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Spring Gardening Tips!

by The Rullo Team

The first day of summer is right around the corner! Add stunning curb appeal to your Fox River Valley home and create a peaceful space filled with fresh produce and beautiful flowers for your whole family to enjoy. Get your green thumb ready to follow these top tips for gardening success!

1. Map It Out

Start your garden off with a plan. Figure out the layout of your garden in terms of what plants look best near each other, the distance between each of them, where the sunlight hits, and more. The more you can plan out ahead of time, the better your garden will end up!

2. Begin Indoors

Get your plants started inside. All you need to do is fill containers with potting mix, moisten with water, and carefully add your seeds. Make sure to place in a warm spot of your home that receives 12 to 16 hours of daylight. Once your plants have gotten larger, you can transfer outdoors.

3. Prepare Your Soil

Make sure your soil is ready. Purchase a soil kit from your local home improvement store to learn its type and pH level. This information will help you determine what modifications your soil needs in order to grow the healthiest plants.

4. Start Planting ASAP

With our cold winters in the Fox River Valley, you want to make sure that you time out your planting properly so you start early enough to truly enjoy the plant throughout the warmer parts of the year.

5. Prune

Help stimulate plant growth and improve the look of your garden by pruning shrubs and trees. Just ensure that you are only pruning those plants that have bloomed on new growth from this year. If you prune plants that are still on last year's growth, you could cause irreparable damage to the plant.

6. Mulch

Save time in the future by adding several inches of mulch around your garden. Mulch moderates soil temperatures, saves water, reduce weeds, and wards of disease. When spreading out the mulch, be sure to water the soil before and after in order to keep the mulch a couple of inches away from your stems. Check out this Guide to Mulch Buying from the Chicago Tribune for more helpful information.

 


Follow us on Facebook and check out our Website for more fantastic Fox River Valley gardening and home tips throughout the year!

Brighten Up Your Fox Valley Garden With These Native Plants!

by The Rullo Team

 

Spring is the perfect time in the FOX RIVER VALLEY to add instant curb appeal to your home with a lovely garden. The changing seasons in Illinois can pose a challenge when deciding what plants to choose for your landscaping. Look to plants that naturally grow in the region. These resilient botanicals will add beauty and interest to your yard for years to come. Here are the top native plants for Midwest gardens!


PALE PURPLE CONEFLOWER

Name: Echinacea pallida

Where to plant: Place this coneflower in the full sun with well-drained soil.

Appearance: In mid-summer, this plant will bloom with pink flowers surrounding a dark red cone in the middle.

Other Helpful Information: The pale purple coneflower will spread throughout your garden as it self-seeds.


POPPY MALLOW

Name: Callirhoe involucrata

Where to plant: The poppy mallow is perfect for border areas in the full sun.

Appearance: Throughout the summer months, enjoy wine-red flowers on this groundcover plant.  

Other Helpful Information: This plant is very resilient as it can thrive in dry soil and resists pests.


COLUMBINE

Name: Aquilegia canadensis

Where to plant: This plant can grow in the sun or shade.

Appearance: Enjoy delicate red and yellow flowers.  

Other Helpful Information: The columbine will attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden!


SWAMP MILKWEED

Name: Asclepias incarnata

Where to plant: The swamp milkweed can grow in moist or average soil but needs to be placed in plenty of sunlight.

Appearance: Clusters of pink flowers will appear in mid-summer on the 5 foot tall stems.

Other Helpful Information: Monarch butterflies love this beautiful plant.  


COMPASS PLANT

Name: Silphium laciniatum

Where to plant: This plant needs full sun.

Appearance: A giant of a plant, this flower grows up to 9 feet tall. It blooms with bright yellow, sunflower-like petals.  

Other Helpful Information: The compass plant is so called because it aligns itself from north to south in order to conserve water!  


BUTTERFLY WEED

Name: Asclepias tuberosa

Where to plant: This drought resistant prairie plant needs direct sunlight to grow.  

Appearance: During the summer, the plant blossoms with bright orange petals.   

Other Helpful Information: As its name suggests, butterflies love this plant.   


WILD ANEMONE

Name: Anemone canadensis

Where to plant: This perfect border plant needs organic-rich, moist soil.  

Appearance: Large white flowers will appear in your garden in the summer.   

Other Helpful Information: The wild anemone is perfect for filling up large spaces within your garden as it rapidly spreads on its own.   


SPIDERWORT

Name: Tradescantia sp

Where to plant: This versatile plant can grow in sun or shade but requires moist soil.

