How to Plant a Tree

By on 4-01-2013 in Home Ownership

Trees are a vital part of the planet’s ecological balance. They convert the carbon dioxide we exhale into breathable oxygen. There are many benefits of having trees in abundance. Perhaps one of the most appealing of these benefits to the average person is that adding a tree to your home’s landscape is a great way to increase its property value and curb appeal.

If you’re looking to add a tree to your landscaping, there are a few things that need to be considered and completed beforehand, including:

  • Learn whether or not your neighborhood allows residents to add trees
  • If you need special permissions to plant a tree, get them before moving forward
  • Choose a species of tree that is native to where you live to improve its chances of survival
  • Decide where the tree will go on your property and keep it a safe distance away from the foundation and sidewalks

Once all that is ready and you have your tree handy, you’ll need to dig a hole where the tree will be planted. The hole should be twice the diameter of the tree’s root bundle. This will allow the roots to grow without too much resistance as they establish themselves. The hole should be deep enough to cover the entire root bundle, up to the root flare (where the roots become the trunk). The flare is rather easy to distinguish because it will be wider than the rest of the trunk. It’s a good idea to have a tarp on the ground. Put the dirt you dig up on the tarp so it’s easy to move later.

When the hole is finished, remove any wiring or burlap encasing the root bundle and massage the dirt containing it to loosen it up and give the roots some room to move around. Carefully put the tree in the hole, taking care to make sure it’s straight, and begin refilling it with the soil. You can also add compost if you have some available. Tap the soil with the face of the shovel as you go to remove any air pickets that may form as you bury the roots. Be sure to not bury the root flare!

home improvement treeWhen you’re finished, feed the tree an appropriate amount of water for the species. Many trees call for 15 gallons of water at this initial watering. Add mulch to the area around the tree to help lock in moisture, but keep it at least six inches away from the tree’s base to prevent it from rotting.

You’ll have to water the tree on a weekly basis for a few years or until the roots are properly established, but be careful not to drown the tree. With proper care, the tree will grow alongside you and your family and will be a beautiful addition to your home.

Tips for Painting a Room

By on 4-01-2013 in Home Ownership

painting wallsIf you’re looking to noticeably change a room or an easy home improvement project, you should try painting the walls. A new color can make a room more appealing and breath new life into the space. Painting a room is one of the most simple and commonly-undertaken home improvement projects there is. It’s also among the least expensive projects and can be completed within a weekend.

The most difficult and time consuming part of painting a room is preparing it. You’ll want to expose all of the walls’ surface area and give yourself plenty of room to move around. The first step to painting a room is sanding and scraping the walls. Sanding will make it easier for your paint to grab onto the wall, which reduces the amount it drips. Scraping will remove imperfections in the wall’s surface. It’s also a good idea to clean the wall since there may be dust or grease on it that can effect the results.

Once all of that is done, you’re ready to prime the walls to be painted. Using a primer is required when painting new drywall, since it will do a lot of work to help the paint stick. It’s also incredibly helpful to prime the walls when making a drastic change in color. In these cases, priming can save you an entire coat of paint.

Once the primer is dry, you’re ready to begin painting. Make sure you remove the covers to light switches and outlets and tape off their exposed underworkings. It’s also smart to use a canvas floor cover instead of a plastic one. Canvas is less likely to tear and much easier to wedge into corners. Canvas also absorbs paint and is reusable, unlike plastic.

Experts recommend using a small, angled brush around edges to give yourself some breathing room around them for when you move on to the rolling brush. When you’re using the rolling brush, paint in W shapes and then fill them in with vertical lines. Doing this helps keep the paint distributed evenly and gives you a method to follow rather than slogging paint onto the wall.

Once a layer is completed, you’ll have to wait for it to dry before applying another coat, if necessary. Keep painting in this manner until the wall is even and well-covered.

Before you know it, your wall will be awash in new color and the room will feel like a completely new place!

The Benefits of Home Ownership

By on 4-01-2013 in Home Ownership

One of the most difficult financial decisions a person ever has to make is choosing when to make the transition from renting living quarters to buying a home. Buying a home has many advantages over renting, but is a serious, long-term commitment. Most mortgages last between 15 and 30 years and their monthly payments are often higher than when you rent.

While home ownership comes with many headaches and up-front costs, it is generally a much better financial decision in the long run. Mortgage interest and property taxes are completely deductible on your federal taxes. A fixed mortgage will cost you the same amount of money every month and is not subject to increase, unlike rent, which can increase every time you need to resign the lease. So while a mortgage payment may initially be higher than the cost of renting, they may level off over the years.

buying a homeThink of buying a home as an investment. Overall home values have been appreciating for the past 50+ years, typically keeping up with the rate of inflation plus a few percentage points. This means the value of your home is likely to be more when you finish paying your mortgage than it was when you began.

At the same time, paying a mortgage actually increases your personal wealth. With each payment, the portion of the home that you own, or equity, increases. Having more equity in your home builds credit and shows lenders that you’re responsible, allowing you to get better deals on future loans. While renting can help you improve credit, it does not build any equity.

Perhaps the best part of buying a home as opposed to renting is the fact that the home is yours! This means you can do whatever you want with it and is great because you’re free to truly make your home your own. You can paint the walls however you like without asking a landlord for permission. You can own a pet without paying a pet deposit. If you want to make a room bigger, you’re allowed to knock down a wall. The freedom to make improvements to your home empowers you to increase its value even further, yielding a huge return on your investment.

While there are certainly situations where renting a home is the more appropriate action, it’s typically a worthy financial goal to plan on one day owning your home.