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Summer Threat to Homes and Gardens

The Appearance of Poison Ivy. 
Avoid Then Conquer It This Year With These Landscaping Tips

“Leaves of three let them be.” Being exposed to poison ivy is the worst, especially if you are sensitive to its toxic oil. Fortunately there are precautionary steps that can be taken to avoid this dangerous plant. First and most important, make sure you know how to properly identify poison ivy. Know what it looks like and be safe rather than sorry. Poison ivy leaves are shiny and thin. Young leaves are bright green with a hint of red or orange. The edges are jagged and of course they occur in threes. One leaf is at the end of the stem and two other leaves form exactly opposite each other. During early summer, you may see white or green berries or small white flowers around the stem.

Look up and down for the feisty leaves. They can be discovered anywhere. An unloved area of your yard is a good place to investigate. The vine, once it has taken hold, can get thick and hairy and grow up a tree or fence, side of a garage or infiltrate another unsuspecting bush.

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Make Your Home a Teen-Friendly Hang Out Zone

Many people believe teenagers are the hardest human beings to understand that exist on planet earth. Parents may not understand their need for privacy, a most difficult concept. Teenagers need privacy and space so they can make their own decisions and choices. They learn life lessons from this independence. Sometimes grumpy, rude, or having an attitude, can be a cry for independence and may just mean it is time for a break, for both parents and teens. That said, there is a trend in renovations to create “private” areas for teens or “kid zones” for children in the home. Engage your teen in the creative process to design a welcoming place where they can have privacy for fostering independence or for entertaining in a safe environment. Designate the spot that will be theirs, most fitted to a basement, downstairs den or other area of the household. Arnold and Graesch’s “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” is an anthropological study of 32 American homes that has found that for many of us, leisure is spent indoors. 

Read more: Make Your Home a Teen-Friendly Hang Out Zone

Chimney Tips for Safe Fireplace Use

“As the weather outside turns frightful,
before making a fire that’s delightful,
Prepare for the wind and snow,
Curb Appeal suggests things you should know.”

Many New Jersey, Essex County and Morris County homeowners are in much better shape than last year, but any New Jersey winter is worthy of respect. Before getting deep into the bone-chilling days, there are several
maintenance tasks to do, inside and out, to protect a home from those ravishing elements.

Before striking the first fireplace match, go outside and assess the condition of the chimney. How close are the nearest tree branches? If closer than 15 feet away from the chimney and roof, they will need to be trimmed back or removed. Once removed, they will not pose a threat of catching fire or falling on and damaging the roof. Take care of overgrown evergreen tress or bushes at the same time and preserve siding, brick or paint. 

Is a sufficient chimney cap installed? Keeping out the elements, snow and ice especially, as is preventing an unexpected visit from a squirrel or other critter is the proper function of a chimney cap. Observe the flashing, which is the metal that prevents water and ice from forming where the chimney meets the roofline. Bricks can deteriorate over time and if any issue is suspect, call us to professionally assess the risk.

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Enhancing Your Home to Prepare for Renting or Rental Income

New Jersey real estate forecasters say it’s a buyers market, but it is much better to sell when it’s a seller’s market. The “once-in-a-generation opportunity to buy …with once-in-a-lifetime mortgage rates,” are still in effect. Yet, if you can afford it, it may make sense to wait to sell and rent your house instead. Some forecasters predict that in a few months we will see homes selling for substantially more than they are now.
(http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/13/05/29/is-the-housing-market-making-a-jersey-comeback/

To make your home rental ready and to attract a good quality tenant, there are several improvements you can do or have a professional like Curb Appeal Design do for you. Repair and replace any unsightly items like carpets, rotted fences, damaged tree limbs or ceiling leaks. Double check and make sure all electrical wiring is up to code and repair even the most minor problem. Ensure all windows and doors are working properly and repair any locks that stick or jam. Leaky faucets or toilets and other plumbing repairs are essential to peace of mind. The better condition your home is in, the better it will be maintained and the less headaches you will have with break downs in the middle of the night.

Read more: Enhancing Your Home to Prepare for Renting or Rental Income