Preparing your house for fall


Pumpkin flavors are back in the stores and you know what that means...fall is here. Make sure your home is ready to weather the weather with the following easy DIY home upgrades and garden tips, then read on to find tips for buying a home in a competitive market.

Get Your Garden Ready for Fall

The weather will start cooling off soon, so now’s the time to start planning for the first frost and getting your garden ready for fall. Some things you should do to transition your garden into the fall season are listed below. 

Clean out your garden.

Make sure your perennials are ready to come back swinging next year by trimming them down as they become dormant. This will save the root of the plant. You can also go ahead and remove any spent plants from the roots up. If your garden has a mix of perennials and annuals, keep track of your garden’s layout as you go to make it easier to plan your spring planting.

Plant cover crops.

A cover crop, also known as green manure, is an organic fertilizer. Cover crops maintain the richness of the soil and protect your soil through the winter, helping you create an even better garden come spring. 

Add compost.

Organic fertilizers are becoming more and more popular. One of the best ways to get organic fertilizer is to create it yourself by composting. To compost, clean out your garden and add the plant debris to a compost pile, then mix it in with other compost material. Spread a good mix of compost over your garden in the fall to refurbish the soil and help protect the soil during the winter.

Now that the weather is cooling off, it’s a great time to spruce up your current home or to find a new house to make your own. Give me a call if you or someone you know has any questions about real estate!

Easy Home-Improvement Projects that Won't Blow Your Budget This Fall

Fall is one of the most popular seasons to work on your home. Not only is the weather generally pleasant, but fall is also the time to prepare for winter. If you're looking to take on some home improvement projects this fall without blowing your holiday-season budget, look no further! Here are five easy and affordable projects that will yield big results. 

Update your front door.

Your front door sets the expectation for what's inside. Update an old or worn out door with a more modern option or add a fresh, colorful coat of paint to your old door to make it look like new again.

Improve your curb appeal.

Something as simple as mowing or raking your lawn can have a huge impact on your home's curb appear. You can also do things like pull up and dispose of dead plants and branches, trim the shrubs, plant fall flowers, and pressure wash the driveway/siding. 

Update your lighting.

It only takes a few years for light fixtures to start looking dated, so bring your house back up to date with new lamps and light fixtures. Start by updating one room at a time. You'll be amazed at the difference! While you're at it, replace any old, inefficient compact fluorescent bulbs you have hanging around with LEDs. They'll last longer and save energy.

Change the air filter.

Last but not least is your air conditioner. Your AC unit did a great job keeping you cool during the long, hot summer and now it's time to replace the air filter. This is not only one of the easiest jobs you can do for your home, it's an important part of maintaining the efficiency and operational capabilities of your HVAC. If you want to go a step further, call your HVAC servicer to schedule a tune-up for your system.

How to Buy a Home in a Competitive Market

Cities across the country and some areas here locally are plagued by low inventory, making for a competitive housing market. You can see the signs when sales start happening very quickly, multiple offers are put in on a single home, and cash offers become more common. All these factors make it a great time to sell, but what about buying? Finding a home in a competitive market isn't always easy, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of winning the home you want.

First things first, you have to get all your financing in order before you start house hunting. There's nothing worse than falling in love with a home you're to prepared to buy. While you're getting your financing in order, make a list of all the features your home has to have and those that you'd like to have but could compromise on. This will make sure you can quickly identify which houses are the best fit.

Once you have the financing and list of must-haves taken care of, keep an eye out for homes you're interested in so you can see them as soon as they hit the market. That is where working directly with me can help because I have direct access to the local MLS. Finally, it doesn't hurt to consider a larger area in your home search. Sometimes the perfect home is just a few miles outside your preferred location. And of course, I am here to help you navigate all of these steps and secure the home of your dreams.

Michelle Laratonda 

License #: RS226719L

1001 Logan Blvd.

Altoona, PA 16602 

(814) 932-0468

(814) 946-9355 

Mold & radon in State College, Johnstown, & Altoona.

Free continuing education for real estate agents

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Home inspections cumbersome?

If home inspections are typically a painful process for you as an agent, please let us know. Many of the deficiencies we find can be resolved before the home is ever put on the market. Part of the staging process should be identifying and fixing the routine maintenance items discovered during a home inspection. Let us know what your most common pitfalls are in regards to home inspections and we can put together a quick class for you, or your entire office, to help you and your clients move the home. We also offer pre-listing inspections. The details can be found here. 

Limiting agent liability during a home inspection

Here is a link to a quick article for real estate agents. Limiting liability is a primary concern for anyone involved in real estate. We understand this and all of our inspection agreements contain an agent indemnity clause. Home inspections in Johnstown, State College, and Altoona can be more complex due to the area's distressed status.  

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