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Rebecca Shahan

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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.  

How to Fix Pet Damage

by Rebecca Shahan

As much as we love our furry companions, we don't love the damage they can cause to our home. Even if you take every precaution, there's always going to be some marks left behind from our pets. If you plan to sell your home in Beaufort County, or just want to keep it in top shape, there are ways to keep on top of damage that happens over time with pets. Here's a few tips that can help repair costly damage.

Wood Flooring

Hardwood floors are usually sealed with polyurethane that can be a barrier for stains, but that seal can't completely protect against urine stains or scratches.

For light scratches, you can cover those with a stain-filled marker. Deeper scratches will need to be filled with a wood filler and sanded down.

When you re-stain the damaged area, start with the lightest stain you can, let it dry, then stain again until it matches the surrounding area. For larger areas that have scratch damage, you can sand the whole area and re-stain it, making sure to match the rest of the floor.

Repairing urine damage can be more difficult, due to the discoloration and smell. For lighter stained floors, sand the area and clean it with wood bleach, then refinish the area. For darker urine stains, you may have to replace the boards if you can't scrub it out.

Walls

Wall damage can be fixed, depending on the type of wall covering. If you have wallpaper, you may not be able to fix damaged areas as easily without replacing or removing the wallpaper altogether.

If you have sheet rock or paneling damage, you can fix these more easily. Sand the damaged area to remove any debris and make the surface smooth. Fill in any holes with spackle, using several layers depending on the level of damage. Make sure you let each layer dry completely before applying a new one. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying. Once you have area repaired, you can then cover it with primer and paint it.

Furniture

Sometimes dogs confuse wood furniture for chew toys. To fix wood damage, start by prepping the area by using a utility knife to score it with hatch marks, scraping away any frayed edges sticking out. Then use a bit of auto-body filler to fill in the damage. Apply the filler, let it dry a bit, then slice off the excess and reshape it. Sand it smooth once it dries completely.

Then you can mix colors of acrylic paint and coat the are with 2 -3 layers, giving it a wood grain appearance. Then cover with clear coat and rub gently with steel wool to give it the right level of shine.

The Yard

Lawns can be damaged by the nitrogen in dog waste. Watering your lawn regularly will help keep urine from soaking in.

The nitrogen in your dog's waste can cause quite a bit of damage to a lawn. You can reduce that damage by regularly watering the lawn to keep urine from soaking in. Raking your lawn in the Spring to remove debris and waste can also help. Sprinkle grass seed over areas that look bad.

If you follow these simple tips, you can keep you pet damage to a minimum and keep everyone happy.

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.  

Easy Home Maintenance Tips

by Rebecca Shahan

Everything breaks at some point, so dealing with unexpected repairs should come as no surprise. You might be tempted to call the handyman to fix everything. But that can be spendy. So why not try some repairs yourself? There are simple fixes to many problems and things you can do to prevent future issues.

Here's a few examples.

Toilets

If you suspect your toilet is leaking, you can add red water to the tank. Check the bowl in an hour to see if the bowl water is pink. If it is, there's a leak.

This is an easy fix if there is a leak. You just need to replace the flapper. To replace the flapper, shut off the water to the toilet, usually located on the wall behind the toilet. Empty the tank by flushing it.

Remove the flush chain from the lever, and then slide the old flapper up off the overflow tube. Slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube, reconnect the chain, and turn the water supply back on.

Faucets

Faucets usually leak because of worn out washers in the handles, as they're made of rubber and wear out. To replace them, shut off the main water supply, unscrew the leaky handle, and replace the washer.

Plumbing

Here are some things to watch for to keep your pipes clear:

  • Fat buildup is the main cause for clogged drains. Don't pour fat or oil down your drain. If you do accidentally spill oil or fat down the drain, run hot water along with a good portion of dishwashing fluid. The soap will emulsify the fat or oil and move it on down the pipe, preventing a clog.
  • Use a hair strainer in the bathtub drain. Hair is the primary cause of clogs in the bathroom. Make sure to remove hair after each shower from the strainer.
  • Drano isn't always the answer to a clogged drain. The acids in this type of product can actually cause damage to your pipes if used too much. Instead, first try a drain snake and pull the clog to the surface. If your kitchen sink is clogged, try plunging it before trying to snake the drain. If you cannot remove the clog using a drain snake, call a professional.

Air Conditioning

Its easy to forget about the air conditioner. But they can be costly to repair when they do go down.

