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!

Christmas Tree Farms in San Antonio, TX

November 27th, 2018

Do you love that fresh pine smell of a live Christmas tree? We couldn’t agree more – there is no better smell during the holidays. And, while you can get that smell with a candle, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without heading out to a farm with your family to pick out your annual Christmas tree! With that in mind, here is a look at some of the best Christmas tree farms around San Antonio:

Seiler Tree Farm
4100 Jakes Colony Road, Seguin, TX
Hours: Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m

Devine Acres Farm
944 FM 2200, Devine, TX
Open November 23rd through December 16th, Thursdays through Sundays only from 12 to 6 p.m. Closed Monday through Wednesday.

Pipe Creek Tree Farm & Pumpkin Patch
805 Phils Road, Pipe Creek, TX
Hours: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Papa Noel Christmas Trees
Cornerstone: 121 N Loop 1604 W & Alamo Heights: 6333 Broadway
Hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Holiday Hills Christmas Trees
Various locations around San Antonio
Hours: Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Christmas Tree Lot at The Home Depot
Various locations around San Antonio
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Skateland Pumpkin Patch & Christmas Tree Lot
2351 Goliad Road, San Antonio
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

SA Holiday Traditions
3700 Broadway Street, San Antonio
Hours: Open daily from 8:45 a.m. to 9 p.m.

We wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season!

Do you have any questions about San Antonio and its surrounding areas? Contact our team today! We are always available to help those in our community.

Holiday Season Turkey Trots and Fun Runs in and Around San Antonio

October 26th, 2018

The holiday season can be hard on your waistline! Are you searching for ways to keep the weight off while still enjoying everything the holidays have to offer? Head out to a turkey trot in and around San Antonio:

turkey trot

2018 Turkey Trot
Saturday, November 17, 2018 from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.
Boerne City Plaza, Boerne
Join the Boerne YMCA for their 7th annual 5K/10K, Fun Trail Walk and Youth Mini Race that starts on the west by the Main Plaza and follows the Old #9 trail. Register early – the first 600 participants are guaranteed a long-sleeve t-shirt!

San Antonio Food Bank Turkey Trot 5K Presented by H-E-B
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 6:30 a.m.
Commander’s House – 622 S. Flores, San Antonio
Hit the streets on Thanksgiving for the annual Turkey Trot through the King William District of San Antonio. Proceeds from the event benefit the San Antonio Food Bank.

Texas Tough Turkey Chase 5K/10K and Kids Run
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 8 a.m.
20 Dominion Drive, San Antonio
Come out for a morning of competitive fun and stick around for an afternoon of some cold adult refreshments, light snacks and mingling with good friends and neighbors.

2018 Comal Cops for Kids Gruene Turkey Trot
Thursday, November 22, 2018 at 8:30 a.m.
Gruene Hall – 1281 Gruene Road, New Braunfels
Starting at the historic Gruene Hall, the Comal Cops for Kids Turkey Trot support the law enforcement efforts to benefit the children in the Comal County community – Green Santa and Blue Santa.

8th Annual “Original” Santa Antonio 5K Walk/Run Runnin’ & Walkin’ for a Cancer Cure
Sunday, November 25, 2018
Kid’s Dash at 8:30 a.m. and 5K & 1 Miler at 9 a.m.
Sunset Station – 1174 E. Commerce Street, San Antonio
All proceeds benefit cancer research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
All registered participants receive a complete Santa Suit – pants, jacket, belt, hat and beard! Stick around after the race to enjoy live music, food, beverages and more!

We wish you a fun and active holiday season!

Who do you know thinking about buying or selling around San Antonio? Send them our way. We are always available to lend a helping hand.

Termite Prevention Tip

October 5th, 2018

 

Termite Prevention Tips – How to keep those pesky, destructive critters away from your house.

According to the National Pest Management Association International termites cost $5 billion a year in treatments and damage throughout the United States. While detecting and controlling termites is a job for a professional, there are several simple tips homeowners can follow to help protect their homes from termite damage.

Since termites are attracted to moisture, avoid moisture accumulation near your home’s foundation. Divert water away with properly functioning downspouts, gutters and splash blocks.

If your home is on a crawl space make sure your crawl is properly ventilated. Prevent shrubs, vines and other vegetation from growing over and covering vents.
The general consensus among researchers seems to be that mulch creates a favorable termite habitat, and, while most commonly used mulches are low quality termite food sources, termites do consume them to some extent. Although there is no evidence that mulches “attract” termites, they do create favorable conditions for termites near the home.

The most important practice for detecting a termite infestation in one’s home is to leave at least a foot of concrete foundation exposed so that mud termite tunnels can be easily seen during inspection. Keep mulch several inches away from the house foundation. Never allow mulch to cover window sills or to contact house siding. Watch wood chip mulch for signs of activity if termites are present in your area. If you suspect termite activity contact several professional termite control services for inspections and estimates.

Heater Maintenance for the Fall

October 3rd, 2018

Heater Maintenance for the Fall – I know – we don’t really use our heaters very much in San Antonio so why should I care? Well – on the days when the temperature dips below 32 then you’ll be glad your heater is working.

So – It’s just about time to store those portable fans and pull out your cozy blankets! It’s still a little warm and humid. It seems like this time last year, we had some cool days already??

With summer coming to an end, cold weather is knocking at the door. Make sure your family has a warm, safe place to come in from the cold by preparing your heater for the winter.

First – Clean or replace air filters – Depending on the type of filter you use, you should replace the filter every 1 to 3 months. The filters capture dirt and other airborne particles during the intake of air and if they’re not maintained, they can clog, taking longer to heat your home and potentially raising your energy bill. Worst case – dirty filters can damage your heating and air conditioning system.

