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What Every Gardener Needs To Know About Cool-Weather Gardening

by Randy Gridley

When the weather starts to turn cold, and the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer, it is time to prepare your garden for the winter.  Make sure that you are ready for the first frost.  In the past, the weather history for Boise, Idaho has shown us that the first frost can occur as soon as the beginning of October. That means you will want to harvest all of your warm weather vegetables before that time frame.

Predict The First Frost
 One way to predict early frost is by taking a look at the highest temperature on a particular day. Let's say that the temperature reaches no higher than 75 degrees. When that is the case, temperatures at night very rarely go below 32 degrees, which is when frost occurs. Wind can also be factored in. When the weather is still at night, it allows cold air to remain near the ground. A breeze will push the air around to some extent. If the wind is heavy, it will completely remove most or even all the warm air that is just above the ground. Clouds can also factor in and give us insight as to whether a frost will occur or not. If there are thick clouds when the sun sets, the clouds will help reduce ground cooling and keep frost away. If you don’t have time to focus on the weather, just check your local weather report in the early evening to check out the dew point.  Usually frost will not occur if the evening dew point is higher than 45 degrees.

Depending on the area you have placed your garden can also impact it in the fall and winter weather. If your garden is on high ground or an incline, chances are that your plants will survive due to the fact that warm air rises, and cold air will stay on the lower ground. Plants that grow close to the ground (not tall plants such as tomato and pepper plants) usually will be protected by the earth's warmth.

All gardeners should make it a point to know the difference between hard freezes and light frosts. A very light frost comes with temperatures that are lower than 32 degrees, which means that conditions are ready for light ice to form. The light ice forms due to condensed water vapor that freezes. Hard freezes come when there have been four or more hours of continuous temperatures below a particular point. A hard freeze will kill many plants if they are not properly protected. This will occur when temperatures drop below 25 degrees. There are many varieties of plants that can make it through a very quick frost, most garden plants are not meant to be grown when hard freezes take place and they will not survive.


Shutting Your Garden Down Until Next Season

You may be tempted to keep your garden available in the cooler months. Remember, a frost can come suddenly. Be prepared and begin shutting your garden down now. There will be many days of beautiful weather during this time. This is the perfect time to spend outdoors in fall clothing and crisp air to put your garden to sleep. You can begin planning for your garden for the next year. To shut your garden down, you will simply be cleaning up debris in the area, storing things that won't be needed again until next spring and taking inventory of things you want to be ready for next season. First you will need to make sure to clear away any stems or plants that are no longer growing or will cease growing with the first frost. This will prevent disease from killing your plants next spring. Never procrastinate! It may be too cold for you to want to do it later. This will ensure next year's garden will be healthy and vivacious. You will have far less work to do next spring because you will be able to see all problem areas now. 

After you have cleaned your garden area, start getting the area prepared for next year. Take time to test your soil to see if it has the right balance of nutrients. Fall weather is the perfect temperature of doing yard work.  Cover your entire bed with at least three inches of a mix of compost and manure. Thanks to rain and melting snow that comes in the winter, the compost nutrients will seep down deep into your soil so that you have rich soil that is ready for your spring planting.

Next, spend time dividing and cutting back all of your perennials so that they are ready for next spring. Perennials go dormant in the fall, which means that pulling them up, dividing them and cutting away portions will not be a huge shock on them.  Do the work now while the ground is not cold. You will have plenty of time for rain to water your divided transplants between now and spring. Your perennials will be in great shape for next spring.

Start Planting Flower Bulbs Now

First shut down your vegetable garden, then you can work on getting your flower bulbs planted. Bulbs need plenty of time to grow and root underground for next season. These are the flowers that will be the first to bloom for you come spring. Unlike other times during the year, you will be able to find bulbs for sale in so many stores right now. As soon as you bring your bulbs home, get them into the ground.  Do not wait for the possibility of a surprise early frost.  Think about where to plant them.  Determine what areas of your yard get a lot of sun, and then modify the soil with compost. Bulbs are one of the easiest ways to have beautiful flowers with very little work. Dig your holes, and place the bulbs into them with the pointed side of the bulb facing up. If you miss a few by placing them point-side down, most likely they will still grow just fine. If you are planting small bulbs, dig 5-inch holes for them. For very large bulbs, dig 8-inch holes for them.

