How to reduce Reduce Soil Erosion

silt fence 3 images silt fence 2 download silt fence1downloadYou can reduce soil erosion by:

Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly. Some shredded-bark products are byproducts from other industries and are considered environmentally friendly.

Maintaining a healthy, perennial plant cover.

  1. Mulching.
  2. Planting a cover crop – such as winter rye in vegetable gardens.
  3. Placing crushed stone, wood chips, and other similar materials in heavily used areas where vegetation is hard to establish and maintain.
  4. Erosion Control Blankets

Types Of Rocks To Help Stop Erosion

1) Cobblestones. 


3) Non-Absorbent Stone. 

4) Riprap. 

5) Using Retaining Walls. 

6) Anchoring Plant Beds With Boulders.

7) Creating A Rock Toe For Shorelines. 

8Rock Terraces

Silt fences are temporary barriers intended for retaining sediment and controlling erosion on construction sites. These fences are made out of synthetic filtration fabric, usually geo-textile filter fabric, woven together to create sheets of material that offer incredible strength and a good level of permeability

What is good to plant on a hillside?

Deep-rooted plants, such as prairie plants, hold their own on even the steepest slope. Ornamental grasses, ground cover roses and shrubs (including shrub roses with a sprawling growth habit) work well in hillside and slope planting. Native plants are nearly always an excellent choice.

Ornamental grasses like mondo, blue fescue, and yellow foxtail are ideal erosion fighters. These low-maintenance plants grow at moderate to fast speeds, thrive in both shade and full sun (depending on the climate), and establish strong, sprawling root systems that give soil staying power.

Biodegradable blanket contains at least 80% aspen wood fiber and helps control erosion and preserve soil. Topped with a photodegradable netting. Green color. Biodegradable anchor staples sold separately.

What can you plant on a slope to prevent erosion?

Some plants that work well on slopes include:

  • Burning Bush.
  • Fragrant Sumac.
  • Japanese Yew.
  • California Lilac.
  • Creeping Juniper.
  • Dwarf Forsythia.
  • Siberian Carpet Cypress.

Your Ultimate Carolinas Hiking Guide

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to enjoy some more time outdoors then we have the ultimate hiking guide for you. Click here to view all the best trails in the area!

* Trails vary in distance and difficulty be sure to review a trail map before heading out on your hike! Also, while many parks are open now, some of these are on a limited basis. Be sure to check park websites before visiting* 

Happy hiking!

Buyers, 4 Tips for Getting Your Offer Accepted

In my 13 years in real estate, I’ve never seen this few homes on the market. It’s a very competitive market as a buyer, so you’ll need to work with the right team to get your offer accepted. These are the four things that give your offer the best chance of succeeding:

1. Using a local lender. I live and work in Greenville. When I get an offer that comes across my table from an outside lender, it immediately raises questions. I’m not sure who the lender is, how familiar they are with state laws, and more.


2. Using a well-known lender. When I see a pre-approval lender from someone I have done business with in the past, my concerns are eased. With an unknown lender, I have to spend more time doing my research to determine the actual strength of the offer.


“Without a great team, it’s going to be hard to win.”


3. Having a robust pre-approval. A simple pre-qualification letter just isn’t enough these days. A strong-pre approval verifies your income, confirms your credit, job history, and gets a complete financial picture to show the seller and their agent that you are a serious buyer.


4. Knowing your options. The team at NextHome is a perfect example of how creative thinking can get the job done. No matter what your situation, We can make sure that you have options and your offer is as strong as it can be.


Having an experienced and dedicated team on your side is so important as a homebuyer in this market. Without one, you’re going to keep getting beat out by other offers who do work with a local lender, do have a strong pre-approval, etc.

Your Ultimate Carolinas Hiking Guide

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to enjoy some more time outdoors then we have the ultimate hiking guide for you. Click here to view all the best trails in the area!

* Trails vary in distance and difficulty be sure to review a trail map before heading out on your hike! Also, while many parks are open now, some of these are on a limited basis. Be sure to check park websites before visiting* 

Happy hiking! Hiking guide

Here’s what mortgage forbearance looked like in 2020

Year ends with 2.7 million in payment deferral plan

As the coronavirus began sweeping through the U.S. in March, many states issued shut-down orders for businesses, putting as many as 40 million people out of work by May.

On March 27, Congress passed the CARES Act to offer economic relief to those affected by the shut-downs, expanding unemployment benefits and offering mortgage forbearance to homeowners with mortgages backed or insured by the federal government, including Freddie MacFannie MaeVA and FHA.

Under the CARES Act, homeowners can ask for forbearance from their mortgage servicer and suspend payments for up to 12 months. Approximately 4.3 million homeowners have requested forbearance since the program began.

Today, 2.7 million homeowners remain in forbearance – with more than 78% of them in an extension plan, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association Forbearance and Call Volume Survey. Even now, with a vaccine now being distributed and a second stimulus check on the way, homeowners continue to take advantage of forbearance options.

In fact, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced last week that borrowers have even longer to request deferred payments after extending the deadline for initial forbearance requests for FHA-backed mortgages to Feb. 28, 2021. It’s now possible, with a six-month extension, for some FHA borrowers to be in forbearance until Feb. 2022.

