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February
14

5 Things to Do When Visiting a City You Might Move to

Move to Georgetown

Moving to a new city can be so exciting. But before you make it official, accept a job, and start looking for a place to live, you want to make sure this new city is a place you'll feel at home. Our real estate agents have worked with countless clients who are relocating, and they've learned a lot from these experiences. Below, they share some top things to do when visiting a city you might make your home. 

  • Stay in a neighborhood you'd like to live in.
    When visiting a city you're thinking about moving to, try to stay in a neighborhood where you'd like to live. Services like Airbnb make this easier. If possible, try to stay for at least three nights so you can get a true feel for the neighborhood, its personality, and its culture.

    Throughout your stay, try to pretend you actually live there. Go grocery shopping. Go to the gym. Go for a jog in the nearby park. You want to get a feel for what your normal, daily routine would be like if you moved.

  • Participate in your hobbies.
    Do you have a hobby you love, such as playing golf, hiking, birdwatching, or creating art? Before your visit, do some research, and find clubs and groups related to your hobby. Or, find the key places where locals engage with your hobby. Then, when you're in the new city, participate in your hobby. Hike the local trails, or book some studio time at a local art school. 

    If you find the local scene around your hobby engaging and enjoyable, this is a good sign you'll feel at home once you move there.

  • Walk around and explore.
    Set aside at least one afternoon to walk around the city and just explore. Perhaps you can start by looking at a few Georgetown homes for sale and then branch out from there. Discover what streets have the best coffee shops. Stop by parks that you pass on your way. 

    When walking around and exploring a city on foot, you get to take your time and really process what the place has to offer and the overall vibe it gives off. Either you'll be excited to see more, which is a sign you should move there — or you'll be itching to get back home, which means this isn't the place for you.

  • Research the cost of living.
    While you're visiting, pay attention to the cost of items and services. Do groceries cost more or less than they do in your current city? How does the cost of real estate compare?

    This research can tell you how much you need to earn in order to live comfortably in this new place. Allow it to guide your salary negotiations as you interview for new jobs. 

  • Talk to the locals.
    As you visit coffee shops, bars, and even local parks, don't be afraid to strike up conversations with people you meet. Ask them how they like living in the city. Ask what their favorite and least favorite things about the city are. Why did they move there? Do they recommend others move there, too? What advice do they have for a potential newcomer?

    Also, pay attention to how friendly the locals are. You probably want to move to a city where people are warm and welcoming, right?

Contact us if you've decided to move and are looking for the perfect home. 

December
6

December Home Maintenance Tips

December Home Maintenance

December is here, and cooler winter weather is just around the corner. It's the perfect time to check off some of the home maintenance tasks on your to-do list.

Follow these tips from our real estate agents to get your home ready for the winter season. 

  • Give Your Entire Home a Deep Dusting
    Since you'll be spending more time inside, hosting holiday gatherings, and running your furnace more frequently, it's time to rid your home of pesky dust. You don't want your furnace kicking dust around, and a clean, dust-free home is an inviting space to spend your time. Vacuum all your surfaces, including your light switches, baseboards, light fixtures, lamps, heating vents, and lampshades, using your vacuum's hose and a horsehair brush. Then, go over the surface with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dirt or dust particles. 
  • Check Your Lights
    With daylight hours in short supply, it's important to check that all your interior and exterior lights are working properly. A well-lit home is also important if you plan to add your home to the list of Georgetown homes for sale. Replace any lightbulbs that have burnt out or that don't properly brighten the space. See that you have ample lighting outside to illuminate your walkways and driveway in the dark. If you do need more lighting, consider adding motion-activated lights or solar landscaping lights. 
  • Clean Your Range Hood
    Now is the time to prepare your range for all your winter and holiday cooking. Your range hood directs odors and fumes out of your home; to do so effectively, it needs to be clean. Remove your range's filter and put it in the sink. Then, spray it with a degreasing cleaner and let it soak for a few minutes. Rinse the filter with warm water. Repeat the process if there's any grease remaining. Clean the rest of your range hood by spraying it with a degreasing cleaner and wiping it down with paper towels. 
  • Check the Insulation in Your Attic
    Inadequate attic insulation means that you're spending more on your heating bills than you need to. If your attic is missing insulation, doesn't have it in enough spots, or doesn't have it in the right areas, this will allow your home's warm, toasty air to escape. Fix any deficiencies in your attic's insulation to keep your energy costs under control. 
  • Set Up Smart Plugs
    If you're away from home for extended hours or have a holiday trip planned, it's important to give the appearance of an occupied home. Occupied homes serve as a deterrent to potential thieves. You can use smart plugs to program your lamps and task lighting to turn on and off automatically. Or, swap some of your lightbulbs in your overhead light fixtures for smart bulbs that you can program to automatically turn on at a specific time each day. 
  • Repair Cracks or Holes in Your Home's Exterior
    Inspect your home's exterior for any cracks, holes, or damaged areas that allow animals to enter your home. It's much easier to keep animals out than it is to get rid of them once they've taken up residency in your home. You can caulk small cracks and holes. Larger areas of damage will need to be repaired with a patching compound. 

