Articles Tagged "Liberty Hill"

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Area Information | 47 Posts
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April
18

7 Pet-Safe Houseplants

Pet-Safe Houseplants

If you're a pet parent, you know that giving your pets a safe, healthy environment is a top priority. Whether you have a four-legged canine or a frisky feline, you want to protect your pet from dangers like injuries, diseases, and poisonous houseplants. To keep your pets safe, take some tips from our real estate agents, who suggest buying only non-toxic houseplants for your home.

Many homeowners don't realize that just a few nibbles from a poisonous plant can cause nausea and vomiting, tremors, seizures, and even death to pets. If you're a pet owner and looking for Georgetown homes for sale, make sure to research indoor plants that are non-toxic to dogs and cats. Here are just a few that are safe for your pets.

  1. African Violets
    If your home gets a lot of indirect sunlight, African violets will fill your rooms with flowers in brilliant hues of pink, lavender, and purple. They thrive in 68–77 degree temperatures, as long as you keep them slightly watered and away from drafts. If your curious cat decides to eat the leaves or blooms, the plant may look wounded, but your cat will be fine.

  1. Baby Tears
    This plant's trailing tendrils were designed to attract curious cats. Even if you place this plant on high shelves or in hanging baskets, your clever kitty may still be tempted to investigate. But don't worry, it's perfectly safe for your kitty and a good choice for beginner green thumbs. Just choose a location with filtered light and warm temperatures, then keep the soil moist.

  1. Bird's Nest Ferns
    This squiggly green fern thrives on low light and humidity, so it's perfect in bathrooms and windows near the kitchen sink. It likes warmer temperatures and quickly adds organic appeal to indoor spaces. Bird's nest ferns grow well in pots and planters with loose, fast-draining soil. When the soil feels dry, just give it a little water and fertilizer in the spring and summer.

  1. Date Palms
    If you want to protect your pets and wow your guests, buy a few date palms for your home. With tall stems and delicate leaves, date palms, like Areca palms, bamboo palms, and Chinese fan palms, grow tall, making good floor plants that add height and texture to small rooms. For best growth, keep date palms and other types of palms in bright, indirect sunlight and don't over-water.

  1. Friendship Plants
    Friendship plants produce intricately-patterned bright green leaves that feel like velvet. They're lovely to look at and completely harmless to your pets. Since they are small plants that only grow 6–12 inches high, they make great decorative accents on shelves and tables. They tolerate low light with a few hours of sunlight each day and occasionally flower with pale pink buds.

  1. Orchids
    Few houseplants add as much elegant beauty to a home as orchids, and luckily they pose no dangers to dogs or cats. With tall stalks, large green leaves, and colorful flowers, orchids become focal points wherever they're placed. Orchids bloom each year for about three months. When the flowers die off, the blooms return the following season.

  2. Peperomia Plants
    Peperomia plants make great houseplants because they're easy to grow and they clean the air. There are many varieties, each with slightly different characteristics, but they all grow well in temperatures of 65–80 degrees with minimal watering. The watermelon peperomia has leaves that resemble watermelon rhine with distinct dark green stripes.

If you're interested in homes in the Georgetown area, contact us for more information on available properties and prices.

April
11

Spring is Here: Central Texas Parks to Explore

Texas Parks

With its rolling plains and lush valleys, Texas is home to some of the most stunning landscapes. Many of the state's parks reflect this diverse beauty.

This spring, our real estate agents invite you to explore the wilderness of Central Texas' most remarkable parks. To help you get started, we've listed a few standout locations below.  

  • Tejas Park - 4400 CR 258, Liberty Hill, TX 78642 
    Tejas Park is located on the south bank of the North San Gabriel River and features stunning views of the open water. Due to the park's proximity to the river, boating and fishing are especially popular here. There are also plenty of trails for hiking, picnic tables for outdoor dining, and even a large gathering space that can be rented for parties and other social events.  

    If you're interested in staying overnight, the park also offers a dozen basic campsites with amenities like barbecues, campfire rings, and vault toilets to make your stay more comfortable. It's the perfect place to get away for a day if you live near any of our Georgetown homes for sale.  

  • Southwest Williamson County Regional Park - 3005 Co Rd 175, Leander, TX 78641 
    Southwest Williamson County Regional Park is a sports fan's dream. The park's expansive acreage includes more than a dozen fields for playing sports like softball, football, soccer, basketball, and tennis, as well as a 400-meter track to practice your running.  

