Archive for April, 2011

HomeGain Releases 2011 Home Improvement Survey Results

By Michael, on January 29th, 2011

Emeryville, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) January 19, 2011

HomeGain.com, the first website to offer web-based free instant home values, today announced that it has released the results of its nationwide home improvement and home staging Home Sale Maximizer™ survey.

HomeGain surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals nationwide and configured a list of the top 10 do-it-yourself home improvements that cost under $ 5,000 and benefit sellers most when they sell their homes. 

According to the HomeGain survey, the top five home improvements that real estate professionals recommend to home sellers based on average cost and return on investment (from highest to lowest ROI) are: 

1. Cleaning and de-cluttering ($ 290 cost / $ 1,990 price increase / 586% ROI)

2. Lightening and brightening ($ 375 cost / $ 1,550 price increase / 313% ROI)

3. Home staging ($ 550 cost / $ 2,194 price increase / 299% ROI)

4. Landscaping ($ 540 cost / $ 1,932 price increase / 258% ROI)

5. Repairing electrical or plumbing ($ 535 cost / $ 1,505 price increase / 181% ROI) 

Cleaning and de-cluttering continues to rank as the top suggested home improvement (since the survey was originally conducted in 2000), recommended by 99 percent of real estate professionals, costing less than $ 300 and returning a value of nearly $ 2,000 to the home’s sale price, or a 586 percent return on investment. 

“Sellers need to prepare their homes for sale before putting them on the market,” said Louis Cammarosano, General Manager at HomeGain. “Homes that have initial appeal have a better shot at selling faster and closer to the asking price than homes rushed to the market with no improvements.” 

Rounding out the top 10 low cost, do-it-yourself home improvements includes: updating electrical systems and/or plumbing, updating the kitchen and bathrooms, replacing or shampooing carpets, painting interior walls, repairing damaged floors, and painting the outside of the home. 

The home improvement projects with the highest price increases to a home’s resale value are updating the kitchen ($ 1,265 cost / $ 3,435 price increase), followed by painting the outside of the home ($ 1,467 cost / $ 2,222 price increase) and home staging ($ 550 cost / $ 2,194 price increase). 

To see the complete survey results, visit the HomeGain Real Estate Blog. 

HomeGain’s Home Sale Maximizer online home improvement tool, based on the results of our home improvement surveys of real estate professionals, is designed to provide home sellers with the most cost-effective improvements to best increase the saleability of one’s home. 

About HomeGain 

HomeGain is a leading provider of online marketing solutions that connect real estate agents and brokers with home buyers and sellers. HomeGain offers free services to find and compare real estate agents, research home values, and view homes for sale. Since 1999 REALTORS® have used HomeGain’s real estate marketing programs to connect with consumers, promote their services and grow their business. HomeGain.com has been a top visited real estate website since 1999. HomeGain is your real estate connection.

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While searching for ways to not only add storage to a desk area, but to improve it’s overall look, I came accross a few great ideas!  The first is from Home Made Simple, with 3 Easy Repurposed Desk Organizers.  One of their ways to create an organized space is with the use of clipboards and decorative paper.

Clipboard + Pretty Paper = Mini Bulletin Board
Whether it’s organizing loose papers or displaying artwork that brightens up your space, personalized clipboards are the perfect, fuss-free solution.

1 sheet decorative paper, 8 1/2” x 14” or larger
Craft knife
Decoupage glue

1.Lay your paper, pattern side-down, on a clean work surface, then place your clipboard on top of it and trace its shape with your pencil.

2.Cut along the lines with your craft knife.

3.Use your paintbrush to apply a smooth, even layer of decoupage glue to the front side of your clipboard.

4.Attach the paper to the clipboard, smoothing away wrinkles with clean hands. Cut away excess paper around the metal clip with your craft knife.

5.Apply a second thin coat of glue on the top of the paper to create a seal. Let dry, then hang the clipboards on large nails or hooks.

Tip: Try hanging four or five clipboards in a row over your desk, mixing and matching paper patterns and colors to make a statement.

Keeping your office desk organized will allow you to be more efficient, get your work done quicker, and will keep you at a least a little less stressed!  What ideas do you have for staying organized at your desk?

