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Palouse LIVING Your resource for buying, selling and enjoying your home on the Palouse.

3 ways to improve

curb appeal

March M arch 2 2018 018 M Moscow-Pullman oscow-Pullman D Daily aily N News ews & L Lewiston ewiston T Tribune ribune

Home is not just a place, it’s a feeling. Everyone has goals, but not always a plan to reach them. We can help you find home financing options to meet your needs, whether you’re: • Purchasing your first home • Looking to buy a second home • Interested in buying an investment property And, with our PriorityBuyer® preapproval, you can shop for your home with confidence. Your home financing matters, contact me today. Rachel Ellen Laine Home Mortgage Consultant Office: 208-883-5659, Cell: 208-874-2452 NMLSR ID 1015986

Information is accurate as of date of printing and is subject to change without notice. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. © 2016 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. NMLSR ID 399801. AS3812380 Expires 09/2018

 | March 2018 | Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune

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Growing trends in today’s homes MetroCreative


ouses are shrinking, selling faster and getting smarter upgrades according to industry statistics.

looking for smaller, more livable homes with flexible floor plans, energy-efficient appliances and plenty of storage space.

Matte finishes

Although the heydays of the real estate boom of the early 2000s have not quite returned, things look positive. In the United States, 1,226,000 new homes were built in 2016, according to data from Consumer Reports. That was the most since 2007.

Stainless steel and luster have been popular for years. However, the next big thing is matte finishes on faucets, appliances and even in countertops. These less flashy finishes are prized for their warmth and elegance. While some high-end models with matte finishes have been available for several years, even less expensive models are now available.

Resales also have been more promising. The National Association of Realtors® says the median number of days a home was on the market in April 2017 reached a new low of 29 days. However, low supply levels did stanch existing home sales somewhat.

Smarter technology

By mid-2017, the market was a seller’s market, with more people in the market for homes than properties available. But sales during that time were still outpacing sales figures from a year prior. In fact, in May 2017, home sales in Canada increased to their highest level in more than five years, according to the Canadian MLS® Systems. Low interest rates on mortgages and more confidence in the economy has driven many people to make improvements to their existing homes. As is typical, the things homeowners are looking for in 2017 have evolved from years past. The following are some trends that are helping to steer the real estate market further.

Staying abreast of the ever-changing trends in home improvement and real estate can help consumers make the best choices with regard to buying and building their homes.

Smaller homes Home sizes in the United States steadily increased for decades, eventually leading to an average of 2,453 square feet in 2014, according to U.S. Census figures. However, reported in 2015 that new construction homes have already begun to shrink by 40 square feet. There seems to be a slight trend toward more modest homes as people consider affordability and maintenance on larger properties. The National Association of Home Builders states buyers are now

Palouse LIVING Your resource for buying, selling and enjoying your home on the Palouse.

3 ways to improve

curb appeal

March March 2 2018 018 Moscow-Pullman M oscow-Pullman D Daily aily N News ews & L Lewiston ewiston T Tribune ribune

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Many homeowners are embracing smart technology throughout their homes, but it’s not just lights that turn on with voice command or more efficient thermostats. Innovative technology includes toilets that can autonomously stay clean and sanitized, refrigerators equipped with cameras so homeowners can see the contents inside and indoor food recyclers that can turn food waste into fertilizer.

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3 ways to use your lawn to improve curb appeal MetroCreative


eturns on home improvement projects vary. In its annual Cost vs. Value Report, Remodeling magazine notes the projects that yield the best returns on investment in a given year. But a host of factors, including the type of market (buyers’ or sellers’) and the region where the home is being sold, ultimately combine to determine if homeowners’ investments in home improvement projects will provide the returns they were hoping for.

strong roots and healthy soil, making it easier for grass to survive harsh conditions like drought. When watering in summer, do so in early morning or evening so as little water is lost to evaporation as possible.

2. Address brown patch Even well-maintained lawns can fall victims to brown spots. According to the lawn care professionals at TruGreen, lawns in regions with hot temperatures and high humidity can be infected with brown patch, a common lawn disease that is caused by fungus, which can produce circular areas of brown, dead grass surrounded by narrow, dark rings. Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences notes that removing dew that collects on grass leaves each morning, which can be accomplished by mowing or dragging a water hose across affected areas, can be an effective way to reduce brown patch. Homeowners without much lawn care experience can consult professional landscapers to address the issue. But those looking to sell their properties should note that buyers often walk the grounds of homes they are considering buying. So addressing any issues on the lawn should be a priority for sellers.

