Big Plans for Small Patios

July 15th, 2019

plans for small patios

With a long summer season full of warm weather, bright sunshine, and clear skies, many people are taking their evenings and celebrations al fresco. If you don’t want to keep your weekend get-togethers inside but feel like your patio isn’t well-designed or suitable to hold all of your guests, we have some ideas on how to make the most out of your space and bring in some fun elements to get people talking as well.

  1. There’s no such thing as too much storage. Let’s be honest, your backyard can just be a hodgepodge of outdoor tools and activities, which isn’t very inviting. Look into benches and seating that includes storage elements. It can stylishly hold all of the outdoor items you’ve collected and be used as added seating for your guests.
  2. Consider furniture that uses the space wisely. If you don’t have a patio that can suitably fit a large table for all of your guests or a bar cart that holds all of the drinks you’re planning to serve, look into furniture that is collapsible. It allows you to pull out the added length and width when you need it, and fold it away when you don’t.
  3. Brighten up the outdoor space. Whether you indulge your artistic side to paint the concrete in a beautiful design, add a fun outdoor rug, or bring in some bright throw pillows and blankets, this is where you can add unique touches that show off your style. Think outside the box as well. Consider hanging small planters and mounting others to the wall and fence. They bring a special touch to your backyard without taking up the space a full-fledged garden can.
  4. Lighting is everything. It’s important to make sure that your outdoor lights are working, but when the sun sets, you’re going to need more lighting than one lightbulb can provide. String lights add a cozy feel and help everyone see what they’re doing and where they’re going. Bring in a festive feel with tiki torches and lanterns.
  5. Find ways to make the space feel bigger. Just as mirrors can reflect light and make rooms feel bigger inside, they can do the same for an outdoor patio. Think about mounting a mirror along a wall or fence, and incorporate some greenery or designs that tie the design together.

If your current backyard just doesn’t fit your entertainment and space needs, contact our team. We’re always happy to help you buy or sell a home!

Wondering what your home may be worth? Click here to receive a free comparative market analysis of your home.

We also have Buyer’s Resources and Seller’s Resources available for you!

10 Changes to the San Antonio Area

June 24th, 2019

10 San Antonio Changes

San Antonio is expanding right before our very eyes. From coffee houses to distilleries and burrito chains, many places are looking to make San Antonio their next hub. With all the changes that have happened over the last few months, it can be hard to keep up, so we’re here to give you a summary on some of the developments you may have missed.

  1. CommonWealth Coffeehouse and Bakery has a new location at 401 E. Houston St. at the Burns building downtown. They’re open Monday – Friday 7 AM – 6 PM and hope to start serving on weekends soon.
  2. Devils River Whiskey is hoping to move their facility from Dallas to San Antonio. They’re planning to open a distillery with a tasting room, bottling facility, and event space in the building. Construction has begun, and the developers are shooting for a late summer 2019 opening.
  3. Cabo Bob’s Burritos made it’s San Antonio debut. The Austin-based company opened its doors June 18, inside a newly renovated space off the Loop 410 access road near Broadway. The restaurant brings a California spin on burritos, bowls, and tacos.
  4. H-E-B is adding a fulfillment center. Curbside pickup and delivery orders have increased, so the H-E-B store at Bulverde Road and Loop 1604 is undergoing expansions to meet the demand.
  5. Pedal Guerrero is providing recumbent bicycles and tricycles, hand-cycles and racing wheelchairs to the community. The store is located at 3700 Fredericksburg Rd. and focuses on getting disabled people active again.
  6. Oak Haven Massage will be opening a new storefront at a shopping center near Bulverde and Evans roads. The tentative opening date is scheduled for sometime in October pending the completion of the renovation.
  7. Hard Rock Cafe will begin its remodeling project in just a few months. There’s no word on what changes are being made, but it’s expected that construction will start in August and that the project will be completed in October.
  8. The Marketplace at Encino Park is a shopping center that is currently under construction. Mockups show spaces for Pet Supplies Plus, Venetian Nail & Bar, and Super Dental Group locations.
  9. Sprouts Farmers Market is in the process of moving its 17700 N. US Highway 281 location to the shopping center near Bulverde and Evans roads.
  10. Planet Fitness has taken a particular interest in an open space at 2315 SW Military Dr. The gym is scheduled to finish construction in October.

