Articles Tagged "first home"

July
18

Maintenance Tips for Your Water Softener

water softener

A household water softener can be an appealing feature to buyers searching for Round Rock homes for sale. Hard water tastes harsh, causes scale and buildup on fixtures and dishes, and can shorten the lives of appliances. But having a water softener requires some maintenance if you want to get the most out of it during its lifetime. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for keeping your water softener in good working condition for as long as possible.

  • Check Salt Levels Once a Month
    Salt is one of the things your water softener needs to do its job, so to properly maintain it, you'll need to refill the salt when needed. This isn't something you'll need to call a professional for, thankfully. With a properly working water softener, you should only need to refill the salt every couple of months, but you'll want to open up the brine tank at least once a month to check the levels, especially if you're using more water than usual. Unless the manual or the markings on the tank state otherwise, the tank should always be about half full of salt. If the level is lower, refill as needed.

  • Inspect the Tank for Salt Bridges
    Salt bridges are formations of salt inside your tank that prevent the water softener from doing its job properly. When you check the salt levels every month, you will also be watching for signs of salt bridges forming, such as salt levels that appear to never go down. To break up a salt bridge, pour hot water over the salt and then use something, such as a broom handle, to push the salt buildup down into the water. If you get a lot of salt bridges, it may be from using cheap salt, or it may be an indication that your water softener is in need of professional maintenance.

  • Clean the Brine Tank Once a Year
    Your water softener doesn't require a lot of maintenance, but you do need to clean the brine tank about once a year to keep it at peak performance. For your convenience, you can wait until the softener is almost out of salt before cleaning it. Dump the water and salt, scrub out the tank with dish soap and water, and then pour a bleach solution into the tank and let it sit for a little bit before dumping and rinsing. Once that's finished, you can reattach the tank and refill it with salt and water. Let the salt and water sit for a couple of hours before starting a regeneration cycle.

  • Watch for Signs of Trouble
    In addition to the regular maintenance mentioned here, it's important to also keep an eye on the quality of water in your home. If you start to notice signs of hard water, such as scale or buildup on fixtures and in appliances, in sinks and bathtubs, or in your water kettle and bathroom cup, it may be a sign that the water softener is no longer doing its job. Also, watch for tiny particles called "fines" in your water, which may signify that the resin in your water softener is getting old and breaking up. If you notice these signs, it may be time to have a professional check out your water softener.

Installing and maintaining upgrades such as a water softener can make your home more appealing to buyers when it comes time to sell. For more information about easy ways to boost your home's value and saleability, contact us today.

May
23

How to Create the Perfect Reading Spot

Reading at Home

Getting lost in a good book is a great hobby many people enjoy! Creating a peaceful space in our homes that is free of distraction where you can curl up with a good book is essential to our mental health and an excellent way to achieve mindfulness. It's also essential for kids to have a quiet place to read and learn.

Sure, there are many parks in Central Texas you can take your favorite summer reads to enjoy, but there's something special about reading at home and customizing your home to fit your favorite hobbies.

Creating reading nooks can also be a lot of fun as they make for stylish home accessories. Looking to add a reading nook to your home? Here are some tips from our real estate agents:

  • Make Use Of Unused Corners
    A reading nook doesn't have to be elaborate. If you have an unused corner of a bedroom, simply add a comfortable chair, lamp, and table for the perfect reading nook. You may also want to prioritize bedroom corners located near windows in order to maximize natural light. Some of our favorite Rock Round homes for sale have comfortable reading areas in the corner of the bedroom.

  • Place A Bookshelf Nearby
    Adding a small bookshelf to your reading nook helps to keep your favorite titles within reach, and it also allows you to show off your reading collection. Displaying books is easy -- you can invest in a small bookcase or install a floating shelf on the wall.

  • Create A Nook Under The Stairs
    Living space underneath the stairs is often underutilized. Since this area is often somewhat cozy by design, it can be a great opportunity for a reading nook. Just add a couple of chairs, pillows, and lamps, and you've got yourself a comfortable place to read.