Are you interested in putting your home on the market this winter? Contact us today!

October
25

Save Up for a Down Payment with These Tips

Down Payment Tips

If you're planning to use a mortgage to finance the purchase of your home, it's essential to have enough money in savings for your down payment. Depending on the type of mortgage you choose, you'll typically need anywhere from 3.5 to 20 percent of the home's purchase price.

Our real estate agents recommend creating a plan to help you save the money for your down payment. Start by opening a savings account specifically for your down payment and follow these tips.

  1. Develop a Timeline for Your Homebuying Plans
    Before you can calculate how much you'll need to save, you need to decide when you want to purchase a home. This will allow you to make adjustments to your budget and income that match your buying timeline. For example, assume that you want to start the process of purchasing a home in six months. You want to have a down payment of $7,000. Over the next six months, you'll need to put away $1,167 each month to meet your goal. Or, if you want to buy a home in a year, this means you need to save $584 every month. 
  1. Look at Your Budget
    Once you know how much you need to save, it's time to write down all your expenses and income. Be thorough and realistic; while it's wise to reduce your discretionary spending, it isn't realistic for most people to go an extended period with absolutely no money devoted to outings and "fun" expenses. Assume that each month, you spend $400 on eating out, $200 on shopping, and $250 on vacations, for a total of $850. If you can reduce this amount to $450, you'll have $400 each month to put in your savings account. Over six months, this is $2,400. 
  1. Track Your Spending
    A budget is of little assistance if you don't stick to it. Monitor your spending (either via an app, a bank service, or keeping track of your expenses with a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper). If you overspend, try to reduce your expenses somewhere else to cover the overage. For example, if you spend $200 more than you budgeted on gifts, cut back on dining out, activities, and grocery budget by that amount. 
  1. Increase Your Income
    Increasing your income is another way to meet your monthly savings goal. Assume that you work an additional 6 hours a week and clear $15 an hour after taxes. This is an extra $90 a week or $360 a month. After 6 months, you'll have saved approximately $2,160. 
  1. Save Any Unanticipated Money
    Most people receive at least a little bit of money each month that they didn't anticipate. You might get a bonus at work, receive a cash gift, sell items you no longer use, or collect a refund. Save any and all unanticipated money in your savings account. If you can save $100 a month in unanticipated money, this is $600 over 6 months. 
  1. Adjust Your Tax Withholding
    For the 2020 tax year, the average tax refund was $2,800. If you adjust your tax withholding to have less withheld, this is an extra $234 a month. Over 6 months, this is $1,404. Or, if you're not able to adjust your withholding, your tax refund is an excellent windfall for your savings account. 

Ready to start touring Round Rock homes for sale? Contact us to start your search!

September
27

Home Improvement Projects That Won't Break the Bank

Home ImprovementWhether you're getting ready to sell your home or just want to refresh your space for your own enjoyment, home improvement projects can be satisfying... but sometimes they come with an expensive price tag. If you can't afford a high-dollar renovation, here are a few suggestions from our real estate agents for home improvement projects that won't break the bank.

  • Update Your Front Door
    Nothing adds to curb appeal like sprucing up your entry. If you don't have a lot of money to spend on renovations, one thing to focus on for sure is the front door. Replace it with a modern front door or at least update the paint on your existing front door so that it's clean, shiny, and bright again.

  • New Interior Paint and Color Schemes
    New interior paint is by far one of the more expensive "cheap" projects you can do, but it's totally worth it, as it can overhaul your entire look. Don't worry about repainting trim if you don't plan on changing the color. If you plan on selling soon, opt for a neutral palette, as bright colors are too personal and Round Rock homes for sale do better when buyers can imagine themselves living there.

