How To Have the Best Garage Sale Ever At Your Home

How To Have The Best Garage Sale EverIt’s getting close to that time of year again — time to have a garage sale at your home!

Here are a few tips to help you have your most successful garage sale ever.

Advertise Your Sale In Local Newspapers And Online

Many of the habitual Saturday morning garage sale patrons around Southlake use the paper to plan their treasure hunts.

They do this to make sure they hit all of the sales in certain neighborhoods.

In the ad, mention your home address, date and time of your garage sale and any big or popular items you’ll be selling.

Open Your Sale Early

It’s best to open early, such as around seven in the morning a sales tend to taper off in the afternoon.

Don’t disappoint early shoppers who are typically your best buyers.

They have a busy schedule and a lot of stops to hit.

Open on time or even a few minutes before the time you advertised.

Make Plenty Of Signs To Guide Customers In

If your yard is difficult to see or is not on a main road, be sure to post signs pointing the way.

If allowed, attach a few balloons to it which will catch the attention of passing motorists.

Have Everything Labeled With Reasonable Prices

You’ll get some customers who try to haggle, but for most customers, not knowing the prices is a quick way to have them moving on to another sale.

Keep in mind that these shoppers are looking for a bargain and price accordingly.

You can individually label each item, or use an easily readable color-coded chart.

For instance, a blue sticker means 25 cents, red stickers mean 50 cents and yellow stickers mean $1.

Offer Specials At Different Points During The Garage Sale

You can offer a 2-for-1 sale or a twenty percent off special.

At the end of the day, you may want to have an unadvertised special such as fill a bag for $1 to get rid of as much as possible. 

It’s always a good idea to have a “free box” for items that are already low-priced and don’t move during the first half of the sale.

Donate Leftovers

Make your life easier and do something for others by donating any items that don’t sell.

If you plan carefully, you can schedule a pick up by your local charitable organization at the end of your garage sale.

Garage sales are a great way to get the clutter and unused collection of items out of your house while recycling them at the same time.

Using these tips, you’re well on your way to having your best garage sale ever.

5 Important Questions To Ask Before You Invest In Solar Power For Your Home

Investing In Solar Energy For Your HomeIf you’ve been considering taking your home in a green direction, April is the perfect month to make an environmentally friendly update.

Installing a solar energy system may be a very smart way to help the environment.

Plus, solar panels turn sunlight into energy that can save you money!

The federal government and many states are now providing tax incentives and rebates for installing solar panels in 2013 which make this an excellent opportunity to go green this spring.

However, there are many installers that might not have the necessary experience, so be sure to ask the questions below when searching for your solar energy system.

How many solar panel systems have they installed?

You want to make sure to find a reputable company that has significant solar experience and has successfully completed at least 50 installations.

Ask for references before you sign anything.

What is the output in kWh per year?

Many times, solar panel brands will claim to be more efficient than others.

You’ll want to weigh the annual output against the price to determine what system is going to be the most cost effective for your Southlake home.

It is important to note that you should do an energy audit to see how you are using the power in your home before sizing the solar power replacement system.

You may be able to install a significantly smaller, and less costly, system if you learn how you can cut your power consumption prior to installing your new solar panels.

How long is the warranty on the panels?

Most high quality solar panel systems have a warranty of at least 25 years.

Top-of-the-line panels usually guarantee an output of no less than 90 percent after ten years and no less than 80 percent after 25 years.

Be wary of any company whose panels don’t come with a warranty.

Do they include a warranty on labor?

Many states require a warranty on labor in order to receive your rebate.

Reputable installers should have no problem including at least a 10-year warranty.

What is the final price?

Don’t get separate pricing for the parts, labor and rebates.  Get a comprehensive price, so you can directly compare the total cost and kWh per year among providers.

Also, pay attention to the difference between purchasing your solar power system versus the leasing options available. 

Leasing has become popular due to the low — or possibly no– up-front cost, but most experts agree that purchasing the system leads to a quicker payoff and return on your investment.

Taking into consideration warranties and servicing fees, the outcome should be that you choose whoever can give you the most output at the best price.

3 Ways Clean Floors Can Help Sell Your Home Faster

Flooring Tips To Help You Sell Your HomeHave you ever walked into a home for sale and looked down to see stained carpet or scratched and worn flooring?

If so, you would probably agree that it doesn’t leave a positive first impression.

Imagine if you were a buyer looking at the same floor.

The right type of flooring and whether it is well taken care of can make a big difference to buyers.

If your floor is questionably clean, here are a few fixes to help remedy the issue to help your home sell quickly.

Does your home have hardwood floors?

