Updating your home? Consider Re-purposing items for a One of a Kind Find

Some of the items I love to use are old bricks, pieces of leather and steel, tools and such from days gone by that can be re-purposed into lighting, artwork, hangers, welcome signs, even furniture! If you think this sounds fun, consider a small start. My first piece was an old dresser that I refinished and made look like new. It might be grabbing an old shovel to add to your garden. Open your eyes to other uses of items that some have long since forgotten about and now they can become your favorite item that everyone likes to ask about when they visit.

I would love to hear some of your favorite items for the home or garden.

Natural Kid Zone – Creating a Backyard Nature Area for Kids

IMG_2256The back yard is the best place for children to explore.  set aside some space just for exploration and you will find your kids outdoors playing and wondering about the world, how it works and who lives here.  Sounds like a great idea, but where do you start, how hard will it be to create this oasis?

Take one small area and remove the grasses so that children can dig.  Allow them to dig and play on wet and dry days as this will create a whole new experience.  Don’t worry about the mess so long as children are dressed for mess.

Kids of course are drawn to water.  Add a hose, sprinkler, bucket and scoops, watering cans, plastic pvc pipes of varying lengths.  Oh, and don’t forget to send them out in the rain so long as it isn’t storming.  take in the senses.  What things do they notice when the weather is wet?  Since water can be dangerous, make sure to supervise, but also stay back enough to allow them to explore without our input into the activity.

Consider adding a few large rocks (large enough so that they cannot be picked up and thrown, but small enough that they can be turned over to explore underneath.  Is there a tree in this environment?  I remember playing for hours in an old lilac bush when I was a child.  So much fun moving about its branches.  It could be anything and it was!

Don’t forget to add plants and perhaps allow children to help in the planting.  In my yard I need to make sure to have shade loving plants, but you will need to choose depending on your yards unique lighting.

Lastly, allow for some building materials.  A sheet for a fort, a variety of boards or long sticks can make for some great temporary forts and doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Have a few boards that you can allow to sit for a day or two and then go back to move these to see who has moved in.  I know in my yard we find all sorts of critters and the children just love it!

If you have enjoyed these ideas, please consider sharing one of your favorite back yard ideas.  I just love adding to our back yard fun and I bet you do too!

Kim Woehl is a licensed real estate agent and early childhood educator.  Please feel free to contact her at 651-214-1459 for information.


Do you Need that Home Inspection Before Buying?

http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/ - Kim Woehl Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459

Choose a trusted home inspector – one that looks at the foundation, heating system, cooling system, electrical, plumbing, roof, attic, insulation, windows, doors, basement and structural components.

I am frequently asked if buyers need to pay for a home inspection prior to purchasing a home.  As a licensed Realtor I work for my client.  My role is to provide them with as much information as I can so that they can make an informed decision.  In most cases I feel obtaining a home inspection is a good use of funds.  As a Realtor I write a sale, contingent on if the house passes the inspection.  It can save the potential home buyer tons of stress and money.  In some cases that inspection gives you your walking papers and you look for the next home that does pass inspection.

An inspection will shed light on some potential huge issues with a home such as structural damage, non working or very old heating and cooling systems, perhaps the roof will need to be replaced sooon.  You want to make sure that you ask what the home inspection includes. Does it include a look at the inside and the outside?  Will they look at the foundation, electrical work, the furnace and air conditioner?  Will they check to see that the appliances actually work? Do you feel like this inspector is someone you could trust?

What if your that handy guy/gal and you plan to be doing a bunch of upgrades to the home yourself?  A quality home inspection can still share details about what project you might wish to start first.

Work with a reputable home inspector and they can save you much worry and lots of expense.  This is just one of the many reasons that it is good to select your Realtor as you would your personal Doctor.  Your Realtor will look out for you and will help you to make informed decisions that will allow you to find that perfect home.

If you want a Realtor that will look out for you and make sure that your next home is the right one for you, give me a call.  I make it my job to inform the buyer so that they can make an informed decision.  Will you get a home inspection when you find that next home?  If you need a recommendation in the North metro, give me a call.  I would love to be your Realtor!

I am a licensed Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  You can reach me by calling 651-214-1459 or by visiting my website.  You can search for homes for free at http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/  Look me up!  I am waiting to work with you!

Pruning Fruit Trees

Looking to buy or sell please give me a call. Know someone else considering a move? Please pass on my name. I want to be your Real Estate Expert!

Fruit trees need pruning to maintain shape, remove dead branches, remove diseased branches, and to rejuvenate older trees so that they can again begin producing more fruit.

Timing of pruning is important and more gardeners will tell you to prune while the tree is still dormant.  This allows you to better see the branches since you are not contending with leaves.  I am told the limbs are lighter in the winter as well although I haven’t noticed.  There is one other time you can prune and that it right after they are fully leaved out.    This allows the wounds to heal before those spring diseases try to get into your tree.

Winter is also a good time of year to trim most other types of trees as well and in many cases reduces disease.  Some of you gardeners who have been maintaining yards for years may not know this, but we no longer paint over the wound.  The tree will do this naturally on its own and this is said to be healthier for the tree.

