You either love them or you hate them is what I’ve heard from many through the years. I’ve come to love them even more so, since they are so easy to propagate and can provide beautiful indoor color in the coldest of the winter months.
These bedding or container plants are actually “not” geraniums but rather pelargoniums. True geraniums are the perennial cranesbills. Pelargoniums are semi-tender plants native to South Africa. When they were first introduced, back in the 17th century, botany wasn’t an exact science. So, based on the shape of their petals, collectors categorized them as the same, “geranium”.
It wasn’t until 1786 when Thomas Jefferson shipped the plant from France to noted Philadelphia horticulturist, John Bartram, that the geranium finally grabbed the attention of gardeners in America. Almost 230 years later the name geranium has stuck.
My father and his 92 year old sister have been propagating geraniums for generations, passing them down to others to enjoy as they have. My dad, just loves creating life and watching it grow. I recently got the bug and have started cultivating the newer varieties to scatter around my yard, offering bright, bold bursts of color til frost.
Open-pollinated flowers will not be true to color by seed so the easiest method is to propagate by stem cuttings. Cuttings are taken from the ends of active growing stems, preferably ones that are not in bloom. The cutting should be minimally two to four inches and should be cut just below a node (the point where the leaf is attached to the stem). Use a sterilized and sharp knife, razor or pruning shears. It needs to be a clean cut so the sharpness is important. Remove all leaves with the exception of two or three small leaves.
I have not had tremendous success using rooting hormone with geraniums as I do with other cuttings. Set the cutting in water just above the cut and cover with water about 1/2 inch above the cut end. This time of year the sun is still quite hot, so be sure to keep your cuttings out of the direct sunlight, but close enough to feel the heat. Before you know it, tiny hairy roots appear.
I have found the best mixture is a little bit of potting mix, perlite or vermiculite. I never measure anything perfectly, however, it should be about 1/3 to 1/2 perlite or vermiculite. A two inch pot is an appropriate size for a cutting of this size and be sure that atleast one node is covered by the mix.
One thing I have learned is the importance of disinfecting your cutting element between different cultivars. Plant diseases are easily passed by the cutting tool so a quick wipe with white vinegar or bleach is recommended.
Most plants benefit from bottom heat (propagating mats) especially during the cooler months, but I’ve never had the need. Once plants are established they need to be watered every few weeks and if you miss a watering, they will not wither and die so easily. Geraniums, even during the summer, prefer to be on the drier side, making them a low maintenance plant … which is what truly attracted me to them in the first place.
Transplant your new plant when you see roots coming out of the bottom of your pot. I continue to use the same mixture to help it maintain moisture and keep the soil light, but most people use regular potting soil.
You are on your way. Have fun and delight in the beauty.
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More Than Just Utilitarian
Popular, functional and designed to make a statement, barn doors have come inside and their popularity is growing worldwide. Their appeal reaches beyond the typical rustic styled home to coastal, city and country homes with an urban farmhouse look. The aesthetic design of the rolling barn door adds the “wow” factor to modern, contemporary and homes with a European flair.
Barn doors are great space-savers. They are perfect for openings that do not offer the swing space for a hinged door or if you would like to capture more interior wall space, the rolling door is the perfect solution. However, barn doors are used in design as an interesting and attractive focal point as a room divider between a dining and living room, or if you need to hide a TV or movie screen, a barn door creates the visual interest providing functionality.
When choosing a barn door, consider the style of the room and home keeping in mind what you are trying to achieve. A rustic element to a modern or contemporary space is an unexpected design feature that adds character. Paint it a bold color, such as pumpkin or red, and you have created a piece of artwork. Today’s materials are not just limited to wood, but, acrylic, glass, metals or a combination of each, are utilized for that one-of-a-kind piece.
Whatever your style, the beauty of the rolling barn door is an affordable unexpected upgrade to add to your home to impress even the most discerning buyer.
Control the Humidity – Keep your humidity levels low….No higher than 50%. Most people run into humidity issues in their basements, so think about getting a dehumidifier if you are having trouble with moisture levels. Keep the air moving. Ceiling attic fans, if used properly, draw the cooler air from outside inside and out through a ridge vent in the attic.