You will really appreciate just what a time saver bulbs.  Bulbs require so little effort on your part.  Envision how you want to lay them out, as the possibilities are endless. You can spend a couple of hours planting all your bulbs and you will have many colorful blooms when the warmer weather arrives. There are many types of bulbs that are popular because of their beauty. If you want amazing fragrance, try hyacinths in a variety of colors. For a bit of fancy, plant allium bulbs. Daffodils will bring grat beauty for spring and Easter.

The Easiest and Least Expensive Ways to Update Your Home Decor

by Randy Gridley

Changing or improving the appearance of your home does not have to cost a great deal or mean a lot of work.  It may be as simple as buying a few new pillows or putting up curtains.  Something as easy as rearranging the furniture and adding a new throw can make a world of difference.  There are some do-it-yourself home improvement projects and easy decorating tips that can make a quick change as painless as possible.  Here are five of the best: 

Paint a Wall


Painting is often the least expensive and easiest way to change the look of your home decor.  Creating an accent wall in your living space by painting one wall a contrasting color is a great way to add vibrancy without breaking your bank account. 

Before starting this project, spend some time considering the feel you are looking for in the room.  Certain colors and color combinations provide certain results.  For example, a cool combination of blues, purples, and greens will seem to enlarge the room, making it feel more spacious.  These colors are also very calming, creating a place where visitors and residents alike can relax. 
Warmer hues such as reds, oranges, and yellows create a more active, vibrant environment.  These colors will tend to pull focus toward anything they color, so using one of these on an accent wall will really make it stand out.  They also tend to bring in the object, so a bright red or orange accent wall will make a room seem smaller and warmer. 

Rearrange the Room’s Furniture

This is definitely the least expensive home decor changing technique.  Repositioning a piece of art or a conversation area can create an entirely new feel in a living space.  It is important to understand how scale and proportion work in defining a living area so that you can place your furniture in the best positions to achieve the look you desire. 

To start, remove all the furniture from the room and then vacuum and mop the floors.  This prevents dust from being moved around with the furniture.  Take a careful look at the living space and arrange the furniture so that everyone feels included.  This may mean creating an intimate conversation group or using a plant to separate a large, open area. 

Do not place furniture against the walls unless there is no other space.  Try and use the larger pieces to create individual spaces and always ensure there is plenty of space to move around between the pieces. 

Make the Coffee Table the Focal Point

In most living areas, the coffee table is a main focal point.  This means it gets lots of attention, so it should always be interesting.  A coffee table with a glass top can be used in a variety of interesting ways.  When the glass lies on the coffee table top, slipping interesting photographs under the glass can create a great conversation piece.  

Other great ideas for glass-topped coffee tables include placing unique or artistic items underneath it or spreading a beautiful cloth runner over the top.  Using photographs is an especially versatile idea because they can be changed out often to reflect special events, holidays, or the seasons.  If your coffee table does not have a glass top, it is a simple matter to have one custom-cut to fit your coffee table at your local hardware store. 

Install New Fixtures

Another fairly inexpensive way to update a room is to install new fixtures, such as faucets or ceiling fans.  Updating the kitchen or bathroom fixtures is almost as good as completing a complete makeover.  Going from a standard chrome bathroom faucet to a waterfall fixture will bring the bathroom right into the twentieth century. 

There are typically a good variety of faucet designs and most are available at the hardware store or the home improvement store.  With so many options available, the most difficult part may be making the selection.  Think about the look you want and then try and picture a particular faucet.  Does it achieve that look?  

Some of the various options available include modern styling, no-touch, bronzed or chromed, a waterfall, and one or two handles.  You may want to take a look at home design catalogs or magazines to see which styles you prefer. 

Adding or replacing a ceiling fan is another easy way to change the look of a room or living space.  Ceiling fans are available in just about every design imaginable, from rustic to ultra-modern.  They also come in colors, woods, and materials.  The fan blades can be designed to make their own statement and complement a room’s decor. 

It is also very important to consider the material and quality when purchasing either faucets or ceiling fans. Some materials are superior to others and the products made from these will typically last longer.  Also, consider the finish to ensure you are getting a faucet or ceiling fan that will match your desired decor. 

