Corey Bashaw's Blog
A fire pit can elevate your yard into a truly enchanting entertainment area, liven up your space and even help enhance your curb appeal. While some home projects are not ideal for the DIY approach, you can make a striking firepit on your own in about a weekend. You'll need to gather some supplies, determine the size and shape of your fire pit and get ready to work your muscles as you create a new focal point for your yard.
Create a Fast & Easy Firepit
Fire pits are surprisingly fast and easy to create. If you can layer stones and follow basic directions, you can create an enduring accent you'll enjoy for years to come.
A fire pit needs a gravel base and surround, stones or concrete bricks for the sides and firepit stones for the interior. You'll also need some basic tools for leveling the ground and finishing the space, including a shovel, rake and a can of spray paint. While you can head right to the DIY big box store, contact your local landscape supply stores as well. You'll need both stone and gravel in bulk and you'll pay far less for it from a landscape provider.
Choose natural stone if you enjoy working things out and want to take the time to work with raw materials that may differ in size and shape. Opt for uniform pavers, bricks or poured stones if you like an overall look and want the pieces to be easy to stack.
Create a Firepit
- Determine the size and shape pit you want to make -- larger pits make bigger entertainment spaces, but require more rock. You'll need space for the pit and for seating around it, so take these needs into consideration as you determine where the pit should go and how big it should be.
- Use spray paint to mark off a shape for the pit. It can be square, circular or just an appealing organic shape.
- Dig about an inch down, remove all grass and sod and create a level surface on the ground.
- Begin stacking your chosen stones around the edges, within the leveled off area. You will not need to mortar between the stones, but should attempt to stack them evenly, without a lot of gaps. Stack one layer at a time, then move on to the next.
- Fill the base with the amount of fire pit stones recommended by the manufacturer -- this can vary and will be printed on the container.
- Spread gravel around the outside edges of the pit to create a seating area and to prevent grass from returning.
- Light it up and enjoy!
Once complete, a fire pit will be a lasting, low maintenance focal point for your yard for years to come. Use in the summer for grilling and roasting marshmallows, then fire it up for warmth on cooler nights -- either way, you'll love enjoying not only a gorgeous accent, but a piece you've made yourself.
Moving locally might not seem as stressful as a long-distance move, but it can still be hectic if you’re not well-prepared for it. Whether your local move is just down the street or to another part of town, make sure you start getting ready for it early. The following tips can help make your upcoming move a bit easier.
Start Sorting & Packing Early
Even though it won’t take as long to get to your new home when you move a short distance, you should still get started on sorting and packing your belongings as early as you can. Waiting to begin may mean you’ll feel rushed and opt to skip the sorting process. Instead of donating or tossing items in order to downsize, for example, you might end up bringing everything with you to your new home. If you’ve closed on your new home and know your moving date, you can begin sorting through your household items.
Label Your Boxes
Being as organized as possible can help your local move go smoothly. As you go through your belongings and pack them up, put labels on each box or container. Your labels should let you know what’s inside and where each box or container should go. You can either write the room on the label or use color-coded labels for different rooms. Having all of your boxes and containers clearly marked makes it easy for you or your movers to know where to put them at your new home.
Switch Your Utilities
As your move gets closer, keep in mind that you’ll need to change your utilities over to your new home. Since you’re moving locally, you might not have to deal with switching to new utility companies. Instead, you might just have to contact each company to provide them with your new address and let them know when to shut off services at your current home and turn them on at your new home.
Make Multiple Trips
Since your new home isn’t far away, you should be able to make several trips back and forth instead of having to move everything in one trip. You can load up your car with smaller items and boxes for these trips, and unload them in your new residence. For larger items, such as your furniture, make plans to rent a truck or hire local movers to handle these for you. Moving into your new home a little at a time through multiple trips helps make your actual moving day less stressful overall.
Your credit score is one of the most important numbers to your financial picture. You know how important it is to have a high credit score. If you pay your bills on time and keep your debt down, you think that your score will be just fine, but this isn’t always the case. There are a few hidden mistakes that you could be making that are bringing your credit score down. Read on to find out what to avoid when trying to keep your credit score up and maintain it.
Too Many Credit Inquiries
Beware that every time you apply for a new loan or even just check on what type of interest rate you can get, your credit will be reviewed. You want to avoid too many credit inquiries because a high number will bring your credit score down. Always ask if a lender is pulling a hard inquiry to check your score, don’t allow too many of these credit checks.