Though there’s no way of guaranteeing a home improvement project will yield a great return, real estate professionals often cite improving curb appeal as an excellent way to attract prospective buyers and potentially get the asking price or more when selling the home. Improving curb appeal makes even more sense in today’s real estate market, when many people do their own searching via real estate websites such as Trulia or Zillow. When using such sites, buyers will likely be less inclined to click on a listing if exterior photos of the property are not eye-catching. Various projects, including tending to lawns and gardens, can improve curb appeal. An added benefit to focusing on landscaping to improve curb appeal is it promotes spending time outdoors in spring and summer. In addition, many lawn- and garden-related home improvement projects need not require professional expertise.

1. Maintain a lush green lawn Lawns that fall into disrepair may not give buyers a correct impression about how homeowners maintained their homes. Lawns with multiple dead spots and grass that appears more brown than green may lead many buyers to assume that the home’s interior was equally ill-cared for. Maintaining lush green lawns is not as difficult as it may seem. Applying fertilizer and aerating at the appropriate times of year (this varies by region) can promote

3. Confine dogs to certain areas Dog owners may want to let their pets roam free in their yards. But homeowners about to put their properties up for sale may want to confine their four-legged friends to certain areas. That’s because dog urine can be high in nitrogen. Nitrogen itself is not harmful to lawns, but in high concentrations it can contribute to yellow or brown spots. Also, highly acidic dog urine may even adversely affect pH levels in the soil. Curb appeal can go a long way toward helping homeowners sell their homes, and a lush lawn can be used to catch the eye of prospective buyers.

 | March 2018 | Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune

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Go green this spring MetroCreative


reen is certainly a color that’s synonymous with spring. Gardening enthusiasts can find a way to make spring even more green by embracing several eco-friendly gardening practices as they bring their lawns and gardens back to life in the months to come.

also notes that reel mowers snip grass like scissors, leaving finer trimmings that can serve as nourishing, weed-deterring mulch for yards. · Water at the right times of day. Homeowners who water their lawns and gardens at the right time of day can help the planet and reduce their energy bills. As spring gradually gives way to summer, temperatures typically rise. Watering during the coolest times of the day means less water will be lost to evaporation, ensuring waterneedy soil will get all it needs to help lawns and gardens thrive. Early morning watering before the sun reaches its midday peak and/or evening watering as the sun is setting are typically great times to water lawns and gardens, rather than when temperatures are at their hottest.

· Create a compost pile. Composting is an eco-friendly way to enrich lawns and gardens. Composting helps to conserve water because compost promotes moisture retention in soil, reducing homeowners’ need to water their lawns and gardens while also helping them to save money on their water bills. Composting also helps homeowners avoid the need to use potentially harmful chemical fertilizers because compost is a natural, slow release fertilizer. In addition, according to Canada’s Green Action Centre, compostable materials make up 40 percent of residential waste. · Replace gas-powered mowers with reel lawn mowers. Reel mowers may seem like relics from simpler times, but today’s reel mowers, while just as eco-friendly as their predecessors, are unlike those of yesteryear. According to the Planet Natural Research Center, an online resource for organic gardeners, gas-powered engines emit more than 10 times the hydrocarbons per amount of gas burned than auto engines. But reel mowers are fuel-free and less expensive than gas-powered mowers. Planet Natural




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· Use a rain barrel. Rain barrels provide another great way to conserve water while tending to lawns and gardens. Rain barrels collect and store rain water from roofs and downspouts, keeping water from washing into sewage systems where it can’t be put to good use. Water collected in rain barrels can be used in various ways. Many homeowners can use water from rain barrels to water their lawns, gardens and houseplants, saving money on their water bills along the way.



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Preparing your garden beds MetroCreative


egin preparing garden bed soil early for new plants.

Gardening enthusiasts may have been thinking about their landscape plans throughout the winter, eager to once again get their hands dirty with soil. Whether a home gardener is making preparations for edible crops or beautiful flowers, he or she must take time to make the soil amenable to planting. To establish hearty, durable plants, gardeners can focus on three main areas: addressing soil composition, cultivating and adding nutrients.