I will be looking for apples come fall!  How about you?  What types of fruit trees do you have in your yard?  Is there another type of fruit that you wish you had growing in your yard?  Please share

I am a Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty in the North Metro area in Minnesota.  If you are looking at buying or selling your home or know someone who would like to work with an experienced agent please pass my information along.  kwoehl.kwrealty.com  or 651-214-1459

Curb Appeal – Got that driveway covered!

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459 kwoehl.kwrealty.com

So you’ve had that morning cup of coffee or tea and what to do with the remaining boiling water?  Take it out to your driveway or sidewalk and pour it over those pesky weeds that have taken root in the cracks!  Make sure to stand back to avoid splashing burns, but the hot water burns the weeds dead but cools quickly enough to save those wanted plants near the edges of your drive and walkways.  Once they are dry and dead, simply take a flat shovel and scrape them away!

This technique works great, is green, and makes your home look beautiful from the curb!  Share a tip that you have for  quick clean up around the home!

Common Home Defects – Ask the Realtor

Kim Woehl - Realtor - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459 or kwoehl.kwrealty.com

With Spring nearly here this is a great time to discuss water penetration concerns in a home.  Water moving through your pipes, down a drain and out of the house is the only water you really want to see in your home.  This said, this is a prime time of year to find water in your basement.

There are 5 main areas that you should consider when looking for the source of a wet basement.

  • Grade of Yard
  • Grade at Foundation
  • Landscaping
  • Gutters, downspouts and extensions
  • Hard Surfaces

Take a look at your yard – does it appear the home is higher than the surrounding land?  If not you may need to create a swale so that water is drawn into a channel and moved away from your home instead of being allowed to sit and soak into the soil near the home.

Look at the grade near the foundation.  Soil needs to be higher than surrounding yard so that water immediately moves away from the home.  A good guide is a 1 inch slope per 5-6 feet away from the house.

Landscaping is a common culprit.  Lawn edging sometimes pushes up with frost creating a pocket where when water comes it is actually trapped and cannot move out and away from the home.  It can create a moat of sorts around the home actually holding and allowing water to seep into the blockwork.  Get out there and make sure all edging is mounted low enough so that it will not retain water near the home.

Gutters can be a good thing when working and complete.  They push water down a channel and away from the home.  The problem comes when the gutters get filled with debris and no longer work or when the extensions have been removed for winter or perhaps to mow around and then we forget to get these back on.  What happens next is that water might flow into those landscape areas mentioned above and now you have effectively created that moat again.

The last thing that must be considered is the hard surfaces you have outdoors, patios, stoops, and driveways.  These all need to direct and pull water away from the home.  Often times these settle causing water to actually move toward the home instead of away.  Mud or sand jacking can be a reasonable fix for this problem versus replacement and the results are effective.

When you do have water coming in, don’t assume since it is coming in the east side of the house that the water problem is coming from that area.  Block work is hollow and therefore can allow water to move along the full structure, so instead look for potential concerns and address each one until water is no longer coming in.  Block work can and does absorb lots of water so it is important to find the source and correct it.  Water in a basement can create mold issues and can cause block damage.  Both of these will make your home a risk for any potential buyer.

Kim Woehl is a Realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and wants to be your real estate expert.  If you know anyone looking to buy or sell, please send me their contact information or give them mine.  I can be reached at 651-214-1459 or kwoehl.kwrealty.com  I will work to listen and find the home that meets your needs.  I am knowledgeable on common home defects and will help guide you to the best choice when looking for a home.  Call me!

Click here to see what’s available in Forest Lake or Wyoming.  http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/listings/areas/16576,16623/  It’s free!

Lake Shore – Usage Versus Conservation Efforts

A new study is out.  It discusses why the lake level on White Bear Lake continues to be at an all time low.  It turns out that its not just the lack of rain and snow but that there may be a small leak at the bottom of the lake.  Even bigger is the blame that this report might be putting on other communities.  The report said that other cities north of the lake might be partially to blame as they are pumping water from the same aquifer.

As I read this I was like duh – we only have so much water and when the water is gone, its gone.  We have areas in the US that already have no water.  We ship water to them so that they can survive.  What happens now when we use all of our local water?  Well, I think we will borrow from somewhere else.  At what point will we look at the bigger picture and begin to conserve on this precious resource.

Minnesota and its 10,000 lakes seems like we have an abundance, but do we really?  If we don’t protect what we have will it remain or will it become polluted, used or otherwise wasted?

We can do lots by simply shutting off that faucet as we brush our teeth.  We can save by washing only full loads of laundry or dishes.  We can cut down on use of plastics which require water to make.  We can water only on our lawns and not send water onto the hard surfaces like driveways and roadways.  What can you do today to make a difference?

Kim Woehl is a realtor with Keller Williams Premier Realty and is also an instructor for MN Project Wet a curriculum for learning about water.  To learn more, contact Kim she would love to help you find a home on the water or to discuss other ways in which you might conserve water.  She is also available to come speak to your area group.  651-214-1459 or on the web at kwoehl.kwrealty.com