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Is Renting Really More Affordable Than Buying?

It’s the age old question: is renting or buying a house better? While general consensus has usually been that renting is better than buying, recent data proves otherwise.

Recent Data

In a series of recent studies, data has shown that it is actually cheaper to buy a home in majority of the United States than it is to rent, especially in some areas surrounding major cities. For example, ATTOM Data Solutions’ research proves that it is better to buy a home rather than rent in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Las Vegas. So, what does all of this mean?

What This Means

Basically, this data indicates that renting rates are expected to continue to increase in recent years to come. Although mortgage interest rates are also expected to increase within the next few years, they are still extremely low. So low in fact, that the current rates are among historic low rates.

When you think about it, why would you rent a home if you could afford to purchase it? After all, owning a home is a fantastic investment that could pay off in the long run.

What You Should Do

Whether you’re in the market to rent or buy, you should consult with your professional. Although it might be appealing to purchase a home in one of the popular areas with lower mortgage interest rates, you should consider other factors other than your financial budget. For example, are you confident that you can be responsible enough to maintain and fix your property? Also, do you see yourself living in that house and area for more than a few years? If you are unsure about those questions, then that is an indicator you might not be ready to purchase a home.

Overall, purchasing a home is an enormous personal decision that should take a lot of thought. But if you disregard any other elements of purchasing a home, today’s current mortgage interest rates prove that it’s the perfect time to purchase a home!

Tips to Prep Your Lawn for Warmer Weather

Tips to Prep Your Lawn for Warmer Weather

With spring in full force and summer right around the corner, it’s important to prep your lawn for warmer weather. So, use these tips to get your lawn ready for warmer weather!

Clean

Before planting new plants, focus on the current state of your lawn. Since it’s hard to tend to a lawn during colder weather, your lawn is most likely in okay condition. In other words, it probably wouldn’t hurt if you cleaned a little bit. Make sure all to rake up any leaves and remove any debris.

Fertilize

In order to prevent weeds from overpowering your grass, invest in some fertilizer. Fertilizer will promote fast-growing healthy grass. It’s important to note that different areas and types of grass require different fertilizers. So, do your research and consult a professional before purchasing fertilizer.

Mow

After taking some cautionary steps, it’s finally time to mow your lawn! While mowing your lawn might seem like a mundane and time-consuming task, it’s important to do it as soon as possible. The sooner you get it out of the way, the quicker your grass flourish.

Garden

If you want to have a gorgeous lawn that stands out, consider gardening. You can choose a theme, or simply plant a variety of colorful plants that liven up your lawn. If you want your garden to be functional and purposeful, you could even plant herbs and vegetables.

garden

Take a Class

If you really want to prepare your lawn for warmer weather, consider taking a class. Most communities have at least one recreational center or local college that offers horticulture and lawn-care classes. Classes can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. Firstly, you will have the opportunity to learn tricks and techniques from professionals. Also, you can find inspiration for your lawn through class objectives and other people in the class. Lastly, taking a class could broaden your horizons and even contribute to a future passion and hobby of taking care of your lawn.

5 Reasons Why You Should Prune Your Trees

by Chip Dykeman
5 Reasons Why You Should Prune Your Trees

Maintaining the overall landscape of the home will not only improve the look of your home but also increase its value. With a poorly managed law or decaying trees, this will reduce the appearance of the home and become less desired.

Keeping your landscape maintained by pruning the trees will help you in many ways. Don’t believe us? Check out these five reasons why you should prune your trees.

Enhance Your Yard

Pruning your trees will affect the appearance and health of the trees and garden. By removing the dead branches and getting rid of decaying trees, this will help the tree grow fast and strengthen the roots. Ultimately, pruning your trees will increase the lifespan and health of the tree.

Consider pruning like a haircut for trees. With regular grooming, the trees will enhance the shape of the tree and add more aesthetic appeal. Pruning offers exclusive benefits to improving the overall appearance of the yard.

Help the Tree Grow Strong

That high oak tree in your lawn will be able to survive the harsh weather if it is regularly pruned. When professional tree services use the right techniques and expertise, tree pruning will help the roots strengthen from within and result in a healthy tree. Pruning can assist the new branches to grow and hold up in a storm.

Encourage Fruit Production

Trees that can produce fruits will benefit from pruning and proper maintenance. When you take good support and remove dead branches will improve the health of the tree and promote growth. Dead wood will make the tree more prone to becoming infected with insects and disease.

Moreover, pruning a fruit tree will help encourage the growth of more fruit and spurs. This will include height production and continue to grow fruit for the years to come. Ultimately, pruning your trees will promote the abundance in fruit production.

Remove Diseased Branches

One of the most important reasons to prune your trees is to eliminate the diseases and decaying branches that have the potential risk of breaking or falling during a severe storm or high wind. Even if the weather conditions are right, weak branches will still carry the risk of falling.