Appearance: This beauty will blossom in a variety of colors, depending on the strain of the plant, every spring with three-petaled flowers. 

Other Helpful Information: The spiderwort is a perennial.   


GOLDENROD

Name: Solidago sp

Where to plant: Place the goldenrod in full sun and well-drained soil.

Appearance: Your garden will continue to look lovely into the autumn months when the golden-yellow flowers appear.  




BLOODROOT

Name: Sanguinaria canadensis

Where to plant: This groundcover can grow in the shade.

Appearance: Daisy shaped flowers will cover the lower part of your garden with this delicate plant.

Other Helpful Information: The bloodroot will go dormant during the summer so make sure to plant it near summer blossoming plants to avoid blank spaces in your garden.


JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT

Name: Arisaema triphyllum

Where to plant: This plant is perfect for shady areas of your garden.

Appearance: Produces hooded green petals with red lines throughout the summer months and, in fall, red berries often appear.


CULVER'S ROOT

Name: Veronicastrum virginicum

Where to plant: This plant can thrive whether in sun or part shade but needs plenty of water.

Appearance: Culver’s Root grows up to 6 feet tall and produces white flowers.

Other Helpful Information: This plant is a magnet for butterflies to your garden.


BLUE SAGE  

Name: Salvia pitcheri

Where to plant: This plant needs full sun.

Appearance: Your garden will look beautiful with lovely sky blue flowers that blossom in early fall.

Other Helpful Information: Blue sage is a perennial.


PENSTEMON

Name: Penstemon digitalis 

Where to plant: Make sure to keep the soil around the penstemon moist.

Appearance: During the summer, white flowers will appear amongst the burgundy hued foliage of this plant.

Other Helpful Information: You can rely on this plant to return yearly.


LITTLE BLUESTEM

Name: Schizachyrium scoparium

Where to plant: This grass needs plenty of sun.

Appearance: A great plant throughout the year, the little bluestem adds color to your garden every season. During the fall and winter, the stems are a purple-bronze hue. As it starts to warm up outside, the foliage turns blue-green. 

 

Update your curb appeal with these native plants to Sell your Fox River Valley home for top dollar! Give The Rullo Team  a call at (630) 513-1771 or visit http://www.therulloteam.com/ today!

 

Source: Better Homes & Garden

Budget For These Home Maintenance Tasks When You Buy!

by The Rullo Team


There are some costs that homeowners know the budget for when buying their
Fox River Valley home. These include down payment, closing costs, and moving expenses. But, what about home maintenance? Just because the home inspection came up squeaky clean doesn’t mean that you don’t need to make any repairs or changes to the home.

 

In fact, the first year of ownership tends to be the most expensive, as you fill the home with new furniture and appliances, add personal touches, and complete those repairs that you find are needed. It can be hard to know exactly how much you need for home maintenance as you put together your budget for buying a new home.

 

Here are some immediate home maintenance costs that you should set aside money for:

 

  1. New Locks - You have no way of knowing who has a key to your new home. Be sure to install new locks on every exterior door.

  2. Fire Extinguisher - For the safety of you and your family, your home should have at least one fire extinguisher. If there isn’t one left at the property, purchase one for your kitchen.

  3. Chimney Sweep - It may have been years since the fireplace and chimney in your new home were properly cleaned. Before using it, be sure to hire a professional to come in and clean everything out of it.

  4. HVAC Maintenance - While the HVAC system might seem to be running properly, you can’t be certain when the last time it was maintained professionally. Have someone come inspect it and make any necessary repairs as soon as you move in to avoid pricey repairs in the future.

  5. Trimming Trees - The trees outside were not part of your home inspection and some could cause issues in the future, especially if they are older. Be sure to have the trees trims to avoid any potential damage to your home.

 

While these are the key maintenance areas to focus on upon moving in, you should not stop budgeting for home maintenance. Be sure to always keep some savings aside for issues that may arise with your home. A general rule of thumb is to budget for 1% of your home’s purchase cost every year for emergencies and repairs. Note, if your home is more than 10 years old, you might want to budget for more.


Follow us on Facebook and check out our Website for more helpful home maintenance and budgeting tips throughout the year.

 

Best Home Maintenance Tasks To Tackle This Spring!

by The Rullo Team

Give your Fox River Valley home some TLC this spring to have it in tip top shape for the summer. These projects for inside and outside of your home will help spruce it up for you and your family and keep you comfortable and happy throughout the year. Here are our top home maintenance tasks to tackle this spring!

