Snow Removal Tricks and Tips

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Snow Removal Tricks and Tips – Winter in Ohio comes with many things, but the thing we should all expect is snow, snow, and more snow. As a homeowner, snow removal becomes a main priority for multiple reasons. Here are some snow removal tricks and tips to make your life a little bit easier this winter.

 

1. Invest in a Snow Blower: Snow blowers are perfect instruments for both yard and driveway snow removal. It can be a bit tricky to find the right speed to blow depending on the model type, but once you do, you should be good to go. For snow removal of the driveway, start in the middle and shoot snow to edges of the driveway. Keep alternating sides until snow is gone. Just check to make sure you aren’t tossing snow onto already cleared areas.

Tip: Take frequent breaks to avoid strain and injury to the shoulders and back

Tip: Check out these solid Snow Blower choices from consumerreports.org

 

2. The Good Old Snow Shovel: Dig out the ever-versatile snow shovel for extra snowy days. Some folks prefer to shovel while the snow is coming down to prevent extra work later, and some people like to wait until the snowfall is over, to do it all at once. Both ways are fine. To clear your driveway, push as much snow as possible to the edges, but try to not pack down any bottom layers. Then scoop up the remaining snow and toss it to the side.

Tip: There are numerous snow shovels available for purchase from your local hardware store. Consider buying a couple models for difference purposes in snow removal. For example, plastic edges shovels are better for uneven pavement, etc. Furthermore, snow shovels are becoming more ergonomic and lighter weight all the time.

Tip: If snow is sticking to your shovel, spray it with a little bit cooking spray.

 

3. Stake out your Lawn: When removing snow from your yard, you want to make sure to not damage any small trees, shrubbery, or even garden beds that you so carefully tended over the summer. To avoid damage, place some tall stakes or markers around these spots so you don’t hit them with your shovel or blower.

Tip: If there is a good bit of snow building up around your shrubs or small trees, let them be. Trying to remove the snow can often do more harm than good.

 

4. Don’t let the Piles, Pile Up: When shoveling, blowing, or pushing snow, you may want to watch where you pile it. Snow can harden and freeze up against foundations, causing to expensive-to-fix damage later on. Additionally, this icy snow is very hazardous if someone would happen to tread on it.

Tip: Spread kitty litter or sand on slippery surfaces to give them a little grit and grip.

 

5. Decide on a Deicer: Rock salt is everybody’s go-to product when it comes to ridding your steps, sidewalk, and driveway of ice and snow. However, it can be harmful to your shrubs and yard, if you do not use it carefully. For less harsh salts, try magnesium or calcium chloride, which are less severe and work in the iciest of temperatures.

Tip: Always use gloves when spreading salt

Tip: Store deicers off the ground or in sealed containers to keep moisture from getting in

 

With just a couple of the above tips, you can keep your yard and home free of snow and potential damage this winter. Do not be afraid of a little snow, especially if you have the tools to tackle to problem!

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How To Win A Bidding War

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How To Win A Bidding War – If the real estate market is situated so that there are more buyers than sellers, it’s easy to find yourself in the middle of a bidding war. With the real estate market heating up for buyers, it’s very possible that you might have to outbid someone else for your dream home. If you find yourself in a bidding war, here are 4 great tips to keep in mind that can help you come out on top.

  1. Be organized. Organization is key when buying or selling a home in a high demand real estate market. Sellers want any incoming offers to be easy to read and concise. Make sure you know the answers to several important questions – Is there a deadline to submit offers? Is there a specific offer format the seller wants to see? Are there any other factors that might be important to the seller?
  2. Make an offer that will stand out. If you’re buying a home in a fast-paced real estate market, make sure your offer won’t be seen as too low to the sellers. Make sure your offer is strong and is going to stand out among other offers.
  3. Sweeten the pot. When you’re competing with multiple offers, it’s key to be prepared. If you’re able to pay with cash, that’s a major plus in the eyes of the seller. Not everyone is able to do this, so show the seller you’re serious by getting a pre-approved loan.
  4. Don’t delay closing. Sellers are interested in closing quickly. When handling multiple offers, it’s advantageous to make an offer with few contingencies. Make sure you don’t skip the inspection contingency, however.

If you find yourself in a bidding war, remember these 4 tips to help you come out on top. Did we miss any great tips? Let us know in the comments!

How Interest Rates Affect Your Purchase Price

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How Interest Rates Affect Your Purchase Price – When considering buying a home, it’s important that buyers understand how interest rates affect the purchase price. Interest rates play a large role in ultimately determining how much a buyer will pay for a home; it’s not just the sticker price. Read on for more information on how interest rates affect the price of a home from Realtor.com, Investopedia, and Home Guides.

