Pacific Northwest homes continue to appreciate. Here’s how Tacoma is doing

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https://www.thenewstribune.com/homes/article217242420.html

Home values kept rising in Washington, Idaho in second quarter 2018

While home appreciation is still rising in the Pacific Northwest, it is starting to slow down in other parts of the U.S., according to a report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Across the U.S., home values rose 6.5 percent in the past year.

Big jumps in home values continued across Washington state this spring, with Tacoma among the areas posting the largest increases in the U.S.

Home appreciation rose 14.9 percent in the second quarter compared to a year ago for the Tacoma metro area, according to a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. That’s the third-highest year-over-year increase among the 245 metro areas listed for that time period.

Updated 2018 06:57 PM

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5 Best Crops to Harvest in the Fall

One gardening rule of thumb is to clearly know when to grow what–here are five of the best types of crops to harvest in your garden during the fall season.

Guest post by Olive Dawson.

As the weather begins to cool, you may notice that your tomato plants are looking a droopy, or that your green beans are no longer producing the way they used to. While the first frost spells disaster for some garden crops, there are dozens of other delicious, nutritious vegetables and fruits that you can grow during the autumn months. One gardening rule of thumb is to clearly know when to grow what–here are five of the best types of crops to harvest in your garden during the fall season.

1. Leafy Greens

Fall is a great time to cultivate fast-growing leafy greens. Cabbage, kale, spinach, and chard all grow well in the fall. Plus, if you harvest the leaves of these plants as soon as they emerge, they will continue to produce and will taste even better.

These greens can be grown until the first frost, with some types, such as kale, actually tasting better once they’ve succumbed to the cold. Look for heirloom varieties that are designed for fall planting for best results.

2. Brassicas

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, and mustard are all in the brassica category and thrive in cold fall temperatures. Plant these crops in a different location every year to help keep pests and diseases at bay, but keep in mind that you can grow multiple batches of these plants. Plant in early spring for slow harvest throughout the summer months, and then replenish in the late summer for a fall harvest. Many people continue to grow brassica crops throughout the winter, using a cold frame or row covers to keep the leaves of the plants protected.

3. Root Vegetables

Beets, carrots, turnips, radishes–what do all of these have in common? They grow well out of sight until the fall, when it’s time to harvest. While these crops can be planted in the spring and harvested during the summer months, fall varieties should be planted at the end of summer and can grow into November or December.

Consider growing alternative varieties or rotations of these crops for the best yield. Purple, white, or yellow carrots are often more adapted to cold weather than their more common orange counterparts. Turnips make a great cover crop and forage species for wildlife, so consider all of these factors when planning out your fall growing season.

4. Nut Trees

Fall is the perfect time to harvest nuts from trees like pecans, hazelnuts, and walnuts, and it’s also the best time to plant these species, too. Nut trees are typically grown as bare-root transplants, meaning they started as seedlings for the first couple years and were transplanted to a new location with the same climate. The tree is dormant in November or December, making the roots more dense when adapting to new soil.

It’s best to harvest tree nuts early in the fall before they drop to the ground and begin to rot on the soil or are eaten by wildlife.

5. Seasonal Fruits

Most people know that, if you live in the north, you can grow apples well into the fall. In fact, apples should be harvested this time of the year. Other fruits, like pomegranates and citrus fruit, produce ripe fruit by mid-winter, but can be harvested early.

When you are organizing a fall planting, remember that timing is everything. Pay attention to your area’s specific hardiness zone and growing season, and plant about ten weeks before the first killing frost. While this can be nearly impossible to predict, late summer is usually a good time to think about planting.  Also, consider planting insect repelling herbs in your garden to make sure you don’t lose your harvest to pests.

With a little bit of forward thinking and a willingness to brave the colder temperatures to harvest crops and tend to weeds, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest even after all of your other plants have completely died back.

Olive Dawson is a gardening and landscape design writer and environmentalist. She is always searching for new ways to reduce waste and grow food organically. She is most proud of her homemade beauty products.

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Leslie Sells Houses

 

Image result for pictures of fall harvest vegetables

Image result for pictures of fall harvest vegetables

3 Staging Touches That Up Your Chances of an Offer

Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

Guest post by Abigail Sawyer

It takes more than finding a realtor and posting a “For Sale” sign in the front yard for a successful home sale. Getting your house in order is the first step to a quick offer. The secret is to give potential buyers the opportunity to imagine their “stuff” and family living in the home. Plus, you want to put your home’s best foot forward and present it in the best possible light. Here are some tips to touch up your home staging to increase your chances of an offer.

1. Clear Out Your Belongings 

You may be attached to your stuff, but the first rule is to clean it up, clear it out and pack it all away. It can prevent new buyers from imagining the house as their own.

  • Pack away personal items like family photos and kid’s artwork for your new home.
  • Make sure toiletries, clothing, jewelry and accessories are in drawers and out of sight.
  • Eliminate excessive clutter. Display only a few generic items on your shelves and make sure the bathrooms are pristine.

