Top Ten Must-Do Spring Cleaning Tasks

patio photoWhen springtime rolls around, you probably feel the need to start cleaning up your home just like most other homeowners do. Spring cleaning is a great habit to get into, and it can really help you improve the lifespan of your home and everything in it, too. But did you know that there are a few spring cleaning tasks that often get overlooked? Check out our list of the top ten tasks you need to pay attention to the next time you’re ready to clean house.

  1. Clean those rugs! Rugs are a good place to get started, but even if they’re not the first thing you take care, don’t forget to beat or wash them thoroughly before putting them back on the floor for the coming year.
  2. Check the grout. You don’t have to re-grout your showers every year, but this is a good time to check on the state of your grout. If it’s very dirty or getting mildewed, take the time to redo it now to save some trouble in the long run.
  3. Don’t forget to look up. The ceilings probably haven’t been washed in a while, and spring cleaning is a good opportunity to scrub them down. Use warm soapy water and take your time with this task, since it can be tough on the back and neck.
  4. Get dusty. Dust the whole house, and not just the areas you see most often. Take items off shelves and get the dust out of all those nooks and crannies.
  5. Wax your wood floors and furniture. Waxing your wood furniture can help extend its life significantly, and the same is true of wood floors. You can also wax tile and linoleum, and you may also want to scrub down any stone floors you may have at this time too.
  6. Clean curtain, drapes, and blinds. Take the curtains and drapes down and see if they can be put through the wash. If not, hand wash them before rehanging. Blinds can be wiped down with warm, soapy water.
  7. Clean and update smoke detectors. Dust around the smoke detector and check inside it for any dust or dead insects. Change the batteries even if you think it isn’t time to do so just yet. This is also a good chance to have a yearly talk with your family about fire safety for your home.
  8. Polish metal surfaces. Door and window handles, sink surfaces, and other metal hardware need to be polished regularly to keep them looking spotless. If you have any metal furniture, polish it at this time too.
  9. Don’t forget your window screens! This is something many homeowners forget to clean regularly, but you can wash your window screens with warm soapy water too. Once a year should be plenty for this task.
  10. Pay attention to upholstery. You may not need to clean your upholstery every year, but if you use upholstered furniture often, chances are you will want to. You may need to have it cleaned by a cleaner, but depending on the furniture, you may be able to take care of this task yourself too.

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Creating a Garden for Privacy

green backyard photoAre you looking for a great way to create some privacy for your home without necessarily having to completely fence off your yard? Do you want to build up some privacy in the front yard instead of just in the back? There are a lot of different reasons you might be looking for a little more privacy in your home, but no matter what your motivation may be, a garden is a great way to accomplish this. Check out our tips for creating a privacy garden in your yard easily.

Buy Big Plants—But Not Too Big:  Don’t waste money buying little plants that are going to take years to get big enough to make any difference in terms of privacy. On the other hand, don’t buy something that’s already so large that any growth at all is going to cause it to get too out of hand for you to manage. Take some time measuring the space you want to seclude, and be sure you choose plants of the right size and width to take up this area without going overboard.

Layer Heights:  Remember that you aren’t necessarily only thinking about coverage at eye level. If you want a truly private garden, you’ll need to consider layers of plant height to get complete seclusion. This doesn’t mean you need to rush out and purchase 12-foot shrubs to surround your yard, but you should think about adding a couple of small trees or tall bushes to help “fence off” the area you’re wanting to keep private.

Prune Perfectly:  Keeping your garden pruned perfectly is the best way to ensure that your privacy doesn’t suffer. If you let your plants get out of hand, you’ll be less likely to want to put in the work it takes to get them back into shape again. And if they get too long and spindly, you may not have enough privacy anymore. A little regular pruning goes a very long way!

Create Focal Points:  If you can’t afford to put in tons of plants or don’t feel like you can keep up with a lot of them at once, you can always create focal points to draw attention away from areas that may be a little less private than others. Put in a bright and colorful plant or flowering bush to accomplish this with little effort.

Think About Maintenance Needs:  Last but not least, think hard about how much work you’ll want to put into your privacy garden before you plant anything. If you love gardening and enjoy spending your weekends outdoors tending to plants, then you should have no trouble working with lots of them in your yard. However, if you prefer minimal plant maintenance, be sure you don’t choose too many plants, and pick those that are hardy enough to handle it if you forget to water them once or twice.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Rental Property

small home photoHave you ever thought about buying rental property? This can be a great investment if you know what you’re doing, but it can present a steep learning curve if you don’t. Although there’s a lot to learn about how to purchase the right rental property and how to make it work for you, there are several tips you can keep in mind when you’re first considering getting into this business. Check out our list below to help you decide if rental property is the right investment for you.

Research Neighborhoods: When it comes down to it, purchasing a rental property in a better neighborhood is sure to be a sound investment. If you buy property in a neighborhood that’s a little uncertain, you run the risk of losing money over time, especially if the area doesn’t improve or build up over the years. Choose a neighborhood that has a lot of great schools and you’re sure to have no trouble keeping your property rented. For example, rental properties around the popular Notre Dame Preparatory private high school are sure to stay rented at all times, as families hope for their children to attend this well-known school.

Research Rent:  Keep an eye on how much comparable properties rent for in the area you’re interested in. You can’t expect to rent a two-bedroom apartment for the same price as a four-bedroom house, for example, if both are in the same part of town. Always be sure you’re keeping your prices reasonable and competitive without going too far over what’s common for your area or so far under that you’re not making any money.

Look for Areas with Lots of Benefits:  Although the neighborhood and its schools are a good place to get started picking your rental property, you may also want to consider the other benefits in the area. Rental properties that are close to some of the most popular restaurants in and around Scottsdale, like Café Monarch or the popular locally-sourced restaurant, FnB, are sure to rent faster than those that have fewer popular eateries nearby. Properties that are close to Old Town or downtown Scottsdale may also rent faster too, since they may be within walking or biking distance to some of the most popular area attractions.

Keep your Budget in Mind:  You can’t buy a rental property you don’t have the money or financing available for, so always keep your budget in mind when you’re getting started in this endeavor. Think about how much you have to spend up front and how much you need to make over a given amount of time to make sure this investment is well worth it. Pay attention to the housing market in Scottsdale to keep up with your competition, too.

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