Patricia White's Blog
Are you a culinary adventurer? If so, you know how much fun it can be to experiment with herbs in your soups, sauces and casseroles. Better, it’s easy enough to step that flavor up by using fresh herbs picked straight from the garden. Many culinary herbs are easy to grow on a windowsill, and they’re only an arm’s reach away from the kitchen stove. Whether you’re hoping to grow your own fresh thyme, parsley or rosemary, these quick tips will help you produce healthy indoor herbs that add oodles of flavor to your favorite dishes.
1. Keep Your Herbs at a Comfortable Temperature
Once they’ve sprouted, herbs enjoy the same temperatures that humans prefer. Anywhere from 65 to about 70 degrees is ideal. This means they should be happy enough anywhere in your house except for cool damp basements or garages that aren’t climate controlled. Don’t let them swelter in a too-hot windowsill or stunt them by setting them in direct air conditioning.
Many herbs, such as sage, Greek oregano and thyme, are actually perennial plants when grown outdoors in more temperate zones. This makes them somewhat less finicky and easier to grow indoors than cilantro or dill. If you’re having trouble getting herbs to flourish as houseplants, it could simply be that you’ve planted ones that do better outside. Opt for easy-to-grow herbs like:
2. Give Your Herbs Access to Sufficient Sunlight
While you don’t want them to cook from southern exposure, most herbs do require at least six hours of sunlight daily. If you don’t have a windowsill that fits this description, you can invest in simple grow lights. If you use lights, however, give your plants periods of darkness at night, just as they’d get if you planted them outdoors.
Unfortunately, placing your herbs in a window is not the same as giving them direct access to the sun. The window glass filters the light somewhat, and if you have solar films on your windows, they will filter UV rays even more. A window that faces west is an excellent choice for houseplant placement. These windows receive the full afternoon and evening sun, but the temperature is not as hot as that generated in a south-facing window.
If you’re not sure whether your herbs are getting the optimum amount of sun, look to your plants for the answers. Plants that are getting too much sun will show yellow leaves or brown, burned spots. Too little sun results in a weak, leggy appearance.
3. Know Your Herbs’ Water Needs
Water too much, and your roots will rot. Water too little, and your herbs will wither and die. Both situations are frustrating to the weekend chef. Unfortunately, the water needs of herbs are all over the place, and what works for one may kill the one next to it. For these reasons, read your plant care instructions. And if you’re growing various herbs, try to keep them grouped according to how often they need watered.
By following these three simple guidelines, you can have an indoor herb garden that makes you smile every morning when you step into your kitchen and one that makes your family smile every night at dinner. There’s no mystery to growing herbs indoors successfully. Rather, it’s all in the science. Once you solve the equation, there will be no limits to the tasty herbs you can grow.
There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home. While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if you’re pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if you’re approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesn’t mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.
Run Your Own Numbers
It’s important to sit down and do your own budget when you’re getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Don’t forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, you’ll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home.
Now, you’ll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, you’ll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).
The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender can’t approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.
As you can see, it’s important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.
Let's face it – selling your home has been a long, complex and stressful journey. Now, you're only 24 hours from finalizing the sale of your house and moving on to the next chapter of your life.
Although most of the home selling process is complete, a homebuyer still needs to finalize the home purchase agreement. As such, there are several things that you may want to do before a homebuyer completes his or her final walk-through of your residence, including:
1. Clean Your Home's Interior
A messy interior is unlikely to ruin your home sale. At the same time, it is always better to err on the side of caution and provide a homebuyer with a fresh, clean residence that he or she will be able to enjoy instantly.
Spend some time mopping the floors, wiping down the walls and ceilings and ensuring your house's interior looks pristine. By doing so, you can minimize the risk that a homebuyer will find last-minute problems that could delay his or her home purchase.
2. Remove Your Belongings
If you have any belongings still at your residence, you'll need to remove them quickly.
When it comes to last-minute moving, you may need to rent a moving truck. With a moving truck at your disposal, you can remove items from your property and put them in storage or move them to your new address.
Also, don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for assistance. These loved ones may be able to provide a helping hand as you prepare to relocate from your current residence. Plus, they may be able to help you alleviate stress as you wrap up the home selling cycle.
3. Cancel Any Home Services
Contact your home cable, internet and telephone service providers to inform them about your upcoming move. You may be able to move various services to your new address, or you may need to cancel some of these services entirely.
