5 Container Gardening Tips & Tricks

Adding a pop of color with a container of annuals; growing fresh herbs for cooking; utilizing a small space for a vegetable garden…all are great reasons for employing containers around your yard.  With these tips and tricks, you’ll be a champion container gardener in no time!

  1. Use your creativity when choosing a container.  Especially for containers used for annuals, the only real requirement is a bit of drainage so roots don’t get moldy from sitting in water.  So before throwing away that coffee can, employ a drill for the drainage holes and a liberal coating of spray paint and voila!  A cute planter for a pansy to be tucked into a corner somewhere.
  2. Use packing peanuts to lighten a large pot.  In bigger planters, place packing peanuts in the bottom prior to adding soil to help lighten the pot.  You’ll want to use plants with a shallower root system, but you’ll be happy when it comes time to move that large planter!
  3. Mix and match herbs and annuals. Think about mixed-use plantings for larger planters: herbs in the middle, surrounded by a few annuals and maybe some trailing greenery to flow over the sides.
  4. Water and feed.  Feed and water. Container plants will almost always require daily watering.  Add water with a light spray or shower setting until it starts leaking out the bottom of the pot. With frequent watering, soil can be quickly leached of needed nutrients, so keep the recommended feeding schedule on the plant’s tag to ensure healthy container plants.
  5. Prune as needed to keep plants manageable. Some plants will need to be pinched back to maintain a suitable size for the container in which they’re planted. Examples include trimming new flowers and leaves on a tomato plant to force fruit growth over leaf growth, trimming any old or diseased leaves and pinching/using herb leaves regularly to promote young leaves (which usually taste better).

More Than Half of Listings are ‘Affordable’

homeforsalesignFifty-four percent of for-sale listings of existing homes are within reach for a median-income household in the U.S., according to a new analysis by realtor.com®. Their analysts used the national median income of $51,801 to determine how many of the site’s 1.6 million listings would be affordable to an average family, while also assuming a 20 percent down payment and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The monthly payment couldn’t exceed 28 percent of the family’s income.

“So far this year we are hearing from home shoppers that finding a home that meets their needs or budget is the biggest impediment to buying,” says Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “The good news from this data is that more than half of the listings nationwide are by definition affordable. If affordability is a challenge, this tight market favors activity in the heartland, where markets have a high number of affordable homes.”

Affordable homes were mostly centered in inland areas of the U.S., such as Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, as well as other Midwestern states. Affordability was also found to be highest in parts of Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.

On the other hand, home buyers likely will find homes less affordable in places like the San Luis-Obispo-Paso Robles area — California’s Central Coast wine territory — where less than 4 percent of February’s listings were affordable, according to realtor.com®’s analysis.

Realtor.com® analysts also found that existing homes tended to be much more affordable than new homes. In February, realtor.com® had more than 7,700 actively selling new-home communities listed, with an inventory of nearly 57,000 homes available for sale. Only 21 percent of those new homes, however, were deemed affordable.

Source: “Where America’s Affordable Homes Are – and Aren’t – in 2015,” realtor.com® (March 19, 2015)

Copyright NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Reprinted with permission.

Home Buyer’s Workshop April 11th!

RSVP to attend the Home Buyer’s Workshop on April 11th at SCHNEIDER Real Estate to get a FREE credit analysis and a FREE continental breakfast!  Sponsored by Frontier Mortgage and Integrity Title Solutions, the aim of the event is to explain what’s needed to buy a home in today’s markets and how to qualify for down payment assistance.  Don’t miss it!

RSVP by calling 636-946-5553 ext 218 by April 7th or email us!

Complete Workshop Details:
Date: April 11, 2015
Time: 10:00 am
Location: SCHNEIDER Real Estate
One Point West Blvd
St. Charles, MO 63301

Workshop Sponsored by:
Frontier MortgageIntegrity Title Solutions

5 Tips to Make the Most of Visiting an Open House

open-houseSome sellers will conduct an Open House, during which prospective home buyers can walk through the home and in many cases, speak directly with the listing agent.  This can be an invaluable tool to a buyer with a little planning and forethought.

  • Do some “homework”. Before attending an open house, try to collect as much information on the property or properties you’ll visit that day using listing searches (link goes to our Listings page) and public sources like tax records. Have a list of questions ready to go for each property that you can ask the listing agent.
  • Bring a tape measure and camera. Most open houses will include a spec sheet for overall measurements, but those won’t generally finer detail measurements that might be useful (door widths, window widths, etc). A camera can help you document the tour and remind you of any notable areas/details – but be sure to get approval to take photos; there’s a lot to be said for being polite.
  • Check out the view. Remember to look through all the windows during your walk through the house. It’s a perspective that can be forgotten during an open house, especially if the house is occupied or furnished with window treatments, but can make a big (and potentially unexpected) impact later on.
  • Look past paint color, wallpaper and furnishings. It can be challenging to ignore furnishings and wall treatments, especially if they are very attractive (or unattractive) to you. Remember what can be easily changed to your own tastes and try to focus your observations to structures, layouts and condition.
  • Note any red flags. Things like water stains, discoloration, cracks in walls or ceilings and sloped floors can all be signs of serious underlying trouble. Be sure to make a note of any of these for further investigation if you proceed with a property.