  • New Curtains or Blinds
    Another way to overhaul your entire look is to replace your window treatments. Whether you hang new curtains or splurge for high-end blinds, it's an opportunity to totally upgrade your decor. Be sure to check out options like room darkening and energy-saving materials.

  • Update Lighting Fixtures
    Nothing dates a home like old lighting fixtures. Brighten your space by upgrading your lighting fixtures and adding new lighting where possible. For instance, consider adding task lighting such as under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Ceiling fans are also a popular upgrade and can be a good investment if you plan on selling your home.

  • Install Shelving
    Especially in areas that lack sufficient storage, such as an older kitchen, attractive shelving can do a double duty of adding to your functional storage and your decor. Open shelving is trendy, so don't feel like you need to build cabinetry, but do make sure your shelves are built of attractive materials and be mindful of how you use them.

  • Replace Cabinet Hardware
    If your kitchen is looking tired and outdated, it may benefit from more than just a coat of paint. Replacing your cabinet hardware with something more modern allows you to update your kitchen's look and complement any paint scheme changes you've chosen. The same goes for your bathroom cabinets!

  • Update Bathroom Fixtures
    Sometimes an entire bathroom renovation isn't necessary, just some paint and updated fixtures. Old bathroom fixtures tend to look drab and outdated, but that's easy and usually fairly inexpensive to remedy.

  • Customize Your Closets
    Your closets may not be the first thing you see when you look around your house, but that doesn't mean they're not important. Plenty of closet space is one of the things homebuyers want when they browse Georgetown homes for sale. Maximize your home's storage space with custom shelves, bins, drawers, and multiple rows of clothing rods.

Home improvement doesn't have to mean big, expensive renovation projects. If you don't have much money to spend, look for little improvements to make a big impact. For more information about home improvement projects that will boost your home's appeal to buyers, contact us today.

September
7

Inexpensive Home Security Upgrades

Home Security Upgrades

When you think of home security upgrades, you may think of expensive security systems. Many upgrades, however, are very affordable and will help your family and belongings stay safer. In many cases, you'll even be able to do the work yourself.

Our real estate agents share the following inexpensive home security upgrades that can make your home safer:  

  • Smart outdoor lighting
    Motion-activated LED lights for the exterior of your home can help shine a spotlight on any potential unwanted visitors. Use this feature for floodlights, step lights, and path lights, and consider buying ones that will send you an alert when motion is detected.

  • Upgraded door locks
    Upgrade the locks on the doors that lead to the outside of your home, and while you're at it, buy a better strike plate (the metal that's on the doorpost). Look for one that has holes for up to six screws, and when you attach it, use three-inch screws. These improvements will make it more difficult for a thief to kick your door in.

  • A safe for valuables
    If you have valuables that are small in size, such as expensive jewelry, a safe provides an extra level of security against thieves. You can get a basic one for around $100, with options such as fire protection raising the price. Bolt your safe to the floor using the holes provided inside in most models and hide it in the back of the closet. If you choose a wall safe, you can mount it inside a wall and cover it with a picture.

  • Foot locks for patio doors 
    Standard patio door locks are easy for a burglar to pick. To make it more difficult for intruders to gain access to your home in this way, add a foot lock. They utilize a bolt that fits into a grommet that holds the door secure, and they're easy to install using a drill.

  • Window stops  
    Window stops prevent windows from being opened more than six inches. This makes it impossible for burglars to raise your windows and climb into your home. Since they open six inches, however, you'll still be able to raise your windows enough to get some fresh air and ventilation inside your home.

  • Tamper-proof shed hinges
    If you have a shed with a standard hinge and a door that swings outward, it's easy for thieves to pop the pins, remove the door, and steal valuable property like lawnmowers and tools. To prevent this buy and install a security hinge that comes with tamper-proof pins and a locking tab.

  • Home security system  
    Wireless security cameras can help monitor your home and provide an extra layer of protection. Consider buying a system that has built-in sensors that are triggered by motion and trigger an alarm. An alert is then sent to your smartphone, and a video clip of the incident is uploaded to the Cloud.

  • Wide-angle door viewer  
    Entry doors don't usually come equipped with peepholes, and if they do, they're usually quite small. This makes it easy for potential intruders to hide out of view and also distorts images, making it hard to identify exactly who's at your door. Install a wide-angle door viewer so the images will be clearer and a burglar won't be able to simply step to the side to remain undiscovered.

