Month: March 2016

5 Things To Do When Selling Your Home


  1. Let the light in: Buyers are drawn to light and airy homes. Add lighting to rooms where needed, keep the blinds and curtains open, and clean the windows both inside and out to let in as much natural light as possible. Also, be sure to test each light bulb in each room to make sure they work.
  2. Paint: Painting over any loud colors with a nice neutral tone is the way to go; not only will subtle hues appeal to more buyers,  but they can also make your home look cleaner and more updated.
  3. Have pictures taken: Be sure to have at least 6 photos taken of your home for the listing. Buyers, especially millennials, are driven by images. The Dawn Dause Group provides clients with quality photos that make their home stand out among the competition.
  4. Landscape: Your home’s exterior is the first impression a buyer gets. Make this first impression count by trimming bushes and trees where needed, planting flowers, edging and mowing the lawn, removing weeds and dead plants, and putting down mulch.
  5. Declutter: Get rid of things that are not used or needed any longer. Donate them or throw them away when appropriate since they cannot just be tossed into closets where buyers will be looking. Aside from decluttering, make sure that cabinets are organized and clean, the fridge is clean and deodorized and the oven is sparkling.
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Landscaping For Dog Owners




  • Do give up on having an absolutely perfect yard; don’t let your pooch completely rule the yard. Teach him to respect boundaries and have a designated area for doing business.
  • Do include a water feature that your dog can use to cool off in; don’t put in a pool or pond that is difficult for your pet to get in and out of.
  • Do think about adding a sandbox that your dog can play in and bury bones and treats in; don’t assume the sandbox is maintenance free. Keep a shovel and rake near by to clean it out when needed.
  • Do use gravel, wood chips, or shredded hardwood mulch that will not stick to long haired coats; don’t use cocoa mulch which contains theobromine which is poisonous to dogs.
  • Do edge your flower beds with rocks or tall shrubs in order to protect your flowers; don’t edge with sharp materials that can harm your dog.
  • Do use urine-resistant plants in your yard (such as Japanese Spindle Trees); don’t stress when you find brown or yellow spots in your grass. Reseeding these areas will remedy the problem.
  • Do use organic herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides on your lawn and plants; don’t spread toxic products on your lawn. Studies have shown these to be harmful to pets and professionally applied pesticides are connected to a 70% higher risk of dogs developing cancer.
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5 Projects To Do This Spring Break


  • Power Wash:  Spring is the perfect time to head out to your local home improvement store to rent a power washer. Spray down the exterior of your home, your driveway, deck, etc. Not only will this make your home look better, but it may also get rid of any mold or mildew that may be present.
  • Tune your AC: Have your AC system tuned and change out the filter; doing this before summer time may prevent any issues you may have with your cooling system.
  • Attend to the gutters:  Grab a ladder and unclog the gutters, making way for the April showers that will be here soon.
  • Let the sunshine in: Clean both the interior and exterior of your windows and watch the sunlight flood your home. Using a squeegee is usually a better bet than paper towels since paper towels can leave a film of lint behind.
  • Clean the coils: Dirt and dust that accumulate on your fridge’s coils can reduce how energy efficient the fridge is. Use the hose attachment from the vacuum cleaner to clean off the coils and rest assured that your fridge will be using less energy to keep cool.
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Keeping Your Home Secure While On Vacation


  • Stay away from social media: Wait until after you return from your trip to post any details from your vacation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
  • Use technology: Consider monitoring your home remotely by investing in a system that allows you to control your lights with an app such as Connected by TCP ($50).
  • Ask a friend: If you don’t use the help of technology to keep an eye on your home, ask a friend. Have someone feed pets, bring in mail, take care of trash, adjust lighting and curtains, etc. If you will be away for a long time, arrange to have your lawn mowed while you are gone.
  • Eliminate hiding places: Keep your bushes trimmed to no taller than 3 feet and ensure that the lowest branches of  trees are at least 6 feet off the ground. Don’t allow plants and trees to create a cover for burglars. Motion sensor lighting is a good option for the outside of your home as well.
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Getting Approved For A Loan


  • Speak to a lender before finding your dream home: It’s very important to meet with a lender to determine if you are approved for a home loan and if so, how much. Meeting with a lender prior to looking at homes ensures that you don’t fall in love with a home only to find out you are unable to purchase it. Knowing the details of an approval also allows you to search for homes in your price range.
  • If your credit history isn’t great, still meet with a lender: Even with less than great credit, there still may be options to getting approved for a loan. Take the first step and meet with a lender to determine what your options may be, with great credit or not.
  • Know the difference between your credit score and your credit history: Obtaining your credit score and then proceeding to go through with the home buying process may not be such a good idea. Your credit score is important but so is your credit history and it’s important to know what your history is before settling on a home. Don’t make the mistake of knowing your credit score and then finding your dream home only to find out that your credit history is filled with unresolved bills or errors.
  • Don’t max out credit cards after being pre-approved: Your credit will most likely be checked right before closing on the home so be mindful of that before making large furniture or appliance purchases for the home.
  • Pre-qualification vs. pre-approval: Getting pre-qualified is only the very beginning and does not mean you are officially approved for a loan. Many times, getting pre-qualified can be done over the phone and is only a vague glimpse into your financial situation. Getting pre-approved usually involves filling out an actual mortgage application and taking a more in depth look at your financial picture.
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5 Ways To Redefine Your Outdoor Space



