BECOME A CONFIDENT BUYER

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It’s common for first time homebuyers to be overwhelmed with everything
that needs to be done during the home buying process. Check out this
article that will boost your confidence in your move. As an Accredited
Buyer’s Representative (ABR(R)), it’s my goal to make sure you are
comfortable with your purchase. I look forward to working with you!

Take the Confusion Out of Buying with These Tips. Copyright (C) 2014.
Real mEstate Tips from Experts. All Rights Reserved.
http://enews.realtor.org/a/tBUEh26B8f9S7B88X6AAABVamw3/reba20

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5 Reasons for Buying

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WHY DO PEOPLE BUY?

There are a number of reasons that people decide to make a real estate purchase. The California Association of Realtors, has put together this handy graph, which shows the top 5 reasons people bought homes in California in 2013,  It also shows the percentage of purchasers in each category.

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Knights Ferry California

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Knights Ferry – If you’ve been there, then you would recognize it immediately  by it’s iconic covered bridge – if you haven’t been there, you might never even know it exists.  Knights Ferry is a small community that dates from the California Gold Rush.  It lays just East of Oakdale in the Sierra Foothills of California, and as you drive by it on the small highway 120/108, you could easily miss it if you don’t know the turnoff.

I was thinking about Knights Ferry, because we were just up there for their annual Gold Country Peddlers Fair.  This time we were a vender, selling off some antiques for my father, but we enjoy going most every year to look around at the antiques and collectables.

When gold was discovered in California in 1849, Dr. William Knight rediscovered a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApass he had crossed with John Fremont and established a ferry boat there. Soon, the ferry boat prospered and Knight and Captain Vantine built a hotel and trading post near the crossing. The settlement was named for Dr Knight who on November 9, 1849 was killed by a gunfight on the town’s main street, and buried in an unmarked grave.

There are a number of historic structures still standing in this sparsely populated historic town, including the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi.  The bridge built in 1852 replaced the ferry for crossing the river.  After a flood destroyed the original bridge a new one was built in 1862 and still stands, open only to foot traffic in order to preserve it.  Other historic structures include  the Community Church, General Store, Lewis Dent House, and Abraham Schell house. Ruins include a mill and town prison.

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Ulysses S. Grant stayed in Knights Ferry, on a few occasions while he was a Captain stationed in Benicia, and Eureka, since his brother in-law was a prominent resident here.  Knights Ferry was also the County Seat for Stanislaus County in 1852 before the railroad came to Modesto.  The Willms Ranch which is just outside of town has been in the family for over 160 years, first as a horse ranch, then a cattle ranch.  The ranch has been used as a filming location for shows such as Bonanza, and Little House on the Prairie.

Stanislaus river park is right at the bridge, with hiking trails, & lots of picnic tables & bbq’s.  There is also a river rafting company located here.  If you have never been here, is it a worthy stop while you are exploring the gold country.

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The Perks of Home Ownership

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Owning a home is a good feeling, no way around it.  You never have to ask the landlord before you paint, landscape, or do any other changes to the property.  Also any expenditures you make to improve the property, increase the value of an asset you own.   In addition to that though, there are a number of financial perks to home ownership that are just the icing on the cake.  The chart below, is designed to show you some of these perks.

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Why You Don’t Want To Wait Too Long To Buy!

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I can remember my parents paying around 18% on there mortgage back in the day.  Truly a dismal prospect.  The interest rate you pay, has a huge difference on the amount of your monthly payment for you home.  In fact, not only does it affect how much you can afford, but it may make the difference  whether you can purchase or not at all.  Interest rates for now, continue to be at historic lows.  The chart below, provided by the California Association of Realtors, is designed to help you understand how much even a small fluctuation in interest rates will affect your payment.  So do yourself a favor, and don’t wait too long to buy.Image

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Here is a link to my May 2013

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Here is a link to my May 2013 Edition ‘Real Estate Update’ Newsletter.Image

http://realtytimes.com/174/BradleyPrice

This Newsletter is full of interesting and useful information that I think you will enjoy whether you are a buyer, seller, homeowner, or renter.

This month’s issue includes topics such as:

“Your Home Isn’t Selling Because…”;
“The Low-Down On Big Down Payments”;
“What Buyers Really Want In A Home”;
“An Open House Can Close The Deal”;
“Seven Seller Slip-ups That Send Buyers Packing”;

Plus a roundup of April real estate activity as well as much more advice and information.

