Articles Tagged "Lakeway"

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Area Information | 39 Posts
For Buyers | 5 Posts
For Sellers | 2 Posts
Homeownership | 7 Posts
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.

February
21

Staging Tips: How To Stage Your Kid's Room

Staging Tips

Selling a home while living in it can present challenges, especially if you have children. Potential homebuyers with kids may appreciate your special décor in the kids' rooms, but buyers without children may not relate. To attract more buyers, our real estate agents suggest home staging that removes personal touches and allows buyers to see themselves living in the home.

While it might be impossible to create a blank canvas in your kids' rooms, you can follow some staging tips that will interest buyers while they are looking at Lakeway homes for sale.

  • Declutter and Organize
    Kids' rooms are usually filled with books, stuffed animals, and toys that cause the space to look cluttered and messy. While older kids may be better at picking up their toys and straightening up their rooms, young kids don't pay much attention to either. Whatever the age of your kids, it's essential to declutter and organize their rooms before you show your home.
    • Organize books and stuffed animals on shelves or bookcases

    • Place school supplies in baskets or colorful containers

    • Buy a toy chest for larger toys and large essentials

    • Store train sets, dolls, and action figures in clear plastic totes

    • Organize clothing in drawers and closets

    • Donate outgrown clothing and toys to a local thrift store

  • Remove Theme Elements
    Many kids' rooms feature theme elements that can be overwhelming for potential buyers. Overloading the visual senses with things that don't appeal can send buyers right out of the room. Before you show your home, remove the Little Mermaid switch plates, Fairy Princess light fixtures, or Marvel Comic lampshades. Even if the potential buyers touring your home have kids, those kids might not have the same interests that yours have. If the room is painted with themed murals on the walls, consider painting over them or covering them with artwork or quilts that are less distracting to buyers.

  • De-Personalize the Space
    De-personalizing the space is another way to help buyers see themselves living in your home. Put away personal items in your kids' rooms like family photos, school yearbooks, sports awards and trophies, and personal drawings and artwork. Pack these items in a box or clear container and store them in the garage. A buyer should be focused on the home, not on the people who live in it.

  • Let in the Light
    If you're lucky enough to have several windows in your kids' rooms, open up the draperies or shades and let natural light into the space. Natural light instantly increases warmth and visual appeal in any room. If the room has small windows or no windows at all, consider adding a ceiling chandelier or pendant, wall sconces, or table lamps to increase brightness. Good natural or ambient light in a room makes the space feel larger, less cluttered, and more comfortable for daily activities.

If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in the area, contact us for available properties that fit your lifestyle and financial needs.

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
13

Oktoberfest: Beer Gardens Around Cedar Park

Cedar Park Beer

Oktoberfest, which begins September 18th, may have originated in Germany, but you can have lots of fun celebrating closer to home. Join our real estate agents and head to one of these delightful beer gardens near Round Rock homes for sale

  • The Good Lot - 2500 W. New Hope Dr., Cedar Park, TX 78613
    A family-friendly beer garden? No, it's not a dream. The Good Lot, which opened in July, was created to be a neighborhood hangout just down the street from Cedar Park homes for sale. Kids can enjoy yard games in the play area while mom and dad relax over a pint of beer or glass of wine. Enjoy live music on the weekends and open mic night on Wednesdays. Grab a bite from the Oink Mobile, a bacon-themed food truck. Hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon - 9 p.m. Sunday.

  • Hops & Thyme - 2125 Lohmans Crossing Rd. #400, Lakeway, TX 78734
    Oktoberfest is a perfect time to try a new beer. With 36 rotating craft beers on tap at Hops & Thyme, you're sure to find one you've never had before. The upscale food menu includes fresh, made-from-scratch items such as smoked pork belly lamb burger and drumsticks confit. Bring the family in after a day of touring Lakeway homes for sale for live music and lawn games. Hops & Thyme is open 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sunday with brunch served all day.

  • Whitestone Brewery - 601 E. Whitestone Blvd. #500, Cedar Park, TX 78613
    Ryan and Danielle Anglen, owners of Whitestone Brewery, take their commitment to the community seriously. They regularly conduct fundraisers for local charities that are near and dear to their hearts, such as the upcoming "Drive for the Dream" golf tournament on Saturday, October 16. The couple has also designed the brewery to be a comfortable, pet-friendly gathering place. Having your own Oktoberfest celebration? Order your favorite Whitestone brews online for convenient pickup in 30 minutes. Hours are noon - 9 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday, noon - 9:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and noon - 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  • Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co. - 13010 West Parmer Lane #800, Cedar Park, TX 78613
    Start and end your day at Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co., where they excel at "Coffee, Beer, and Good Vibes." Both beverages are brewed in-house, and they pair well with the sandwiches and salads that are also made fresh on site. On Friday nights, sit back with your choice of drink and enjoy some live music. Short on time? Order online for quick pickup. Red Horn is open Sunday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.

  • Hedgehog Brewing LLC - 3200 Woodall Dr., C-1, Cedar Park, TX 78613
    Brothers Chris and Jonathan Harris use Wild Hill Country yeast as the key ingredient in their unique farmhouse beers from Hedgehog Brewing LLC. Farmhouse beers feature a more rustic style with a pleasantly tart crispness. How can you resist brews with such whimsical names as "Need for Tweed" and "Hoptimism?" Their latest flavor, "Middleman," is a tribute to Marvis "Middle Man" Dixon, an icon of the local brewing scene. Hours at Hedgehog are 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday, noon - 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday.

Autumn is also a great time to buy or sell a home. Contact us at RE/MAX Capital City to get started.

