Check Yourself: 7 Home Maintenance Tasks You Should Tackle in October

schulzie/iStock; realtor.com

Ah, October. Temperatures are dropping, the days are growing shorter, and the pumpkin spice latte is, in a word, inescapable. But before you go hog wild with the Halloween decorations and settle in for that horror movie binge session, take some time to prep your home for winter’s onslaught (buzzkill, we know!).

Luckily, we’re here to make it a breeze with our handy checklist of home maintenance chores to tackle this month. Some of these are so quick and easy that you won’t even miss a beat of that “Friday the 13th” marathon (although we’d recommend skipping “Jason X.” He’s in space—do we need to say more?) Read on for details about where to start, and who to call if you need reinforcements.

1. Clean your dryer vents

This one’s a lot more serious than it sounds. Excess lint can dramatically increase the risk of fire.

“A key indicator of a dryer vent needing to be cleaned is if clothes aren’t drying as fast as they usually do, or if it takes multiple cycles to get them completely dry,” says Maria Vizzi of Indoor Environmental Solutions.

DIY: Prevent buildup from the get-go by emptying your lint trap every single time you use your dryer. If possible, move your dryer closer to an exterior wall; if your vent pipe is particularly long or has to snake around corners, you’re at a greater risk of a clog.

Call in a pro: If you want peace of mind that all your vents are squeaky clean, call in a professional. You’ll spend anywhere from $90 to $180.  Look for a dryer technician specially trained by the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

2. Seal your outdoor surfaces

Cold temperatures and snow can cause your paint to peel, leading to moisture intrusion and wood rot, says Brian Osterried, a product manager at paint company PPG. Protect your exterior surfaces by applying a stain and sealant.

DIY:  Clean the surface first—taking care to remove any built-up ickiness between planks or in crevices—using a screwdriver or putty knife. Wait at least 48 hours before sanding the surface using 80-grit sandpaper, then sweep or vacuum, and apply your sealant.

Call in a pro: The cost of professional sealant jobs vary depending on size and the surface to be sealed, but for an average deck, expect to spend around $800.

3. Store your yard furniture

The fastest way to make your outdoor furniture look faded is to leave it out in the elements. Store your grill, deck chairs, and outdoor set in a shed or garage.

Shortcut: If you don’t have the storage space, invest in durable covers for your furniture to protect it from snow and rain.

Call in a pro: We suppose you could hire a personal assistant for this task (who are you, the Queen of England?!), but this one really just requires a little lifting and five minutes of your time. You’ve got this!

4. Stow that hose

If you live where it snows (yes, it’s time for that word again—sigh), it’s a good idea to drain and store your garden hose before temps start significantly dropping.

“Hoses with water in them will freeze and burst,” says Lisa Turner, author of “House Keys: Tips and Tricks from a Female Home Inspector.”

DIY: Here’s a clever hack: Unroll your hose on a downslope and then recoil it upslope so the water drains out, Turner recommends. You can store the hose outside in a shed or underhang if most of the water is removed. But it’s best to stash it inside if possible.

Next, shut off the water supply to your external faucets. Then drain the line by turning the faucet on and letting the residual water drain out.

For extra protection from freezing temps, install a foam insulator cover over each external faucet.

Call in the pros: If you see any faucet damage or leaking that won’t stop, call in a pro ASAP to repair or replace it. Expect to spend anywhere from $150 to $300.

5. Do a ‘fall cleaning’

“Open those windows up wide and do a thorough fall cleaning of your home that includes dusting areas that don’t always make the cut, like ceiling fans and ceiling corners,” says home organization expert Marty Basher.

DIY: Wash your draperies, dust your blinds, remove your window screens, and wash the windows inside and out.

Call in a pro: Depending on where you live, a professional home cleaningcould run you upward of $100. Now is also the time to have your carpets and rugs professionally cleaned to rid them of dust and other allergens (you should do this once a year). For a professional carpet cleaning, expect to spend anywhere between $100 and $250.