Some rooms are harder to streamline, especially children’s or teens’ bedrooms. Clean them out and clear away as much clutter as your son or daughter will allow. Invest in covered containers that will fit under the bed or in the closet.

2. Make the Rooms Look Bigger

You want to make each room look as spacious as possible. Start with these tricks:

  • Take out some of the furniture. Move it to the basement or storage shed, or sell it if you won’t need it in your new place.
  • Clear off the kitchen counters.
  • Roll up area rugs, which tend to make rooms feel smaller.
  • Arrange furniture in intimate seating groups that encourage conversation and coziness. Don’t line everything up along the wall!

Installing curtains and blinds as close to the ceiling as possible draws the eye up and makes the room appear bigger. Panels should skim the floor. In this living room corner, a classic chair and small table before a window suggests to the future homeowner here is place for a morning cup of coffee in a well-lit room.

3. Pay Attention to Your Decor

Highlight your home’s best features and downplay the less-than-perfect areas to create a welcoming space.

Paint is an easy fix. When possible, paint walls in pale, neutral colors like soft grey, beige and off-white. Neutral colors allow the buyer to imagine their own furniture in place. Plus, it screams “move-in ready.”

Don’t overlook the power of the view and the importance of natural light. Window treatments can help solve many issues. Windows without draperies make a room feel empty or undone. Curtains also help absorb sound in rooms with wood floors and they can hide an unsightly view or enhance a lovely one.

If a major selling point is your view – such as the ocean, the mountains or a gorgeous garden – don’t cover it up! Install stationary panel curtains that hang well off the window. If the scene outside is less than stellar (like an alleyway or the building next door), hang sheer draperies that allow the light in but camouflage the view.

As with paint color, choose drapery fabric in neutral colors and traditional patterns. This woven geometric check blends in with the rest of the space and will coordinate with almost any style of furnishings.

After the living room and kitchen, a great master bedroom is high on buyers’ checklists. In addition to natural light and the view, privacy is paramount.

Follow the same rules to make the space look bigger, hang as high as possible and skim the floor. Sheer curtains that can be closed allow light and hide an unappealing view while providing privacy. Keep surfaces clear of personal items and choose plain, neutral bedding. Open up the wall space with minimal artwork and move the excess furniture out. Buyers are looking for large rooms that feel serene and calm.

Don’t forget to spruce up any secondary bedrooms as well. Keep the window treatments simple with Roman shades and valances. If the room needs a touch of color, a classic plaid or small print that works for boys and girls is in order. Temporarily replace superhero bedspreads with coverlets or duvets in solid colors and encourage your kids to keep their room neat and tidy.

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Leslie Sells Houses

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Autumn Nights Outdoors: How to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space in the Fall

Extend the life of your porch or patio by transforming your favorite summer spot into a cozy retreat that’s perfect for enjoying autumn nights outdoors.

As we welcome cooler temperatures and colorful foliage, many homeowners might be tempted to pack up the outdoor furniture for the year. Not so fast, we say. Extend the life of your porch or patio by transforming your favorite summer spot into a cozy retreat that’s perfect for enjoying autumn nights outdoors.

Keep It Cozy

When the temperatures begin to drop, consider putting away the umbrella for the season. You’ll not only invite more sunlight to your space during the day, but you’ll also clear the view for stargazing during alfresco dinner parties. To bring more warmth to the area once the sun sets, circle a few outdoor chairs around a firepit. Make sure you keep the sparks at bay by picking a fireplace with a mesh lid.

To make things even cozier, layer on comfort with outdoor pillows. Swap out summer’s tropical hues for classic fall colors. Orange, wine and dark green instantly make the space feel autumn-ready. Make sure to complement the pillows with plenty of soft throw blankets. Chunky, knit options are ideal for snuggling up on the outdoor sofa on chilly nights. If you’re entertaining a large crowd, consider bringing a sharable-sized quilt outside.

Get Creative with Lighting

As the sun starts setting earlier and earlier, it’s important to have enough light on your porch for dark nights. A simple porch light does the trick, but creative lighting is a great way to add ambiance to your space. For instance, outdoor string lights bring an enchanting look to the porch or patio. For a soft glow around the perimeter of your yard, wrap a few long strings of white lights around the trees, shrubs or fence posts. Shorter ones are a gorgeous addition to the tabletop. Simply place them over your runner with an autumn leaf garland for ambient lighting during moonlit meals.

If you need more lighting, nothing creates a more romantic glow than candlelight. To give your outdoor table a fall feel, opt for pillar candles in seasonal colors—orange, red and ivory candles in clear glass holders play up the colors of changing leaves. To diffuse the light, go for white candles in textured glass or metal hurricanes. Lanterns look lovely scattered around the porch. Fill a few with birch candles and others with fall botanicals such as pinecones and acorns.

Looking for something unexpected? Try decoratively carved pumpkins. While the quintessential smiling jack-o’-lantern works well in October, other designs can add ambiance to the porch beyond Halloween. Carve the shapes of acorns, autumn leaves or abstract patterns into gourds, and place a tea light inside of them to show off your handiwork. The fun doesn’t stop with the carving. Rather than tossing the seeds, roast them on a baking sheet and season with salt, pepper or cinnamon for a delicious treat.