1. Touch Up Exterior Paint - Boost your home's exterior appearance by touching up the paint. If you do not have any exterior paint on hand and need help matching the color, ask a professional to come out to help you find the perfect match.

 

2. Wash Windows - Be able to see the beautiful scenery of your landscaping by washing the outside of your windows. You will get best results by scrubbing with a bucked of hot soapy water.

3. Clean Window Screens - Window screens also need to be washed at this time. Gently scrub them with the same mixture. If they are too covered in dirt and grime, it is a great time to replace them.

4. Clean Exterior of House - This might be the most difficult maintenance task on our list but it is also vitally important. The warmer weather gives you the opportunity to wash the outside of your home and, after our winter, it is a good idea. Do a soft washing to update your curb appeal and extend your home's lifespan.

 

5. Reverse Ceiling Fans - Change your ceiling fans to spin counter-clockwise so that a breeze is created throughout the home.

6. Clean A/C Filter - Keep your family cool all summer long by cleaning the air conditioner filter. Wash with warm water or vacuum cleaner if your system does not have a self-cleaning function. Remember that this task should be done frequently while your air conditioner is in continual use.

7. Remove A/C Fan - After dealing with the A/C filter, now is a good time to dust off the fan. Remove it, clean it, and return it to its rightful place when done.

8. Check Furnace Filter - Your furnace has also been accumulating dust. Remove the filter and give it a thorough washing if the filter is a reusable one. If it is not, be sure to replace it with a new filter.

9. Maintain Washing Machine - Give your washing maching some care so your clothes continue to come out clean. Remove soil buildup from the seal around the door.

10. Inspect Driveway and Walkways - Driveways and walkways take a beating throughout the winter. Check for cracks and weeds and handle those issues as they are found. Afterward, it is a good idea to pressure wash these areas.

11. Clean Baseboards - It's a great time to work on those areas of the house that often get overlooked and that includes the baseboards. Give them a cleaning with a damp cloth to remove built up dust and dirt.

12. Clean Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher - Just like the laundry machine, now is a good time to clean the garbage disposal and diswasher. Refresh both by using vinegar. This will help remove food odors that have been building up.

13. Inspect Hoses - Look for cracks, wear and tear, or any signs of leaks in the hoses located around your house (i.e. dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, toilets, etc.). Replace as necessary.

14. Inspect Attic and Basement - Check both of these spaces for water leakage, mold and mildew, and pests. Handle any issues that you might discover right away.

15. Declutter - Get rid of those items that you really do not need around the house by hosting a rummage sale or donating them. If you discover that you have a lot of items to simply toss, consider renting a dumpster so you can do a giant purge at once and be done with it.

 

 

Check The Rullo Team's website and follow us on Facebook for more helpful home maintenance tips throughout the year!


 

Update Your Front Porch For Spring Selling Success!

by The Rullo Team

Are you ready to "Spring" into the Fox River Valley housing market? With the temperatures rising and the snow melting, now is the perfect time to start enhancing your home's curb appeal so it is ready to sell. A great area to focus on is your front porch. It will help create an inviting first impression for buyers and, as an added bonus, can be utilized by you and your family as additional outdoor living space! Follow these design tips to have your front porch looking it's absolute best this spring!

1. Draw the eye from the street towards the front porch with the placement of colorful plants throughout your landscaping.

2. Ensure that your front porch is always well lit. Add 3 to 4 different sources of light. Make sure your house numbers are illuminated so buyers and guests can always easily locate your home.

3. Add potted greenery that will last throughout the growing season as well as window boxes and/or vases of seasonal flowers to your front porch for a bright, lush atmosphere.

4. Create a cozy spot to gather with seating for two and a small table. For a cozy, old-fashioned touch, hang a swinging bench.

5. Place a functional and fashionable doormat at the entrance to tie the space together and welcome guests inside.

6. Coordinate color throughout the space with your accents. Make sure that they share all the same hues and complement your home's exterior. A good way to ensure color coordination is to use your home's trim or front door color as a starting point.

7. Keep pests away and beat the summer heat and humidity with a cool breeze from an outdoor ceiling fan or well-placed upright fan.

8. Add some privacy and block the sun with outdoor curtains. Make them easy to open and close as needed and use fade-resistant fabric for longevity.

For more helpful Home Selling Tips, visit our Website and follow us on Facebook.