You’re in luck. Buyers love hardwood floors and some will pay extra to get them.

If your hardwood floors are covered by carpet, painted over or showing anything but the natural wood grain, it’s time for an overhaul.

With the ability to rent large sanders and other tools, you can either refinish the hardwood floor yourself or hire a professional.

Remember, however, that hardwood floors in have a tendency to show off scratches, dents and uneven surfaces.

If you don’t think you can do an adequate job, hire a professional.

Does your home have carpeting?

If you don’t have hardwood floors, take a look at your carpeting.

If it’s stained, outdated or ragged, it might be time to pull it up and replace it.

There are many new techniques with carpet cleaning and spot repair, so check with a local carpet cleaning professional to assess your carpet before making expensive decisions.

When laying the new carpet, use high-quality carpet padding to make it comfortable to stand on.

Many buyers will kneel down and touch the floor, so make sure the carpet feels soft to the touch.

Does your home have tile floors?

Although tiles are beautiful, they typically show every ounce of old grime, dirt, chips and cracks.

Go through your home and replace any that are chipped, cracked or show significant signs of wear and tear.

Make sure the grout is clean and new looking, and use specialized tile cleaners or a steam cleaner to get rid of any stains.

Beautiful floors can go a long way toward selling Southlake homes.

Take an honest look at yours. It might just help get your home sold more quickly and at a higher price.

As always, seeking the advice of a licensed real estate professional would be an excellent next step to plan your home selling preparations.

6 Essential Spring Cleaning Chores to Make Your Home Shine

Spring Cleaning Tips For April 2013If the thought of cleaning your Southlake home this spring doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you’re not alone.

To help you get going now, here is a short list of the 6 essential spring-cleaning chores.

1. Store winter clothes.

It’s time to pack away your winter clothes.

Coats, sweaters, and bulkier clothing need to be inspected, cleaned and packed away.

Store your clothes somewhere clean, cool, dark and dry.

2. Wash window treatments.

You’ll be surprised at the huge amount of dirt and grime that a thorough window cleaning removes.

Wash blinds, launder curtains that are machine washable and send drapes to the dry cleaners.

While you’re at it, dust the window casing, wash your windowsills and clean any window hardware.

3. Clean carpets and upholstery.

You need to deep clean your fabrics that have absorbed a winter’s worth of dust and germs.

Shampoo your carpets and clean cloth furniture.

Open windows to speed the drying process, which can take a day or more.

4. Wash woodwork, walls, baseboards and cabinets.

Even if the walls of your home don’t look like they need cleaning, they do.

Just enough dust clings to vertical surfaces to warrant a seasonal bath.

Using a sponge and dish-washing soap, wash the surface in sections to make sure you don’t miss a spot.

5. Clean light and ceiling fixtures.

To clean your light fixtures, remove the light bulb and fixture if possible.

Wash the glass fixtures in soap and water. Wipe the light bulbs with a rag.

If the fixture cannot be removed from the ceiling, use a damp cloth to wipe it off and then dry the fixtures.

The easiest way to clean your ceiling fans is to use a vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment.

6. Check your coils.

Caked-on dust can cause your refrigerator to overheat, so take the time to clean the condenser coil.

It’s usually found behind the toe grille.

Clean it with a long-handled bottle brush and a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment.

Put on your favorite music and start your spring cleaning today. It’ll be done before you know it.

Then you can relax and enjoy your sparkling clean home.

If you’re getting ready to sell your home and need more cleaning tips to help smooth the sales process, call your favorite licensed real estate professional today!

7 Fun and Easy Housewarming Gifts for A New Homeowner

7 Great Housewarming Gift IdeasWhether you have new neighbors next door or old friends moving across town, a housewarming gift is a great way to show you care.

New owners always appreciate anything that relieves the pressures of moving and settling in to an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Here are seven fun and easy housewarming-gift ideas for your friends moving into their home.

A Door Wreath

You can choose a wreath that fits the season or that is simply attractive on the front door.

Include a wreath door-hanger and storage box so they can easily hang it or put it away.

A Pair of Candlestick Holders

Candlesticks are a simple, yet practical gift for a new Southlake home.

They’re perfect for a mantel, dresser or table. Choose attractive candlestick holders that match the house’s décor and include a set of candles to burn.

A Homemade Meal

Moving and getting settled in a new house takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.

This leaves little time to cook nutritious meals.

Bring either a takeout or home-cooked meal along with disposable plates and utensils for a much appreciated housewarming gift.

Fresh Flowers

Nothing makes a room look more inviting than fresh-cut flowers or a lush green plant.

Flowers add a punch of color while plants last longer while still requiring little work.