Don't forget to contact any utilities providers as well. That way, you can avoid the risk of utility bills after you leave your current address.
4. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent has been a game-changer throughout the home selling cycle. As the home selling process draws to a conclusion, your real estate will continue to do what he or she can to ensure you can get the best results possible.
If you're uncertain about what to do to get ready for a home closing, be sure to give your real estate agent a call. This housing market professional will provide details about how the home closing process will work so that you can plan accordingly.
Moreover, your real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns, at any time. He or she will go the extra mile to provide you with the home selling support you need.
Get ready to finalize a home sale – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be able to prepare for a home closing.
Whether you're looking for your first house, a vacation home, or a retirement condo, there's always an element of excitement in finding a new place you can call your own!
Although buying and selling real estate can be stressful, especially if you've never done it before, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help keep things on an even keel.
Similar to planning a vacation or a cross-country trip, you'll want to avoid missed connections, frustrating delays, and wasted time. When it comes to buying a home, a little research, planning, and expert advice can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth journey. Here are a few specifics:
Check your credit score: Your credit rating has a major impact on your ability to successfully apply for a mortgage and be offered a relatively low interest rate. Knowing your credit rating can help you understand your options, avoid unexpected surprises, and take action to correct errors in your credit report or improve your credit profile.
Prepare a wish list: One of the keys to getting what you want in a new home is to clarify and prioritize the features that matter the most to you. Your checklist can include everything from lot size and architectural style to the reputation of the school district and proximity to stores. Some house hunters also place a high value on features like a fireplace, screened-in porch, and an open floor plan.
Find a good real estate agent: A buyers' agent can provide you with an immense amount of help in finding properties for sale that meet your specifications. They can also provide assistance, advice, and guidance on the many steps involved in going from loan applicant to new home owner. An experienced agent can also negotiate the best possible deal, in terms of price, seller concessions, and other advantages.
Meet with mortgage lenders: A crucial step in preparing to become a homeowner is understanding the mortgage application process, knowing how much banks would be willing to lend you, and determining an affordable price range. Meeting with lenders is also the first step to comparing interest rates and choosing a financial institution that would best suit your needs. Here's a helpful tip from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "Getting a preapproval letter helps you show sellers that you are a serious buyer – but it doesn’t commit you to a lender."
When it comes to searching for and buying a house, probably the best advice anyone could give you is "stay the course!" Let's face it: It's easy to give up, get discouraged, or settle for a home that's less than what you really want. However, when you adopt a "stay the course" mindset, you'll do a better job of staying motivated, focused, and well organized until you find just the right home for you, your family, and your future!
Sunrooms offer a place where you can enjoy outdoor views and sunlight without actually being outside. Whether you’re avoiding the summer heat or staying warm in winter, you can still get plenty of natural light in a comfortable environment with a sunroom. Since these are different types of sunrooms to choose from, it’s important to become familiar with what each type offers. This can help you determine which sunroom is ideal for your home.
3 Season Sunrooms
A 3 season sunroom is one that usually doesn’t have any heating or cooling from your home’s HVAC system. This type of sunroom is a suitable option if you live in a warmer climate with a low number of freezing or below freezing days. With this type of sunroom, you can get plenty of use out of it all year round. Keep in mind that you might need to use other means of heating or cooling it if needed, such as with space heaters or oscillating fans.
4 Season Sunrooms
A 4 season sunroom, also known as an all season sunroom, differs from a 3 season sunroom in terms of heating and cooling. With this kind of sunroom, you can have your home’s HVAC system supply it with cool or warm air as needed. These sunrooms also typically have insulation added for additional comfort. This setup allows you to use your 4 season sunroom all year round without having to worry about whether or not it’s warm or cool enough.
Solariums are sunrooms that feature all glass, even on the ceiling. These sunrooms typically have straight or curved panes of glass where the walls and roof meet. This type of sunroom is ideal if you want to be able to see all around you, since solariums offer optimal views of your surroundings on all sides. You’ll also be getting more sunlight overall in a solarium with its glass ceiling and full glass walls.
Conservatories are known for adding a certain historic charm to high-end homes. These luxurious sunrooms typically have segmented roofs with either glass panes or polycarbonate material, giving you the option to add more or less natural light overall depending on your preference. A conservatory is a good option when you want a sunroom with a more vintage or classic look rather than the more modern or contemporary style and appearance that solariums, 3 season sunrooms and 4 season sunrooms offer.