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How to Get Stains & Grease Off Walls

by Rebecca Shahan

You're getting ready to sell your home in Austin, and now you need to paint the walls and freshen up the place. But upon close inspection, you see all that grime and grease that's too tough to clean with a standard vinegar wash.

What are some ways to get rid of those grease stains, watermarks, and kids’ crayon and ink wall art?

Kitchen Grease on Walls

Kitchens are notorious for grease stains. It's almost impossible to keep grease of  the walls and cabinets. And of course, grease invites more dirt.

The solution is sitting right on your sink - dish soap.

For small stains, mix: 1/4 teaspoon of soap in a cup of warm water, and wipe. Rinse with clean water, and blot until dry. Clean stubborn grease stains with solution of 1/3 cup of white household vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Dirt and Grime Buildup

We don't need anything other than our own bodies to get oil on everything. We have it coming out of our finders all the time, and it builds up.

A wall eraser easily wipes away these stains. Wet the sponge and rub gently to avoid taking bits of paint off with the stain.

Or make your own homemade wall cleaning sponge:

  • 1 cup ammonia,
  • 1/2 cup white distilled or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • one gallon of warm water.

Wipe the solution over walls with a sponge (or cloth), and rinse with water.

Crayons

Here's another use for a wall eraser. But if that doesn't work, try this:

  • Rub marks with toothpaste (not gel).
  • Erase marks with an art gum or a pencil eraser; use a circular motion.
  • Swipe marks with baby wipes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub marks.

Permanent Marker

The word "permanent" certainly applies to markers. But you can still get rid of most of these marks.

Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and dab the stain. Or spray marks with hairspray, then wipe drips.

Ink

An interesting way to get rid of ballpoint ink is with shaving cream. But you can also use nail polish remover, or dry-cleaning solvents. Make sure you open windows when using cleaning solvents and polish remover.

Mildew

Mildew is a fungus that eats soap scum and body oil. To remove from walls, spray with vinegar water: 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 quart water. Also, try an enzyme laundry detergent; follow the pre-treating directions on the label. Blot it on the stain, and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Water Stains

After you’ve solved the problem that caused the water stains, rinse with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Thoroughly dry with a hairdryer or fans. If bleaching doesn’t remove water stains, you’ll have to repaint. Prime the walls with a stain-killing primer.

Find the home of your dreams in Lake Travis and Austin with our home search tool. Make sure to visit our blog every week for more helpful real estate articles and Lake Travis news and activities.

Attic & Basement Storage Ideas to Gain More Space

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you looking for more storage? Your basement or attic may be the ideal locations to create storage space. And more than just gaining space, you'll give your home more selling value.

Here's a a few ways you can get more storage in your home and free up space.

Conceal the Mess With Built-Ins

Built-in shelving is a great way to add more storage, and can be a DIY project. And if you don't feel like making them yourself, having a carpenter do it shouldn't break the bank.

Cover With a Curtain

If you don't have the time or money for built-ins, then you can use tubs or plastic containers. You can then keep them out of site by dividing a basement room in two with a curtain, giving a finished basement a dual purpose. It's also money-smart, because you'll get those finished-basement benefits without the wall-to-wall costs.

The key? Visual separation between the two. Science says clutter makes us anxious, so this basement storage idea suggests hiding the mess with a curtain. Choose a heavy curtain to keep out the basement chill.

Take Advantage of Rafter Space

Most people don't think about the rafters, but they can make for a smart storage solution. You can store lesser-used seasonal items on wall-to-wall shelves in the rafters. This will give you even more space for items you use more often.

Go Modular Beneath the Stairs

That behind-the-stairs space can be tricky to fill: nothing quite fits right. But this ingenious modular basement under stair storage idea fits any sloped space, no matter the size. Use wooden crates or build your own stacking boxes to fit all your storage needs.

Paint the back of the boxes to add color and interest, or to clarify whose stuff goes where. Bonus: If your kid knows the red-painted boxes are theirs, they'll be less likely to scatter stuff everywhere.

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.

Getting the Most Curb Appeal For Your Lake Travis Home

by Rebecca Shahan

If you plan to sell your home in Lake Travis or Austin, you're going to have competition, so you need all the edge you can get. 

What do buyers see first when they come to your home for sale? Obviously, the outside. And how your home looks from the curb can make ore break a sale.

What are some affordable and simple ways you can spice up your curb appeal?

Replace Old Hardware

Replace old hardware, such as door knobs and house numbers, with fresh new fixtures.

