Since ancient times, spring has been a symbol of growth and renewal, so it's not surprising that many people think spring is the best time to start a garden, followed by summer. Actually, though, spring and summer aren't always the best times for planting; fall is.

That doesn't make sense, you might think. Why plant something just ahead of winter when it won't grow?

That's a fair question, and there are several good answers to it that explain why fall is the best time for planting a garden.

Getting a Head Start

Just because we associate cooler weather and the harvest with fall doesn't mean there isn't a growing season. In most parts of the country, warm temperatures last well into the fall, with the first frost not coming until late October or even later. Planting in the fall provides a great head start, positioning your plants to be strong and healthy when spring returns and the growing season resumes.

Less Competition from Weeds

While spring is a good time for plants to grow, it's also a prime time for weeds. Planting in the fall, when weeds are gone or well under control, means you'll save time and effort (and money) fighting the weeds that try to take over your grass and garden. You're also less likely to cause accidental damage to your garden with herbicides.

Conserving Water

With the high temperatures of summer behind you, you don't have to worry about evaporation as much in the fall. As a result, anything you plant will require less water, so you'll be conserving water and reducing your water bill at the same time. Both you and Mother Nature benefit!

Better Weather for You and Your Plants

Summer is a tough time for most plants. The high temperatures and intense sun can scorch and stress plants, even killing them when conditions get too hot and dry. Parts of the country, such as the south and southwest, can experience very hot springs as well.

Those summer conditions can be rough on people, too, especially when combined with high humidity. It isn't so pleasant to work in conditions like that, and it can be unhealthy as well.

By comparison, fall usually offers a great deal of pleasant weather, making it a great time for plants to grow (as described above) and for people to be outside.

Support for Pollinators

In early spring, birds, bees, butterflies, and other pollinators can have a hard time finding adequate nourishment. Having fall-blooming flowers adds color to your garden and provides critical nectar for pollinators; for some of them, it's what gets them through the winter and the next stage of their life cycle. For the same reason, it's a great idea to have flowers that bloom in early spring.

Spring-Blooming Flowers Need the Winter Cold

Spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and tulips actually need to be planted in the fall. This is because, biologically, they require a wintering- over in order to produce their colorful blooms in the spring. If you live in a climate with mild or warm winters, don't worry; you can use your refrigerator to get these bulbs the chilling they need.

Fall gardening is a great way to enjoy the crisp weather and see great results. Good luck and have fun!


(That No One Tells You About!)

So, you're finally ready to buy a home. Congrats! 

Homeownership is a huge milestone. But before you start packing your boxes and planning your housewarming party, there's one important thing you need to do: figure out how much it's actually going to cost you.

Sure, you know that you'll need to come up with a down payment and pay closing costs. But there are also a number of other prepaid expenses that can come as a surprise to first-time homebuyers. In this blog post, we'll break down some of the most common prepaid expenses and help you get a better understanding of what you can expect to pay when you buy a home.

Homeowners Insurance Premium

One of the most important prepaid expenses when buying a home is your homeowners insurance premium. Homeowners insurance protects you from financial loss in the event that your home is damaged or destroyed by fire, wind, vandalism, or another covered hazard. Most lenders require borrowers to have homeowners insurance in place before they will close on a loan. The amount you'll pay for your homeowners insurance premium will depend on a number of factors, including the value of your home, the location of your home, and the type of coverage you choose. 

Specific Hazard Insurance

In addition to general homeowners insurance coverage, you may also need to purchase specific hazard insurance depending on the location of your home. For example, if you live in an area that's prone to flooding or wildfires, your lender may require you to purchase flood or wildfire insurance.

The cost of specific hazard insurance will vary depending on the type and amount of coverage you need. However, it's important to note that even if your lender doesn't require you to have specific hazard insurance, it's still a good idea to consider purchasing it. After all, it's better to be safe than sorry!

Property Taxes

Property taxes are another common prepaid expense when buying a home—and one that can often come as a surprise to first-time buyers. Property taxes are levied by state and local governments and are used to fund public services like schools, roads, and parks.

The amount of property tax you'll pay at closing will depend on the state and county in which your home is located, the assessed value of your property, and when you purchase the property.