6. Feed and seed your lawn

“After a long, hot summer your lawn could probably use a bit of extra TLC, and seeding is proven to be the most effective way to repair damage,” says Bryan Raehl, general manager of Agronomic Lawn Management in Virginia Beach, VA.

Plus, by seeding now—before the first frost of the season—you can allow seeds to begin taking root in the soil and get a jump on spring growth.

DIY: Choose a seed for your lawn that’s right for your budget and your geographic region. You can complete a soil test, which will allow you to measure your soil’s health and nutrients, using a DIY kit. You’ll then have to prepare your lawn, lay the seeds by hand or using a spreader, and water.

Call in a pro: If you don’t know what you’re doing (or if your thumb isn’t the greenest), call in a professional landscaper, who will charge between $250 and $1,300.

7. Inspect your gutters and downspouts

Maintaining gutters and downspouts, which direct water away from your home, can go a long way toward preventing catastrophic roof leaks—especially if you live in an older home. This is particularly important during autumn, since it’s prime time for those gutters to get clogged with fallen leaves and twigs.

DIY: If you’re comfortable shimmying onto the roof, grab a ladder and have at it. Clear leaves, dirt, and pine needles from gutters, and examine downspouts for damage or loose pieces. Use a hose to flush out small bits of debris, and check the underside of the gutter to ensure no water leaks through. Inspect the downspout to verify that water is running freely through it and away from your home. Then inspect the flashing around your chimney and any openings in the roof (like skylights) for leaks.

Call in a pro: If you’re afraid of heights (guilty!), call in a pro for a thorough inspection. Expect to shell out around $150.

 

Posted by Holly Amaya on realtor.com

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Wants and Needs of Buyers

The wish list of today’s home buyer is long, but flexible—and includes both home features and neighborhood characteristics. Neighborhood safety and finding a home within their initial price range are the two features that buyers most frequently require, at 71 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

Beyond price, buyers are most concerned with finding a home that fits the daily needs of their household. Most buyers require that their home have air conditioning (62 percent of buyers), their preferred number of bedrooms (62 percent), and their preferred number of bathrooms (53 percent).

Kitchens, Energy Efficiency Most Desirable Home Features

Nice-to-have features—those deemed not a requirement, but highly desirable—highlight increasing trends toward sustainability and customization. Topping the list, close to 1 in 2 buyers (48 percent) list energy efficiency and preferred style of kitchen (also 48 percent of buyers) as desired home characteristics. Preferred finishes (e.g., flooring, countertops and appliances) follow closely at 47 percent.

Safety, Parking Top Neighborhood Requirements

Home features are not the only factors that influence home buyers’ decision-making; neighborhood characteristics are important, too. In addition to requiring that the home is in a safe neighborhood, a sizeable share of buyers require that the home has ample parking (40 percent) and is located in their preferred neighborhood (39 percent).

Air Conditioning More Important Than Decks, Patios and Yards

Staying cool indoors is clearly more important to buyers than enjoying the perks of outdoor space, with air conditioning among buyers’ four most essential home features. In fact, a larger share (62 percent) of buyers list air conditioning as an important feature in their new home than those who view private outdoor space, like a patio, deck or yard, as essential (48 percent of buyers place importance on outdoor space).

Luckily, air conditioning is an amenity already common in most American homes; today, about 65 percent of all homes in the United States have central air conditioning, and an additional 27 percent of homes have individual air-conditioning units.20 But for markets where air conditioning isn’t as prevalent in homes, such as in the West, air conditioning is an increasingly sought-after feature for home buyers of all demographics and generations. This is due, in part, to the rising number of days with temperatures over 65F, particularly in California, Nevada and New Mexico, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.21

In warm climates, rising incomes are another factor; one recent study conducted by researchers from UC-Berkeley and the National Bureau of Economic Research22 found that for every additional $1,000 of household income, air conditioner adoption increases 3 percentage points. This is not surprising, given that air conditioning is a luxury often associated with additional utility and maintenance costs.