Trees may contract disease just as humans do. Pruning will help treat the tree and prevent the potential disease from spreading. Be sure to consider the hazardous branches that hang over the roof, near the window, or growing into electric lines. You will notice the diseased trees by the cracks, decay, weak roots, and cankers in the branches.

Control Plant Size

This is important to consider, especially if you live in an area with restricted rules and space. Gardeners who live in a suburban or urban area will always have to maintain the rules through some pruning. This is meant to keep the trees from growing over the property.

How often do you prune your trees? Comment below and share your tips with us!

How to Find the Best Tree Services For Your Home

by Chip Dykeman
How to Find the Best Tree Services For Your Home

Are you looking to hire the best professional tree service to help you with your yard? From broken limbs to decaying trees and maybe an overgrown tree, a tree service will help you get the job done right. For those who have never hired a tree service and, here’s how to find the best tree services in your home.

Consider the Potential Risks

Before you hire professionals, be sure to consider the risks of who will do your tree work. This job can be tough as it is dangerous. Do your research online to find out what you need for a safe environment. Do not risk getting someone hurt because you think you can save a few bucks by doing it yourself or getting someone to do it for cheap.

Ensure that the Company is Legitimate

Does the company have a license and insurance? Anyone can just simply purchases a chainsaw and Google how to cut down a tree. However, Tree work is dangerous and requires training, skills, and experience to go with the proper safety gear and equipment.

Without a business license, you cannot get insurance. Make sure that the company have current liability insurance and ask for a copy. If you hire a company without insurance, you might be liable for any damages or accidents that are caused on your property.

Ask for Safety Gear

The company should be using personal safety gear, most especially helmets and face shields while doing the job. If you notice workers not well equipped on the job, it is time to move onto the next company. Tree services should also be prepared with the best safety gear that is designed for tree work. Not only is this meant to keep the workers safe, but also your property.

Get the estimate in writing with the contract

To protect yourself as the homeowner, make sure to have the assessment written with the contract. Don’t simply just take someone’s word for it as fraud business can leave you spending more than you should. A legitimate tree business will put their services in written without hesitation.

Never Pay Full Upfront

A legal tree service will not ask the client for the full payment upfront. This is different contractors as there are no materials needed for tree work. There are countless stories of customers paying up front and end up with nothing complete or at least poor quality results.

Compare Services

Make sure to get estimates from the best local tree services and that the details match up. If the potential companies meet the criteria, make sure that they will provide the appropriate services for your needs. Will they haul the branches away or leave it as is? Will they trim only the diseased branches or shape the entire tree? Be sure to ask questions to make sure they meet your expectations.

Got any tips on how to best the best tree services? Comment below and let us know!

Space Saving Ideas

by Chip Dykeman

In the age of tiny homes space saving ideas are key to making the most out of your living quarters. As millennials ditch large houses for tiny and often mobile homes for a life of more mobility the efficient use of space has become imperative. The insurgence of this demand has brought some creative space saving furniture called “modular furniture.” The efficient use of space has also gotten more creative and people are now using existing structures for multiple uses. Here are some space saving ideas to make efficient use of your living quarters.

One great way to make efficient use of space is to use existing structures for multiple use. Stairs are something that is a necessity to get from one level to another level. A creative way to utilize the staircase and save some space is to use them as storage. This can be done by turning the stairs into pullout drawers if you have the kind of staircase that is enclosed between walls. If you have a staircase where one side is open you could create staircase cabinets. The storage space under the staircase is a great place to store shoes, games, towels or decorations. As years pass it is natural to accumulate more stuff so who couldn’t use some more storage space, eh?

Another great way to save and make use of your space is to utilize furniture for multiple uses. The key to this is finding what furniture you do not use that often and make an extra added use out of it. For example… you can actually purchase a large dining room table that can transition to a pool table as well. The dining room table is great for when you are entertaining guests or cooking dinner for a group of friends but it is something that will not get used a lot of the time. So, why not bush up on your pool shooting skills and grab a cue and start playing?

A really cool and innovative creation that has come from this demand is the invention of modular furniture. Modular furniture is made up of independent surface and storage units with panels used as end panels or space dividers. This furniture can be taken and shifted to suit your needs, accommodate your space and utilized for multiple uses. One example of this is a sofa that turns into a bunk bed. This piece of furniture is ideal for those who have a small space for quests to stay and do not have to room for both items. There are many more pieces of modular furniture that you can check out online to get ideas on how to utilize your space or to start planing on your very own tiny home.

5 Tips on How to Choose the Right Tree Service and Avoid Risky Situations

by Chip Dykeman
5 Tips on How to Choose the Right Tree Service and Avoid Risky Situations

Looking for the right tree service but left unsure if it is a scam? Unfortunately, while many are legit companies trying to run tree services, the industry is full of con artists that produce poor results. So what can you do to protect yourself from these companies?

