Talking Real Estate

Featured Articles: Tree Triming Basics | Shopping for Antique & Vintage Furnishings | The Work Shed Trend

Tree Trimming Basics

If you’ve got dead limbs, branches growing into power lines, branches overhanging your house, or tree growth that obstruct visibility for vehicles and pedestrians, it’s time to do some tree trimming.

Home insurer says there are three basic reasons for trimming your trees. In order of importance, they are:

  1. Falling tree branches are dangerous for anyone on your property and can cause damage to your home.
  2. Tree health. Dead or diseased branches harm the tree. Pruning helps the tree develop core strength.
  3. Trimmed trees are more attractive and grow healthier fruit, flowers and leaves.

You can trim trees yourself with the proper tools, such as loppers, 12-14-and 16 foot tree pruners, hand pruners, etc., as long as you don’t need to get on a tall ladder, but trees taller than your extension pole are best left to professionals.

According to, you can expect to pay an average of $460 but up to $1,500 for professional pruning of a tall tree such as an oak or pine. Tree removal begins at $750, but make sure that any quote you receive includes stump grinding, clean up and hauling away debris. 

If you choose to trim your trees by yourself, an excellent resource is the USDA

publication How to Prune Trees. It provides a safe size guide for cutting branches no larger than four inches in diameter. Anything larger, contact an arborist. A good rule is that if you wonder whether to cut a branch, don’t.

Shopping for Antique & Vintage Furnishings

Mixing antique and vintage items with your contemporary furnishings can add elegance, character and personality to your decor. They can enhance a modern interior with an interesting eclectic vibe.

An antique must be 100 years old or older, while vintage is any item over 20 years old that’s iconic of an identifiable style like Mid-century or Craftsman. Take some time to train your eye to quality by visiting numerous outlets for specific furniture or accessories. advises that any piece with provenance in good condition can be valuable. You can get good deals on pieces that need work, but keep in mind that restoration experts such as upholsterers are expensive.

Look for craftsmanship like dovetail joints on tables and dresser drawers. Wood should have a rich patina and not appear dry, cracked or stained. Check for wobbliness, especially in chairs and tables. China, crystal, and silver should have service for at least six or eight, but you can find some missing pieces at or recommends looking at lamps for fine ceramics and other materials. Look for valuable finials such as bone, cinnabar, ivory, jade, or other rare materials. Fine linens can be found at Other places to look online for furniture and accessories include, and, among others.

Sellers expect to answer questions and provide multiple photos online, so don’t hesitate to ask. Value is relative, but you should buy only pieces that you love. You’ll have years of enjoyment.

The Work Shed Trend

Working from home during the pandemic allowed jobs to be saved, but posed challenges in terms of productivity, and performance. Now, homeowners are building or buying work sheds to get the privacy they need to work, create, and produce.

A work shed can offer physical as well as psychological distance. If you’re at home, you’re accessible, but less so if you’re not in the house. A work shed says “Don’t bother me when I’m in the shed unless it’s really important.”

A shed can be outfitted with enough electricity, storage and furnishings for homeowners to work in comfort. They can be built or purchased in any size you want, making them ideal for telecommuting, woodworking, crafting, model-building, gaming, pen-turning, or any other “ing-ing” your heart desires. And even with the most elaborate materials and finishes, a work shed costs thousands of dollars less, are less noisy, and can be made operational more quickly than adding a room onto your home.

According to, you need to know if you can build a shed, where on your property you can put it and what size you can make it. Check local building codes to get a permit to build. Check deed restrictions for easements. If you’re part of a homeowners’ association, take your building plan to the board for approval.

Take your plans to the hardware store, lumber supplier, and home improvement store where they will give you an itemized estimate for all your materials and delivery charges.