Get your ducts in a row – Ductwork with holes or other damages can cause the furnace to work harder than usual. Replace all damaged and collapsed ductwork and make sure all the vents are clean with no obstructions that could prevent airflow. You can call a professional for assistance with this. Let us know if you need a referral.

Test your thermostat – Make sure your thermostat starts up properly at the temperature you have set for it. The optimum comfortable room temperature ranges from 68° to 76° F (20° to 24° C).

By the way – City Public Service has programs to replace your thermostat with a more energy efficient thermostat. They installed the Nest thermostat at our house and it didn’t cost a dime. Now, we can change the temperature in the house from anywhere in the world!

Contact us if you have any questions.

Moving Checklist

September 24th, 2018

Moving, while stressful and time consuming, is exciting. It’s the start of a new chapter in your life. But, before you can enjoy it, you have to take care of a few things: packing, updating your address, etc. With that in mind, here is a moving checklist to help you stay organized during your upcoming move:

 moving checklist

Change of Address

  • Post Office
  • Driver’s License – Vehicle Registration
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Social Security
  • Voter Registration
  • Banks
  • Checks
  • Loans
  • Investments
  • Credit cards
  • PayPal
  • Automated payments
  • Place of employment
  • Insurance
  • Doctors
  • Schools
  • Subscriptions
  • Associations
  • Friends and family

Services to Cancel or Transfer

  • Cable
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Electric
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Trash
  • Landscaping
  • House cleaning
  • Pest control

Organize

  • Explain the move to the kids
  • Pack all your personal and financial documents in one box to keep with you (checkbook, passports, birth certificates, insurance documents, tax documents, etc.)
  • If you’re moving school districts, notify both the old and new school and arrange for transfer
  • Save all moving receipts – they may be eligible for tax reduction
  • Pack a box of stuff you will need the first day and bring it with you in the car

Packing and Storage Tips

  • Purge unused items – consider a garage sale or donate to Goodwill/Salvation Army
  • Pack items you use less frequently first
  • Reserve rental truck and movers at least a couple of weeks ahead of time

Moving Day Tips

  • Arrange help for kids and pets for the day
  • Tip the movers
  • Have cleaning supplies ready to do a final cleaning
  • Do a final walk through to make sure you don’t leave anything behind
  • Raise or lower the thermostat (depending on the weather)
  • Turn off water heater
  • Lower shades
  • Lock all the doors and windows

Click here for a printable moving checklist PDF to help you stay organized.

Do you have any questions about the San Antonio area? Possibly the new neighborhood you are moving to? Contact our team today. We are always available to help you learn more about the Alamo City!

Quick Washing Machine Tip

September 14th, 2018

Here’s a quick washing machine tip to keep your machine running smoothly. 

I didn’t even know washing machines have a drain pump filter!!

You load your clothes, drop in some soap, and press the power button. Easy! Except when a cycle takes forever or your clothes come out dripping, or even worse, the washing machine makes scary noises. Don’t worry — It’s likely just a clogged washer drain pump filter. Clean this filter every two months for more efficient washing.

What’s in it for you? Faster rinse cycles, higher unit efficiency, increased washer life.

Clean Your Washer Drain Pump for More Efficient Washing

Open your washer’s filter access door. You’re looking for a small, rectangular door on the bottom right-hand corner of your machine. Once you’ve found it, get it open. Some doors have a push and release mechanism and just need a firm tap to open. For all other access doors types, use a flathead screwdriver to wedge it open.

Unhook the emergency drain hose. You should see two things behind the filter access door: a round dial and a rubber hose. Unhook the hose from the clip holding it in place.

Empty the hose. Grab a bowl and spread a towel on the floor to soak up any stray drops of water. Hold the drain hose over the bowl and remove the cap. Water will fill the bowl. If it gets too full, just replace the cap, empty the bowl and repeat until the water stops flowing.

Remove the drain pump filter. It’s the round dial that was next to your drain hose. Rotate it counterclockwise until you can remove the filter from your washer. Easy!

Clean the drain pump filter. Grab a towel or washcloth and head over to your sink. Rinse away any accumulated debris or gunk and wipe your filter with the towel. Who knows — You might even find some coins you lost years ago. Don’t forget to wipe down the washer’s drain pump compartment as well.

Replace the drain pump. Now that your filter is clean and you’ve found all your missing change, put the drain pump filter back and turn it clockwise to lock it into place. Replace the cap on the emergency drain hose and secure the hose back inside the washer. Close the access door and you’re ready to do a fresh load of laundry in record time.

Pro Tip: Don’t do laundry without checking your pockets. Change and other loose objects that find their way into the drain pump will decrease the lifespan of your machine.

Check your Roof – Get Those Branches off the Roof!

August 24th, 2018

Take a look at your roof! Are your tree limbs / branches less than 18 inches from your roof. If so, get them trimmed.

We had a client this week that had an unpleasant surprise. Her home is impeccably maintained. Except for the roof. She hardly ever looked at her roof – most of us don’t. We just don’t think about it. Well – those darn limbs over the past couple of years have been rubbing back and forth against her roof. The consistent, unnoticeable rubbing caused enough damage requiring the roof to be replaced. It was a 25 year roof and just 9 years old – it should have had 16 more years of life.

 

The next time you go outside – take a walk around you house – make sure the vegetation and trees are at least 18 inches from the roof. If not, call the arborist and get them trimmed back.

If you see the branches touching your roof, cut them back and then have a roofer take a look to see if there is damage and if it can be repaired.  This is a much better solution and less costly than a full roof replacement.

If you need a referral to an arborist or a roofer, let us know – we’d be happy to put you in touch with a licensed arborist, highly-regarded roofer today.  In fact, we have a list of preferred contractors for anything you might need related to your house.