Mortgage Insurance Premium

If a lender requires you to take out mortgage insurance (MI), then the premium could be included in your prepaid costs. Mortgage insurance is insurance that protects the lender in the event that you default on your loan.

Mortgage insurance is typically paid monthly as a part of your mortgage payment, but you might pay a lump sum at closing in addition to the monthly payments.

Initial Escrow Deposit

In addition to the prepaid expenses mentioned above, you'll also need to make an initial escrow deposit at closing. This deposit is used to establish your escrow account, which is used to pay your property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums on your behalf each year.

Be Prepared

There are a lot of things to factor in when you're buying a home. It's not just the list price that you need to be aware of, but also the prepaid expenses. Homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, and property taxes can all add up. Be sure to factor in these costs when you're budgeting for your new home so that you don't end up being surprised down the road.


If you dread coming home to a messy house, you're not alone. It's easy to let housework overwhelm us, but it doesn't have to be that way! With a few simple tips, you can learn to relax about your house and put housework in its rightful place.

Untidy Doesn't Mean Dirty

Messiness and uncleanliness may appear to be the same problem, but there is actually a significant difference between them. Approaching this challenge in a stepwise manner by first assessing what type of issue it is will help you conquer it more easily. Rather than trying to take on the mountain of chaos all at once, break it down into two smaller hills - messiness and uncleanliness - and address these individually.

Get Over Perfection

We all want the best for ourselves and our lives, striving to reach perfect standards. But often, by doing this, we set impossible standards which leave us feeling overwhelmed and stressed by housework.

In reality, others' opinions are not as important as our own.

Life involves ebbs and flows that affect even the most perfect of routines; perfectionism is not flexible, which is why it so easily becomes a struggle when faced with an unpredictable lifestyle. Instead, focus on creating a healthy home environment that you are comfortable in - there's no right or wrong when keeping your house clean; it only needs to meet the level deemed acceptable by you and your family.

Know Your Priorities

It is important to know how to choose which battles to take on. Focusing your energy on the few most important tasks can significantly reduce mounting stress and lead to a more successful outcome. Cleaning one room at a time, for example, is a great way to set achievable goals that produce quick and tangible results; this can help to nurture motivation, productivity, and clarity of purpose. Furthermore, splitting work into small doable chunks makes it easier to handle larger projects without feeling overwhelmed or bogged down by their intimidating size. Taking the time to prioritize tasks will ultimately increase efficiency and success in getting them done.

Have a Fast and Effective Routine

Keeping your house tidy and clean requires some effort, but having the right equipment is half the battle. Setting yourself up with these must-haves for reducing mess will make it easier to achieve spotless results every week. A long-handled feather duster, handheld vacuum cleaner, and all-purpose spray cleaner are essential for getting rid of dust and dirt quickly. When it comes to stubborn stains, a foam spot cleaner always comes in handy. For floors, the classic Swiffer mop will help you get them sparkling in no time. Finally, don't forget to treat yourself to a luxurious room fragrance that will make your home smell delightful.

Keep the Kitchen in Perspective

The kitchen is often seen as the heart of the home and being creative and having a kitchen that is conducive to creative cooking can be so much fun. But it also needs to be realistic - dinner isn't made and eaten in pristine environments. Kitchens, by nature, are workrooms as well as spaces for gathering and enjoying a meal with family or friends. That said, it's important to embrace the aromas, noise, and fun that come along with preparing meals with the people you love. Don't worry about impressing everyone each and every night- just revel in the fact that you're able to provide a delicious dinner for your family, and don't forget to ask for help with the cleanup!

Relax a Little

When it comes to domestic responsibilities, keeping up with a regular schedule can provide a sense of balance. Letting go of perfectionist tendencies can be particularly beneficial in feeling like you don't have to do it all – focusing on the kitchen area alone may be enough to make your home feel sparklingly clean! With a combination of common-sense rules, realistic goals, and understanding that everyone's needs vary, remembering simple tips like these will help you manage your housework stress effectively and much more easily.


When you're ready to begin searching for a new home, it's easy to get swept up by the process. The combination of an exciting prospect of a significant life change and the persuasive tactics of those trying to sell you that life can often lead to you leaving a property tour without any relevant information.

