JUST MOVED IN? HERE ARE THE MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR NEW HOME

Moving into a new home is an exciting time in your life. You’re making plans for renovations and choosing furniture, but before you get too far ahead of yourself, there are some more important matters to attend to.

Staying safe: Make plans for home security and emergencies. What’s your escape route in case of a fire, or shelter in case of a severe storm? Do you have a home security system, a protective dog, or weapon available in your bedroom? Choose your “Stay Safe” tactics and make a plan for the worst-case scenarios that put your safety at risk.

A disaster kit: Even if it’s as simple an inconvenience as a power outage, you want to be ready. Stock a flashlight, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, and warm clothes/blankets that you can access in case of an emergency.

A spare (secret) key: It’s no fun getting locked out of your house—especially in cold or wet weather—and no one wants to pay a locksmith to access their own home. Hide a key somewhere outside (just be more creative than hiding it under the welcome mat). There are plenty of devices you can purchase, such as magnetic key hiders, that can help you hide your key in places that a trespasser wouldn’t consider

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

NEW HOME? HERE’S HOW TO SAVE

Here are a few things new homeowners can do to save on energy and maintenance. 

When you’ve just purchased a new home, there’s a ton on your mind. There’s moving, decorating, getting to know your new neighborhood, and more. Here are a few things that should be at the top of your to-do list, because they’ll save you a lot of money.

Check on your water heater
Set your water heater for 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is plenty hot enough for bathing, washing dishes, and any other household use of hot water, so heating water above 120 degrees is a waste of energy and money. And if your water heater is an older model, it’s worthwhile to invest in a water heater blanket to keep it insulated.

Replace air filters
Sellers often put in a lot of cosmetic work to get the home move-in ready, but they often skip or forget about air filters in the HVAC system. Filters can be found at your local hardware store (just make sure to get the right size) and are easy to replace. Doing so will improve air flow and quality, and save on energy costs.

Get a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat, such as Nest, will cost you some money up front but is well worth the long-term savings. It’s programmable so that your AC and furnace run at lower levels when you’re not home, so you’re not wasting money to cool or heat an empty house.

Set up a space to air-dry clothes
Whether it’s a rack in your laundry room or a clothesline in the back yard, air-drying clothes is a big money saver over even the most energy-efficient dryers. Air-drying your garments will also help them last much longer.

Check for leaks and running toilets
A leaky faucet or a constantly-running toilet will use up water unnecessarily, and that’ll show up on your utility bill. And in the worst case, they’ll cause expensive water damage and mold.

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 PLACES TO INSPECT IN YOUR HOME

Our homes require regular maintenance, both to protect our personal safety and to avoid costly repairs. Here are five of the most important items you should check in your home.

1. The fire extinguisher: It’s recommended that you keep at least one fire extinguisher on every floor. You should also keep one in the garage and in the basemen

2. Staircases and banisters: A loose railing or banister could spell disaster. Regularly check your stairs and the accompanying railings to make sure they’re secure.

3. Smoke detectors: Be diligent about testing your smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide detectors) and replacing batteries. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month, and batteries should be replaced at least twice a year. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when you adjust your clocks for daylight savings.

4. Electrical outlets: Outlets in kitchens and bathrooms should have a “test” button. It’s part of a system that prevents electrocution. Plug in a hair dryer, and push the “test” button—the hair dryer should turn off right away.

5. Water quality: If you’ve never tested your water for harmful contaminants, you can purchase a kit to test it yourself, or hire a professional.

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

GET YOUR PORCH READY FOR SUMMER

One of the best perks of owning your own home is having the space and privacy of your own porch. It’s the ideal place to relax and spend time with family during the summer months. Here are some suggestions for getting your porch back in shape after the winter.

Cleaning and maintenance
Start by removing the dirt and debris that has probably accumulated on the deck throughout winter and spring. Then give it a good inspection—and replace boards and nails as necessary— before using a cleaning solution to give it a thorough cleaning.

