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How to Avoid Damage During Moving Day

by Rebecca Shahan

Most people imagine moving day with plenty of furniture disasters. They probably imagine damage to a piece of furniture that is special.

As unpleasant as that sounds, the damage could be much worse! When moving, you can inflict damage to your furniture – not to mention the walls and doorways of your new home – if you or the movers aren’t careful. But don’t worry – we have some helpful suggestions! Read on for the best ways to avoid damage to both your furniture and your new home during your move.

Protecting Your Furniture

Wrap your furniture in moving blankets, which will prevent nicks and scratches to your furniture (and walls) during your move. Better yet, you can easily stack furniture (like chairs) that are wrapped in blankets on top of one another without worrying about the furniture getting scratched.

You can use sofa covers to protect your furniture, which are fitted exactly to the size of the piece of furniture. Sofa covers, however, do tend to be more expensive than moving blankets.

Dissemble whatever pieces of furniture that you can, and make sure to keep track of the pieces that are needed to put it back together. Smaller items will be easier to move and least likely to scratch walls or door frames.

Flooring

Carpet film protector – think of it like clear plastic sheeting – is one of your best bet if you want to protect your flooring during a move. Carpet film protector, however, is not cheap, so be sure to check out a few more budget-friendly tips below.

Keep it cheap, and place carpet runners, throw sheets, large pieces of flattened cardboard paper or flattened cardboard boxes along your floor. It’ll make protecting your flooring so much easier!

Place felt pads on the bottom of chairs, sofas, and table legs. This way, you’ll still be able to move your furniture around without any of the heavy lifting.

Pro-tip: If it’s raining on moving day, make sure to not pack up your welcome mat! That way, your movers can wipe off their shoes before entering your home (and not dirty up the carpet in the process).

Walls

Certain corners in your home will most likely receive higher traffic than others – install corner guards to prevent furniture from getting caught on the corners.

Cover the walls with drop cloths to prevent scratches, holes, or dings from other pieces of furniture. You can even stick flattened cardboard to the wall and attach the cardboard with painter’s tape (which won’t peel the paint off the walls).

Door Frames

Best rule to follow: Measure twice, move once! Measure the piece of furniture beforehand to make sure that the doorway is wide enough to fit the piece of furniture that's being moved. Believe us, you’ll prevent a lot of nicks, scrape,  and scratches in the process.

Banisters and Railings

Banisters and railings are commonly in high-traffic areas and are very likely to get bumped or dinged. To help avoid damage, wrap the entire banister in bubble wrap, or even attach flattened cardboard to the top of the banister.

So, there you have it! With a a little bit of extra effort, your move should go more smoothly – and with minimal damage to your furniture and your new home.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

DIY Appliance Maintenance Tips

by Rebecca Shahan

Nobody wants to deal with appliances breaking. We rely on them more than we realize. And when they shut down, it can cost a good chunk of money.

With a little TLC, you can avoid appliance disasters and save yourself from the disasters that happen when appliance give up the ghost.

Here's a few DIY tips you can do yourself, without hiring a pro.

1. Oven Door Seal

Most people don't think to check the oven door seal, but if it's cracked or broken, it can lead to longer cook times, or worse. Check the seal around the door for any melted, torn, or broken areas. With the door closed and the oven on, check for leaks. If you discover any issues, replace the seal.

2. Check Range Hood Filters

Check the filter on the range hood and clean if needed. Replace charcoal filters. Metal filters can be washed by hand or dishwasher.

3. Clean Stove Top Drip Bowls

Pre-soak the drip bowls under your burner elements for 5 minutes, then wash them. Make sure to clean up spills right away so they don't burn into the bowls.

4. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Check for pet hair, dust, or dirt in the refrigerator coils, located behind the kick plate or behind the fridge.  These can be cleaned with a vacuum.

5. Change Refrigerator Water Filter 

Change the water filter on your fridge every 3 - 6 months, depending on how much you use it.

6. Repair Rusty Dish Rack Tines 

Check your dishwasher rack for rusty tines. If you find rust, it can be easily repaired with a sealant and replacement tips to cover the tines. This will keep your dishes and silverware form being ruined.

7. Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Check your garbage disposal for any stuck items. Make sure the power is off and do not use your hands! Pour a combination of ice cubes and salt, or vinegar down the drain, then run cold water for 10 seconds and turn on the disposal with the water still running. Never run the disposal without water. You can remove odors with citrus peels, or with odor removal packets sold in most stores.

8. Clean Dryer Exhaust

Remove the exhaust hose from the back of the dryer and remove any lint.  You can pull it out by hand or gently use a hanger. Vacuum before you re-attach the hose.

9. Check Washing Machine Hoses

You can prevent your washing machine from flooding by checking hoses for leaks. Check for cracks, leaks, or weak spots. As a rule of thumb, replace hoses every 5 years.