It's always best to come prepared with a list of questions you can ask at the open house. Here are a few of the best hard-hitting questions to help jump-start your brainstorming.

Are There Any Structural Issues with the Home?

Being caught unaware of structural issues years from now is every homeowner's nightmare. Ask this question when you view the home; the listing agent can provide you with an official seller's disclosure that should help shed some light on the home's health.

Has the Seller Made Any DIY Renovations?

DIY renovations made by the previous owners are notorious for causing problems down the line. And work that wasn't completed by a licensed professional is also much more likely to incite a code violation. You should also always schedule a professional home inspection before your closing date.

What (If Any) Updates Have Been Made in the Home Since the Seller Purchased It, and When Were They Made?

Major updates, such as ones to the electrical, roof, or siding, will give you a good idea of what will need your attention in the coming years. A home inspection should also assist with this question, and inspectors can even estimate how long some features have left before they need to be fixed or replaced.


College towns can be a great place to buy an investment property. There is usually a high demand for rental units near campus, and the vacancy rate is generally lower. However, there are some downsides to consider before purchasing an investment property in a college town.

Benefits of Buying a House in a College Town

A Large Pool of Tenants

One of the biggest benefits of owning a rental property in a college town is that there is no shortage of tenants. College students are always looking for off-campus housing, which means that you will have no problem finding someone to rent your property. And since there are always new students coming into town, you will never have to worry about your rental being vacant for long.

Consistent Rental Rates

Another benefit of owning a rental property in a college town is that the rental rates are very stable. This is because the demand for off-campus housing is always high, regardless of the state of the economy.

Easy Access to Entertainment

Owning a rental property near a college also has the perk of providing constant entertainment for your tenants. College towns typically have many bars and restaurants within walking distance of the university or college campus. This means that your tenants will never be bored or have difficulty finding something to do on weekends or during their free time.

Parents Often Pay Rent

The most important benefit of owning a rental property in a college town is that parents often help their children pay rent. This is because they understand the high cost of living near universities and colleges. As such, they are often willing to help their children out financially by paying part or all of their rent each month.

The Downside to Buying an Investment Property in a College Town Higher Upkeep Cost

If you own an investment property in a college town, chances are you will have tenants who are students. And as any parent of a college student knows, they are not always the most responsible when it comes to taking care of a property. This can result in higher-than-normal maintenance and repair costs.

Higher Tenant Turnover

Another downside to owning an investment property in a college town is the high tenant turnover rate. Students typically only lease for one academic year at a time, which means you will constantly be finding new tenants and signing new leases. This can be time-consuming and costly if you are not using a professional property management company to handle the leasing process for you.

Shorter Lease Terms

Because students typically only lease for one academic year at a time, you will likely have to sign shorter-term leases than you would if you were renting to non-students. This means that your rental income may be less stable from month to month, which could make it difficult to cover your mortgage payments or other expenses associated with owning an investment property.

Possible Vacancies During the Summer Months

The last downside to consider when owning an investment property in a college town is that there may be periods of time when your unit is vacant due to students being away on summer break. This could result in lost rental income or having to lower your rental rates in order to attract new tenants.


While there are some potential downsides to owning an investment property in a college town, there are also many upsides that make it a worthy investment opportunity for those who are willing to take on the risk. If you do your research and work with a reputable property management company, you can minimize the potential risks and maximize your chances for success as a landlord in a college town!


When it comes to selling a house, first impressions are everything. Curb appeal has always been important in real estate, but now that many buyers begin their home search online, having photographs of your home that shine is essential. Capturing the perfect shot and making your house look its best can seem daunting, but following these simple tips will help you get the job done.

Clean the Windows and Open the Shades

The windows of your house can be one of its defining features, but if they are obscured by dirt or grime, then they will detract from the overall look of your home in photographs. Make sure to give them a good clean before taking any pictures so that natural light can fill the room.

Perk Up Houseplants

Houseplants are an excellent way to liven up any space and add life to a photo, but they also require regular attention for them to stay healthy and vibrant. If you have any plants inside your home, make sure to give them a bit of TLC before taking any shots so that they don't detract from the look of your house.

