5 Areas Of Your Home Most Vulnerable To Pests

If you are a homeowner, pests are probably one of your biggest challenges. They seem to come from nowhere. When they enter your house, they can cause all kinds of problems. This includes chewing up furniture, contaminating food, spreading illnesses, and simply being a bother by their presence. However, if you understand the areas that are most vulnerable to pests then you can take action to keep your home protected:

Windows

Windows are one of the key areas you need to keep an eye on. It isn’t just when your windows are open that pests can fly or crawl into your home. In addition, they can get through many of traditional screens.

To prevent this, consider screens with smaller openings to prevent flies from getting in. Also, treat the outside of the window with special chemicals depending on the risks you have. If you have wood windows, then termite spray is a top priority. Otherwise, certain ant and wasp blockers are still necessary.

Doorways

While your doors can achieve a tight seal when closed, they are opened so much more than any other part of your home. This means you need to go the extra mile to prevent insects and mice from getting in.

Install small traps around the outside of your doors to keep rodents at bay. Also, take strips and surround the interior of the door with them that have repelling chemicals on them. That way, when bugs try to crawl in, they’ll want to avoid crossing that barrier anytime soon.

Wood Siding

One of the joys of being a homeowner is designing your home to your liking. However, many times this means having wood siding. While this can be beautiful, it is very vulnerable to all kinds of pests that need to be controlled.

The first and most obvious is termites. The second is rodents; they like to chew on the siding or try to hide their food between the layers of wood. Make sure to apply a coating that deters them right from the start. While it comes with a cost, it is much less expensive than repairing your replacing your siding sooner than necessary.

Foundation

The foundation is the most important part of the structure of your home. However, if it has cracks (which tends to happen over time), it can lead to all kinds of problems. You might not notice it at first, but the pests will continue to infiltrate.

If you notice signs of piles of dead bugs or droppings in your basement, you know you have an issue with the foundation. Get a professional involved quickly to assess the extent of the damage. Then, take steps to clear the area and either bomb or spray it accordingly.

Roof

One of the key areas that is vulnerable to pests is your roof. There are multiple ways that pests can make your life difficult. First, small insects like termites can invade your roof under your shingles. This is especially true if leaves are trapped up there, as it makes a great breeding ground.

Another way it is vulnerable is through your attic vent. A roofing ridge vent can keep pests such as large bugs and small rodents, from entering the home. That way you can keep your items in your attic storage dry and safe from critters. Make sure that you have your roof inspected and repaired quickly if pests are infiltrating your roof.

The roof to your home is the protective shield that keeps you, your loved ones, and your belongings safe today. Quality Discount Roofing approaches residential roofing with shingle roof solutions, providing low-maintenance, affordable building solutions that adhere to your budget. No matter what the problem is, we can handle it.

When it comes to taking care of your home, it might seem overwhelming to keep the pests out. However, if you understand how they get in and what areas need the most attention, you can achieve peace of mind without nasty pests in your home bothering you and your family. Review the areas above and make sure you implement solutions to keep pests at bay.

References:

Spend With Pennies

Snap-Z

Sage Pest Control

TreeQuote

5 Ways to Pay for a Roofing Repair

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When it comes to owning a home, it’s important to make repairs throughout the year to ensure that the house can continue to remain functional and appealing. The roof is one of the most important essential features on the property to repair to prevent leaks or water damage. If you can’t initially afford roofing repair, there are a few ways to pay for the expense.

Have a Yard Sale

Consider hosting a yard sale that allows you to sell items that are no longer used. A garage sale is the opportunity to not only clean out your home but also make extra cash. For more expensive items like jewelry or electronics, consider selling them online or at a local pawn shop to make more of a profit that can be used to repair your roof.

Refinance Your Home

Refinancing your home is an additional way of creating more room in your budget to afford roofing repairs that are needed periodically. Whether you have a VA loan or an FHA loan, consider refinancing it to obtain a lower interest rate, which can save a significant amount of money over time as you repay your home loan. The FHA 203K Refinance Loan program can be useful when performing the repairs, but you’ll need to consult a financial expert in advance to determine if it’s the right option for your situation.

Finance the Repair Costs

Although it can be difficult to find the cash to pay for the repair, you can finance the cost whether you use a credit card or get a home equity line of credit if the costs are high due to severe damage that has occurred on the structure.

