Landscaping Your Yard

landscaping

The art of beautifully modifying an area by adding ornamental features, trees and shrubs or changing the terrain, is known as landscaping. Landscaping has been in existence for many years, and a lot of people still use this art to beautify their homes, schools, landmarks etc. Today we are going to be talking about how to beautify your yard, read on below to know how to:

Estimation

Try to check if your yard has the properties to sustain landscaping. Check to see if it has landscaping elements or not. If you are not sure on how to do this, you can drive around through different neighborhoods. Doing this will give you a scope on what you are looking for and what you would like to have made in your yard.

Choosing Right

There are a lot of landscape styles for you to choose from. These styles include contemporary, cottage, traditional etc. If you are unsure about the one to choose, while driving through the review neighborhood, you can check out the one that you feel will suite you. Take pictures, note the shrubs and flowers, note the patterns in which they are arranged, note the line ups. Usually they are a mix of different plants, shrubs and flowers, consisting of four season interest. Once you get the idea of what you want, you can move on to the next stage.

The Focal Point

When creating a landscape, you need to use something or things as your focal point. Something the rest of the beautification will revolve around. You can use trees as your point of focus, all you have to do is go to a nursery to check out the kind of tree that will suite your taste, You can also use shrubbery too, they also make for a good focal point.

Also take in to consideration tree removal if you have trees where you don’t want them, or if they have potential to cause problems later down the road.

Now, don’t forget to make sure whatever it is your design is going to be, your neighborhood is really important. You don’t want to have the house that disfigures the whole neighborhood, do you?

Home Entrance

This is very essential. Make sure the setup of your landscape creates an entrance into your home. A lot of visitors look at this place first and it is normal for people to complement it. Just make sure your walkway is beautifully modified, you can use flowers or shrubs, anything as long as it embraces visitors and make them feel welcomed.

Color Mixing

If you are the type that is scared to add different colors or you just don’t know how to do it, you can keep it simple by just using shades of green. This makes your decoration cooler and elegant, plus they are always tasteful too. Now to the color aspect, you don’t have to make everything fussy and fancy; there are simpler ways to add color to your landscape. You can try blending Knock out roses -which are easy to care for by the way and they turn into shrubs too- into your green landscape. Another flower you can blend into your landscape is the Iris. Having lots of this flower will make your landscape have great color and texture.

First and Last

The front landscape should be the first to be finished up since it defines the house and it’s all about the architecture of the house. Once you have settled the front yard, you can then move to the back landscape. This part you can decide to grow and improve it every day. It is your personal landscape. It is where you move in with families and close friends to have drinks, set the grill and play with your kids. Make some plantings, turn it into a beautiful garden, and beautify it anyhow you want. It is your personal space.

If you are someone who has a busy schedule and you want a landscape but you can’t go through all of these steps, there’s always an option for you to hire a professional to help you out.

If you’ve got a question you can either contact me or drop it in the comments below.

Latest posts on real estate investingmaking your bedrooms feel more comfy, 5 ways to fix up your home in a cost effective manner, and tips/ideas for improving your home’s feel.

5 Cheap Fixes to Add Value to Your Home

Are you planning to sell your home? Or you just want it spiced up to look extra comfortable and make the value be on the higher side? Stated below are 5 ways to keep your home highly rated and make it have more value:

  1. Redefine Your Entrance

entrance

Is your door knob little and unnoticeable? If yes is your answer, you need to find a knob that is quite bigger and bolder. Having a beautiful and bold element on your front door tells visitors that your home is a solid one. If what you have in an ordinary steel door in front of your home, you might want to faux finish or paint it, that way, it will look much more attractive. Apply a good metal primer after which you can base coat the door with a nice color of paint.

  2. Lighten Your Home

lighting

Your dining and living rooms are very essential when it comes to lighting. Do not fix “any-how” light in these two places. You can find some cheap, nice looking and well-designed lights or chandeliers, these days. There are a lot of them in shops and stores. If you have a ceiling fan, you can buy ceiling fan blades that match the light to give your home a radiant glow.