The Suburban Dream Is All About Bathrooms

Bathrooms play a fundamental role in the home-buying process for suburban buyers. More than half (58 percent) of suburban buyers say it is a requirement that a home has their preferred number of bathrooms (compared with 52 percent of rural and 47 percent of urban buyers). The explanation for this trend is pretty simple: Generation X households (those aged 38-52) are more likely to live in the suburbs and to have children under the age of 18 at home (62 percent of Generation X buyers have young children, compared with 53 percent of Millennial and 16 percent of Baby Boomer buyers). As their children grow from toddlers to teenagers, having an extra bathroom or two quickly goes from a “nice-to-have” to a “necessity.”

Likely for many of the same reasons, Generation X buyers place more requirements around the size of their home in general than the average buyer. Generation X buyers require that their home have their preferred number of bathrooms (59 percent vs. 53 percent for all buyers), preferred number of bedrooms (70 percent vs. 62 percent for all buyers), and preferred home size or square footage (52 percent vs. 47 percent of all buyers).

Location, Location, Location

Location has always been a primary factor in the home-buying process, and it’s no different for today’s buyer. Buyers are craving an optimal spot when searching for the perfect home, whether it be in their preferred neighborhood (80 percent list this as a requirement or desired characteristic); a location close to family and friends (68 percent list as a requirement or desire); near shopping, services and other leisure activities (78 percent list as a requirement or desire); or close to work (69 percent list as a requirement or desire).

For Millennial and Generation X buyers, the location of the home must check all the boxes. This includes requiring or desiring a home that is close to work (81 percent of Millennial and 75 percent of Generation X, compared with 50 percent of Baby Boomer and 31 percent of Silent Generation buyers), and close to family and friends (72 percent of Millennial and 66 percent of Generation X, compared with 63 percent of Baby Boomer and 59 percent of Silent Generation buyers).

Living Close to Family, Friends Is a Requirement for Some

Looking for a home close to family and friends is also more of a requirement for different ethnic groups: Hispanic/Latino (29 percent) and Caucasian/white (28 percent) buyers are more likely to require being close to family and friends (compared with 17 percent of African-American/black and 18 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander buyers).

Proximity to Work a Requirement for Many

Nearly half (45 percent) of buyers want to be close to public transportation, and almost 7 in 10 (69 percent) require or desire proximity to work. This is especially true among younger generations and those living in larger cities, where traffic is likely heavier and public transportation is a key part of a commute. Specifically, 33 percent of urban buyers require their home to be close to work (compared with 28 percent of suburban and 21 percent of rural buyers), and 31 percent look for a home close to public transportation (in contrast to 13 percent of suburban and 10 percent of rural buyers).

“Nearly half (45 percent) of buyers want to be close to public transportation…”

Because many Millennials buy in urban areas, it follows that they are also the most likely to not only desire easy access to public transportation, but to list it as a requirement (24 percent, compared with 18 percent of total buyers).

Being close to mass transit is seen as a requirement more often by Hispanic/Latino (26 percent) and African-American/black (25 percent) buyers than Asian/Pacific Islander (17 percent) or Caucasian/white (16 percent) buyers. This could be due to these two groups’ increased likelihood to buy in urban areas, where transit is prevalent. Hispanic/Latino buyers purchase in urban areas at 47 percent, African-American/black buyers at 43 percent, and Asian/Pacific Islander buyers at 38 percent, compared with just 28 percent of Caucasian/white buyers.

Younger Buyers Seek Out Schools

It’s no surprise that more than a third of Generation X and Millennial buyers require that their home be in their preferred school district (36 percent and 34 percent, respectively), since these two groups are the most likely to have children in the household. Fifty-seven percent of buyers under the age of 53 have children under the age of 18 at home, compared with 13 percent of buyers over the age of 53. For comparison, just 16 percent of Baby Boomer and 6 percent of Silent Generation buyers require that their home is located in their preferred school district.

Safety Is Key for Suburbanites

Being in a safe neighborhood is a priority for almost all buyers, regardless of whether they live in an urban, suburban or rural area. Suburban buyers, however, are more concerned with safety than their urban and rural counterparts (78 percent, compared with 59 percent of urban buyers and 70 percent of rural buyers).

