Lawn Care Do’s & Don’ts

Taking care of your lawn can feel like such a task on top of your normal day-to-day routines, especially if yours is larger than average. Unfortunately, if you don’t put enough love and care into your grass, then it will certainly show on the outside. We can’t keep up with the Joneses with a brown and patchy lawn, now can we?

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can implement each year to ensure your yard stays healthy and green. And no, it shouldn’t eat too much time out of your week to do so.

Create a Schedule for Yourself
Just as you would get an oil change in your car every 5,000 miles or change your bedsheets every week, your lawn also needs a little bit of maintenance each season to keep it pretty. Try not to get too far behind or else you will end up creating more work for yourself in the end.

  1. Spring

Bill Martin from suggests that spring time is best to test your soil and fertilize in preparation for the hot months of summer. Use a fertilizer that is three parts nitrogen, one part phosphorus, and two-part potassium. Also, don’t fertilize too often or else you risk drying out your lush grass.

“Also it is time to put out some fire ant control and other insect treatments,” Martin writes. “If you wait too long those little devils will take over a lawn….might even try a hostile takeover of your garage!”

  1. Summer

Water, water, water. Get into the habit of watering your lawn in the early morning hours. Watering during the day can cause you to waste that precious H2O due to evaporation in the hot Florida sun. If you’re able to set your sprinkler system to go off ahead of time, schedule it the night before to water the grass before or as the sun comes up.

Also, if you plan on adding any plants, be sure they’re able to withstand the heat.

  1. Fall

Although your kids and dogs may love to play in the mountainous piles of leaves in your backyard, letting the leaves stay all fall and winter long will make way for not-so-good growth the following spring. So once you and your family are done playing, just make sure you put the leaves in bags and dispose of them.

Martin adds once again that you should give your lawn some more fertilizer and do another insect treatment.

  1. Winter

You’ll like the sound of this! Martin suggests you can’t really do much when there’s snow or frost on the ground anyways, so take this time to relax from your lawn duties. Once spring rolls around again, you’ll be ready to go!

Of course, mowing your lawn is essential, especially for those who live in HOA communities. However, try to avoid mowing the grass too often or mowing it too low or else you risk drying out your healthy yard. Also, wikiHow suggests you try changing the direction you mow in every time you cut the grass.

“It will help cut down on stress to the lawn, and may also prevent divots from forming in your pattern,” the article states.

Carissa Gingras from the Briggs & Stratton Corp. tells us to “be sure to only cut off one-third of the grass’ length at a time and to cut it no shorter than three inches tall. Cutting grass too short leaves it vulnerable to insect invasion and disease.”

A few other tips from Gingras is to keep your mower blades sharpened, change the oil in your lawn mower regularly, and change the spark plug when needed.

Have a Picnic!
After your yard looks as green and luscious as you dreamt it would – take that, Joneses! – make sure you take advantage of it. Have a family picnic, play an outdoors game (football, manhunt, practicing cartwheels, etc.), put in a little tire swing, or have a barbecue. You put it in a lot of work to make your lawn look good, so take advantage of it and have a blast!


Questions? Comments? Contact your FIT rep today!

Common Title Problems: How to Stay Prepared

Your home will probably be the largest investment you ever make in your lifetime. There are so many problems that could put your property title at risk. Here at First International Title, we want you–whether you’re a homebuyer or a real estate agent–to be prepared for anything that could arise.

There are several title issues that could cause a loss of your property, whether it’s a home or a business. “Hidden Hazards” are title issues not disclosed during a thorough search and review of public records. This may cause problems. Thankfully, there is a way to protect your investment.

An owner’s title policy covers you and your heirs from financial loss caused by title issues. The title insurer will defend you against a claim made against the title of your property – all without expense to you. With the owner’s title policy, the home-buyer pays a small one-time premium at closing in exchange for enormous protection.

