Latest Real Estate News

    • Yes, You Can Garden With Your Littles

      25 May 2018

      If you have little ones afoot, the prospects of getting much gardening done may seem slim—but if you're armed with the right strategies, you'll find that not only can you still enjoy your favorite gardening activities, you can actually engage your young children in the process as well. Not only will this make you happy and keep them occupied, it will help develop their lifelong love of gardening and nature. Try some of these ideas to get those tiny green thumbs going:

      Assign tasks. Structure is essential with any activity involving children, so give your kids a specific job to do, such as spreading mulch in a garden bed, gathering sticks, pulling up weeds or digging small holes for seeds.

      Invest in the right tools. Buying child-sized gloves and gardening tools will be worth the investment. Not only will it excite your children to have their very own supplies; it will enable them to work more effectively in the garden, avoiding frustration and meltdowns.

      Give them their own garden. If space permits, assign a small garden bed or patch of dirt to be your child's own private garden. According to, it's empowering for kids to plant as they see fit, tend their garden and watch the progress.

      Let them choose what to plant. Now that they have their own space, provide a little guidance, then let them choose what they'd like to plant. Steer them toward hearty plants and vegetables so that they can reap what they sow.

      Make it fun. Be sure to make garden maintenance, from watering to weeding, a fun, social time, advises Sing and chat together, and never do these chores in the heat of the day. Indulge in a little water fight now and then, or let them run through the sprinkler. The idea is to make sure your child associates gardening with fun.

      Finally, be sure your children enjoy the fruits of their labor, whether that means helping them prepare a meal that includes the veggies they grew, or creating a floral arrangement with flowers from their garden bed. Encourage them to draw and take pictures that document their gardening endeavors each season so they can see how they've grown in the process, as well.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Ban Bunnies From Your Yard

      25 May 2018

      While you may love the look of a snuggly bunny, gardeners know how wild rabbits can be a devastating problem. To protect your yard from rabbits, you first need to identify their presence. Because they often come out at dawn and sunset, you may rarely see them. According to the animal repellent experts at Bobbex, these are the top signs that you've got rabbits:

      - Plant damage low to the ground, often a few inches above the soil

      - A clean, 45-degree angle cut on the end of stems and leaves

      - Woody plants debarked up to 16 inches from the ground

      - Piles of rabbit droppings (dark, pea-sized pellets)

      - Tracks: Wild rabbits have five toes on their front feet and four toes on their (much longer) hind feet.

      Check, check, and re-check. If you do catch a glimpse of the furry intruder, you may be able to identify the most common wild rabbit species. Cottontails are common in North America, identified by their short tail that resembles a tuft of cotton. Snowshoes are typically found in rocky, mountainous terrain, and are identified by their large feet with white fur during winter and rusty brown fur during warmer months. Finally, the speedy jackrabbit is found in the Western U.S., and is known for its incredibly long ears and powerful hind legs.

      Once you know you have rabbits ravaging your yard, it's time to take action. There are a few ways to safely repel them before the damage is done.

      Step 1: Build and bury barriers.

      Fencing can be an effective way to keep rabbits at bay. If you're targeting rabbits, the fence only needs to be three feet tall as they are unlikely to jump over it; however, you'll have to bury the fence underground, since rabbits are experts at burrowing up to a foot below the surface to access a tasty food source.

      Step 2: Repel and remove temptation.

      Bobbex-R Repellent is all-natural, environmentally-friendly and proven effective at protecting ornamental plantings from small, four-legged garden critters such as rabbits. Usable in any weather, it won't burn plants or wash off. Use it as a bulb dip to deter underground damage, or spray it at the mouth of burrows to prevent animals from re-entering. It's safe for humans, pets, birds and aquatic life.

      Step 3: Remove the creature's comforts.

      Many homeowners are surprised to find rabbits have made a home under stairs or in a shed. If you don't want rabbits nesting and raising families in your yard, remove brush and other debris that could provide them easy shelter, and spray a repellent in those areas to maintain rabbit-free hiding places.

      These three simple steps will help you safely repel rabbits so you can fully enjoy the beauty and bounty of your outdoor space.

      Source: Bobbex Inc.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Countertops 101: Granite vs. Quartz

      25 May 2018

      (Family Features)—Kitchens and bathrooms are among the most common renovation projects, and countertops are often a focal point of these redesigns; however, choosing the right countertop can be overwhelming. To help make the difficult decision a little simpler, JCPenney Home Services experts offer insight on two of the most popular choices:

      Granite countertops have long been the mainstay of a beautiful kitchen or bathroom. Granite is a natural stone, quarried from large stone deposits around the world. It can have many different variations of patterns and colors, giving each slab a unique appearance that is visually rich and dynamic.

      In addition to its distinctive beauty and classic elegance, granite is also extremely durable. Granite is highly resistant to heat and scratches and, with proper sealing, offers good water and stain resistance, and is easy to clean.

