Renee Prunier


Posted by Renee Prunier on 7/16/2018

After a long winter, it’s nice to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures. That is, until I remember all of the insects that the season brings.

Insects can wreak havoc on your lawn by digging holes. Others can demolish your garden in a matter of days by eating leaves and laying eggs.

It’s no wonder we turn to pesticides to keep them away from the yard and garden we’ve spent so much time perfecting.

On the other hand, there are some insects that provide immense benefits to your yard. These ones often go unnoticed due to their nocturnal activity and tendency to stay out of sight.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some beneficial bugs that you actually want in your yard and garden. We’ll discuss why they’re so important and how you can encourage them to stick around.

But first, let’s discuss why you’d even want to invite insects in your yard.

The problem with pesticides

It would be reckless to label all pesticides as harmful. However, some pesticides have been shown to have detrimental effects on us, and on the bees who pollinate the plants that keep us all fed.

It is difficult to examine the effect of pesticides because there are so many factors at play, making a controlled study difficult to achieve. However, some “natural experiments” (meaning ones we don’t plan for and execute in a lab) have shown the pesticide chlorpyrifos to cause developmental problems in children.

Many people born before the turn of the century will probably remember or at least heard of the pesticide DDT and the risks that came with it. The dangers of such pesticides have led us to seek out alternatives in our yards, where our children play, and our gardens, where we get our food.

So, which bugs do you want to stick around in your yard?

Lady beetles

Lady beetles, or “ladybugs” as they’re known in North America, are both beautiful and useful to have around the yard.

These colorful beetles look gentle but they are predators who prey on plant-eating insects called aphids. In its lifetime, a lady beetle can eat up to 5,000 aphids, which comes to about 50 per day. That’s a lot of protection for your garden.

To attract lady beetles to your garden, all you’ll need is a source of pollen for them to eat. They particularly like cilantro, fennel, dill, geraniums, and dandelions. You can also purchase lady beetles online and, with some luck, they’ll keep returning year after year.

Parasites

There sure don't sound beneficial, but there are a few varieties of parasitic insects that won’t harm you or your garden, but will kill pests like aphids and flies. Parasitic wasps lay their eggs inside of aphids, killing them. Fly parasites kill flies in the pupal stage.

Flies are attracted to manure and other composting materials that you may want to use in your garden. If you keep a composting bin outdoors, you’re probably no stranger to flies. Purchasing fly parasites will help you manage the flies without resorting to sprays.

Earthworms

These slimy creatures aren’t like the others on our list. Rather than managing pests, earthworms help your soil directly. They aerate the soil, improving drainage, and they add nutrients to the soil in the form the of castings they leave behind.

The best way to attract earthworms to your yard and garden is to simply take good care of the soil. Earthworms thrive in moist soil with plenty of organic material.

So, when you see those tiny piles of worm castings in your dirt, just rake them out. It’s a sign that you have a healthy lawn and healthy soil underneath.




Tags: lawn care   garden   insects  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Renee Prunier on 7/9/2018

Although a home seller wants to enjoy a quick, seamless home selling experience, problems sometimes can arise along the way. And if a home seller is not careful, these issues may cause him or her to encounter one of the dreaded home selling worst-case scenarios.

Ultimately, there are many home selling worst-case scenarios that a seller should try to avoid at all costs, and these scenarios include:

1. A home is priced too high.

A home seller should establish a competitive price for his or her residence from the get-go. Because failure to do so could force a residence to linger on the housing market for weeks, months or years.

To determine a competitive price, it helps to conduct plenty of real estate market research. Looking at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town can help you determine whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market. Also, examining the prices of comparable houses in your area can help you narrow your price range.

Furthermore, a property appraisal is a viable option for all home sellers, at all times. During an appraisal, a home expert will assess your residence and provide a property valuation. Then, you can use the property valuation to price your home accordingly.

2. A homebuyer requests a price reduction or major repairs after an inspection.

A home inspection generally takes place a few days after a seller accepts a buyer's offer on a residence. If this inspection reveals a wide array of home problems, it could jeopardize a potential sale.

It often helps to complete a home inspection before listing a residence. This inspection allows a seller to identify any home problems and resolve these issues immediately.

In addition, a home seller should understand his or her options after an inspection that reveals myriad home problems.

If a buyer requests a price reduction or home repairs after an inspection, a seller can agree to the buyer's terms or counter a buyer's proposal. Or, if a seller feels a buyer is being unreasonable, he or she can walk away from a home sale and relist his or her residence.

3. A home seller hires a real estate agent who lacks comprehensive industry experience.

If a seller hires a real estate agent who lacks comprehensive industry experience, he or she risks a long, arduous home selling experience.

There is no need to hire an inexperienced real estate agent. In fact, dozens of top-notch real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you achieve your home selling goals in no time at all.

The ideal real estate agent will know the ins and outs of the housing market. Plus, he or she will be able to guide you along each stage of the home selling journey and do whatever it takes to promote your residence to the right groups of buyers.

Enjoy a fast, profitable and worry-free home selling experience – consider the aforementioned home selling worst-case scenarios, and you can minimize risk throughout the home selling journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Renee Prunier on 7/2/2018

There are a lot of effective ways to keep your home safe, secure, and free from intrusion, but those techniques are of little use if you don't consistently use them.

Technological solutions are well worth considering because they can be activated and monitored from almost any location.