 

How to Choose the Best Manure for Your Garden

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ImageHow to Choose the Best Manure for Your Garden

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: July 20, 2012

A little poo can do big things for your garden. Here’s what you need to know about selecting and spreading garden manure.

Fresh vs. baked

Although some farmers regularly spread fresh manure in their fields, backyard gardeners should compost or cure plant-based manure before adding it to soil.

Composting manure at 131 degrees F (compost heats up naturally; check temps using a compost thermometer) for at least 15 days does the following:

  • Kills harmful pathogens, such as E. coli.
  • Kills weeds’ undigested seeds.
  • Dilutes ammonia that burns plants.
  • Stabilizes nitrogen into slow-release compounds.
  • Reduces odors.

Turn your composting manure pile every few days to ensure that all bits of manure are composted. When composting, more time is better, but pathogens will be dead in 15 days at 131 degrees F.

If you don’t have a compost pile, you can spread fresh manure on your garden in the fall, let it dry and cure over winter for at least three months, then turn it into the soil in spring. Dried manure is lighter and flakier than composted manure, and will leaven your soil and increase drainage.

Which poo is best?

Before selecting fresh manure, test your soil to determine what nutrients it lacks; then select manure that supplies needed elements.

  • Fresh turkey manure contains twice the amount of nitrogen as cow manure.
  • Sheep manure contains more potash than horse poop.
  • Rabbit manure breaks down quickly and doesn’t burn plants.

To see nutrients in various types of manure, check out this information from the USDA.

Alpaca manure, rich in nitrogen and potassium, currently is in fashion among garden enthusiasts. Alpacas take 50 hours to digest food (horses take 1 hour), and produce poop pellets, which are easy to collect and spread.

Here’s a look at the Double “O” Alpacas farm in Gainesville, Va.

Caution! Never use meat-based manure from dogs or cats, which contain pathogens that can sicken humans.

Where to get manure

  • If you keep chickens, horses, rabbits, or cows, you know where to find free manure for your garden. Most neighbors who keep livestock will be happy to let you muck out a stall or cage and keep all the fresh manure you can carry.
  • Many alpaca breeders age poop in fields, and then give the cured manure to gardeners for free. See if there’s an alpaca breeder in your area.
  • Garden centers and big box hardware stores sell bags of composted manure ($8 for 40 pounds of composted cow manure).
  • Some zoos compost manure from their resident leaf-eaters — elephants, hippos, zebras, giraffes, gazelles — and either give or sell it to the public. Manure from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo is so popular that it holds fall and spring lotteries for the right to purchase its composted “Zoo Doo” ($8-$10 for a garbage can full). Call your local zoo to determine its poo policy.

How to spread manure

What to wear: Wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, and shoes or boots you can leave by the door: You don’t want to track manure into the house. To prevent contamination, some gardeners don’t harvest vegetables in the same clothes they wear to spread manure.

After working in the garden, launder clothes in hot water.

How much: Generally spread about 40 lbs. of composted manure over 100 sq. ft.

How to apply: Use a shovel or spade to turn composed manure into the top 6-9 inches of soil; side-dress plants with aged manure; or treat plants to a manure tea made by soaking bags of manure in watering cans or tubs.

How to Divide Plants

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How to Divide Plants

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: September 21, 2012

Make the most of your perennials by dividing and transplanting favorites that have outgrown their homes.

Why divide and transplant?

Plants need space to thrive. When they become too big for their garden spots, powdery mildew coats leaves, insects chow down on blooms and stems, and centers become brown.

When you divide and transplant, each perennial — the new and old — blooms more. Plus, divided plants are cheap plants — they fill in garden gaps and are a hit at neighborhood plant swaps.

When’s the best time to transplant?

Transplanting rule of thumb: If it flowers in spring, transplant in fall; if it flowers in fall, transplant when the blossoms fade.

But really, anytime is an OK time to move perennials if you can dig the ground and water the transplants. If you transplant in warm weather, avoid hot afternoons.

Early fall is particularly good because rain is more plentiful in most regions, and roots have an entire winter to grow and anchor themselves into the ground. Some happy fall transplants include:

  • Peony
  • Bleeding heart
  • Hosta
  • Spring bulbs such as tulips and iris

Plants that would rather be transplanted in spring are:

  • Coneflowers
  • Black-eyed Susans
  • Mums

Dividing without tears

You don’t need a surgeon’s touch to divide perennials, which are hardier than they look.