  • Go Outside
    We often think of reading nooks as cozy indoor spaces, but you can also create one outside in the spring and summer. Perhaps you have an unused area of the deck or patio where you can add some comfortable seating and pillows. Gardens and greenspace also make for peaceful, private reading areas.

  • Transform A Closet
    Some homes have excess closet space that can really be put to good use. If you have an extra walk-in closet that you're struggling to fill, you may be able to turn it into a reading nook. If it's large enough to support a couple of pieces of furniture, you can nicely stage the space.

  • Keep It Fun
    Your nook should be a place that also inspires creativity. Hang your favorite art on the wall, and add some creative furniture or a statement piece that really speaks to your personality. It could be a nice antique table or your favorite knick-knacks. 

  • Make It Comfortable
    Comfort is the single most important element of any reading nook. No matter where you decide to build your space, you want it to be comfortable. Invest in a nice oversized chair, good pillows, and a soft blanket. our reading nook should be a place you long for after a stressful day.

Customizing your home is part of enjoying homeownership. Contact us today for more interior design tips and tips on finding the perfect home for your needs.

April
4

Clean Your Home Faster with These Tips

Cleaning Tips

Spring is here, which means so is spring cleaning. You don't need a whole day to clean your home as there are tricks that shorten the cleaning time. Whether you want to get it done quickly so you can relax or you need to get ready for a showing fast, our real estate agents have some shortcuts to get your house sparkling in no time.

  • Organize Clutter
    A clean house is characterized by clutter-free rooms. Don't wait until cleaning day to pick up toys and other items lying idle in the house. Instead, pick up clutter every day, so you have an easier time tidying up when cleaning the home. Another idea is to have storage areas for everything in the house. Laundry baskets and containers are some inexpensive storage solutions that shorten the tidying time.


  • Use Vinegar on Hard Water Stains
    Hard water stains on tubs, faucets, and glass shower doors can be hard to remove. Luckily, vinegar has an amazing ability to remove these stains, and you can use whichever type you have, including apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, or cleaning vinegar. Spray the vinegar on any surface with hard water stains and leave a rag doused in the solution on any stubborn stains.


  • Clean Your Microwave with Lemon
    Cleaning the microwave is a daunting task, and many people procrastinate on cleaning it, giving grime more time to accumulate. However, all you need are fresh lemons to break down your microwave's gunk.


    Fill a bowl halfway with water and set it aside. Slice a fresh lemon in half, press the juice into the bowl, and drop both halves in the water as well. Leave the bowl in the microwave for about five minutes to let the lemon's acidity and steam loosen and dissolve the stains.

  • Use Multi-Purpose Cleaners in Bathrooms
    If you use several products to clean your bathroom, you will be amazed at the amount of time you save by using multi-purpose cleaners. These cleaners eliminate limescale, soap scum, and bacteria from various bathroom surfaces, including tubs, showers, mirrors, and shower doors. The cleaners are budget-friendly and versatile as you only need one powerful solution for a fresh bathroom.

  • Make Laundry Day Easier
    If you always dread laundry day because of overflowing hampers, try to do a little laundry every day or every few days to make things less overwhelming. This strategy works exceptionally well in busy households with children.

    Another tip is to use divided hampers, so you don't have to sort everything when you do laundry. Let family members know where to place dark and white pieces and delicates. Sock bags for each household member is another great idea if you don't want to sort through mismatched pairs.  


  • Carry Cleaning Supplies in a Tote or Apron
    Running back and forth to get cleaners, brushes, and rags on cleaning day wastes time. Instead, wear a kitchen apron with pockets to carry supplies around and shorten the cleaning time. You can also buy a plastic tote to keep cleaners, cloths, disinfectants, and other cleaning supplies. Keep this tote in a locked cabinet to restrict access to children.

Learning how to clean and disinfect your home fast can make your life easier. Contact us today to explore sparkling clean Cedar Park homes for sale.

