When it comes to selling your home, it is always a good idea to have a home inspection first before you put your home on the market. Here’s why:
- When was the last time you went into your attic? Poor ventilation in your attic can lead to mold issues.
- What about your crawlspace? Dry-rot can lead to big issues if not replaced.
- Check to make sure your hot water heater has the required earthquake straps.
- Curb appeal is a MUST to get potential buyers interested in your home. Investing in curb appeal is one of the most important things you can start with. Make your house stand out from all the rest!
- Cleaning your gutters is one of the items an appraiser will call for to have done.
- Has your roof been cleaned recently? There should not be any moss growing there.
“It is always a good idea to have your furnace cleaned and serviced,” noted Leslie Swindahl of Hawkins Poe of University Place /Tacoma.
If you find any of these issues, you will want to get them fixed as soon as possible. Once you have addressed health and safety issues, it’s time for a Hawkins Poe REALTOR® (Leslie Swindahl) to come and look at your home inside and out. Our REALTORS® will always put our skill, experience, on your side.
When it comes to selling your home for the first time, this is when a Hawkins Poe REALTOR® is your best choice to help you through the process. When you work with Hawkins Poe, you can expect friendly, professional service that includes in-depth knowledge of the area and the current market conditions, outstanding communication skills along with the ability to aggressively market, manage and negotiate for you!
Leslie Swindahl, REALTOR®
From Our Network
Guest Post by Home Depot
Warm weather is upon us, and it’s time to take the party outside. From Cinco de Mayo to Mother’s Day to Memorial Day, spring’s signature celebrations deserve a festive and welcoming outdoor space. But what if your patio feels a little plain, a little bare, or a little less-than-inspiring for the party of your dreams?
Dreams can become reality if you have the right plan. And we can prove it. We will show you how to take a winter-worn patio and make it bloom into a versatile foundation for hosting three spring parties, from setting up the perfect base space to perfecting every minor detail, down to the apps and napkins.
With the advice from our design and party experts, and the dramatic before and after photos of our patio designs, you are sure to find the inspiration to transform your patio into a party destination all season long.
Build a Beautiful Base
Before running off to purchase celebration decorations, take the time to build a versatile, functional outdoor living base for your family, whether you are entertaining or not. Most patios need the following basic elements:
- A table and set of chairs
- Planters and greenery
- A source of shade
Of course, don’t forget the grill—the official cooking tool of spring and summer.
Click on the arrows to see the patio transformation:
Spruce up the area
After the dreary winter months, your backyard oasis might look a little rough around the edges. Shrubbery can have dead or uneven growth, and leaves and branches litter the ground. In general, your greenery may need a little TLC. Pay attention to the plants and lawn around your patio by trimming, checking for disease or damage, and fertilizing all greenery. Setting up your lawn and garden for success means that they’ll reward you with beauty all season long.
Don’t forget the patio itself. Concrete is the most common patio surface, and since it is semi-porous, it can hold general grime as well as stains from plant matter. Use a pressure washer to bring back its sparkle (while you’re at it, extend the cleaning to the exterior of the house as well). Pressure-washing can prolong the life of your surfaces (mold and mildew naturally cause decay), and the results are immediate!
Once the surface is clean, add potted planters filled with seasonal, colorful flowers to help blend the patio with its surrounding environment.
Choose your investment pieces
Plastic Adirondack chairs are great for a casual get together. But when you’re ready to transform your outdoor space into an entertaining area suitable for the whole family, you’ll need comfortable, attractive seating, some shade and a table fit for all the great food coming off the grill.
“The elements are going to take their toll, so it’s important to invest in quality,” says KariAnne Wood, a blogger, lifestyle expert and creator of Thistlewood Farms in Paducah, Kentucky. “Look for pieces that are a good scale for your size patio, and when you invest in furniture, make sure that you get furniture protectors so you can protect it from the elements in the off season.”
A neutral table and chair set is a great base (especially if you add a little texture with a rug below it). From there, says Wood, it’s time to add some shade. Consider an umbrella or pergola: “It extends the life of the patio, and helps define and add purpose to the space.”
Umbrellas come in a huge range of styles, from traditional table-anchored options to bigger, more modern cantilever styles.
Finally, the easiest way to “fire up” a party is to add a grill to your outdoor setting. By taking the cooking outside, you’ll get to spend time with your guests, keep the house cool in the heat of summer and show off your cooking chops to the neighborhood. Gas and charcoal are both excellent choices, and some grills include both, so you can leave your options open.