Makeover the Mailbox

If your mailbox is next to your home (not across the street), then you can spruce it up to compliments your home. Pick a box that reflects your home's trimmings. You can paint the post or surround it with flowers.

Add Planters

Place various potted plants on the front steps and patio accentuate you garden.

Outdoor Lighting

To add a little appeal to your home, you can add low voltage lighting along the walkways for a little flare.

Reveal the Architecture

Don't go overboard with plants and landscaping that can hide your home. Keep your landscaping back from the home to let it shine.

Pressure Wash the Exterior

This is a quick and easy makeover that will make your home shine.. A pressure washer can be rented at most hardware and home improvement stores, and are easy to operate.

Display a Wreath

Welcome buyers with a beautiful seasonal wreath on the front door.

Lay Out a Path

You can use river stones to make a curved pathway and add unique flair to your yard.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

A fresh coat of paint can liven up any home, especially if the current coat is fading or chipped, or the color is outdated.

Add Window Boxes and Shutters

Adding colorful shutters with window boxes with matching paint will liven up any exterior. You can also plant colorful flowers to make it stand out even more.

Line Up the Porch Chairs

If you have a porch large enough for a few chairs, make sure they're lined up. If you don't have matching porch chairs, it would be worth investing in a set.

These are just a few ways you can spice up the exterior of your home and drive a higher price on your home for sale.

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.

Staging Tips That Will Have Buyers Falling in Love With your Austin Home

by Rebecca Shahan

Staging a home for sale is certainly an important step in making sure you get more money from the sale. But you need to make sure you do the right things to make the most difference.

It's going to take more than just running a vacuum to get buyers to love your property. You need to de-clutter, repair, update, and more. Here's a few things to focus on to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

Living Room

  • Aim for symmetry when placing smaller accents, such as a pillows and table lamps.
  • Add more light. Fashionable lamps will add both light and a decorative touch.
  • Keep the fireplace clean. Remove soot stains and replace the screen.
  • If you decide to use staging furniture or slip covers, go for lighter colors to give an airy, inviting feel.
  • Reduce the amount of furniture to open up space.
  • Add bright coordinated accessories such as throw blankets and access pillows for more color.
  • Play a slideshow of beautiful images on your TV.

Kitchen

  • Make sure the counters are clear except for a couple of decorative items, such as flowers or bowl of fresh fruit.
  • Just display one set of dishes, along with other kitchenware. Reduce all kitchenware and cupboards down to a minimum.
  • A fresh coat of paint and new hardware will freshen and modernize your cabinets.
  • Take a close look at your appliances. Will a good cleaning make them look new again? Or do they need replacing? You can also use stainless films to give them a stainless steel look.
  • remove all refrigerator magnets and clean the door handles.
  • Scrub dirt, grime, and stains from walls, cabinets, and back-splashes.
  • Clean cabinet interiors, especially under the sink.
  • Give the pantry a good cleaning and organizing. Leave some empty space to make it look bigger. You can also store items in decorative baskets and add some fancy jams or other upscale condiments.
  • Empty all trash cans and move them out of sight.

Bedrooms

  • Make bedrooms gender neutral. Buyers have different family needs, so will help them see the rooms more as they need them.
  • Store clothes that are not in season to create more closet space.
  • Replace those mismatched hangers with a nice set of wood hangers.
  • Store jewelry and other expensive personal items.
  • Consider giving extra bedrooms a new identity as a home office, sewing room, or another interesting function.
  • Remove televisions or video game consoles from bedrooms to depersonalize and create a serene setting.

Staging your home effectively and focusing on the items that matter can make a huge difference.

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.

Making Your Home Appeal to Younger Buyers

by Rebecca Shahan

According to the National Association of Realtors®, first time home homebuyers are about 31 years in age on average? So it makes sense that when you sell your home, it will no doubt be to someone younger. It's been getting easier for young families and professionals to buy a first home. When it comes to staging your home to sell in Beaufort County, you need to keep the younger buyers in mind. Just like the generations before them, this generation has their won unique needs and wants in a home. How can you make your home appeal to this growing market? Here's a few tips.

Open Floor Plans

Younger buyers no longer want the formal setting of a dining room for entertaining. They want a more open feel that make entertaining easier. Rooms that flow together are highly sought after.

Working From Home

First time buyers are more likely to be working from home. They need extra space for a home office, even if they work from home part-time.