Several businesses are expanding, moving, and constructing new locations. San Antonio is experiencing a ton of growth, and we can’t wait to see what’s to come from all of the recent changes.

Have a real estate question or want to know what these changes could mean for buying a new home in the area? Reach out to me anytime!

DIY Fouls: 4 of the Worst DIY Mistakes Homeowners Can Make

May 30th, 2019

doug curtis real estate agent Austin Texas_Avoid_These_DIY_MIstakes_that_Homeowners_Make_San_Antonio

While it may seem like a good idea to save a buck and perform home repairs yourself, DIY repair projects don’t always pay off, and things can get ugly rather quickly. Stay away from these common DIY mistakes that homeowners make, and leave them to the licensed repair professionals.

#1 Drywall Repairs. An extra coat of paint is no biggie, but if your walls are in need of drywall repairs from things like cracking around windows (generally speaking, if you can stick a coin in it, there’s a problem), settling around door frames, or holes in the wall, it’s tricky to get it right on your own. Enlist the help of a drywall professional who has the tools and experience to repair the issue correctly.

#2 HVAC Repairs. Your heating and air conditioning systems are complex, and they’re often connected to gas and electrical lines. Making a small mistake can jeopardize your system and lead to costly repairs. Hire a licensed HVAC technician to correct any problems.

#3 Electrical Repairs. Installing a ceiling fan or a simple light fixture isn’t usually a big deal. However, when you start dealing with circuitry and breaker boxes, the potential of seriously injuring yourself or starting a fire increases dramatically. Electricians are up-to-date on all the recent code requirements, and they have the advantage of working with electrical systems daily. It may seem like a good idea to go it alone, but don’t fall prey to this DIY mistake.

#4 Plumbing Repairs. Incorrectly repair a plumbing issue, and you’ll find yourself in a lot of hot water, no pun intended. While a leaky toilet may appear easy to fix, the problem can escalate, or there may be more to the issue than meets the eye. Because water damage is serious and expensive to fix, start at the right place, right from the beginning: hire a licensed plumber.

While it may be exciting to put on your DIY cape, resist the urge–at least on these four important items. Spending the extra money to have a licensed repair professional evaluate the issue prevents DIY mistakes from turning into costly DIY problems.

Have a real estate question? Reach out to me anytime.

Spring DIY Tips for Your House

May 6th, 2019

prepare your home for summer

This week’s blog brought to you by the DIY Guys – make sure you visit them at DIYGUYS.net.

5 Home Maintenance Tasks Perfect For Spring 

Winter is over, and the months of finer weather and sunlight are finally upon us. However, before you start enjoying the spring and summer, there are a few things you should consider sorting out. Among these are many home maintenance tasks which would have been impractical to do in winter or that will be a drag to do in summer when there is so much better stuff to do. Get these done now and you won’t have to worry for months to come.

Maintaining Your HVAC System

Many people forget that their HVAC system is something that requires care and maintenance. Spring is a good time to check on your HVAC system due to upcoming rises in pollen levels and because the change in temperatures means your AC will be kicking into full gear soon.

One of the simplest and most important tasks to undertake is changing your air filters. This ensures your HVAC is effectively trapping pollutants like dust and pollen and keeping the air in your home healthy. Make sure you choose the right size of filter for your system — if your filter is not a common size, you may need to order a custom filter.

Reviewing Your Toolbox

Spring has always been the most popular time of year for people to declutter and go through their possessions. While you may have already planned a clear-out of your closets or kitchen cabinets, you may be forgetting one important area: your DIY toolbox.