Article by Lori Thomas

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New Leaf Garden Tips for your recycling

Ten Household Items You Can Use to Garden Naturally
By Yolanda Vanveeen

Most gardeners do not realize that they have a treasure chest of natural alternatives to chemicals in their kitchen. Many of these items can be found in unexpected places such as in taco seasoning, pancake mixes and soy sauce. There are many more uses for these items but here is a quick list of all the ingredients you will need to garden naturally:

#1 Hot Spices- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cayenne, Black Pepper, Curry- Sprinkle around garden or add to water in a spray bottle and use as insecticide. Most Mexican and Cajun spice mixes have a great combination of these spices.

#2 Used Coffee Grounds-Repels slugs and other bugs in the garden.

#3 Baking Soda-Controls powdery mildew on your plants. Pancake and cake mixes contain baking soda.

#4 Oils-Olive, Vegetable, Pear-Easy insecticide for aphids, ants and other smaller insects in plants and trees. Don’t DEET. Rub oil all over your body (my favorite is olive) and mosquitoes will not bite you.

#5 Garlic-Plant as a companion to repel insects or use garlic mixed with water as a spray. Repels Dracula too.

#6 Rosemary-Sprinkle in flower beds or mix with water or oils as a spray to make a great insecticide. Thyme, clove, lavender and mint also work.

#7 Salt-Sprinkle on slugs or make a salt barrier. Soy sauce has lots of salt in it.

#8 Cinnamon-Great to repel squirrels, rabbits and neighbor cats from your garden. Add to water and use as an insecticide.

#9 Vinegar-Natural herbicide. Kills weeds in your driveway and any other plant it touches. Use carefully.

#10 Water-Most insects will wash right off with water. Spray the top and bottom of the leaves in the shower or with a hose outside. If you have a wasp nest, don’t spray with chemicals. Stand ten feet back and spray with water. Do this three days in a row and the wasps will find another place to build their home.

Once you start looking at the ingredients in many items in your kitchen you will realize you can improvise easily. Remember, all natural items can still be dangerous when used in large quantities so use sparingly. They are still a better choice than the chemicals. The bonus is that they are less expensive and now that you know, the next time you see any type of seasoning packs in the clearance bin at half price, grab them up!
Article by American trends

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Sylvan Habitat in Brevard NC Now Offering 2 Camp Sites, 4 lots & a Home For Sale

Sylvan Habitat has been one of the best known Communities in Brevard North Carolina as well as it is extremely rare to have properties in the community for sale. Sylvan offers not only lots of several acres but what is called Camp sites all over 10 acres. Sylvan Habitat is so unique that it is the only community with not only miles of internal multi-use trails,but trail systems that access you into the DuPont State Forest.  So if you’re interested in trails and conservation easements, green spaces for utmost privacy, and are looking at Brevard North Carolina real estate, then you should consider Sylvan Habitat in Transylvania County.

Located conveniently close to Asheville NC, and Hendersonville NC, this trail and conservation development, with just 44 lots on 555 acres, gives the chance to live in a park of your own. And with over 6 miles of trails, and over 200 acres of conservation areas, it is a wonderful place to live, retire, or enjoy just for vacations. If you are considering Brevard, North Carolina ( NC ) real estate, please visit us. Sylvan Habitat offers the perfect location only 5 miles from Brevard NC. And one of our trails goes directly into DuPont State Forest. Peruse our site to get more information about our community, including size and price of lots, location, and maps.

Here is a video  of the Community Center as well as links to 2 camps now available as well as 4 lots being combined into 2 lots. These are the first resale land properties in the community, and the 2 lots are developer lots he was retaining for himself, but has decided to offer them to you. Not only do I have these unique and rare opportunities, but I have a nearly new all one level home available with streams, small waterfalls, and joins the conservation-community areas on 2 sides and a 1500+ acre area that is undeveloped.

Here are the available camp properties in Sylvan Habitat that are for sale. Camp 8 offers extreme long range year round views. Camp 10 just came on the market and offers once again over 10 acres, a level private driveway with a house site offering views to the east, south and westerly. Enjoy the video of Camp 10, and keep into mind that the driveway is being regraded as it has mostly just grown up in grass.