Regularly inspect the condensation hose to make sure that water can flow freely from the line. If there is standing water around where your condensation line drains, create a drainage path using a small garden trowel and line the path with gravel to keep mold and algae from forming.

Also make sure the screen around your air conditioner is free of debris to keep the air moving freely. Also be sure to replace filters every few months.

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.  

Aquarium Safety In The Home

by Rebecca Shahan

You're thinking about setting up a fish tank you just got on sale, but you also remember some of the awful stories you've heard from friends or colleagues. The tank broke and caused flood-like damage. A leak from the tank caused a electrical short... the list could go on. Fortunately there are ways to be a safe aquarium keeper. Here's how:

Avoiding A Broken Aquarium

Aquarium glass is very strong, but it can break. To keep that from happening, start with a strong, sturdy stand. Keep in mind too that were you place your fish tank should be level or else too much pressure on the glass and seals can lead to cracks and breaks in the glass, and broken seals that can create any size of water leakages. Keeping the tank out of high traffic areas, and teaching children to not climb or hang on them, will also help you avoid damage. If you decide to move your aquarium, be sure that it is empty of as much water as possible. Even a partially filled aquarium can be risky to move. Removing sand, gravel or decorations is important as well, as they still add weight to the tank and decorations could thump around inside the tank and cause breakage. If you've bought the tank off someone, make sure to inspect the glass for any cracks or breaks in the plastic around the top and bottom and check to make sure the seals aren't yellowing, flimsy or tattered. These kinds of tanks are an instant disaster. Even if the seals and glass look fine, the tank should  filled up at least halfway to be tested before bringing it into the home for use.

Electrical Dangers

Electrical hazards can be a real threat. Old and frayed wires, a broken aquarium light or a damaged heater can be big problem for you, your family and your fishy friends. To keep water out of outlets or power strips be sure to use a 'drip loop' in all your equipment cords. 'Drip loops' are easy. Just let a cord hang down below the outlet and if water some how finds it's way down the cord, it'll just simply drip off the bottom of the loop. For cords going to a power strip, keep the power strip above ground about a foot so the cords drop below it.

Avoiding Equipment Hazards

The aquarium itself isn't the only thing that can be a hazard. Glass of any kind, like lids, heaters or decorations, can also be dangerous if not handled properly. A heater can roll off and crash onto the floor or cause a lot of damage if turned on before covered in the proper amount of water. When removing a lid, never lay it on the floor where it can be stepped on or lean it up against a spot where it can tip over and shatter. If cleaning decorations, take care with glass, or decorations made of other easily breakable materials.

When done properly, and with knowledge of the basics, an aquarium is a fun addition to the 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.  

 

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Halloween fun is just around the corner here in the Austin area. It time to get ready for fun, but also plan to make it a safe night for the young ghosts and goblins.

Here's a few tips to help your kids stay safe and happy during their trick-or-treating activities, along with local Austin Halloween activities that will provide a safe environment for the whole family.

Costume Safety:

  • Try to plan costumes that are bright and reflective.
  • Make sure that shoes fit well, as not all costume shoes are made to fit as well as regular shoes.
  • Costumes should be short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Add reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Masks can limit or block eyesight, so you may want to use non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
  • Make sure that hats fit properly so they don't slide over eyes.
  • Test makeup ahead of time on a small patch of skin to make sure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child's costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Decorative contact lenses are not safe. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as "one size fits all," or "no need to see an eye specialist," using decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. They can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Go over how to call 911 with your children if they get lost or have an emergency.

From House to House:

Children should never go trick or treating without a responsible adult. make sure everyone has a flashlight. If older children are going alone, go over their planned route and make sure it's acceptable. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

Food Allergies:

If your children have food allergies, this can be a tricky time of year. Make sure to examine candy your children bring home and carefully read labels. Make sure your child with allergies refrains from eating candy until you do so. If the ingredients aren't listed, arrange for a treat "exchange" with classmates or friends. Or, bag up the goodies your child can't eat because of an allergy and leave them with a note asking the "Treat Fairy" to swap them for a prize. Be aware that even if they are not listed on the ingredient label, candy is at high risk of containing trace amounts of common allergy triggers, because factories often produce many different products.

Also beware of "fun size" or miniature candies which may have different ingredients or be made on different equipment than the regular size candies, meaning that brands your child previously ate without problems could cause a reaction. Teach your child to politely turn down home-baked items such as cupcakes and brownies, and never to taste or share another child's food.

Here's some local Austin Halloween events for the whole family to enjoy:

Austin’s Halloween 2018

Boo at the Zoo

Howl-o-Scream

Boofest

Harry Potter Halloween Party (ages 8-18)

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween in Austin!