Choose flowers that fit the season or a plant with full, green leaves that is easy to maintain.

Scented Candles

Not only are they practical, but they also help bring comfort and serenity to the chaos of moving.

Choose a theme for the candles, such as a color or a scent that matches the style.

Include candles of different shapes and sizes and a lighter.

Picture Frames

Keep in mind the house’s décor as you choose a picture frame.

Wood, pewter, bamboo or decorative glass looks great in a casually decorated house.

If the house has a more formal décor, choose crystal or silver.

It’s be fun for your friends to have a place to display their new memories.

There are few experiences that offer the excitement of moving into a new home, and you can add to that excitement and wonder by giving one of these housewarming gift ideas.

And if you want to be the one receiving housewarming gifts by moving to a new home, then call your trusted real estate professional today!

How To Spot And Treat Mold In Your Home

How To Spot And Treat Mold In HomesThe first sign of mold you notice may be a musty smell in your home.

After looking around, you spot what looks like mold — don’t panic!

You can remove unhealthy mold from your house without it costing a small fortune.

Check To Be Sure It’s Really Mold

Mold can look many different ways, which depends on the type.

Some are grayish-white or black and can look like a dirty smudge.

If you’re in doubt that a spot is mold, you can do a test with chlorine bleach.

Simply put a drop on the spot. If the color immediately fades away, you have mold.

Mold Infestation Ususally Means Leaks Too

Mold needs moisture to grow.

If you find mold, you know that you probably also have a water problem in your Southlake home.

So first, you’ll need to find the source of the leak and repair it.

After that, you can begin getting rid of the mold.

How To Kill Mold

A lot of people think mold clean up has to be expensive.

The truth is that most mold problems can be eliminated with chlorine bleach.

Bleach is a strong chemical, so for safety you’ll need to wear gloves, an air filter and goggles while you clean.

Remember, when cleaning with bleach you need to work in a well-ventilated area, and never mix bleach with anything that contains ammonia.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends using bleach to kill mold on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Killing mold with bleach is a simple process:

  • Thoroughly soak the area in full strength bleach.
  • Let it soak for fifteen minutes.
  • Scrub the area with a mixture of one-part chlorine bleach, three-parts water and one teaspoon of dishwashing soap.

Finishing The Clean-up

Once everything has been washed, you’ll need to do another inspection of your home.

Look for moldy papers, clothes or anything porous that could be a good home for mold.

These things will need to be bagged and thrown away.

Allow two to three days for the surfaces to dry.

Then, continue to inspect the areas for mold re-growth, and pay attention for any moldy odors.

Congratulations, you have eliminated the mold problem in your home and saved a lot of money by doing it yourself.

If you’d like additional maintenance tips or are looking to buy a new house, contact a licensed real estate professional right away!

Great Staging Tips To Set A Buyer’s Mood At Your Home For Sale

Home Staging Tips And TricksStaging is the art of preparing your Southlake home for sale before showing it to prospective buyers.

The point of staging is to highlight the house’s strengths, downplay its weaknesses and make it more appealing.

With the right decorating techniques, you can win buyers over the moment they step through the door.

Below are a few staging tips to help make your house irresistible to potential buyers.

Put Everything Away

The first step is to put away anything that is not essential. This will open up the house so that it appears more spacious.

Even if you have to rent a storage unit, finding a new home for all of your family’s projects and collections should clear some space and help buyers imagine their own belongings in your home for sale.

Pay special attention to entryways and narrow hallways to improve your prospective buyer’s sense of spaciousness.

Get Rid Of Clutter

Be sure to clear off the things that gather on kitchen counters and surfaces, such as old magazines and stacks of mail.

Also, emptying out your closets of half of the things inside them will make them look much roomier.

Use this time as an opportunity to thin the number of largely unused items that your family has collected over the years.

And look on the bright side; moving into a new house will be much easier after you have donated your unneeded items to a charity.

Fresh Scents Make Sense

You would be surprised by how much the sense of smell comes into play when buyers are viewing a house.

To avoid turning buyers off with pet or smoke odors, make sure you give each room a deep clean, including the air vents and carpeting.

Just covering up stale odors with air fresheners won’t do the job.

Let In The Light

Buyers are looking for spacious rooms with a lot of natural light, so make sure you open the blinds and turn on all the lights.

If you have rooms that are a bit dark, you can add floor lamps to make them brighter or flowers to suggest sunlight.

Home staging can make a big difference in how potential buyers see your home for sale, so make sure you set the mood to make it as attractive as possible.