Here are the details on the 4 lots that are being combined into 2 lots. Each offer trail access, conservation-community protection as well they are extremely easy to build on. Both are just a couple minute walk to the Sylvan Habitat Equestrian Center. The Equestrian area is owned by only 6 owners in the community, and one share is available for purchase.

The DuPont State Forest: 

DuPont State Forest is Sylvan Habitat’s southerly neighbor. Trails on Sylvan Habitat connect directly into the 10,000-acre DuPont State Forest, offering 98 marked trails for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. The Little River cuts a path throughout the forest, including the newly acquired 2,200 region. Made famous in the film The Last of the Mohican’s, Little River supports four significant waterfalls. High and Triple Falls each drop more than 120′ feet, while the unique Bridal Veil Falls allows visitors to explore the passage behind the waterfall. The base of Hooker Falls widens into an excellent swimming destination.

For hikers, DuPont State Forest’s very own Stone Mountain climbs to a height of 3600′ and is accessible via two marked trails. Cedar Rock Mountain is a bare, granite outcropping that is especially popular among hikers and bikers.

If interested in any of these rare properties, please don’t hesitate to email me at Jay@HomeINBrevard.com or call me at 828-421-0375 for more detailed information. It excites me to offer properties that you can leave your home and walk, mountain bike or ride a horse directly into DuPont.

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In Passing the Eastoatoe Waterfall last week on a property listing, link to one of his many falls, I remembered one of my dear Gideon Brothers that has asked me give him a price of his property. He had always mentioned he had about 40 acres of land a big waterfall and lakes, a home, guest cabin, huge outbuilding and pastures, and wanted to sell someday. So this week I stopped in only to find out to my surprise he owns the Eastatoe Waterfall. While there I decided to take some videos of it to share with you. I hope you enjoy the videos! These first 2 are of Eastatoe Falls and here is the second video of the same falls.

Will’s property the owner of the Eastatoe waterfall in Rosman NC which is just a 14 minute drive from Downtown Historic Brevard’s Main Street. 

Will said one day he will let me sell this one of the 250 majestic waterfalls in all of Transylvania count, home of Brevard NC and Rosman where the fall is located. This is one of the prettiest properties and waterfalls I have seen in a long time. So if your interested in a large track of land with the falls, large ponds almost lake size, beautiful grassy acreage just right for pastures for horses as well as a primary residence and an old quest home as well as a huge outbuilding.

Here is information from Wikipedia of the Eastatoe Falls. Natural history:

“Eastatoe” was the local Cherokee word for the Carolina Parakeet, and was the name of a local tribe of Cherokee. Ownership of the falls has changed throughout the years, as has the name. The falls has been called Will Hines Falls, Shoal Creek Falls, and Rosman Falls.

Visiting the Falls: The falls is located on private property whose owners allow access. From the junction of US Highway 64 and US Highway 178 in Rosman, follow US 178 south for 3.4 miles and turn right into the private driveway. Park at the parking area between the house and the now-closed Mountain Meadow Craft Shop. Follow the short, easy trail for about 200 yards to a viewing area of the falls. Visitors to the falls should respect the owner’s private property and privacy by not visiting early in the morning or late in the day, letting pets run off-leash, blocking their driveway, or littering.

This beautiful 60-70 falls is on private property, but I had info from several reliable sources that the landowners don’t mind if people visit. I had been reluctant to stop in since you have to park at the folks house, but I recently got the courage up and decided to stop in. No one was home except a barking dog, so I parked and followed the easy trail back to the falls. I’ve decided not to post directions without these folks permission – sorry. I don’t want hordes of people stopping in and risk having these nice people cutting off access. If you’re really intent on seeing it, I will tell you it’s in Rosman. Stop in to a store or some place in town and ask. You might find someone who will give you more info. This information is from an unknown source.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Eastatoe Falls, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors here. Community Pages are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, anyone associated with the topic.