10. Clean AC Filters

Cleaning your AC filter every 2 - 4 weeks will increase your AC's life, as well as maintain efficiency. Vacuum reusable filters, and replace disposable ones.

If you follow these tips, you'll hopefully be able to avoid costly appliance repairs or replacements.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

5 Dos and Don't When Viewing Properties

by Rebecca Shahan

Touring a home can be a fun and exciting time. This is a new beginning for you and your family. There's a lot of things you need to take in and learn about the home's you're viewing.

There's more to viewing a home than just walking through it.  There's some things to remember when it comes to making mistakes that could upset the seller, and possibly cost you the purchase or hurt negotiations.

What are some ways you can stay on the seller's good side, while keeping focused on getting the most from your tour?

1. The fewer the better.

This isn't a party. Don't being a bunch of friends or relatives just to get their opinion. If they're purchasing a home with you, that's one thing. But sellers usually aren't too fond of large groups touring at once.

The more people you have with you on a tour, the bigger the chance of someone doing something that will upset the seller. Plus they can distract you from taking in important details about the property.

You should also try not to bring small children, as this too could be distracting, and possible cause problems with the seller.

If you absolutely need to bring other people with you on a showing, ask your agent beforehand.

2. You're being watched.

Sellers are usually curious about who's viewing their home, and for good reason. They still usually have possessions in the home they want to protect.  They also want to know what you're feeling are about the home. And that's easy enough to view with security cameras.

The rule of thumb is to just act as if the seller is a silent partner on the tour.  That should help you avoid doing or saying things that will negatively affect the sale if you decide to buy. Also keep in mind that the seller may not even be using a camera to watch you. They may be next door watching, or having a neighbor watching you.

3. Don't take photos

You may think that since everyone has a camera on their phone, that it's no big deal to snap photos on a home tour. But that's not so. You are on private property, and unless you've been given express permission by the seller, you should never take photos during a tour. It's an invasion of privacy and could also be against the law.

Just because the listing agent has taken photos and posted them online also does not make it OK for you to. The agent and seller have an agreement to take those photos, and they are approved by the seller before posting them online.

So if the seller allows you to take photos, don't post them on social media. You could hurt your negotiations and invade the seller's privacy. Wait until the house is yours and post all the photos your heart desires.

4. Do use your imagination.

Since most people don;t have the same tastes, you need to imagine how the home would look with your decorating tastes. Try to think of inexpensive ways to decorate it, such as painting and where you would locate your furniture.

Augmented reality (AR) apps on your phone are an ideal way of doing this, as they let you picture how the home would look if you buy it.

5. Don’t use the bathroom.

Would you want a bunch of strangers using your bathroom? It's fine to test fixtures and cabinets, but don't use the bathroom unless the seller says it's OK in advance.

Touring homes can be a fun and beneficial experience, as long as you mind your manners and show respect for the seller.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

The Ideal Golf Lifestyle Awaits in Falconhead

by Rebecca Shahan

If you're looking for luxury living in one of the prime golf communities in Texas, look no further than Falconhead.  Located between Lakeway and Beecave, Falconhead offers one of the finest golf courses in Austin, along with amazing homes set among the gorgeous views of the greenbelts, trails, and the beautiful country scenery. 

Falconhead is comprised of 3 mains sections - the original section located on the course with smaller homes, the Heights of Falconhead master-planned gated neighborhood, and Falconhead West.

The centerpiece of the community is the Falconhead Golf Club, designed by the PGA Tour Design Center. You'll find something for every level of golfing skill, with a daily fee course, junior golf classes, along with amenities that will suit the most discerning golfer.

Being close to Lake Travis, Bee Cave, and Austin makes Falconhead the ideal location for luxury living. Just next door in Beecave, you'l  have quick access to dining at great restaurants such as Café Blue, Verde's Mexican Parrilla, Tony C's Coal Fired Pizza, Los Pinos Mexican, and much more.

In Lakeway you'll also be close to outstanding shopping choices, like Hill Country Galleria and Oaks at Lakeway.  Dining options include spectacular restaurants like Sundancer Grill.

And of course, if you love water sports, nearby Lake Travis has everything you could want in a lake.

And you school aged children are in good hands with the LakeTravis Independent School District, with 5 elementary schools, along with two middle schools and one high school in the Falconhead area.

Homes are available in Falconhead right now, starting at less than $500k. Find the perfect golf course community home in Falconhead today!

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

 

Simple Fall Home Decorating Ideas

by Rebecca Shahan

Fall has arrived with all it's wonderful colors. But don't leave the colors outside, bring them inside and enjoy the beauty of the season in your home. Here's a few simple ideas you can do yourself to make the fall season come alive in your home.

