Bill Mamak's Blog
Make your new house an even more welcoming place to come home to by designing a fragrant flower garden. Fill your garden with these beautiful blooms and reap the aromatic rewards.
If you aren’t exactly known for your green thumb don’t think you can’t have a beautiful flower garden too! Most of these blooms are also incredibly easy to grow and require little maintenance over time.
Sweet alyssum - Not only is the sweet alyssum beautifully fragrant, it’s also a pretty hardy plant that can tolerate both heat and drought. It is also a self-sowing plant so it will come back year after year with minimal effort on your behalf. While it grows low to the ground it’s potent sweet scent won’t go unnoticed.
Rose - The rose needs no introduction. While this bloom precedes its fragrant reputation it, unfortunately, has one misconception - that they are difficult to grow. If you have an area in your garden that receives around 6 hours of sunlight you should find little difficulty getting this coveted blossoms to grow.
Phlox - Phlox grow in small bundles of flowers, much like the sweet alyssum. There are actually three varieties to be aware of when choosing your seeds. There are border phlox, mounding phlox and woodland varieties. No matter the variety this bloom boasts a sweet almost honey-like smell you will adore.
Butterfly bush - This shrub grows long draping cone-shaped bundles of flowers. It comes in shades of white, pink and purple. If you are looking to attract butterflies opt for a lavender-pink variety. It should be noted that this bush is considered an invasive species and can be problematic in areas with more mild climates.
Flowering crabapple - Crabapples comes in many varieties and can fit any garden’s aesthetic needs. You can find traditional round shaped trees as well as ones with draping branches much like a weeping willow. For the most fragrant blooms, you’ll want the single blossom variety.
Peony - Peonies are a stunning, showy bloom much like the rose. The lovely, fresh scent peonies throw off is well worth the 2-3 year wait for a newly planted bush to establish itself. And good news - they don’t require much fussing over throughout that time. Aside from adequate sun and plenty of root space to soak up nutrients this bush is pretty low maintenance.
These six blooms will be sure to up the aroma ante in your flower garden. Not only can they be grouped up together but they can also be grouped with other stunning blooms whose fragrance is lacking for a well-rounded showstopper of a garden. Peonies can be put in the same garden design as roses to complement one another's showy blooms. While sweet alyssum and phlox can be added to just about any design due to their low-spreading nature.
Okay, so you’ve been watching all those home shows and think you want to invest in a second property, but that whole flipping business seems like more trouble than you want to handle. First, you have to budget correctly for the remodel, then it absolutely has to sell, and quickly, otherwise, it stops being a good investment. There is an alternative: keep it as a second property and lease it out for additional income.
Depending on what kind of rental you want to own, you will want to look at different properties and price ranges. Your real estate agent can help you choose what’s best in your neighborhood.
Standard or Long-Term Rental
For best results, you want your rental home to land smack in the middle of the neighborhood's price bracket. That means calculating your mortgage, taxes and all other included expenses and making sure you can make an income while keeping the rent reasonable. Middle-of-the-road rental prices will get you the best tenants. They will fit into the neighborhood and are more likely to be comfortable there, which means you can probably keep them longer. Each time you turn over the property between tenants, you not only lose the income for that time but incur the extra costs of preparing the property for the new renter. The longer you keep individual tenants, the more profit you make.
Vacation or Short-Term Rentals
Vacation rentals differ from standard rental properties in several ways, but the most common differences are (a) the nightly rate, (b) how often you have tenants, and (c) the range of turnover requirements and costs. Vacation rentals—growing in popularity for a while now—might be your chance to cash in on the craze. Guests prefer them because they can usually get more space for a lower cost than a hotel, fit more people together in a single area and prep their own meals. This makes them particularly popular with families and groups with children.
You'll need to keep your vacation rental furnished and cleaned which increases the costs initially, but if you can keep guests scheduled regularly, the profit margin can be substantial. You can vary your rates depending on the length of stay, catering to stays a short few days or up to three to four months and anything in between. Make sure to check with your local municipality for regulations on short-term rentals in your area.
Don't forget that you can use it yourselves as well, just be careful not to leave too many personal effects there, it can break the ambiance for your guests.