Here are five tips on how to choose the right tree service and avoid risky situations.

Ask for Insurance


All tree services must provide the appropriate liability insurance for both clients and workers. All certificates should be made available from the agency directly to the customer upon next request.

If the tree company refuses to provide proper insurance, it could be a fraudulent certificate and might leave you at risk. You will have to pay for repairs to the property as well as any injury that might have happened during your project.

Contact Better Business Bureau


If you want to ensure that the company is legit, contact the Better Business Bureau and ask if the company is accredited. With only some tree companies with BBB accreditation, these are the most reputable companies to choose. Be sure also to find out the rating of the company to know where the service stands.

Find Out the Reputation


Do your research to see what the reputation of the company has with its local community. The right tree service will be able to provide positive reviews online. Be sure to check if the enterprise is also a member of reputable associations such as the International Society of Arboriculture or the Tree Care Industry Association. Consider how long the company has been providing service or any complaints they have received. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Consider the Price Estimate


Is the company giving you the opportunity of a lifetime to save on costs? If the price seems too good to be true, it most likely is. If the tree service is giving a low price, this might be due to their lack of experience, unable to provide proper insurance, only intend to complete part of the task.

On the other hand, if the price seems ridiculously high, it’s okay to let it go. Don’t let the serviceman talk you into spending $10,000 to remove a single tree from your yard.

Do your research to find out the appropriate estimate. The best thing to do is to get estimates from more than three companies. This will help you get a sense of what the actual price should be. This will give you a better insight to judge the expertise and professionalism of the company and allow you to ask the questions.

Compare Services


Consider the different estimates and compare the promotions being offered. If one service is providing extra services or benefits, take this into account. Consider their methods of tree removals. If they plan on feeling a tree, this might be easy and require less time. However, it will cause damage to your property. Piecing a tree will produce minimal amounts of damage while it does require more effort and time.

Got any tips you would like to share? Comment below and share them with us!

Trying to Sell Your Home? Consider a Roof Replacement

Trying to Sell Your Home? Consider a Roof Replacement

If you’re trying to sell your current home, and it is more than 20 years old, then it may be time to consider a roof replacement along with all of the other upgrades you may be performing. At the very least, it’s a good time to get your roof inspected to make sure everything is working properly and there are no missing or damaged shingles, leaks, etc.

As an experienced real estate agent who has worked in both the U.S. and the UK, I can attest to the number of problems that arise when a roof reaches a certain age. Most roofs are not built to last more than 20 years old, and even the highest quality roofing materials are subject to damage from the elements and general wear and tear over time. Moreover, the roofing and construction industries have dramatically changed in the last few decades. Technologies have improved, leading to greener, more energy-efficient materials and techniques that are known to save money for homeowners. If your energy costs are sky-high, it could be because you have an old roof, outdated siding and insulation, or old windows that don’t offer proper ventilation.

I’ve watched home offers fall through because of a failure on the part of the homeowner to properly handle all issues promptly and thoroughly before the closing date. If you’re concerned about losing money over a roof replacement, don’t be. If anything, you could stand to gain a few extra thousand dollars just from investing in your property before selling. Especially in today’s market, where sellers have the upper hand (for the most part.)

I can also tell you that many professionals, including realtors, mortgage lenders, and other financial gurus are anticipating another real estate market crash by the end of this year. Are you prepared in case that happens? Now is the time to sell your home before the market tanks! And chances are, if your roof is still under warranty, you can easily get it repaired or replaced for free as long as you have homeowners insurance and your original paperwork from when the roof was installed.

Not sure if you need a small repair or a complete roof replacement? According to the experts at Evergreen Construction Solutions, a roofing Charlotte NC company:

“Most roofing companies also offer free inspections, so you really have nothing to lose. It’s definitely in the homeowner’s best interest to get their roof inspected, especially if they are looking to sell. Regardless, a professional roofing contractor can detect any issues right away and repair them to avoid larger problems down the road.”

You don’t want to fall asleep one night and wake up to water dripping on your head from a major roof leak!

5 Benefits of Tree Maintenance During the Winter Season

5 Benefits of Tree Maintenance During the Winter Season

You might assume that once the winter season hits, the trees go into some hibernation. In reality, trees will still need to be pruned as they are still active inside and will continue to grow. Even during the cold season, new roots will continue to grow which makes winter the best time to prune your trees.

During the winter, most plants are often dormant to many insects and diseases that can invade the trees and potentially cause damage. Once the leaves have fallen, it can be easier to see the overall structure and form of the plants. Pruning during the fall or summer will also help stimulate growth while winter pruning will leave your plants with reserved energy and extra roots.

Here are five benefits of tree maintenance during the winter season.