    Outdoor enthusiasts will love the park's sprawling collection of paved and natural trails and the campsites that are available on-site for longer stays. There is even a large playground and splash pad to keep your kids occupied, making it a favorite of many residents around our Leander homes for sale

  • Pace Bend Park - 2805 Pace Bend Rd N, Spicewood, TX 78669 
    Pace Bend Park is a quiet location on the banks of Lake Travis near our Spicewood homes for sale. Circled by a six-mile paved roadway, this tranquil location includes a number of pleasant walking trails and many primitive and improved camping sites for overnight guests.  

    The park's scenery is beautifully rugged, showcasing cliffs, rocky outcrops, and a soft sandy beach. In addition to hiking and swimming, many guests enjoy boating from Collier Cove and Tatum Cove, the only two places in the park where boats are permitted to enter and exit the water.  

  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area - 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 
    Enchanted Rock State Natural Area was named for the almost mystical look of its incredible pink granite dome. Rising up out of the earth, the wide, low swell of the mountain offers 11 miles of moderately challenging hiking areas that allow you to enjoy the open-air around our Fredricksburg homes for sale.

    If you have more time to spend here, you can also enjoy activities like birdwatching, stargazing, and camping. Make sure you make it all the way to the top for some breathtaking views!

  • Bee Cave Central Park - 13676 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave, TX 78738 
    If you love the great outdoors, you'll love the airy freedom of Bee Cave Central Park's large open fields. You can enjoy a walk in the grass, play some soccer or a game of catch, or simply lounge around in the sun.  

    The park grounds include several pavilions and playgrounds, making this the perfect place to take your kids for a fun day spent outdoors near our Bee Cave homes for sale.   

Contact us today for more information on any of the Central Texas homes we have available and see how you can become a part of this rustic land.  

January
24

About the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park

Sculpture Park

Our real estate agents know Liberty Hill is a great place to consider buying a home. It is full of Texas-sized amenities and sights that will delight you – the sort of things that would make anyone sit up and take notice.

One of these is the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park. Found just steps away from some of the most desirable Liberty Hill homes for sale, it is one of the most striking and unusual examples of public art anywhere in the United States.

Let's take a closer look:

  • What Is the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park?
    The park is an award-winning public art installation that formerly resided on the grounds of Liberty Hill Middle School. It was the only International Sculpture Park in the world on school grounds. It is also one of the best-known Texas sculpture parks outside of the United States. The sculpture garden originated with a 1976 International Sculpture Symposium that was held in the town. Currently, there are 27 sculptures created by various artists from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the United States. In 1977, it was honored with a Texas Art Award. Its remarkable statues run the gamut from abstract to naturalistic sculptures. A variety of mythological motifs from North America and throughout the world are represented. Figurative sculptures incorporate ideas from Native North American cultures or pay homage to local plants and wildlife.

  • How Do You Get There?
    The park is currently located adjacent to the Louine Noble Elementary School. Another convenient way to access it is by going through the Lions Foundation Park at 355 Loop 332. Both parks are free and open to the public.

  • Who Is in Charge of the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park?
    The Liberty Hill Development Foundation has been in charge of maintenance and safety for the park since 1991. It also collaborates with the City of Liberty Hill and the Liberty Hill Integrated School District (ISD), which has a long history related to the park. Texans and visitors from anywhere in the world are encouraged to donate for the upkeep of the park grounds and sculptures. You can donate funds directly to the park through the Liberty Hill Development Foundation, a local community nonprofit. Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park does not judge or accept donations of art from any artists, either affiliated or independent. However, the Liberty Hill Development foundation occasionally sponsors the Liberty Hill Symposium, which has been known to include art exhibitions.

  • What Else Can You See There?
    Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park is well known as a venue for various public events. It has been used for live music, theatrical performances, historical re-enactment, and the Hot Air Balloon Festival, which was conceived and operated exclusively by volunteers from Liberty Hill Development Foundation.

Ready to learn more about life in Central Texas? Contact us to find out more about all things Liberty Hill.

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
20

Guide to Antiquing in Round Rock

Round Rock Antique StoresFor those of us who love antiques, there's nothing quite like discovering a new vintage treasure. Luckily, here in the Round Rock area, we have more than a few great antique shops. Our real estate agents are eager to share their favorites!