  3. Spice Up Your Kitchen

kitchen

The kitchen is considered as the most important part of a house so, it gets a lot of visitors more than any other. A lot of potential buyers check out the kitchen and they do it prominently. So if you want your home to increase in value, like the teens of nowadays would say, “tush” it up. Now the question is how do you do that? The most important thing -whether you’re selling or not- is to always make sure you have a clean kitchen and make sure it is well updated. You can replace leaky faucets, cabinet handles and doors, improve on the lighting by getting more energy efficient ones. If your budget is more than a few hundred bucks, you can remodel your cabinets instead of buying a new one which will cost you a lot. There are a lot of companies that can help you with your cabinet doors, drawers and boxes. Painting will also be included in the makeover. And if you are someone who is handy and efficient, you can do the kitchen makeover yourself.

  4. Model Your Bath

bathroom

Bathrooms come in second place next to the kitchen. They can also be improved with little money involved. Getting new easy-to-install things like toilet seats and pedestal sinks are part of improving and adding value to your bathroom and home in general. If your bathroom floor is old or discolored, there are vinyl tiles that are easy to apply that you can use in replacing your old floor. You can apply the new floor over the old one or take the old one off, depends on how you want it done. If your shower or bathtubs are looking dark or dirty, consider filling in the tiles and replacing those that cannot be filled in. Using a prefabricated tub and shower surround is a great idea, though it will need the help of a professional to fix, it is still low cost compared to a full makeover of your bathroom.

  5. An Appealing Curb

curb

A beautiful and attractive lawn tells a whole lot about a house. When the buyers come knocking, let the state of your curb give them an idea of what they are going to find inside. Make sure your walkway is well swept and kept clean, this will make your home look prominent, which in turn gives more value to your home. Keep your lawn mowed in a very nice way and place some shrubs and flowers to enhance and beautify your home. If you don’t have a lawn, you can hire some landscaping service, to install some turf, plant some beautiful flowers and evergreen shrubs and clean up your curb in the coolest possible way.

Hope I was able to give you some new ideas.

Go and check out my latest articles on beautifying your bedrooms, more tips and tricks for improving your home, buying a home guide, landscaping, and how to invest in real estate.

Have a question?  Contact me here.

Talk to you all soon!

How To Make Your Bedrooms Feel Inviting & Comfy

bedroom 1

A bedroom is a place to relax and sleep. It is a place where you can release all your mental and physical stress. Thus it becomes very important to have a bedroom which is very comfortable and which invites you inside every time you pass by the room. Your bedroom might already be inviting and comfortable, but we are going to tell you how to improve your bedroom even further.  

The most important thing inside a bedroom is the bed and the mattress on which you sleep. While looking for interior decoration and other stuff, people generally ignore the most important thing in the bedroom. Choose a bed which suits your size the best and buy a mattress which would give you maximum comfort. If you have problem sleeping on very soft and plump mattress, you can opt for a comparatively stiffer mattress. There are medicated mattresses for people who very often catch lower back pain.

Try to find a bed frame which already has the bed spring attached to it as it would save you some money which you can obviously spend on some of other things. Choose a neat and clean bed sheet which is soft enough to make you feel at home. In order to create a comfortable environment, clean your bedroom regularly. Place the furnitures in place and do not throw your clothes all over the place. A soft, plush rag under your bed may change your experience altogether. A faux sheepskin plush rug not only makes you love waking up and keeping your feet on it but also adds to the visual diversity of the floor.

paint 2

A television is the killer of sleep. Do not ever put the television in your bedroom and if you already have it in your room, please go home and remove it as soon as possible. A television is a sleep killer and it is also advisable to keep a gap of about half an hour between watching a screen and sleeping. It helps you to sleep better and helps in growth of your memory. Also you can add some houseplants in your room. It would bring you closer to nature and it also has a calming effect. But do not introduce too many plants in your bedroom as it would increase the CO2 content in your room at night.