Apply for a Grant

Homeowners who are in need of extra funds can also consider applying for a grant through a local, state, or federal government. Consult the Weatherization Assistance Program, which can make it possible to obtain the funds in full and begin the repairs immediately. Another option is the Section 504 Home Repair program for financial assistance or the Very Low-Income Housing Repair program if you meet the requirements. The interest rates are often low on the grants, which can be a more affordable option compared to using a credit card.

Repairing your roof doesn’t have to become a headache if you’re strapped for cash. By considering your options to obtain the necessary funds, you can cover the cost as soon as possible.

References:

Weatherization Assistance Program | www.energy.gov

VA home loans | LowVARates.com

What is a home equity line of credit (HELOC)? | bankofamerica.com

Leaks, Freaks, and Hurricanes – How to Prepare Your Home For a Disaster

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Disasters come in many forms. Here in Florida, hurricanes are definitely on the top of the list of natural disasters. However, other types of disasters can be just as destructive. Let’s look at a few of the more common disasters that could befall you and how to prepare your home to minimize or prevent damage.

Termites

Almost every square mile of Florida is infested with termites. These wood-eating insects cause billions in damage each year. Have your home inspected regularly for termites and take measures to prevent them from nesting in your walls.

Home Invasion

People turn to crime for many reasons. They could enjoy the heady rush of trying not to get caught, or they could be people who are addicted to drugs and will use any means possible to pay for their destructive habit.  Unfortunately, this could mean targeting you to steal your cash and valuables. Keep all doors and windows locked. Install and use a home security system.

Hurricanes

Every part of Florida is vulnerable to the damage that can be caused by a hurricane. Preparing for this natural disaster begins with making sure your roofing is in good condition. Purchase and install storm shutters to keep debris from crashing through your windows.

Electrical Fire

An electrical fire can destroy your home and belongings in a short amount of time. Make sure your home has working smoke detectors. Have your home’s electrical system inspected, especially if the structure is more than a couple of decades old. Faulty wiring, old appliances, extension cords and poorly installed light fixtures are common causes of electrical fires.

Mold Infiltration

Mold will take hold and grow in wet, organic materials. In Florida homes, it is often found on the surface of drywall and wood that has become moist due to water leaks and house flooding. Find leaks and fix them.

Trees Falling on the Roof

The strong thunderstorms that plague Florida can break off branches and even topple entire trees. To prevent the falling wood from hitting your roof, you need to keep trees from growing too close to the house. Have branches trimmed back away from the roof.

House Flooding

Hurricanes and tropical storms can bring floods. However, a leaking water heater or washing machine hose can also bring a lot of water into your home. Make sure your water heater is in good condition and replace washer hoses every few years.

It is better to prepare before a disaster hits your home than getting caught without any preparations made. The time and resources it takes to prepare will minimize or prevent damage to your home.

References:

ADT Home Defenders | Home Security Facts

Insurance Information Institute | Protecting Your Home From Mold

Mr. Tree and Lawn Service | The Importance of Tree Trimming

Houselogic | Find and Prevent Electrical Fire Dangers in Your Home

Understanding Storm Damage on Your Home

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Storm damage is one of the things dreaded most by homeowners. When it happens, everyone concentrates on evacuating their prized possessions from home and getting to safety. Once it’s over, the structural integrity of the home and its ability to deal with the damage resulting from the storm is compromised, and if not addressed in time, it could lead to the complete destruction of the home. Here are a few things that you need to understand about storm damage restoration on a home.

Assessing the damage

Storms can lead to water damage, wind damage, and damage from debris. After a storm has cleared, it is essential to assess the entire home to see how much damage you have to deal with. If your home was hit by lightning, it may have suffered damage such as broken windows, splintered wood, or bent metal. Lightning blasts can do substantial damage to a home. Note down the broken doors and windows and the rooms where water has pooled in. When calling in the restoration experts, you will need to give this information to get assistance.

Roof damage

If the wind was strong during the storm, it might have blown off either the entire roof or sections of it. Roofing damage is dangerous because the roof protects the entire interior, improves the stability of the home, andis necessary for effective temperature regulation. Common roofing damage after a storm includes blown off shingles, leaks, and visible structural damage. If something extreme such as a power line or a tree fell on the roof, you will need to get a professional to take a look. Even temporary patches aren’t safe to do at night, so you may need to leave temporarily.