Contact us to find out more about home security upgrades and to visit Round Rock homes for sale. If finding a home with some of these features is a priority, we'll help you identify ones that meet your criteria.

August
2

What to Know When Building a Home in 2021

Building a Home 2021

If you're looking for a new home in 2021, you're certainly not alone. A housing shortage means that demand exceeds supply and that there are more buyers than sellers in the market. As a result, some potential buyers are choosing to build their own homes. This allows them to fully customize their homes.

Our real estate agents explain what you need to know when building a home in 2021:

  • It may cost more than you think.  
    Building a home may cost more in 2021 than in previous years. That's because builders are experiencing shortages of essential materials. More than 90% of builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders say they've experienced shortages of plywood, with almost that many reporting a shortage of windows and doors. This drives up the price for these materials as well as the cost of building a home.

  • Interest rates are still quite low.
    If you need to obtain financing for your new home, the news is good. Interest rates have been around 3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the summer of 2021, which is historically very low. Although rates can sometimes be difficult to precisely predict, experts expect them to stay steady or rise only slightly by the end of the year, which makes financing a home build (or buying an existing home) easier financially.

  • Factor in the cost of land.
    Don't forget to factor in the cost of land if you're planning to build a home. Even if you already own the plot of land you'll be building on, you'll probably want to budget for some improvements. These can include a driveway, landscaping, and outdoor structures.

  • Consider healthy home features.  
    Homeowners have placed a higher priority on healthy home features in the past few years, and this trend has grown even more since the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider faucets controlled by motion sensors and smart home devices that minimize the number of times you'll touch surfaces like light switches and door locks. Features like low-VOC paint and an efficient HVAC system and insulation that helps improve indoor air quality are also important healthy home features.

  • Look beyond the open floor plan.  
    Open floor plans remain popular, but many homeowners now prefer a more formal layout. Think about what your family likes to do before deciding on a layout. If you like to entertain, for example, an open floor plan may better suit your needs. But if you have a family member who works at home or would like your home to have more private space, a more formal layout is probably the way to go in your new home.

  • Patience and flexibility are key.  
    You'll usually run into some unexpected delays and issues when you're building a home, so you'll need to be patient as well as flexible. This is particularly true in 2021 since shipping delays and material shortages are common. If you approach the project expecting some delays and are flexible about some of your decisions, you'll have a much better experience and be under less stress. 

Contact us to find out more about the local housing market and Cedar Park homes for sale. If you decide to build your own home, we can help you find the land that meets your needs and share information about specific neighborhoods and other areas. 

July
26

What to Look for During a Final Walk-Through

Final Walk Through Guide

You've made it to the final walk-through process, which means your long journey to securing your new property is almost complete. The final walk-through might seem like a simple formality, but it's one of the most important steps in the process. This is your final chance to ensure the seller held up their end of the bargain regarding repairs, maintenance, or contingencies.

Our real estate agents receive lots of questions about what to expect during the process. If you're in the process of purchasing one of these Round Rock homes for sale, below are some tips to guide you through the final walk-through process to ensure you don't miss anything.

Inspect All Repairs
As a homebuyer, your priority during the final walk-through is to ensure the seller completed any agreed-upon repairs or maintenance and that the work has been completed to your liking. Whether it's a minor fix such as doorknob replacement or a significant structural issue, remember to inspect every item closely. You can also ask the seller to leave behind any receipts or warranties if issues arise in the future. 

Look For New Issues
A lot can happen over 4 to 6 weeks, so it's also wise to keep an eye out for any new issues that may have popped up since the last time you visited the home. If you notice any significant problems that may have occurred since your last visit, this is your final opportunity to bring them to the seller's attention. Below are some common things to test during the walk-through process: 

  • Check the basement for new cracks or water spots
  • Run the garbage disposal
  • Open the garage door
  • Flip on and off the light switches
  • Flush toilets and run sinks

Check For Items Left As Part Of The Sale
If the seller agreed to leave behind any items such as appliances, lawnmowers, or pool tables, make sure they're still around after the seller has moved out. Most sellers won't attempt to skirt their end of the bargain, but it's still a good idea to check that everything is still in place.

What To Do If You Find Issues
While it doesn't happen often, sometimes buyers do find issues during the final walk-through process, so you should be prepared in the event there is a problem. If a seller did not complete required repairs or a new issue has occurred, you typically have three options:

  1. Delay closing until the repairs are complete.
  2. Negotiate compensation and make the repairs on your own.
  3. Back out of the deal. This is generally unfavorable for all parties given the amount of time and energy put forward and is only recommended under the most egregious of circumstances.

