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.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT USING HOME EQUITY

One of the huge benefits of owning property is the home equity you can build. But with equity comes the temptation to dip into it if a large expense or possible investment arises. There are many strategic ways to use your equity without ruining any personal financial advances you have made. The most crucial step you need to take is to fully understand your options for tapping into that money and the associated risks.

Simply put, your home equity is the market value of your home relative to any loan balances remaining. There are two main ways to utilize this value. Getting a home equity loan provides you with a lump sum of money that you pay off in monthly installments, generally over five to 15 years. As with any loan, you will be required to pay interest on the amount, but it is usually a fixed rate. Choosing to use a line of credit instead offers similar benefits, but instead of receiving the money up front, you are given a pool you can draw from as needed. With this option, the lender provides a maximum borrowing limit and you can choose to use it or not until it is reached. 

Before dipping into your home equity in, either way, it is important to understand the possible consequences. In both instances, your home is used as loan collateral. This means if you are unable to make payments on the loan for any reason, the lender can sell your property or take your home in foreclosure. Additionally, there will likely be closing costs and fees you have to pay in association with the loan.

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

KICK MOLD TO THE CURB

Finding mold in your house is the last thing a homeowner wants to encounter. Not only is it unsightly and smells unpleasant, but it can pose a serious health threat to you and your family.

You should take steps up front to prevent molding in your home by checking gutters and downspouts to ensure water is draining away from your home’s foundation. Check under sinks and near dishwashers and clothing washers for any signs of leaking and repair immediately. Finally, don’t forget to use bathroom fans when showering to limit moisture.

After taking these steps, if you still encounter mold, don’t fear! Here are our top tips for dealing with it.

  • Take precautions. When cleaning mold found in your home, make sure to wear proper protection such as eye covers, face masks, and rubber gloves. Try to keep children and pets out of rooms where mold exists and run fans and dehumidifiers to expel moisture. 
  • Use proper cleaning solutions. The best way to remove mold really depends on the surface it has grown on. For interior walls and flooring, use a mixture of bleach, detergent, and water with a sponge or mop. For exterior walls or cement, use the mixture alongside a strong bristled brush to scrub the area.
  • Clean clothing immediately. To prevent the transfer of mold spores, place clothing worn while cleaning in a plastic bag and wash separately with hot water.
  • Consider hiring a professional. If the mold in your home is extensive, it may be beneficial to hire a professional. A good rule of thumb to follow is to call for help if affected surfaces surpass 10 square feet.

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 HOME OFFICE OF YOUR DREAMS

Whether you work full-time at home or occasionally need to conduct business in the evenings or on the weekends, a home office a great way to utilize an extra room. A dedicated workspace in your home can be designed to increase productivity and comfort. Here are 5 ideas to get you started. 

  • Invest in a good office chair. Investing in an ergonomic office chair is essential. You may be spending anywhere from 30 to 50 hours a week sitting in it, so your back will thank you. Purchasing one with multiple adjustments is ideal so it fits you just right.
  • Switch up your lighting. Fluorescent lighting has been proven to be hard on the eyes. Make the switch to LED or halogen light bulbs in your home office and try to let in as much natural light as possible. Also, consider finding a desk lamp to reduce headaches and eye strain.
  • Keep essentials in reach and organized. Nothing says productivity like a clean, neat workspace. Select a desk with a lot of storage or install creative shelving to keep items like pens, pencils, extra batteries, calculator, notepads, and more stored within arm’s reach.
  • Decorate bright. Pick a color you love and use it to spice up the room. Use cheery yellow or red or relaxing tones like green and blue, instead of beiges and browns.
  • Aim for the view. If possible, place your desk so you are facing a window instead of a blank wall. Natural light can do wonders for staying alert and you can give yourself a short mental break when necessary by looking to the outdoors.

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

STAGING STRATEGIES FOR YOUR HOME

Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your next open house or viewing!

  • Help them visualize it as their own. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple décor, such as paintings, nature images, and plants. 
  • Think sleek instead of comfy. Modern-day buyers are leaning toward modern, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset and incorporate bright colors and metal accents.
  • Deep clean the small spaces. It’s obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
  • Spruce up your landscaping. The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a freshly mowed lawn, neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway. 
  • Set the mood. A home is so much more than just the way it looks, so you need to appeal to the other senses. Prior to having potential buyers over, set the mood by burning delicious smelling candles and selecting an upbeat, happy soundtrack to play in the background.

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

HIDDEN FEES TO BE AWARE OF WHEN PURCHASING A HOME

Purchasing a home is arguably one of the biggest financial decisions you will make in your lifetime. As you start your hunt, don’t forget there will be other costs associated with your purchase then the price of the home. Here are 5 fees to keep in mind as you begin to budget.

  1. Home inspection. This is a crucial step in the home buying process. The findings that come from the inspection can help you negotiate price and repairs. Generally, you can expect to pay between $300 to $500 depending on the home and the location.
  2. Title services. Title services encompass the transfer of the title from the seller and a thorough search of the property’s records to ensure to no one will pop up with a claim to the property. Additionally, you may need to buy title insurance which will protect the lender or your investment in the home.
  3. Appraisal fee. Before getting a loan, you will likely be required to get an appraisal of the home to determine its estimated value. This will be conducted by a third-party company and the cost can land anywhere between $300 and $1,000, depending on the size of the home.
  4. HOA fees. Many communities have a homeowners’ association that enforces monthly fees. This money is used for general maintenance and updates to areas like pools, parks, and more. Typical HOA fees are around $200 per month.
  5. Taxes. The taxes each buyer pays at the closing table differ, but it is not uncommon for it to be up to two months’ worth of county and city property taxes. Additionally, there may be taxes for the transfer of the home title.

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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