Marianne Avila - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty



Posted by Marianne Avila on 5/19/2019

One feature new homeowners most look forward to adding is a backyard garden. Afterall, is there anything better than a homegrown tomato or zucchini?

Another benefit of homeownership is the ability to start a compost heap for your garden. By skipping chemical fertilizers in favor of compost you will not only have a great way to recycle yard and kitchen scraps but also naturally replenish the soil. This leads to healthier plants, a healthier you and little by little a healthier planet.

Compost is so nourishing because of what is called humus. Humus is the part of soils made from decomposition. It restores nutrients to the malnourished soil, helps the soil retain moisture and even keep diseases from affecting your plants.

To get started you’ll want to choose how you’ll go about creating your compost. You can either opt for a tumbling composter, which takes a lot of the manual work out of turning your pile, or creating your compost on top of the ground, where it will have easy access to earthworms and easily drain excess water.

When creating a compost pile you will want it to be at least 3 feet long by 3 feet wide. You will also want your pile to be about 3 feet high. To help keep your pile neat and contained you can build, or buy, a fence-like box for your compost pile.  

When you have your compost “storage” of choice ready to go you’ll also want to have a good amount of scraps to begin building your pile up to those 3 feet I mentioned or fill up your bin. The best way to do this is to keep two sealable containers in your kitchen to toss scraps in for your pile. However, you don’t want to toss just anything into this container.


What you can put into your Dry (also called Brown) scrap container:

  • Eggshells

  • Tea leaves and/or coffee grounds

  • Dead flowers

  • Cardboard and paper goods (they must be unwaxed)

  • 100% cotton and/or wool (no synthetics)


What you can put in your Moist (also called Green) scrap container:

  • Vegetable scraps

  • Fruit scraps

  • Grass and leaves

  • Manure from herbivorous animals (cows, horses, rabbits, etc)


What you should never put in your containers:

  • Meat, fish or bone scraps

  • Manure from carnivorous animals (cats, dogs, etc)

  • Waxed, sticky or treated paper products and/or wood

  • Citrus peels or onions


Begin your pile with a layer of sticks and straw if you will be building it on bare ground. This will allow your compost to properly drain and avoid becoming oversaturated. Next, alternate layers of moist/green and dry/brown materials to an even 50/50 ratio.  

You will want turn over your pile every few weeks to allow for oxygenation. If your pile begins steaming that means the decomposition process is in action!  When it begins to turn a crumbly black in the center and earthworms are showing up compost has begun to/is fully formed and ready to use in your garden!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marianne Avila on 5/12/2019

When shopping for your new home, you can investigate and gauge many things about the house itself and even about the neighborhood as a whole to help make the best decision. One thing that's difficult to gauge or even factor into your decision making is your immediate neighbors. You might be able to look at their yard to see how they care for their home, or you might be able to tell right away if they have a loud animal, but you won't know them until after you've moved in and have lived in the new house for a while. Even if you could know ahead of time if they have noisy barbecues or a teenager with an aspiring rock band should that play into your decision? Your initial neighbors might decide to sell their home, or they might actually be renters, so you have no idea how long they'll be there. While getting a read on the community as a whole is essential—do people generally seem to care about their homes, are their clean streets and shared areas, etc.—you shouldn't refrain from buying the best house for you because you're concerned about your neighbors.

So, what to do if you move into your new home and it turns out your immediate neighbors aren’t so great?

If you find that your neighbor doesn’t do much upkeep on their front yard, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. If you see them when you're out mowing or weed-eating, you can offer to do theirs as well, as a friendly neighbor, but you can't go much farther than that. If their backyard has a lot of trash or messy kids toys or even a few old cars they haven't gotten around to working on you can do some things to keep their unsightly belongings from affecting an afternoon on your back patio.

  • Privacy fencing: If your home didn't have privacy fencing when you made the purchase, consider installing a new fence. There are affordable ways to implement privacy fencing that will create a visual barrier between you and your neighbor. Bonus — if they have a dog that likes to bark at anything it sees, or it just doesn't get along with your dog, the fencing will help prevent unwanted barking and extra noise.
  • Plant trees or bamboo: It’s a bit costlier but installing a line of medium-sized trees that grow tall (and quickly) or installing a second layer of "fencing" with a row of bamboo will increase the visual and sound barriers in addition to improving the beautiful greenery in your yard.
  • Direct attention away: If your yard is big enough to have a couple of different living areas try placing those areas on the opposite side of the yard from your neighbors and direct attention to your useable space. Install a gazebo in the back corner or hang a shade awning over the patio. Circle furniture up around a built-in BBQ facing away from the other yard. Light up the areas you use with string lights or tiki torches and leave the view along the less than desirable fence line darkened.
  • Outdoor Sound System: It's tempting to overpower your neighbor's loud music, but you can install an outdoor sound system that focuses on the entertaining and living areas of your yard to create more of a sound barrier between their loud music, dogs or children. Kind of like how restaurants use loud music to give each table privacy, you can give yourself a bit of privacy, and peace with strategically installed speakers. 

Finally, be a good neighbor. The primary key to having good neighbors is to be one. Be friendly, be open and be inviting. Follow the same considerate living principles you desire from your neighbors. Engage with your neighbors and become acquaintances or even friends. Who knows, the dad next door with the son who wants to learn death metal might need a break from the noise too, and could be the best new addition to your guys night.

If you're not exactly sure how to approach an issue with your new living arrangement, speak with your real estate professional for the best advice.