With spring and summer being popular times for DIY, now is a great time to review the contents of your toolbox and make sure your kit is up to scratch. Let go of any old, ineffective, or poor-quality items and consider upgrading a few key tools. You can find detailed reviews for most tools on Tool Review Lab, like this one for a Black + Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill.

Clearing and Repairing Gutters

Winter rains, wind, and snow can wreak havoc on your gutters, so it is important to get up there every spring to check everything is in order. Clear any blockages by getting a ladder up to your gutter and simply clearing away any leaves or twigs by hand or with a trowel. The Art of Manliness has a detailed guide to help you through the process, including safety advice.

You may also need to repair a gutter if you discover any damage. DIY gutter repair is not as intimidating as it looks, and most issues can be easily fixed with basic tools and materials. The most common problems are holes, leaky joints, and sagging gutters.

Inspecting Your Yard

Perhaps the best thing about spring and summer is the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy your yard. Before you do this, however, you need to address the effects of the winter on your plants. In particular, check your trees for any winter storm damage and prune affected branches. If the damage is irreparable, you may have to call in an expert to get rid of the tree.

If you’re a lawn fanatic, rain and snow could have seriously damaged your beloved patch of grass. Post-winter lawn maintenance is all about being patient, waiting for everything to dry up, and then slowly reviving it with pH testing, fertilizing, aeration, and reseeding where needed.

Checking for External Damage

Your yard isn’t the only part of the house that may have suffered damage over the winter. Other elements to check for winter damage include the roof, siding, driveway, and foundation. Go through these and make any necessary repairs as soon as possible.

Don’t worry — you don’t have to tackle all of these projects at once. There are several months of spring ahead, and plenty of time to work through everything. A good idea is to choose a weekly time — such as Sunday mornings — to dedicate to these home maintenance tasks throughout the spring and early summer. By the time summer rolls around in full force, your home will be ready for the whole family to enjoy safely.

9 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Summer in Texas

April 24th, 2019

Texas’ unbearably hot summer temperatures can take a toll on your home. But, if you take some time to prepare during the spring, your home will not only be ready for the hot temperatures, but it may be more efficient. Where do you start? These tips will prepare your home for summer in no time:

prepare your home for summer

Prepare Your Home for Summer with These Tips

Interior

Service the air conditioning
Nothing is more important in the summer than a functional air conditioner. To ensure yours doesn’t break down when you need it most, hire a professional service it now. While it isn’t necessary to bring out an expert every season, it is essential to do some routine servicing every three months: change the filter, flush out the drain lines with a cup of bleach, etc.

Rotate ceiling fan blades
If your ceiling fan has a switch that changes the direction the blades turn, make sure it is set to spin counterclockwise. This will push the air down toward you.

Clean dryer vents
A clogged dryer vent not only wastes energy but it also a significant fire risk. Purchase a vent-cleaning kit to ensure you clean it right. Add a reminder to repeat this every couple of months.

Upgrade your thermostat
By learning your habits and knowing when you are home and when you aren’t, a smart thermostat can save you up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling bills. It’s smart capability also allows you to control the temperature directly from your phone.

Exterior

Inspect gutters and downspouts
If you have tons of trees on your property, fall isn’t the only time of the year you should inspect your gutters and downspouts – especially since pollen season just concluded. With that in mind, now is the ideal time to clean out the gutters. While you’re up there, ensure all gutters are soundly attached to your roof, seal any gaps with silicone caulk and remove any obstructions at the base of the downspout.

Inspect sprinklers
To repair any broken sprinkler heads, shut off the water and dig a two-inch diameter around the hole. From there, remove the head and replace with a new one or, if clogged, rinse it and reassemble.

Seal and insulate doors and windows
To avoid potential water damage (from summer thunderstorms) and hot air from entering your home, seal all cracks and leaks throughout your home and have your roof and gutters checked.

