Blog

Backyard Ideas: Making the Most of Your Space

summerbackyard

Making the most of your backyard space doesn’t have to be a time consuming, daunting task. No matter how big or small, there are a lot of fun, creative and inexpensive backyard ideas to help you spend quality time in your yard. Being able to create some of the best memories in your own backyard is one of the many perks to owning a home. With a few adjustments throughout the summer, homeowners can transform their backyard from a plot of grass to an outside space to call home.

Here are five backyard ideas for kids, adults and the neighborhood alike that allow you to make the most of your backyard space.

Fostering the community

14018417232_97b71a9201_z

One the easiest ways to make your backyard feel more welcoming is to make is a space for the whole neighborhood. Even in a smaller backyard, having a space for kids to run around, play games and interact is the perfect way to forge friendships with those in your community. If the space allows for it, take the time to set up a “field day” for the community with games, food and a place to enjoy the summer sun.

For new homeowners, using your personal backyard space creates an inviting, welcoming atmosphere when introducing yourself to the neighborhood.

Create your own movie theater

4940386490_f01863d479_z

Take your weekly family movie night off the couch and into the backyard. All it takes is a few picnic blankets, pillows, a white bed sheet and a small projector and you’ve made your very own outdoor movie theater. Remember the popcorn and candy and you’re ready for a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Born to Lounge

2682041154_25ba51e083_z

Relaxation is key. If you have the space, investing in comfortable lawn furniture can do wonders for your backyard. Spend a weekend afternoon reading a book outside, have a few friends over or simply sit back and enjoy a glass of lemonade. Even if there isn’t quite enough space for permanent lawn furniture, a basic folding chair will do just fine. In fact, the ability to pack up the furniture and get it out of the away when you need the space is a nice option to have, as long as you’re able to sit back and relax somewhere.

All it takes is the right chair to cultivate a personal backyard paradise.

Potted possibilities

landscaping-with-potted-plants

Gardens can be a lot of work, and not everyone have the space for them. Fortunately you don’t need a lot of space (or a lot of time commitment) for a few potted plants in the backyard. Choose your favorite vegetable or herb plants—from tomatoes and jalapeños, to basil and dill—and a few of your favorite flowers to bring your backyard to life. Not only will they become a low maintenance, aesthetically pleasing addition to your yard, but the whole family can enjoy the taste of freshly grown ingredients with every meal.

Gathering around the fire

outdoor-fire-pit-plans-6

Similarly to a garden, not everyone has the space or finances for a built-in fire pit. However, that doesn’t mean a family can’t still enjoy the warm glow of a fire on a cool summer night. With a variety of portable fire pits to choose from and do-it-yourself options, families can create the feeling of camping without piling the kids and equipment in the car. A fire pit is a great way to bring the great outdoors to your backyard and make s’mores the good old-fashioned way.

We help get rid of closing costs. We serve Veterans and Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Screen-Shot-2014-06-19-at-1.15.00-PM

To All at MHAF and All the Organizations and Companies That Work with MHAF

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 10.00.16 AM

Thank you all for your time and hard work! About six months ago when I was online looking for programs for veterans to buy homes and I found MHAF. It almost sounded to good to be true. MHAF really does take care of everything. They have great banks and realtors that go above and beyond. It was nice to know that at any time I could call someone if I had a question and get an answer. I will definitely contact MHAF for my next home!

Thank You all again,

Austin Naehrig
US Army

We love to hear testimonials from the service people and families that we help with our programs every day. If you want to learn more about how we can cover your home closing costs contact us.

Summer Home Preparation: 4 Great Tips

Summer Home Preparation: 4 Great Tips

It’s time for some summer home preparation. With winter finally coming to an end, everyone’s eager to turn on the air conditioning, jump in the pool or pack the car for a summer vacation. But before soaking up the sun, there are a few things every homeowner should inspect to cut down costs, stay cool and comfortable and avoid ruining what could have been a great afternoon barbecue. Here are a few simple things that are easy to overlook before summer officially begins:

#1 Changing the Rotation

There’s no reason to let your air conditioner do all the work, and if you don’t have air conditioning, this tip is even more important. Setting your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise pushes air down, creating a breeze to cool down the room. It’s as easy as a flick of a switch on the base of the fan.

#2 Fielding the Filters

When the sun is beating down on the house all day and into the early evening, the air conditioner is your greatest ally in the fight to stay cool. That being said, the AC can’t do it all on its own. Dust, pet hair and other small debris collect in the vents, eventually getting caught in the filter. If this filter isn’t changed regularly, airflow is reduced and electricity costs rise along with the temperature inside your home. Buy a few new filters at the beginning of the season so you aren’t caught off guard come the end of July.

#3 Look up—how’s the roof?

Aside from the sweltering sun, summer brings a slew of storms, damaging winds and unpredictable weather than can wreak havoc on your home. Having a professional inspect the quality and integrity of the roof, or doing it yourself, will afford you opportunities to make any necessary repairs or improvements. While you’re up there, do a quick sweep of the gutters and drains—it’s better to be safe than sorry. These repairs can be a bit on the costly side, but it’s better to be prepared instead of working on the fly to fix a leak in the middle of a storm.

#4 Grilling on Fumes

The entire family is coming together for the first cookout of the season. You’ve got all the burgers, bratwursts and corn on the cob ready to go, but when you go to light the grill—nothing. The propane tank is empty.

As soon as the weather warrants use of the grill, make a quick trip to the store and stock up on propane. That way no one is left hungry and waiting, and your cookout goes off without a hitch.

We help get rid of closing costs. We serve Veterans and Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Welcome Home Tuesday | Dad and His Lil’ Ladies

The Wendling Family

This Tuesday we are sharing this touching video that shows the beautiful Wendling family as they prepare and welcome home their man. It is an uplifting view into the life of a military family. Check it out for yourselves, you will see the overwhelming joy and love that this family shares. Welcome Home!