Remove Counter Clutter

Clutter is one of those things that is easy enough to overlook until you take a picture, at which point it becomes painfully obvious! Clear away all unnecessary items from countertops and tables before shooting so that nothing distracts from the overall aesthetics. This also applies to any clutter on shelves or mantles - less is always more when it comes to creating stunning visuals.

Polish Wood Floors and Shine Up Appliances

Wood floors often require regular maintenance and polishing for them to really shine, so don't neglect this step if you want impressive results! Polishing up appliances such as microwaves and ovens can also help create an overall clean feel, which will come across clearly in photographs as well.

Hide Toiletries and Freshen Bathrooms

One of the most important things is to make sure all toiletries are hidden away when taking pictures. This includes items like shampoo, soap, razors, toothbrush holders, and so on. You also want to make sure the bathrooms are nice and clean; give them a quick scrub if need be.

Tuck in Bedcovers

Have all the beds made with crisp linens before taking pictures of the bedrooms. It will make your rooms look polished and neat. Also, consider removing any extra blankets or pillows that might be lying around - they can distract from the overall photo composition.

Switch on All Lights

Turn on all the lights in each room before taking pictures. Doing this will help show off each room's best features and create brighter images overall. This tip is especially important for darker areas, such as hallways or basements, that may need some extra light for better photos.

Focus on First Impressions

Lastly, focus on creating an inviting first impression by making sure that the entryway looks inviting with a welcoming rug or artwork displayed prominently near it. It's also a good idea to keep any clutter at bay - it can be distracting and take away from the overall effect of your photos!

Ready to Sell?

Selling your home is a daunting task and requires effort to get it camera-ready. You'll want to make sure that the first impression really sells, as this can play a big part in making or breaking how many potential buyers view it in person. With these simple tricks, you can make sure that your humble abode shines in any photograph and impress buyers without having to do too much extra work.

If you're thinking about selling your home, contact me today, and let's get started on your real estate journey! I can help you make sure that the photos for your home stand out and give a great first impression. By working together, we'll maximize the value and ensure a quick sale!


Now that you're financially secure and have found your dream home, you're probably ready to take the next step towards purchasing a house. However, if you found your home in a seller's market, there's still one thing standing in the way: other buyers. Luckily, we've found various strategies that you can use in a bidding war that will help ensure you land your dream home.

Getting Pre-Approved

Your journey towards home buying doesn't start with calling a real estate agent it starts with getting a mortgage pre-approval from a lender. This is because pre-approval helps with two crucial steps:

• Confirms your price range so you'll know which homes you can afford

• Shows home sellers that you're serious about purchasing a home

Sellers will always prefer pre-approved buyers because this tells them that you'll have the money when closing time


Limit Contingencies

A seller won't want their home to rot in the market and they don't want to relist their home because a contingency resulted in the fallout of a sale. You can give a stronger offer by limiting your contingencies, which are specific conditions that must first be met before the finalization of a sale. By dropping your contingencies, you're telling the seller that you're able and willing to pay additional at closing if the home appraises for less than the price you agreed


Make a Competitive Offer

To know what a competitive offer would be, be sure to review recently sold properties with your agent to get an idea of what sellers consider is a fair price. This is because offering a lowball amount will usually backfire, and buying a house isn't like buying at a flea market. Offering $150,000 for a house that's worth $250,000 might come out as an insult and you probably won't get calls after that.

Increase Earnest Money

A bigger earnest money deposit shows how serious you are with buying the property. Many sellers will feel more confident with buyers who put down a 3% deposit rather than those who put down a 1% deposit. In short, if a house costs $300,000, don't offer a $500 deposit this will make a seller nervous since you can easily walk away without losing much.

Include an Escalation Clause

If you're worried about overpaying after making a higher offer on a house, an escalation clause may help you if you're facing competition. It works by having your agent write an escalation clause if you believe that there will be competitors for the home you're after but aren't sure of how much they'll offer. The escalation clause will allow you to pay a certain amount above any offer which stops at your budget limit.

Offer a Quick Close

Sellers prefer to close in as little as 30 days or less, so you can offer a 21-day time frame to give you the edge over other competitors. Furthermore, some sellers find it more important to close quickly rather than get more money from

a deal. So be sure to come prepared with money on hand to ensure that you'll be able to make the close you promised to the seller.