Try to keep your bedroom as simple and as spacious as possible. A spacious bedroom allows you to sleep better. Paints also have considerable effects on human nature. Try to use warm white paints in your room as it would calm you down and also keep you ever ready for your partner.

Flooring is also very important aspect in a bedroom. Smooth floors are more inviting. If installing tiles, then go for light shades. A piece of art which goes by your character is always welcoming. Proper lighting is also very important for a bedroom. These days people prefer custom lights because the intensity of these lights can be changes easily with the help of a regulating device and they really help in setting up the mood.

All said and done, it is your bedroom and you know the best what comforts you the most. Do not hesitate to keep a soft toy or an extra pillow in your bedroom if it comforts you. The bedroom one of the most private places in a house and any intrusion of opinion and thoughts should not be accepted. So if you like something in your bedroom, do not replace it even if it may be ergonomically unwelcoming.

To be honest I wasn’t too sure what I was going to write about today.  It wasn’t until I went and grabbed some coffee at Starbucks and got to talking with my good friend, Grant, who runs a tree service in Illinois.  Check him out at RockfordTreeServices.com.  I must say, he has GREAT attention to detail and a great awareness of what makes an environment pop, be it a room or a yard.

As always, hope you found this helpful.  And leave a comment below if you have a question or comment.  Feel free to contact me privately here and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some new stuff!

Go and check out all my latest posts.. things like cheap fixes for your home, tips and tricks for improving your homes look and feel, beautifying your bedrooms, landscaping, and how to invest in real estate.

Tips & Ideas For Improving Your Home’s Feel

home improvement ideas

Home maintenance is something very essential but often times neglected due to other things calling for our time and business. And then in between our daily and weekly activities of baking, cooking, cleaning, and doing the laundry amongst others, home care and maintenance falls by the wayside. The truth however – is just like your vehicle, your home requires it – as it gets lots of benefits from regular tune-ups.

You don’t even have to spend the whole day to implement and attain your home improvement activities and goals, as dealing with home maintenance in 11 minute bursts is the smart way to get it through.

Before we get too deep in to it, check out this video for a visual on a few of the ideas I’m going to cover today.

Below are quick things to look up and handle, each within 11 minutes or lesser, and will surely help improve your home look.

  • You can vacuum the condenser coils located behind your refrigerator on annual basis.
  • You can substitute your furnace filters periodically.
  • You can polish your beautiful wooden front door, and if such is painted, offer a surface wash for it.
  • You can clean up the air conditioner vent and register.
  • Essentially – you should dust and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This can be done at least twice yearly.
  • Also try to change the batteries of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors yearly.
  • You should also endeavor to clean up the oven as this brings out the spark in them and also enhances your cooking/baking experience and aroma.
  • You should also learn to clean up the coffeemaker, so that it stays neat and produce more pleasant coffee aroma in the house whenever utilized.
  • You should clean your kitchen exhaust lid, and also clean or replace the filter where required.
  • You should check your water heater for signs of leakage or rust.
  • Look out for worn extension cords in the house and get them replaced quickly.
  • You should examine your furnace for signs of rust or fault, or weird noises amongst others. Where you find any, or not too sure, you can contact a professional for further inspection.
  • You can conduct a garage door safety check by putting it into manual mode and then try to lift it. If okay, it should easily glide and stay open on its own at least 3 feet from the ground. Where otherwise, get an expert to counterbalance it.
  • You should also check up on your emergency flashlight. See to it that the batteries are intact and okay, or else quickly replace them, or contemplate upgrading to a non-battery powered type.
  • You can also improve your home look with artistic objects such as art books, paintings and sculptures amongst others. Here you can print your digital vacation photo-shots and transfer them onto a canvas, which you can then put up on the wall, unframed and looking naturally beautiful. Your kids can join in this as you enlist them to work out further on kids’ painting exercises. And if you have some budget for more splendid art works, you can shop for the creative art piece that reflects your lifestyle. 