Consider your seating options
What’s the main purpose of your porch? Is it for kicking back and relaxing? Hang a hammock and you’ll have the perfect place for an afternoon nap. More interested in entertaining? Invest in some patio furniture, and assemble a bar cart that you can roll outside when you have guests. 

Decorate
Add some personality to your porch with some plants (perennials are ideal), ambient lighting, outdoor rugs, and any other decor that seems appropriate. Your porch may be exposed to the elements, but you still have plenty of options for creating a cozy and compelling space.

Kick back!
The hard work is over. Invite some company over and enjoy the season!

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 AFFECTS YOUR HOME INSURANCE?

Research suggests that about 1 in 20 homeowners will make an insurance claim each year. So while it may seem that your monthly home insurance expenses aren’t worthwhile, the chances of needing your insurance are higher than you might think. 

There’s are countless factors that influence your insurance rates, so here are few examples—some you’ve probably considered, and some that might be surprising.

Location: Some areas are simply naturally more prone to damage than others. Potential for weather and natural disaster-related damage will factor into your insurance, as will crime rates and fire protection.

Home value: This may seem like a no-brainer at first glance, but there are some extra considerations. The value of your home and the cost to replace your home from a total loss may not be the same—it can often cost more to rebuild.

Pets: Just like certain HOAs and neighborhoods forbid specific dog breeds, your insurance company may also increase your premiums for a specific breed. Breeds with reputations for being aggressive (fair or not) like pit bulls, German Shepherds, and rottweilers can cost you more.

Trampolines and swimming pools: All that fun comes at a price! Insurance companies see trampolines and pools as big risks for injury and even death, and that’ll affect your insurance rates.

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 STEPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR GARAGE

For many people the garage is the place you mindlessly store stuff just to get it out of the way, and before you know it, you’ve got a cluttered mess on your hands. Here are five steps toward organizing your garage for good.

 1. Make a plan: What do you want you garage to be? Is it a workshop, a storage space, or a nightly place to park your car? Before you roll up your sleeves and get to work, decide on a plan for your garage’s primary use, and prioritize around that goal.

 2. Be vigilant with clutter: There might be items in your garage that you haven’t touched in years—you’ve probably even forgotten they’re in there. It’s easy to justify keeping items when you’re in the moment, but look a the big picture. If you can’t remember the last time you used an item, it’s probably ready to be thrown out, recycled, donated, or sold.

 3. Make use of vertical space: Garages often have space in the ceiling where you can hang your gear or even store some boxes. Store the rarely used items—like holiday decorations—higher up and out of the way.

 4. Keep common items accessible: On the other hand, you don’t want it to be a hassle to get to the things you use often. Create a specific place for each item that is easy to reach.

 5. Stay vigilant: Now that you garage is properly organized, be more mindful of what you’re adding to it. If there’s something new that’s important, choose a specific place for it. If it’s just junk, go through the extra effort to just get rid of 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.

WHAT TO PACK IN A NATURAL DISASTER

In the event of a natural disaster, you have to be ready to flee at a moment’s notice, leaving you very little time to decide what to take. To help you prepare for an evacuation situation from a wildfire, tornado, hurricane, and more, here are 5 things to consider packing.

Special Mementos. Is there a locket handed down from generation to generation that you keep in your jewelry box? Or a sweet note from a loved one tucked away in the closet? Although you can’t take every special keepsake with you, make sure you grab the ones closest to your heart.

Important Documents. Bring identification documents for each member of your family, such as passports, birth certificates, social security cards, etc. You should also pack a copy of health insurance for each person.

Cash. Although it is rare for most people to carry cash on them these days, in the event of a natural disaster it is necessary. In most cases, there is likely to be a power outage in the area, rendering ATM machines and most registers unusable.

First Aid Kit and Medications. Create a first aid kit consisting of band aids, pain killers, gauze, cleansing towelettes, and gloves. Also, don’t forget to grab any medication your family members are required to take and the prescription script if available in case you need refills.

* Food and Water.*Pack non-perishable food items like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. Make sure to stock enough water for everyone in your family to at least have 1 gallon a day.

