Imagine your next home…

Buying a home is a big decision that involves thinking about many different needs and desires. In order to pinpoint your best options, your buyer’s representative will want to know as much as possible about your preferences.

These questions can help get your thoughts flowing_

Often, open-ended questions like this paint a clearer picture of where you want to live, as well as raising important considerations that may have been overlooked if you limit your conversations to “basics” like the number of bedrooms and baths.

Envision yourself in your new home and share your story with your buyer’s representative. It will bring you one step closer to turning your dreams into reality!

April is Garden Month

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April is Garden Month

Spring is upon us and it’s time to start planting (or planning) your garden if you haven’t already. There are so many reasons to grow your own fruits, vegetables, herbs or flowers:

  • Fresh picked fruits and veggies are packed with flavor and nutrients
  • You can grow varieties of plants you won’t find at the market
  • You can save money by starting plants from seed
  • A bountiful harvest allows you to cook, can, freeze, or share with friends and neighbors
  • It lets you spend more time outdoors with nature
  • Gardening is exercise!
  • Many studies suggest gardening is a stress reducer
  • It can add to the beauty of your landscape
  • Plants reduce carbon dioxide and give off oxygen
  • You can plant to encourage beneficial insects like bees and ladybugs

What to Plant and When

Making the right choices is key to having an abundant, thriving garden. Grow what you enjoy eating, as well as trying something new. You can start from seeds, seedlings, or established plants from the garden shop. There are some great resources online to figure out the best fruits, vegetables, and herbs for your location. The National Gardening Association can help you choose what and when to plant: just enter your zip code to access a planting calendar for your area. The Old Farmer’s Almanac also offers a great “Planting Dates Calculator,” just choose your state and go from there.

Location, Location, Location

Scope out the right location for your garden, considering the amount of sun exposure, wind/frost protection, and water source. Build or repair beds if needed, and prepare your soil. If you don’t have the perfect open space on your property for a garden, or have mostly hardscaping, consider container gardening. Barrels or planting boxes can be strategically placed on your deck, porch, or patio. Many have wheels that can be a great feature when switching out plants and moving containers as the season changes.

Healthy and Happy Plants

In addition to water, your garden needs “food,” too. Garden shops can help you choose fertilizers, minerals, and mulches to enrich your soil. If your garden is invaded by destructive pests, there are many earth-friendly ways to reduce or eliminate these problems. Bring an insect or leaf sample to your local garden shop expert for advice. If animal pests are taking more than their share, there are natural options to discourage them. Some examples include screens/netting, sound or visual disturbers, motion activated water sprayers, and even natural repellants made with hot peppers!

Protect Yourself

Be sure you’ve got a great pair of garden gloves to protect your hands. Gloves can help you avoid cuts, dirty fingernails, soil fungus, and any biting or stinging insect you might disrupt! A sun hat is important too. A hat can protect you from harmful UV rays as well

as keep you cool. Be sure it has a large brim and consider the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of the fabric. A UPF rating of 30-50 can block approximately 96-99% of UV rays. Use sunscreen to protect other areas of exposed skin from sunburn.


Get your basics together – shovels, trowels, shears/pruners, watering cans, hoses, etc. Repair or replace any that are broken. If your shears or pruners are dull, have the blades sharpened. Dull blades can damage your plants and possibly expose the frayed ends to insects or disease. Sharp blades make pruning easier and more efficient. Clean your tools after using by brushing off dirt and debris. Put them away dry to avoid rusting.

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Where do you want to live? Things to consider when looking at neighborhoods

Buying a home involves buying into an entire community. It’s important to make sure your new neighborhood suits your needs and preferences every bit as much as the house you decide to purchase. After all, most houses can be modified, but neighborhoods can’t.

Your buyer’s rep will be able to assist you in many important aspects of your purchase, like locating suitable properties, negotiating, and executing essential transaction details. Along the way, they’ll be able to help answer your questions, with the exception of certain questions concerning neighborhoods.

That’s because real estate professionals must abide by Fair Housing laws, which prohibit housing discrimination. Further, neighborhood preferences are highly subjective and personal. As a buyer, YOU need to decide if a neighborhood feels right for you. Your buyer’s reps can point you to excellent resources for background research, but it’s up to you to interpret that information.

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When investigating a neighborhood, don’t limit your research to formal resources. You can also pick up valuable insight by striking up casual conversations with various “locals,” including:

Neighbors — Want to get a better idea of who else lives on the block? Look for opportunities to catch other homeowners in their front yard…or knock on their door.

On a bus/train— If you’ll be using public transit, try taking a “test drive” that includes casual conversation with other commuters.

Stores — Grocery store clerks usually have a few minutes to chat while scanning your purchases. Small independent shop owners may have a particularly good pulse on the community.

Waiting in line — Instead of pulling out your smartphone, pose a couple friendly questions to other people waiting to order at a fast-food restaurant, in a checkout line, etc.

Restaurants — Try a few sit-down restaurants to find new favorite eating-out places while also asking your server about the area.

Coffee shops — Other patrons may be happy to take a few minutes to chat about what they like most about the community.

Schools — Talk to other parents waiting for their kids at the end of the day or chat with a crossing guard.

Library — Ask the person at the reference desk about the community. In addition to sharing his/her personal perspectives, they may be able to point you to additional valuable resources.

Information from

CARUSO’S Spring Tips for Homeowners…. 

Clean gutters and downspouts. Having your home’s gutters and downspouts cleaned (and repaired if necessary) is one of the first important tasks to schedule this season. Clogged gutters during a rainy spring can cause water to pool, potentially damaging the roof and eaves.


Boost curb appeal. Spring is a wonderful time to make upgrades to your home’s exterior, and even small changes — like putting up bold house numbers and a shiny new mailbox — can make a big impact.
Wash windows. Welcome the spring sunshine by clearing dirt and grime from windows inside and out. After cleaning the glass, take an extra moment to wipe the sill, and enjoy the views.

Check screen doors and windows for tears. Before putting up window screens and screen doors, inspect each one for holes and rips — even small tears can let in insects! If you find any holes, pick up a screen patch kit (available at most hardware stores) and easily repair them.

Clear clutter. Create more space in your home by clearing out unloved items. If you have a lot to get rid of, set a date to hold a yard sale. Or contact a local charity to schedule a pickup — most will send a truck free of charge if you’re donating large items like furniture.
Schedule cooling-system maintenance. If you have central air conditioning, be sure to schedule professional maintenance before the start of summer. A properly maintained system cools better, uses less energy and lasts longer.
Clean the garage. Can you park your car in your garage? If not (or if it’s a tight fit), it may be time to make some more space. Clear out the junk, and schedule time to take unused paint, motor oil and other hazardous items to a recycling center that accepts them. Once your garage is cleaned out, consider adding wall-mounted or ceiling mounted storage to keep things neat and off the floor.

Maintain wood decks and fences.
Keep outdoor woodwork in top shape by staining or resealing each spring. Check gates, fencing, decks, railings, pergolas and other outdoor structures, and make repairs as needed.

Fiesta De La Caruso: Engagement Party

On Saturday, April 1st the Caruso family hosted a celebration for the engagement of their son, Phillip, and soon-to-be daughter in-law Michelle. There were tables lined with Mexican themed runners, chile cans filled with bright flowers and little tea candles.

Families and friends gathered in the backyard for congratulatory toasts, a fabulous Mexican buffet catered from Blue Agave and frosty beers and margaritas from the bar.