Indulge in Fall Flavors

To take the bite off of chilly fall breezes, warm up with hot drinks. Hot apple cider is a fall favorite. Make your own with fresh apples from your local orchard, and simmer in a stock pot with sugar and spices. Serve in glass mugs, garnish with a cinnamon stick and add your choice of liquor if desired. If you’re short on time, simply keep bottles of hard cider and ice in a beverage tub, and provide pint glasses. For kid-friendly beverages on family night, serve hot chocolate in ceramic mugs by the firepit.

For dinner, make the most out of the grill before winter sets in. Tailgate with hot dogs and burgers for casual meals during football season. If you want a more formal dinner party, grill steak or salmon accompanied by hearty sides made with seasonal ingredients such as squash or sweet potatoes. Plate on leaf-decorated or autumn-toned dishes that coordinate with your outdoor decor.

For dessert, make things more interactive with a build-your-own caramel apple station. Provide bowls of warm caramel or chocolate for coating, with plates of chopped nuts and candy for easy rolling. If you’re hosting a bonfire, s’mores are a must. Provide skewers alongside serving bowls full of large marshmallows, and let your guests roast their own. As a twist on the classic, consider setting out cookies as an alternative to graham crackers.

With just a few changes to your porch, you can continue to entertain outdoors well into autumn. Think about inviting everyone to the backyard for a Halloween party, post-football game dinner or a weekend bonfire before winter arrives.

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 Leslie Sell Houses

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Angie Erickson writes inspirational content for Crate and Barrel. She shares entertaining and interior design advice on lifestyle blogs.

 

Closet Organization Ideas that Are Borderline Genius

If your closet is a clutter, it could be that you just need some closet organization ideas. Closets, no matter the size, tend to be a catchall. But, fret not. Read this blog post to learn some tips to clean up those closets and get some structure.

If your closet is a clutter, it could be that you just need some closet organization ideas. Closets, no matter the size, tend to be a catchall. We often toss in our shoes and handbags, and hang up our garments without any consideration to organization. But, fret not. It’s easy to clean up those closets and establish some structure. Here’s how.

Invest in a Closet System

If you crave more closet space, you don’t have to put your home through a full-scale remodel — just put a closet system in place. The idea with a closet system is to maximize the space your closet already provides. By using hanging bars, drawersAud, shelves, and cubby storage, you can properly organize your clothing and other items. This way, when you open your closet door to put something away or retrieve something, you’ll know exactly where to go.

Put a Pull-Down Bar in Place

This is a good closet organization idea when you want to keep clothes out of the way but still accessible when you need them. Many movable clothing rods are designed with telescoping pull rods to adjust to any closet size. Here’s a good example to learn more about how pull-down bars work in a closet.

Keep Your Shoes at a Slant

Many homeowners are satisfied if their shoes make it onto a storage rack instead of being tossed on the floor. But here’s a smart tip for you: By storing your shoes on slanted shelves, you can better see what you’re grabbing. No need to stand on tippy toes to see the top shelf — one quick glance and you’ll know whether you’re reaching for those strappy black sandals or sassy ankle boots. If you’re storing tall boots (because every Texan should have at least a couple pairs of cowboy boots), look for inserts that help boot shafts stay upright.

Get Creative

When it comes to closet organization, it pays to think outside the box. Want a clever way to keep your scarves from getting into a tangled mess? Grab a paper towel holder from the kitchen and roll your scarf around it. Searching for an orderly way to store your t-shirts? Keep them organized with stacking letter trays from your office. The trays keep the tees separated so when you need one, you won’t disrupt the whole stack.

Leslie Sells Houses

 

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How to Choose the Most Important Features in a Home

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Determining exactly what to look for is often the most difficult part of the home search. Learn how to focus on the most important features and ignore the rest.

Buying a home can be a long process. Approaching it correctly from the beginning can save a great deal of time and effort later and help improve your chances of finding the right home for you.

Make a List of the Most Important Aspects You Want in a Home

Determining exactly what to look for is often the most difficult part of the home search. Homes come in varying shapes and sizes, with different colors and characteristics. Paying attention to all of these details can become problematic, causing you to lose focus.

The best way to avoid this is to sit down ahead of time and make a list of the most important aspects of the home you want to buy. For example, you likely have a certain number of bedrooms in mind. Maybe you want to be in a certain school district, or perhaps you want a larger kitchen.

Some experts recommend making a secondary list of desirable characteristics that you can do without, but would prefer to have, if possible. This list can be longer and used to narrow down choices or decide between homes if more than one is appealing.

Know How to Identify Cost-Efficient Fixer-Upper Homes

When evaluating potential homes to buy, experts note that you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on easily altered cosmetic details like the color of the walls. Repainting may not be convenient, but it is one of the cheapest and easiest changes to make to a home.

Attention might be better focused on aspects that cannot be altered without extensive and expensive work, such as the floor plan. It may also be difficult to ignore the furniture and belongings of the home’s current occupants, but you should remember those items will not be there if and when you move in and make it your own.