Liven Up Store-Bought Fall Decorations

You can liven up a garland you buy at the store with bittersweet, fall foliage, or dried hydrangeas. Wrap them around door posts, then finish the look with pumpkins and cabbages on the steps and a pine-cone wreath on the door. Accent the wreath with leaves and flowers.

Mix Up the Colors

Orange may be the most popular fall color, but's there's so many more you can use. Mixing yellow and orange pumpkins with bright green is a great contrast.

Rustic Fall Mantel

  1. Wrap votive candle holders with twine several times, inserting a fall leaf in the twine.
  2. Place small white pumpkins on top of the votives. Use different amounts of pumpkins to make them different heights.
  3. Use a rope and attach an assortment of fall leaves to it with wire the create a garland, then attach it to the mantel with temporary hooks.

Floral Pumpkins

Using an awl or pointed tool, poke holes in a carving pumpkin. Insert mum stems until the entire pumpkin is covered.

White Pumpkin Wreath

  1. Buy a grapevine wreath from a craft store.
  2. Using an odd number of white pumpkins, attach them to the wreath using florist picks. Make sure they're spaced evenly.
  3. Fill in the spaces between the pumpkins with seasonal greenery such as smilax or bittersweet. Use more florist picks to attach them.
  4. Finish it off with a fall leaf assortment, attaching them with picks and wire.

Mumkins

Create a "mumkin" by carving out a pumpkin and insert mums.  Then fill smaller gourds with containers of pansies and place by the mumkin.

A Pumpkin Pile

You can make your own arrangement of tiny pumpkins by placing them on a side table. Just use your imagination to make an easy and casual display.

Pumpkin Candle Holders

Cut a 1-inch circle into mini pumpkins and scoop out the center to hold votive candles.

Give Your Pumpkins Spots

Gold metallic paint can really make your pumpkins stand out.

  1. Stick round labels on a pumpkin and trace the shape with a pencil.
  2. Remove the labels and paint inside the circles with gold paint.

With just these few ideas, you can make your home pop with fall brilliance this year.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Protect Yourself From This Email Scam

by Rebecca Shahan

Here's how the scam unfolds. You're getting ready to close the deal on your new home.  But right before you close the deal, you get scammed into sending your money elsewhere outside the U.S. You lose your money and the new house. And there's nothing anyone can do about it.

It's a dastardly scheme, and it's becoming more common. It's another version of the "business email compromise" scam. But instead of targeting businesses, they target home buyers closing on a home purchase.

This scam is especially destructive. It not only robs the victim of money, but it destroys dreams and lives as well. Some who have been victims of this scam have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, their dream home, and even their life savings.

According to the FBI, email compromise schemes are on the increase.  A company known as Proofpoint has been tracking email cybercrimes as well.  They report that this type of crime has reached a level 14 times higher than last year. So for now, this scam is not going away.

How does it work?

A version of this scam has been going on for some time. Malware is used to infiltrate the email account of a real estate professional. Once the scammer gains control of the email account, they can watch for upcoming transactions. And the owner of the email account has no idea they are being watched.

Then when the time arrives for the sale to close, the scammer will send an email from that hacked account to the buyer, claiming that plans have changed and that they need to wire money to a specified account. The email looks convincingly real, as it comes from the right address and is formatted in the same style.

Then the buyer wires the money. Now it's gone. That's that. The money is now out of the reach of U.S. law enforcement and banks.

Scammers are getting more clever, even following up with a phone call to the buyer.  They claim that they represent the title company or seller's law office to further convince them the wire transfer is legitimate.

Scammers are going to great lengths to sure up their craft, and it pays off, as the payout is immediate and far higher than other types of scams.

Long Gone

Why can't a victim of this scheme do anything about it? Because money is wired to another bank, you are the one who authorized it. It doesn't matter if you were fooled into sending it. The bank is not responsible.  This is different than when someone takes money from your account directly without your knowledge. And since the funds are sent overseas, there's basically nothing U.S. law agencies can do about it.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

First of all, don't panic. All you need to do is apply some basic common sense and caution.

Be vigilant: Make sure that you verify any suspicious emails regarding your transaction. Always feel free to call your real estate agent to verify emails.

Voice verify: The home buying process may already seem like a long process, but you must follow up emails with a phone call to the sender, especially if the email asks you to sign a document, log into a new website, send money, or give them any financial information. The basic rule is if you're in doubt, call the email sender.

Talk to your bank: Check with your bank to see if they will place restrictions on wire transfers from your account in the form of a voice verification or other checkpoint.

Don't immediately respond to email: If you get an email that requests some kind of action, regard it with suspicion and follow up with a phone call to the individual sending the email.

You can protect yourself from theft by applying some caution and common sense. It may take more time and effort, but it is certainly worth it.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6

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