Friday, April 25, 2014

Market Update, Local May Happenings and Tips

According to NAR's latest numbers, National housing sales remained about even across the country. Declining sales in the South and West were offset by gains in the Midwest and Northeast. Existing homes sales were 4.59 million in March compared to 4.60 million in February. The median existing home price was $198,500 for all types of housing. National housing inventory has increased a bit across the U.S., and 37 percent of the March homes sold had been on the market less than a month.

Freddie Mac reports that for a 30 year conventional fixed-rate mortgage, the national average rose to 4.34 percent in March. The rate a year ago was 3.57 percent. Seems with all the numbers above that the national housing market has reached a steady gain/loss ratio. With interest rates on the rise, existing inventory may continue to increase nationally, thus creating a lull in sales. Mortgage loan qualifying guidelines have become more stringent which has decreased the buyer pool to more serious buyers. Pre-qualifying has become a must for purchasing a home. NAR is still predicting interest rates to be at 5 percent or above by the end of the year. Take advantage of the lower rates now and buy!

Some local May events in Greenville.
  • May 3rd, 10th Annual Reedy River Duck Derby. Watch while adopted ducks race for charity. Begins at 10 am.
  • Downtown Line Dancing every Tuesday night in May. Starts at 6:15 pm at the Sears Recreation Center.
  • May 15th BMW Charity Pro-Am golf event. Starts at 7 am at the Green Valley Country Club, Thornblade Club and The Reserve at Lake Keowee. Supports 25 upstate charities.
  • May 22nd, The 2014 ACE Awards at Redemption World Outreach Center. Starts at 6:15 pm. Adults $25, Students $10. Reception later that evening at 8 pm.
Although these are just some of the community events happening in May, be sure to check out the site for more local events information.

Tip for the Week

Thinking about replacing your hot water heater? You might want to think tankless. These are smaller units, usually placed on the outside of your home, that require gas in order to operate. The tankless water heater is more efficient than a tanked version and uses less energy. You could see a $25 to $100 savings per year. Savings will depend on hot water use. Using less than 41 gallons a day gets a 24 to 34 percent efficiency rating. Using more lessens your efficiency rate proportionately. Systems using gas cost around $1500 to buy and install. Electric systems are cheaper but are not as efficient. Consult with your local gas or electric company on what their options are for tankless water heaters and what your costs and savings could result.

This week we take a look at The Beaded Frog in downtown Greenville. Located on north main street, it is a unique place carrying all kinds of supplies for creating jewelry and bead work. They sell hand-crafted jewelry, have teaching classes to help you create your own, carry tools and supplies and you can host a beading party. Stop by and check them out, then leave us a comment below on your experience.
the beaded frog on north main street in greenville sc
The Beaded From on North Main Street in Greenville SC.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Spring has Sprung, Has your Green Thumb?

Fertilizer provides needed nutrients for your garden.
Although we are just now beginning to think about gardening and planting bedding plants, have you thought about fertilizer? Garden plants need fertilizer but don't really care where it comes from or how much it cost. Key ingredients are potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous. Here is a way to make inexpensive garden fertilizer at home.
  • Begin by testing your soil. You can buy soil test kits at your local home improvement store for about $13. Each kit will test for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
  • Fertilizer from Fish-Emulsion. A good source of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and amino acids. Collect left over fish parts in a large bucket. Add one part fish to two part water in an air tight container. Put it in a sunny spot far from your house because it will smell as it cooks. Stir every couple of days and two weeks later you have fertilizer. Works best on beets, leafy greens, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.
  • Human Urine. It might sound crazy, but your urine is rich in phosphates, potassium and nitrogen and is a balanced treat for plants. In case you didn't know it, fresh urine from a healthy human is sterile. But don't go peeing on your plants. Urine must be diluted 1 part pee to 10 parts water. Then soak your plant roots. Works on cabbages, cucumbers, leafy greens and roses.
  • Epsom Salts. Epsom salts consist of magnesium which is a critical component of chlorophyll production and seed germination. Fertilizing with epsom salts increases your fruit and flower production for roses, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and house plants. Mix one tablespoon epsom salts to one gallon of water and spray foliage for best results.
  • Ash from your fireplace. Saving wood ash to use in your garden adds calcium and potassium to the soil. It will also help balance the pH level of acidic soil making it better for veggies. No special treatment just turn into soil of garden directly.
  • Broken up eggshells. Being rich in calcium they are loved by tomatoes. You can place them in your planting hole or turn them into the soil around your tomatoes. If your garden become plagued by slugs, place them on the ground around the plants. The sharp edges will slice up the slimy slugs.