“Just dig or pull it out; you won’t hurt it,” says Sheri Ann Richerson, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Year-Round Gardening.

5 essential steps for dividing plants

  • Prune the plant by about a third, which reduces its water requirements after transplanting.
  • Place a shovel or spade where you want to divide the plant, push the tool down through the plant and roots, and pull up the divided plant.
  • When dividing bulbs, dig up the mature plants and gently pull bulbs apart with your fingers.
  • To divide hostas, cut roots with a sharp knife or shears.
  • Trim the roots of divided plants, which makes them stronger and healthier (just like trimming split ends makes hair healthier).

6 essential steps for transplanting

  • Give plants a nice long drink before transplanting. Immerse their roots in a bucket of water with a small amount of fertilizer for at least 30 minutes and no longer than overnight. Place the bucket in a shady place. This will decrease plant stress.
  • Amend soil with compost from your pile or a slow-release fertilizer. Bulbs will appreciate a handful of bone meal.
  • Dig a hole about twice the diameter of the plant.
  • If you’ve got clay garden soil, place crushed gravel or terra-cotta pot shards in the bottom of the hole to increase drainage.
  • Place plant in hole and cover with soil.
  • Water thoroughly and check every day or two to make sure the soil is moist, not sopping.

More tips

  • Divide and transplant perennials every 3-5 years.
  • Dividing and transplanting temporarily stresses plants, so pick a day that’s not too hot or cold. A mild, overcast day about a month before the first hard frost is best.
  • Let plants rest for a couple of weeks after blooming, which is stressful. Then transplant.
  • If a heat wave suddenly appears, shade transplants with a beach umbrella and water daily.

How to Prevent Weeds From Ever Sprouting

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Prevent WeedsHow to Prevent Weeds From Ever Sprouting

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: March 5, 2013

When it comes to weeds in your garden, an hour of prevention is better than a season of yanking.

But if you prevent weed seeds from germinating, your garden will be weed-free. Here are some surefire ways to keep weeds from growing in the first place.

Shhh! Don’t Disturb the Soil

Weed seeds “sleep” in your soil all the time, just waiting for sunshine to enable them to germinate. Left underground, many weed seeds remain dormant for years. So the less you disturb the soil, the more likely weed seeds will remain asleep.

Avoid high-powered tillers, and go easy on the hand cultivating. Sow your flower and vegetable seeds above the ground in mounds of compost, shredded leaves, or even in bags of topsoil. Better yet, plant seedlings and starts.

Smother Weed Seeds

Another way to keep seeds asleep is to cover your soil with sun-blocking organic or synthetic mulches.

Organic mulches — hardwood mulch, newspaper, cardboard, straw — degrade in a few months and improve soil structure and add nutrients. Synthetic mulches — landscaping paper, plastic — can last several seasons, but won’t help rebuild soil when they eventually degrade.

Heed these mulching tips:

  • Wet the ground before you lay down layers of paper, which will prevent the paper from blowing away while you work.
  • Scout yard sales for old carpet and wallpaper, efficient sun blocks that prevent weeds.
  • Spread mulch 2 to 4 inches deep to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
  • Always pick straw, not hay, to prevent weeds. Hay usually contains hayseeds, which will sprout where you’re trying to keep weeds out.

Learn more about mulching with our handy garden mulch guide.

Wage a Chemical Attack

Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weed seeds from germinating, but don’t kill existing plants and grasses.

The exact timing for applying a pre-emergent herbicide is hard to pinpoint because you must spread the herbicide before seeds germinate, which happens underground at different times.

Conventional gardening wisdom says spread pre-emergent herbicides when the daffodils pop or the forsythia wilts. But advance planning is the best way to determine when to spread. Log the date when you see the first weeds in your garden, then subtract three weeks to arrive at the date you should spread the pre-emergent herbicide next spring.

Grow Up Close and Personal

The closer together you plant your flowers and vegetables, the less space weed seeds will have to grow.

If you double-dig — loosen (don’t pulverize) soil at least 2 feet down — you can plant cheek-by-jowl, because plant roots can grow down, not out, to find water and nourishment. If you plant intensively in a diamond-shaped pattern — rather than rows — you’ll avoid barren spots where weeds will grow.