Of course, the challenging part of antiquing is often separating the trash from the treasure. That isn't always easy, but these local antique shops and markets are great places to find some real vintage gems. 

  • Antique Gallery - 1601 S I35 Frontage Rd, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Round Rock's Antique Gallery is a vast shrine to all things classic and vintage. It's a huge space that hosts a wide range of antique vendors, each offering their own specialties and unique selection of goods. Whether you're looking for historic furniture and vintage clothing or jewelry, trinkets, artwork, and decor, you'll find it here. The Antique Gallery is located just minutes from these Round Rock homes for sale, and it's also a perfect place to find gifts for the antique lover in your life.

  • Georgetown Antique Mall - 110 W 8th St, Georgetown, TX 78626
    Georgetown has one of the most charming historic districts in Central Texas, and the Georgetown Antique Mall is a fixture of downtown. Located within walking distance of many Georgetown homes for sale, the mall offers a huge space packed to the gills with treasures. You'll find Victorian glassware, sterling silver, perfume bottles, and a seemingly endless array of other unexpected finds. It's a store that needs to be visited again and again to fully appreciate its wide-ranging offerings. 

  • Staebel Antiques - 3820 Co Rd 258, Liberty Hill, TX 78642
    The folks at Staebel Antiques don't just sell vintage goods near Liberty Hill homes for sale. They also repair, restore and refurbish antique furniture, making this a good place to find hundred-year-old dressers, bed frames, and chairs in shockingly good condition. Most of the store's stock dates from the 1880s through the 1930s, and some are older still. Staebel Antiques has been in business for over 30 years and has a reputation for selling unique and stylish items that cannot be found anywhere else. 

  • Relic Road TX - 2709 Sam Bass Rd, Round Rock, TX 78681
    You truly never know what you'll find at Relic Road TX. This local business specializes in estate sales, which means their offerings are always changing. It also means not everything you'll see at Relic Road is necessarily an antique. They offer a wide range of vintage goods and even some modern wares, but with an ever-changing selection of furniture, art, jewelry, and other unique items from every style and era, there are always treasures waiting to find a new home. 

  • Rough and Ready Antiques - 602 S Main St, Georgetown, TX 78626
    Nestled on the corner of 6th and Main in the heart of Georgetown's historic downtown, Rough and Ready Antiques is a great place to find unique historic furnishings and decor. They're known for antique lawn and garden decor (wooden wagons, vintage planters, rocking chairs, etc.), but the store is packed with antiques of all kinds, so there's a good chance that no matter what you're looking for, you'll find it there. The store is nicely organized, and the staff is always friendly and happy to help you find anything you need. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Georgetown, Round Rock, and the surrounding areas. Located a stone's throw from Austin in the heart of Texas Hill Country, it's a truly unique place to call home. 

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
16

What First-Time Buyers Need to Know About Credit Scores

Round Rock Credit Score

Your credit score is an important piece of financial information that influences your ability to purchase a home. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. 

Our real estate agents know that lenders will use your credit score when determining whether to approve your mortgage application. Here are a few things you should know about your credit score and homeownership as you prepare to buy your first home. 

  1. There's a Wide Variation in Acceptable Credit Scores
    The required credit score to purchase a home depends on the mortgage that you intend to use. For example, if you're applying for a conventional home loan, you'll likely need a credit score of at least 620. However, if you're interested in a jumbo home loan (a mortgage that exceeds conforming loan limits), it's best to have a credit score of 700 or higher. Some loans are ideal for buyers with less than stellar credit. An FHA loan has a minimum credit score requirement of 500. You'll need to make a 10 percent down payment if your credit score is between 500 and 579. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher, FHA loans permit a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. USDA and VA mortgage programs don't have a specified minimum credit score. Instead, the lenders who issue these loans are permitted to set their own requirements. Generally, to qualify for a USDA or VA mortgage, you'll want a minimum credit score of 640. 
  1. Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate and Loan Costs
    Your lender will use your credit score (along with other financial information, like your debt to income ratio and employment status) to decide what interest rate to offer for your loan. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. A lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Many lenders also use your credit score when determining the costs associated with a mortgage. For example, buyers with higher credit scores are offered lower PMI (private mortgage insurance) rates. They may also qualify for mortgage programs with minimal mortgage points or lower loan costs. 
  1. There are Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit
    Before you start attending showings for Round Rock homes for sale, it's best to take steps to ensure your credit is at its best. Start by making all of your loan payments on time. If you've had late payments in the past, the effects of those late payments will decrease over time. Check the balances on your credit cards. If you're utilizing more than 30 percent of your available credit, pay them down, so your utilization is under the 30 percent mark. Ideally, do this for each card and for your credit card balance as a whole. For example, if you have a $4,000 balance on one card with a $10,000 limit, pay the balance down, so it's less than $3,000. If you have a card with a $2,000 balance and $10,000 credit limit and another with a $5,000 balance with a $10,000 limit, focus on paying the second card down, so it's less $3,000. Thoroughly review your credit reports and dispute any information that's incorrect. If you only have one type of debt on your credit report, consider opening another product to diversify your credit usage. For example, if you only have credit cards, take out an installment loan (and vice versa). 