Unsurprisingly, a safe neighborhood becomes even more critical when children are involved. Seventy-four percent of households with children indicate safety as a requirement, versus 68 percent of households without kids.

Over Half Consider New Construction Homes

Over half (52 percent) of buyers consider new construction homes. Buyers are drawn to new homes because of their desirable location (43 percent), appealing features (39 percent), and the fact that everything in the home is new (35 percent). Higher-income buyers are most likely to consider purchasing newly built homes (65 percent of buyers earning $100,000 or more annually consider them, vs. 45 percent of buyers earning less than $100,000 a year).

Many Consider Distressed, Non-Traditional Homes

As buyers attempt to balance their desires against their budget, some look outside traditional for-sale homes and consider distressed or non-traditional home purchases as another option. Thirty-six percent of buyers consider a foreclosure, 34 percent consider a short-sale home, 22 percent consider buying a home at an auction and 27 percent look at buying a lot/land with no existing home on-site.

Buyers in the Northeast and West are significantly more likely to consider buying a home at auction (27 percent in each region, compared with 22 percent of total buyers). This is likely due to low for-sale inventory in Northeastern and Western urban areas. Buyers in these highly competitive areas are understandably looking at alternative methods for finding something they can afford in the area where they want to live.

Buyers drawn to non-traditional home sales for the short-term savings on list price often end up spending more on repairs. While fixer-upper homes generally list for 8 percent less than market value, the money saved on the home purchase doesn’t go far. That 8 percent—or roughly $11,000 saved—generally won’t be enough to make the repairs needed on the home, especially if they’re anything more than cosmetic.23

 

Read more in the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report 2017

Click HERE to begin your home search!

Thinking of Selling your Home? Competition is Coming

The number of building permits issued for single-family homes is the best indicator of how many newly built homes will rise over the next few months. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Residential Sales Report, the number of these permits were up 7.7% over last year.

How will this impact buyers?

More inventory means more options. Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s Chief Economistexplained this is good news for the housing market – especially for those looking to buy:

“It’s not spectacular construction growth, but it’s slow and steady in the right direction. Eventually, the pickup in single-family home construction will mean [buyers] will have more options. Especially with the limited number of sales right now, more options are really needed.”

How will this impact sellers?

More inventory means more competition. Today, because of the tremendous lack of inventory, a seller can expect:

  1. A great price on their home as buyers outbid each other for it
  2. A quick sale as buyers have so little to choose from
  3. Fewer hassles as buyers don’t want to “rock the boat” on the deal

With an increase in competition, the seller may not enjoy these same benefits. As Hale said:

“As new construction continues to increase, home shoppers will eventually have more [choices] and a bit more time to make purchase decisions compared to today’s quick-moving housing market.”

Bottom Line

If you are considering the sale of your home, it might make sense to beat this new construction competition to the market.

Posted by The KCM Crew

Ready to sell your home? Click HERE to find out how much your home is worth!

What To Look For In Your Real Estate Team

How do you select the members of your team who are going to help you make your dream of owning a home a reality? What should you be looking for? How do you know if you’ve found the right agent or lender?

The most important characteristic that you should be looking for in your agent is someone who is going to take the time to really educate you on the choices available to you and your ability to buy in today’s market.

As Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Do your research. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of professionals whom they have used in the past and have had good experiences with.

Look for members of your team who will be honest and trustworthy; after all, you will be trusting them with helping you make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Whether this is your first or fifth time buying a home, you want to make sure that you have an agent who is going to have the tough conversations with you, not just the easy ones. If your offer isn’t accepted by the seller, or they think that there may be something wrong with the home that you’ve fallen in love with, you would rather know what they think than make a costly mistake.

According to a Consumer Housing Trends Study, millennials have already started to prefer a more hands-on approach to their real estate experience:

“While older generations rely on real estate agents for information and expertise, millennials expect real estate agents to become trusted advisers and strategic partners.”

Look for someone to invest in your family’s future with you. You want an agent who isn’t focused on the transaction but is instead focused on helping you understand the process while helping you find your dream home.

Bottom Line

In this world of Google searches, where it seems like all the answers are just a mouse-click away, you need an agent who is going to educate you and share the information that you need to know before you even know you need it.

