Laundry Room Design Tips

Doing laundry is unavoidable, make the chore less tedious with these 4 tips:

1-Designate a spot to divide dirty laundry. Use drawers, or wire mesh baskets are the ideal option since they air out dirty clothes before washing.

2-Mount dryer racks to the wall. Instead of taking up floor space, mount a few drying racks straight to the wall. When they’re not in use, you can fold them up so they don’t get in the way of washing, drying and folding.

3-Use your machine’s exterior. Attach a bin to the side of your stackable machines so you have exactly what you need within arm’s reach.

4-Roll a cart between machines. We all know the struggle that comes with side-by-side machines, often becoming cluttered with lost socks and dust bunnies. If you have a big enough gap between the washer and dryer, fill that space with a shelved cart that you can roll in and out.

laundry room

Growing Vegetables in the Arizona Desert

Vegetable gardening in Arizona has challenges. Gardening tips that may work in other climates, often don’t apply to gardening in the low desert of Arizona. Yet, growing a successful vegetable garden in the desert is absolutely possible and soon enough you’ll be preparing your salads from your backyard garden!

Benefits of vegetable gardening in Arizona:

-Ability to garden outdoors year-round. 

-Abundant sunshine – necessary for all living things.

Challenges of vegetable gardening in Arizona:

-Extreme heat. A few vegetables (okra, Malabar spinach, Armenian cucumbers) tolerate the heat and continue producing. Some die, and others go into dormancy only to take off again when the humidity of late July or August sets in. 

-Low humidity. Many desert-adapted plants such as cactus, succulents, and plants with waxy leaves are adapted to less humidity. However, most vegetables and garden plants need more moisture in the air to grow well in the low desert of Arizona. 

SUCCESSFUL GARDENING TIPS

Take advantage of microclimates in your yard:

-Some parts of the yard will be warmer or cooler than others. Use those areas to your advantage by growing plants whose requirements match up to the specific microclimate available. 

-Notice in your yard which areas receive the most sun and shade during different seasons of the year. Learn the sun requirements and heat tolerance of different plants. Consider adding shade parts of the garden that need it during the hottest times of the year. Take advantage of the shade provided by larger plants to interplant different crops. 

Water your Arizona vegetable garden correctly:

-Vegetables and fruits do not produce well if they are stressed. Problems in the garden can often be traced back to watering – not enough, too much, or inconsistent water. Plants become stressed and are more prone to diseases and insects. 

-Spend time in your garden each day. You will notice the watering needs of your plants and be alerted to issues with your watering system.

-Water in the morning. Wilted leaves at midday don’t necessarily mean a plant needs water; always test soil a couple of inches deep to see if the soil is dry before giving droopy plants more water. They will probably recover once the sun goes down.

Looking for a new yard to start your garden? Call me today!

garden

 

7 Tips for Summer Home Maintenance

washing windowsSummer is in full swing and it’s a good time to inspect your house to see how your home is doing in the summer heat. Here’s a quick list of 7 summer home maintenance tips and projects you can do to spruce up your home and keep everything running smoothly throughout the year:

Tip #1 Attic Inspections
Attics can be claustrophobia-inducing, but it’s a good idea to brave those tight confines at least once a year. You want to check your attic for any indication of pests or insects, water leakage, mold or mildew, and turn off the lights to check for any sign of peeking daylight.

Tip #2 Rain Gutters
It’s not hard for desert dwellers to forget about checking the rain gutters. Gutters can become clogged with dirt and grime, especially after a monsoon season. Flush out your gutters with the hose once a year.

Tip #3 Wash Exterior Windows
Summer is a good time of year to wash your windows from the outside. Simply fill a bucket with hot soapy water and get scrubbing. If you wash your windows more than once a year, you may be able to get away with just using Windex, but a bucket of soapy water and a sponge will usually deliver the best results.

Tip #4 Clean or Replace Window Screens
Washing your exterior windows won’t make much of a difference, if you don’t also wash your window screens. Take off all your window screens to your house and gently scrub them with hot soapy water. If your window screens are too filthy to be cleaned, you may just want to replace them.

Tip #5 Washing Machine Maintenance
Your washing machine is one of those appliances that needs some light maintenance every now and then. When your washer is not in use, inspect the seal between the door opening and the drum for areas of soil buildup or any stains. If you find any, you can clean it with a mixture of ¾ cup of chlorine bleach and a gallon of warm water. Wipe the area with the bleach-water solution and then let it sit for about 5 minutes. Then wipe dry with a clean cloth, and let it air dry. This will remove any odors and keep your clothes from getting stained by dirt deposits inside the seal.