Make Sure Your Real Estate Agent Is Present
Your real estate agent has conducted dozens of walk-throughs, so he or she knows exactly what to look for. Having a second trusted set of eyes is highly advisable during the process. Your agent will have a record of all contingencies agreed upon during the sale and will be able to help ensure you don't miss anything.

Most of the time, the final walk-through process tends to go very smoothly, but it's still important to it seriously and check everything. If you're looking for guidance on the buying process, contact us today.

July
19

How to Pick a Pet Sitter

Pet Sitting Tips

Your pet is your best friend, so of course, you want to be there all the time. But sometimes, life gets in the way. Whether you're on vacation, in the process of moving, or out of town checking out Round Rock homes for sale, there are times when a trusted pet sitter is essential. 

But of course, you can't let just anybody take care of your furry friend. You need to know you're working with the best. Our real estate agents have a lot of experience connecting their clients to great pet sitters here in the Austin and Round Rock areas, and we have a few useful tips for finding and choosing the right pet sitting service. 

  1. Know Who Your Friends Are
    A lot of us have reliable friends, family members, or neighbors who we often entrust with the care of our pets. If your pet has formed a bond with this person, then that's a great option. It's always best for your cat or dog to spend time with someone they know and trust, especially in your own home. But there are situations when this may not be an option. Perhaps you're traveling longer or more frequently, or you simply don't want to put pressure on your friends and neighbors. In that case, it may be time to consider a professional pet sitting service. 

  2. Check Credentials
    Anybody can say they're a pet sitter. That doesn't necessarily mean they're experienced and qualified. Real professional pet sitting companies should have a business license and be fully bonded and insured. Pet sitters should also have undergone a criminal background check and received proper training. Be sure to ask if they've been trained in pet CPR and first aid. 

  3. Ask for References and Read Reviews
    One of the best ways to determine if a pet sitter is right for you is to find out what others think. There's no substitute for firsthand experience. So it's always a good idea to ask a pet sitter for references, but you can also go deeper. Unbiased online reviews can shed a lot of light on how a pet sitting company is viewed by its customers. Keep in mind that one bad review shouldn't make or break someone—anybody can have a bad experience—but if you notice multiple past customers making similar complaints, that's a definite red flag. 

  4. Do a Meet-and-Greet
    It goes without saying that your fur baby and your pet sitter will have to get along! The first step is to schedule a meet-and-greet. Depending on your pet's personality, you may want the first meeting to take place outside of your home. This is especially the case if you have a very protective or high-anxiety dog. If the first outdoor meeting proves successful, the next step is to spend some time with your pet and pet sitter inside your home. You should be there for the first meeting, and if it goes well, perhaps schedule a short pet-sitting session before going on any long trips. 

  5. Establish Open Communication
    Communication between you and your pet sitter is key. You need to be able to reach them any time (and vice versa), especially while you're out of town. Make sure your pet sitter is comfortable with open communication and is willing to give you regular updates.

Moving to a new home always presents challenges, and finding the right pet sitting service is just one of them. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you find your dream home in Austin, Round Rock, and the surrounding areas. 

July
5

Is it Time to Update Your Driveway?

Driveway Tips

An aging, cracking, or crumbling driveway is a problem that will gradually get worse the longer you wait to fix it. It's an eyesore that tanks your curb appeal and can also detract from your home's value. Sprucing up your driveway will protect your investment in your home, and you may be able to get the money back when you sell. Here are a few driveway improvement tips from our real estate agents.

  1. Add Lighting
    If your problem isn't a broken driveway but just a boring one, you can make the old seem new by adding some cool new features such as lighting. Round Rock homes for sale that offer lighting alongside the driveways offer instant class and curb appeal. Solar-powered lights are fairly inexpensive, or spring for an electrician and get the system wired up so that you can control the lights with a switch or put them on a motion sensor.

  2. Use Bricks or Pavers
    Another perfect upgrade for a boring driveway is a border. Use bricks or pavers to create an attractive border along the edges of your driveway. As an added bonus, the border creates a segway into your landscaping and may even serve to hold back dirt, mulch, and overly enthusiastic plants. Stepping stones and crushed rock set alongside your driveway can also boost curb appeal, not to mention provide a pathway for visitors to travel on the way to your front door.