      Granite typically needs to be sealed, both prior to installation and at least once per year. If properly maintained, a granite countertop will last for as long as you own your home, making it a potential long-term investment.

      Quartz is another popular choice for countertops due to its durability, stain resistance and ease of maintenance.

      It's an engineered product made mostly from up to 93 percent quartz, a non-porous natural stone, combined with a small amount of binder and color. Small particles of glass or reflective metal flakes can also be added to some quartz designs to achieve a more unique look. The result is an attractive slab that can be made in a wide variety of tones and colors, and can be finished to duplicate high-gloss, polished stone.

      Quartz is one of the most durable countertop materials and one of the easiest to maintain. It is highly resistant to heat, water and stains, including stains from coffee, wine, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and more. Unlike granite, quartz does not need to be sealed, making it easier to maintain over time.

      Source: JCPenney Home Services

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Homeowners: How You Can Help Your Local Wildlife

      24 May 2018

      Do you love looking at the wildlife in your yard? From butterflies to birds and bunnies to bees, here are several easy and impactful ways to participate and start helping your local wildlife, from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF):

      Create a habitat for your local wildlife. Think first of the birds, butterflies and bees that you can support in your garden habitat, then select plants that provide the kinds of food they need, such as nectar, berries or seeds. Plant according to your region, local environment and conditions, from sunny deserts to shady woodlands. Use NWF's "Plant Finder" to get a list of the plants native to your area that support wildlife.

      Think small. No yard? No problem! For those with small outdoor spaces, select pots and planters that allow you to plant a selection of blooming pollinator-friendly native plants.

      Plant for year-round diversity and beauty. Wildlife needs food, water, cover and places to raise young all year. Choose a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year, from native wildflowers to shrubs that produce berries. Evergreens provide year-round cover. Think vertically, too. Incorporate existing large trees and then underplant with smaller trees and shrubs for cover and nesting places.

      Plant in groups. This will result in more color, textural impact and eye-catching patterns throughout the garden bed or landscape. This technique also draws the eye into the garden, and the close plantings will prevent weeds and minimize the need for excess mulching. Clusters of blooming plants are more likely to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

      Keep water sources in mind. Adding bird baths or container water gardens help attract a variety of wildlife, from birds to tree frogs.

      Certify your garden. Celebrate by certifying your garden with the National Wildlife Federation and proudly display a sign! Show why you have designed your yard intentionally to help wildlife and encourage others to do the same. Certifying also spreads the wildlife gardening message to your entire neighborhood.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • A Handy Guide to Starting a Home Remodel

      24 May 2018

      (Family Features)—Apprehension and inexperience keep many homeowners from pursuing renovation projects that would make their homes more functional, enjoyable and comfortable. Getting your hands dirty on the front-end—with some planning and preparation—is the best blueprint for a successful home remodeling project.
      To help you start your remodel on the right track, consider these tips from Gary White with JCPenney Home Services.

      Start With a Plan
      Although it may sound obvious, the first step really is to decide what you hope to accomplish with your renovation. At the least, begin to outline rough ideas to discuss with an expert. Reaching out to contractors before you've determined a basic idea for your project can waste time and money. Spend time listing the features you must have, as well as some nice-to-haves if budget allows. Also think about overall functionality, design and layout. If you get overwhelmed or need ideas, don't hesitate to turn to online showrooms or magazines for inspiration.

      Set a Budget
      If the sky is the limit, skip ahead, but if you're like most homeowners, money matters. Have a clear idea of what you can afford to invest in your renovation before you get started, and if necessary, research the financing options available to you. Look for financing that provides deferred interest or low monthly payments to help manage the project cost. Setting a clear budget can help keep your contractors accountable, and it goes a long way toward ensuring you can enjoy your finished project without regret.

      Draw Up the Plans
      To help set your plan in motion, there are numerous online tools you can utilize to simplify each step of the process including design, budgeting and more. If you're planning a home remodel, a comprehensive resource, like JCPenney Home Services, offers a one-stop-shop for bathroom remodeling, countertops, custom window treatments, flooring, heating and cooling, water heaters and whole-home water treatment.

      Involve a Professional
      Unless you have the time and skills, you'll want a licensed and insured contractor to lead the project when you're ready to get your renovation in motion. It can be wise to solicit multiple bids, not only to ensure you get the best value, but also to find someone whose work, style and experience is most in-line with the needs of your project. After all, this person will be a big part of your life during a fairly stressful time period. Always check references and verify the contractor's standing with local associations.

      Get Ready for Work
      Remember that you'll need to create a work environment that is safe for your contractors and protects your valuable possessions. Establish a clear path to the project space for easy access and removal of debris. Furniture, appliances, room furnishings, valuables and breakable items should be removed from both the path to the work site and the work site itself. If your renovation project will involve an essential room, such as the kitchen or a bathroom, make alternate arrangements, such as creating a makeshift kitchen with the bare necessities, in another part of the house.

      Source: JCPenney Home Services

      Published with permission from RISMedia.