Get your mower up and running
Now is the time to get your lawn equipment ready for the busy season. For your mower, remove the spark plug and replace the air filters, change the oil and sharpen the blades. Give your other tools some TLC, too.

Clean the grill
Summer is for barbecues! To ensure your backyard get-togethers go off without a hitch, clean your grill with a grill brush, nozzle and wet rag and ensure you have enough charcoal and gas.

Use these tips to prepare your home for summer and enjoy a stress-free season with your family and friends.

Are you in need of a service professional to inspect your air conditioner? Give our team a call. We would be happy to connect you with a professional in the San Antonio area.

Do Your Clothes Smell Worse After Washing Them?

April 11th, 2019

Are your clothes coming out of the wash smelling worse than when you threw them in? You’ve got bacteria, mold and mildew build-up in your washing machine to thank for that. But, don’t fret. A good deep clean will get your machine back on track and your clothes smelling fresh again.

What’s in it for you?

● Keep your machine working at its best
● Prevent mold/mildew growth to keep your clothes sanitary and fresh

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Deep Clean Your Washing Machine

  1. Wipe down the door gasket. Soak a rag in a 50/50 mixture of water and bleach and use it to wipe down the door gasket thoroughly. Pull open the seal creases to wipe away any mold and mildew growth. Uh oh…did you find a pretty serious mold infestation? Soak a few rags with the water/bleach mixture and stuff them into the seal crease and leave in contact with the mold for 30 minutes.

Pro Tip: Leave the washing machine door open for a couple of hours after each use. This helps air out the gasket and keeps your machine fresher for longer.

  1. Sanitize the washing machine drum. Fill the drum with a ½ cup of baking soda and a quart of vinegar and run a wash cycle containing just a couple of clean hand towels (many manufacturers don’t recommend running the washer completely empty). Use the hottest water setting, largest load size, and the longest wash cycle. While the cycle is running, wipe down the outside of the machine with a cleaning rag soaked in vinegar, and use a small brush to scrub the smaller nooks and crannies.

Pro Tip: Ever spill a little detergent or fabric softener on your machine? Don’t wait to clean it up. Most appliances are painted with enamel that can easily be damaged by bleach, ammonia and other chemicals.

  1. Clean the washer lint trap. If you’re not sure where to find the lint trap, reference the owner’s/repair manual. You can also look for it along the top rim of the washer tub, inside the center agitator, or at the end of the drainage hose. Remove the trap and soak it in hot water and liquid dishwashing soap for ten minutes (if it isn’t removable, use a small brush with soapy, hot water to clean it). Before replacing the trap, use a brush to clean out the area where it was attached, taking extra care to scrub down any crevices where mold and mildew may be hiding.
  2. Clean the water pump filter. First things first: make sure the washer is empty and unplugged, then locate the filter. For most front load washers, the water pump filter can be found behind an access door near the bottom, front-side of the machine. For top load machines, check the back of the machine and remove the outer housing to access the water pump filter. Remove the filter and look out for any small objects that need to be dislodged like coins, keys or hair, then use a small brush to remove any excess debris from the filter. Soak the filter in a mixture of hot water and liquid dishwashing soap for ten minutes before replacing.
  3. Perform routine inspections of your hoses and drum. Inspect hoses for bulges, loose fittings, cracks and leaks. Make sure to replace hoses every three to five years, or sooner if you notice any damage. Since the washer drum can be prone to corrosion, look for any exposed or damaged metal. See some rust? Toss two cups of lemon juice into the washer and run another cycle on the hottest setting. If you aren’t able to remove the rust, it might be time for a new machine.

