Tag Archives: gardening

Life on the Farm: The Urban Farmer


As we get closer to the end of long summer days and begin our courtship with autumn’s harvest moons, it is worth mentioning a new trend appearing in the housing market: the backyard farm. With society becoming more and more health & environmentally conscious, folks are beginning to take matters into their own hands, or yards. Fresh fruits and vegetable gardens are sprouting up, bees are being cultivated and there are even a few instances of livestock where you aren’t used to finding them – the city.

Having a backyard farm is not something to be taken lightly. A lot of work goes into creating this type of backyard. There are rules that need to be followed and making sure it’s all up to code with the city and/or an HOA takes some time and effort. Of course, then there’re always the neighbors. If having things like bees or chickens is something that suits your fancy, making sure it’s good with everyone surrounding you is something that must be done. No one wants to be shocked awake every morning by a rooster or stung by a bee while swimming in their pool on a warm day. Keeping everything kosher may involve some bribery, like a BBQ or some home-brewed beer as a token of appreciation for being so cool with things. But once all of the politics are cleared up, the fun can begin.

But what does that do to the sale of a home? How does a buyer see this built-in responsibility? Is it a perk or a deal-breaker? I suppose, it all depends on the buyer. What you need to do as a realtor is show the upside of having this type of yard. Mention the fantastic condition the soil is in from seasons of use and how much money could be saved by growing their own. Make sure the hives or coops are in good condition so it is seen as a pleasure rather than as a hassle. Stage the home with the fruits from the garden. Create a centerpiece of tomatoes or squash blossoms and make sure to highlight areas where vegetation grows best, like an herb garden windowsill. Features like chicken runs and raised garden beds have not only been cared for, but can also be repurposed to suit the new owner’s needs, for example turned into safe place for a dog to exercise. Those that are into sustainable practices, will be excited that steps were already taken before they have even moved in and those with pets could be excited that there is a designated place for their pet to run without disturbing the overall landscape.

The point is to focus on promoting these landscapes as lifestyle-friendly features that can be easily modified to fit needs of new homeowners. In fact, knowing in depth the rules and regulations that may affect the sale of a property will only benefit your business, as a real estate agent. Having knowledge a client can use when deciding on a new home purchase is a win-win situation. Put tips about seasonal vegetation or an article on how to keep a garden vibrant into your newsletter. Even folks that have a plant or two can benefit from this facet of your real estate repertoire.

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To Dig or Not To Dig


backyard home improvments
Outdoor space

Summer is upon us and with that come lots of fun outdoor events. BBQs, pool or garden parties, hanging out around the fire pit…all of these are staples in the summertime. And they all take place in the same area of a home. They all center around the backyard.

While most home buyers are first drawn by a home’s curb appeal, careful planning needs to be given to the backyard landscape. There are so many really great developments being made to today’s backyards. From elaborate pool settings to lavishly grown gardens, it can be difficult to decide what to do with the back end of a property. Here are just a few things to consider when tackling this project:

Having a list of wants is a great place to start. Are you going to focus on a garden? Then you’ll want to consider which flowers, shrubs & trees work well with your environment. Do you have an aquatic family? Then safety precautions, like fencing, will also need to be considered. Having a list of everything you’d like to have will also help you not only budget out the space, but also upkeep time and cost. Make sure you check out zoning requirements too. It would be awful to plan your dream yard only to find out that your community doesn’t allow it.

Once you have your plan in place, it’s time to get to work. But before you jump in head first and something goes terribly wrong, consider a professional to handle this portion of the work. They have added knowledge about what will work well and what won’t. They will know which plants are favored by local wildlife. They know how to build the pool or water fixture properly. Their knowledge will not only make your yard beautiful, but it will save you money in the long run.

And finally, the budget. While we may want everything but the kitchen sink in our little outdoor sanctuary, being a bit more realistic is definitely in order. A professional will generally say spending 10 – 20% of a home’s value is ideal, but will fluctuate based on what you already have established and what you’d like to change. Checking the latest Cost vs. Value report will give you a better idea regarding resale expectations. After all, this will be a focus upon selling the home. Make the most of it.

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Always Love Your Mother Because You Will Never Get Another


She feeds us, helps us breathe and provides us all of the tools we need to survive. She even keeps us from wandering off, lost in the universe. The term “Mother Earth” isn’t that far off base. So, as we approach the holiday we celebrate our birth mothers, today is the day we stop for a moment and pay our respects to our mother planet.

Just like our mother-appreciating holiday, we shouldn’t leave this special love to only one day… It should be given all year ‘round. Unfortunately, us kids are pretty selfish for the most part and don’t respect our elders as much as we should. She doesn’t ask for much, but for some reason even the easiest requests always feel like a dreadful hassle. But if we want our allowance, we really need to get on the ball. So let’s take care of Ma Earth for a day. It’s the least we can do for all that she does for us.

Clean up your room. Litterbugs are generally thought of as the annoying pests of our society. Making a mess everywhere you go helps no one. So don’t be lazy. Pick up after yourself. Organize a group & pick up a beach or a park. Even the smallest groups can make an impact. And most importantly recycle, recycle, recycle. Turn in your cans & bottles for money. Repurpose anything into something magically new. Donate your unused stuff to someone who could use it. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

Make your bed. It always starts at home. Saving energy & natural resources really doesn’t need a lot of time or money. Change incandescent lightbulbs to fluorescent & change out air filters. Turn off lights when you leave the room and the sink while you brush your teeth. Make sure your faucets don’t leak. A little bit of upkeep can save you money and the planet its resources.

Eat your veggies. Let’s face it… We really need to start eating better. Studies continually show up about pesticides and how great organic is. So how about we quit feeding the dog all of our nutritious food? Plant a garden & use organic pesticides. Add trees & shrubs for some good ol’ carbon dioxide. Take more walks or bike rides and fill the air with carbon dioxide & not with vehicle emissions. The less bad stuff we put into our bodies, the happier we will all be.

Get along with your brother & sister. The key to keeping Mother Earth happy is if we all work together. It isn’t good enough for her to have her proverbial “favorite kids”. We all need to fight for her love. We can do that by looking after one another. The following infographic shows how a seller’s GREEN home is growing in popularity for buyers. It is a slow progress but a progress nonetheless. So spread the word. Add graphics like this and other helpful tips to your custom newsletter. Let your clients know that you’re looking out for them too. After all, isn’t the key to our time on this planet to live by the motto “Each One, Teach One”?

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