DIVIDING YOUR PERENNIALS


This time of year, it’s likely you’ve seen plants sprout around your house. Depending on how long you’ve lived there, you may not have realized some of them even existed! If you’re in the mood to expand your garden without spending any money and increase your curb appeal in the process, all you need to do is dig in the dirt! Many common perennials that thrive in the Midwest are very easy to divide and this is the perfect time to start. Sara Antin with Garden Style shared some tips.

Timing

Divide your plants in the Spring or Fall. You want to do this when it’s not very hot outside! This will allow the roots to grow comfortably in the ground without drying out.

Tools

Shovel, spade and a serrated knife.

Easy plants to divide

  • Geranium
  • Irises
  • Lady Fern
  • Lily-of-the-valley
  • Coreopsis
  • Hostas
  • Daisies
  • Monarda

Dividing method

Water your perennials before digging them up. It’ll moisten the soil and keep the roots wet while you transplant them. When digging up the plant, dig at least 4 – 6 inches around it to try and ensure you get every root you can. Try to get at least three buds per division and let the roots be your guide as to where you pull them or cut them apart.

Planting your divisions

Break up the soil really well so that the plant’s roots can spread. Give your divisions plenty of space to settle into their new homes. You’ll want to ensure several things when planting: the roots are in the ground and not higher than the soil, the plant itself isn’t lower than the soil, and the plant is nice and snug in the ground, to avoid air pockets.

Highly respected in the design circle, Sara Antin has been featured in local, regional and national publications including Kansas City Home & Style, Kansas City At Home, Romantic Homes, and Kansas City Magazine. Her tips have also been featured on “Better Kansas City” on KCTV5. Her website is gardenstyleonline.com.

5 QUICK, AFFORDABLE WAYS TO BOOST CURB APPEAL


Curb appeal.

Two words that hold a whole lot of power.

It’s easy to envision a home with updated paint colors and furniture when touring the inside, but the thought of tackling outdoor projects can set the tone for a potential buyer.

Here are 5 simple, inexpensive ways you can boost your curb appeal!

Garden Power

Plants add the perfect pop of color and can go a long way in making your home look more inviting. Plants of the perennial variety make up the backbone of a garden. They also return season after season, making them a great investment.

Power Wash

You may be surprised by the amount of environmental buildup on your home, porch, and walkways. Rent a power washer and watch your home transform before your eyes!

Dress Up Your Front Door

Consider painting it a different color or adding some festive, seasonal decorations.

Upgrade Light Fixtures & Hardware

It’s a subtle switch but upgrading your exterior light fixtures and hardware will have a massive impact on the overall look of your home.

Cut the Clutter

Much like the rest of your home, you want to cut the clutter to highlight its beautiful architectural features.

With these simple steps, you can improve your home’s curb appeal and value.

7 WAYS TO STYLE YOUR FRONT DOOR


Front door

The front door of your home is essentially an extension of your individual style. Here are some fun ways to style your front door no matter the season!

If you have a fireplace, placing stacked wood outside can be a nice, decorative touch. It’ll look especially pretty, paired with an evergreen wreath and pinecones!

Consider painting your front door in a bright hue to create contrast with the rest of your house and add a focal point.

If you have a porch, hanging string lights can create a warm space.

A porch is also a natural space for adding furniture but consider adding a bench with pillows or a porch swing, even if you don’t have a porch.

Look inside your house for inspiration. Before shopping for décor, look to see what you already have handy! You may use baskets as planters or even a small stool as a plant stand.

Draw attention to your doorbell. You can make it a design feature by adding a doorbell plate for some extra personality.

Create symmetry. Symmetrical composition is naturally pleasing to the eye, so if you have room for one planter, get a second one to flank the other side of your door.

4 DECLUTTERING METHODS TO USE AT HOME


We’re spending a lot more time at home these days, which gives us the opportunity to take stock of all the clutter we’ve accumulated over time! Whether you’ve thought about purging belongings to get your house ready to sell, or you just want to free up some space, here are four decluttering methods you can use at home.

The KonMari Method™

Thanks to the hugely popular Netflix show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” the KonMari Method™ is likely the most recognizable method on this list. Renowned tidying expert, Marie Kondo’s bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” teaches people how to “transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration.”