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Exciting events in Brevard North Carolina and Transylvania County. Transylvania County is known as the Land of Waterfalls and  the County is sponsoring the 2011 Senior Games as well as Silver Arts.

Kicking off the event is a complimentary luncheon on April 29th from noon to 1 PM and please RSVP to 828-884-3156 at our state of the art Library located in downtown Brevard in the Rogow Room. If you have never had a chanch to eat some food prepared by the Schenck Job Corp Culinary Department then you are in for a real treat!

The attached active links to the Transylvania Parks and Recreation as well as our Transylvania County Web Site has all of the event days, as well as the schedules, location and the events. There are events for all over 55 and in any physical condition from horse shoes, swimming, bowling, billiards, art, basketball shooting, walk and running, boccie, cycling and so much more. The links above give you the full schedules and times.

Don’t miss out on the wonderful food and activities. The application is enclosed as well.  Silver arts features activities from basket weaving, quilting, wood working and carving, to painting as well a literary poems and short stories. Like to line dance, sing, play an instrument, are you the comedian in the family then don’t miss out in the 2011 Land of Waterfalls Senior Games and Silver Arts.

Hope to see you there and if you have any questions feel free to call or email me. Just another reason why Brevard North Carolina is such a special community, activities for all, as well as Brevard Real Estate that features waterfalls, views or walk in town properties. Keep your eye out the necxt few days for more posts as I just listed a property with 2 cabins, over 18 acres, with a pond as well as some roaring waterfalls.

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Brevard Racquet Club & A Story Of A Special Trainer

Brevard Racquet Club is not only well known for its Tennis, Racquet Ball, State of the Art Fitness Center, two Pools, and trainers that have dedicated their life’s to helping others reach their fitness goals. Gail Climer is just this person that has touched my life as well as countless other Brevard, Hendersonville, and Western North Carolina residents.  

After a recent knee replacement, I joined Gail’s class called H2O Deep, not only as therapy, but to become a fitter person and actually lost 20 pounds. I wanted to share a letter that Gail wrote to her classes, along with her poem. Gail you are a star, not only having touched my life, but a star to our class of 18 members, and a star that makes Brevard such a special place to live.  You and others like you make selling Real Estate in Brevard NC a joy!

Friends, this is what Brevard NC is all about. We are a community that cares like no other I have ever seen, like building a Boy’s & Girl’s Club, all funded by donations, to over 20 Million donated to expand our local Transylvania Community Hospital, and volunteers of countless numbers throughout Transylvania County.  Now to Gail’s Poem and salutation to so many friends and memories she has created. 

Water and Friends-My Lifeline and a poem “what you mean to me”

Water and Friends – My Lifeline  What can I say to a lifeline of over 20+ years? 

The time has come for me to pass the classes on to someone else.  While sad to me, I feel that the timing is right as you have such great instructors.  For many years, I was the only one and felt the responsibility of trying to always be available.  It has been a great blessing to have Chris and Kay to teach new and updated formats and to take the lead in continuing to give you guys the very best of aquatic classes with great variety and functionality.

I wrote a poem for you guys in 2009, not because I can write poems, but because I wanted to let you know what ALL of you mean to me.  Here it is again: 


A clock that ticks steadily, long after its “giver” has gone

A set of encyclopedias, well used by family all, now sits dusty on the shelf

A book of Christmas recipes, compiled by so many water friends

A student who frowns at me with no kind words, only to find that my class is the highlight of her cancer-ridden day

A new friend made and kept these many years

A new friend gone, but lovingly remembered

A new friend greatly valued. 

All these and many others – Gifts given

Gifts to me and my family over many years

Gifts from the heart – kind words of encouragement

Gifts of knowledge – unlimited willingness to share

Gifts of life – and how to live it!

Gifts – each one of you – present and past

Gifts you have given me and What you mean to me! 


Gail Climer

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Fantastic new website for Brevard NC and Transylvania County. We are known for having over 250 waterfalls. Fall in love with Brevard as I have. Click on this link to view the newest web site with some of the best videos I have seen on Brevard NC. VisitNC

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What’s The Correct Way To Eat Fruit For Your Best Health?
We all think eating fruit means just buying fruit, cutting it up and popping it into our mouths. It’s not that easy. It’s important to know how and when to eat fruit. What’s the correct way to eat fruit?