  1. Landscape for the entire year: Don’t just plant for the warm months, plant for the cold months too. Showcase flowers in the spring/summer and pair those with gorgeous evergreens for the winter.
  2. Create your own planter boxes: Show off your favorite flowers or herbs in planter boxes made from Western Red Cedar. This wood is a great choice because it is naturally rot, decay, and insect resistant.
  3. Build a fire pit: Including a fire pit in your outdoor space is a great way to enjoy your outdoor oasis into the evening hours. Building a professional looking pit using pavers is easier than you think. Check out Pinterest or the DIY Network website for tutorials on building your own.
  4. Build a pergola: Pergolas are perfect for some shade, a yard centerpiece, a place to entertain and a way to add beauty to an outdoor space.
  5. Add light: Spend time in your backyard anytime of day by adding light sources. Solar powered path lights are relatively inexpensive and are a low maintenance way to show off your new outdoor space. Hanging outdoor track lights on a pergola is both functional and creates beautiful ambiance. Another great way to light up your yard is to use tiki torches. They look awesome and they also keep the mosquitoes away!
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Front Yard Patios


A patio that is well laid out can create a unique home exterior, especially if you live in a “cookie cutter” subdivision. There are several ways to make a front yard patio both attractive and functional which will increase the curb appeal of your home:

  • Patio containers: Planting flowers or flowers mixed with veggies and herbs is both practical and creates a beautiful, lush look.
  • Fire pits: These are cozy, fun, and can be used in both the summer and the fall. Sit outside in the warmer months and enjoy making smores or put on your favorite fall sweater and relax around a warm fire in the cool autumn air. Be sure to check into local laws regarding open fires and remove anything flammable from the area.
  • Incorporate trees: Patios can be built right around an existing tree to include it directly into the patio design. Be sure to leave some space around the tree to allow it to grow and use patio material that allows for water to reach the roots of the tree. Putting sandstone or brick over sand works well as do permeable patio pavers which allow water to flow directly through to the tree.
  • Furnishings: Put out some attractive and comfortable patio furniture to make your outdoor space feel like you are sitting in the comfort of your home. Just be sure not to invest too much in the furnishings; patio furniture can be difficult to secure.
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5 Ways To Improve Spring Curb Appeal


  1. Keep it clean: Make sure to mow your lawn regularly and take care of any weeds in your yard. If the siding of your home is dirty, use a power washer to clean it and clean your windows inside and out as well.
  2. Update your numbers: Replace your address numbers with new ones that are easy to see; there are several designs, colors, and materials to choose from as well so make it your own!
  3. Add accents: Try painting the shutters and front door a nice accent color that blends well with your home.
  4. Fencing: Putting in a front yard fence can add to the curb appeal of your home and add interest as well. Front yard fences are usually short so that the front yard can still be seen and there are many options to choose from such as the traditional white picket fence or a short brick fence with a gate.
  5. Decorate your porch: Put out a welcome mat, use hanging baskets filled with flowers, put out some chairs and a small table and make your porch a welcoming and comfortable place to relax.
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Think Spring-5 Garden Tools To Save You Time

  1. Hori-Hori Knife: Originally from Japan and used for digging Bonsai trees, this knife features a sharp, straight blade and is great for everything from weeding to planting.
  2. Ho-Mi: This tool from South Korea features a curved, sharp blade with three different options for the blade and handle. The Ho-Mi can be used for different tasks such as weeding and loosening the soil around plants.
  3. Compost and Mulch Fork: This tool has 10 tines that are close together, making it perfect for flipping and turning both compost and mulch. It can also be used for moving leaves, stones, wood chips, etc.
  4. Woodman’s Pal: Do you need to clear an area of your yard for a garden? The Woodman’s Pal, originating from the Army, is the perfect tool to do just that. Similar to both an ax and a machete, the Woodman’s Pal has a long cutting blade with a hooked blade on the end. It can be used to cut through overgrown vegetation, trees, etc.
  5. Lee Valley Power Rake: Needing to rake soil or have a big mulching job ahead of you? The Lee Valley Power Rake features 25 curved tines and a 5 foot handle, making yard work much easier on both you and your back.


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