If you have central a/c, then controlling the humidity level of your house should be relatively easy, as the air in your home will be constantly on the move, keeping humidity from building up in any one particular room. Just be sure to have your air conditioning and heating ducts checked for signs of mold.
Check Your Vents– Dryer, kitchen, and bathroom vents can all pose mold problems if they aren’t built to blow exhaust directly out of your home. Many homes built in the 1980′s – 1990′s vented to the attic area only so double check your vents and redirect them outside.
Flooding – If your home happens to incur flood damage, be sure to rectify the problem within 24 hours, and at most, 48. Any longer than that, and you risk mold growth. Sometimes, minor flooding issues can be overlooked for a day or two, so if there are any instances where carpets, rugs, or upholstery are moist or wet for an extended period of time, then have them replaced to avoid mold complications.
Painting – If you plan to paint your home, look into adding mold inhibitors to your paint. This will cut down on the amount of places in your home that mold can proliferate.
Today, many real estate conversations center on housing prices and where they may be headed. That is why we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
The results of their latest survey
- Home values will appreciate by 4.6% in 2014.
- The cumulative appreciation will be 19.5% by 2018.
- That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.6% over the next 5 years.
- Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 11.2% by 2018.
Individual opinions make headlines. We believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values and where home prices may be headed.
Pulsenomics via The KCM Crew
And with the walkability factor becoming more in demand, walkability may increase the saleability of the home! Walkable urban areas are showing signs of becoming the strongest housing market today.
The real estate website feature “Walk Score” lets buyers know how close each home is listed to shops, restaurants and community parks. Franklin, Massachusetts has a walkable score of “88″ out of “100″ and considered very walkable.
Market reports show that home values in walkable neighborhoods are greater than in the car dependent suburbs. Home rents in urban walkable neighborhoods are able to bring 60% more annually than those in the suburbs where a car is needed.
A Pew Research Center Social & Demographic Trends survey showed “suburbanites are significantly more satisfied with their communities than are residents of cities, small towns or rural areas. This survey explores what Americans like — and don’t like — about the places where they live”.
The rebirth of the downtown district has been unfolding for many years, however, the positive activity the real estate market is experiencing has given rise to new opportunities for today’s home buyers. The people’s interest in walkable neighborhoods is becoming more popular with the trend moving towards healthier lifestyles that include walking, bike riding and ride sharing.
If you haven’t yet been outside today, consider taking a walk.
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Have a Happy and Safe July 4th Holiday
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Who Truly Benefits?
A “Pocket Listing” is an industry term for a home listing that is not in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). It is as simple as the words imply, a listing being held close to the vest and not available to the broader buying pool.
The concept originated many years back when celebrities were marketing their homes. The rich and famous were not interested in posting dozens of pictures online to be gawked at, and they certainly didn’t want hundreds of curious strangers invading their personal space. At that price point and owners with such notoriety, it makes some sense to keep the listing private, however, the average homeowner needs the broader buying pool to capture the highest and best price, and the MLS is where they need to be.
The MLS is designed to provide maximum exposure and the opportunity to fetch top dollar for the seller. All buyers go where the home listings are and that is the Multiple Listing Service.
The seller is the one to make the decision to keep a home listing off the MLS. Many sellers are attracted to the perceived benefits of selling a house outside of the MLS and might not be informed as to the pitfalls associated with this method. This method tends to appeal to sellers who don’t want hassle and inconvenience of showing their property or sellers who think they are saving money on a commission, when in actuality they could be receiving less than market value. More times than not the cost of using a realtor allows the seller to pocket more money in the end.
Other sellers like to test the market with their home and price, however, if they are only receiving a tiny sampling of the buying pool, how do they know if the feedback is accurate or the offer is current market value.
So why are we seeing such an increase with pocket listings? With the market shifting back to a seller’s market, many list agents, who realize they can double dip on the commission, is determined to be the motivating factor for the increase in pocket listings. This has many realtors questioning the ethics of holding a listing in-house. As a list agent, we have a fiduciary relationship to represent the seller’s best interests and pocket listings limit the buying pool with other potential issues, such as the seller losing their negotiating power and appraisal problems.
