Everyone loves a green and gorgeous lawn. When it is time to either start or fix your lawn you have lots of decisions to make. One major option to consider is if you should choose seed or sod?  There are a few factors you will want to consider before making the choice.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both seed and sod.

Here are some of the advantages of grass seed:

-less expensive than sod

- installs much quicker

-may be more viable option in shady areas

-seed blends may be better for difficult to grow areas

Here are some of the disadvantages of grass seed:

-seed cannot be used immediately

-requires attention while growing

-can develop weeds and patchy bare areas

-can be difficult to grow in areas where erosion is a problem

-can only be planted at certain times of the year

Here are some of the advantages of sod:

-usable lawn much quicker

-few if any weeds

-no risk of erosion

-wider range of appropriate planting times

Here are some of the disadvantages of sod:

-more expensive to buy and install

-must be ordered through a local sod farm or professional landscaper

-can be difficult to grow in very shady areas.

Proper preparation and care is important whether you choose grass seed or sod. If you are unsure the best option for your yard consult a professional landscaper.

 

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Imagine if you could make your student loan disappear. According to American Student Assistance, a non-profit that aims to educate young people about money say it is possible.

Both the federal and state government, as well as some non-profit organizations offer loan “forgiveness” programs. Do the right paperwork and you could be loan free.

While there is no single comprehensive listing of loan forgiveness programs, there are programs for some specific professions. Here are a few of those:

Law school graduates who become a district attorney or a public defender are eligible to apply for the John R. Justice student loan repayment program. This program pays up to $4,000 a year towards an eligible applicant’s debt up to the maximum of $60,000 per graduate.

The National Health Service Corps offers an even more generous program for health professionals. This program repays up to $60,000 in debt in just two years for students working in medicine, dentistry or mental health in underserved communities. Graduates who are willing to work part-time on medical research could eliminate up to $35,000 in debt per year with a program funded by The National Institutes of Health.

If you are willing to trade a few years of service for loan forgiveness you are in luck. There are various federally funded loan repayment programs for fire fighters, teachers, nurses, librarians, speech pathologists and employees of non-profits.  The programs don’t typically ask graduates to work for free but they might receive less pay in order to repay the loan. The value of the loan repayment is likely to more than compensate for the lost wages.

Because there is no comprehensive list of forgiveness programs it pays to do your research. There are many organization’s websites that can help students find the right fit.

As the winter season comes to a close and we all get ready for the spring to arrive, we look forward to projects to beautify the exterior and interior of our homes, increase the value, and use our money wisely.

With the real estate market having low inventory and high demand, thus yielding seller’s higher prices, it’s important to know what buyers are looking for, or even what you should consider improving even if you’re not currently ready to sell your home.  Keeping your finger on the pulse of what features have grown in popularity over the last few years can help you decode the sea of  home improvement options.

Kitchen Countertops – Granite is still very popular, but quartz is expected to become the new choice of buyers. Quartz offers more stain resistance and because it is not porous, less maintenance than granite, thereby increasing its benefits.

Appliances – Stainless steel is the way to go.  Stainless steel appliances have been increasing in popularity every year since 2011.  The introduction of slate colored (a beautiful finish)  appliances has begun to pop up in new homes and renovations, but stainless steel is still the winner going into 2015.

Bathrooms – As bathrooms are being newly built or renovated, people are opting to have a freestanding tub with a separate shower stall.  There has been a trend to go back to more luxurious relaxing when it’s bath time over the space saving feature of the combined tub/shower. Often times, the tubs are jacuzzi style and found in the master bath.  It’s not only the tub that is becoming a feature though.  The showers are being given an upgrade as well, with larger shower heads.

Backyard Bonding – Fire pits have gained tremendous popularity over the past four years, from store bought bowls to extravagant built-in constructions.  The backyard has become an extension of the home for entertaining and family bonding.  It’s popular to see fire pit features built into the patio with seating or placed next to the pool to warm up after a late night swim.  Since there are so many different options available today, the fire pit is a home improvement element that will continue to be popular in 2015.

Homeowners are focusing more on having a home that is aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, functions well.  Homeowners are showing more of an interest in what home improvements will work well for them as they live in the space, but also how it can make the home more marketable when they list it for sale.

 

 

Sometimes reading the description of a home for sale can be like trying to interpret a foreign language. Some of the information is pretty straightforward but often agents use acronyms or other abbreviations to describe a home and that can leave a potential buyer confused.

Here are a few of some more common acronyms or abbreviations that you may see:

A/C: Air conditioned                          
ATT: Attached                                                                                                                              
BSMT: Basement                                                                                                                  
C/Air: Central Air                                                                                                                  
C/Vac: Central Vac                                                                                                                
CRNR: Corner                                                                                                                                    
EIK: eat-in kitchen                                                                                                                          
FROG: family room over the garage—extra space!                                                            
HWF or HW: hardwood floors                                                                                                        
LA: Living Area                                                                                                                                
MBR: Master Bedroom                                                                                                                  
REF: Refrigerator                                                                                                                          
SF or s/f: square feet or foot                                                                                                      
SS: stainless steel (as in any kitchen appliance)                                                                    
Vu: view(s)                                                                                                                              
WBFP: wood-burning fireplace                                                                                              
W/D: washer/dryer                                                                                                                  
WIC: walk-in closet

Can you think of any more acronyms?

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