Tip #6 Clean the Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher
This home maintenance tip isn’t necessarily just a summer chore, but it’s important reminder to clean out your garbage disposal and dishwasher every once in a while. You can easily clean out your garbage disposal by flushing it with hot water and some dish soap. To clean your dishwasher, you should add 2 cups of vinegar to the bottom of the machine and run the machine on low wash.

Tip #7 Wipe Down & Clean Baseboards
Baseboards are often overlooked when it comes to weekly cleaning, but it’s something you will want to do at least once a year to keep dust and dirt from building up. A damp cloth and a little extra time is all you need to clean up the trim around your home.

Not a homeowner? Then let’s find you a home! Interest rates are low making this a great time for new homebuyers. Call me today to learn more! 602-329-7782

Enjoy a Staycation in Your Backyard

backyardAs we stay home more because of the coronavirus, creating a backyard staycation is on the top of many homeowners’ to-do list.

Tips to transform your backyard space:

Finishes- Consider dark color finishes, sun shelves, complete automation, grotto waterfalls and comfortable outdoor furniture to create and inviting space to relax.

Light it Up- String lights are a simple and inexpensive solution for mood lighting. If your space is under a pergola, gazebo or large tree, dress things up with an outdoor chandelier. Battery operated candles also add a little light.

Adding TVs/Stereos- Incorporating TVs and stereo systems on the patio provide entertainment while outside. Install a TV in a shady spot on a metal, heavy duty wall mount that can pivot for easy viewing.

Add Privacy- Plants and curtains are two easy ways to create a more private outdoor space. Plants such as ficus or citrus trees work well in the desert to create privacy hedges. Hanging curtains around a covered patio or gazebo also softens the outdoor space and helps block the sun.

For more tips, or to find a new home with all the backyard features you are looking for, call me today! 602-329-7782

Spring Cleaning During COVID-19

mopSpring cleaning your house includes traditionally includes extra dusting, window cleaning and shampooing carpets. With our home cleaning checklist, we’ll give you the best spring cleaning tips, plus additional tips for attacking COVID-19.

CLEANING VS DISINFECTING

Did you know there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting? Cleaning is the removal of dirt and germs from surfaces. Cleaning doesn’t kill viruses, but it will lower them. You can clean a surface using a simple combination of soap and water, which is effective against COVID-19. Disinfecting involves using a chemical to kill germs on surfaces after you clean it, which lowers the risk of spreading infection. You can use a simple bleach combination to disinfect, which is ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. It’s important to let the bleach sit on the surface for at least one minute before you dry it completely.

The CDC recommends regularly cleaning and disinfecting areas of your home that are frequently touched — three times per day if someone in your house is sick. This includes:

-Kitchen and bathroom counters
-Light switches
-Doorknobs
-Faucets
-Toilets
-Electronics

DUST YOUR HOME THOROUGHLY

Spring cleaning is a great time to both clean and declutter your home. If you’ve got major clutter to deal with, getting a portable container delivered to your driveway may be just what you need to get the job done, especially if you need to make room as you work. Having temporary at-home storage can also help if you need to separate items to go to relatives, donations, or a garage sale.

If it’s just a matter of dusting and cleaning a room, here are some quick tips:

-Before getting started, take time to peruse shelves and side tables to see if there are any books or knick-knacks -you can clear out.
-Empty all shelves and dust thoroughly with a feather duster.
-Use your vacuum to get hard-to-reach spots.
-Gently clean your books with a damp cloth.
-Disinfect surfaces before you rearrange things.
-Don’t forget to vacuum ceiling fans, the tops of your windows and moldings.
-Reach corners in rooms where cobwebs cluster with a long duster.

WASH YOUR WINDOWS

When months go by and you wonder why those trees and blue sky aren’t looking so vibrant anymore, it means it time to clean your windows! Now is a great time to give your windows a wash. If you can reach, wash both inside and out. Might as well enjoy the view while you’re staying home all day, right? If you have slatted blinds, use a damp cloth to wipe them down.

CLEAN YOUR FLOORS

Tile can really start to look dingy if you haven’t done a deep cleaning in a while. If you haven’t been able to find traditional tile cleaners in the supermarket, a simple mixture of baking soda and water will do. Just pour ½ cup baking soda into 2 gallons of water and mix well. This is a great non-toxic cleaning option for bathroom and kitchen floors. You can even do this on your tiled kitchen countertop before you disinfect. Vacuuming and carpet shampooing should be on your list for this year’s deep cleaning. Make sure you move furniture to clean underneath so you can suck up those pesky dust bunnies. Clean under beds and in closets as well.

POLISH STAINLESS STEEL

Your kitchen will look like it is ready for an open house once you polish your stainless steel appliances. First, clean your stainless steel with a soft cloth to remove dirt and grime. Then, soak a microfiber towel in olive oil and slowly buff the steel. Buff again with a clean, dry cloth and your stainless will be sparkling in no time.