Water damage

Stormwater tends to collect in the basement and other lower parts of a home during a storm. If the roof begins leaking as a result of the storm, the inside of the home could be susceptible to water damage. Try and isolate the section of your roof or wall where the water is coming from. Another major source of water damage after a storm is flooding, which is dangerous because it is categorized as either category two or three. Water damaged which is not assessed or treated in time leads to mold, decay, and rot to floors, structure supports, and more.

Repairing the damage

Because all of these issues can result in more serious structural damage down the road, it’s important to make repairs as early as possible. If you’re worried about your budget, keep in mind that the costs of home repair now will be significantly less than if you allow the damage to worsen and accumulate–especially with water damage. If necessary, you may be able to refinance your home loan or secure a home improvement loan. You will be glad you made the repairs sooner rather than later.

These are some of the things which every homeowner needs to know about storm damage. Give us a call if you need any help restoring your roof after a bad storm. We will be happy to help you get your life back in order.

Resources:

How to Find the Best Contractor For Your Home Improvement Project

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Image courtesy of James Hardie

Starting Your Home Improvement Project

Deciding to invest in a home improvement project can be exciting. However, you may want to consider a variety of factors before you hire a contractor. Your main goal for this project is to have the home improvement layout done at an affordable price along with quality results. Moreover, you will also want to keep your ideal layout for the project. If a contractor says it can’t be done, you can try to find other contractors to ask their opinion. An experienced contractor who knows what they’re doing will usually find a way to give the homeowner what they want.

Shopping Around Makes a Difference

The basics can include asking the contractors for free estimates so that you can compare prices with other competitors. By doing this, you are certain to find a low price. While you’re shopping around, it’s also ideal that you look for contractors who are experienced in home improvements. The last thing you want is a new contractor who will make mistakes because of their inexperience. When you’re finding a company that is experienced, remember to look for an established company that has many years in the construction business. Usually, these companies will be licensed and insured to work on construction projects, which is important.

Image courtesy of Reader’s Digest

Making Sure You get Quality Results

One way to ensure that you get quality results from your contractor is to ask for customer references. When you ask for customer references, you may get sample photos of past jobs. This can help you get an idea of what types of jobs the contractors can do for you. It’s also essential that the workers carry the right tools and equipment to do the job. You don’t want a carpenter hammering a nail with a wrench. Consider the number of workers who will work on your home improvement project as well. If you want your project completed by a certain day, you want to make sure the contractor will have plenty of carpenters working on your house. You’ll also want to be upfront and clear about payment expectations, especially regarding matters of completed work and lien clauses, before you begin any project.

Knowing the Building Codes

Investing in a home improvement project can be costly, which is why you want to protect your investment. One way to protect your investment is to search for a contractor who knows the building codes, easements, and other essential requirements. When you do this, it can make the entire building process much easier, such as getting the building permits. Another way to protect your investment is to make sure the contractor uses quality materials.

Get the Results You Want With Contracts

In the end, you can have the peace of mind by using contracts. A contract between you and the construction company can seal the deal on what you want. Moreover, you can even put the price in the contracts so that you won’t be surprised by any added costs. However, make sure that you take your time with the contracts along with the final layout that works for your home. Rest assured that when you and the contractor are on the same page, you are sure to get the results you want.

Image courtesy of Alana’s Touch

You Can Tell A Contractor Is Honest From The Contract: Here’s How

Though it is tempting to write that a contractor who agrees to a written contract in the first place is honest, this isn’t always the case. The only thing that can be said about a contractor who refuses a contract is that the prospective client should drop them and move on to one that does make one. However, there are ways that a client can tell that a contractor is honest — or not — from the contract they help to draw up.

They Are Specific

A client should be wary of a contractor who refuses to commit to specific language. Vague language should always be a warning sign in any contract. It gives the contractor too much leeway to pull a bait and switch. All materials used in the job should have the size, color, make, model and the name of the brand in writing.

The Contractor is Bonded and Licensed

A contractor who is not bonded and licensed is also a non-starter. The papers that prove that the contractor is insured, bonded and has worker’s compensation need to be appended to the contract. Make sure you know enough about the regulatory bodies in place so you can tell at a glance if they’re trustworthy.

