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.

REMEMBER TO INSPECT YOUR CEILINGS

Ceilings undergo a lot of stress—after all, they help hold up your house. Ignoring or neglecting a small problem can lead to a big problem and expensive repairs down the road, so here are a few key things to look out for with your ceilings.

Water-related issues in the bathroom: All the moisture from hot showers, baths, and splashed water can lead to damage, whether it’s mold or bubbling paint. Keep an eye out for water damage, and refer to a professional for anything that looks problematic.

Cracks: Changes in temperature cause the materials in your home to expand and contract, and that creates stress that leads to cracks. Cracks are especially problematic in newer homes, as they can be a sign of poor construction.

Paint problems: If you’re seeing a large section of peeling paint, it could be indicative of a water leak, so be sure to have it inspected immediately. Call a professional to take a look and make sure it gets fixed before there’s major water damage.




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 ITEMS THAT YOU SHOULDN’T TRASH

Most of us fall into the habit of disposing of all of our household items when they’ve broken, expired, or simply are no longer useful. But for environmental and safety reasons, here are five items that need to be disposed of with care:

1. Old batteries: Batteries contain chemicals like alkaline, zinc, cadmium, and nickel. These chemicals can be hazardous if a battery deteriorates, so take your old batteries to a hazardous waste center.

2. CFL lightbulbs: CFL bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, but they require different care once they burn out, because they contain mercury. Take them to a waste center.

3. Paint: Water-based paint is OK to be thrown in the trash. But oil-based paints can be hazardous. You could take them to a hazardous waste center, or you could donate the paint—community centers and non-profit organizations are a good start.

4. Electronics: Replacing your computer, or just getting rid of old junk? Instead of throwing your old electronics straight in the dumpster, take them to an e-waste center, or consider donating if the items are still useful.

5. Smoke detectors: Make sure to replace them every 10 years. Ionization smoke detectors actually emit a small amount of radiation, so you should mail them back to the manufacturer.

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

MAKE YOUR BATHROOM EASIER TO CLEAN

Bathrooms can be the most difficult places in our homes to keep clean. However, with a few clever changes and upgrades, it can be much easier to clean and maintain your bathroom.

No-Touch Faucets: They’re not just for public restrooms, you know. A sensor on your bathroom faucet will eliminate one of the main touchable surfaces.

Install or upgrade the exhaust fan: The fan isn’t just for reducing odors or keeping the mirrors from fogging. The better your ventilation system in the bathroom, the easier it will be to prevent mildew and mold. It’ll also prevent paint from bubbling and peeling.

Easy-Clean Toilets: Whoever designed older toilets certainly didn’t design them with cleaning in mind! Newer toilets are often designed with smoother services that make cleaning a much simpler task—no more standing on your head to reach every toilet surface.

Remove grout: Germs and grime love to build up in the spaces between tile. Instead of tile, you can cover larger surfaces with glass or stone veneer, or simply use larger tiles. That’ll reduce the overall amount of grout in your bathroom.

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

START HERE IF YOU NEED TO TACKLE SPRING/SUMMER MAINTENANCE

Winter is hard on your home. The weight of snow puts stress on your roof, and the cold expands and contracts the materials your home is made of. Now that winter weather is behind us, here’s where you should start with post-winter home maintenance.

Roof and shingles: It’s pretty common for shingles to get damaged or detach completely after a long cold winter. Thoroughly inspect your roof to ensure that shingles are in good condition and the roof is structurally sound. It may not be time to replace your roof yet, but consider how many more years it has left and start preparing a budget.

Check your gutters: The weight of heavy melting snow and debris is more than enough to make your gutters sag or loosen. Clear out all the leaves and other debris that’s collected in the gutters, and make sure they’re still securely attached at all points.

Check concrete surfaces: Fluctuating temperatures cause concrete to expand and contract. This can lead to damaged driveways, walkways, and other surfaces, and that can spell bad news for water drainage. Fill the cracks with an appropriate material, and seal your surfaces if possible.

HVAC service: Before you put your central air conditioner through a rigorous summer, clean the coils and change the filter. Better yet, bring in a professional for yearly maintenance.

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

WHAT TO AVOID BEFORE YOU BUY

If you just bought your first home, you’re probably still celebrating and feeling the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with home ownership. You’re shopping for furniture, drawing up plans for renovations … but wait! There are some important tasks to cross off your list before you get to the fun stuff.

1. *Change the locks: A lot of people came in possession of your keys during the home sale process, whether it was on the market for a year or a day. Protect yourself by changing all the locks, just in case a set of keys fell into the wrong hands.*

2. Make copies: It’s good to have copies of all your closing documents, if only for reference. But in the worst case, you’ll be thankful you have your own copies if something goes wrong.

3. Make sure you get your mail: The post office won’t deliver your mail if the mailbox doesn’t have a name, and it’ll be difficult to sign for packages if UPS can’t get to your front door. If you’re in a multi-unit building, make sure to put your name on your mailbox and verify that the buzzer or call box is working.

4. Meet your neighbors: It’s not just about being cordial. It’s good to exchange contact info with your neighbors in case there’s a problem in the building or someone is being noisy. 

 5. Prepare for emergencies: Store the contact info for insurance agents and services like plumbers and locksmiths in your phone. You don’t want to waste time searching the internet when you’re locked out on a winter night or your home suffers fire damage.

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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