Posted by The KCM Crew

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

According to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”

Bankrate.com gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,

“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | MyKCM

According to a survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage.

After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.

“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”

Bankrate.com gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. in order to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment.

More Than Half of All Buyers Are Surprised by Closing Costs | MyKCM

Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range, your costs could be significantly greater. According to Freddie Mac,

“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”

Bottom Line

Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.

Posted by The KCM Crew

We Asked Interior Designers: What Small Changes Make the Biggest Difference?

Give your rooms a fresh look with these designers’ best tips. Image: Catherine Staples Interiors

Sometimes interiors need change. Whether your style feels a little too outdated or your tastes have changed, making over the rooms in your home is a great way to give yourself a fresh start. However, for most of us, taking on the cost of a complete redesign is not always feasible, even if an update is sorely needed.

With that in mind, we called in the pros. We asked top interior designers to share their best tips on which small design changes make a big difference. Keep reading to learn how you can make a huge impact on your home without breaking the bank.

 

Go bold with your accent wall. Image: LMB Interiors

1. Add an accent wall

“To drastically change the look and feel of a room without spending a lot of money, paint an accent wall,” advises Todd W. G. Corder, the founder of Deja vu Decor. “A pop of color will instantly draw the eye and is a great way to liven up a room with no more than the cost of a can of paint.”

Where accent walls are concerned, there are a few details to keep in mind. The first is placement. Technically, any wall can be used as an accent, but it really should highlight your focal point. In living rooms, this can mean placing the accenting color around a mantle or some built-in shelving. In bedrooms, by the headboard is best.

Aesthetics are the other consideration. A bright paint color certainly does the job, but it’s not the only option. Darker neutrals like black or chocolate brown serve the same purpose. Contrasting materials can also be used. Wallpaper is an excellent choice, as is a patterned tile or even wood paneling.

 

Use texture to add visual interest. Image: Thomas Towne Reavey Inc

2. Vary the texture of accessories

“Texturizing a room is a game changer. Accent pillows in varying fabrics and shades can add another layer of depth to a room. Another opportunity to add texture is through the materials that your accessories are made from. Consider using metals, woven baskets and blankets,” says Dawn Stafford, the owner of Gathering Souls, a concierge design service in Fairfax, VA.

Conceptually, texture can be a bit hard to pin down. The best way to think of it is by evaluating how an item looks like it feels. Take the picture above, for example. Consider how you’re easily able to tell that the surface of the coffee table feels rough, while the blanket on the couch is soft.

Successful interior design is all about layering these contrasts. When you’re sprucing up a room on a budget, take stock of the textures in the accessories you already own. Then, look for additional items that would serve as their opposite. If need be, consider moving your existing accessories to different rooms as a way of giving your home an update that’s free of charge.

 

Include various types of lighting. Image: Black and Milk

3. Re-evaluate lighting

“You’ll need lighting in all the corners of the room; try to avoid just one ceiling light,” says Sarah Elsley, the voice behind Dream of Home. “Use wall lights and floor lights together, so the lighting isn’t concentrated to one place and spreads in an even glow around the room.”

There are four distinct types of lighting you can incorporate into a space. They are:

  • Natural: Any light that comes into your home from the outside via doors and windows.
  • Ambient: Light meant to illuminate the entire room, usually from an overhead source.
  • Accent: A light source that’s meant to highlight a particular feature of the room.
  • Task: Lighting used for a specific purpose, such as desk lamps or reading lights.

Ideally, a room involves a combination of these light sources. Take stock of the lighting you have in place and then look for which types are missing. Fill in the gaps where needed and you’ll be surprised how much of a difference you’ll see.

 

Styled surfaces give your home a curated look. Image: Alvhem Mäkleri & Interiör

4. Give surfaces deliberate style

“Coffee tables, side boards and bookshelves scream to be styled. It is amazing what you can pull together from the items in your own home. No need to go shopping for knickknacks; try shopping in your home first,” suggests Ana Cummings, the owner of ANA Interiors.