Soil composition Many gardeners prefer growing a variety of plants in their gardens. Such an approach requires taking inventory of the type of soil in one’s garden and making the necessary modifications so that the types of vegetables, herbs, shrubs, or flowers that will be planted can grow in strongly. In fact, according to the plant company Proven Winners, the most important step to developing good roots is preparing the soil. Take a sample of the soil and examine it to see what is present. If the soil is too full of clay, too sandy, too dense, or too loose, that can lead to problems where plants cannot grow in strong. Work with a garden center to add the right soil amendments to make a rich soil. This may include organic compost or manure, which will also add nutrients to the soil.

Cultivation Cultivating the soil can involve different steps. Removal of weeds, errant rocks, roots, and other items will help prepare the soil. Mother Earth News suggests working on garden soil when the soil is damp but never wet; otherwise, garden soil can become

messy and clumpy. Use a digging fork or shovel to lightly turn the soil when it’s mostly dry. Gentle tillings also can open up the soil to incorporate the nutritional amendments and relieve compaction that likely occurred from freezing temps and snow pressure. Tilling also helps with drainage and oxygen delivery to roots. The DIY Network suggests turning over soil at a depth of 12 inches to work the soil - about the length of a shovel spade. However, the resource Earth Easy says that existing garden beds have a complex soil ecosystem and simply top-dressing with compost or manure can be enough preparation for planting. Gardeners can experiment with the methods that work best for their gardens.

Nutrition Testing the pH and the levels of certain nutrients in the soil, namely nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, will give gardeners an idea of other soil additions that may be needed. Soils with a pH below 6.2 often can benefit from the addition of lime several weeks before planting. Soil tests will determine just how much fertilizer to add to the soil. Complete fertilizers will have equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Individual fertilizers can amend the soil with only these nutritional elements that are needed. Top-dressing empty beds with a layer of mulch or compost can prevent weed growth and preserve moisture until it is time to plant. If existing shrubs or plants are in garden beds, use more care so as not to disturb roots or dig too deeply. Preparing garden beds takes some effort initially, but can be well worth the work when plants flourish throughout the growing season.

 | March 2018 | Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune

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Getting to know succulents MetroCreative


ucculent plants can enhance gardens, and they require minimal care and water.

Succulents can be just what indoor or outdoor gardens need. Even though succulents are becoming more popular, there are still some people who are unaware of their attributes. By learning more about succulents, people may become devotees of these unique plants. The word “succulent” brings to mind juicy, savory foods. But succulents aren’t meant to be consumed. In fact, they get their mouth-watering name from their uncanny ability to store water in fleshy stems or leaves. That means they do not require frequent watering like other plants might. Succulents also may prove more durable in the face of drought and are a handy plant for forgetful gardeners or those who travel often and want something more hands-off in their gardens. According to the succulents resource Succulents and Sunshine, most succulents prefer warm temperatures and are not very cold-tolerant. However,

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there are some varieties that can survive freezing temperatures. Still, for most succulents, it’s best if they are kept in warm, moderately sunny conditions. The DIY Network says succulents grow best in bright light, but not always in full, hot sun. Succulents also may attract gardeners thanks to their diverse looks. Better Homes & Gardens says that color variations of succulents are quite varied and include green, yellow, burgundy, white, bluegreen, pink, red, and variegated combinations. Their shapes can be just as diverse, with many having pointy, rounded, spiky, or ruffled leaves. People may be particularly familiar with one type of succulent: cacti. These traditional desert-dwellers are prized for their water-retention abilities, but some seem downright scary with their prickly exteriors. While all cacti are succulents, it’s important to note that not all succulents are cacti. Less needle-like succulents include aloe, jade, snake plant, and agave. Hens and chicks (sempervivum) and wax plant (hoya) are other succulents to consider.

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Awnings make outdoor spaces more comfortable MetroCreative


any homeowners are eager to step outdoors upon the return of warm weather. Outdoor living spaces have grown in popularity as more and more homeowners embrace opportunities to entertain and lounge around in their yards. Outdoor entertaining areas can be great, but such spaces may go unused when summer sun makes it uncomfortable to spend time outdoors. But a retractable awning can change all that. Homeowners often find awnings can be worthwhile investments that can be beneficial both inside and outside of the home.

Increase usable yard space Awnings can create privacy and establish boundaries for outdoor living areas. Place an awning over a deck, tables and chairs, or an entire patio area. Some people like to install awnings over a portion of their pools to provide shade for those who want to escape the sun’s rays. Motorized awnings can be retracted with the push of a button, which can help homeowners with physical limitations.