 

Fixed Rates and Bond Interest

Most fixed mortgage rates are heavily based on the same yields that are tied to 10-Year U.S. Treasury Bonds. Homebuyers can determine current interest rate changes for 30 year fixed mortgage rates by examining yields for 10-Year bonds in the market.

The important thing to remember is that if bond yields increase, so do mortgage rates and vice versa.

 

The Fed

The U.S. Federal Reserve sets a rate at which it lends money to banks and other financial institutions, which in turn affects the rate at financial institutions lend to individuals seeking to buy. In 2014, the Fed announced it would be raising interest rates by the end of the 2015-year, which is something home-seekers may want to consider if planning when to buy.

 

ARMs (Adjustable Mortgage Rates)

Adjustable mortgage rates are determined by the Federal Reserve rate. These rates change often, every 6 moths to a year, depending on the terms of the mortgage. Though there are different mortgage indexes assigned to different adjustable rate mortgages, they tend to move up and down similarly as the economy fluctuates.

 

Economic Climate

When the economy is doing poorly, interest rates start to drop, as do mortgage rates. In a questionable economy, investors often place their funds in the bond market, creating higher demand and lower yield. Anytime such large quantities of cash are taken out of the stock market, interest rates tend lower.

 

Considerations

There is no #1 predictor to calculate when interest rates will drop. However, keeping a close eye on current economic affairs is a good indicator of where investors will place their money.  When interest rates lower, homeowners are more likely to take out loans because the cost is low and seemingly more affordable. This can even contribute to a rise in the sale of homes, which consequently can lead to the increase the cost of homes in the short or long term. There is no silver bullet to the best answer or the best timing to invest in a new home. So when considering buying, homeowners may want to worry more getting a good solid rate, and worry less about getting the cheapest deal possible.

 

The interest rate you get is going to depend on the market and the price and type of home you buy, but it’s important to understand how interest rates affect the final cost of the home before you buy. For more information on interest rates and home buying, check out these articles from Realtor.com, Investopedia, and Home Guides.

 

 

5 Ways To Brighten and Update Your Kitchen

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5 Ways To Brighten and Update Your Kitchen

Whether you’re trying to sell your home in the near future, or you’d just like to spruce it up, there are a number of things you can do to brighten and update the space. No matter what look you’re aiming for, there are a number of resources available to you. Here are five ways to brighten and update your kitchen.

Paint The Cabinets

If your current cabinets are a darker color that don’t really match the space, consider painting them a vibrant white and updating the hardware. This is a simple, inexpensive project that can help brighten up the space.

Mix and Match Textures

Use several textures for surfaces, rugs and accents to brighten up the space. Color coordinate the extra items to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary or too dark for the space.

Stick to One Splurge

If you’re dreaming of stainless steel appliances, go for it; but that means you should fogo the marble countertops. By all means, make your kitchen exactly how you want it, but don’t let your kitchen update break the bank.

Add Lighting

Consider adding under-cabinet lighting to brighten up a dark space. This type of simple lighting is not present in many homes and it goes a long way to add value to a kitchen space in the long run.

Experiment With Open Shelving

Give your dishes some room to breath and experiment with open shelving. Create a sense of greater space in the area and give yourself an opportunity to show off some of the great ceramics pieces you’ve been hiding behind cabinet doors for years.

Updating and brightening your kitchen doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. For more ideas on ways to brighten and update your kitchen, visit here.

10 Spring Plants and Flowers For Your Garden

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10 Spring Plants and Flowers For Your Garden

Liven up your flower boxes this Spring with 10 of these beautiful early blooming flowers found on Better Homes and Gardens website.

Pansy

Pansies prove to be the perfect spring flower because they love the shade, and you can relish in the variety in bloom color for months to come.

Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 10 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Snowdrop Anemone

Snowdrop Anemone will flourish even in a slightly shaded spring garden. The plant may even put on a second bloom once the cooler temperatures of the fall season come.

Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Redbud

Beginning in march, this tree will bring your garden or yard a wild display of pink beginning in March and lasting throughout the summer season.

Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 30 feet tall and wide

Lilac

This cottage-garden favorite’s sweet spring fragrance will fill your garden with unprecedented beauty, as it comes in all shapes and sizes. Also, the lilac usually blooms on old wood, so you might want to hold off on pruning until after the flowering is finished.