The Method:

Tidy up by category, not necessarily by location. Begin with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, then finally, sentimental items.

As you go, physically hold or touch the items in your house. Ask yourself: does this spark joy? If the item doesn’t spark joy, set it aside, thank it for its service, then let it go. Keep in mind that some things that spark joy won’t always be rational, but if you really love it, keep it!

If you come across an item and think, “Someday I might need this, therefore I should hang onto it,” think about the last time you needed it? Or the last time you even noticed it? According to Kondo, belongings are stripped of their dignity when they go unused at home. In this situation, just let it go!

Instead of cleaning one room a day, you’re urged to devote an entire day, or weekend, to tidying up. This lessons the likelihood your house will fall back into being cluttered if you wait to tidy over a period of several weeks.

Swedish Death Cleaning

It’s not as morbid as it seems, we promise! Based on the book, “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter,” the idea is to slowly begin decluttering over a period of years, so no one will have to get rid of your possessions after you pass. The author, Margareta Magnusson, decided to write the book after she was left to try and figure out what to do with her parent’s and husband’s belongings after they died.

The Method:

Begin with the things you have in storage or hidden away somewhere. You can even tell your friends and family you’re beginning this process so they can claim things before you throw them away or donate them.

Throw away anything that might be upsetting or embarrassing for your family to find.

As many folks tend to take a walk down memory lane when going through photographs, letters and journals, leave those until last.

If you know what you’d like to be done with certain items, tell someone or leave a note attached to the item explaining what should be done. For example, if any books should be returned to their original owners or if an item should be donated to a museum.

Create a “throw away” box, filled with items that mean a lot to you, but wouldn’t necessarily hold value for anyone else. This box could hold anything from old programs, love letters or memories from traveling. The idea being, your friends or family may look through the box, but they’d have permission from you to get rid of anything inside.

The Four-Box Method

This method attempts to force decision making in a simple way.

The Method:

Gather four boxes and label them: trash, give away/sell, storage, or keep. Take the four boxes into every room in your house and place every item into a box. Don’t skip an item, even if you think it’s insignificant. Work on one room at a time to provide yourself with an easy stopping point. When you do stop, immediately throw out the trash, box up the storage box and put the give away/sell box in the garage, or somewhere out of sight. Don’t give yourself time to rescue the clutter!

Trash: This should include any item you don’t need or want, that is not worth donating or selling. If you have belongings that are damaged or broken but aren’t worth repairing, toss them!

Give Away/Sell: If you have possessions you never use that are buried in closets or cabinets, think about who else might benefit from using them! Either donate these items or sell them at a garage sale.

Storage: These items should be ones you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Group similar items together as you go, like out-of-season clothing.

Keep: Ideally, this would be your smallest category. These items are ones you need on a regular basis. Consider however, if you truly have a place for each belonging. If you find they clutter your home, try to reassess if you really need them.

12-12-12 Challenge

Created by Joshua Becker of the blog, Becoming Minimalist, this system combines both decluttering and organizing.

The Method:

Each day, locate 12 items to throw away, 12 to donate and 12 to be returned to their proper location. You can even turn this into a friendly competition with your family members!

TACKLE EVERYDAY “OOPSIES”


With shelter-in-place orders picking up across the nation, we’ve had to collectively find our new normal. We must all do our part to protect the health and well-being of ourselves and the ones we love most, and the best way to do that is to stay home.

With more time at home comes the increased potential for “oopsies.”

Everything from juice spills to grass stains, we’ve got a few tips using household items we think may come in handy!

Give That Ratty Tennis Ball a Second Life

Dog chewed a hole in the tennis ball? Don’t be so quick to toss it! Popping a tennis ball onto the handle of your broom serves as the perfect tool to remove pesky scuffs on the floor. It takes a little pressure, but it’s safe on all kinds of surfaces!

Hydrogen Peroxide: The Multipurpose Hero

Not only is Peroxide a CDC approved disinfectant – it’s a fantastic stain remover and helps brighten dingy clothes.