Your base patio is set! Now, building a specific party setting is a snap, which Jacqueline Lawrence of inventivENVIRONMENTS in Charleston, South Carolina, illustrates with the following seasonal soirees.
“I love a challenge like this!” says Lawrence. “It’s really all about creating a plan and then layering the look with texture, color and fabric.”
Party One: Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is rising in popularity as a celebration in the US, but don’t fear that you’re stuck with plastic margarita glasses, a piñata and sombreros. Go beyond cliché to celebrate the vibrancy of Mexico and its rich heritage.
Lawrence explains her elegant approach: “We want something cool and inviting for Cinco de Mayo, so we evoke the colors and textures of the high Mexico desert. Cool sage greens, a woven runner, citrus and succulents provide inspiration, and the last two do double duty on the table-scape: The citrus can be a great beverage garnish, and the potted succulents a thoughtful takeaway gift for the evening’s guests.”
Click on the arrows to see the Cinco de Mayo patio transformation:
Additionally, since Cinco de Mayo is often more of an evening affair, Lawrence also includes a glint of copper to catch the setting rays of the sun, and uses the space under the umbrella as a party “ceiling” from which to hang decorative elements. In this case, copper lanterns accented by a fresh flower garland woven throughout look even better when there’s a soft glow from the lanterns’ candles.
Our menu highlights the culture of Mexico:
Party Two: Mother’s Day
Small details, pale petals, tinkling glass and delicate treats—Mother’s Day is all about making the women in your life feel special, so it makes sense that traditional feminine details lead the way in this design. Seersucker fabric is fresh and full of spring promise, beautiful glassware makes the day sparkle and you can never have enough flowers for Mom.
“The amount of flowers for this scene might feel over the top, but really, it’s very doable!” says Lawrence. “Purchase some potted plants in bloom for the planters, and then layer flowers for the table. Buy simple cut flowers to arrange for a centerpiece, and then add flower heads to each place setting—and even the ice cubes! Different varieties, colors and sizes really provide the illusion of an abundance of petals.”
Click on the arrows to see the Mother’s Day patio transformation:
Below the petal explosion are the fresh stripes of seersucker—Lawrence used the iconic breathable fabric as a runner, complemented by delicate napkins and even more floral motifs on fabric pillows, which creates a luxurious feel and makes the scene one-of-a-kind. Maybe mom always told you to “dot your i’s and cross your t’s”—this design does all that in the details.
Our garden-inspired Mother’s Day menu features fresh and light fare:
Party Three: Memorial Day
For Memorial Day, take your color cue from the American flag to plan a patriotic party. Red, white and blue used in equal proportions create a bold backdrop for a casual cookout.
Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, California, uses the patriotic trio to great effect.
“Nothing says ‘all-American’ quite like a decorative grouping of pots and planters full of red geraniums, while vibrant outdoor pillows in hues of red, white and blue set the tone of your celebration,” says Kelly, adding, “Don’t forget the miniature flags!”
Click on the arrows to see the Memorial Day patio transformation:
Lawrence follows this classic advice in setting the scene for our Memorial Day party, including swapping out the chairs’ seat cushions for a motif that fits the celebration. “A few styles of cushions can really extend the life of your furniture and make it feel fresh with a simple change. Why not a bright pop of red for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July?” she asks.
Additionally, Lawrence uses monofilament to hang paper stars and lanterns from the umbrella, extending the color from the table itself into the entire space.
The table and the grill are the stars of this show, and the table is set to create a buffet style service for the food. A few chairs are moved into a conversation area in the shade, providing easy table access for guests to fill their plates. Although cool desserts will help take minds off the heat, designer Kelly suggests being ready with an assortment of yard games.
“Activities like corn hole, croquet and ping-pong get the whole family involved, while a kid-approved activity like decorating bike baskets or making ice cream sundaes keep their focus on the fun of the long weekend,” suggests Kelly.
Once the food is finished, it’s easy to clear away the serving dishes and transform the table for crafts.
Our Memorial Day menu takes the standard cookout fare up a notch:
Starting with a neutral, comfortable base will ensure that your party goes as planned, no matter the occasion. From there, choose an inspiration for the decor and then take a cue from our professional designers by layering elements to make your spring party feel more professional and put together. Now all that’s left to do is celebrate!