January
3

Your Guide to Moving in 2022

Moving into a new home can bring up mixed emotions. Surely you'll be excited to settle into a new space and start decorating. But you might also feel a little overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities, from packing to assembling furniture. The more prepared you are, the less overwhelming moving will feel. Our real estate agents have watched a lot of clients move, and they have some excellent tips to share below. 

  • Make a Budget First
    Moving can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to keep costs down. You can pack yourself instead of hiring movers. You can reuse boxes rather than buying them. The best way to make sure you don't overspend, though, is to set a moving budget from the get-go. This way, you can make choices that fit into your budget every step of the way.

  • Get Rid of Extras Before Moving
    The longer you've lived in your current home, the more "extras" you've probably accumulated. Rather than spend time and money taking all these extras to your new home, get rid of them before your move. Donate items that are in good shape to local charitable organizations, or sell them. Recycle or discard items that are broken or too worn out.

  • Create a Checklist
    Moving can feel like tackling an endless number of tiny tasks, from buying packing tape to calling utility companies. This tends to feel a lot less overwhelming if you create a checklist and check off tasks as you complete them. You'll be less worried that you might forget something, and you'll get a sense of satisfaction each time you check something off.

  • Label, Label, Label
    As you pack, label each box not only with its contents but also with the name of the room it belongs in. This will allow those who help you unpack to put boxes directly in the rooms where they belong. Your unpacking process will then progress a lot faster, and you won't waste as much time carrying things from room to room.

  • Pack a "First Night Box"
    The first night in your new home, you don't want to have to dig through 10 boxes to find the various necessities you need. So, pack a first-night box with just these essentials. Include basic toiletries, towels, a change of clothes, basic dinnerware and silverware, and your important paperwork.

  • Ask for Help Early
    Whether you hire a moving company or ask your friends for help, make these plans early. You'll have an easier time getting friends to help you if you ask for help before they have other big plans. Moving companies often book a few weeks out, so the sooner you book them, the more flexible they can be with scheduling.

  • Clean After Moving Out
    Wait to clean your current home until you've moved everything out. It's so much easier to clean thoroughly without furniture and boxes in the way. If you're short on time, consider hiring a cleaning company to tackle this task for you. 

  • Pack a Little at a Time
    Start packing a few weeks or even a month before moving day. Pack the items you rarely use first. Holiday decorations and out-of-season clothing are good examples. Work your way up to packing things you use more often.

As you look at various Georgetown homes for sale, don't let the idea of moving overwhelm you. Yes, moving can be a big job, but it's a job you can easily manage with the tips above. Contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent to help you through the home buying process. 

December
27

7 Reasons to Move to Williamson County in 2022

Move to Williamson County

As one of the fastest-growing areas in Texas, Williamson County offers many perks for residents. With a variety of new businesses, retail stores, and housing developments springing up, our real estate agents are seeing homebuyers rushing to Williamson County for a place to call home.

If you're looking for abundant job opportunities, great schools, and an affordable cost of living, take a closer look at Georgetown homes for sale in Williamson County. You'll find a comfortable lifestyle in a small-town community surrounded by natural beauty and resources. If you're considering a move, you'll be impressed with everything Williamson County has to offer.

  1. A Growing Economy
    In 2019, Georgetown was named the 7th fastest growing city in the United States. Since then, the city's economy has flourished with the growth of new businesses and homes, malls and shopping centers, restaurants, and movie theaters. Georgetown residents have great job opportunities with Williamson County Government offices, the City of Georgetown, the Georgetown Independent School District, Southwestern University, and St. David's Georgetown Hospital.

  2. Convenient Transportation
    Williamson County is home to major cities like Austin, Georgetown, Lexington, and Round Rock. Interstate 35, as well as 3 State Highways, provide convenient transportation by car to numerous nearby destinations. Public transit operates an inter-urban bus route between Georgetown and Austin that runs Monday through Friday two times each day. There is also a Metro Rail and Super Shuttle Service that services a variety of destinations.

