5 Easy Ways to Create Beauty and Value

Spring is a great time to amp up your home’s curb appeal. Set aside a sunny Saturday and use these five easy, cost-effective ideas to jump-start your efforts. P.S. Once the neighbors see the fruits of your labors, don’t be surprised if they start spiffing up their own homes!

Freshen up your front door

Whether you live in a mid-century bungalow or a classic Colonial, a freshly painted front door is an easy way to add instant impact. Can’t decide between cherry red and lemon yellow? Search “painted front door” on Pinterest to find images, inspiration, and even instructions. If your door is badly fitting or damaged, consider replacing it with a new door. According to the National Association of Realtors, a new exterior door often pays for itself with reduced energy costs and increased home value.

Go by the numbers

It’s not just mail carriers who care about house numbers. Well-designed, well-placed house numbers show that you care about the details. Drive by your house in daylight and again at nighttime to see whether your house numbers are easily visible. If they’re hard to see, consider moving the numbers to a different spot, illuminating them with sconces or uplighting, or replacing them with contemporary or traditional numbers that reflect the architectural style of your home. Etsy is a great place to find antique and vintage numbers reclaimed from old houses, as well as custom house numbers that deliver big design impact for a relatively small cost.

Plant your pots

Classical urns and colorful glazed pots filled with flowers, herbs, and trailing vines can instantly make a house worth Instagramming. Take a tip from professional landscape designers and choose generously scaled pots and a mix of tall and low plants to make a sophisticated design statement. To keep the pots from becoming too heavy, fill the bottom third of your pots with pinecones in mesh bags before filling with dirt and plants. Add a layer of mulch, water frequently, and prune faded blooms every week to keep your pots looking their best.

Go green

Especially in northern states where spring and summer are in short supply, a vibrant green lawn and gardens filled with flowers and vegetables deliver immeasurable curb appeal. To create a healthy, abundant landscape while being mindful of the environment, start by understanding your soil. For $17, the Soil Testing Laboratory at the University of Minnesota will give you the dirt on your dirt. By understanding your soil pH, nitrate, potassium, and phosphorus levels, you can select the right fertilizers and other products to ensure lush grass, beautiful flowering pots, and other plantings.

Polish your front porch

If those cobwebs have been hanging around since Halloween, use a broom, Shop-Vac®, or power washer to give your porch (and your outdoor furniture) a thorough spring-cleaning. Lightly sand the porch floor and ceiling, and finish with several coats of weather-resistant stain or paint. For a welcoming, summery look, paint the celling bright white or sky blue and add stylish, cabana-style curtains made of Sunbrella® fabric. Mix up a pitcher of mojitos, garnish with fresh mint from your newly planted pots, and invite the neighbors over for a porch party!

Britt Peltola

Britt Peltola

Marketing Director

A Look Ahead to 2019

A review of 2018 and a look ahead to 2019 may look a little frightening from a financial perspective, however,…

Seasonal Migration; Not Just for The Birds

As the weather takes a turn for the worse, the thought of getting away to a warmer climate becomes more appealing. The term “snowbird” is often used to describe those who migrate from colder climates to sunny locations for extended periods each year. Becoming a snowbird and owning a home in another state can provide more than just a respite from the cold. Read on for more about the benefits of being a snowbird.

Fall Décor Trends

When the seasons start to change it is fun to be able to update our surroundings with new and exciting décor. Read on for Etsy’s six fall home décor trends:

Learn to Love Your Space Again for Free

Making changes to your decor can get expensive, but leaving things the same can make you long for an update. Before you throw in the (old) towel, read on for tricks to redecorate your space for free.

Paths to Becoming a First-Time Homebuyer

Owning a home has traditionally been part of the “American Dream”, but in today’s financial climate some Americans doubt they can afford the dream. The good news is that there are many programs available today to assist first-time homebuyers in obtaining a mortgage. Here are more details about the programs and options available.

Planning The Perfect Picnic

The time for long days spent in the sun and nights by the fire has arrived. Take full advantage of your time outdoors by planning a picnic for your next outing. Here are some tips to help you plan.

Why A Preapproval Is Key to Your Home Buying Success

Home values are rising. Inventory is low. If you are looking to purchase a home right now, these factors can heavily influence your search. Having a preapproval for your mortgage used to be a nice thing to have; today it is essential and here’s why.

Liven Up Your Space with an Indoor Garden

While the calendar may say it is spring outside, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. If you are getting tired of the winter blahs it may be time to spruce up your space with an indoor garden. Read on for tips to green up your digs.

Tips to Get Ready for Entertaining

As the holiday season approaches, there are many opportunities to entertain friends and family. Getting prepared for all of these events doesn’t have to take all of your time and energy. Here are some quick tips to ensure you can enjoy your gatherings.

Should I Buy an Investment Property?

Owning and investing in real estate has the ability to provide many short- and long-term financial benefits. In fact, we often hear about some of the world’s wealthiest people being involved in real estate investing. Before deciding to purchase your first investment property, make sure it is right for you by doing your research and being prepared. Read the tips below for getting started with investment properties.

Organize Your Closet Like a Pro: 10 Tips to Elevate Your Style Storage

Not surprisingly, celebrities often enlist the help of professional closet organizers to help keep their massive wardrobes in check. In fact, Kim Kardashian got her start as a closet organizer for many celebrities in the early 2000s. Below are tips from professionals that you can use in your own closet to keep things in order.