Grease Stains: Dab, Don’t Drag

Cornstarch and baby powder work wonders when you spot a grease stain but you have to move quickly!

Keep a Spare Soda on Hand

We’ve all heard that a can of Coke can remove corrosion on car batteries but turns out soda has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Toothpaste Freshens More Than Your Breath

Scuffed shoes, rogue wads of gum – you name it, toothpaste comes to the rescue!

Stay positive and stay healthy. We’re in this together.

Reminder: If you find some of these tips require you to make inessential trips to the store, please consider waiting until current stay-at-home orders have passed.

A MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO


During these uncertain times, we are here for you. We’ve proudly served you for more than 100 years and our commitment to you remains as steadfast as ever. As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re taking steps to make sure we can continue to serve you while maintaining everyone’s health and safety.

Starting Tuesday, March 24th, through April 24th, the Kansas City area will be under a Stay-At-Home order. Businesses that are considered essential may remain operational, and that includes real estate. It is imperative that we abide by these rules and reduce the amount of COVID 19 cases as much as possible. We will only conduct business that is urgent or essential as we continue to serve you safely and with peace of mind. Therefore, we will abide by the following procedures.

All ReeceNichols offices will be closed to the public except by appointments. Our agents will be able to meet with you virtually and discuss details via email or phone. If you see a house you’re interested in, your agent may show it to you virtually. Although we will not support physical open houses until further notice, your agent may host a virtual open house for you. Our core services, including lending, insurance and title will continue to support our agents, but will do so via mobile or virtual tools. Kansas City Title will continue to conduct closings in our offices with only the necessary signers in attendance. We are doing all of this to keep our clients, our agents and our employees safe.

Nothing is more important to us than your well-being. We will continue to be your trusted guides throughout your entire homeownership journey. Be safe and healthy. We’re in this together.

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER


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Our roots in Kansas and Missouri run deep. They’re our home, and we’ve proudly served their people for more than 100 years. Our clients are more than just people we do business with – they’re our friends and family – people we truly care about and form lifelong relationships with. We have the largest number of agents in the area and we touch all parts of Kansas and Missouri. Therefore, as the market leader, we feel we have a responsibility to adjust our business practices and take steps to maintain everyone’s health and safety as our nation deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the last few days, we’ve seen businesses of all shape and size commit to be proactive, cautious and responsible during this unfamiliar time, which should be applauded. However, the nature of real estate is a bit different than most – our business brings us into your home. News surrounding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and we’re doing everything we can to stay calm and positive and keep our loved ones safe and healthy.

Whether you’re buying your first home or downsizing to move into your dream home, we will continue to serve you, but we are adapting our practices for the time being. This is a unique time in our market, and although it’s still a very good time to buy or sell, we want you to have peace of mind as we guide you on your home buying or selling journey.

During this time, your agent they will abide by the CDC’s recommended guidelines and take other precautions to keep you safe. Some of these precautions may include:

Our mortgage, title and insurance partners are taking many of the same precautions so you can have peace of mind, holding meetings over the phone or video conference instead of in-person.

We are monitoring the latest updates from the CDC and local health officials and will continue to communicate the best safety practices to our agents and service partners as this challenging situation develops.

These are uncertain times but as always, we are your trusted guides, committed to providing you the best possible service you’ve come to expect. We are always available to you and will be there for you every step of the way.

We’ve endured many challenging times over the last 100 years, and we will get through this too. We’re in this together. On behalf of all of us at ReeceNichols, thank you for putting your trust in us.

5 TASKS TO BOOST HOME VALUE


We know how the start of Spring season goes here in the Midwest, don’t we?

 

It seems like we get a little Winter relief with a few weeks of blissful sunshine and warm days, followed by a “Second Winter” and a bout of cool, rainy days before heading straight into Summer. Right now, we’re in limbo with the temperatures, but now’s a great time to knock out your Spring Home Maintenance Checklist!

 

Grab your gardening gloves

    • Sprucing up your garden can take your curb appeal from 0 to 100 real quick!
    • Pansies, hydrangeas, and daylilies all make great options for outdoor foliage.