Are you ready to buy your first home? Contact us today to start your search!

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.

April
12

7 Foods Texas Made Famous

Texas Foods Anyone who's ever spent time in Texas knows that the state's diverse dining scene is truly unique, with a blend of cultures and flavors that you simply won't find anywhere else. The dining establishments of Texas are also very innovative and have made many foods famous that are now enjoyed by foodies all around the country. No matter your personal taste, you're sure to find something to love in the Texas dining scene. Our real estate agents are here to help you build an appetite, with our list of 7 foods that Texas has made famous.

  1. Texas BBQ
    ​​​​​​​Whether you live near Round Rock homes for sale or anywhere else in the great state of Texas, you're likely to find a Texas barbecue establishment close to home. Texas BBQ is famous for being cooked low and slow, characterized by popular favorites like brisket and ribs. Add on some baked beans and potato salad, then be sure to save room for seconds.

  2. Mexican Food
    While Mexico of course deserves full credit for a culinary tradition that dates back centuries, Texas also gets credit for introducing the amazing flavors of Mexico to the rest of the country. The number of Mexican dishes that Texas has helped share with the world is long enough to create more than a few cookbooks, and the fusion of flavors between the two unique cultures continues to inspire new creations to this day.

  3. Tex-Mex Cuisine
    The blending of culinary cultures between Texas and Mexico also resulted in the creation of the beloved Tex-Mex cuisine that is now featured in restaurants throughout the United States. But if you want the best Tex-Mex, then you need to get it straight from the source in Texas. If you love dishes like fajitas and nachos, then you're sure to love Tex-Mex cuisine.

  4. Bob Armstrong Dip
    You haven't truly tried queso dip until you've sampled the savory flavors of the Bob Armstrong Dip that originated in Texas and has since spread across the country. This delicious dip combines queso, taco meat, guacamole, and sour cream to create a combination that your taste buds are sure to love.

  5. Breakfast Tacos
    Everyone loves tacos, and everyone loves a hot breakfast. That's the simple, delicious philosophy behind breakfast tacos, one of many culinary gifts from Texas to the rest of the world. While the ingredients vary, the theme remains the same. Take your favorite breakfast plate, wrap all of the best ingredients up in a soft tortilla, and start your day with a smile.

  6. Margaritas
    An icy, refreshing drink served in bars around the world, the margarita pairs perfectly with many of your favorite Texas dishes. While there is some debate about where the margarita was "officially" invented, there's no doubt that Texas has helped turn it into a phenomenon and one of the world's favorite mixed drinks.

  7. Pecan Pie
    Did you know that pecan pie is the official dessert of Texas? With a soft crust, sweet, chewy filling, and a topping of perfectly caramelized pecans, this delicious dish is sure to be a hit for anyone with a sweet tooth. Today, you can find pecan pie everywhere, but it's simply better in Texas.

Searching for a home that makes it easy to enjoy all of the culinary masterpieces that Texas has made famous? Let us help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Round Rock, TX area.

March
15

7 Tips for Introducing a Pet to Your Home

Austin Pet Tips

When moving to a new home or adding a furry friend to your family, a little preparation goes a long way in helping your pet better understand the boundaries and feel more comfortable in their new home. Our real estate agents know that homebuyers value the happiness of their four-legged family members when moving to a new property. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition when introducing your pet to a new home. 