Get Your Fox River Valley Lawn Ready For Spring!

by The Rullo Team

Get your green thumb ready! Spring is right around the corner! While it might still be a little bit before the warmer weather fully reaches us, now is actually the perfect time to start prepping your Fox River Valley lawn! Complete these lawn care tasks today and enjoy the most stunning yard this spring!


1. Wash Salt Away

All the salt used on the winter roads can do a number on your grass and plants. Give your landscaping a good watering to get rid of this winter remnant.


2. Patch It Up

Now is the perfect time to patch up those thin and barren spots around your lawn. Add grass seed or sod to these areas before the ground temperature rises above 65 degrees. This will help keep weeds at bay.


3. Remove Debris

After the fall and winter, your yard is likely filled with some leftover leaves, branches, and yard debris. Although this stuff protects your lawn in the colder months, it hinders growth in the spring. Do a good cleaning by removing all these items from your grass and garden.


4. Prune & Fertilize

Check the soil for dryness. If it is crumbling instead of clumping, you can begin pruning and fertilizing. Remove old growth from perennials and prune your trees and shrubs. Add a slow release fertilizer to your plants, trees, and grass. Use one that also contains a pre-emergent herbicide to help fight off weeds.


5. Plant Cool Season Plants

Once your soil is dry enough, you can start to add some fresh greenery to your garden. Although temperatures might not seem warm enough, there are some resilient growers (such as bare-root plants, snapdragons, and pansies) that love the conditions of this time of year.


6. Pick Out Your Perennials

Although you cannot plant them yet, now is the time to pick out and preorder the perennials you want to plant this spring. Most nurseries offer deals on these plants at this time of year. Not only will you get a great price but you will also enjoy the best selection!


7. Service Your Mower

Have your lawn mower serviced and ready to go for the first cut of spring. Keep it running in tip top shape all spring and summer by sharpening the blades, changing the oil, and replacing the spark plugs.



For more helpful home improvement tips throughout the year, check out our website at http://www.therulloteam.com/ and follow us on Facebook.

St. Charles Home Remodeling Show This Weekend!

by The Rullo Team


Have some remodeling and rebuilding ideas for your Fox River Valley home? Do not miss the 33rd annual
St. Charles Home Remodeling Show! Head over to Kane County Fairgrounds (525 South Randall Road, St. Charles) this weekend to find hundreds of ideas and talk to experts that can help make your plans a reality!

 

Whether you are fixing up your kitchen and bath, looking for gardening and landscaping ideas, improving your roofing and gutter systems, or any other home maintenance projects, you will find the best local contractors, repairmen, and tradesmen to work with. Come with your plans! Shop for all the items you could possibly need for your projects and get great deals!

 

The show will be held on Saturday, March 16th, and Sunday, March 17th, from 10:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily. Enjoy FREE Admission and FREE parking!

 

Find the Digital Home Show Guide HERE!

 

Follow The Rullo Team on Facebook and check out our Website for great homeowners tips and related community events!




Image Credit: The Home Shows, Inc.

Top Photography Tips For Listing Your Home!

by The Rullo Team

The first impression buyers get of your home is not at your front door.....it is online! Almost all buyers begin their home search online. That means that it is more important than ever to make sure that your home pops out from the screen. Hiring a professional photographer is always a surefire way to ensure that your home looks its very best in your online photos. However, if you are looking to save money, there are several ways that you can make the photos look like they were done by a pro. Help attract buyers to your Fox Valley listing online by following these great photography tips!

Keep Your Photos Steady.

Nothing is more distracting than a crooked, blurry photo. Hands invariably shake so use a tripod to eliminate camera shake and keep the photo perfectly straight.


Avoid Using Your Smartphone.

Smartphones do have great cameras built into them, but they still do not compare to an actual camera. Use a DSLR camera for your home photography. DSLR camera's capture light better.

 

Let There Be Light.

Light is the most important element to make your photographs look their best. Use an external flash when shooting indoors. At the same time, make sure that all interior lights are turned on and keep the curtains open to let in natural light. When shooting exterior shoots, pay attention to the sun. Always shoot when the sun is facing directly onto your home to keep it bright and eliminate shadows.

 

Use a Deep Depth of Field.

A deep depth of field keeps everything in the fore-, middle, and background in focus and gives a better impression of your home. When indoors, this allows you to capture not only what is within the room but also the view of the outdoors from that room's windows. When outside, you want to have part of the yard included with the images of your home. (Extra tip: shoot the front exterior of your home from an elevated position in order to capture the landscaping within the image.) Do as the professionals do and utilize HDR imaging which allows you to layer multiple exposures.