Look out for these common title problems:

Forgery of deeds and records

Fraudulent Impersonation of the legal landowner

Documents executed under false or expired power of attorney

Undisclosed or unknown heirs

Prior owners who did not divest themselves properly

Deeds by persons of unsound mental capacity, minors, or illegal immigrants

Deeds by persons secretly married

Adoption or birth after date of will

Surviving children omitted from a will

Deeds delivered after death of a grantor or grantee or without consent

Mistakes in recording legal documents

Deeds in lieu of foreclosure given under duress

Claims of creditors against property

Easements not discovered by surveys

Tax record and report errors

Federal condemnation without notice filing

Corporate franchise taxes or liens on corporate assets

Undisclosed divorce of spouse who represents as an heir

Liens for unpaid taxes or homeowner association dues and assessments

Unreleased liens

If you have, or suspect you have, any of these problems regarding your or your client’s property, reach out to your First International Title professional today! We can talk you through the process and give you the correct steps in order to close. An owner’s title policy can protect you against title loss.

The owner’s title policy is effective for as long as the owner or their heirs own the property. It’s a small price to pay for a big peace of mind!


Questions? Comments? Reach out to your FIT rep today!

The Best Summer Decor for 2018

Does your home need a facelift? Or have you recently bought a house and need ideas to fill in all that extra space? Are you a realtor in need of fresh ideas for client closing gifts? Well, you’re in luck! We have searched high and low for the best new decoration ideas for 2018 to make your house not only feel homey, but to make it really stand out for the rest of the year. Below are our top eight décor ideas (and the links to buy them) to give your home a classy new look.

1. The Grommet – Wooden State Art

Nobody loves Florida more than native Floridians do. Why not celebrate your pride for your home state with a beautiful framed skyline and name of your city or town. These pieces by are very well done and give a chic look to what could otherwise be known as plain.

2. A Spring or Summer floral wreath

Who says wreaths are only for Christmas time? They’re a beautiful addition to any front door, no matter what color, and really gives a fun pop of color to the front of your house! Especially if you have a white or gray door, a floral wreath will help to make your front door stand out and folks will feel like if they were to walk inside your house, you’ll have an ice cold glass of lemonade waiting for them.

3. Bar Cart

Summer is the best time for hosting, especially in Florida. The weather is warm, the nights are long, and who doesn’t love a crisp margarita on a cool summer night with friends? A new bar cart on wheels would be perfect for hosting indoors or outdoors and can hold everything you’d need for one night. The ones with wine racks underneath are especially neat and makes it your one-stop shop for hosting get-togethers. We guarantee you’ll get a ton of compliments on it the next time you have people over!

4. Anything Magnolia

If you’re like us, then you spend more time than you’d like to admit binge-watching Fixer Upper on Saturdays. So, when Joanna Gaines came out with her new line of home décor, Magnolia, we couldn’t wait how to implement her designs in our homes! These candles, for example, are unique and classic with a rustic twist that would be perfect for almost any house. Search around the website and see what works best for you!

5. Dress Up Your Fireplace

Obviously you won’t be using your fireplace for quite some time, or if you have a non-working fireplace, there are plenty of ways you can make it match perfectly with the rest of the room! A big vase of flowers (fake or real), books, cut logs, and candles are all ways you can fill in that empty space without it looking misplaced.

6. Monogrammed Sign

If you don’t have something with your name on it in your house, stop reading this and go order yourself something cute with your family’s last name. Take pride in that name of yours and cheerfully show it off in the comfort of your home! Plus, it’s another simple way to spruce up your walls, add class, and, quite literally, call it your own by putting your name on it.

7. Add Pops of Color wherever you can

Whether it’s simply a fresh vase of flowers, a glass jar filled with lemons or apples, or bright graphic artwork on the wall, a few, small details filled with summertime colors can really add character to the rooms of your house!

8. Mirrors

Mirrors have been popular for a long time but maybe you haven’t caught on yet or maybe you’ve just been putting it off. Whatever the reason, accent mirrors are a fabulous way to add character to a blank wall without too much effort. There are so many beautiful types of mirrors, it’s easy to find one that fits your personal style and color schemes. Try a mirror with a gold or blue frame to highlight summer time in your home.

We truly hope you had fun reading and found these ideas to be useful in your home or your clients’ homes! If you’ve tried any of these recently, leave a comment and let us know how it went. We would love to see how you transformed your home in the way that best matches your unique personality.



Questions or Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!