Light Switch Magic

An immediately gratifying home improvement project is to upgrade your light switches by replacing the old ones with those matching the decor or certain colors.  Upgrading to a fun, bright light switch will add a punch of color or a focal point.  Using a switch plate that matches the wall border or the trim will add a bit of elegance.  

Another very easy and quick way to customize a switch plate is to design your own.  You can use wallpaper or fabric scraps, ribbon, or anything else that is available to cover a plain switch plate and turn it into a statement piece. 

These are some of the easiest and least expensive ways to improve or update your home’s decor.  Sit back, think about the look you want and then let your imagination go wild.

What To Know About Renting To Own

by Randy Gridley

Rent to Buy is another name for lease to own with the option to purchase and is a method that enables many people to buy their home earlier than waiting for enough time to pass to build up a better credit score to qualify for a loan or if you are already qualified but need time to save enough money for a down payment plus closing costs. 
First you want to find a property that you would like to rent that seller will entertain a rent to own contract.  Then, you are going to need to put a deposit down on the property. This deposit will be agreed to by the owner and the buyer together, and it can be as small or as big as both parties agree. You need to know that a smaller deposit will cause bigger monthly rent payments, while a bigger deposit will allow you pay less for the monthly rent. 

The rent you pay to the owner may be used to cover the seller’s mortgage payment, property taxes, owners insurance, and renters insurance, profit if any after expenses.  You will also have to take care of all repairs.  You and seller may agree to apply some of the payment for a future down payment once you exercise your option to purchase or you may include more money for your payment that this more money will be available to you to be used as a down payment.  Some repairs may have to have the permission from owner, i.e. such as paint colors, replacement materials etc (this will be addressed in your contract option to purchase). Remember, you will have money set aside from seller as a credit to your purchase price and the deposit as long as you exercise your rent to own option within the time frame allowed in your contract with sellers.  
If you elect not to exercise your option to purchase you will lose your deposit.  You will still get back your down payment money that was agreed to in the contract if the property was left in at least the same condition as to when contract rent to own started.  Remember in this article I am using scenarios that may or may not be applicable to the contract you have agreed to.  You (buyers) will have to check out your contract for exact terms and conditions to your rent to own or lease to own with the option to purchase.  
Very Important
Be sure you understand all terms and conditions in rent to own with option to purchase, in fact I would advise you to hire a real estate attorney to view the negotiated contract before signing.  I can’t emphasize enough to use a Real Estate Attorney not just any attorney.

Once you are able to get you own lending this usually reflects in smaller interest rates which will possible mean lower monthly payments. 
Below is an example of a Rent to Buy:
We have this couple, Rhonda and Bret, who recently bought their first home with us.  Both of them were recent college graduates.  Although they were both employed and had decent salaries, they still needed to wait 2 or 3 years in order to become eligible for a discounted mortgage rate. They had managed to raise $10,000 from their personal savings and also had a little help (must be gifts) from their family and friends.

They found their dream home: a 6-year old, three bedroom house in Boise, Idaho, situated on quite a large lot of land.

These are examples only:  Rent to Own with option to purchase
- Purchase price: $220,000
- Initial deposit: $10,000
- First and last monthly rate installments: $2,200
- Monthly deposit to be used as a down payment once option to purchase is exercised: $150
- Monthly property taxes to be paid: $250
- Mandatory insurance (monthly installment): $40
- Renters insurance monthly: $20
- Monthly payment- $1560.00

It will take 5 years for the couple to build up their monthly deposit and be able to buy the house outright. Here are the figures:


Year 1: $1,800
Year 2: $3,600
Year 3: $5,400
Year 4: $7,200
Year 5: $9,000

After five years, they are going to have $19,000 including deposit for down payment and closing costs, so they are going to need a smaller mortgage than in the present.

If they wanted to do this within a 2-year time frame, they would have had only $13,000, which means a 6% deposit for their mortgage.

We hope this scenario is clear enough for you to understand how a Rent to buy option can help you own a house with less hassle and a smaller financial burden on your shoulders.

Home with Options can help you through the entire process of Rent to Buy or rent to sell or lease to own with option to purchase, so that you can negotiate the best possible deal and enjoy a smooth and hassle-free process.
Try to negotiate in your contract to get the seller to pay all your buyers closing costs once you exercise your option.  Then in five years you will be able to use all $19,000 plus any additional money you may have saved for a down payment.