Whether you're at a restaurant across town or comfortably lying in bed on a chilly night, the cost of a  high-tech security system can be worth it, in terms of convenience, safety, and peace of mind.

If the cost or learning curve of using an automated home security system is outside your comfort zone, there are still plenty of simple and inexpensive techniques you can use to keep your family safe and sound. Regardless of the strategies you choose, it's better to err on the side of caution than to assume it'll never happen to you.

Change your locks: If you've just bought a new home or recently moved into one, having new locks installed on your doors is one of the cornerstones of a good home security plan. While some homeowners tend to be rather tight fisted when it comes to lending their house keys to friends, neighbors, housekeepers, and contractors, others tend to be quite liberal with the practice. Each time your house keys have been copied and passed along to people you don't know well (or at all), the overall security of your home has been compromised. If you're not sure which category the previous owner of your home fits into ("tight fisted" or "liberal"), then it would make sense to change the locks on all your doors. That way, you're eliminating the element of doubt and fortifying the secureness of your new home. It will also help you sleep better at night and increase the chances that only welcome guests will pass through your doors!

Get to know your neighbors: By maintaining friendly relations with your immediate neighbors -- especially those that live next door and directly across the street -- they will be more likely to contact you or the police if they see anything suspicious. If you happen to be chatting with neighbors and they mention that they're going away for the weekend or longer, they'll appreciate it if you promise to "keep an eye on their house" while they're gone. Hopefully, they'll return the favor when you're away for the day or out of town for longer. It's a good feeling when neighbors are looking out for neighbors, but -- as is the case with all relationships -- it does require some maintenance. More often than not, however, it's worth it!





Posted by Renee Prunier on 6/25/2018

As a home seller, you'll likely want to do whatever you can to promote your house to the right groups of homebuyers. Thus, hosting an open house is a must, particularly for a seller who wants to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to conduct an open house, and these include:

1. You can stir up interest in your house.

An open house enables you to provide homebuyers with an up-close look at your residence. It allows these buyers to look beyond a home listing, and as such, may lead to many potential offers on your home.

Of course, an open house empowers you to show off the true size and beauty of your home as well. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your home prior to an open house, you may increase the likelihood of securing offers at the event's conclusion.

2. You can respond to homebuyers' questions.

Although a home listing may include details about your house's age and condition, it fails to provide homebuyers with a "feel" of what it's like to walk around inside and outside your residence. Fortunately, an open house allows buyers to get a first-hand look at your residence and determine whether your house matches or exceeds their expectations.

Furthermore, an open house provides homebuyers with the opportunity to ask questions about your house. And if you provide buyers with the information they request, you can make it easy for them to decide whether to submit an offer on your home.

3. You can analyze homebuyers' interest in your residence.

Believe it or not, an open house can help you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

For instance, an open house that features dozens of potential buyers likely can be considered a resounding success. On the other hand, if no buyers attend your open house, you may need to reevaluate your home's initial asking price and other home selling factors.

When it comes to hosting an open house, there is a lot to consider. Luckily, you can work with a real estate agent to streamline the process of putting together a successful open house.

A real estate agent is a home selling guide who can offer expert tips and insights at each stage of the home selling journey. He or she will learn about your residence and help you map out a successful home selling plan. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will set up open houses, help you assess offers on your residence and ensure you can make the best-possible decisions throughout the home selling process.

If you're worried about hosting an open house, there is no need to stress. Hire a real estate agent today, and you'll be able to receive comprehensive home selling support. In fact, with a real estate agent at your disposal, you can seamlessly navigate the home selling cycle.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Renee Prunier on 6/18/2018

Even though most of the details of selling your home are usually handled by other people -- hopefully competent professionals -- it still can be a stressful experience.

Major life changes are a "mixed bag" when it comes to the effect they have on your mental equilibrium. On one hand, change can open up new doors of opportunity and give you a fresh lease on life. On the other hand, it forces you to step out of your comfort zone and deal with the element of unpredictability.

While every situation is different and there's no panacea for the stress that accompanies life transitions, here are a few strategies that will help make the road less bumpy.

  • Choose an experienced real estate agent or Realtor who will provide the guidance, day-to-day support, and expertise you need to avoid many of the pitfalls and frustrations of selling a house. If you know you're in good hands, you'll have less of a tendency to worry about how things are going. The ideal real estate agent will instill confidence in you, provide you with regular progress reports, and do everything they can to make sure the sales process and other logistics keep moving forward and staying on track. They'll also provide you with good advice on how to effectively stage your home to improve its marketability.
  • Go with the flow. Accept the fact that you'll need to keep your home immaculately clean, every day, to make the best possible impression on prospective buyers. There are also plenty of other tasks and challenges you'll have to deal with along the way. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of the famous serenity prayer written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr back in the 1930's: "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
  • Get enough sleep every night: Nothing undermines one's coping ability, patience, and resourcefulness more than struggling against a sleep deficit. Getting enough sleep, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of eight hours a night, is more crucial to one's physical and mental well-being than many people realize. When you prioritize getting a full night's sleep, you'll generally be able to think more clearly, keep setbacks in their proper perspective, and do a better job of rolling with the changes.
Exercising, meditating, and hanging out with supportive friends and family are other methods of helping to keep your stress level manageable while navigating the challenges of getting your house sold and moving on with your life. While it's not necessary to continually look at the world through "rose-colored glasses," it is always beneficial to cultivate an optimistic state of mind as you wait for the right house buyer to come along.