Eating fruit like that plays a major role in detoxifying your system, supplying you with a great deal of energy for weight loss and other life activities.


Let’s say you eat two slices of bread, then a slice of fruit. The slice of fruit is ready to go straight through the stomach into the intestines, but it’s prevented from doing so.

In the meantime, the whole meal rots and ferments, and turns to acid. The minute the fruit comes into contact with the food in the stomach, and digestive juices, the entire mass of food begins to spoil.

Eat your fruit on an empty stomach, or before your meal! You’ve heard people complain: Every time I eat watermelon I burp, when I eat durian my stomach bloats, when I eat a banana I feel like running to the toilet, etc. This will not happen if you eat the fruit on an empty stomach. Fruit mixes with the putrefying other food and produces gas. Hence, you bloat!

There’s no such thing as some fruits, like orange and lemon are acidic, because all fruit becomes alkaline in our body, according to Dr. Herbert Shelton who did research on this matter. If you have mastered the correct way of eating fruit, you have the Secret of Beauty, Longevity, Health, Energy, Happiness and normal weight.

When you need to drink fruit juice drink only fresh fruit juice, NOT the concentrated juice from the cans. Don’t drink juice that has been heated. Don’t eat cooked fruit; you don’t get the nutrients at all. You get only the taste. Cooking destroys all of the vitamins.

Eating a whole fruit is better than drinking the juice. If you should drink the juice, drink it mouthful by mouthful slowly, because you must let it mix with your saliva before swallowing it. You can go on a 3-day fruit-fast to cleanse your body. Eat fruit and drink fruit juice for just 3 days, and you will be surprised when your friends say how radiant you look!

KIWI: Tiny but mighty, and a good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin E and fiber. Its vitamin C content is twice that of an orange!

AN APPLE a day keeps the doctor away? Although an apple has a low vitamin C content, it has antioxidants and flavonoids which enhances the activity of vitamin C, thereby helping to lower the risk of colon cancer, heart attack and stroke.

STRAWBERRY: Protective Fruit. Strawberries have the highest total antioxidant power among major fruits and protect the body from cancer-causing, blood vessel-clogging free radicals.

EATING 2 – 4 ORANGES a day may help keep colds away, lower cholesterol, prevent and dissolve kidney stones, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

WATERMELON: Coolest thirst quencher. Composed of 92% water, it is also packed with a giant dose of glutathione, which helps boost our immune system. Also a key source of lycopene, the cancer-fighting oxidant. Also found in watermelon: Vitamin C and Potassium.

GUAVA & PAPAYA: Top awards for vitamin C. They are the clear winners for their high vitamin C content. Guava is also rich in fiber, which helps prevent constipation. Papaya is rich in carotene, good for your eyes.

Drinking Cold water after a meal = Cancer!

Can you believe this? For those who like to drink cold water, this applies to you. It’s nice to have a cold drink after a meal, however, the cold water will solidify the oily stuff that you’ve just consumed, which slows digestion. Once this ‘sludge’ reacts with the acid, it will break down and be absorbed by the intestine faster than the solid food. It will line the intestine. Very soon, this will turn into fats and lead to cancer. It is best to drink hot soup or warm water after a meal.

A serious note about heart attacks. HEART ATTACK PROCEDURE

Women should know that not every heart attack symptom is going to be the left arm hurting. Be aware of intense pain in the jaw. You may never have the first chest pain during the course of a heart attack. Nausea and intense sweating are also common symptoms. Sixty percent of people who have a heart attack while they’re asleep do not wake up. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Be careful, and be aware. The more we know, the better our chance to survive.

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Landscaping for Curb Appeal

A well-landscaped yard creates curb appeal and helps your property retain maximum value. Here are a few tips and tricks for sprucing up your outdoor spaces yourself.

Effort Low 1-2 days installation
Investment Med $200-$4,000 (landscape lighting)

If you’re installing outdoor lighting on your own, remember to highlight the areas you want people to see.