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 20 feet tall and wide

‘Acoma’ Iris

This flower comes in all colors, making them a perfect colorful addition to your springtime.

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 34 inches tall and 12 inches wide

Grape Hyacinth

This flower resembles bundles of grapes and make one of the most beautiful and best flowers to add to your garden.

Growing conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

‘Harmony’ Iris

Dwarf wild iris pops with deep, wild purple or blue is a welcome contrast to many of spring’s pastel flowers.

Growing conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 6 inches tall and wide

Daffodil

This spring flower has a range of shapes and sizes, and honestly, what is spring without Daffodils?

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 1 foot tall and wide

Tulip

The Tulip brings about native cheerfulness and beauty, making itself fit in any garden setting.

Growing conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide

Puschkinia

Inside the blooms of snowdrift are striped flowers that offer surprising color variation. Make your garden one of a kind with these beauties.

Growing conditions: Sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: To 8 inches tall and 6 inches wide

Were these flower tips from the Better Homes and Gardens website helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

Ohio State Fair Musical Guests

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Ohio State Fair Musical Guests

The Ohio State Fair season is just around the corner!

The full concert lineup will run from July 29-August 9 this year and will include big acts such as Reba McEntire, Meghan Trainor, Patti Labelle, and Jake Owen.

Other acts will include Alabama, Peter Frampton, Cheap Trick, Blackstreet, Dru Hill, Chris Tomlin, Great White, Deep Purple, plus more!

Ticket prices range from $20-$60 and if purchased in advance, will include standard fair admission.

Check out these dates below:

Reba

Wednesday July 29

7pm

$40, $50, $60

Patti Labelle

Friday July 31

7pm

$32

Jake Own with Josh Dorr

Saturday August 1

7pm

$30

All Ohio State Fair Band & Youth Choir Concert

Sunday August 2

1pm

FREE

Meghan Trainor

Sunday Sunday 2

7:30pm

$32

Chris Tomlin

Monday August 3

7pm

$23

“Let’s Hang On” – Frankie Valli Tribute

Tuesday August 4

1pm

FREE

Alabama

Tuesday August 4

7:30pm

$38

Deep Purple with Nazareth

Wednesday August 5

7pm

$30

Hairapalooza with Great White, Vixen, & Lynch Mob

Thursday August 6

7pm

$20

Blackstreet & Dru Hill

Friday August 7

8pm

$28

Peter Frampton & Cheap Trick

Saturday August 8

7pm

$28

How will you be spending your time at the Ohio State Fair? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Ways a Home Improvement Contractor Can Help You

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5 Ways a Home Improvement Contractor Can Help You

If you’re gearing up for a home improvement project, you’ve probably considered getting a home improvement contractor.  While it may seen expensive or unnecessary, hiring a contractor can benefit you in both the short and long runs.  Check out these reasons why hiring a home improvement contractor can help you.

Cheaper in the Long Run

Would you rather get something right the first time?  Hiring a contractor can help you do just that.  It will lessen the margin of error since a professional will be on the job.  This could save you some money, time, and even embarrassment.  Why finish a project on your own only to find you did something wrong? Do the smart thing.  Hire a contractor to get it right.

Higher Quality

Not all do-it-yourself jobs turn out poorly completed, but consider that doing renovations is these contractors’ jobs.  That being said, you can expect a level of planning and labor higher than you can produce.  Think about it.  Do you know the proper materials?  Do you know how to design what you are imagining?  Consider higher quality work; consider a contractor.

What if Something Goes Wrong?

What do you do if you get stuck halfway through your project?  Will you know how to fix problems that arise?  If you do, great.  But keep in mind that contractors not only plan projects out in their entirety, but also can adjust mid-project should an issue occur.  A contractor can finish your project and even avoid getting stuck altogether.

Contractors are Insured

This is their job.  Should something go wrong on the site, they are insured.  What if you get injured in the process of doing your own renovations?  This could pose a potential threat to your safety, your finances, or your job security.  Your insurance may not cover that kind of accident.  Check your policy but remember that contractors have that all taken care of.

Time and Physical Labor

You may want to take this project on yourself, but do you have the time to do so?  Are you able to lift heavily materials for long periods of time?  It may be tough to pencil a renovation into your schedule.  Consider this; contractors have the time and the physical ability to do what you need.  Again, this is their job.  Hiring one could mean a lot less stress on you, your family, and your wellbeing.

Home renovations are a big undertaking.  Getting a home improvement contractor will help you get on the right track, complete your project, and ensure that it doesn’t need to be redone.  It’s a solid investment and can save you a lot in the long run.