Hope you all found this helpful.  Don’t forget to check out my latest posts on real estate investingwhether or not buying a home is a good idea in 2016, cheap fixes for your home, landscaping, and how to make your bedrooms feel inviting and comfy.

Will be back tomorrow with some new stuff.  Thanks for tuning in!

Best Regards,

Erik. 🙂

Buying A Home In 2016, Worth It?

buying a home

This has been a hot question..

The mid to late 20s guy and gal who have jobs landed and are eager to buy their first home.  Should they do it?  Why not? Right?

I’ll give you my two cents on the pros and cons of buying a home at that age. Of course, there are tons of variables I can’t account for, but I think you’ll find some value in this.  Things like your income and your plans and goals for the future are two of the biggest.

So, what are some good things about buying a home?

(1) Financial pros, of course.  Owning a home will help you to build equity.  Also, you can write off mortgage interest when tax season comes around and get tax credits for different improvements you make around the house.  You could even go the AirBnB route and turn your extra rooms in to rental spots, get that side cash flowing in.

(2) It may feel great to have a place you can call you own.  This can be a double-edged sword though.. depending on whether you dread the responsibility of having your own place or if you’re grateful for it.

(3) Ability to customize until your heart is content.  Do whatever you please, get away with millions of things you wouldn’t of even thought of doing as a renter.  You the boss.

(4) Do whatever the hell you want!  There are no rules now, well, other than the law, but it’s up to you what you do now.  Buy a dog, smoke cigarettes indoors, be loud, do whatcha’ please.

(5) Fixed monthly payments, which means it’s easier to budget for – you know what you’re paying.  As a renter you’ll have a fixed payment for the duration of your lease, in 99% of cases, but after the lease is up the landlord can change the price on you.  If you have a fixed mortgage, the rate of inflation over the span of 25 years (or whatever your term is) can actually save you a lot of money over the long haul.  Depending on how tight your budget is, this can be a decent incentive.

So, what are the not so good things?

(1) You’re stuck there, or at least it feels that way.  When you buy a spending moneyhome and take on a mortgage you’re kind of planting yourself to a single spot.  Say an opportunity comes up for you across the country, you’re going to feel the stress of needing to sell your home, take in to consideration who you’re sharing the payment with, and it’s a huge deal.  If you rent you won’t feel nearly as tied down.  You’re lightweight, liquid, mobile, free to roam.

(2) A home is a full-time job in itself.  Think about all the other tasks that come along with home owning.  Taking care of the lawn on a continuous basis and being responsible for the heaps of different appliances within the home are enough work in themselves.  Home-owning is a never-ending time and money sucker – fact.

(3) You’re still young.. why are you trying to tie yourself down with a tie yourself downhouse?  Already?  Why don’t you go out and live the life you always dreamed of before committing to one spot and settling down.

(4) Your renting complex may have a nice long list of amenities that you have access to.  When you own a home you get access only to the amenities you choose to pay for, and often times they aren’t cheap.  Swimming pools and gyms aren’t inexpensive for most people.

So, how do you know if it’s time to buy or better to stick with renting?  Ask yourself a few crucial questions.

(1) Where do you see yourself 3 years from now? 5 years from now? 10 years from now?

(2) How long would you like to live in this particular town where the home is located?  Can you see yourself living there long-term?

(3) How confident are you in your income?  Are you building you income as we speak?  Are you relying on your employer or are you seeking out ways to boost your income and become more comfortable, financially speaking?

(4) Can you afford all the maintenance and unexpected costs that undoubtedly come with home owning?  Or will you feel crushed at the first instance of an expensive repair that comes your way?

(5) And lastly, is it a good investment?  Are there other things you, or should be, more focused on?  Would you rather put your money in to something that is going to put money back in to your pocket?  Or are you okay with losing money month after month?