Meet our experts:
KariAnne Wood writes the award-winning decorating and lifestyle blog, Thistlewood Farms. Her home decor blog was awarded Country Living Decorating Blog of the Year and was named one of the Top 10 Decorating Blogs by Better Homes and Gardens.
Jacqueline Lawrence finds inspiration everywhere. She grew up in a flower shop, then worked for some of the top designers in fashion, including Calvin Klein and Nicole Miller, before becoming a visual director at Nordstrom. Now she owns @inventivEVENTS in Charleston, South Carolina.
Interior designer Kerrie Kelly founded Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, California, in 1995. She is a certified and award-winning interior designer, author and multi-media consultant. Kelly is also a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and a member of ASID and IIDA.
Stephanie Burt is a native North Carolinian who grew up on good Southern cooking and lots of books. She is the host of The Southern Fork, a weekly podcast where she travels with a fork and shares some of the most interesting stories in the culinary South.
Tacoma is full of beauty. Whether you wander the waterfront or find yourself following a fern-lined trail in a forest, the walking routes around our city and neighborhoods are sure to bring you a deeper appreciation for our corner of the Puget Sound.
We start with this classic and well-known stretch of sidewalk that runs between Ruston Way and Commencement Bay. Full of restaurants and viewpoints, places to rent bikes and spots to sit and watch the seals, this iconic path is perfect in so many ways – as a fun sunny day wandering destination or a great place to stretch the legs after sitting in the office all day. The entire length of Ruston is seven miles in length round trip. For the best views, go down here on a clear day around sunset and look toward Mount Rainier.
The trails at Snake Lake weave through 71 acres of preserved forests and waterways, helping make it a fantastic family destination or post-work walking area. Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset, Snake Lake’s two miles of trails have two small foot bridges to cross, a good loop around the lake and an upper trail that will get you some elevation. With each step along the shady and cool trail, watch for birds sitting in the trees or swimming on the water. When crossing bridges, watch for turtles and even salamanders in the water as you make your way around this small, but ideal trail system.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge
We have all probably driven over the Narrows Bridge once or twice, but have you walked it yet? Part of the larger Scott Pierson Trail, this five-mile trail crosses the Puget Sound, giving stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Rainier and the waters below. The trail is paved, easy to follow and is both dog and family-friendly, making it a perfect destination for everyone. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of orca or humpback whales as they swim in the waters below, but you’ll most certainly catch sight of seals far below if you look carefully.
While many visitors stick to the short boardwalk and shores of Titlow Park, the trails here are much more expansive. Within eyesight of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Titlow’s two miles of trails wander through forests and along the rocky shores of Puget Sound. Open from just before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, walking Titlow allows you to choose your own adventure – walk along the beach, through the trail system in the forest or simply stroll around the pond or on the boardwalk. Titlow is also a great place to see birds, starfish (when the tide is out) and maybe even a whale! The sunsets here are pretty amazing, too.
Swan Creek isn’t too well known, but it should be. Located in East Tacoma, between Portland Avenue and River Road, Swan Creek Park is another fantastic trail system for those hoping to walk in the woods. Combining elevation with access to a salmon-bearing stream and both level and pleasantly challenging trails, you have two fantastic options for mileage and relative solitude in the forests in this often overlooked park. Your best walking route will be to start at E. 56th Street and get on the Swan Creek Trail, which runs for nearly two and a half miles before heading back on the mile-long Canyon Rim Trail. You can also park at the park’s main entrance on Pioneer Road, where you’ll enjoy more level trails to start.
Finally, we end with yet another classic walking destination for residents of the region. While not technically in Tacoma, the short drive to University Place makes this an incredibly convenient and gorgeous place to get some steps in. Home to amazing sunsets, incredible views and over three miles of trails and pavement to walk, exploring Chambers Bay by footis a great workout with amazing rewards. With the expanse of the Olympic mountains visible in the distance, the paths around Chambers get you up on bluffs, on bridges and next to the seal filled waters. There are few places as beautiful and as open as Chambers Bay, giving you unrivaled views to the west and allowing you to forget about the stresses of life.
What exactly is tax deductible when buying a house for the first time?
No one likes spring cleaning (except maybe Danny Tanner) but here are some easy ways to get the job done quickly,
Guest post by Andrea Davis
After a long winter, nothing feels better than having a clean and sparkling home. But, actually jumping into a deep clean is another story. Here are some simple tips to whip your home into shape without breaking a sweat:
#1 Wall Cleaning
A Magic Eraser is your best bet for tackling walls — it can spot clean anything from splatters to crayon marks. It’s tough enough to reach the cobwebs that collect in the corners of your walls and ceiling. You can also cover the bristles of a broom with a cloth or old T-shirt and use it to knock down any dusty spots.
