Real Estate Information Archive


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Hacks to Make House Cleaning Faster

by Rebecca Shahan

Having a clean home is essential to selling your home. The cleaner your home is, the better chance you have of selling it faster and for more money. But it can be hard to stay on top cleaning your home. The little things add up over time. Stained porcelain, carpets, and stinky appliances all hurt your home's market value in the end.

The trick is to keep is simple. Get your house put back together with these house-cleaning hacks. No trip to the hardware store needed. You've already got what you need with these quick-and-easy house-cleaning tips.

Kitty Litter for Oil Spills

This old trick is a sure way to soak up oil in the garage. Buy the cheapest clay kitty litter you can find (the fancy stuff won't do any better for this trick).

Pour a thick layer on the stain, then walk on it to crush it into the oil. Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then sweep it up. Now your garage floor will be ready to show potential buyers.

Nail Polish to Stop Rust Rings

Those notorious rust rings will really detract from the beauty of your porcelain sink. So if your metal cans of shaving cream leave orange rings on your sinks or bathtubs, paint the bottoms with clear nail polish. Now when you put down the can, there's a layer of protection between it and the surface.

Vinegar for Hard Water Spots

Hard water spots can be, well, hard to get rid of, even with regular cleaning. White vinegar to the rescue! Douse a rag, then wipe the stains away. If the stains persist, let the rag sit directly on them for several minutes, then buff the area with a clean, dry towel.

Alcohol to Remove Nail Polish from Carpet

Spilling nail polish on the carpet has sent many a homeowner into a panic. Don't seat it. Some rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth will do the trick.

Rubber Gloves for Pet Hair

If you're tired of finding pet hair on carpet and upholstery, here's a fast, green fix. Run a rubber glove over the material. The glove creates static, so the hair clings, instantly transferring from the fibers to the latex. Wash off the glove, and use again it every time things get hairy.

Toothpaste to Fill Small Holes in Walls

Need a super quick way to repair small holes (less than 1/4 inch) in the wall? Fill them with toothpaste. Smooth it on with a putty knife (a wooden ruler or playing card works, too), and rinse it with a damp cloth to remove the excess. Then paint over the toothpaste — or, if you're lucky, your toothpaste might actually blend with your wall color.

Lemon for Stained, Stinky Microwaves

Lemons. We love them in lemonade and Sidecars. But they also cut stinky, burned-on food in microwaves.

Here's the trick: Pour half a cup of water into a bowl. Slice a lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into the water. Then drop the lemon into the bowl. Microwave for three minutes, let stand for five. Remove the bowl, and wipe down the microwave. So easy!

Visit our blog every week for more real estate advice for Austin and Lake Travis. Selling your home in Lake Travis or Austin? Get a FREE Home Evaluation of your home's value 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.

Stage Your Home to Sell

by Rebecca Shahan

It’s time to sell your home! It’s an exciting time, and there’s plenty of things to think about. One of them is making your home more appealing to buyers in the Austin and Lake Travis real estate market. What can you do to bring the appeal of your home up to where it will sell faster and make more money? You may want to hire a home staging expert.  That’s a great idea, however can be expensive.  What can you do on your own to save money on staging your home to sell? You can do a number of things on your own without spending a ton of money.  Here’s a few tips that can help.


It’s a no-brainer that a clean home will sell better than a cluttered or dirty one. How far should you go in cleaning and decluttering your home?  You need to look past the daily clutter.  Go through everything and decide what is really essential.  The items that are not critical can go in storage or be donated or sold.  This serves two purposes – selling your home faster and making your inevitable move faster. Your home needs to sparkle and be as clean a slate as possible so buyers can envision it as their home.  And that’s important to remember. This will be their home, not yours.

Curb Appeal

What do people think when they drive by your home? Take a hard look at the outside of your home and see what needs attention. You really can judge a book by its cover when it comes to real estate. Many times, buyers will drive by a home before they even schedule a showing. Make sure they don’t just drive by.  You should make sure the yard is well cared for.  Add a fresh coat of paint to the siding and trim.  Polish or replace dull hardware.  Clean the walkways and driveway. Also think about investing in new roofing if it’s showing its age.

Do a Walk-Through

You may be used to how your home looks, but buyers are not. How does your home really look to people? Walk through your home with a friend or your real estate agent and examine it with a fresh perspective.  Look at both what needs cleaning and what needs changing. What can be changed to make a room look larger? Could you change a solid door with a French door to let in more light? Do the kitchen cabinets need new hardware? Every change you make can have an impact.

Other things you can look at in your home are making sure your foyer is clean and clutter free, making the rooms more generic and versatile, find ways to let in more light, cleaning the fridge and organize the cupboards.

If you need help deciding what you can do to stage your home, we can help. And make sure to check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice. Also feel free to take advantage of our Home Valuation to get an instant market valuation for your Austin area home.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3