Shoot Wide.

In order to convey the maximum amount of space within your home, shoot your images with a wide-angle lens.


Find the Best Angle.

Position yourself in a way to that allows you to capture the best image. You want spaces to appear large. Never shoot from behind furniture which will cause the room to appear cramped. Frame your photos so that three walls are captured within it. This creates space and adds balance to your photo.


Putting your best foot forward is key in listing your home for sale. At The Rullo Team, we utilize the services of a professional real estate photographer to capture your home at it's best!


For more great Home Selling Tips, turn to the Rullo Team. If you are ready to list and sell your Fox Valley home, give us a call today or visit our website at http://www.therulloteam.com/.

Sell Your Home By Acing The Open House!

by The Rullo Team

Open houses are important events to hold when you are looking to Sell your Fox Valley home. They allow a buyer to see the home in person and ask any questions that they might need answered in order to move forward with buying the home. It is important for sellers to make sure they are putting their best foot forward during the open house in order to sell their home for top dollar and quickly. If you are looking to sell your home this season, follow these tips for selling success with your open house.

1. Have buyers excited to enter your home by creating Welcoming Entrance. Such simple touches as a nice doormat and potted plants at your front door will show that you put care into your home.

2. Clutter can be distracting and can make counters seem small. Clear Counters to only the essentials in the bathroom and kitchen.

3. Buyers know that someone else currently lives in the home but they need to have the opportunity to picture themselves living in it as well. Before open houses, Put Away Personal Items such as children's artwork or family photos.

4. Allow buyers to see the potential of your home by Setting The Dining Table. Adding place settings to the table showcases the home's potential for dinner parties and other gatherings.

5. Make the buyers feel Right At Home by having light snacks and beverages for them to enjoy during the open house. Place freshly cut flowers in central spots throughout the home to add some color and fragrance.

6. Although you might want to stick around, it is a good idea to Not Be Around for the entire open house. Having the home owner present can make buyers feel less comfortable to ask their agent questions and you want to make sure that they are getting all the information they need to want to buy your home after the open house.

For more great home selling tips, The Rullo Team is here! Give us a call today or visit our website at http://www.therulloteam.com/.

Tackle These Home Maintenance Tasks This February!

by The Rullo Team

Winter Home MaintenanceWith the cold weather outside, now is the perfect time to take care of some maintenance around the house. Keep your Fox River Valley home in tip top shape the rest of this winter and all year round by completing some tasks. Here are easy tasks to complete this month and keep your family healthy and cozy in your beloved home.

1. Give Your Wood Floors Some TLC. Winter can be the toughest season on your wood floors. Heating in your home can dry out the planks, resulting in cracks and shrinkage. Salt can scratch and stain the floors. There are several simple steps you can take to resolve these issues. Add a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air. Sweep and mop the floors routinely to remove salt and buildup. Add rugs and mats in areas with a lot of foot traffic.

2. Prepare For Winter Storms. Winter will still be here for the next couple of months. That means freezing temperatures and percipitation. Keep shovels and snow fear close to the door so that you can easily access them when needed. Keep walkways cleared of snow and ice. Remove large snow piles, when the weather permits, from the roof and tree limbs to avoid costly damage.

3. Clean Your Oven. Your oven sees a lot of action. There is likely a lot of grease and grime built up. Use the self-cleaning function once a month if your oven has one. Create a paste of baking soda and water to scrub out the buildup in the oven.

4. Take Care Of Drafts. Hot air can be escaping from your home and increasing your energy bill. Pick up some door sweeps from your area home improvement store to all doors leading outside. Add weatherstripping around windows.

5. Remove Allergens. Indoor allergens increase during the winter. Keep your family healthy all season by removing these issues. Dust throughout the house, particularly blinds and ceiling fans. Be sure to vacuum all carpeted areas regularly. Add an air purifier with HEPA filter to your home to remove particles from the air. Wash your bedding in hot water weekly and cover your mattress in a zippered allergen-resistant cover.

6. Complete A Property Inspection. Brave the cold weather and complete a home inspection in the winter. This is important since major issues are more likely to take place during this season. Check the conditions of gutters, look out for frozen pipes, and inspect windows and doors. Make sure to change out the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Consider hiring a professional to complete the inspection to ensure that all potential issues are found.

 


Contine to check The Rullo Team's website for more helpful home maintanence tips throughout the year!

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