Enhance Tree Health

Having your tree maintained during the winter months will remove any weak or dead branches that are close to rotting and decay. This will help the tree branches to reduce the chances of any damage to the property or sudden fall. Professional tree trimming will enhance the overall health by getting rid of the weak areas and strengthening the roots.

If the branches are already dead or noticeably declining in health, the winter season is the best time to prune them. Professional tree companies will determine the lifespan of the branches.

Improve the Structure and Appearance of the Trees

Tree maintenance will help keep the trees from developing weak branches that look broad or unsightly. Proper maintenance will contribute to maintaining the branches from growing wild in all directions. Once branches are out of control, they will begin fighting for space in the sun and weaken overall.

Increase exposure to the sun and air circulation

Tree maintenance will help give trees the necessary amount of sunlight and oxygen they need to grow. Proper care will contribute to improving the overall health and make them strong to stand against the effects of health.

Help Train New Trees

If you want to help train newly planted trees, then you will have to prune the branches. This will contribute to making up for the loss of root that new trees often experience.

Enhance the Overall Appeal of the Landscape

Trimming during the winter months is a great opportunity to open the lawn and give your exterior landscape a better view. This will help increase the overall appearance of the property.

Conclusion

As winter is considered as the offseason for landscaping, tree services will often offer promos and an open schedule during this time. Hiring a tree service will help reduce the costs and make sure your trees are healthy all year long.

Taking care of your trees during the winter should be part of your yearly routine in landscaping. This will benefit the trees and garden all year long and help you understand any potential issues before they develop.

Infographic source: www.davey.com

3 Major Dangers of DIY Tree Removal

3 Major Dangers of DIY Tree Removal

Let’s face it; home ownership involves more work than we expect. Not only does it require work, but it is also costly to maintain. For many homeowners, they make it their mission to pinch pennies and cost on costs whenever possible. Sometimes this requires manual labor with any prior experience.

Tree removal can cause many incidents like large branch falls in unexpected ways. One of these not-so-safe decisions involves DIY tree removal. While it is important to save on costs, leave this job to the professionals. When you try to remove the tree without proper knowledge or tools, this can end up being dangerous and end up costing you more than expected.

Here are the three top dangers of DIY Tree Removal.

Risk of Injury


One of the most dangerous professions in the world is tree work and removal. Even the most qualified tree experts are still at risk to the many dangers of tree removal and maintenance. In fact, there are many injuries reported every year from even those with years of experts.

With such high risks, there’s no reason an amateur with little expertise should take part in tree removal. Arborists with years of experience require the use of professional chainsaws, handsaws, and other tools for a successful tree removal. Tree experts also carry the necessary safety equipment to use at their disposal and protect them during the job.

Injury from Improper Equipment Handling


Don’t forget – using equipment such as chainsaws and other electrical power tools without experience will cause the risk of serious injuries. It is important to keep in mind that your health is more important that saving a few bucks.

The chainsaw is one of the most dangerous tools that are used to remove trees. This tool alone is enough to cause injury or even death. Improper handling or use of ladders will be hazardous to tree works as well.

Potential Property Damage


Trees will not always land exactly where you expect them too. This is a common mistake for amateurs who assume where the tree will fall. However, tree landings provide a high risk of property damage by falling onto another tree, power line, building structure, vehicle, or causing severe damage to the property. One of our clients recently experienced this and had to contact a window replacement company to get it resolved when a tree landed on one of his upper bedrooms. Thankfully, no one was inside. Either way, don’t let that be you!

Conclusion

Trained and experienced tree experts will know exactly where the trunk will low and how to cut it in proper angles. Tree experts will also take the tree’s foliage, height, weight into account to determine the exact call-to-action plan. Cutting the tree the wrong way will cause you to end up spending more money on repairing and restoring the damaged property along with the tree services to follow.

4 reasons to have a home inspection before buying home

4 reasons to have a home inspection before buying home

Buying a home is exciting, but you shouldn’t forget some important things before you finalize your deal. Home inspection is one such thing. Before signing your contract, you should have a home inspection. Here are the reasons why.

To have a good look at the home

You should thoroughly inspect the home you are willing to buy. There might be major problems in the house that might be visible after you do the inspection. You should get an expert’s opinion regarding the problem.

Save money

It costs about $300 to $500 to do a home inspection. It is cheaper than fixing major problems in your house. For example, if you skip home inspection and later find out that your central heating system is not working then you will end up spending thousands of dollars buying a new heating system.

Negotiate

A home inspection gives you room for negotiation. You might get a lower price if you find any problem in the house, or the seller might fix the problem for you before you move into the houses.

Know what you are buying

By doing a home inspection, you know exactly what you are buying. You will have fewer surprises when you inspect the house thoroughly.

A home inspection is an important part of home buying process. You shouldn’t skip this step. You will be able to save a lot of money in the long run if you hire a professional to inspect your home.