New Property, New Job
The most significant difference between keeping your investment property and flipping it is that you get a second job: Landlord. This is not a position for everyone. First, if you've ever been a renter, you know how difficult it can be if your landlord is in a different city or even a different state. If your property is out of town, investigate getting a property manager. If your property is local, you may want to handle it yourself, but if it takes too much time or causes more stress than it alleviates, you may wish to hire a property manager as well. A good manager will handle interviewing and advising renters, running credit approvals, collecting payments, some landscaping and maintenance, and turning over the home between tenants. Make sure you include this cost when you calculate your necessary rental expenses.
So, ready to invest? Your real estate professional should be your first call! Put their local knowledge to use in finding the best properties for rental investments.
You know artificial intelligence, aka aI, equipped everything is in. And while AI thermostats, home security, and doorbells are nice… they aren’t particularly exciting. I hear you. And that’s why today I”m sharing my favorite AI equipped kitchen gadgets.
Let’s start with a popular device you’ve probably overlooked - the smart speaker. You know Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. Pick your preferred flavor of brand loyalty (see what I did there?) because they can all help you out in the kitchen.
For example, have you ever been mid-recipe and realized you’re missing a critical ingredient and need a substitute? Or how many tablespoons are in a ⅓ cup? Whether to serve red or white wine with your zoodles?
With a smart speaker, you can use voice-activated inquiries to get answers to any of your kitchen Q’s. And you won’t have to make a complete mess of your tablet trying to find it.
Keep your trash can lid clean too by investing in a garbage bin with a motion sensor opening capability. There are so many options at all different price points, this is one techy upgrade anyone can make.
One thing you won’t have to worry about is how long to cook something for or at what temperature if you have the June intelligent oven. This convection oven is full capacity yet still can sit on your countertop. You can also spring for the “pro” version to build it into your existing cabinetry.
Or maybe you want to cook two things at the same time but need them to be at different temperatures? Samsung double oven has a removable divider allowing you to use the full capacity or split it into two. And of course, it has wi-fi connectivity to monitor cooking progress from anywhere.
If you’re the type who can’t just throw two things in the oven at a “good enough” temperature you value quality. The right cooking process can’t be rushed. Chances are you also feel this way about tea.
Not every variety and blend should be steeped at the same temperature water or for the same time. Each has its own best conditions for the perfect cup. But creating those conditions takes time and effort. The Mr.Coffee Tea Maker and Kettle that can be set to the right temp and brew time for every type. It’s literally as simple as pushing a button as the buttons are even clearly labeled for each type.
No two vacation residences are alike. As such, it pays to be diligent as you conduct a search for the optimal vacation home. Otherwise, you risk purchasing a vacation house that fails to accommodate your long-term needs.
Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to find a vacation home that complements you perfectly, such as:
1. Establish Vacation Home Must-Haves
Think about the features you want in your vacation home. By doing so, you can hone your vacation house search to residences that offer the features you want.
For example, if you want a vacation home that includes a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system, you can focus on finding a house that offers this system. Or, if you would prefer a vacation house that boasts an in-ground swimming pool, you can explore residences that offer this amenity.
Don't forget to make a list of preferred cities and towns for your vacation home, too. With this list in hand, you can check out residences in cities and towns that meet your expectations.
2. Create a Homebuying Budget
A homebuying budget is crucial, particularly for an individual who wants to purchase a vacation residence as quickly as possible. Because if you know how much you can spend on a vacation residence, you can focus on houses that fall in line with your finances.
To establish a homebuying budget, it often helps to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can help you evaluate different mortgage options for a vacation home. Plus, if you have any mortgage concerns or questions, these specialists are happy to respond to them.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to searching for a vacation house, there is no reason to work alone. In fact, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring a quality vacation residence.
A real estate agent works with a homebuyer and helps this individual achieve his or her desired results. Thus, if you want to find a vacation home in a warm-weather destination, a real estate agent can help you do just that. On the other hand, if you would like to purchase a budget-friendly vacation residence, a real estate agent will help you map out your house search accordingly.
Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent provides throughout the vacation homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to help a homebuyer achieve the best possible results. They will work closely with you throughout the property buying journey, and as a result, will make it simple for you to purchase a first-rate vacation residence.
Kick off a successful vacation home search – use the aforementioned tips, and you could accelerate the process of purchasing a superb vacation residence.