Tags: wood fence   privacy   lawn  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marianne Avila on 5/5/2019

Let's face it – stress can be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing with others to find the best house at the lowest price. Lucky for you, we're here to help you minimize the guesswork associated with purchasing a house, increasing the likelihood of a stress-free homebuying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a stress-free homebuying journey.

1. Study the Housing Market

The housing market conditions in one city or town may vary from the real estate conditions in another. As such, you'll want to assess the local housing market closely to identify patterns and trends. This will allow you to obtain comprehensive real estate market insights that can help you become a diligent homebuyer.

Of course, don't forget to analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town too. This housing market information can help you differentiate a seller's market from a buyer's one so you can tailor your homebuying journey accordingly.

2. Prep Your Finances

Although you know that you want to buy a house as soon as possible, you still have no idea how you'll pay for a residence. Fortunately, if you prepare your finances today, you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.

Consult with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. That way, you can explore a wide range of mortgage options and select one that matches your finances perfectly.

Also, be sure to ask lots of questions when you meet with lenders. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help you evaluate all of your home financing options. And if you ask plenty of mortgage questions, you can gain the insights that you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to avoid stress throughout the homebuying journey, it helps to hire a real estate agent. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can get the support that you need to thrive.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you map out a successful homebuying journey. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy to identify potential homebuying hurdles and ensure that you can avoid such issues.

Furthermore, a real estate agent delivers extensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will help you examine a broad array of houses and find a home that is right for you. Plus, after you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive homebuying proposal.

As you get ready to enter the real estate market, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and ultimately, you can minimize stress as you proceed along the homebuying journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marianne Avila on 4/28/2019

Selling a home can be pretty intense and stressful, especially if you haven't done so before. The pressure even becomes greater when you need to close your current sale before you move into a new home. Doing these few things may be the critical little steps you need to take to make that sale happen as fast as you need it.

  • Price your home right Pricing is especially important. A lot of times people price their homes based on what they think they ought to get for the house, but a buyer is only going to pay what he thinks is the value of the house. Pricing right means that your home won't stay for too long on the market—a negative indicator that can slow the sale.
  • Improve the curb appeal Curb appeal refers to how attractive your home looks to people on the outside. Little things like upgrading the exterior paint job, replacing the number plate, doorbell, and other external fittings or even mowing the lawn will all add up to make your house appeal to the buyer looking on from the outside.
  • Take good pictures The old saying is true that goes that a picture is worth more than a thousand words it comes to your house listing. You want to make sure that you avoid unattractive photos. You could use a professional photographer to make sure that your pictures are high quality with adequate lighting. Unless your cell phone camera is super good, you probably shouldn't use it.
  • Arrange your home right The right arrangement of your home might be what is needed to help your buyers make the final decision. Take away your personal touches and lay aside your preferences. The objective is to make it look like a home they can live in, and having too much of your personal items might be a distraction as it makes it harder for them to picture themselves living in a home that still has your pictures on the wall.
  • Write out a great listing copy And while a picture may be worth a thousand words, a picture plus a thousand words, is worth a lot more. A vivid description makes potential buyer of your home have an idea of how living in your home may feel. You should talk about any advantages your neighborhood has, such as proximity to schools or shopping malls. Let the buyer think that your home is unique with your words. If you need assistance with a good description, talk to a professional writer for help.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marianne Avila on 4/21/2019

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to transform an ordinary kitchen into a comfortable, attractive setting. With an awe-inspiring kitchen, you may be able to differentiate your house from others that are available in a competitive real estate market. Plus, your house's kitchen might even lead some homebuyers to submit offers immediately following a home showing.

Clearly, a top-notch kitchen can make a world of difference when you sell your house. But how can you determine whether a kitchen overhaul is necessary?

Here are three questions to consider before you embark on a kitchen renovation.

1. When do I plan to sell my house?

If you intend to sell your home quickly, you may have limited time at your disposal. Therefore, a complete kitchen overhaul may not be an option.

On the other hand, if you have several weeks or months to plan ahead, it may be worthwhile to evaluate your kitchen and find ways to improve it.

Consider your home selling timeline closely. That way, you can examine various home improvement projects and determine whether a kitchen renovation is a priority.

2. How much money do I have to complete a kitchen renovation?

A kitchen renovation can include everything from simple upgrades to a massive overhaul. As such, the costs associated with a kitchen renovation may vary.

Assess your home improvement budget and plan accordingly. If you have the funds available, you may be able to revamp your entire kitchen. However, if your financial resources are limited, you may need to consider cost-effective measures to enhance your kitchen.

Remember, there are many quick, easy ways to bolster your kitchen. Wiping down the walls and ceiling can help your kitchen dazzle. Meanwhile, repainting the kitchen walls and mopping the floors also provide simple, effective ways to improve your kitchen's appearance without breaking your budget.

3. Is a kitchen renovation worth my time?

A home appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for home sellers who are on the fence about completing a kitchen renovation.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine your residence and provide a report that highlights your house's strengths and weaknesses. This report can help you establish a price range for your home. In addition, the report may provide you with insights into whether a kitchen renovation may enable you to boost your home's value.

Lastly, if you're still uncertain about a kitchen renovation after a home appraisal, a real estate agent may be able to provide extra support.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of selling a home. Thus, he or she can evaluate your residence and help you decide whether a kitchen renovation is worth your time.

When it comes to a kitchen renovation, it is essential for home sellers to examine all of their options. Consider the aforementioned questions, and you should have no trouble determining if a kitchen renovation is right for you.




Categories: Uncategorized  




© 2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.