Almost every seller tells me during the pre-listing period that if I have a buyer, to bring them in … unaware of the financial ramifications of this statement. The strategies I use to reduce the “days on market” and the number of contingencies in an offer allow the seller to move confidently to the closing table knowing they received their highest and best price, with the least amount of inconvenience, in a competitive environment that provided options.
Keeping you informed of the current market trends. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions. If I can help you with your real estate needs, I’m just a phone call away.
All the best,
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We are not seeing this demand in our area as of yet, however, it could be on the horizon, what are your thoughts about this new trend? Article below written by Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine
Demand Grows for Separate Kitchens
Open floorplans have been in high demand in recent years, with buyers showing preferences for open kitchens and dining areas tucked into great rooms. But could that be changing? A New York Times article highlights a “separate kitchen comeback,” as some home owners say they want a more defined space for a kitchen and dining area. More new buildings are opting to feature separate kitchens and formal dining rooms due to a rising demand for separate corridors, according to the article.
Why are some home owners suddenly wanting to close off the interior of their homes again? Some point to a “dirty dishes” driver. Home owners are finding that when entertaining they prefer to have a separate kitchen space so their guests don’t have to see the food being prepared or look at the dirty dishes afterwards.
The separate kitchen and dining space also helps to remove one popular sticking point for home buyers: How to fit their existing dining room table into an open floorplan? “The issue of where to put the dining table kills more deals than anything else in real estate. If a family is moving, the dining table is the one thing they say they can’t part with,” Barbara van Beuren, a managing partner with Anbau Enterprises, told The New York Times. Anbau Enterprises is developing new duplexes in New York City featuring dedicated dining rooms.
For some home owners, they’re preference for separate kitchens is more nostalgic. They desire it because it reminds them of their childhood home.
“So much new construction features open floor plans that there’s a pent-up desire for apartments with separate dining rooms and kitchen,” broker George Case with Citi Habitats told The New York Times. “They offer charm, they’re better for entertaining, and you don’t have to see your partner first thing in the morning. For a certain demographic, they’re a definite selling point.”
Some listing ads are even highlighting homes with a separate dining room, viewing it as a selling point. Some architects also are responding to the increase in demand with what they’re dubbing “hybrid kitchens,” using pocket doors that can be opened or closed to give home owners the option of an open or closed kitchen.
Curb Appeal is an invitation, and if you are selling your home you want to invite everyone to the party. When designing both your interior and exterior, less is more.
So, how to achieve the right curb appeal effect is very easy. Reduce. Reduce the visual clutter.
Simplicity in your presentation allows buyers to visually absorb the framed picture in a positive light. The elements capture your interest and draw you into the picture. In the photo above, the mass of the pink shrubbery balances the natural colors of the steps, creating a scaled unified focal point. The pots continue the journey, adding depth and intrigue, guiding you to the front door.
Remove small flower plant combinations with a robust shrub or cluster 3-5 medium sized perennial plants to create a larger visual mass.
You can’t get all of your dream homes into one property, so you must learn how to edit the picture. Step back from your home, to the road, and frame your home’s view as a drive-by buyer might see it. When things are right, you will feel it from this vantage point and you will know you have achieved the right curb appeal effect.
Take your influence from Asian inspired designs. Simple and tranquil; evoking calmness and scientifically proven to lower one’s blood pressure. The Asian design incorporates natural elements; wood, stone, plant life, and a mostly monochromatic color scheme. Contrasting and complimenting these elements create a soothing, restful mindset when entering.
If your exterior home isn’t evoking this “feeling” for you, it certainly won’t for your potential buyer. Spring is the ideal season to plant. It allows the plants to become established more easily, and for you to enjoy tending to, and nurturing, their growth as the season’s change.
Start small. One quick and easy way to begin to add personality, is simply by delineating the lawn edge from the garden bed. More times than not, I’ve started with this simple plan and then suddenly I realize I’ve reshaped my entire vision.
When your outside space and the unexpected hidden pockets become a destination point for you, then you are expanding your livable space and increasing your home’s value. Take a walk through your yard and see what potential is being untapped.
Here are a few ideas to stimulate your creative and artistic side while increasing your home’s value.