Here’s how to help the next generation become homeowners

Despite what many believe, Gen Z and Millennials do want to become homeowners and they’re excited by the prospect. As an industry, if we are willing to step into that advisory role, we can be more successful in helping prospective homebuyers become homeowners.

Presented by: Fannie Mae

Here’s a month-by-month look at how mortgage forbearance unfolded this year.

March: President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, and the housing industry was instantly affected. Redfin, as just one example, announced in April it would be reducing its number of employees by approximately 7%, and companies outside of the industry began furloughing and laying off employees as well.

Crucially, on March 23 Fed Chairman Powell announced the central bank would make “unlimited” MBS purchases, pushing the average 30-year fixed mortgage down to 3.45%.

April: The overall share of mortgage loans in forbearance rose to 7.54% in the last full week of April, with bank-based servicers holding the biggest slice. By this point, 30 million Americans had filed for unemployment insurance since mid-March.

At the end of April, the average U.S. rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to an all-time low of 3.23%.

May: With millions out of work, the housing market faced its greatest challenge in over a decade. By May 31, total loans in forbearance reached 8.53% – with almost 4.3 million homeowners in forbearance plans.

But, as mortgage rates continued to drop, Realtors started reporting an uptick in activity as apartment and city dwellers sought more space.

June: The beefed-up unemployment benefits did keep forbearance rates lower than many forecasted; Instead of 20% or 30%, the forbearance rate was 8.6% of all active mortgages in June’s final week. The numbers of homeowners with loans in forbearance fell to 4.2 million.

Consumers who still had their jobs continued to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates, with home sales jumping 21% from May.

July: The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta warned in July that the danger of mortgage forbearances turning into foreclosures was rising, as case numbers of people infected with COVID-19 hit record-breaking numbers. Although these numbers appear tame now, the nation reported an at-the-time record of 54,500 new virus infections prior to the July 4 holiday.

Adding to consumers’ stress, July 30 marked the end date for the $600-a-week federal enhancement to state unemployment benefits aimed at fully replacing salaries of people who lost jobs amid the pandemic.

“The threat that forbearance will transition to foreclosure has regained power because the number of COVID-19 infections is increasing and the CARES Act unemployment insurance benefits will expire at the end of July,” Atlanta Federal economists said.

By July 26, the total number of loans in forbearance was down to 7.67% and 3.8 million homeowners were in forbearance plans.

August: The forbearance rate for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell by 9,000 in August, offsetting gains by other loan programs and leaving the overall rate at 4.7%.

An August report of accounts in financial hardship by TransUnion revealed while 53% of respondents reported making normal payments on their mortgage loans, 14% claimed they didn’t know how they were going to pay their next bill.

By August 30, the total number of loans in forbearance fell to 7.16%, and 3.6 million homeowners were in forbearance plans.

Mortgage rates landed at 2.93% at the end of the month, fueling a home-buying spree in some areas of the country.

September: The number of mortgages in active forbearance rose by 21,000 in the last week of September, according to a report by Black Knight. Nearly 7% of all mortgages in the country were in active forbearance, representing 3.6 million homeowners and $751 billion in unpaid principal.

Mortgage rates hit an all-time low by the end of the month, to 2.88%, fueling a fall origination boom.

October: The Department of Housing and Urban Development in October announced that the FHA was extending the date for consumers to ask for mortgage forbearance to Dec. 31, 2020.

By October 25, 2.9 million homeowners were in forbearance plans and 5.83% of the total number of loans were in forbearance. Mortgage rates hit 3.01% by the end of the month.

November: By November 22, 2.8 million homeowners were in forbearance plans, representing 5.54% of the total number of mortgage loans.

Mortgage rates hit a record low in November, reaching 2.72%. New and existing home sales began to cool compared to October, but were still over 20% higher than November 2019.

December: Heading in to the last week of the year, Black Knight estimates 2.8 million homeowners are in some form of forbearance, or 5.3% of all mortgages – accounting for $565 billion in unpaid principle.

Mortgage rates hit the lowest number in Freddie Mac survey history in December, dropping to 2.66%.

On Dec. 2, the FHFA extended its foreclosure moratorium for borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – though for just a one-month grace period to Jan. 31. The FHFA has not announced whether it will continue to buy loans in forbearance past the current expiration date of Dec. 31, 2020.

Ten days ahead of its latest expiration date, HUD extended the deadline for FHA forbearance requests to Feb. 28, 2021.

On Dec. 21, a second stimulus bill was signed that will provide $600 to adults making less than $75,000.

More information can be found at HousingWire’s Forbearance FAQ page.

We support Canine Companions for Independence

An assistance dog from Canine Companions for Independence opens up the world to new friends and opportunities for children with disabilities.

How to Donate?

donateYour generous donations allow Canine Companions for Independence to offer expertly-trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities at no charge to them. NextHome is proud to support this great cause and with your help, together we can fund the breeding, raising, and training of more puppies who will go on to make a difference in the lives of those who need it most. Click the link below for donations by credit card. For donations by check, please write “NextHome” in the memo line and use the check remittance form when mailing all checks. Please make checks payable to Canine Companions for Independence and mail to Canine Companions for Independence, P.O. Box 446, Santa Rosa, CA 95402.