To keep weeds out of lawns, make sure your grass is lush and healthy so weeds have no room to grow. Reseed bald patches; fertilize if a soil test determines nutrient deficiencies; aerate in the fall.

Test your weed knowledge with this slideshow of common weeds.

Garden Watering Systems You Can Make Yourself

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Garden Watering Systems You Can Make Yourself

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: March 13, 2013

Easy DIY watering systems for gardens are lifesavers when hot weather moves in and thirsty plants moan, “Feed me!” once or twice a day.

  • Drip hoses that save water by delivering moisture directly to roots.
  • Self-watering planter that hydrates plants by wicking moisture from a water well.
  • Ollas, buried clay pots that deliver water to roots on demand.

DIY Drip Hose

A drip hose soaks soil — drop by drop — without wasting water to evaporation or promoting disease by soaking foliate. A 50-ft. drip hose costs $14 at big box stores. Or you can make one yourself from any old hose you might otherwise toss into the trash. Here’s how.

  • Rescue an old hose. Clean it and lay it on a flat surface, such as a wood plank.
  • On one side of the hose, punch tiny holes 1 to 2 inches apart, leaving 6 inches with no holes on both ends of the hose. To make holes, use an upholstery needle or a tiny, 1/64-inch drill bit.
  • Attach a hose cap ($1.80 for ¾-in. brass) to one end of the hose. Attach the other end to another hose that’s long enough to reach from a spigot to your garden.
  • Turn on water so that drops fall from each hole along the hose. You want a drip — not a spray — so lower the pressure if too much water comes out.
  • Wind the hose along the base of plants, then cover with 2 inches of mulch.

Self-Watering Earth Box Planter

An earth box is a self-watering planter that relies on the wicking ability of soil to continuously draw water from a built-in well. You fill the well through a tube — far less often than if you watered by hand.

An earth box can be any size or material, so long as it has a water reservoir and soil. Here’s a good one:

1. Select a Rubbermaid Roughneck Tote (24-by-16-by-12 inches; $6). Using a super-sharp knife, cut out the flat part of the lid, separating it from the lip.

2. Make “weeping cups” by punching 1/2-in. holes in two 16 oz. plastic cups until they look like Swiss cheese.

3. Take a 5-ft. long piece of ½-inch-diameter ABS pipe ($6), mark it off every 2.5 inches, and cut into 16 pieces. Use the remainder (about 20 inches) for your watering tube.

4. In the lid corners, cut out holes to fit two weeping cups and the watering tube.

5. Using a ½-in. drill bit, punch holes in the lid spaced about 1 inch apart (that’s lots of holes!)

6. Arrange the small PVC pieces in the bottom of the bin — they should be on-end and evenly spaced. Place the lid on top of the pieces. Place weeping cups and watering tube into their holes.

7. Pack the weeping cups snugly with potting soil, then fill the box with soil.

8. Drill a ½-in. drainage hole in the side of the box 2 ½ in. from the bottom.

9. Fill the bin with water through the watering tube. When it’s full, water will come out the drainage hole.

10. Plant.

Check out this video, which shows you how to make an earth box from two Rubbermaid tubs.

Make Your Own Ollas

Ollas (OY-yas) are earthen jars with thin necks and wide bellies that you fill with water and bury in your garden. Water seeps through the ollas’ unglazed walls to feed plant roots without wasting any water to evaporation or runoff. Eventually, plant roots grow around the ollas, drawing water when needed, creating a super-efficient self-watering system.

Make yours from extra clay garden pots and silicone caulk.

  • Select two 8- or 10-in. clay pots with smooth rims that closely match each other.
  • Caulk a bottle cap or piece of tile over the bottom hole of one pot to prevent water from pouring out.
  • Cover the rim of one pot with a thick ribbon of silicone caulk. Place the other pot over the caulk and press lightly.
  • Let caulk dry for 24 hours, then fill the pot with water to check for leaks.
  • When you’re satisfied that your olla is leak-proof, bury it in your garden next to plants. Water in an 8-in. diameter; olla spreads 18 inches.
  • Fill olla with water, and cover the hole with a rock or glazed saucer. Check water levels with a stick and refill as necessary.

Need a little garden inspiration? Check out these eye-pleasing cottage gardens and learn how to plant flowers and veggies together.