10 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent

When making the decision to sell your home or purchase a new one, it is important that you are comfortable working with the real estate agent you choose. The sale and purchase of a home are large transactions and you want to be sure that you are finding the right fit, not just the easiest or first person you meet.

Buying Vs. Renting: Why Now Is a Great Time to Become a Homeowner

The choice between buying a home and renting is among the biggest financial decisions many people will make. Homeownership has long been touted as the American Dream, but you may wonder if you are ready to make that dream a reality. Read on to learn why now is a great time to make the jump from renting into homeownership.

Ready for a Retreat? Tips for Purchasing a Second Home

When summer finally hits and you start to dream of getting away on the weekends, it might be time to start looking at purchasing a second home. There are many reasons to purchase a second home and only some of them are financial, however, those reasons should not be overlooked.

Designing Your Home to Sell

When looking to get the most out of your home sale, the topic of staging may have come up. By highlighting your home’s strengths and downplaying its weaknesses, you can help yourself attract the most potential buyers.  Here are some tips to help you stage your home like the pros: 

How to Host the Perfect Summer BBQ

Summer in the Midwest means time outside. On these beautiful summer days there is nothing better than a BBQ to bring friends and family together. Here are some tips on how to host the perfect summer BBQ.

Building Your Dream Home

Many people dream of being able to design and build their dream homes to their exact specifications. Building a new home can be a dream come true, but it can also have its challenges. Read on for more information about building your dream home and construction loans.

2017 Mortgage Forecast

As 2016 draws to a close, we’re grateful for the strong housing market, which has enabled us to help hundreds of individuals and families invest in real estate, purchase new homes and vacation homes, and reduce their interest rates. As we look ahead to 2017, we anticipate the local housing market will remain strong.

Color Your World: How to Pick the Perfect Paint

With the holidays just around the corner, October is a perfect time to give your rooms a fresh coat of paint in a fabulous new color. But, unless you’re a design professional, it can be challenging to pick the perfect palette with confidence. Here are some tips for getting it right the first time.

Countdown to a New Home

Thinking of buying a new home? The experts at Cambria® Mortgage™ can help you streamline the process, make the right decisions, and enjoy a smooth, stress-free experience.

5 Common Mortgage Myths: Get the Truth from Cambria Mortgage

The idea of getting a home mortgage loan can be daunting, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. The good news is that many long-held beliefs about mortgages are no longer true. Here, the experts at Cambria Mortgage explain some of the most common misconceptions.

Staging Your Home: 5 Tips for Success

With robust buyer demand and a limited supply of homes for sale, homes in this area of the country are generally selling faster than last year, with prices close to—and often greater than—their asking prices. To maximize this opportunity, consider staging your home.

Vacation Homes: How to Buy a Piece of Paradise

Do you find yourself returning to the same pristine lake every summer, wishing you owned your own piece of paradise? If so, it might be time to listen to your heart and consider buying a cabin or other vacation home. We asked Matt Helling, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Cambria Mortgage, for his advice and insights.

5 Classic Home Styles and How to Spot Them

There’s just something special about a traditional home. Crafted of timeless brick, stucco, masonry, and wood, these charming houses are filled with warmth and character. If you’re in the market for a classic home, here’s how to spot five beloved home styles.

5 Tips to Enhance Your Home’s Security

According to the FBI, a home burglary occurs somewhere in the United States every 15 seconds, with the majority of residential break-ins happening in daylight while homeowners are away from their houses or condos. When it comes to home security, billionaire investor Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., has some sage advice.

Blue Skies for Homeowners: What to Expect in 2016

If your list of New Year’s resolutions includes refinancing your existing mortgage or buying a new home, now’s a great time to get started. “We’re very optimistic about the economic outlook for 2016,” says Matt Helling, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Cambria Mortgage. "With historically low mortgage interest rates, attractive programs, and a loosening of credit guidelines, 2016 looks to be a strong year for homeowners."

Ready. Set. Entertain! Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

As much as we look forward to the holidays, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can often feel like an endless round of decorating, cooking, and entertaining. To reduce stress and prevent holiday burnout, use these tips to make this season easy, enjoyable, and memorable.

Remodeling ROI: How to get the biggest bang for your renovation buck

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling your home, you’ve probably realized that it’s both an emotional and financial decision. For example, if you love to cook, a new kitchen with a chef-grade stove may bring you countless hours of joy and entertainment. But if you might be selling your home within the next few years, you also want to know the kitchen will pay for itself when the “For Sale” sign goes up in your front yard. Here are some tips to help you get the biggest bang for your renovation buck.

Get the Low-Down on Down Payments

A happy family that chose a home loan that best suits their needs and budget. Whether you’re considering building a brand-new home, rehabbing a mid-century treasure, or buying a historic downtown loft, you’ve probably realized there are two key things to consider—what you can afford as a monthly mortgage payment, and what you can afford to “put down” on your home as a down payment.

It’s Home Tour Season!

As home design enthusiasts know, summer is an exceptionally exciting time, because it’s when home tours are in full swing. Starting in June with the Artisan Home Tour and the Luxury Home Tour, home tour season offers an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the endlessly inspiring world of architecture, construction, and design.

There’s No Place Like Home

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy clicks her heels three times, chanting, “There’s no place like home,” she’s not thinking of a rental apartment. While we appreciate rentals, especially in the form of beachfront summer cottages, Tuscan villas, and Tribeca lofts, we have a special affinity for the word home. No matter where we grew up, home has a feeling of permanence, and a sense of comfort and peace in our busy world.