  3. Repair Minor Damage
    Sometimes the damage to your driveway is minor, and you can get away with just doing a few repairs to preserve the original driveway. If you're unsure whether your driveway can be repaired, it's best to contact a driveway paving contractor and get an expert opinion. If you're planning on selling your home, you'll probably want to spend the least amount of money that will produce a return on your home's value, so sometimes repairs can be cost-effective.

  4. Cover with Stamped Texture
    If you don't like the look of a patched or repaired driveway, there are various ways to cover the imperfections and make your driveway look new again. One way is by covering it with a spray treatment and adding texture. The result can be attractive and classy and gives the driveway a newer, more upscale look without redoing the entire thing.

  5. Add a New Layer of Concrete or Asphalt
    If your driveway is damaged beyond repair, the easiest way to get a whole new driveway is by patching any cracks or breaks and adding a layer of concrete or asphalt on top of the original one. This is easier and less expensive than bulldozing everything and starting over. You can even add on to your driveway while you're at it, widening or adding a parking area or turnaround since the new pavement will match.

One of the first things someone sees when arriving at your home is your driveway, making it a crucial part of your curb appeal. An attractive driveway is as much a part of that first impression as your landscaping or your front door. For more ideas on how to improve curb appeal, contact us today.

June
21

Raised Bed Gardening: Tips to Get Started

Garden Bed Tips

There are few projects as satisfying as growing your own food, and raised garden beds allow everyone to do that, even in a minimal amount of space. Our real estate agents can show you some exciting Round Rock homes for sale to house the garden you have wanted. With a little patience and a few simple steps, you'll soon be enjoying your own fresh produce, and nothing tastes better than the vegetables that come fresh from your own garden.

  • Select the Container
    If you don't want to invest in expensive materials, consider materials you may already have or can easily acquire. Many people start with wooden pallets. Almost any container will do. A galvanized horse trough will work well, even if it has a few leaks and is no longer good for the purpose intended. If you want multiple beds that are all uniform, pre-made kits are easy to find at home and garden stores, some of which are on wheels so that you can optimize the sunlight. 
  • Chose the Location
    Select a spot with the proper amount of sun for the crop you are planting. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, and cucumbers thrive in full sun for the entire day. Root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and beets, need about half a day of sunshine to thrive. For shadier spots, plant leafy greens, such as kale and spinach. Take the time to do a little sun mapping before planting for the best results. Choose carefully because once you fill the bed with soil, it will be difficult, if not impossible to move, unless it is on wheels. 
  • Determine Watering System
    You may enjoy watering with a hose the old-fashioned way, or you might want to consider an efficient drip irrigation system. You can run a line directly from your water tap or rain barrel to allow you to water quickly and easily by simply turning a spigot. 
  • Fill the Container with Soil
    One of the advantages of a raised garden bed is that you won't need to worry about digging, rocky ground, or nutrient-poor ground. You won't find an article on raised garden beds that doesn't emphasize the importance of using the highest quality of soil your budget will allow. When purchasing garden soil by the bag, select products that support organic vegetables, after you fill the container about three-fourths full, top it off with compost. If you don't already have a compost pile, you can buy it at garden centers. This combination is important to fill your garden with rich nutrients and to hold moisture. To determine the amount of soil you will need, several suppliers offer online calculators that are very helpful.
  • Plant Your Crops
    Of course, you'll have done your homework long before this point and decided what crops to plant and when to plant them. If you're planting from seeds, you may have already started germinating them inside and have seedlings ready to place in the garden. You'll have learned that Round Rock has a growing zone designation of 8. Many vegetables should be started indoors in mid-February to avoid frost. For later planting, consider transplanting seedling tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, fresh herbs, and more from your favorite garden center. The optimal growing season in this area runs from April 1st to December 1st. 

Are you ready to start looking for a place to plant your own raised vegetable garden? Contact us today to arrange a tour. 

June
7

What to Know When Buying Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture

These days, a home's outdoor spaces are just as important as its indoor spaces. Just look at all the Round Rock homes for sale with outdoor living spaces! Homeowners use their outdoor spaces for dining, entertaining, and relaxing, so patio furniture and decor require some planning. Here are a few things to know before you go shopping for new patio furniture.

  1. Think About Your Goals
    Do you plan to use the space for grilling, outdoor dining, and entertaining? You'll want to prioritize a table and chairs where you can eat. If your dream patio is one where you can enjoy a glass of wine, read a book, and relax, you'll want to look for furniture that is more appropriate for lounging.

