EYE-CATCHING WAYS TO DECORATE WITH PLANTS

Using plants as décor is a great way to add a little color and a natural, bright feel to any room. There are endless types of plants to choose from and various ways to display each one, but here are a few of our favorite combinations.

Geometric pots. Find geometric pots or planters of various sizes and plant small succulents of different styles and colors in each one. Then group a few pots together on a window sill or shelf or use them individually to adorn a side table or center of the dining room table.

Long, hanging plants. Purchase a larger, draping plant like eucalyptus, fern, or ivy and hang it from the ceiling using a macramé plant hanger or place it on a high shelf or ladder. These plants are perfect for the corner of your living room or room with a large, plain wall that is in need of a little pop of color.

Plant corner. Have a large corner in the dining or living room and need ideas on how to fill it? Consider turning it into a small plant sanctuary. Select plants of all different sizes, heights, colors, and style and purchase either matching pots or a mix of designs. Consider the use of a stool or small table to create additional levels and strategically place each one in the corner.

Air plants. Air plants are universal and can be included in DIY wall art, hung from the ceiling or on the wall inside geometric metal prisms, or placed inside beautiful glass terrariums alongside other plants and colorful rocks or sand.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

CREATE THE GALLERY WALL OF YOUR DREAMS

Creating a gallery wall in your home is an easy, do-it-yourself way to bring your personal style into any room. There is no right or wrong way to create one and no limit to the possibilities. Before you get started, check out the following tips for creating an eye-catching gallery wall that you will love.

Find your wall. Creating a great gallery wall doesn’t require a huge area to work with. Select a nook or corner in your living room, a small stretch of hallway, or your entry area. Choose a focal piece. Find a favorite piece of art and use that as the center piece for your gallery wall. This could be a large canvas painting, family portrait, metal feature piece, or stylish mirror. Then choose pieces that complement and highlight it. Determine your theme. Is this gallery wall going to contain artwork and images of all the same texture, color, and materials? Or are you going to mix and match different prints, photographs, décor pieces, frames, and drawings? Decide on the arrangement. Gallery walls usually lean one of two ways — linear and orderly or abstract and dimensional. Select the one that matches the look you’re going for and start hanging! Tie the room together. Your gallery wall doesn’t have to end where the wall hits the flooring. Considering tying in other aspects of the room by coordinating colors and materials on pieces such as rugs, furniture, lamps, plants, bedding, decorative pillows, and more. Or, if you’ve already styled the rest of the room, use those colors to inspire the pieces in your gallery wall.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

GREAT WINE-STORAGE IDEAS

If you are a big wine connoisseur or just saving a few bottles to crack open on special occasions, it’s important to understand how best to store them safely until you’re ready to partake. Follow the guidelines below!

Temperature

To ensure each wine bottle maintains the proper flavor and aroma, storing it at the correct temperature is essential. Regardless if it is red, white, or sparkling, storing your bottles at 53°F to 57°F is most ideal. Keeping your bottles in a room where the temperature is much warmer than that may cause the flavor to become flat. Keep your wine in the dark and away from direct UV rays as much as you can to protect the wine’s flavor. 

Moisture

Controlling the humidity in the room is important if you plan to store bottles for more than a couple of years. The ideal humidity for storage is between 50 to 75 percent and anything below that could cause the corks to dry out, letting air seep into the bottle.

Positioning

Generally, it is advised to store wine bottles on their sides. This allows the wine to stay up against the cork which should aid in keeping it from drying out. However, if you don’t plan to store the wine for long or if the bottle has a screw top or plastic cork, this is not required for safe storage.

Timing

Not all wine is designed to have a long shelf life or be aged. Make sure you know what the winemaker’s intention was for that particular bottle. It is always better to open it a little early and enjoy it! 

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOME WARRANTY & HOME INSURANCE

When purchasing a new home, it’s important to do in-depth research on all facets of the homebuying process. One thing you’ll need to understand is how to best protect yourself and your investment if anything were to go wrong. Check out the information on home insurance versus home warranty below to educate yourself on your options.