DON’T TRY TO DO ALL YOUR CORONAVIRUS SPRING CLEANING AT ONCE

If you try to do all your deep cleaning in one weekend, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed and may want to quit before you finish, so try to break it up into easy to manage sections. Don’t forget your electronics and remote controls! Once you’re done with your deep cleaning, it’s important to keep cleaning and disinfecting for coronavirus regularly, especially the commonly-touched surfaces.

Covid-19’s Impact on Arizona Real Estate

Hey Everyone, Elise Fay here—hope you are all doing well and taking care of one another. Concerns about the global impact Covid-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness or our families, friends and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar. That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.

The reasons we move: marriage, children, job changes, retirement etc—are still part of our lives. As a result we are still open for business!

Let me share with you a few facts from yours truly, based upon what we are seeing, boots on the ground. Since March 15th, 2020:

-4040 homes were put under contract.
-3233 NEW listings were added to the market
-3481 homes successfully closed in Maricopa County—those are buyers and sellers who sold their homes and went thru with the sale despite the Corona Virus effect.

Personally, our team has put 19 deals under contract, 25 deals have closed. So if you think these numbers look promising but you are still scratching your head…Here is the how and why. It still goes back to Supply and Demand.

We still have a lack of sellers. Low supply of homes is the result of several factors—I will share with you a few of them.

-New Builds: we have half the number of new builds to the market than we did in the early 2000’s and this is due to labor shortages, some gov’t regulations and in most cases, not enough available land.
-During the last recovery we saw savvy investors and some of the larger institutional investors buy up a lot of homes that were in short sale or foreclosure. These investors were building up their portfolios and had plans to either sell on the upside or hold them as rentals. Well with rents on the rise, as a result of the short supply of sellers, these landlords are NOT selling and instead holding on tight to their investments. Being a landlord IS profitable right now!
-Empty nesters who weathered the downturn in the market years back, are now keeping their homes on average about 13 years—some are still a bit frozen, unable to unlock all their equity. Let’s not forget the HGTV effect that we are seeing on some of these older and dated properties.

Right now, we are seeing that demand is being dampened by the Corona outbreak and as a result we are seeing that inventory is loosening up, making more homes available and in some price ranges, lessening the competition a bit. We are seeing this in the market space where millennials may be entering for the 1st time. Interest rates are still at an all-time low, making owning a home cheaper than renting. Lending guidelines have tightened up a bit but that is another level of protection that has been put in place.

We have a crazy new normal. We are out showing homes, taking greater precautions; we wear gloves, carry hand sanitizer and retain a safe distance. We also have protocols in place to protect our sellers. In Arizona, housing is a huge economic driver for our economy—I am not here to sugar coat anything but just want to let you know that we are not seeing doom and gloom at this point.

If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, reach out to me. I will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. 602-329-7782

Covid-19

Hosting Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving TableRegardless of whether you want to try cooking a new Thanksgiving dish or sticking to your reliable menu, hosting Thanksgiving dinner is an overwhelming event that rarely goes without unavoidable hiccups.

The Turkey Won’t Thaw

Defrosting a turkey takes quite a while. Regardless of whether you neglected to remove the turkey from the freezer in time, or still have a half frozen bird, place it in a sink loaded with cold water, changing the water at regular intervals until it is defrosted. The turkey will take around 30 minutes for each pound to defrost in the sink.

The Turkey Is Undercooked

Grill it, roast it, deep-fry it, smoke it or brine it, cooking a turkey is at the center of Thanksgiving meal preparation. Most cooks fear slicing into a Thanksgiving turkey to find it still uncooked! You can rescue the circumstance via cutting off and serving the parts that are cooked, and putting the rest back in the broiler while everybody eats.

The Turkey Is Overcooked

Well, at least it’s done! Unless you’re facing a National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation kind of situation, you can salvage the overcooked turkey by smothering it in gravy.

Your Table is Not Big Enough

If hosting Thanksgiving dinner pushes the limits of your home’s ability to accommodate guests, then it’s time to get creative. Once all the seats at the dining room table and folding card tables are taken, start putting people around the coffee table, or seat children on a blanket on the floor, picnic-style.

There Isn’t Enough Food

A key part of your Thanksgiving dinner should be making sure you have plenty of food. In the event you have more guests than expected, whip up some extra mashed potatoes, soup, stuffing, rice or pasta!

You Have Bottles of Wine or Beer, but No Bottle Opener

It’s the one day of the year when you most need an alcoholic beverage, so what do you do when you can’t find the bottle opener? Thankfully, you can utilize the edge of a counter, or a belt clasp to open most bottles. Need to open wine without a corkscrew? On the off chance that you finish the bottle, drive the plug in.