  3. Low Crime Rates
    Williamson County is in the 89th percentile for safety, meaning only 11% of Texas counties are safer. Most area crimes include vandalism and property crimes that occur in business and industrial areas. Violent crimes are rare in Georgetown and nearby cities, with crime rates lower than 1%, far below the national average.

  4. Historic Neighborhoods
    If you're looking for a home in Georgetown, you'll find beautiful historic neighborhoods with Victorian architecture and old-world charm. Typical downtown Georgetown buildings on "The Square" are part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation dedicated to protecting the city's architectural heritage that dates back to the early 1900s. Recently named one of the best places to purchase a historic home, Georgetown currently has three National Register Historic Districts.

  5. Prestigious Schools
    Georgetown is home to a variety of prestigious schools. Founded in 1875, Southwestern University is the oldest liberal arts college in Texas. With a private, four-year undergraduate program, Southwestern offers 40 bachelor's degrees in the arts and fine arts, music, sciences, and professional programs. Georgetown elementary and high schools are part of the Georgetown Independent School District. Georgetown High School is a National Blue Ribbon Award school where the majority of graduates enroll in college.

  6. Community Activities
    Williamson County is home to wonderful community activities for people of all ages. Favorite outdoor destinations for camping, hiking, fishing, and swimming include:
    • Blue Hole Regional Park

    • Buescher State Park

    • Canyon of the Eagles Lodge & Nature Park

    • Horseshoe Bay

    • Lake Georgetown

    • Lake Victor

    • Plumb Creek RV Campground

  1. Scenic Natural Beauty
    ​​​​​​​Georgetown and surrounding areas in Central Texas are characterized by long, hot summers and cool, mild winters. Williamson County residents enjoy year-round natural beauty with abundant wildlife, green landscapes, and seasonal blooms. Georgetown's annual Red Poppy Festival celebrates the red poppy season in April, when red poppies flourish naturally. In Round Rock, the official daffodil capital of Texas, fields of daffodils can be seen in rural landscapes and along highways for miles.

For more information on homes for sale in Williamson County, contact us to view available properties and prices in desired areas.

December
6

December Home Maintenance Tips

December Home Maintenance

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

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

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

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

November
8

National Espresso Day: Barista Tips to Use in Your Home

Espresso Tips

November 23rd is National Espresso Day, and it's an opportunity to truly savor and appreciate the role coffee plays in our lives. Our real estate agents wouldn't make it through a day without it, and we're not ashamed to admit that!

In honor of the occasion, we rounded a few crucial tips and tricks for all you home baristas out there. Whether you're looking to up your pour-over game or want to brew the perfect latte in the comfort of your kitchen, these tips will help. 

  1. Use Fresh Beans
    All the high-end equipment and perfectly honed brewing skills in the world won't help you if you're using old beans. When you buy coffee, choose beans from a local roaster (we're partial to Mi Mundo Coffeehouse & Roastery here in Round Rock) and look for the roast date stamped on the bag. 

  2. Keep it Sealed Up
    As long as we're talking about freshness, it's worth noting that coffee beans start to lose flavor and freshness the minute you open the bag. Once you've opened your package of freshly-roasted coffee beans, transfer them to an airtight container, and store them away from light at room temperature. Contrary to popular belief, it's best not to keep coffee in the freezer if you plan to use it within the next few weeks. 

  3. Buy a High-Quality Grinder
    The convenience of having your beans ground when you buy them is tempting. But you'll get more flavor out of every cup if you grind the beans yourself right before you brew. It's also important to use a high-quality grinder. 

  4. Use a Scale
    Trying to eyeball the amount of coffee grounds you want to use for each beverage leads to inconsistent brewing. Use a scale so you can dial in the precise amount of coffee and enjoy a perfect espresso every time. 

  5. Experiment with Coarseness
    The coarseness of the grind impacts the flavor of the resulting coffee in a big way. For espresso, a very fine grind is usually best. But if you find that your espresso machine takes too long to brew or that the resulting espresso tastes bitter, try a slightly courser grind. If you're simply making coffee using a French press or pour-over method, a courser grind is best for eliminating bitterness without losing flavor.