 

How to Keep Your Home Pest Free

by Rebecca Shahan

Pest control can be a costly endeavor. Once pests make your home their home, it can take a great deal of effort and money to get rid of them. But as they say, and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can save money and keep your home free of pests if you take some preventative measures.

Here's a few tips to help you repel pests and save money on pest control. The goals are to reduce the amount of pests that can feed and breed inside your home, and eliminating conditions in your home that invite them in the first place.

Plants and Mulch

Don't let pests build a bridge to your home. Keep the shrubs and branches trimmed back from the house. Try not to lay wood mulch and pine straw near the foundation as this also makes a great home for pests. Use rock or stone, which is less attractive to pests.

Doors and Windows

Cracked or warped doors and windows are vulnerable to pests. Inspect doors and window and repair anything that is warped or broken, along with fixing ripped screens. Use a screen mesh sizes of at least 200 holes per inch to keep out pests.

Cracks and Gaps

Check the foundation and other areas of the house for gaps and cracks. Check the foundation, loose siding, missing roof shingles and anywhere pests can enter. Seal and openings with copper mesh, coarse steel wool, sheet metal or mortar. Try not to use caulk, as many pests can chew through it.

Trash and Litter

Pests love trash. If your trash isn't sealed, it can be a perfect breeding ground for insects and mice. Also keep the area around trash cans clear of debris. Make sure to keep your yard and outside areas free of litter, weeds, and standing water.

Drains

Gunk and debris can accumulate in drains and make a great place pests, especially small flies, to breed. Inspect all of your drains to make sure they're clear.

Stored Foods

Make sure to seal opened food. If you can't completely close a food container or bag, such as bread, put it in a resealable bag. Dispose of old or out of date food, and make sure to use older food first. This will reduce the chance of attracting pantry pests.

Cleanliness

Keeping your home clean is not only better for your health in general, it will also reduce the attraction for pests.

It may not be possible to make a home 100% pest proof, but if you follow these tips, you can reduce the chances of having to eliminate pest problems in the future.

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 Tips For Starting Your Home Search

by Rebecca Shahan

Buying a home can be both an exciting and frustrating time. There's a great many things to think about and line up for a successful home purchase.

What are some basic steps you can take to reduce the frustration and guide your way to success? 

1. Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is more and more becoming a crucial first step in the home buying process. It's a relatively simple thing to do, yet it gives you so much power in return.  It not only shows the seller that you mean business, but it also let's you know more exactly what you can afford.  In the end, it saves everyone more time and helps you more quickly find the right home for your budget.

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

What do you really want versus what you really need in a home? Is that farmhouse sink really your key to happiness? Is a two-car garage a must, or can you deal with a smaller garage? Can that man cave wait for a later renovation or do you need it right now?

Before you begin your home search, write down all the features of a home you want, then categorize them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This way you can keep focused on what's really important in a home.

3. Research Neighborhoods

The neighborhood can be just as important as the home. You can find a home that fist all your needs, but if it's in a neighborhood you don't like, that can ruin it. Make a list of things you want in a neighborhood, factoring commute times and schools, shopping, etc. 

Then explore neighborhoods that fit your needs. You can also look up crime stats and other important information to make sure the neighborhood you chose is also safe.

4. Stick With a Particular House Style

Decide what home style works best for your family and stick to that when searching. This will keep you from touring homes that won't fit your needs.

For example, if you have kids and want your bedroom on the same level, stay away from Cape Cod styles, as they usually have the master bed on the main floor and the other rooms on the upper level.

5. Document Your Home Visits

When you visit homes, write down what you love and don't love about each one, as features will start to bur together. 

If you take these few steps, you can get much closer to finding the home that fits your needs.

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.  

Upcoming Austin Fall Festivities

by Rebecca Shahan

Fall is underway in Austin, and so is the fun! You can always rely on Austin to bring a great time, toe tapping music, and amazing food. Here's a few events coming up over the next month that you don't want to miss.