You’ve Forgotten a Key Ingredient

Google “substitute for” and whatever it is you’re short of and recipe substitutions will be your new best friend on Thanksgiving.

Your Garbage Disposal Is Clogged

Uh oh! How will you deal with cleanup now? More often than not, you can probably fix a clogged disposal by sticking a hex key in the six-sided hole on the bottom of the motor, and wiggling it to free to blockage.

Thankfully, the most important part of Thanksgiving is the time spent with loved ones. Year from now, your kitchen incidents will be only an amusing story to tell at the next Thanksgiving dinner!

“One Less” Campaign to Reduce Waste

As the West Valley continues to grow, there is a growing concern for environmental awareness. As a result, the City of Avondale has launched a “One-Less” Campaign to encourage people to make choices to reduce wasteful habits.

Starting on October 21st, each day will focus on a different aspect of waste with a challenge on how to reduce:

Day 1- Single Use Plastics
Avoid using items such as plastic straws and grocery bags
Only use reusable silverware (no plasticware)

Day 2- Recycling
Utilize proper recycling methods
Use our helpful High 5 Icon for recycling items

Day 3- Keep It Real
Avoid take-out or bring your own to-go containers
Drink from reusable Water Bottles and Coffee Mugs

Day 4- Green Clean
Avoid using harsh chemicals
Use all-natural or homemade cleaners

Day 5- Zero Waste Day
Avoid wasteful habits
Can you go the entire day without creating waste?

Are you ready for the challenge? What habits will you continue to use after the campaign?

Many homes today have environmentlly friendly features, what features are the most important to you when searching for a new home?

 

First Year of Homeownership Tips

phoenix homeAre you a first-time homeowner feeling more than a little confused about what you need to focus on during the first year of your home owning experience? Have you just bought a home for the first time in a long time and need a refresher on what this first year might bring? Either way, you’re in the right place! Despite sometimes being overwhelming, buying a home is an exciting experience! Once you are handed the keys to your new house, you may find yourself at a loss for what to do next. Should you dive right into remodeling? Should you save money? Below, are a few of my tips for the first year of homeownership, whether this is your first experience or you’re a pro:

Wait a While on Remodeling
Some professionals recommend waiting at least the first year before you worry about any remodeling in your home. Depending on your situation, this may not be practical or necessary, but you should wait at least six months until you’re settled in your new home and have decided for sure what you want to focus on with your remodeling budget. Your tastes and popular trends in home design may change quickly, so it’s best to “sleep on it” for a little while before making such big changes.

Fix Little Problems
While big projects can wait, if you notice small issues around your home, take care of them before they get out of hand. For example, if you notice your dishwasher makes a strange noise during one of its cycles or that your garbage disposal has quit working, take care of these problems as soon as possible. You never know when they could lead to something more significant that’s going to take a lot more money and time to fix.

Make a Budget
This is great advice for anyone in any situation and any walk of life, but it’s especially true for new homeowners. Make a budget and try your best to stick to it. This way, you’ll be able to put aside plenty of funds for savings that can be used at a later date to get started on those remodeling changes and DIY projects, too. And this will also mean you’ve got some extra padding in your budget for those inevitable times when a major appliance gives up without warning or a storm knocks down your fence.

Are you considering selling your home?  Get started with this free home value estimate.

Pros and Cons of Artificial Turf

artificial turfSince Arizona is primarily composed of desert land, with very little rainfall, you may have considered installing artificial grass instead of real grass in your front or backyard. One of the biggest reasons to install artificial turf is the lack of maintenance. Gone will be the mornings of mowing, weeding and trimming your grass. Instead, you’ll only need to occasionally rake off some leaves and debris. Additionally, with artificial grass, you won’t have to pay for fertilizer, watering or seeding, so the ongoing maintenance costs of real grass will be nixed.  Another upside to artificial turf is its appearance.  Your lawns will always be green, verdant, and lush-looking.  The average life expectancy of artificial turf, depending on the product itself, is 15-25 years, so it likely will be something you won’t have to worry about with the entire time you live in your home.  Finally, there are many more options of artificial grass nowadays, with many more realistic artificial turf choices out there, instead of the plastic-looking turf of the past.

Some of the cons of artificial turf to consider are first, the cost.  Artificial grass averages around $7/square foot, so the initial expense can be considerable. This cost, of course, should be balanced against the maintenance and landscaping costs of real grass on an annual basis. Also, in Arizona at least, the temperature of artificial grass as opposed to real grass can be a real concern.  The surface temperature of artificial grass can exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes this surface a very real danger. Watering down the surface on hotter days can cool it down, but this may negate the fact that you’re trying to reduce water usage.

I’d be happy to discuss these pros and cons with you, especially with regard to listing or buying a home. 602-329-7762