The real estate market is competitive and confusing, which can make it difficult to know if a professional is worth the commission they charge. Here are three reasons why it's a no-brainer to decide to hire a real estate agent to help you sell your home, even in a seller's market.

Agents Specialize in the Real Estate Market.

Agents go to real estate schools to understand how to navigate the real estate market, which means you can trust them to know and understand the nuances of the industry. As experts in selling and buying homes, real estate agents know how to maneuver negotiations to get their clients to the closing finish line. One wrong decision could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars lost or gained when it comes to purchasing a property.

If you've never been through this process before, an expert can help explain what goes on throughout the entire transaction. Questions will no doubt arise, such as: What does escrow mean? When will it be time to close escrow? What information do I have to legally provide to buyers? You may not realize all the things sellers must disclose when they sell a house. Real estate agents are trained professionals who understand these nuances and won't let anything slip past them during negotiations.

Real Estate Agents Have a Fiduciary Duty

Fiduciary duties are the highest duties under the law, and when you have an agent on your side, you can rest assured knowing they are bound by law to put your best interests first.

There are six specific fiduciary duties that an agent must uphold.

Loyalty: The agent is at all times to act solely in the best interest of the principal, which is you, the client.

Confidentiality: They're obligated to safeguard and keep your secrets.

Disclosure: They must inform you of all relevant material when it comes to the

transaction. No secrets may be kept.

Obedience: Real estate agents are obligated to obey all lawful instructions that you provide them, which means that even if they think you shouldn't put an offer on a house if you want the contract written, they must obey.

Reasonable Care and Diligence: An agent must be dependable and willing to always pursue the best options for their client. Under this duty, agents are to use their superior skills and knowledge of the real estate industry while pursuing their principal's affairs. Accounting: This duty compels an agent to safeguard any money, deed, or other document entrusted to them that relates to their client's transactions or affairs.


Personalized Attention

Real estate agents work on commission, and they don't get paid unless you successfully close a sale. This alone makes an agent work even harder for you.

As a seller, you'll get an expert who understands what buyers are looking for in your neighborhood, a professional who knows how to stage your home based on its surroundings and potential buyers' tastes, and someone who will know how to price your home to stand out from others.

There's no need to be stressed out by all the paperwork and legalities that come with selling a home because you'll have someone who can explain every part of the contract and offers that you're receiving. Plus, agents know how to negotiate the best price for your property, which could help sell your home for more.

Hire a Professional

Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, I would love the opportunity to sit down and discuss your needs. Give me a call today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation!

Email to Clients:

Subject Line: Never enter the real estate market alone!

As technology continues to change and grow, one comment I see a lot online nowadays is that real estate agents will soon be a thing of the past. Between being able to sell their home to iBuyer programs and pulling Zestimates off of Zillow, many consumers believe that they'll be able to handle the real estate market on their own.

But here's the thing...

There's so much more to buying and selling a home than meets the eye.

While there's a lot of information on the internet, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes.

I know how stressful buying and selling a home can be; that's why I'm dedicated to making sure every step of the process goes smoothly from start to finish.

I want nothing more than for my clients to make it to the closing table quickly and easily so they can move on with their lives.

So, if you've ever thought you could handle the real estate market on your own, let's talk about why working with an agent is worth every penny ... and more!


Do you want to transform your home into a beautiful, stylish interior haven? It's not always easy to transform a house into a home. It takes time and effort to create the perfect look and feel that best reflects your personality and style.

But don't worry!

You don't have to be an experienced designer or spend a fortune on high-end furniture and accessories. With just a few simple design secrets, you can update the look of your home and create an inviting space that is uniquely yours.

Incorporate a Color Scheme into Connected Spaces

One of the most important elements in interior design is creating cohesion between different spaces. If you have an open floor plan, for example, creating a visual continuity between the living room and dining room can be tricky. That's why it's important to use color threads throughout your home-color threads act as common denominators that link various spaces together. You can do this by using one main color throughout all rooms or by incorporating accent colors into each room that are similar in hue or tone.

A Pop of Red Can Make All the Difference

Adding a pop of red is an easy way to instantly transform any space from dull and dreary to vibrant and inviting. Whether it's through accent furniture pieces, wall art, or accessories like pillows or rugs, adding some red will bring life into any room. Plus, red has been known to increase energy levels, so your guests won't be able to help but feel energized when they step foot into your home!

