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Category Blogs I Follow

Coins in a jar with a plant growing out of it that symbolize saving money. L.K. Benson gives opinions on this topic.

September News from L.K. Benson

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing with us.

Life Lessons from Jimmy Buffett

Our family was deeply saddened by the news of Jimmy Buffett’s passing on September 1st.  Jimmy’s life and music had a tremendous impact on many. This is evidenced by the outpouring of messages and support from celebrities and fans worldwide. Lyle and his family have been self-professed “parrotheads” for over 40 years.  In this article, Lyle shares a few of his favorite song lyrics and some of the many life lessons that Jimmy shared through his music.

Memento Mori

Jimmy’s death was another reminder that nobody is immortal and one day we will all die. It is summarized in the ancient Latin phrase “Memento Mori...

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A man's hands opening an intake duct.

3 Benefits of Duct Cleaning Before Listing a House on the Market

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about duct cleaning.

There are countless things that your clients need to worry about as they get ready to list their homes on the market. From making small repairs to painting the walls a neutral color, things need to be done. In the hustle and bustle of taking care of things that are immediately obvious, it’s easy to forget some of the things that are lurking beneath the walls, including the ducts. What are some of the benefits of encouraging your clients to clean the ducts before placing their homes on the market?

Get Rid of Lingering Dust and Odors

The duct system of a house is responsible for distributing all heated and cooled air coming from your HVAC system...

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Big Numbers

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing this blog about the big numbers.

The Washington Redskins Commanders To Be Determined recently sold for over $6 billion. Every time a sports franchise sells, the numbers get bigger, and people can’t believe the huge payout for the owner. Reviled owner Dan Snyder purchased the team back in 1999 for $800 million, which was a record at the time. Yes, $6,000,000,000 is much more than $800,000,000, but how good of an investment was it? Many unknown factors would impact the return calculation on this type of investment, like the ongoing profits of the business, the loans taken out to buy the team, etc. However, if we take that out of the equation, to grow $800 million to $6 billion over 24 years, you’d need to achieve a return of about 9% annually. 

This ...

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Choosing a pesticide and reading the labels in the store.

What to Know Before Applying Pesticides in Your Garden

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article on what to know before applying pesticides in your garden. Featured image: Oregon Department of Agriculture, CC.

You have a pest problem in your garden – maybe it is hungry insects feeding on your vegetables, or stubborn weeds taking over your flower patch, or fungal diseases killing your lawn. You might consider using pesticides (which include insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides), especially if the problem seems widespread or severe. How do you choose the right pesticides and apply them correctly to support a healthy and thriving garden? How do you ensure your food plants remain safe for consumption and adverse impacts on beneficial species and soil health remain minimal?

Choosing the right pestic...

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Beautiful fireplace burning logs in a room with wood paneling.

Do I Need a New Fireplace?

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros asking the question, “Do I need a new fireplace?”

Your fireplace adds beautiful warmth and ambiance to your home, but only if it is properly maintained and not a hazard to you. Whether you moved into a new home and you are concerned about how old the fireplace is or you’ve been living in the same place for decades and finally want to upgrade your current fireplace, there are some signs that you might be due for a fireplace replacement.

Strange Smells

Do you notice a burning smell any time that your fireplace is in use? Is there a lingering smell of sulfur when you are operating the fireplace? This is common in gas fireplaces that are leaking or malfunctioning. Contacting us as soon as possible is critical...

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2023 Q2 Market Commentary – We Didn’t Start The Fire

Thanks to L. K. Benson for sharing this blog about the 2023 Q2 Market.

The second quarter of 2023 continued the strong stock market performance that began in the fourth quarter of 2022. After a 20% decline from January-September of 2022, the S&P 500 has now posted positive quarterly returns of 7.6%, 7.5%, and 8.7% over the past three quarters. The tech-heavy NASDAQ 100 index bounced back from a 32% decline in 2022 to post the strongest first half on record, with a 39% return in the first six months of 2023.

Small-cap US stocks and developed market international stocks lagged US large-caps but still posted returns of 5% and 3%, respectively. Real Estate and Emerging Market stocks were up about 1% in the quarter...

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Select Ground Covers for your Landscape Carefully

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article on how to select ground covers.

Ground cover

Plants that are used as ground cover can provide great services throughout the landscape as they can fill in areas that might otherwise be left bare or covered in mulch. Ground covers can be used to help reduce maintenance chores by preserving moisture and preventing weeds. 

If you are looking for a ground cover plant, consider adding a native ground cover. Non-native ground covers and vines can be the plants of nightmares, as the characteristics that we like about them (aggressive, can take over weeds, need little care once established, etc.) are often the characteristics that make them terrible offenders when they escape into natural areas...

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Do Fireplaces Add Value to a Home?

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about whether or not fireplaces add value to a home.

Selling the Benefits of a Fireplace

Every buyer is attracted to different amenities. This is why some of your clients look specifically for houses with pools and others immediately rule out any property with a pool. However, some features are almost universally beloved, like the fireplace. Do fireplaces add value to a property? Here’s what every real estate agent should know!

Fireplaces Add Value

Compared to other features, fireplaces offer one of the best returns on investment. Data shows that homes with fireplaces are typically listed for 13% more than the national median sales price. They also are particularly important in cold parts of the country...

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Be Proactive to Prevent Vegetable Diseases

Thanks to the University of Maryland/Maryland Grows this informative article on how to prevent vegetable diseases.

Vegetable Diseases

When it comes to vegetable diseases, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Many diseases can be stopped before they start with smart garden practices.

Spring rains cause spots, dots, and fuzzy blots to pop up in everyone’s vegetable patch. That’s fungi having fun. But whether our weather is wet or dry, fungi, bacteria and viruses stand ready to harm plants. 

So, how do you keep them at bay? Be informed and watchful. Look at your plants often to spot small problems before they get big and use the following tips to prevent disease problems.

If you have repeat offenders – diseases that show up year after year – look for di...

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A chimney with a chimney cap, one of the 4 parts to check before listing your home.

4 Parts of the Chimney to Check When Listing or Selling a House

Thanks to Clean Sweep for this episode of Tips from the Pros about what parts of the chimney to check when listing your home.

When your clients are getting ready to list their homes on the market, there are many different parts of the home that need to be inspected. One of the most important things is the chimney. As a real estate agent, you aren’t expected to be performing these inspections. However, it’s a good idea to have a base level of understanding about the different parts of the chimney so that you can answer some questions for your clients. Here are some of the different parts of the chimney that are checked when you are listing or selling a home for your client.

Chimney Cap

Chimney caps are installed on the very top of a chimney...

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