#2 Carpets and Rugs
Take a little more time vacuuming the high-traffic areas of your house. (Make sure you don’t forget to spot treat any stubborn stains with a stain-removal product.) If your rug or carpet has lingering odors, sprinkle some baking soda over it and let it sit for a few hours. Vacuum up the baking soda and you’ll find the odors have disappeared.
#3 Mattress Ideas
Give your mattress cover a thorough cleaning in the washing machine — don’t forget to throw in a cup of white vinegar to boost the cleaning process. Sprinkle baking soda on your mattress while you’re washing the cover. You can vacuum it up later when you’re making the bed.
#4 Shower Care
Don’t knock yourself out trying to clean glass shower doors. Add a couple drops of water to your dryer sheets and use them to wipe down your shower doors. You can even let your showerhead clean itself overnight while you sleep. Simply tie a bag filled with white vinegar around your showerhead and let it soak overnight. Remove the bag in the morning for a non-clogged shower experience.
#5 Toilet Scrubbing
Have water stains built up in your toilet? Cola can help you attack these stains with little effort. Just pour some in the toilet, let it sit for several minutes, then flush.
#6 Oven Shine
If you have an oven with a self-cleaning feature, spring is a great time to finally run that cycle. Otherwise, mix baking soda with a bit of water and use it to quickly clean up grease and various other spills inside the oven.
#7 Clutter Solutions
When you don’t have time to clean but you need your house to look presentable, tackling clutter is the quickest way to create the illusion of a clean house. Zip through each room of the house and put anything that doesn’t belong into a basket. This strategy requires very little work and can make a big difference in your home’s appearance.
Although these tips won’t completely eliminate the effort involved in spring cleaning, they’ll make the job a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of new beginnings — if you use even a couple of these ideas, your home will enjoy a clean and fresh start to the upcoming season.
Here are a few simple upgrades to help boost your curb appeal.
Guest post by James Witts
A home can be modern and cozy inside, but without curb appeal, potential buyers will lose interest before they step inside. An attractive, well-kept lawn is one of the first things people will notice. The good news is that upgrading an existing lawn doesn’t have to take months, and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are a few simple upgrades to help boost your curb appeal.
If weeds have gained the upper hand, pulling is still the tried and true method for getting rid of weeds in a hurry. If the act of pulling the weeds won’t do the trick, you’ll need to attack them with an herbicide. Always use chemicals strategically and make sure to use the correct amount–different weeds require different treatment.
Take a stroll around your lawn and pick up anything that doesn’t belong. Take a wheelbarrow if you have a lot of branches, twigs or other debris. Pick up children’s toys and gardening tools. Put hoses away, or invest in an attractive roller.
Rake over brown spots to remove dead grass, then spread grass seed. For a more enhanced effect, aerate the soil before overseeding to help break up the soil and allow nutrients to get to the root of the grass more efficiently.
Taller grass stays green longer than short grass. Set your mower relatively high and take a little off the top every three to five days. Be sure the blade is sharp. A dull blade tears the grass and leaves ragged, brown edges.
Nitrogen-rich fertilizer will green up your lawn quickly, make sure to use the right amount according to your soil and grass type. A little nitrogen is a good thing, but too much may damage your lawn. Limit this trick to once or twice a year. Be sure and water well immediately after applying any type of fertilizer.
Iron is also helpful in turning a drab grass into a lush and healthy green lawn. Mineral supplements can be inexpensive and can be found at your local garden center or nursery.
Refresh any flower beds around your lawn by laying down a new think layer of mulch. The deep tones of fresh mulch will help compliment the more potent hues within the rest of the landscaping, making everything else pop. Fresh mulch is relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take too much time to apply yourself.
You can also consider investing in an inexpensive edger to smooth out and even out the edges of your lawn. This is a quick and easy way to make your landscaping look trim and neat.
Flower beds and container gardens are a great way to add a pop of color into your landscaping. Plant a few cheerful annuals such as geraniums, petunias or marigolds. Clean up an exterior furniture or give it a fresh coat of paint. Don’t be afraid to use bright, bold colors.
James Witts is an eco-conscious home improvement writer. He is constantly trying to find new ways to live off the grid while living in a tiny home with his wife, Andie.