Home Insurance

Homeowners insurance pays for any accidental damages and loss that are caused by fire, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail, however, damage from earthquakes and floods is typically not covered. It also covers the replacement of personal property in case of theft or damage and liability if a person were to get injured in your home or on your property. According to American Home Shield, the average annual cost of a homeowner’s insurance policy ranges between $300 and $1,000 and the bank usually asks you to obtain a policy before the mortgage is issued. Make sure to keep in mind that each type of coverage in the policy is subject to a limit and, in most cases, you will have to pay a deductible. 

Home Warranty 

A home warranty is designed to cover the cost of repairs and replacements of larger appliances and crucial systems in your home that may fail or break due to age and wear and tear. This includes but isn’t limited to HVAC, electrical, or plumbing components, kitchen appliances, and your washer and dryer. With a home warranty, you are required to pay premiums year-round, even if you do not use it, and it won’t cover damages if appliances were not maintained properly or if the damage is from a fire or other disaster.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

PREP YOUR PETS FOR THE BIG MOVE

Your moving day is set and it’s time to start preparing. As you’re making your lists and checking them twice, don’t forget to factor in your furry friends. Here are some tips for making sure the process goes smoothly.

Medical records. When moving to a different city or state, one of the main things you need to take into consideration is finding a new veterinarian that is the right fit for you and your pet. If you have family or friends in the area ask for recommendations or do your own research by reading reviews and news articles. Once you find one, contact your current vet to initiate a transfer of medical records. Then schedule a “get to know you” appointment shortly after your move. Transportation. Whether it’s a short drive or a long plane ride, you pet will likely need to be put into a carrier. For most pets, this is a foreign concept and they require time to get comfortable with it. Start acclimating your pet as early as possible and use comfort items like treats and favorite toys and blankets to make the experience a positive one for your pet. Acclimation. Pad your moving schedule with ample time to get your dog or cat acclimated to their new home. While the movers are still hard at work, keep them safely away from foot traffic to reduce stress. Once they’ve left, make sure to clear anything that could be dangerous and block off areas as necessary then let them free to get a lay of the land on their own.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

TOP TIPS FOR DECORATING WITH AREA RUGS

Looking for a fun way to bring an additional pop of color or design to a room with minimal time or money investment? Consider trying out an amazing area rug! Check out these tips for revamping your space with this fun decor piece.

Consider your lifestyle. Do you have two dogs and a cat? A couple of young kiddos running around? You’ll want to take these factors into consideration. Choose a dark color tone to help hid inevitable stains and make sure the material you choose is easy to clean.

Choose the right size. Expert interior designers recommend choosing a rug that is just slightly smaller than the area covered by furniture, leaving enough space between it and the walls for the flooring to still shine through. 

Try these trends. Big bold patterns and rich colors are trending in the interior design space right now and rugs are no different. Try using one as the focal point of the room and select neutral-colored furniture to complement it. Build around the rug. Find a rug that makes a big statement and then builds the room around it. Select furniture placement, accent pieces, and colors based on what ties into it. Define the area.

Looking for a way to create two different areas within a single room? Rugs can help you achieve this by defining where one area begins and other starts, such as a reading nook and dining area. Layer multiple. This daring new trend has just popped up on the interior design circuit. Choose two rugs of different shapes and textures and layer them to create depth and a unique focal point.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

TOWNHOUSE VS. CONDO: WHICH SHOULD YOU BUY?

Whether it’s your first time buying or you just want to purchase something smaller, townhouses and condos are both great options. Check out the differences between the two to help aid you in your search!

Condominiums

Condominiums are similar to apartments in that you purchase an individual unit inside of a larger building, but not the property it sits on. This generally includes access to the building’s amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, and gym. However, condo owners are not responsible for the upkeep and repair of these common areas. Because of the number of shared spaces, living in a condo often allows for meeting new people and building a strong sense of community. There is a fairly similar vetting process for loan approval as for a full-sized home; however, the lender will also look at the health of the condo association.

