind of your requirements and ideal living environment. As various thought leaders have said over the years: If you're not clear on what you want, you'll probably end up with something else!

The cornerstones of a successful real estate search are knowing your credit score, having enough money on hand for a sufficient down payment and closing costs, enlisting the help of an experienced real estate agent, and being proactive about meeting with mortgage bankers and shopping for a competitive interest rate (and terms).

Staying organized, creating priority lists, and continually educating yourself about the nuts and bolts of buying a home will help ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Even though there may be a few bumps and detours along the way, taking the time to be organized and well informed will help you stay on track and produce the type of results you and your family are looking for.

Although it does pay to read articles from credible online sources, you don't have to achieve "expert status" as a house hunter and real estate buyer. If you choose your real estate agent with care, they should be able to provide you with the expertise, advice, and professional guidance you need to clear the hurdles and make it all the way to the finish line!

How does one choose a great real estate agent? The ideal way is to get a referral from a trusted family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor. If someone you trust can attest to the service level and results a particular real estate agent has produced, then chances are good that your experience would be comparable. If more than one person you know recommends a top-notch agent, then that creates a "multiplier effect." In other words, it increases the likelihood that you'll be satisfied with the service and results this agent provides. If you don't know anyone personally who has worked with a great agent, there are well-known websites that post reviews, years of experience, and relevant sales information on licensed real estate agents.





Posted by Kimberly McGrath on 1/2/2020

If you plan to list your house in the foreseeable future, you should do everything possible to differentiate your residence from the competition. That way, you can show homebuyers exactly what your house has to offer and increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you optimize your home's potential.

1. Boost Your House's Curb Appeal

Your house's curb appeal may dictate how quickly your residence sells. If you allocate time and resources to transform your home's exterior from drab to fab, you may be able to reap the benefits of a speedy home sale.

Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other home exterior upgrades. By doing so, you can take your house's curb appeal to new heights.

Also, if you need assistance with home exterior projects, you can reach out to local home improvement professionals. Contractors are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these professionals can help you enhance your house's curb appeal in no time at all.

2. Remove Clutter

Clutter is an eyesore that home sellers need to eliminate. Because if your home is overloaded with antiques, decorations and other items, it may be tough for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence.

If you own lots of items but want to keep these belongings, there is no need to worry. You can always rent a storage unit where you can store various items until your house sells. Or, you can contact family members and friends to find out if they can store some of your belongings for the time being.

On the other hand, if you want to get rid of assorted items, you can host a yard sale or sell items online. This will enable you to simultaneously remove clutter from your house and earn extra cash.

3. Conduct a Home Inspection

Identifying home problems sometimes can be difficult. Luckily, home inspectors are available who can analyze your residence and offer valuable property insights.

Typically, a home inspector will review your residence over the course of a few hours. The inspector then will provide you with an inspection report that details his or her findings. If you analyze the inspection report closely, you can gain comprehensive insights into your house's strengths and weaknesses and prioritize home improvements.

If you need help finding a home inspector or completing other home selling tasks, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent will help you revamp your house both inside and out and ensure your residence stands out to property buyers. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any of your home selling concerns and questions, at any time.

Maximize your house's potential Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can update your residence and differentiate your home from the competition.




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Posted by Kimberly McGrath on 12/26/2019

Photo by Thijs van der Weide from Pexels

You may be surprised to learn just how much a little DIY storage bench in your entryway can save you in time and money. Storage benches offer children a place to sit while they remove snowy or muddy shoes. That's less time spent mopping your kitchen or steam-cleaning the carpets. 

Save hardwoods from years of damage and wear.

On top of that, a bench can double as storage. Never again will you be racing around your home trying to find your mittens, scarves, rain boots and other outdoor essentials on your way out the door. It's now all in one convenient place. 

You can even store backpacks and lunch bags on the weekend -- whatever makes sense for your family.

You might think that making an entryway storage bench is complicated. But we'll show you the easy way to build your bench in less than a day.

What you'll need

*Pro tip* Borrow tools that you may never use again before buying. If you find you want to take on more new projects, you can buy one then.

  • 18-gauge nail gun
  • Miter saw
  • Framing square
  • Pneumatic framing gun
  • Hammer drill for concrete/brick or regular drill
  • Circular saw
  • 6 3/4" plywood
  • 8 2x4" boards
  • 3" strap hinges
  • 3" concrete screws or regular screws
  • 6 1x4" boards
  • Wood screws
  • How to build a DIY storage bench for your entryway

    Here's your guide.

    Gather materials & supplies

    The amount of material varies by the bench size you choose the make. Be sure to measure twice and cut once so that everything fits perfectly.

    Frame your bench

    Your frame becomes your guide for the project. Cut your 2X4's the desired length of the bench. Then cut more for the height. Find the studs. And use that hammer drill to attach the 2X4s to the back wall. Build out from there.

    Construct the front and sides

    Now build around your frame, using your plywood. Be careful with any tools you use. Just take your time to get it right. 

    Add the hinges

    Measure and drill for your hinges. Then simply screw them in. 

    Place the lid on the ground and drill holes for hinge screws. Then connect the top to the other side of the hinge with screws. You might need a partner hold the lid steady while you to screw in the lid.

    Add your finish of choice

    You can stop with a basic box. But while you're at it, it won't take much more effort to add some trim and paint it. Then place some hooks above for coats and backpacks.

    And now, you have a beautiful DIY storage bench. For more helpful tips on home maintenance and improvement, follow our blog.




    Categories: Uncategorized