They Do Not Rush the Client

A contractor who insists on starting the job right away because there is something so drastically wrong with the plumbing/electricity/HVAC system or even the whole house that the job can’t wait is to be avoided. Though most contractors can only estimate how long a job is going to take, the start date and the targeted end date should be written into the contract. They should also be willing to communicate foreseeable difficulties, and be able to explain where their estimation came from.

They Estimate the Final Cost of the Job

Some contractors claim to give prospective client discounts on the job but never reveal what the final cost will be. This is a contractor who should be avoided. There should be very clear outlines in the contract about any costs, and possible discounts, that will be applied.

The Contractor Gives the Client Their Address and Contact Information

The contractor’s address should be a regular street address and not a post office box. They should have a website and a phone number where they can be contacted in case of questions or emergencies. If they do not, the client can suspect that the contractor is working out of their van. That’s not acceptable.

Generally, the Contractor Doesn’t Want All the Money Up Front

Contractors who get all the money up front then don’t finish or even start the job are the villains of countless horror stories. The client should never pay upfront unless the contractor is very well established and offers a 100 percent guarantee.

A clear and detailed contract drawn up between the contractor and a client can save both money and heartache. A big project is stressful enough without the client having to worry about a contractor’s integrity. Now that you know what to look for, you can see why we comfortably call ourselves the best in in the business. Contact us today for all of your roofing needs.

Resources:

5 Signs a Contractor May Not Be Right For You

10 Things Your Contractor Doesn’t Want You to Know

Mistakes to Avoid When Signing Concrete Contractor Agreements

Do You Want to Build Your Own Home?

There are a few advantages to building your own home instead of buying one you find for sale on the market. One of the most significant benefits is that you’re able to create your dream home and design everything just the way you want it. While this can be an incredibly enticing idea, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and unsure about where to begin or what will be involved. By dividing the process up into separate goals, it can be a more manageable objective.

Consider Where Your Land Will Be

This is something you’ll want to consider early if it’s not the first goal you tackle. It may be desirable for you to buy the land out of pocket, depending upon your resources and the size of the plot you hope to purchase. Whether you buy outright or seek financing, there are a few points to consider in selecting the right piece of land.

First of all, you’ll want to ask questions about zoning and the area subdivisions. Some areas may not be zoned for residential construction or may have certain stipulations for building a new home. Such as requiring that the structure consists of a minimum square footage. Additionally, the land may be subdivided in such a way that there won’t be road access. These types of property are often priced to seem like a steal and, unless the borrower asks, he or she may not realize the problem of accessibility.

You will also want to take environmental considerations into account. If there’s a farm nearby, can you and your family tolerate the odors and sounds of live farm animals? Remember that this may be a permanent condition of living in the area. You may also want to have the soil tested for hazardous elements. For example, asbestos is naturally produced in the soil and rocks of certain areas. These are all critical points to consider when buying land for your home, and they can determine whether or not you’re getting a good deal.

Financing Your New Home

Getting a loan to build a home is entirely different from getting a traditional home loan. In fact, there are two types of home construction loans, and it’s wise to understand what each type entails. Your precise circumstances will dictate which loan type is best for you.

Construction to Permanent Loan  

In this type of loan, there’s just a single closing, because of this you will pay fewer fees. However, throughout the construction process, the interest rate is variable, so your monthly payments may fluctuate, depending on the practices of the Federal Reserve. While your home is being built, you’re only responsible for making interest rates. After the house is completed, the lender will convert the construction loan to a traditional mortgage and you will have the option to switch to a fixed interest rate.

Stand-Alone Construction Loan

This process requires you to take out two loans, which means two closings and two sets of closing costs. First, you will take out the construction loan, which pays for the home to be built. Once construction is completed, you will take out a second loan, a traditional mortgage, which goes to pay off the construction loan. The advantage to this loan is that you can live in your current home, during construction, and you may not have to make the full 20% down payment. On the downside, you’re obligated to pay fees on two closings and, if your financial circumstances change, you may not qualify for the second loan.

Building Your Dream Home

Once you’ve bought the land and obtained financing, it’s time to design and build your dream home. You can take one of two routes, as far as designing the home. Traditionally, it has always been the practice to work with an architect to design your home and pass the construction onto a general contractor. However, in more modern times, general contractors can assist in the design of your home with just as much competence as an architect. You may be tempted to work solely with a general contractor to save some money, bust this will reduce your customization options.