Low Maintenance

Young buyers already have plenty of bills: cell phone bills, cable bills, car payments, student-loan debt and more. Therefore, many don't ant to spend extra on landscaping and other high maintenance features, or old appliances that will soon need upgrading. Make sure your home is ready to move in and doesn't need a lot of extras.

Use Neutral Colors

Buyers under 40 are not really into the gold or pink walls any more. Think about painting the walls a more neutral color.  This will allow potential buyers to envision their own accent colors and furniture to make it their own.

Open Up the Shower

Open showers are all the rage. Younger buyers aren't as attracted to the old tub and shower configuration. If you have it in your budget, consider remodeling your bath to include an open shower design.

White Cabinets

White or off-white cabinets not only brighten up the kitchen, but the younger buyers are more attracted to it.  They don't want to be reminded of mom's old dark cabinets. You might try Benjamin Moore's Advance paint, as it requires little prep work.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Old appliances can be a big turnoff for younger buyers. Many love stainless steel appliances, and for good reason. If you have it in your budget, consider updating your appliances if they look dated.

Updated Countertops

Young buyers really love granite and stone countertops.  But keep it simple. Don't go with busy designs. Black countertops or designs that are simple are the best.

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.  

 

Furniture Arrangement Do's and Don'ts

by Rebecca Shahan

Today more than ever, getting a professional look in your home is essential for great interior design. To that end, there are do's and don'ts when it comes to making the right impression with your home furnishing.

Dos

Plush Pillows

Pillows are a simple and inexpensive place to start. Find decorative pillows that are soft and plush.  Down filled pillows will add a wow factor to any room. You can determine how your pillows will shape up by giving them a karate chop to the top edge to make them look less "blocky."

Space Around Your Furniture

Leaving space around your furniture makes your room look more inviting. You can create a more conversational space by placing furniture away from the wall, if possible. The best placement for this is between 4-8 feet from the wall.

The Right Light

Chose lights that are sized appropriately for the room. A light should adorn the room, like a fine piece of of jewelry will enhance a dress. buying the right lights will evoke the desired feel for a room.

Paint Colors Enhance the Look of a Room

Using the right paint color can make or break a room. You might ask a professional to help you find a color that brings out the best in your room.

An Appropriately-Sized Area Rug

The right area rug can bring your furniture together in a cohesive group. You should make sure your rug is at least large enough for the front legs of each piece of furniture in the grouping.

Don’ts

Over-Matching Furniture and Textiles

You should avoid over-matching furniture and textiles. Instead, try to make them relate. Chose pieces that have something in common, such as mood, material, history, color, motif or style.

Skimping on Drapery

When it comes to drapes, less is not more. It's recommended you should use fabric that's up to 3 times the width of your window. If you have fixed side panels, use fabric that's twice as wide as the window.

Isolate Rooms

Rooms should flow together. You can get this effect by linking adjacent spaces. Once way to do this is by carrying over an accent color or repeat a pattern from room to room.

Stopping Before the Layering Phase

This is another area where you can go overboard with matching. For example, if you have a patterned headboard in your room, you can repeat the pattern or color, but not both. Keep it subtle.

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.  

More Home Staging Ideas to Help Your Home Sell

by Rebecca Shahan

More Home Staging Ideas to Help Your Home SellLast week we talked about some simple home staging ideas to get you on the way to selling your home faster in Austin and Lake Travis. But those ideas only scratch the surface of all the ways you can improve the appeal of your home for sale.  What are some further ways you can get the edge on the competition? Here's some advanced tips that can help.

Bring Balance

Last week we talked about the importance of cleaning and de-cluttering. Now that you have a cleaner slate, it's time to selectively bring back some items that will add appeal to your home. You can use tasteful decor such as a vase of cut flowers, a bowl of lemons by the sink, or perhaps some fresh produce on the kitchen counter, preferably from a local Austin area farmers market.

Add Style to the Dining Room

The dining room often gets overlooked when it comes to decorating a home. Empty tables can look unwelcoming, so style it up a bit with a series of small vessels down the center of the table.  Try to stay away from one large item in the center as this can look too stiff and formal.

Look at the Floors

You should at a minimum clean all the carpets. How worn are your wood floors? If they show their age, you should get them refinished. And if you can't afford to refinish them, try adding some carefully placed area rugs.

Symmetrical Furniture

Symmetrical furniture placement usually works best. You can create a more inviting area by pulling furniture away from the walls to create a conversation area.

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 1-7 of 7

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