San Antonio’s Top 10 Restaurants for 2019

March 26th, 2019

As San Antonio grows, so too do the number of restaurants around the city. What current restaurants top the list? Here’s a look at the top 10 restaurants in San Antonio for 2019:

Photo Courtesy: 2M Smokehouse Instagram

2M Smokehouse
Location: 2731 S. W. W. White Road
Cuisine: Barbecue
Specialties: Brisket, beef ribs, chicharrón mac and cheese
Price range: $$

Restaurant Gwendolyn
Location: 152 E. Pecan Street, Suite 100
Cuisine: American
Specialties: Menu rotates regularly
Price range: $$$$

Bliss
Location: 926 S. Presa Street
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Specialties: Chicken-fried oysters, duck with foie gras
Price range: $$$

Battalion
Location: 604 S. Alamo Street
Cuisine: Italian
Specialties: Handmade pasta, grilled octopus, square meatballs
Price range: $$

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood
Location: 219 E. Houston Street
Cuisine: Steakhouse
Specialties: Rib-eye, French-grilled oysters
Price range: $$$$

Botika
Location: 303 Pearl Parkway, Suite 111 (at the Pearl)
Cuisine: Peruvian Asian
Specialties: Steamed buns, lomo saltado, tiradito
Price range: $$

Supper
Location: 136 E. Grayson Street (in Hotel Emma)
Cuisine: American
Specialties: Small vegetable plates, venison, fried quail
Price range: $$

Clementine
Location: 2195 NW Military Highway
Cuisine: Progressive Southern
Specialties: Beet salad, chicken under a brick, cardamom doughnuts
Price range: $$$

Cured
Location: 306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 101 (at the Pearl)
Cuisine: Contemporary American, Southern
Specialties: Charcuterie, Blue Ribbon Burger, poutine, cured cocktail
Price range: $$

Mixtli
Location: 5251 McCullough Ave.
Cuisine: Modernist Mexican
Specialties: Menu rotates regularly
Price range: $$$$

Price range information gathered from Yelp.

Are you searching for additional eateries around the San Antonio area? We have plenty of recommendations! Contact us anytime.

Tips to Sell Your Home This Spring in San Antonio

February 26th, 2019

The start of spring brings real estate’s HOTTEST selling season. Is your home ready for the spring market? Get ahead of the competition by following these tips to sell your home this spring:

sell your home

  1. Have your home inspected and fix the small stuff.
  2. Get rid of oversized and excess furniture.
  3. Clear out the clutter and, if you have a lot, consider renting a storage unit while your home is on the market.
  4. Depersonalize so potential buyers can picture their belongings in your home.
  5. Deep clean the entire house: clean out the closets, wash all the windows, wipe down the baseboards and walls, have the carpets steam-cleaned and more. Click here for a complete list.
  6. Update and freshen your decor to match the season. Bright throw pillows and flowers are great for a spring sale.
  7. Focus on curb appeal by adding some potted flowers to the front porch, a wreath to the front door, door mat, etc.
  8. Repaint your home in neutral colors: white, gray, beige or greige.
  9. Remove bad odors from pets, tobacco, etc.

Now that your home is ready for the market, let’s take a look at the prime time to list your home. When is that? For years, Zillow has found the best time is the first two weeks in May – the 1st through the 15th. However, it seems that most Texas buyers prefer midsummer or earlier spring. When is the best time for San Antonio residents? For those in the Alamo City, Zillow found that listing in early April can net you $1,200 more and move homes off the market 8.25 days faster. Even more, it is best to list your home on a Saturday.

We’re here to help you sell your home. Contact us today to learn how we can put a SOLD sign in your front yard!

“Cwtch”: A Popular Home Design Trend in 2019

January 30th, 2019

If your living room is full of fuzzy blankets and tons of throw pillows, you’ve already embraced the current craze in home design. What is this trend you ask? To be specific, the style is called “cwtch.” Cwtch (pronounced “kutch”) is a Welsh word that has two definitions: (1) a cuddle or hug, and (2) a hiding place. Put these together and you’ll come up with a cozy spot where you can cuddle up – hence the fuzzy blankets and extra pillows!

This new home décor fad is quickly replacing “hygge” (pronounced “HOO-guh”), a term with nearly similar meaning.