Often, general contractors perform the more general functions of an architect, civil engineer, land surveyor, and landscaper. You will have to ask your contractor what services he or she performs and what jobs their crew can perform. Additionally, you may have to hire electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, roof technicians, drywall experts, and other utility service personnel to work alongside the construction crew. You should have already considered the cost and ability of bringing utilities to your home before you bought the land, so these additional costs shouldn’t come as a surprise by this point in the process.

When building instead of buying, it’s crucial to select professional and reliable contractors and builders. Customer reviews and word of mouth are useful methods for finding the most reputable companies. Experts in the field also recommend speaking with several contractors within specific industries and getting estimates so that you have a more clear picture of what it should cost. For example, a roofing contractor will be able to get you a more specific quote and understanding of what is needed rather than a general contractor, so it is critical that you do your research.

Something to keep in mind is that this entire process can take two years or more, depending on your plans for the home. Planning and financial strategizing are especially important when you choose to build instead of buy. While there are many advantages to this option, it also requires more patience and a talent for personal finance management.

Resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Modernizing an Outdated Home

For people who love design, decoration, and style, having an outdated home is a nightmare. However, since you are dealing with an entire house as opposed to an outfit or a hairstyle, approaching the situation can feel overwhelming. Instead of trying to tackle every project at once, consider the different upgrades you can make to redo the home.

Upgrade the Kitchen

If you ever like to browse through pictures homes on the internet, you can probably tell about how old a house is based on the style of the kitchen. In other cases, you can likely tell that the kitchen is much younger than the house. When you have the time and money to take on this larger renovation, doing so is highly advisable. Even if the rest of your house is still old, redoing the kitchen can make the entire dwelling look more modern and stylish. If you choose to upgrade your kitchen, then opt to make lasting renovations by replacing your countertops with a beautiful and durable material.

Update the Bathroom

When you look in your bathroom, you know that you’re probably in need of a change if you have those old-fashioned pale pink tiles and bathtub. A full bathroom renovation is a possibility, but when the features are functioning properly, you may not want to take on so grand of a project. You could look into have the bathtub reglazed in a different color, putting down new tile and installing a new toilet and sink for a cost that is much less than gutting the entire room.

Change the Walls

On your list of home improvements should be taking down that wood paneling. Although you might feel that it looks cozy in the den or the basement, it isn’t doing anything to help you with modernizing your style. One option is to leave the paneling in some rooms where you want more of an old-fashioned vibe and to change the look in the other rooms. You might think that replacing the wood paneling is going to be a hugely expensive project. In the event that you’re planning to rip down walls, you are probably correct. However, you could think about painting over the paneling for a stylish new trend.

Select a Style

When it comes to home decor, you want to select a style. You can’t really just say that you want the house to look modern because that word has so many different means. You might want a technological feel to the place, or you may wish to have a modern rustic look in the house. Another possibility is that you want to adorn each room of the house in a different style. When you say that you want to modernize the house, you need to define what that means for you a little bit more. If you’re nervous about choosing modern home decor, then start by looking for inspiration and advice online. Here’s a good place to start.

Don’t Match Everything

If you think back to your childhood home, you will probably envision a living space where everything matched. Think about fashion trends too. For example, it is not generally considered trendy to match your eyeshadow shade with the color of your shirt. Similarly, not everything in the house needs to match when it comes to modern styles. If you have a room decorated in a beach-like style, no reason exists why you can’t throw in some shades of pink or purple that blend with the current colors.

Check the Electric and Plumbing

While you probably have your mind set on changes that you can see, it’s essential to pay attention to the electric and plumbing too. If the electrical components in the home aren’t updated, it can actually pose a serious threat to you and your loved ones who are living in the house. Taking care of those issues is imperative, so you need to call a licensed electrician. While old plumbing may not exactly pose the same dangers, pipes could burst and cause problems—leaving you with a mess, damaged property, or a dangerous mold problem. Finding out what upgrades you need to keep your home safe and healthy is an important part of modernizing it. 

Add Some Luxury Features

One surefire way to make your home feel modern is to spice it up with some luxury features that you wouldn’t usually find in older houses. For example, you could add a gorgeous outdoor area to the home complete with a heated pool and spa. You can also finish the basement with a luxury theater room. In addition to comfy recliner seating, you should combine a smooth HD screen with with a 4k projector. This combination will give you a clearer picture and better home viewing experience. Ultimately, luxury home features will help to modernize your home and make you feel more excited to live there. 