Purchasing Property With A Prior Short Sale In Your Past

by Randy Gridley

A couple of years ago, when interest rates fell as low as 3.5%, a large number of home owners grabbed the opportunity to refinance their homes. It was almost too good an opportunity to miss. It's great for the home owners, but not so good for the mortgage brokers and home loan lenders. Once someone buys or refinances at an incredibly low rate, they no longer need to get another loan for a very long time, if ever. 

Naturally, nobody would want to miss out on a 3.5% interest rate and be stuck with a rate of 5%. This is great news for new borrowers. Since lenders have lost the chances of new business from those who took advantage of the interest rate dive; they are now turning to targeting new prospective borrowers, many of whom have short sales in their past - and even foreclosure in some cases. 

It is important to realize that regardless of your past credit history, your credit needs to be in good standing now, today. You may have had short sales a few years ago, but lenders expect you to have repaired your credit by now. To be considered for an FHA backed home loan your credit score ideally needs to be at least in the 700 bracket. 

The second thing to consider is that the date of your short deal is important to the lender. Although many will only consider borrowers who experienced a short sale more than three years ago, there are a few who will accept borrowers whose short sale was as little as two years previous. 

You need to check this aspect with your home loan credit officer. In order to avoid a last minute stipulation that ends your chances of closing an expensive transaction it is VITAL that the lender is fully acquainted with the complete details of their financial specialist (the party to whom they are offering your credit) guaranteeing rules. In fact, it is wise to keep a duplicate of the HUD-1 from your short sale handy, to submit with your loan application. 

Finally, there are a few lenders who will want to know what motivated the short sale. The most common reason for a short sale is hardship involving a misfortune, for example a death in the family, reported loss of pay, illness, separation or divorce. Naturally, if your particular hardship was using your second line of credit to buy another new car or a yacht, you won't be acquiring a new home loan for a while; certainly not an FHA approved loan program. 

It is best to consult with loan specialist who has experience with FHA loans, and make sure you do not take any chances with failing to give your lender all information. If in doubt, disclose. Rather disclose information they don't need to know than not disclose something because you think they don't need to know it, and then find out later it lost you the loan. 

The good news is that this is a win-win all round. The customer has the ability to buy a home despite having a short sale in their history, which means they can stop wasting money on paying rent; while the bank gains a new customer who in many cases is a more secure borrower after the recession.

Tips on Staging a Home Successfully

by Randy Gridley

Staging a home is one of the most daunting tasks of selling a home today. Even though it is quite possible to hire professional staggers who are trained to showcase the strong points of your home, you can stage your home yourself with a little time and effort on your part. The first thing is to distance your self from your home on an emotional level. Even though this seems easier said than done, it is mandatory for a successful staging of your home.

An excellent idea is to start with the most visual part of your home which is the exterior. Clean up the facade of your home first of all. Ensure that you trim and mow the lawns. Rough edges along the walkway or driveway should be cleared. Weed the garden while planting new flowers on it. The entrance to your home should be made as welcoming as possible. This is the first thing a prospective buyer would see when they look at your home. First impressions count here too. 

Now to the interior. First and foremost is to clear the clutter. All homes have some form of clutter which should be removed before showcasing the home. You will have to spend sometime going over what you don't require. A minimalist approach is the best idea to showcase your home. When your home is cluttered, it may be difficult for the buyer to visualize their possessions in the right areas. Try this yourself when you are at a friend's home. Look around and see what could be moved or changed. It sure would be difficult if that particular house is cluttered. Clean out all the cupboards and closets. Buyers would definitely look into every nook and corner of your home even into the closets. In fact, they would make sure that there is enough space for their things.

Your buyer would have a great viewing experience at your home when you follow a few guidelines. Lighting is one area which could set a great mood in your home. There should be appropriate lighting for the time of the day. Temperature should be set to amiable conditions as buyers would not explore a cold home. Light the fireplace if there is one. It would showcase one of the most popular assets of a home. The whole point of staging is to make your buyer feel welcome at your home. It is best to provide some refreshments and snacks if possible. This could go a long way in the success of staging your home. It is up to you as to how far you will go in staging your home successfully. Always remember, the more effort you put into staging your home, the better your home will show. The above tips will no doubt help you to stage your home quite successfully while allowing you to sell it for the highest amount of money.

