Dave Tedoni | St. Louis Real Estate, Maryland Heights Real Estate, Ballwin Real Estate


There are few things more frustrating than finding out that the plants you’ve been tending to all summer have been overrun with insects and aren’t producing any fruit. Perhaps even worse is when you find a trail leading into your pantry where your food has been compromised by a tiny army of ants.

Keeping the pests out of your home and garden is a difficult task made even harder if you want to do it without using harsh chemicals and pesticides. However, there are ways you can effectively keep your food safe. In this article, we’ll show you how.

Protecting your garden from pests

The most important tool you have at your disposal when it comes to protecting your lawn, flowers, and garden from pests is your own vigilance.

In the garden, take note of the condition of your plants’ leaves. Look on the underside of them for small, yellow or brown dots. These are often insect eggs that will soon hatch and result in your plants being devoured before they can produce crops.

As a last-ditch effort to keep the bugs away, you can try spraying your plants with a homemade insecticidal soap spray. These sprays are usually 95% water and then a small amount of  pure castile soap or vinegar. Be sure not to use too much or this can harm your plants or soil.

Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, or in the country, there are likely to be some furry creatures who see your garden as a food source. One way to keep many away is by framing the garden with a simple metal wire fence.

If it’s flowers you’re worried about, try planting them in mulch and keeping the leaves dry when possible. This will avoid excess moisture which can cause plant-killing diseases. Using a watering can rather than a hose will help you target the base of the plant and keep the leaves dry.

Keeping the bugs outside

Regardless out whether your home is old or new, you’ll likely someday find yourself with an insect problem. Some are lured in by warmth in the cold seasons, others are seeking a food source.

Let’s begin on the exterior of your home. Check for cracks in your foundation and along doors and windows and seal these cracks up. Next, if there’s a space under your door, install an aluminum door threshold if there is a gap between your door and the floor. While you’re there, make sure the weather stripping on your door is in good condition.

Next, make sure all of the screens in your doors, windows, and other ventilation areas are in good condition. Even the tiniest tear can be enough to let in flies and other insects. 

The final step in keeping the bugs out of your home is to remove what’s luring them there in the first place. Store your food in airtight storage containers within your cabinets. Not only will this keep bugs away, but it can also make organizing food easier, especially things you might not use often, like flour or a large bag of sugar.


Your credit score is a fundamental component of a mortgage lender’s decision to approve you for a loan. It can also affect the interest rate and loan amount you can secure.

Along with your income history and down payment, a solid credit score is one of the three most important things you’ll need when it comes to buying a home.

Credit scores themselves, however, can be a complicated business. And finding out what score you need to buy a home and how to achieve that score can also be a complex topic.

So, in this post we’re going to break down some credit score basics as they relate to buying a home.

Types of credit scores

You may have heard of the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each of these bureaus keeps a detailed credit history for everyone in America (except for those who have yet to open a line of credit or take out a loan).

Since each credit bureau may have slightly different information available data to draw from, your credit scores from each company may vary.

However, when it comes to buying a home, most lenders use a standard scoring model called a FICO score to ensure that all mortgage applicants are treated fairly when they seek a loan.

Things are further complicated by the fact that there are several different FICO scoring models designed for different types of credit. So, if you’ve seen your FICO score when applying for an auto loan, it may be a different score than you will see when applying for a mortgage.

Build credit; raise your credit score

All of the types of credit scores and scoring models can be confusing. But what you mostly need to worry about is how to boost your score.

Your credit score will be based on five main factors:

  1. Making on-time payments

  2. The percentage of available credit (not maxing out your cards)

  3. Having diverse types of credit (auto loans, student loans, credit cards, etc.)

  4. Not opening new lines of credit frequently (a red flag that you’re struggling financially)

  5. The length of your credit history, or how long you’ve been consistently paying your bills

What score do you need to buy a home?

There are several different mortgage types available for buyers. First-time homeowners, veterans, people seeking to buy a home in a rural area, and any other number of circumstances can help you qualify for mortgages even if you have a low credit score.

A general rule, however, is that it’s always better to apply for a mortgage with a high credit score to help you secure the best possible interest rate. 

Some programs do have minimum credit scores that they will accept for a mortgage. FHA loans are one common example. The Federal Housing Authority guarantees loans for people across the country who are hoping to buy their first home (or who haven’t owned a home in the last three years). Their guarantee is what enables lenders to safely approve mortgages for borrowers with low credit scores. The current requirement for an FHA loan is a credit score of 580 or higher for a mortgage with a 3.5% down payment. You can secure an FHA loan with a lower credit score, but you’ll have to make a larger down payment.


There are several other options available for hopeful homeowners when it comes to mortgages. But, if you aren’t planning on moving in the next few months and your credit score could use some work, now is the time to start focusing on building credit.


As a homebuyer, it may be beneficial to establish goals. Because once you know what you want to accomplish during the homebuying journey, you can take the necessary steps to achieve your homebuying aspirations.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you develop homebuying goals.

1. Your Dream Home

Define your dream house – you will be glad you did. If you know what you want to find in your ideal residence, you can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

Generally, it helps to make a list of house must-haves before you launch a home search. This list should include any features you require from a residence, along with your preferred cities and towns.