We help get rid of closing costs for Military Families who are buying homes. Contact us for more info!

Tips for a Profitable Summer Garage Sale

 

garage sale

Summer is just a few weeks away and with the nice weather comes garage sale season. Many families will be cleaning out their closets, cupboards and garages to make room in their homes or perhaps to purge before moving to a new home. If you fall into one of these categories or another, here are some tips for a profitable summer garage sale. One year, I made $1000 in the first 3 hours using these ideas.

When and Where

Decide if your sale will be one or two days. Typically two day sales are on Friday and Saturday. Pick a time frame, buyers like to start early before the day is too hot. So, plan on a sale that begins no later than 8:00 AM. Buying traffic usually dies out around noon to 2:00 pm. If you are joining forces with other neighbors, family or friends, decide the best location for your sale. Things to keep in mind; who has ample available parking, who has the flattest selling area, and on hot summer days, who has the best shaded areas? This is vital and appreciated for not only the buyers, but for you the seller as well.

Promote, Promote, Promote!

The more you create a buzz about your garage sale, the better the turn out, start early too. Email friends and family, put the event on your Facebook page (you never know, they may want to join forces with you, which can only make for a bigger and better sale!). Post a flyer or note card at your local grocery store, library, recreation center, Laundromat and coffee shop. Also try some Web sites like Crigslist.org and other social media resources. Here are a few that may be good places to advertise your sale as well. http://garagesalehunter.com/  http://www.yardsalesearch.com/ http://www.weekendtreasure.com/

Pricing and Tags

In order to keep things simple on sale day, price and tag all items weeks and days ahead of time. Every dish, book, and toy needs to have a clear price on it. For best results on selling clothes, I recommend you hang as many items as you can and use tags that you can tie onto the hanger (see if you can get your dry cleaner to donate the inexpensive hangers they have. Also, if anybody in the house works for an industry that uses uniforms, they generally can obtain hangers from work). Use clothespins on hangers for shorts and pants. Separate mens and women’s clothes and boys from girls. For smaller children clothes, get a few moving boxes, cut one side of the box down about 2/3 of the way. Place like items together in the box, and rubber band or use ribbon to tie outfits together. Mark the box “Todler Size 2T-4T” or similar. For more on pricing, check out this Web site: http://bit.ly/1klpZbw .

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Once you have chosen the date and time, you will want to make signs to place at key intersections that lead to your sale location. You can of course make your own and if you do, I recommend that you use either heavy white or bright fluorescent colored poster board or foam core. Keep all signs consistent, so buyers know what signs lead to your sale. Print “Garage Sale” with an arrow for left or right turn using a thick black permanent marker. If you place a sale ad in your local neighborhood paper, often times they will have sale signs as part of an ad package. Many neighborhood HOA’s have sale signs for a small purchase price as well, so check with yours.

Design to Sell

Start by making sure your selling area is clean, organized and free of excessive clutter. Creating zones helps buyers find specific items they are looking to buy. Put like items together, this creates an easy and pleasurable shopping experience for your buyers. Feel free to be creative and show some style. For example cover your dish and kitchen ware table with a nice tablecloth and fresh flowers or a house plant (be sure to mark things your not selling with a small sticker or sign that says “Not For Sale”). If you have a computer, and are so inclined, print fun signs to place around your sale that mark your departments such as Children Books, Baby Boy Clothes, Video Games, Electronics and so on. I have made it easy for buyers to know my selling policy with signs at my selling table that state all sales are final. Making signs in English and Spanish has proven helpful as well.

Setting Up and Sales Table

Be sure you have help on the morning of your sale, sometimes (especially if you advertised) you will have people waiting. Ask early arrivals to please give you time to set up. Once you begin to set up, make sure you have someone supervising the area, I have had experiences with dishonest shoppers who work together and are skilled with distracting you while you are busy setting up your displays.

Use a small table that is centrally located within your sales area. I have usually placed mine in the back center area in order to keep an eye on all the shopping zones. Use a small plasticware container or invest in an inexpensive cash box. Go to your bank the day before the sale to get change for your shoppers. One roll of each coin, a couple $10 bills, a few $5 bills and around 20 to 25 $1 bills. Place these in your cash box and never let the box leave your site or hands even. Be sure to have a calculator handy and extra pens and price tags nearby. At my selling table, I also have plastic grocery bags to wrap customers purchases up for them (save them for a few weeks prior to sale day). Make sure you or your helpers keep an eye on all areas of your sale, many people will ask questions about your items and will haggle you on price, so be prepared.

Getting Your Kids Involved

Kids Zone

All of the garage sales I have done have included a kids zone. I have let my children choose books, toys, video games and movies they have out grown. We set them up with their own table where they can display their goods. Be sure it is near where you can easily supervise all lookyloos and actual buyers . I let them keep all the money made in their zone. This keeps them occupied and excited about the day.

Homemade Snacks and Refreshments

Another way to involve your kids is to set up a refreshment table, similar to a lemonade stand. Make muffins with your kids ahead of time. Buy some orange juice, apple juice, small cups and napkins. Let your children sell breakfast to the early shoppers, both buyers and your young entrepreneurs love the experience. Put this table near your sales table so that you can help supervise the transactions.

Over the years, I have had more than a dozen garage sales. Some have been small, where I sold mainly nicknacks, old toys and old clothes, while others have been big endeavors where I sold furniture, baby items, appliances and more. The key to any of the sales I have done has been organization, good signage and a pleasurable shopping experience for the buyers. Using the tips for a profitable summer garage sale will help you clean out the clutter and make some fun money. Have a great Sale!