Starting Your Own Small Business

by Randy Gridley


Taking on the task of putting together your very own small business can be quite a bit of a gamble. Without the right amount of research, you could end up falling to the wayside like a lot of other small businesses who will tend to shut down within less than a year's time. 

It goes without saying that one of the biggest things that you should remember whenever you are opening your own business is the actual location. As you look into the areas where you could place your new business, you want to make sure that you will be the only one so that you do not have a lot of competition within close proximity. You want to be exclusive to the area so that you are going to be able to bring in the business and foot traffic that you will need to not only survive the first year but also carry you through for many years of success.

Take the time to research a good supplier as well when you are getting ready to start your own small business. The smartest business owners will have more than one supplier so that they will not get stuck in a bad situation. Staggering your vendors will help you to keep your supply fully stocked while also keeping the pricing low. To make it even better, you will usually find that many suppliers will compete in terms of pricing when they know that you have more than one.

You need to be sure that you have services and/or products that are desirable and never open a store without going and doing a decent amount of research. Advertising is going to also be the best way to help you get the word out about your business so that you can keep the customers coming. However, you need to remain well informed about the best advertising tactics and know when you should cut out methods of advertising that may not be bringing you results. Take a look at your demographic and look at the most common ways to reach them and you will be able to put together quality advertising campaigns. 

Keep your shelves fully stocked, keep your customers happy and never be afraid to evolve if you are going to run a successful small business.

Succeeding in Business

by Randy Gridley


Lots of places besides above map for starting a business.

Everyone has their own definition on what success is all about. My definition of success is to be happy working on something that I am highly passionate about. Below highlighted are six important steps that I use to achieve success according to my definition of it.

Freedom - The first step is to live in a country where you have the freedom to pursue a living as you see it fit. If not, you will not be able to achieve my definition of success. I am thankful to be living in a country that provides me the freedom to choosing my living according to my wish. Many people in the world are not free to follow their own passion. First of all, you must be free to succeed in business.

Persistence - An idea is just that an idea. In fact, an idea with no motion is better off never born. No one will know about your idea until it is brought to motion. A goal could be accomplished only if you move towards the goal. To continue to move towards the goal even when the going gets tough is what is known as persistence. Persistence is a vital step if you are to succeed in business. 

Vision - Your goal should be seen ahead of you. You should visualize the success of your business. If not, you will never know even if you have found it.

Inspiration - Inspiration is required to have a vision for your goals. If you are not excited about your goals, you cannot be happy when you have reached them. If your sole inspiration is money, you may be profitable at business but unhappy all the way long. You need to keep your inspiration alive to succeed in business. 

Planning - Once you set a goal and committed to achieve it, you need to device a plan to reach the goal. If you don't have a map to get from point A to point B, you could end up in point C. A business plan is actually a list of things required to achieve your goal. Your plan may consistently change along the way and this is quite OK. 

Discipline - Even the best plan in the world is useless if it requires 40-hours of work per week and only 2-hours are put into it. The discipline to keep going at the right pace is vital to achieve success.

The aforementioned simple steps illustrate a larger way of looking at life. You need to breakdown goals, obstacles and problems into tiny pieces. Even though moving a mountain seems impossible, breaking down a task into little pieces will make it possible. This principle of running a business will definitely put you on your way to success.

HUD Home | Boise Idaho

by Randy Gridley

Opportunity knocks with this HUD HOME. Location is in zip code area 83704 (5707 N Marcliffe Avenue).  Amenities include three bedrooms and three baths and has two master bedrooms. A really unique home with tons of potential. expansive open living room that includes a vaulted ceiling, for warmth in the winter huddle around the wood stove, and enjoy the sunlight with many updated vinyl windows to view from. functional kitchen for the chef in the home and flows into dining room, of course for another added feature is a nice sized two car garage with 484 square feet.  Enjoy the entertaining spacious backyard with deck and lush landscaping. Many square feet for the dollar. You won't want to miss this beauty, call me to view today.  208-859-7060


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Randy & Doyelene Gridley
Silvercreek Realty Group
1099 S Wells St. Suite 200
Meridian ID 83642
Randy's Direct Office: 208-859-7060

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