  1. Introduce Your Pet to the Home Ahead of Time
    While it might not always be possible to take your pet to Round Rock homes for sale before your move-in date, ideally, you should introduce your pet to their new home ahead of time. Dogs especially benefit from a previous introduction to their surroundings. During this time, walk them around the neighborhood and their new yard. 
  1. Keep Supplies in an Easy-to-Access Area
    Whether you're welcoming a new pet or moving your pet to a new home, you'll want to make sure you have everything you need to take care of them. Some items to have on hand include toys, a leash, collar, food, treats, litter and litter box or poop bags, food, and water bowls, grooming supplies, and cleaning supplies for your floors. When moving to a new home, pack everything in a container or bag that you keep with you. If adopting a new pet, conduct a shopping trip before your pet arrives. You don't want to have to scurry for pet essentials when you're trying to welcome your new family member. 
  1. Avoid Giving Your Pet Free Reign of Your Home
    It's best to establish boundaries with your pet right from the get-go. Otherwise, you risk confusing your pet, delaying the training process, and damaging your home. Ideally, you should block off any areas that you don't want your pet to enter until they learn what areas are off-limits. 
  1. Try to Bring Your Pet Home When You Have a Few Days Off
    Introduce your pet to your new home when you have a few days to help them get acclimated to their new space. Try to pick a period when you can stay at home and don't have many other tasks on your to-do list. Your pet should be your primary focus during this time. 

  2. Establish a Schedule for Your Pet
    Decide ahead of time what your pet's day will look like in their new home. What time will they be fed, and who will do the feeding? How often will their walks and playtime be? While every moment of your pet's day doesn't need to be allocated, you should have a basic idea of when your pet's mealtimes and play sessions will be. 

  3. Discipline Your Pet When Necessary 
    Your pet isn't going to behave perfectly. When they misbehave, know how to set them straight. Don't yell or scare them. Instead, stick with a firm "No!" or "Tsk!" When you catch your dog or cat doing something you want them to do, reward them with a treat and plenty of affection. 

  4. Create a Safe Space
    New surroundings are often overwhelming. See that your pet has a safe spot to retreat to when they feel scared. For a dog, a kennel is a terrific option that mimics a natural den. A seldom-used room is an excellent safe area for a cat.

Ready to explore new homes perfect for your whole family...pets included? Contact us today!

February
15

Is it Time for a Kitchen Upgrade?

Austin Kitchen Updates

When it comes to upgrades and renovations, the kitchen is one that's almost guaranteed to pay off when you sell your home. But how do you know your kitchen is dated enough that you'll benefit from updating? Here are a few indicators our real estate agents say mean the house is past due for kitchen renovations.

  1. Your appliances don't match.
    When a house is first built, or a kitchen is first renovated, all the appliances typically match, if not by brand, then at least in appearance. As they get older and start to go out, they typically get replaced with whatever can be found to fit and at a good price. The result is that after a while, a kitchen may end up with three or four appliances of varying styles and ages. If this describes your kitchen, most likely everything else is old enough that it's time to just upgrade it all.

  2. Your kitchen has a recognizable vintage.
    If guests tend to say things like, "Hey, this kitchen looks just like where I grew up!" when they come over, it's a sure sign that it's time for renovations. A few vintage touches can be a stylistic choice, but outdated kitchens just look old.

  3. There's visible damage.
    As kitchens get older, things break. The tile develops cracks, the linoleum begins to chip and peel, and appliances start showing wear. Appliances may stop working as well, too, or develop quirks as they age. Pretend you're touring Georgetown homes for sale and look at your kitchen the way a stranger would. If you see a bunch of tiny indicators of age, it's time to update.

  4. The layout is counterintuitive.
    The way we live and cook has changed, and so has kitchen design. Kitchens of the past tend to be counterintuitive in design, perhaps because they lacked design elements such as islands or conveniences such as pull-out cabinet drawers to help you better utilize and access your storage space. If preparing a meal is a hassle, it could be that your kitchen needs updates that will make the process more streamlined.

  5. The lighting is terrible.
    Another universal in dated kitchens is horrible lighting. Most older kitchens have only overhead lighting, with the only task lighting being the hood light over the stove. Good lighting is a huge selling point of any kitchen, though, so even just updating the lighting and appliances can go a long way toward improving your kitchen. Use the opportunity to light up your workspaces better with focused task lighting, such as under cabinet lighting.

Why waste your time cooking in a dark, cluttered, and outdated kitchen when cooking could be a pleasant experience with the right updates? Plus, updating your kitchen can add significant value before listing your home among the Round Rock homes for sale. For more advice on what updates you should do before selling your home, contact us today.

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