Archive | October, 2011

Procrastination is the Thief of Time…And Money! Don’t Delay Home Maintenance

15 Oct

“Procrastination is the Thief of Time!

Did your mother ever shove this saying in your face when you were a kid and procrastinating on tackling your homework?

Well, Momma was right!

And it turns out home maintenance is no different from that homework you avoided.  The procrastination will cost you more time, stress, and MONEY in the end!

So many of my Sellers in the Austin Real Estate Market get overwhelmed when it is time to sell, and they are preparing their property for the market.  They feel like there is a list a mile long of things they need to do to get their home sold.

Unfortunately, the reality is, even with all this work invested, many times Sellers aren’t even doing anything extraordinary that places them above and beyond the competition; rather they’re just getting caught up on a lot of deferred maintenance!

Save yourself the hassle!  Don’t put off general home maintenance until something breaks and costs you even more money, or you are in a panic trying to GET YOUR HOME SOLD!  Instead, stay on top of your home’s maintenance; that way, when it is time to sell, you can put your time and dollars into ‘extra’ projects that will make your home shine and GET SOLD for TOP DOLLAR!

TO DO (To Get it Done!) Fall List: Protect Your Austin Home

13 Oct

Now that you don’t feel like your skin is going to melt off every time you step outside of your property in Austin, TX, this is the perfect time to tackle a few household projects.  (Don’t forget the Importance of Maintaining Your Property.)  Here are a couple starter projects to get you on your way:

1Caulk: You know, that sealant that keeps moisture on a rainy day out, also stops air leaks that lets your heating and cooling escape. When we have had a year like this, where extreme  dry conditions pervaded it is time to “touch up” around the home. Review areas around windows, doors, and any openings that are entry or exit areas for pipes etc. In most cases, you can touch up the caulk where it has opened up or lost some adhesion. In some cases, in might be better to take a screwdriver and carefully remove any real loose caulk, and then touch up.

2Do you ever bother to look at that outside Air Conditioning condenser? Hot dry climates pack dust in the fins, which causes loss of efficiency and could lead to failure. Get the garden hose out, make up a bottle of 50% water and Vinegar, spray the fins on the condenser and let sit for a moment, then carefully spray off the fins starting at the top and working downward.  Do NOT use pressure that bends the fins; you want good pressure, but not too much!  You will be surprised at the gunk that comes out!

Don’t forget your air filters on the inside: Hot dusty climates make change out every 30 days or so a must; other factors like pet dander, or fall cleaning can kick up a lot of debris in the home as well.

One trick that I have learned from the pros, is that most HVAC units have provisions for more than one air filter. You can buy the cheap fiberglass filters 5 at a time, and a couple of those nice pleated pollen filters too. Then, take the cheaper filter and put it first in the air flow, backed up by the pleated filter, this keeps the pleated filter from catching all the big stuff and choking up.  Change the cheap filter out in 30 days or so, and then change both out 30 days from that, as it helps the more expensive filters last longer and do their job with little waste.

3. Give your trees a ‘haircut:’ Walk around the home and look at any surrounding trees.  Remember to cut branches back 6 feet from the roof if possible to keep them from damaging your roof shingle.  (With the dry conditions and brush fires which have abounded in Austin, TX we should all take a hard look at our dead branches!)

4. Paint: If areas are looking thin or exposed, time to touch up now.  Water behind the paint causes many issues.  In general,  a good coat of paint reduces wood rot and deterioration of the exterior surfaces as well.

5. Do you know where your freeze protectors are for the outside hose bibs? They are cheap this time of year, but the price goes up as the cold front comes in (yes, think back really hard, and you’ll remember those frigid nights last year in Austin), have them on hand. You may be like me, and have to buy new ones each year as for some reason the dogs thing these are “chew toys” mounted on the outside walls.

 

Do you have a great home maintenance project idea or tip?  Please share in the comments below!  We’d all love to learn from you!

 

Now, STOP reading and start DOING!

*These Great Ideas Are Courtesy of Austin Pillar to Post!

Why Austin Rocks!

10 Oct

I am so lucky to say that I constantly run across articles showing that Austin is defying the National economic trends.  See for yourself!

Today is PAY DAY, but How Do I Stretch My Dollar?!

7 Oct

With the unsettled nature of our economy, everyone is trying to cut back, either to save and gain a greater sense of security in our uncertain world, or just to save for special purchases, like a home.  No matter the motivation, I thought these ideas might help stretch your paycheck!

  • Bring Your Lunch to Work – The average person spends $6 when they buy their lunch (I think it’s double that in Austin!) yet only $2 when they pack it themselves. That’s a potential savings of $20 a week or $1,040 dollars a year.
  • Durable over Disposable – Using products like sponges over  paper towels, or a rechargeable razor over disposable razor can save you up to $200 per year.
  • Hold an Annual Yard Sale –Get rid of all that household clutter, make a few bucks, and get to know your neighbors (Keep your eye out for neighborhood yard sales). Whatever you don’t sell can be donated to charity and used as a tax write-off. Or have a virtual yard sale on eBay!
  • Get a Library Card – As opposed to buying a book for $20,  or paying $100+/year for a movie subscription, get it for FREE!
  • Watch Those Utilities – Changing over to energy-saving light bulbs and low flow shower heads is a great start. Also, most utility companies offer a home audit you can complete online. If not, go to http://hes.lbl.gov for a virtual inspection of your home. There is no need to throw away money on wasted energy!