If you need a home that provides convenient access to your office in the city, for example, owning a house in or near the city itself is a must. Or, if you require a home that offers ample space for you and your kids, you can search for residences that provide multiple bedrooms and play areas.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

When it comes to buying a house, it is beneficial to get your finances in order. That way, you can hone your home search to residences that fall within your price range.

Meeting with banks and credit unions allows you to learn about a broad assortment of mortgage options. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of home financing. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Consider how long it will take you to find and purchase a home that matches your expectations. If you establish a homebuying timeline, you may be better equipped than ever before to optimize your time and resources as you search for your dream residence.

Of course, it helps to maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. And if you encounter challenges during the homebuying journey, you can adjust your timeline as needed.

For those who plan to pursue a home, it may be helpful to hire a real estate agent, too. If you employ a real estate agent, you can get the support you need to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.

A real estate agent is happy to help you explore a variety of homes in your preferred cities and towns. If you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. Plus, if your offer to purchase is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you along the final stages of the homebuying journey.

As you prepare to conduct a home search, you may want to develop goals. If you begin a home search with a plan, you could streamline the process of finding and purchasing your ideal residence. Best of all, you may be able to acquire a first-rate house that will serve you well for an extended period of time.


If your decor is feeling blah and drab after updating to a new home and bringing all of your old furniture with you don’t start hauling it to the dump just yet! You don’t have to toss everything out and start over to get a fresh new look.

Instead, incorporating a new trend or two can instantly change the look and feel of any room.

Here are the current top trends according to Pinterest:

Spa bathroom - Creating a spa-like atmosphere is at the top of everyone’s wish list, or so it seems. Items like cedarwood bath “mats”, rebottling products into beautiful bottles, and hanging eucalyptus and lavender are being pinned like crazy. Classics like wicker baskets, rolling up towels for display and bathtub caddies are still making their rounds. These are a great way to mix timeless elements with trending ones for a bathroom look that transcends time or at least not for the next year or two.

Sage - The color sage has won its standing in the neutral category. Use this shade to add tints of color to an otherwise neutral to the point of a sterile room. Kitchen cabinets, bathroom walls, living room walls are all popular canvases for this popular shade. Keep the trend modern by pairing it up with light pinks, taupes, creams, and denim blues. If you aren’t ready to commit to a paint color bring it in with accents via throw pillows, jars, and even the plant itself!

Big wall art - Big wall art is in and in a big way. Quickly replacing gallery walls canvases that stretch from floor to ceiling or a good  ⅔ of the wall big art is taking over Pinner’s boards by storm. Abstract pieces primarily in black and white seem to be the most popular when placed against a wall painted with a pop of color. However, don’t let this stop you from reach for a piece you love that is full of color! The key to this look is to avoid generic prints. If you’d like to make it personal blow up a more artistic shot from your wedding or have the kiddos make you a custom piece for a craft project.

Patterned plants - Greenery that comes in stripes, spots and varying shades are cropping up on Pinner’s boards everywhere. Plants bring life and freshness to a room so why not also make them pull their weight be adding visual interest to boot? Popular varieties are prayer plants, calathea, snake plants, philodendron, and pothos. Mix and match varieties to make a true statement.  

Colorful doors - Goodbye boring white doors! Colors like school bus yellow, blush pink, bright and cobalt blue are popping up on Pinterest boards everywhere. Go bold with yellow. Create a welcoming sanctuary with lavender. Create a home, sweet home with blush pink. And welcome guests with open arms with cobalt blue.


It’s a good financial practice to check your credit report and score periodically. You want to be sure that no one has stolen your identity and that all the information on the report is correct. It may sound simple to check your credit, but there are so many sources that you can get it from and so many options that it can be a dizzying process. Read on to learn more about the basics of checking your credit and credit score. 


Your Credit Score Comes From Different Sources


You can check your credit score from one source and find that the score varies from place to place. Why? There are a few different scoring models that are used to calculate scores. There could be as much as a 50 point difference between sites. There are also three credit reporting agencies. Each one uses a different method to calculate credit scores. Each method provides lenders with different information to allow them a picture of what type of borrower you will be. 


Checking Your Score


Many different apps allow you to check your credit score. These enable users not only to see their scores but to see what can be done to improve the user’s credit report and score. You can’t see your credit report on these apps, but you can always head to annualcreditreport.com to check the full scope of your report. This is the only official site to pull your credit report fro the credit bureaus.  Finding the right app to check your credit score is simple, it only takes a few minutes to sign up. 


How Are Credit Scores Calculated?


Your credit score is calculated using a few different factors. Each credit bureau uses the formula a bit differently. Scores range from 300- 850. It’s pretty rare to see perfect credit at 850. Anything over 700 is considered “good” or excellent” credit. You need at least a score of 600 to obtain loans in most cases. The higher your score, the better the interest rate will be.     



When Is The Best Time To Check The Score?


Before you apply for any large loan, it’s a good idea to check your credit rating. Taking a peek will allow you to see where you stand. You don’t want  to apply for a loan and end up being surprised by problems with your credit. Many apps allow you to check your score on a monthly basis. It’s easy to stay on top of your credit score and especially important to know where you stand when you buy a home.