  2. Consider the Size of the Space
    Choosing patio furniture based on the size of your patio is very similar to choosing indoor furniture based on the size of the room. Leave plenty of room for the flow of traffic around the furniture. Measure your patio before shopping so that you know how much space you have to work with. The "less is more" approach to staging a home applies to outdoor spaces as well, according to our real estate agents, so this is especially important if you're preparing your home to sell.

  3. Keep the Weather in Mind
    The sun, rain, and humidity in Texas are something to consider when shopping for patio furniture. Being exposed to these elements can weather some types of furniture, such as wood, faster than others. If your patio furniture isn't protected from the elements by a roof or overhang, opt for something sturdy such as metal. Cushions left outside will likely need to be replaced every few years, but this may be seen as a bonus since it gives you a chance to freshen your look!

  4. Storage Options
    If you can, storing your patio furniture (or at least your cushions) will keep it looking nicer, longer. A patio storage bench is perfect if you want a handy place to put your cushions when you're not using the space, or you could build a garden shed with room to store lightweight patio furniture when not in use. Well-planned outdoor storage can be a selling point when you go to list your house, too. 

  5. Remember That You Get What You Pay For
    Sure, you have a budget, but try not to buy the cheapest patio furniture you find, as you will surely get what you pay for. Inexpensive patio furniture tends to be made of materials that don't hold up to weather exposure, such as plastic that will degrade quickly in the sun or cheap metal that will rust quickly with exposure to rain. If you need to stick to a tight budget, check out resources for secondhand goods, and keep an eye out for higher quality patio furniture.

Ultimately, look for patio furniture that not only looks good but where you can also see yourself spending time. Your outdoor living spaces should be an extension of your home: the perfect place to hang with family and friends or kick back and relax after a long day. For more information on what homebuyers expect from an outdoor living space, contact us today.

March
1

DIY Tips for Designing a Home Library

Home Library Tips

If you've always dreamed of having a home library to house your favorite novels, you can turn this dream into reality with some careful planning. Our real estate agents know that you don't need an entire room to create a gorgeous home library; instead, scour your home for unused or underused areas that will make a lovely home for your books. Here are some tips to follow when designing your home library. 

  1. Make the Library Work for Your Lifestyle
    While there's nothing wrong with the serenity of a conventionally quiet library, this simply isn't compatible with every household. One of the top benefits of a home library is that you can adapt it to your lifestyle. Maybe you have children who love to read, solve puzzles, and play board games. Set your home library up so that your children's reading materials are easily accessible; add a few kid-friendly chairs and tables so they have their own space. Or, maybe you know that you'll use your home library in between at-home work sessions. You might set-up your library in your home office so that you can take advantage of short breaks to enjoy a new book or reread an old masterpiece.
  1. Add Layers of Lighting
    Your home library is one area where you don't want a lot of direct natural light, as sunlight can damage the delicate pages of your books. Instead, incorporate multiple layers of lighting to ensure you have ample illumination for your reading and research. Start by adding ambient lighting that reaches the entire room; recessed lighting and lighting fixtures are two alternatives for whole-room illumination. Then, add accent lighting around the various spaces of your home library. For example, you might add track lighting around your bookcases. Next, incorporate task lights into your home library. This includes items like desk lamps and floor lamps. Whenever possible, opt for lighting that's dimmable so you can adjust the lights to your needs. 
  1. Use Space-Efficient Book Storage
    When space is a concern, maximize storage for your books by choosing shelves that utilize frequently unused areas. Corner shelving units are one solution, as are vertical bookcases that extend to your home's ceiling. Make sure to invest in a sturdy step stool so that you can easily reach the books on the top shelves.
  1. Check the Weight Limits for Your Floors
    Before your start setting up your shelves and books, confirm that your floors are capable of supporting the additional weight of a lot of books. Books are heavy, and if you store a lot of them in a concentrated area, it can put additional stress on the floor. If your floors can't support the additional weight as-is, a contractor can reinforce them by adding additional plywood or beams. When you add your home to the inventory of Round Rock homes for sale, you'll know that you completed the project correctly. 
  1. Add Decorative Pieces
    Make sure to add a few decorative items so that your home library reflects your tastes. A few framed photos, attractive bookends, pottery, or interesting sculptures can all add individuality to your new space. 

Want a property with more space for your home library? Contact us today to get started!

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