Business & Real Estate: How to prepare your home for spring


Well we made it through another winter and although some days will be colder than normal that shouldn’t stop you from thinking about preparing your home for another spring and summer of enjoyment or to sell or rent!

I wouldn’t necessarily break out the hoses yet, but as the snow melts you should think about how you can consider some colorful bulbs to brighten up your landscape, especially in the front of your home.

This always adds a little pizazz and colors to the entrance walkway for potential purchasers.

Marigolds  are an excellent at minimizing some damaging insects to your landscape, so make sure you make them an addition to your plantings around shrubbery in the sunny locations, where they will thrive extremely well.

Because I had done landscape design and was a certified and EPA licensed professional lawn-tree and shrub applicator for 25 years, I know the ins and outs of your landscape, as well as the insects and diseases that affect one of the most crucial parts of your property.

For every $1 you put into your exterior landscape, you potentially will reap $5 back, when you sell.

Adding shrubbery and flowering plants spruces up the outside and provides a much different perspective to its look and will surely attract more buyers to your property when you consider selling.

Maybe you are not just ready at the moment, but over the near and long term, landscapes mature and with the proper care and maintenance, one can be sure the money spent will come back to you many times over.

At this time of the year, one should be applying a dormant oil spray or (Neem Oil) from the tropical neem tree (Azadiracta indica), to all deciduous (trees which drop their leaves in the fall) and non-deciduous shrubbery (that keep their leaves all year round) to suffocate the hibernating sucking insects that will damage your trees and shrubbery during the spring and summer months; as long as temperatures are above 32 degrees.

Once the flowering and leafing shrubs (deciduous) and plants begin to grow and come out, then you will need to use a safer soap (insecticidal soap) type material (organic) and these materials will also do well in minimizing the damaging insect population and will not harm bees and other type of good insects.

Also, Methoxachlor (an organic pyrethrin derived from the chrysanthemum plant) is an excellent organic spray to minimize chewing insects.

The spinosad (parent bacterium, Saccharopolyspora spinose), was discovered in 1982 in an old Caribbean rum still. It was soon found that these bacteria produce a substance that works as a neurotoxin in many (but not all) insects. Susceptible insect species that are exposed to spinosad become excited to the point of exhaustion, stop eating immediately and die within two days (probably alcohol intoxication, lol).  Also, BT (Bacillus thuriengensis) is a naturally occurring bacteria that attacks the larvae of most damaging insects, cabbageworms, tent caterpillars, cutworms, etc.

Various insect traps also are a safe method to attract and minimize the insect population that will potentially damage your landscape.

One last idea for an organic approach for control are a mixture of 6 cloves of garlic, onions and hot peppers and add water to spray on your shrubbery, although the other methods might be easier to apply and cost effective.

Most of the materials are safe for pets, humans and bees; however, read all instructions before applying or hire a professional licensed and EPA certified applicator and enroll in a program.

Make sure you begin to edge and turn over your soil in your flowerbeds, they should be defrosted by this weekend, if not sooner.

Add a fertilizer (12/8/8 Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash) for your shrubs or hire someone to do deep root feeding to them as well as your trees.

Clean your window inside and out and let the sunshine in.  Wait to trim after the blooms are gone on your shrubs as well as when the leaves have fully matured in May-June.

Start cleaning out your garage and get your patio table, chairs and grill ready for the warmer weather  barbecues, (breakfast, lunch and dinners).

Does your driveway need patching?  You can start doing this, once the temperatures are consistently above freezing.

Did you clean out your gutters and leaders last fall?  Check them out to make sure they are still clean from the windy days this winter, where leaves may have clogged them up again.

You can also consider putting wire mesh screening across the gutters to minimize debris or change them to a system that completely eliminates stuff from clogging up your gutters (call me for info).

Does the exterior of you home need painting?

Start thinking about getting estimates, so you will be ready and maybe get a better price, before the spring rush or maybe you want vinyl siding or drive-it (stucco type material) to change the exterior  look of your home.

Always look at your home from the point of view of a purchaser, not as a seller, because you will be selling one day, not buying and you will need to be as strict as your buyer.

They will subtract dollars for many things when they are in the process of making an offer.

Oh yeah, the home inspector who works for the purchaser will be the other glitch in the sale, if he or she finds anything detrimental to the property.

So I leave you one last thought, hire a professional certified house inspector, prior to putting your home on the market, so you will know all those things that are wrong with the place and what should be repaired or replaced; because the buyer will always reduce your price by those items and will do so by many times the cost of repair and replacement, that you could have done if you had a plan to do so in the beginning.  It will be one of the best investments you will make and actually save you money and headaches.  Don’ wait to be a Monday Morning Quarterback.

Phil Raices is the owner/Broker of Turn Key Real Estate at 7 Bond St. in Great Neck.  He has  earned designations as a Graduate Realtor Institute) and Certified International Property Specialist)

He can be reached by email: Phil@TurnkeyRealEstate.Com or by cell (516) 647-4289 to answer any of your questions or article suggestions.   


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