Now I realize not all of us can be earth or cost conscious so I took a look at a brand name home improvement web site for pricing. Fertilizer runs anywhere from $13 for a 4.5 lb shake n feed brand to around $25 for a large bag. There are some less expensive bags/options but most of those are specialized for specific uses. Be sure to let me know if you try any of these solution by adding your comments below.

This week we take a look at Liz Daly Designs. This is an independent store supporting Indie artists and their work. Full of artwork and specialty items for your home. Step into their unique store and browse shelves. Let us know if you buy anything below in the comments section.

liz daly designs downtown greenville sc
Liz Daly Designs downtown Greenville SC

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Did the Last Round of Freezing Cold from the Polar Vortex Wreck your Yard?

Our winter weather this year has done a number on a lot of our lawns. Freezing, thawing and freezing again accompanied by ice is the worst. Take a closer look at your brown patches and then try pulling on the grass. If the patch comes up then the patch is dead, but it if doesn't come up easily you may be able to save it.

Here are some tips on how to put the green back in your burnt and brown lawn.
  • When do I begin the recovery? Once the last change of frost has passed and temperatures over night are above 35 degrees. Your soil temperature should be about 50-65 degrees.
  • Pull up dead patches of lawn or use a spade to dig out the patches.
  • Re-seed these areas and water with a light mist for 15 minutes a day. Seeds will only germinate in damp soil.
  • Once the seed germinates, water it more . Remember grass loves water, weeds love dry areas.
  • Let grow until 3 inches long or more before cutting.
  • You can also purchase sod to fill in the patches after you dig them up. Sod is more resistant to fluctuations in watering and more resistant to weeds.
Here is a local Easter happening for our area.
  • Easter Gathering - Origins Church. 10 - 11:30 am Sunday April 20th. Bowater Amphitheater on Main St.
This week we visit the Art Gallery Buntin. The gallery opened to showcase the works of Rob Buntin who moved to Greenville, SC with his wife Nicole and family. Rob studied at Furman University under the tutelage of Olof Sorensen. Then under Caroline Ebeid in North Carolina. Rob uses a bright color palette and focuses on transforming contemporary landscapes and cityscapes into brilliant works of art. He has a facebook page where he showcases upcoming pieces. Rob has also joined the First Fridays where he opens the studio from 5-9 pm the first Friday of each month for visitors. Stop by and take a look. Let us know what you think below.

buntin studio and artworks greenville sc
Buntin Studio and Artworks

By the way, if you need assistance with selling or buying a home in 2013 I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Does Your Fireplace Need a Facelift?

Is your fireplace looking old and tired? An inexpensive Do-It-Yourself façade can be the hit of your room. Potential buyers can pay up to $1,500 or more for a home with a fireplace according to the National Association of Realtors 2013 Home Features Survey.
Another survey by the National Association for Home Builders cited 46 percent of buyers thought appearance more important than quality. Here are some ideas for refinishing or sprucing up your fireplace.

  • Add rustic charm by re-facing with salvaged wood. Look for a local company that sells vintage beams and boards. Replace that faux wood with the salvage wood to add character and age. Maybe even replace or add a mantel piece.
  • Go from contemporary to rustic by adding chunky cultured stone around the opening of your fireplace. Then experiment with adding a oversized mantel and even some cedar shingles.
  • Change out your rustic fireplace in favor of a more contemporary one by removing the stone and replacing with the white Craftsman style. Craftsman style began in the late 19th century and has enjoyed limited revivals since. The lines are clean and straight with chunky wood or white painted trims and treatments.
  • Bring your dated fireplace into the present by painting the bricks white, adding a broader mantel piece and adding tile for the hearth. Raised tile hearths are very popular.

To help you prepare for your redo, take a picture of your fireplace and add it to a photo manipulation program., You are sure to have some fun in the process!

This week we explore the downtown shoppe of Anthropologie. After being founded 20 years ago in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Anthropologie remains a destination for women wanting a curated mix of clothing, accessories, gifts and home décor that reflects their personal style and fuels their lives' passions, from fashion to art to entertaining. Their styling is anywhere from relaxed French country side to eclectic glamour. You definitely won't look like the girl next door. Check them out and leave us a comment below about your experience.

anthropologie greenville sc