A beautiful yard is a head-turner, no doubt about it. The good news is that even if you can’t tell a tulip from a turnip at the garden center, you can still create eye-catching curb appeal by paying attention to the basics of good landscaping. Ignoring your yard—or doing something that’s out of character with the neighborhood—can jeopardize the assessed value of your home. 

“We have several categories for design and appeal,“ says Frank Lucco, a real estate agent and professional appraiser in Houston. “That’s where we make those adjustments. Poorly maintained landscaping can be as much as a 5 or 10% deduction.”

Appraisers are quick to praise the allure of a well-tended lawn and good-looking landscaping when it comes time to sell your home, but most do not assign any specific increase in monetary value for upkeep.

“Landscaping is going to add to the appeal of the property and it may sell quicker, but it’s hard to determine value,” says John Bredemeyer, president of Omaha-based Realcorp. “You have to have a number to compensate someone if you drove into their tree and killed it, but is it really market value? Probably not.”

Nevertheless, most professionals agree that curb appeal and a well-maintained appearance prevent your property from losing value. Here are the top suggestions from real estate agents, appraisers, and landscape designers for boosting the curb appeal of your yard:

Green up the grass
If your house has a front yard, make sure it‘s neat and green. You don’t want bare spots, sprawling weeds, or an untrimmed appearance.

“It’s so simple to go to Home Depot, buy fertilizer, apply it every six weeks, and water it,” says Mitch Kalamian, a landscape designer in Huntinginton Beach, Calif. “It will green up.”

If the yard looks really scruffy, you may decide to invest in some sod. According to the National Gardening Association, the average cost of sod is 15 to 35 cents per sq. ft. If you hire a landscaper to sod your yard for you, labor will add 30% to 50% to the total cost of the project.

Another alternative is to plant low-maintenance turf grasses. Turf grasses are durable and drought-resistant. Expect to pay $18 to $30 for enough turf grass seed to plant 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn area.

Add colorful planting beds
Flower beds add color and help enliven otherwise plain areas, such as along driveways and the edges of walkways. In general, annual flowers are a bit cheaper but must be replaced every year. Perennials cost a bit more but come back annually and usually get larger or spread with each growing season.

If you’re not sure what to plant, inquire at your local garden center. Often, they’ll have a display of bedding plants chosen for their adaptability to your area. Also, they‘ll be inexpensive because they’re in season, says Peter Mezitt, president of Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton, Mass. Try pansies in the summer, and asters and mums in the fall to add vibrant color. “That’s what we do around the entrance to our garden center,” Mezitt says.

Valerie Torelli, a California REALTOR® who dresses up her clients’ yards to sell their houses faster and for more money, says that in her market, she can put in a bed of colorful annuals and bark, as well as cutting down overgrown shrubs, for less than $500. “We can buy gorgeous plants for $3.99 to $15.99,” she says.

Add landscape lighting
For homeowners who have made a sizeable investment in landscaping, it makes sense to think about adding another 10% to 15% to the bill for professional lighting. “You can’t see landscaping after dark,“ says Brandon Stephens, vice president of marketing for a landscape lighting firm in Lubbock, Texas, “and buyers are not always looking at houses on a Saturday afternoon.”

The cost of a system runs from $200 for a DIY installation to more than $4,000 for a professional job. If you‘re doing it on your own, the key is to light what you want people to see, such as mature trees and flowering shrubs.

Plant a tree
The value of mature trees is particularly difficult to determine. Lucco says that in his market, mature trees contribute as much as 10% of a $100,000 property’s overall value. In addition, a properly placed shade tree can shave as much as $32 a year on your energy bills. Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a young, 6- to 7-foot deciduous tree.

You can make your own initial assessment of the value of your property’s trees by visiting the National Tree Benefit Calculator. For example, a mature Southern red oak tree with a diameter of 36 inches in the front yard of a house in Augusta, Ga., would add $70 to the property value this year, according to the calculator.

Georgia-based freelance writer Pat Curry writes extensively about housing and real estate for consumer and trade publications. While a fair hand at remodeling, she is hopeless as a gardener. As a result, her landscaping is made up of plants that thrive on neglect. Article by Pat Curry  

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