  6. Don't Use Hard Water
    This is one of the most common mistakes home baristas make. Hard water can potentially add off-flavors to your espresso, but that's not the biggest problem it causes. More importantly, hard water leaves scaly mineral deposits inside your espresso machine, which can be very difficult to clean. 

  7. Brew at the Right Temperature
    Water temperature is crucial to extracting all the desirable flavors from coffee beans without scalding them. For espresso, the ideal water temperature is 190 to 195 degrees Fahrenheit. For making pour-over coffee, the ideal temperature is 195 to 205 degrees. No matter what kind of coffee beverage you are making, the water should never be boiling. 

  8. Keep Your Equipment Clean
    After making espresso, clean your espresso machine like you're a barista who just got done serving the morning rush. It's easy to put this off until tomorrow, but the longer you wait to clean up, the harder it will get. Leaving equipment dirty is not only a health hazard but can also shorten the lifespan of your precious coffee gear.

Here in Round Rock, we're lucky to have some truly amazing local coffee shops convenient to these Round Rock homes for sale. For coffee lovers, it's a perfect place to call home. Contact us today to learn more about life in Round Rock, TX!

October
18

Cozy Season: Home Updates Perfect For Fall

Cozy Home

Cooler weather, sweaters, and pumpkin flavors...what isn't there to love about the fall? The cozy feeling of autumn weather makes this time of year a favorite among our real estate agents. Most of us will be spending more time indoors over the next several months, which is why we love making our homes as warm and comfortable as possible. If you're in the market for one of these Round Rock homes for sale, it's a great time to start thinking about the cozy upgrades you can make once you move in. Below are some ideas to help you get started:

  • A Hammock Chair
    Looking for a cozy, comfortable place to read a book or drink your coffee in the morning? Add a hanging hammock chair to the corner of any room to create the perfect nook. These chairs are easy to install, and you can cover them with a blanket or a pillow to make them extra comfortable.
     
  • A Large Bean Bag Chair
    A bean bag chair is another cozy seating option for a reading nook. They're comfortable, easy to adjust, and conform to your body for ultimate comfort. Place one in the corner of your room or near your favorite window.

  • Indoor String Lights
    Few things create a cozier vibe than a bedroom lit with string lights -- especially during a cold fall or winter. Run string lights horizontally across your ceiling, or line them vertically along the wall to provide some comfortable lighting tones.

  • A Comfortable L-shaped Couch
    Once cooler weather comes along, many us tend to watch more TV and movies, and an L-shaped couch is great for maximizing comfort. It really gives you the ability to comfortably lounge about instead of attempting to use the coffee table as a leg rest.
     
  • A Soft Bath Mat
    As soon as fall rolls around, the thought of taking a nice warm bath sounds even more appealing than usual. Cover your cold tile floors with a large, soft plush bath mat for maximum bathroom coziness.

  • Artificial Plants
    Don't underestimate the positive mental impact artificial plants can have on your mood during cold fall and winter months. Artificial flowers or trees can help bring a sense of nature indoors and can make for a great addition to your cozy room. 

  • Anything Velvet
    Velvet is so soft, warm, and smooth -- it's the ultimate cozy material. It's easy to add velvet elements into your decor. Try velvet pillowcases, furniture toppers, and curtains for the perfect cozy environment. 

  • Faux Fur
    If you really want to make your room comfortable and cozy, faux fur is the way to go. Faux fur blankets, slippers, rugs, and sweaters can help keep you warm all fall and winter.

  • Creative Book Displays
    Snuggling-up with a good book is the quintessential definition of cozy, so take some time to figure out a creative way to put your books on display. Turn a wall into a library with a large shelving unit and arrange them into unique patterns. Or, you can even create an end table for your reading nook out of your favorite books. The opportunities are truly endless!

Make sure your home is warm, comfortable, and cozy for the cold weather months ahead. For more tips on home upgrades, contact us today

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.

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