Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How to Green-Up Your Home’s Value

(ARA) - Want a good way to help protect the value of your home? Remember these two words: green matters. Not green paint, mind you, but green space. It’s an umbrella term for the trees, lawn, shrubs and other plantings that can affect not only the salability of your home, but your utility bills as well. Which is why Project EverGreen, a national non-profit organization, is leading the charge to educate consumers about the many values of green space -- especially as it affects their pocketbooks. According to Den Gardner, executive director of Project EverGreen, “research shows that improving the green space around your home can have real economic benefits.” Protecting Home Value Gardner cites a number of studies which show that sprucing up your green space can help protect and, depending on market conditions, bolster home value. For example: a study cited in Smart Money magazine indicated that consumers value a landscaped home up to 11.3 percent higher than its base price. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported that landscaping investment is normally recovered fully and sometimes doubled by its ability to increase home value.

That sounds good, but Gardner adds this important caution: “It’s wise to plan before you plant. Make sure you begin landscape improvement or renovation with well-thought-out ideas for maintaining and/or improving your green space. You may want to do the work yourself -- and that’s good exercise; however, it’s always wise to seek professional advice to get the right balance and placement of trees, shrubs, grass and other plantings.”

As evidence of this he cited a research project conducted by the Horticultural Research Institute (HRI). This showed that a sophisticated landscape design with trees and large, colorful bedding plants can raise the perceived value of a home between 5 and 11 percent. On the other hand, consumer reaction was that minimalist landscapes (i.e. with small plant size and low sophistication) actually decreased the perception of home value.

Saving Energy Costs

Planning the right mix of trees, grass and other plantings can also make a difference in a home’s energy consumption. One study has estimated that when properly placed to shade your home, trees can reduce air conditioning demand by 10 to 30 percent. Another study found attic temperatures could be up to 40 degrees lower when adequate shade was present.

“There are two ways you take advantage of this natural cooling effect,” Gardner says. “First, if you have mature trees make sure they’re pruned properly to maximize shade benefits, and second, in planning for future shade, seek professional advice as to the type and location of the trees you should plant. Both steps can help lower your electrical bill.”

Also, don’t overlook how maintaining a thick, healthy lawn and other plants also provides cooling benefits. “This is due to a process known as evapotranspiration. Gardner says. “When vegetation is warmed by the sun it gives up water which then evaporates to cool not only the plant itself but the surrounding area as well. The result is one of nature’s most overlooked, and yet most efficient cooling systems. In fact, researchers have calculated that evapotranspiration from the front lawns in a block of eight houses, produces cooling equivalent to 70 tons of air conditioning.”

You can find more information about these and other benefits of green space by accessing

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Updated Countertops

No body wants to see grout lines on countertops anymore - so opt for slab! Granite is the top pick, but stone, concrete, limestone, soapstone and marble surfaces are also options.Contact me today for all of your real estate and home improvement needs!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Updated Garages

Adding storage space, residential flooring and a refrigerator for your extra soda and snacks will add value and organization to your home. Contact me today for all of your real estate and home improvement needs!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Update Lighting

Lighting is one of the most important parts of interior decorating, yet it's often overlooked. If your home doesn't have a lot of natural light, you should think about installing recessed lighting or new sconces. You want your visitors and potential buyers to see your beautiful home in the best of light! Contact me today for all of your real estate and home improvement needs!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ring in Spring with Tulips

(ARA) - Tulips are a vibrant, timeless symbol of spring. They are available from January through May and join groundhogs, grass and new leaves on trees as indicators that warmer weather is on its way. Their delicate shape, graceful posture and vibrant colors have inspired this flower’s popularity across cultures and throughout time. They are a great way to celebrate spring holidays, including Easter.

Forever recognized as a symbol of spring, nothing is more appropriate to decorate for your spring festivities. Many spring celebrations focus on the concept of rebirth or renewal due to spring being the time of new life and planting new crops. Historically, it is a time when people are optimistic about the future. Kids dye Easter eggs for their baskets, little girls wear pretty pastel dresses, and families gather for a feast. The tulip’s bright, festive colors and gentle fragrance add beauty and grace to any table setting and are a perfect addition to a spring equinox dinner party or Easter brunch.

With over 100 species and more than five hundred different varieties, tulips are one of the largest members of the lily family. They are most often found in shades of red, yellow, violet and white. Two-tone and variegated varieties of tulips are also becoming increasingly popular.

Tulips are unique in that they continue to grow after cutting. Their stems will often extend up to two inches after they are clipped. Also, the flowers’ attraction to sources of light may cause tulip stems to bend, twist and turn into new and beautiful positions.
To maximize the vase life of your flowers, the floral experts at 1-800-FLOWERS.COM recommend that you select tulips with tight flower heads. Cut off at least 1/2 inch of the flower stems before placing your tulips in a vase filled with cool water. It is not necessary to add flower foods or preservatives to cut tulips. Arranging tulips in a tall vase, as well as placing a penny in the bottom of the vase, will keep your tulips stems standing tall longer. With proper care and handling, your flowers should last between four and seven days.
Visit on the Web for the Timeless Tulips arrangement and many beautiful Easter baskets and flower arrangements.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Buyers are hunting for hardwood floors these days because of the clean,
crisp feel it adds to a home. And, these floors will never go out of style!
Contact me today for all of your real estate and home improvement needs!