How to Increase Your Property Value from the Outside In

As a homeowner, you know your house is not just a place to live but is also an investment that can build wealth. That process is called home appreciation, and the rate of that appreciation depends on several factors. Here are some ways to increase your property value.

Ensure You Care for the Grass and Landscaping

Maintaining a beautiful yard will increase its value as the first thing potential buyers notice is your landscaping. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you care for your lawn.

While keeping your grass cut and maintained will show you care for your property, it’s best to avoid cutting it too short. Cutting too short can cause brown patches and may expose the delicate roots to the harsh sun. You might feel that cutting the grass longer will prevent it from growing back, but it will look lush and stay healthier in the long run. Also, consider leaving the grass clippings in your yard to help add more nutrients and nitrogen to the soil.

When it comes to watering, you might feel that more is better, but that’s not always the case. You’ll want to avoid watering too frequently, as that can result in a shallower root system. Instead, turning the sprinklers on a couple of times each week can encourage the roots to stretch deep in search for water.

Fertilize the grass every year or so. The timing and kind of fertilizer used is determined by your climate and the type of grass.

Aim for the grass to grow thick so it can defend against weeds. Once there are enough leaves of grass, they can easily choke out incoming weeds. Still, if you have an issue with unwanted weeds, there could be a soil issue that makes it hard for the grass to grow well.

Finally, mulch is an excellent way of helping the soil retain its moisture, and it can reduce the number of weeds in the area. Plus, it’s inexpensive.

You’ll often see red mulch in commercial areas, but for a residential area, it’s often better to stick with black or brown mulch. Red mulch comes from recycled wood chips, meaning it will break down faster. On the other hand, black mulch often retains heat and sunlight better, making it best for cooler climates and brown mulch will likely make your plants look more vibrant and healthier.

Consider Using Flowers to Increase the Beauty of the Property

You can get plants and flowers to add a bit of color to your home. Start by focusing on your front porch so it will stand out as potential buyers drive by. Try grouping specific colors or types of plants in odd numbers which will result in adding a visual flow to the landscape. Having groups of colors lets the eye move around gently instead of causing it to jump around.

Start increasing your home’s value by improving its outside appearance. Focus on having a lush, green lawn and then adding plants and flowers to give it more life. Though there are a lot of components to achieving the lawn you desire, don’t feel you have to do it all by yourself. Consider hiring a lawn care company like TruGreen in Montana to take care of things.

Billings, MT Real Estate Home Security Tips Part II

“Security systems have come a long way in the last 20 years.”

We’re here with Part II of things you can do to prevent a burglar from entering your home. In our previous discussion, we talked about installing a peephole in your door, reinforcing locked doors, and keeping an eye out for open garage doors in your neighborhood. We have a few more tips for you from our security adviser.


In case the unthinkable does happen, the best defense for you and your family is a plan that outlines exactly what to do if an intruder breaks in. If you can, set up a safe room with a cell phone that can be used to call the authorities. If you have children, practice your plan just as you practice fire drills.


Security systems have come a long way in the last 20 years. Systems now have remote viewing access and you can adjust heat, lights, and locks from afar. The security sign itself is a strong deterrent to criminals, and most systems have a panic button that will instantly call the police.


Burglars often prowl neighborhoods looking for homes that appear as if someone has been away for an extended period of time. Set lights, music, and TVs on a timer to make it look like someone is home. Keep newspaper and mail deliveries going, but ask a neighbor to collect them so they don’t pile up on the front porch. You can even ask a trusted neighbor to park in your driveway to make it look like someone is home.

If you have any other questions on today’s topic, please give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

Tips from Our Billings, MT Real Estate Home Security Expert


Today I’d like to share some tips from our security expert in order to help you deter burglars from your home in Billings, MT. Although this situation is never completely avoidable, you can take these steps to significantly reduce the chance of this happening.


Our security expert tells us that the best thing you can do to prevent a burglary is to make your home appear occupied. There are a lot of ways to do this, and the best one may be keeping your home in good condition. If a home is well-kept, people assume that it’s occupied. This should help to keep thieves away, but here are a few more tips for you.

Installing a peephole in your door is a very basic, simple way to protect the threshold of your home. It’s also a safe way to check for any suspicious activity.

Use extra precaution when locking doors, and you may even want to think about reinforcing them with extra locks. A staggering 40% of burglaries occur through unlocked doors and windows.

Make sure to keep your garage doors closed when you’re not around, and always hide your garage door openers. You may not believe it, but people will walk right into your home if they see a garage door that’s sitting wide open.

For more tips on how you can improve your home security, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a great security expert that I can put you in touch with if you’d like to learn more, or simply stay tuned for part 2!

What is the Difference Between a Home Inspection and a Home Appraisal?

“Home inspections are visual inspections.”

Today we are talking about the differences between home inspections and home appraisals, which is a question we’ve received a lot lately. A lot of sellers have asked me about this lately, and want to know how to differentiate between the two.

A home inspector will go over the home from top to bottom to see if there are any glaring defects that need to be addressed with the property. It’s primarily a visual inspection, so they will be looking for any minor cosmetic imperfections or any defects with the property that need to be addressed.

An appraisal is used by a mortgage lender to determine the value of a property. Depending on the type of appraisal, and what type of financing it’s for, you are going to have higher requirements for property condition. However, they won’t be as thorough as a full home inspection.

 for who foots the bill, a home inspection is usually covered on behalf of the buyer to make sure nothing is wrong with the home, and the appraisal is on behalf of the lender, to make sure the amount they are lending is accurate.

If you have any questions about this topic or anything else related to real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love for you to give us a call or send us an email!

Small Improvements to Add Real Estate Value to Your Billings, MT Home

“Some minimal investments will definitely increate your home’s value”

Today we’ll discuss what home improvements add the most value for the least investment.There are a few things you can do with minimal investment that will not only increase your home’s value, but will also decrease your time on market.

Most buyers today want something that is clean and move-in ready. One cost-effective thing I recommend sellers do is to paint their house. If you need to, paint the outside of the home. Definitely paint the inside of your home, especially if there are a lot of marks on the walls or a lot of different colors. You want to neutralize your home as much as possible, and a clean, fresh look will really help it show well when people walk through.

Another little investment that helps a lot is updating your hardware throughout the house.Update the handles on your cabinets or doors. A lot of these things can be picked up very cheaply at any hardware store, and most homeowners should be able to install them on their own.

Fixing flooring, countertops, and updating appliances are slightly bigger investments that can still add some value. However, it really depends on how many of those things need to be updated, and on the price point of your house.

If you need a free in-house, no-obligation consultation, we’d be happy to discuss what you need to do in order to maximize the return on your house with minimal investment. If you’re interested in buying or selling a home, call or email us for a free consultation. We’d love to hear from you.