Townhouses

Those who purchase a townhome are generally purchasing the complete unit, both inside and out, including the land it sits on. This might also include the driveway, yard, or roof. Traditionally, these units are two- or three-stories tall and may also include common areas like pools and parks. Townhome owners pay a fee to a homeowners association every month and the loan process is the same as buying a full-sized home.

Which is the best choice?

Both townhomes and condos offer less maintenance than a traditional home and generally offer great shared areas. Your decision ultimately comes down to you and your family’s needs and wants. Things you’ll want to take into consideration include location, lifestyle, family growth, and price.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

PREPPING TO BUY YOUR FIRST HOME

One of the biggest milestones you will reach in your life will be deciding to become a homeowner. But before you take the leap, make sure you set yourself up for easy transaction and a good homebuying experience. Check out the tips below to ensure it!

Do your research and find a good agent. Familiarizing yourself with the home buying process before beginning your house hunt and finding a knowledgeable, experienced agent to represent you can make all the difference in securing your dream house and paying the best price for it. Pay off other debts. Before you take on such a big, expensive purchase like buying a home, dedicate yourself to paying off your student loans, car loans, and credit card debt. Not only will this allow you to live more comfortably while you’re in your new home but it will allow you to be a better candidate for a home loan. Save for the down payment. The majority of home buyers don’t pay in cash for their home, but the more you are able to put down, the better financial position you will be in. Create a budget early on, stick to it, and start saving well before you start seriously looking for your home. This will also help you determine the price range to search in. Be patient. If this is your first home purchase, the process can feel intimidating and overwhelming and you may feel like you’ll never find a home that meets your wish list and is in your price range. But don’t lose hope. Stay patient and trust the process and your agent.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

PRODUCE STORAGE MISTAKES

Everyone wants to make the most of their food and not let anything go to waste. However, there are some important things to keep in mind when you’re storing certain foods. Follow these basic guidelines to avoid food going bad too soon.

Half-used onions and garlic should be stored on their own. These, and other produce with strong odors/flavors, can affect nearby food and transfer some of the taste. You don’t want any onion flavor when you’re biting into fresh fruit, so keep these items separate.

Don’t put potatoes in the refrigerator. Refrigerating potatoes speeds up the rate at which they convert from starch to sugar. Instead, store them in a cool, dark place, like a cupboard or drawer. They should last last several weeks.

Store tomatoes on the counter. The best way to keep tomatoes fresh is out in the open, such as on a countertop. They’ll quickly become mealy and lose their flavor when they’re stored in the refrigerator.

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

FIVE FALL MAINTENANCE TIPS

These simple maintenance tasks can save you from expensive repairs and big headaches over the next few months.

 1. Take care of hoses and faucets: Disconnect your hoses before the freezing temperatures arrive, because they can cause water to back up in your faucets—and eventually cause the plumbing to crack. Then, if possible, shut off the valves for your exterior faucets.

 2. Winterize the lawn mower: Either run the mower dry, or use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the gas in your mower from degrading and damaging the engine.

 3. Clean the gutters: Twigs and leaves will build up in your gutters throughout the fall. Make sure to clean the gutters before there’s heavy snow, because the weight of both the leaves and the melting snow could cause the gutters to break away from the house. 

 4. Get the furnace ready: Your best bet is to call in a professional to give the furnace a tune up, but at the very least you should change the filters.

 5. Inspect the roof: As snow accumulates and melts from your roof, it can cause major water damage if the roof isn’t in good shape. Look for loose shingles, rust, moss—anything that could lead to decay or water damage. It’s best to be proactive with your roof—repairs can be extremely expensive—so don’t hesitate to call a roofing professional if necessary. It’s worth it in the long run!

Texas law requires all real estate license holders to provide the Information About Brokerage Services to all prospective clients. TREC’s Consumer Protection Notice.

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