Erik’s personal opinion…

Don’t buy the home.  The future is about being nimble, lightweight, liquid.  Not about owning things.  You DO NOT want to be tied down to this type of thing.

DO NOT buy a home just because your friends are doing it and you think it’s your turn.

Invest in yourself, build your skills, build your person.  Put your money where it matters.  Let it work for you, not destroy you.

Take that with a grain of salt, but the best wealth creators know this.

Drop in the comments below what you’re thinking, if this changed your mind, or if you have any personal questions go ahead and email me here.

Look forward to hearing from you.  Will be back tomorrow or later today with another little golden nugget of quality info, peace!

Go and check out my latest post on 5 cheap fixes for your home and landscaping.

How to Invest In Real Estate When Ya Still Broke

“You’re broke.. at least now you have nothing to lose!”


Make some dough, bro.

I’m going to share with you guys what I did when I was 24 years old, had no money, was in debt about $10,000, had no experience in business, and had very little faith.

I’m going to throw down three tips that you will find value in your real estate career.

Now, before you go in the comments and tell me that I was wrong about something, you must understand.. real estate is a free market.  Nothing is set in stone.  These tips should be taken with a grain of salt.  Nothing is fact in this business.

Nonetheless, these ideas were worth tons of money to me over my last 30 years in real estate.

Let’s dive in.

#1 You don’t have any money you’re buying with either no money down or very little money down.  You MUST find better deals than those investing normally.

Scenario 1: Let’s say you buy a home for 200 grand USD.  You throw 30% down (60K) and, so, you owe 140K.  You make a nice return on investment from the cash flow (the money left over after all expenses are paid off).

Scenario 2: What if I went the extra mile and took the extra steps necessary to buy that house right, meaning get a great deal.  Let’s say I get it for 150K with no money down.  Who is in a better situation here?  The guy in scenario 1 who has 60K tied up and no substantial equity on his home?  Or the guy who buys at 150K, and has nothing invested and owes less?  Because of the deal obtained, the second guy has a far greater chance to run a greater profit margin, and is at less risk because he has no cash invested.

Scenario 3: The last guy, the normal investor, pays the full price of 200K for the house, and no money down.  In most cases, not all, but most, his mortgage would be so high that it would knock away any good shot at a good cash flow, and he wouldn’t have sufficient equity to sell the home.  In this case, the scenario 1 guy wins.  Why?  Because he only owes 140K.  Hopefully you’re catching my drift here.

If you’re going to invest with no money down, you’ve got to look for incredible deals.  If you aren’t looking for incredible deals, it ain’t worth it, bro!

#2 You Must Be Conservative

You should be under the assumption that:

  1. Taxes WILL rise.
  2. Your unit WILL be vacant a certain amount of time each year.  This should be based upon the average vacancy in the area, then increased a few percentage points (remember, we’re trying to be conservative here).
  3. There WILL be repairs, and there WILL be more than one.  Expect it.
  4. You WILL need to evict the no-good tenants.  It’s just part of the game.

You simply must account for these variables.  If the deal is still looking sexy even after you factor these in, you’re looking good.

#3 Sacrifice

The secret to investing effectively with no money is creativity.  Think of it like this.. you’re trading your time being creative for cash.

It’s all about prospecting.  Spending time in the marketplace creating opportunity for yourself.  Long nights and numerous brainstorming sessions.

Are you prepared to sacrifice all of your free time and energy to creative investing?  If you want to be a great investor, you need to be willing to sacrifice what others aren’t.

If you want the easy road, stay with your job.  If you want normal returns, stick with your mutual fund.

Keep this in mind when you’re trying to be great at anything in life.  It comes down to what you’re willing to give.  Those who receive the most in this life also contribute the most.

Go and check out my latest posts on beautifying your bedrooms, cheap fixes for your home, landscaping, and adding more value to your home.