Don’t Throw Everything Away

In your bid to modernize the house, you might start to get rid of all of the items that are over several years old. However, think about the aesthetic and monetary value of antiques. You don’t just want to toss those items to the side. If you are crafty, you can certainly find ways to blend the old with the new for a house that is truly your own.

As you working to modernize your house, keep in mind that it is important to bring your own tastes to the forefront. Choose what you love for your living space.

How to Spot Which Renovations Your Older Home May Need

An older house is one that is often in need of some work. Some even consider it part of an older homes charm. This is what may have made the house more affordable for you. Here are some of the ways that you can assign priority to all of the things that you want to change in your home.

Determine The Condition

Before you decide to move forward with an offer, have a home inspection performed. This will let you know what items in the house are in need of immediate repairs or if other issues exist. The condition of the house may also impact your ability to get a mortgage. Make sure that the assessed value of the house doesn’t exceed the list price. Have your offer reflect the number of renovations that will be required. Whether you’ve found your dream home in the countryside, downtown in a big city, or somewhere in the suburbs your mortgage group may be able to help with the writing of the proposal to list these contingency expenses.

Assess Functionality

You should focus your efforts for your renovations on the essential aspects of the house first. This would include items like roof repair or replacement and any foundational issues that may need to be corrected. Your inspector should have identified any significant causes for concern before your purchase was approved. Other areas that might be lacking in function may include the kitchen and the bathrooms. Decide if you want to do a minor or a major renovation to improve their functionality.

Look Into The Aesthetics

If you’re looking to hire out work, only use people that are licensed and bonded. This will protect you from any liability concerns or poor work quality. Having certified work done will ensure that your renovations will add value to your home. There may be areas that only require cosmetic changes. You may be able to put these types of improvements on the back burner until you’ve dealt with more pressing concerns, such as upgrading the electrical and the plumbing.

Develop Your Budget

Before you start any renovation projects, set a budget. This will keep you on track from overspending. You still have to pay your mortgage if you want to continue living in your house. Stick to your budget. This may mean that you take on some of the projects yourself or save up for the larger ones.

Older houses can be costly if you don’t keep an eye on your bottom-line. Prioritize so that you can get the most out of your home. Complete the important ones first before you move onto the cosmetic fixes.

Take Care of Your Yard; It’s the First Thing Anyone Sees of Your Home

When you have guests, you want them to feel welcome and happy to visit your home. No one will want to walk through a jungle or a maze to get to your front door. Cleaning up your property on the outside not only makes your home more inviting, but it also raises the value of your property, says the Washington Post. By tidying up the yard, your home will be a welcoming place that guests want to visit.

Mow, mow, mow

Photo Credit: Lawn Butler

When you have a neat and tidy lawn, your friends will not worry about tripping over something that might be lying beneath the tall grass. There will be no worries of muddy feet when the grass stays trim. Your friends will mention how lovely your home looks when visiting, and you can use the yard as a source of conversation when topics are not easy to find. 

Keep out the weeds

Photo Credit: Bully Behavior

Your yard will look unkempt when you have weeds all over the place. There are a few ways you can keep your yard weed free. No one wants to visit and have the sniffles because of all the dandelions or milkweed plants growing wild in your yard. Keeping the weeds out will also help you stay on your neighbor’s good side. When you keep the weeds down, your home looks better, and you can plant a garden or create an outdoor living space where you can relax with company and enjoy the weed-free yard together. Products that feed the lawn and kill weeds at the same time will save you money and hassle by fighting off unwanted plant life so that your grass can thrive. Remember to fertilize the yard in the spring and fall so that your lawn has the right nutrients. 

Trimming the trees and bushes

Photo Via: This Old House

Whether you have fruit or shade trees, the plants can grow out of control without regular pruning. To avoid this issue, you can find out the best time of year to trim back the species you have in your yard. When you remove dead branches from your trees, you reduce the risk of damage to your home, guests, and vehicles, and it makes the property look much better. Just like hair grows and needs regular trimming, so does your bushes. Hedge clippers or a pair of pruning shears can help you keep them in check. 

Remember to mow your lawn religiously and stay on top of the weeds. A little time each week is much better than a massive clean-up after letting your yard go for a month or more. Keeping a good property will help increase your property value and the value of every home in the neighborhood. Just keeping everything trim will make your home look better and appeal to your visitors.