Display Items That Represent Your Persona

A great way to give character and personality to any room is through vignettes (i.e., small groupings of items like books, candle holders, etc.). This could include something as simple as stacking books on a coffee table or arranging family photos on a shelf; just make sure the items you choose reflect who you are as an individual or family! Whether it's vintage pieces or modern decor items, displaying things that mean something special will make the space more personal and unique.

Transform Your Space with Living Plants

Nothing adds life quite like real greenery does; plants breathe life into any room! Houseplants come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, so you're sure to find the perfect fit for whatever type of vibe you're trying to create in your home. Not only do plants add beauty, but they also improve air quality, so if anyone in your family suffers from allergies, then houseplants are definitely worth considering when styling up your home!

Less Is More

Accessorizing a space can be a fun and creative way to show your own personal style. However, it is important not to go overboard and find yourself overdoing it. Too much furniture or knick-knacks in a room can make the space feel cluttered and disorganized. When dealing with rooms that need to fulfill a specific purpose, such as bedrooms, bathrooms, or kitchens, keep the items in the room simple and elegant so that their function is not impaired by too many items.

Time to Decorate

Overall, having an eye for aesthetics, creating a focal point, and expressing your uniqueness through decorations are powerful tactics to transform the look of your home. With small changes in furniture, accessories, and paint color, you can achieve large levels of change! Keep these 5 secrets in mind when it comes to decorating your home, and always keep experimenting to create a design that is truly yours.

If you're looking to upsize or move into a new house entirely, contact me and I'll be more than happy to guide you in the right direction.


Moving into a new home is an exciting experience! You're filled with anticipation and excitement to finally create a space that truly reflects you and your family.

Whether this is your first time becoming a homeowner or you've owned in the past, it's natural to want to start making changes right away. However, we recommend that you live in your new home for at least a few months before renovating.

Here are five reasons why you should wait before making any renovations to your new home.

You've Had Enough Stress Already

Moving can be an incredibly stressful time. From packing up all your belongings to signing the paperwork and unpacking everything in your new home - it can take quite a toll on you both mentally and physically. That's why you should give yourself some time to settle in before starting any major renovations. It will give you the opportunity to get used to living in the new home without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out by the renovation process.

You Need Time To Plan

Renovations don't happen overnight, and they require careful planning and thought so that everything goes smoothly from start to finish. If you jump right into renovating after moving into a new home, you may not have had enough time to consider all of your options or think through every detail of the project. Giving yourself extra time will ensure that you make well-thought-out decisions that lead to successful renovations that last for years.

Moving Has Strained Your Budget

Moving can be expensive, especially if you need professional movers or if you're relocating across state lines. So, taking some extra time after moving into your new place will help reduce financial stress while also giving yourself more flexibility when it comes time to plan out how much money needs to be allocated towards the renovation projects.

Living In The Home Can Change Your Mind

Living in the house for 6-12 months gives you plenty of opportunities to get creative with ideas about what could potentially be done with each room in order to make it fit better with your lifestyle and tastes. Often times this leads homeowners to discover new ways they could use certain spaces or decide against doing certain types of renovations altogether because their ideas change after living in the house for some time.

Re-Evaluate Your Renovation Choices

Many people end up making rash decisions when it comes time to choosing materials or deciding which rooms need renovating first--only later regretting their choices because they didn't give enough consideration during the planning phase. Allowing yourself some extra time can help prevent costly mistakes like this from happening by giving you ample opportunity to research different materials and decide which rooms need tackling first before committing anything on paper (or on a budget).

Enjoy Your New Home First

When moving into a new house, taking some extra time before beginning a renovation project is always recommended, especially if it's been less than 6 months since the moving day! While it might be tempting to jump right into transforming each room as quickly as possible, waiting until after you settle in will give you ample time for planning, save money on unnecessary expenses due to poor decision-making, provide insight on how best to utilize specific rooms based on lifestyle habits, plus offer plenty of chances re-evaluate any potential choices made along the way. All these reasons will ensure that every renovation decision made is one that won't soon be regretted!