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

TAKING INTERIOR DESIGN ONLINE

The internet is forever evolving how we access goods and services, so why should home décor be any different? Homeowners have a plethora of resources they can look to when searching for décor inspiration online, including blogs, online magazines, and YouTube channels, but the newest fad is online interior design consultants. These online businesses employ professional interior designers and pair them with customers through their online platform. 

Focused on flexibility and affordability, the designers interact with clients through phone, instant message, video chat, or a combination of the three. They start by determining their clients’ budget, preferences, and wish list by providing a survey or questionnaire. They also request a home layout and room measurements.

As a final deliverable, the designer recommends furnishings, paint, décor, and more for each room that fits within the homeowners’ budget and providers a rending of the design. Customers then sign off on the full design or pieces of the design. They can request for the designers to purchase the items for them or receive a shopping list to do it themselves. There are a ton of interior design businesses popping up online, including the following:

  • Affordable Interior Design has packages starting at $399 for a 2-hour consult.
  • Modsy has packages starting at $179 for a total room design.
  • Decorist has packages starting at $299 for a total room design.
  • Decorilla has packages starting at $449 for a total room design.
  • Havenly has packages starting at $169 for a total room design.

Whether you need a complete home makeover or a little inspiration to revamp your bedroom, help from an online interior design consultant can be the convenient, cost-effective solution you are looking for.

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

HOT HOME TRENDS FOR 2019

With the change in seasons may come the urge for change, whether it be in your habits, activities, clothing, or in your home. If you are looking for a home refresh, look no further than the top hot home trends for 2019. Below are five of our favorites!

Biophilia. One of the largest décor trends this year center around connecting with nature by bringing the outside indoors. Natural materials such as wood and stone paired with ocean blues and various shades of greens or grays are a common theme.

Jewel Tones. Colors such as indigo, emerald green, ruby reds, and sapphire blue are making a statement this year. Whether they are used on walls or for accent pieces and furniture, these colors create a rich, luxurious atmosphere in any room.

Bold Backsplashes. Homeowners are looking to spice up their kitchens by opting for bold colors or graphic tiling for their backsplash. Additionally, there has been a lot of interest in taking the tile from countertop to ceiling, making for a nice feature wall.

Light Wood Flooring. This trend had taken a seat on the back burner for a while but is now back with a vengeance. Homeowners are leaning towards more open, spacious concepts, and light-colored floors help reflect light and create an airy, bright feel.

Painted Ceilings. People are no longer ignoring the ceiling in their home. Instead they are using it to round out the décor in each room with accent paint colors or eye-catching graphic wallpaper.


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

INTERIOR PAINT COLORS FOR 2019

As a homeowner, you may find yourself getting the itch to mix things up. There are so many options for revamping your home, ranging from remodeling to purchasing a new accent chair. However, if you aren’t quite ready to make a big investment, one of the most cost-effective, do-it-yourself options is to give your home a new coat of paint!

Once you’ve decided to jump into your new project, you’ll need to pick your colors. With so many choices out there, how will you decide? Here are a few unique recommendations for 2019 that we love!

  • Coral. This warm, lively color adds a fresh pop of color to any room and can be paired with gold accent décor, other warm colors like golden yellow, or even other tones of pink.
  • Gray-Blue. Going for a soothing feel that is still unique in nature? Gray-blue is a calming hue that is not overpowering. Try introducing navy, silver, or dark wood accents that complement the color.
  • Clay. Create a room inspired by nature by using clay-colored paint for an accent wall. Then bring in tan furniture, live plants, and natural green-colored décor to round out the room.
  • Hunter Green. Deep green tones are a popular trend because, like clay, it helps bring the outdoors in. The color is gender neutral and pairs well with various metal accents and a large spectrum of other colors, such as blues, yellows, and purples.
  • Teal. This out-of-the-box hue is a great color choice for a bathroom or bedroom. The cool tone inspires relaxation and pairs great with light brown or pink for a softer look or black or navy blue for a crisp take.

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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