 

 

Signed, sealed, delivered – the deck is yours

    • Another way to boost the aesthetic of your home is too keep your deck in tip-top shape.
    • Check for signs of water stains, discoloration, and warping. Take care of any rusty or loose nails and replace rotting or lifting boards ASAP. Once you’re sure the railings and stairs are safely secured, begin the process of resealing the wood.

 

 

Seal it up

    • Speaking of resealing, now’s the time to inspect doors and windows for any cracks or holes that need repaired. This will help keep pesky bugs out and your cool air in!

 

 

Work your way up

    • Check your roof for any damaged or missing shingles. If you’re not afraid of heights, head on up and look for signs of rusting, cracking or leaking. It’s always wise to call a professional for a closer look!

 

 

Keep your cool

    • Keeping the unit clear of debris and changing the filters regularly is all part of ongoing HVAC maintenance, but Spring is the ideal time to schedule a tune-up with a professional!

 

 

There’s plenty more you can do to prep your home for the coming seasons! Get more tips by visiting the Home Ownership section of our News & Advice page.

SHOW YOUR HOME SOME LOVE THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND


Save the bouquet and box of chocolates, this checklist of Winter to Spring Home Care tips is all you need!

 

    • Clean the gutters and downspouts
    • Inspect the roof
    • Check foundation vents
    • Inspect window and door sills
    • Clean the siding
    • Replace filters
    • Schedule HVAC service

 

 

Want to go the extra mile? Setting up a home warranty is a perfect way to say “I love you” to your home!

 

Whether you’re buying or selling, issues may inevitably come up. Anything from dripping faucets to faulty outlets, these home warranties cover parts and labor for hundreds of household repairs. That’s why we offer two different warranty options, so you don’t have to sweat the details!

 

A.B. May has served homeowners in the Kansas City area for more than 60 years. They maintain an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a 96.6% customer satisfaction rate that can give you confidence that your home is in good hands.

 

HSA Home Warranty goes above and beyond with their holistic approach to repairs, helping you dodge unexpected expenses. They also offer additional services such as Rekey Services, HelloTech TV Installation and more.

 

Our home systems work hard every day, make sure you have their back with a home warranty.

EASY WAYS TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR THE WINTER CHILL


December 21st marks the first official day of Winter, but based on the recent weather forecast, most Midwesterners would say it has already arrived.

Run through this list of 10 easy ways you can prep your home for the Winter chill today!

Install Weatherstripping

If you haven’t already, weatherstripping your home’s exterior doors is key. The best part? You can do it from the comfort of INSIDE your home! Your local hardware store should have all the materials you need, and maybe even a few installation tips.

Install a Door Sweep

Aside from weatherstripping, installing a door sweep on drafty, exterior doors will make a major difference!

Plug Household Leaks

Tour your home and take note of cracks and gaps inside and out. You can use caulk for small cracks and foam sealer for big gaps.

Note: Don’t forget to treat exterior wood trim! Paint, caulk, and seal all of the wood trim around windows and doors.

Seal Furnace Ducts

According to EnergyStar, leaky heating ducts typically waste 20-30% of the heated air they carry. Some ducts won’t be visible to you and you’ll want to ask an HVAC tech to perform a combustion safety test first!

Replace Furnace Filters

Checking and replacing your furnace filters regularly can help improve furnace efficiency and lifespan.

Insulate Older Hot Water Heaters

Wrapping up an older water heater with a blanket can help save on fuel costs.

Note: Water heaters located near a heat source or pre-insulated and tankless water heaters should not be insulated!

Lower the Hot Water Temperature

Lowering the hot water temperature from the typical 140 to 120 degrees can help with additional fuel savings!

Insulate Hot Water Pipes

After insulating your water heaters, you’ll want to insulate the hot water pipes in your basement or crawl space. Snapping foam sleeves on them prevents the water from cooling as it runs through.

Use Window Coverings

Curtains, drapes, shades and mini blinds provide a surprising amount of insulation. Draw them at night when the temperature drops most to conserve heat.

Check Your Trees

Trimming any dead branches before the first snowfall can spare you of a massive headache down the line.

Still feeling the chill? An HVAC inspection may be in order.

Scheduled a routine maintenance call with a certified specialist throughA.B. May or HSA today!