Pulling off this tip is all about having the arrangement look intentional. In all honesty, the items you put on these surfaces aren’t as important as how you display them. Do your best to lay out your items in groupings, stick to odd numbers and be sure to vary the pieces in terms of their direction, size and color. If need be, you can always look for some design inspiration to help you get started.

 

Sometimes small changes make a big difference. Image: International Custom Designs

No matter what your personal style is, at some point, you’re probably going to want to change things up. When that happens, there’s no need to wait until you’ve saved enough money to redo the whole room. Even the pros say small design changes can make all the difference. Keep their advice on hand for the next time you need to shake up your interiors. Their tips will help you make a huge impact at an affordable price.

Posted by Tara Mastroeni on Freshome

8 Home Improvement Hacks From the Humble Dollar Store

Want some home improvement ideas on the cheap? How about the crazy cheap? Whether you want to spruce up the garden or streamline your closet, there are plenty of insanely clever creations that hail from the humble aisles of your local dollar store. Check out these simple DIY hacks that can transform a space—and best of all, no one will ever guess where they’re from.

Reflect your good taste

Build this work of art to be as “compact” or grand as you like. Thistlewood Farms

Anyone who’s priced wall decor knows it doesn’t come cheap. But, as KariAnne Wood of Thistlewood Farms points out, there’s no need to go broke when you can build a beautiful focal point all on your own.

This stylish mirror, made with dollar store compacts, set this DIY-er back a mere $19. Not too shabby!

Drip-dry boot trays

Simple stones make a great boot tray. Dollar Store Crafts

In lieu of throwing down a pile of dish towels to dry up puddles left behind by soggy boots, consider a simple tray and a bag of stones.

Heather Mann of Dollar Store Crafts decided this river rock boot tray was a more elegant addition to the entryway. We couldn’t agree more. Give your regular doormat the day off.

Grow an indoor greenhouse

This simple project will add a pop of color to your home in no time. The Wicker House

If you crave a little bit of nature indoors, this greenhouse terrarium should satisfy your green thumb.

Emily Sweeten of The Wicker House made this picture-perfect piece with picture frames from the dollar store. She put it together in no time, though she admits, it helped to have another pair of hands to construct the rooftop.

Posh spice rack

If you’re really good, you’ll alphabetize them.The Stonybook House

Want to free up some coveted cabinet space? Lori Leeper at the Stonybrook House was inspired to create this back-of-the-door spice rack, made from dollar store cooling racks.

Fresh herbs flourish at your fingertips

 

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme—all within reach in your kitchen. Vanessa Brady

Want an innovative wall hanging that doubles as your very own produce aisle?

Vanessa Brady of Tried & True and her sister, Adriana, shared this Minimal Modern Herb Garden, which, depending on size, might cost you less than a bunch of fresh cilantro from the market, thanks to galvanized tubs priced at $1 a piece.

Tea for two … birds

Your backyard just got a bit more beautiful thanks to this oasis for your feathered friends. Morena’s Corner

Morena Hockley of Morena’s Corner added a little Mad Hatter’s tea party influence to her garden when she built this teapot birdbath with cups, saucers, plates, and, of course, a teapot she found at her local Goodwill (but dollar store housewares work just as well). Go ahead and spray-paint your creation to match your outdoor decor.

Keep the bugs at bay the natural way

Bug repellent never looked so good. A Little Claireification

If you’re sick of your outings reeking of citronella, consider this natural and cost-effective way to repel pests.

These Mason jar luminaries, designed by Claire of A Little Claireification, offer a chemical-free alternative to those pungent candles and sprays. Plus, they make attractive centerpieces.

Just grab a few rosemary sprigs, along with cedarwood, lavender, and lemon essential oils (or the real thing), which Claire says will make your gatherings bug-free.

Thumbs-up for word art

Nothing “tacky” about thumbtack art! DIY Ready

Want to make a statement, literally?

Lisa Loperfido of DIYReady notes that this thumbtack word artproject costs just $3. Spell your way to stunning decor for only pennies.

Posted by Liz Alterman on realtor.com

 

 

 

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