“I think of that rainy day when you just want to curl up and read a good book in your favorite comfy chair—that’s cwtch decor,” explains Karen Gray Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP in Warwick, NY. “Cwtch gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside when you enter into a room.”

How do you incorporate cwtch in your home?

“If you surround yourself with things you love and make your house feel like an inviting retreat, you have achieved a cwtch look,” Gray Plaisted says.

However, if you want some ideas, here are just a few: fresh flowers, fur pillows and blankets, pictures of your family on vacation, etc. It doesn’t even have to be elements. Instead, you could simply create a cozy corner to relax and read a novel or take a nap.

The truth is, any comfy, cozy retreat is the cwtch style. It doesn’t have to be something specific, it can simply be a feeling of complete relaxation.

Are you interested in transforming your home with this new style? We would be happy to help you incorporate the design style into your home. Give us a call today to get started – we can connect you with home design professionals in the San Antonio area!

How to Host a Stress-Free Holiday Party + The Best Restaurants in San Antonio Open for Christmas Day

December 14th, 2018

Hosting a holiday party doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, if you follow these tips it can be a fun and enjoyable experience for all!

holiday party

Tip #1: Make the menu easy, yet impressive
It is only natural to want to make something complex and impressive. However, impressive doesn’t have to mean complicated. Consider an easy menu you can make the day of the party! Maple-glazed ham is impressive, easy and quite tasty!

Tip #2: Step away from the cocktail bar
Don’t be the bartender for the night. Instead, make a couple of holiday cocktails ahead of time, let them chill in the fridge and then put them out for guests to enjoy. Here are some holiday cocktail ideas everyone will enjoy:

Winter Sangria

Vodka Cranberry Cooler

Spiked Sparkling Cider

Or, you can stick to the basics by stocking the bar with wine, red and white, champagne and beer.

Tip #3: Set the stage with a warm atmosphere
Set the mood by dimming the lights, lighting the fire, incorporating candle votives at the dinner table and playing some seasonal holiday favorites.

Tip #4: Do some work, behind-the-scenes
A little behind-the-scenes work is key to a successful party. With that in mind, soak dirty dishes (to make clean-up easier), crack a window to circulate fresh, crisp air and keep prepared food warm in the oven at 200-degrees.

Tip #5: Rearrange your living room for entertaining
After dinner, move to the living room for some fun and games. Make sure your living room is arranged in a way to allow for easy entertaining by adding more chairs and pointing them all toward the center of the space.

Tip #6: Wind it down
While you don’t want it to, the fun will eventually stop. Lower the music, blow out a few candles and start cleaning-up to signal the party is over.

Not up for hosting a big holiday party? Let someone else do the work! Head out to one of these Austin-area restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas:

  • Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
    • Enjoy the steakhouses everyday menu full of delicious grilled steak, pork, chicken and more, plus a selection of seasonal salads, soups and fresh vegetables.
    • Cost: $52.95 for adults, half-price for children 7 to 12 and complimentary for children 6 and under.
    • Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Oro at Emily Morgan
    • A holiday brunch with a Texas twist featuring dishes like Gul oysters with chipotle remoulade, herb-roasted prime rib, guajillo-maple glazed salmon and more! Oh, and don’t forget to save room for a wide range of delicious desserts.
    • Cost: $64.95 for adults, $24.95 for kids 12 and under and FREE for children under five.
    • Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Palm Restaurant
    • Head to this classic steakhouse and enjoy its regular a la carte menu – and a special treat, a prime rib served with au jus and horseradish cream!
    • Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Supper
    • You simply can’t miss Hotel Emma during Christmas! While there, dine at Supper and enjoy some hearty shareable starters, wintery dishes and more!
    • Hours: Lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and dinner (5 to 8 p.m.)

Whether you decide to host your own holiday party or forgo the work and head out to one of these San Antonio restaurants, we wish you a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Do you have any questions about San Antonio? Give us a call! We are never too busy to help you navigate the local real estate market!