Protect against sun damage Awnings provide excellent protection against sun damage, as they can shield outdoor furniture from direct sunlight, helping to reduce the chances for discoloration or fading.

Reduce air conditioning costs In addition to shading outdoor living areas, smaller awnings can be placed over southern- and western-facing windows, shielding interiors against the sun’s rays. In turn, this may reduce reliance on air conditioners.

Expand gardening possibilities Some plants require very specific light conditions to grow. Awnings can protect shade-loving plants from harsh sunlight and filter the sun for plants that require indirect light. They can be placed over a patio container garden or permanent garden structure.

Add value for buyers For those who may be selling their homes soon, awning may help them receive top dollar. Today’s buyers want houses that have attractive and functional exteriors, and an awning can provide that competitive advantage over similar homes in the neighborhood. When renovating outdoor areas, homeowners should not overlook awnings that can make outdoor living spaces more livable.

 | March 2018 | Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune

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Feeling safe at home MetroCreative


eeling secure at home is a priority for many people. Many people consider installing security systems in their homes to improve their sense of well-being. Whether one owns or rents, individuals may be surprised to learn that do-it-yourself security systems can be savvy investments. The right system can help people protect their belongings and their families, but sorting through the various security systems on the market can be a daunting task. While full-service setups that include professional installation and monitoring are available, some homeowners may want to investigate the highly customizable DIY kits now available. Some include personal monitoring, while others are self-install technologies with professional monitoring.

Smart home security systems These home security systems connect to a home’s Wi-Fi network so they can be monitored and controlled using a smartphone app. Others may be accessed through an application on the internet. It is important to look for a system that has the extra security of technology that is not easily hacked.

Security cameras Some people may only want to watch the inside and outside

of their residences. It can take mere minutes to set up wireless security cameras around the house. These devices connect to a Wi-Fi network and give customers free access to a constant stream of video. Some systems make it easy for homeowners to listen in on what’s going on at home and even talk to anyone within the camera’s range. Others can be paired with cloud storage for recording video.

Professionally monitored Residents who are away from home frequently or are too busy to constantly monitor security systems may like the peace of mind of professionally monitored kits. Services like FrontpointÂŽ, Link InteractiveÂŽ and ScoutÂŽ are just three that have affordable starter kits and video monitoring. Monitored alarm systems can be set to call the police or other emergency services if necessary.

Entry-level or advanced systems Entry-level systems typically include a few door and window sensors, a motion detector and a hub that communicates with these sensors. This may be enough for someone in an apartment or small house. More extensive systems may include additional sensors, door locks, garage door openers, surveillance cameras, lights, sirens, and even water and smoke detectors.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune | March 2018 | 

Child-safe home MetroCreative


ll family members should be considered when home improvements are being planned, especially the youngest household residents who may not be responsible enough to avoid accidents and injuries. According to a recent Vital Signs report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidental injuries are a leading cause of death among the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s youth - with one fatality occurring every hour from something entirely preventable. The CDC notes that the leading causes of child injury include suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls. More can be done to keep children safe, and many strategies start at home.

Install security systems A security system can be just as effective at keeping little ones inside as it is at keeping unwanted guests outside. Alarms can be set to sound anytime a window or door is breached, which can deter curious children from trying to leave the house without permission. Pair the alarm system with secure locks and high latches that can also stop children in their tracks.

Remove fall hazards Safety devices installed on windows that are above ground level can keep children safe. Stair rails should be secure and in good working order. Temporary gates can block kids from getting on stairways. Improve lighting around staircases to help children and adults avoid falls, and remove any obstacles.

10 | March 2018 | Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune

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improvements Anchor heavy furniture The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that unanchored televisions and top-heavy furniture can tip over onto children and cause severe injuries and even death. Everyday furniture can be tempting to climb; therefore, using anchors to secure furniture to walls for security is a must.

Install locking cabinets Locking cabinets can keep medications, household chemicals, home improvement paints and solvents, and other potential poisons out of reach.

Erect fencing around pools and yards Install fencing around pools to keep children from wandering close to the waterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s edge. Towns and cities may require certain fence heights or self-latching gates to keep little ones safe. Young children should never be left to their own devices around any source of water, whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pool, tub or toilet.

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Test and replace smoke alarms Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are only useful if they are functional. Homeowners should inspect such devices regularly to ensure proper operation and promptly replace old or faulty detectors to improve safety.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News & Lewiston Tribune | March 2018 | 11

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Palouse Living, March 2018  
Palouse Living, March 2018