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
23

Where to Go Fishing Around Central Texas

Round Rock Fishing

There are plenty of reasons our real estate agents love summertime in Central Texas, but we're especially fond of hitting the water for some fishing this time of year. If you happen to be in our neck of the woods, we highly recommend checking out these great fishing spots nearby! 

  • Meadow Lake - 2901 Settlement Dr, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Surrounded by the green spaces of Meadow Creek Park in the small city of Round Rock, Meadow Lake is a 50-acre reservoir known among locals for great bass fishing. Big largemouth bass up to 10 pounds have been pulled from the lake. Trails and picnic areas along the shore provide plenty of access, and boats are allowed as well, although outboard motors are prohibited. That makes Meadow Lake a great place to spend a morning casting from a canoe or kayak near these Round Rock homes for sale

  • Lake Travis - 502 Hurst Creek Rd, Lakeway, TX 78734
    Built in 1942, Lake Travis is an 18,000-acre reservoir along the Colorado River, not far outside Austin. It's one of the largest lakes in Central Texas and offers great fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill. Lake Travis is a long, meandering lake with an abundance of arms and coves that offer great fishing. City Park in the community of Lakeway is a great place to start exploring Lake Travis. Located a stone's throw from many Lakeway homes for sale, the park offers an abundance of open shorelines for fishing. 

  • Twin Lakes - 204 E Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park, TX 78613
    The two lakes of Twin Lakes Park in the Austin-adjacent city of Cedar Park offer a relaxed, laid-back fishing experience. Anglers have been known to catch bluegill, crappie, catfish, and bass from the lakes, which are accessible from shore and by a small fishing pier. Just minutes from some beautiful Cedar Park homes for sale, the lakes are also open to kayaks and other small non-powered craft.

  • Lady Bird Lake - 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St, Austin, TX 78702
    A beautiful, river-like reservoir in the heart of Austin near beautiful Austin homes for sale, Lady Bird Lake offers spectacular fishing and boating opportunities, as well as a splendid view of the city skyline. Catches of bass and sunfish are common, and some big catfish have been hauled out of the lake as well. There are a lot of overhanging trees and cattails along the shore that attract fish. Festival Beach Park in Austin is a great place to access the lake. It has a free public boat ramp and is part of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Paddling Trail. 

  • Onion Creek - 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744
    Accessible through McKinney Falls State Park, Onion Creek is a beautiful stream that tumbles through carved-out limestone and over numerous waterfalls. Many local anglers fly-fish for bluegill and crappie here, and the state park offers great creek access as well as overnight camping and a network of picturesque nature trails.

Contact us today to learn more about life in Central Texas and find out about all the adventures that await!

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!

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
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!

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.

January
20

Best Places Near Austin to Take a Hike This Year

Hiking Near Austin

Did you resolve to get more active this year? Many of us did! However, as 2021 unfolds, it's not unusual to find that life gets in the way. The good news is, it's easier than you may think to get some exercise without hitting the gym every day. 

Many of our real estate agents enjoy hiking on their days off. This gives them a chance to get out in nature and enjoy the fresh air while also keeping fit. Here are a few of their favorite hiking spots throughout the area.  

  1. Old Settlers Park: 3300 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
    There's something for everyone at Old Settlers Park! Get your steps in with their 3.3 miles of paved trails, or plan a fun day with friends or family at the disc golf course and picnic area. The options for outdoor fun are truly endless at this park near Round Rock homes for sale

  2. Mayfield Nature Preserve: 3505 W 35th St, Austin, TX 78703
    With a beautiful historic cottage, gardens, and a bluff that overlooks Lake Austin, it's no surprise that Mayfield Nature Preserve is a popular spot for weddings and photoshoots. Don't let the dressed-up crowds intimidate you! Once you get past the main area, there's so much to enjoy. There are 24-acres of trails here where you can wander around, hang out with the wandering peacocks, and visit the lily pond filled with turtles. This easy two-mile hike is the ideal way to unwind after a long day of exploring Austin homes for sale

  3. Mount Bonnell: 3800 Mount Bonnell Rd, Austin, TX 78731
    If you're looking for a bit of challenge, the steep climb up Mount Bonnell is always a great way to spend an afternoon. Every year, thousands of visitors climb 775 feet up the 106 stone stairs to the summit. Once you reach the top, you'll enjoy sweeping panoramic views of downtown, the western hills, and Lake Austin. Is this one of the most touristy things to do in Austin? Yes! Is it completely worth it? Absolutely! 

  4. River Place Nature Trail: 8820 Big View Dr, Austin, TX 78730
    For a real quad-burning challenge, head over to River Place Nature Trail. This is by far one of the most difficult hikes in the Austin Area. When you arrive, you'll find different trails to choose from, each of which gives you a completely different experience. If you're a nature lover, you'll enjoy Fern Trail, where you'll find a bubbling creek and a series of waterfalls. Canyon Trail features interesting rock formations. It also has a few benches where you can take a break if you need it. Located roughly 25 minutes away from Lakeway homes for sale

  5. Turkey Creek Trail: 1401-1711 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730
    If your furry friend enjoys walks, you'll want to head over to Turkey Creek Trail. It's one of the few dog-friendly trails in the area. This 2.5-mile hike offers the only off-leash area in Emma Long Metropolitan Park. There's plenty of space for your dog to run around and explore. Once you reach the top of the bluff, the trees thin out and there are sometimes wildflowers in bloom. This is the perfect Instagram-worthy spot to get some selfies with Fido. Roughly 25 minutes south of Cedar Park homes for sale

The amazing hiking trails are just one of the many things to love about living in the Central Texas area! If you're looking for a new home in the area, we can help. Contact us today to get started. 

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