10/13/18
Oktoberfest
German Free School

Join the German-Texan Heritage Society for this annual festival. You'll enjoy live music, delicious German food, a biergarten, fun activities for the kids and more.
www.germantexans.org

10/18/18 - 10/20/18
Banger's Oktoberfest
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden

Come celebrate the taste and sounds of Germany with one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in town. There will be three days to eat, drink, dance and play to your heart's desire at this unfoirgetable party on Rainey Street.
www.bangersaustin.com

10/19/18 - 10/21/18
FORMULA 1 United States Grand Prix
Circuit of The Americas

Drivers from around the world will be in Austin to compete in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas track. Thrill to three days of racing, camping, live music events and more - including headlining performances by Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder for ticketholders. 
www.circuitoftheamericas.com/f1

10/25/18 - 11/1/18
Austin Film Festival
Paramount Theatre & Various Locations

This is one of the top film festivals in the country, featuring both top-billed films and indie films. 
www.austinfilmfestival.com

10/27/18
Viva La Vida Festival & Parade
Downtown Austin

The Mexic-Arte Museum brings you Viva La Vida, Austin’s largest and longest-running Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. This festival is also one of the few in the country with a parade, featuring a Grand Procession, hands-on art activities and artist demos, and a celebration with traditional foods, local artist and retail booths, a low-rider exhibition, live music and performances throughout the day.
www.mexic-artemuseumevents.org

10/28/18
Austin Symphony Orchestra Presents: Halloween Children's Concert
The Long Center for the Performing Arts

Introduce your children to the world of live orchestral music with this Halloween Children's Concert. The concert hall will be decorated top to bottom to enhance your little one's concert experience. 
www.austinsymphony.org

10/31/18
Texas Fireworks Dia de los Muertos Celebration
Kreig Baseball Field

Light up your Halloween night with pyrotechnics at Kreig Softball Fields, presented by Planet K.
www.planetktexasfireworks.com

Have a fun time in Austin this month!

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.  

 

Home Repairs You Should Never Do Yourself

by Rebecca Shahan

Owning a home can be a pain at times. Home repairs can be expensive and at times, highly inconvenient. It might seem like a good idea to do a DIY on that annoying repair, but some fixes are better left to the pros. Here's a few examples for you to consider.

Electrical Repairs

Electrical repairs are at the top of the list. You might think calling in your relative or friend who's a "great handyman" to do the repair for you, but often that can cause more problems or dangers than it will solve. Electricians can be expensive, but that is because they've spent many years studying and training to get the job done safely for you and them.

Basement Makeover

A basement renovation might seem like a dream come true to a DIYer, but the basement is a very important part of a homes structure and mistakes, some possibly fatal, could occur. Even if it isn't fatal, it could wind up costing you far more than you bargained for.

Fun with Plumbing

Plumbing issues. Not a whole lot of fun to deal with one every day, leaving you tempted to take care of it yourself. You might think too, that plumbing, along with simple electrical repairs will be a walk in the park, but a fix done wrong can cause serious damage. To your home and wallet. So try calling a plumber. Why else are there at least a dozen in every town?

Gas Appliances

When it comes to gas appliances it could literally be an explosive situation if an appliance is not fixed and reconnected correctly during a repair. Similar to electrical repairs, if not done right, you could cause a leak, which could create major health problems and even a fire or explosion in your home or worse. So when it come to your gas appliances, don't DIY. Call a professional.

When it comes to health, safety and caring for your home, erring on the side of caution is always the best option.

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.  

Prepare Your Garden For Winter

by Rebecca Shahan

When it comes to keeping your house looking good, your garden is an important factor, and fall can be a particularly messy season. There are many things to consider when preparing your garden for fall. Here are a few tips to get things started.
 
 Removing Dead Plants
 
 Start with removing plants that are infested with bugs and disease. You don't want these problems festering over the winter. It is not recommended to dump these plants into the compost pile. If you're able, burn them, or bag them for trash.
 
 Trim Your Perennials
 
 When trimming your perennials, try not to cut them down further than 4-6 inches. As well, don't cut them before the first frost, and the plant is dead for the season, so that the energy stored up in the stalks can flow back down to the main root system, where is stays until the spring.
 
 Leave the Pretty Plants
 
 If you don't want your garden to look barren during the winter, leave plants that look pretty and will stay stable through the winter as they are. They could also prove to be important to next years critters such as butterfly eggs and early bird nests. 

Remove Messy Leaves

 
 Not only will your yard and garden look better without a layer of leaves, but it will also help keep your plants healthier and safe from rotting and harboring bugs and disease. Make sure to remove all the weeds too, before the ground gets to hard to work with.

Putting Down Compost Cover
 
 Keeping your ground healthy with a layer of compost is one way to ensure your plants are a happy and that your garden stays looking great. Putting down a layer of compost up to 6 inches will help the ground replenish necessary nutrients. a good choice for compost is composted manure or something with a balance of green and brown matter.
 

With these tips in mind enjoy your time in the garden!

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 11-20 of 177