Anything Small Can Make A Big Impact
Was there a mistake on a medical bill that you paid but it says it was unpaid? If you let this go, your credit score could be impacted. Even unreturned library books that have been turned over to collections can negatively affect your score. Stay on top of things because you never know how a small mishap can affect you.
Your Information Is Wrong
You should look at your credit report so that you can see more than just your history. You can see the information that is being reported to check for mistakes. Incorrect information can bring your credit score down. You can call the credit bureau that’s associated with any errors that you see on your credit report. It can be a little bit of a process to correct the mistakes on your credit report, but the time and effort is definitely worth it for your credit score.
Not Using your Credit
While using your credit too much is a problem, not making use of your credit at all can be a problem. Responsibly use your credit. Open a credit card and use it to make small purchases. Charge only things that you can afford and pay the balance off each month. This simple use of a card is one of the easiest ways to establish credit.
It’s important to do what you can to develop and maintain a healthy credit score. Keep all of your avenues covered to be sure that nothing hidden can negatively affect your credit score.
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you might discover there is an easement attached to your property. If so, you’re probably wondering how this affects your property values.
What is an Easement?
In a nutshell, an easement is for one person to have explicit permission to have use of another person’s property for a specified purpose. There are three general types of easements: gross, appurtenant and prescriptive. Each has specific rights attached to them and the rights could be for either a private (i.e. allowing someone access or use) or public purpose (i.e. utility companies). Easements can be temporary or permanent; with the latter, the easement is typically written into the property deed.
It’s important to know, while easements permit others to use your land for a designated reason, it doesn’t grant anyone using your land any rights to ownership; you are sole owner.
Can Easements Affect Property Values?
Easements of land may or may not impact your property’s value, depending on how the land is being used and whether you want to use (or sell) your property. Many times, an easement has no impact on your property’s value. However, there are potential issues that may crop up when looking to develop or sell your land which could impact its perceived value.
In many neighborhoods, everyone has the same easement attached to their property. In these cases, it doesn’t typically impact your property value because the easements affect everyone’s property equally.
Is There a Way to Remove an Easement?
A court of law often considers an easement to be used in perpetuity unless a stipulation exists in the original agreement of how long the easement will last. In some cases, easements can be removed.
If you do successfully terminate an easement, be sure it’s recorded in public records.
While technically an easement doesn’t devalue your property, it can affect its marketability. This is always something to consider when determining to willfully grant an easement or buy a home that has an easement attached to its property deed.
If you’re making the transition from renting an apartment to buying a home, it can be difficult to ensure you have a place to stay while you search.
There are a number of reasons you may need temporary housing while house-hunting. Maybe you’re moving to a new state and need temporary housing while you search in the area. Or, maybe you just don’t want to sign a year-long lease on a new apartment that you don’t plan on staying in for a full year.
Regardless of the reason, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to find temporary housing while you navigate your way toward homeownership.
Short-term rentals and sublets
One of the most convenient way to rent an apartment while you search for a home is to simply find short-term rentals.
Landlords use leases for a number of reasons. Among them is knowing that they can count on a tenant to stay long enough to be worth the hassle of going through the rental process.
However, there are some landlords who cater to people who need to rent for only a certain amount of time--namely business professionals and college students. Landlords rent to these people with short-term leases because they are certain that they will get the full lease amount in pay.
Similarly, searching for sublets is a good way to find an apartment on the short-term. Sublets are often cheaper than their normal renting price because the tenant needs to find someone soon. You’re especially likely to find a sublet if you plan on moving in May or June when college students are going home for the summer.
Another service that could be helpful is Airbnb. Many people think of Airbnb as a tool for finding a vacation home or spare room while traveling. However, there are also a number of short-term rentals on the site. You can simply enter the dates you’re planning on staying and compare results. Just be sure to read reviews of the house to be sure that you’re dealing with responsible and trustworthy property managers.
Words of caution
While short-term rentals can save you money while you search and help you avoid a lease, they do come with risks. For example, if renting off of Craigslist, never send sensitive data, payments, or bank account information before verifying that they are actually the manager of the property.
If you do decide to sublet an apartment, take photos when you move in so that tenants or landlords don’t try to hold you liable for any damage caused before or after you leave.
Finally, if you decide to go with a service like Airbnb or extended stay hotels because they appear cheaper than renting, remember that you won’t be able to store your belongings there and might have to pay for storage and a moving truck to transport your belongings. These extra fees can add up quickly over a couple months.
Once you’ve determined your options for temporary housing, hunting for your new home will become much easier.