Your Monthly Maintenance Minute

Water leaking from your toilet tank will not only cost you money when it comes to your utility bill, but it can also cause water damage to your bathroom floor and premature wear of your toilet’s internal workings. To find out whether your toilet tank is leaking, add some red food coloring to the water in the tank. Come back in about an hour and see if the water in the bowl is pink. If it is, you have a leak.


If you find that your toilet is leaking from the tank to the bowl, the flapper needs to be replaced. To change your toilet’s flapper, first shut off the water supply to your toilet. To do this, simply turn the water valve located directly behind the toilet. Remove the tank lid and flush the toilet in order to empty the tank. Use a towel or sponge to mop out any excess water left in the tank. Remove the flush chain from the lever, and then slide the old flapper up off the overflow tube. Slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube, reconnect the chain, and turn the water supply back on.

Your Monthly Maintenance Toilet



Market Recap for Dec 2020

  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Index revealed that home prices rose at the fastest rate in six years in October – rising 7.9% from last year and 1.3% month-over-month.
  • Mortgage application submissions saw a composite increase of 0.8% for the week ending 12/18. Refinance application submissions increased 4% from the week before and are up 124% year-over-year. Purchase submissions decreased 5% week-over-week but are still up 26% year-over-year.
  • Pending home sales declined for the third straight month in November, falling 2.6% from the month before. However, they are still up 16.4% year-over-year.

For the week ending 12/26, initial jobless claims dropped by nearly 20,000 due to an adjustment in the previous week’s number. Falling from 806,000, initial jobless claims dipped to 787,000. For the week ending 12/19, continuing jobless claims fell from 5.32 million to 5.22 million.

Get Familiar with your Home Insurance

If you took a set-it-and-forget-it approach to your homeowner’s insurance, consider getting reacquainted.

In addition to replacement and repairs, you need to think about what you own inside of that dwelling, about liability if someone is injured on your property, and how you’d pay for things like hotels and restaurants if you need to stay elsewhere for awhile. And of course, every insurance has its exclusions. Do you know what’s NOT covered in your policy?

Here are some things you should review, whether on an existing or new policy:

  • Replacement coverage. Stay updated on how much it would cost to rebuild–an independent insurance agent can help. Renovations can affect the value, and you need to be aware of building code requirements that might not apply to your existing place. Ask about guaranteed replacement coverage, which covers the cost regardless of spikes in labor or materials.
  • Personal property coverage. Personal property includes everything from clothing and furniture to electronics and even the food in your fridge and freezer. Take an inventory of everything you own, including photos of pricier items in particular. Check whether your policy covers the cost to buy new items or whether you’d receive actual cash value, which would take depreciation into consideration. You might also need an additional policy for expensive items like furs or jewelry.
  • Liability insurance. Most policies have a minimum coverage of $100,000 but you probably want three to five times that. Forbes recommends having enough to cover all of your assets, i.e. the house plus car and money in the bank, etc.
  • Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Loss of Use coverage. Covers the cost of hotels and restaurants if you can’t live at home.

Policy exclusions usually include things like floods, earthquakes, windstorms, nuclear hazards, etc. You’ll need separate coverage for those. Also consider home business coverage and identity theft coverage, among others.

3 Things to Consider During This Fall Homebuying Season


3 Things to Consider During This Fall Homebuying Season
Traditionally, fall has been a much quieter season for homebuying. However, that changed with the onset of the novel coronavirus. Until the virus passes, we will continue to see record-low interest rates, more virtual home tours, a high buyer demand, and limited inventory. No doubt, this fall season will look much like a repeat of the spring. If you are in the market for a home, below are a few things to consider.

  1. Be prepared to pay up: Due to the high demand for home purchases and low inventory, housing prices have skyrocketed. Couple this with record-low interest rates and you have a perfect storm for much higher-priced homes. For the fall season, expect to see multiple bids on the same houses, cash offers, and bids several thousand dollars above the asking price. If you require a mortgage, be sure to contact your loan officer and have them prepare your pre-approvals for a higher amount within your budget in case you need the leverage to compete.
  2. COVID-19 on the rise: As anticipated, the pandemic is on the rise again like during the spring buying season. The fall won’t be much different. We will continue to see a rise in virtual home tours and more technology to guide us through the mortgage processes in the same way. Additionally, the Fed will continue to add stimulus to the economy keeping interest rates low.
  3. Act quickly: Currently, with homes being sold as soon as they are listed, buyers will need a well thought out plan to snap up a home before the mad dash. Mortgage pre-approvals, down payments, cash, and credit all need to be thought out ahead of time to be prepared for action. Hiring a realtor who can help you find pre-market or private listings is another way to leverage a thin inventory market rather than searching the internet on your own.

Bottom line: The more prepared you are with a well thought out plan, the anticipation of what to expect, and good guidance from your loan officer and realtor, the better your chances to compete for a home in the current real estate market.

Source: Mortgage Market Guide