5 Simple Indoor Do-It-Yourself Projects for Your Home

Painted Kitchen Cabinets - Indoor DIY ProjectsWith spring right around the corner, you might be thinking about sprucing up your Southlake home.

However, it may not yet be time to work in the garden or on other outside endeavors.

If cabin fever has been setting in, this is a great time for indoor improvements to brighten your living space and get you warmed up to work outside when the seasons change.

Whether it’s over-stuffed closets or cluttered garages, everyone has a problem area or two on their property that has not been touched in a while.

Below are a 5 simple ideas to get you started. Maybe you can even get the kids to lend a hand!

Organize That Closet

Clear out the things you don’t need and make it easier to find the things you do.

You can build a closet system in just a couple hours for ranging from $100 – $500 to put everything at your fingertips.

Create An Indoor Garden

Check out these fun indoor gardening ideas, using recycled materials from around your home.

Get the kids involved and spend an afternoon creating a work of art – and memories!

Paint An Accent Wall

Or, you could choose to do an entire room! The room you spend the most time in should probably be your starting point.

Choose a color that will set the mood you want to foster, such as an energizing red or soothing blue.

Add Shelves Or A Bookcase To A Room

If your house has papers and books stacked up on counters or in cabinets, you may need some additional shelving.

Built-in bookcases or shelves can help a cluttered area feel more spacious.

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

A bright coat of paint can do wonders for your kitchen and is an inexpensive option that may increase the value of your home.

Obviously this is more than a one-afternoon project, but it is definitely a low-cost way to give your kitchen a new, fresh look.

Whatever your vision, now is a fantastic time to tackle an indoor project which can keep the whole family busy and ward off the winter doldrums at the same time.

Quick Tips For Moving To A New Home In Miserable Weather

Moving to a New Home in Miserable WeatherIdeally, when you are moving to a new Southlake home, you will want to do it on a pleasant and sunny day which makes everything much easier.

However, if you are moving in the winter, or an unexpected deluge shows up on your pre-arranged moving day, it can really dampen your enthusiasm and throw a wrench into your plans.

It can also make you worry about your possessions being damaged as you move them into your new home.

Don’t worry; it’s still possible to move your possessions in the rain, snow or cold.

All you need is a little bit of technique, forethought and planning.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are moving on a day with terrible weather:

Dress For Success

Make sure everyone in the family is dressed warmly. You will be going back and forth from indoors to outdoors a lot, so it might be tempting to not bother with your warm clothes.

However, it’s important to dress appropriately. You don’t want anyone catching a cold.

Wear multiple layers that you can take off or put on accordingly. Also, remember a rainproof layer if it’s pouring.

Ensure Safety

In snowy climates, clear the driveway and the front porch of snow and ice, and sprinkle them with salt.

This is very important to ensure that no one slips and falls while carrying boxes out of the old house and into your new home.

The last interruption you need on moving day is a trip to the emergency room.

Wrap Up Your Belongings

If it is raining or snowing you will need to protect your belongings from getting wet.

Wrap your furniture in waterproof plastic and seal your boxes with packing tape and plastic.

Invest in enough of these supplies before the moving day so you don’t have to run to the store to buy more in the middle of your move.

Keep It Clean

At your new house, set up an area at the front door with towels so that everyone can dry off the boxes and themselves to avoid tracking rain or snow into the new house.

As these simple tips point out, packing and moving in the rain or snow is a problem that can be overcome with appropriate planning.

Plus, sometimes moving in the winter can give you an advantage because there will be a low service demand that can decrease your moving costs.

3 Stress-Free Packing Tips For Moving Into Your New Home

Packing Tips For Moving HomesMoving everything in your house to your new Southlake home can be an overwhelming task.

You never realize how much stuff you actually own until you try to fit it all into boxes and move it somewhere new.

When you are packing up your things to relocate, here are some helpful tips to make your moving experience much easier:

Start Packing In Advance

You don’t have to wait until the day before you move to start packing everything in your house!

As soon as you find out that you are moving, you can start packing the items you don’t often use, such as your seasonal decorations, photo albums and family keepsakes.

If you pack a few items per week, you’ll have almost everything packed by the time you are ready to go except for the essentials you use every day.

Establish A System

Rather than randomly throwing every item you see into a box, think ahead and create a logical plan for your packing.

Before you start, develop a simple record-keeping system.

Give every box you pack a number and write a corresponding list detailing the items in that box.

This way, when you arrive you will know exactly where to find each item.

Stay Organized

You will want to keep all of the items from each area of the house together so they can be unpacked easily.

For example, keep all of the boxes of kitchen supplies together and then put them straight into the kitchen when you arrive at your new home.

You could even designate a color for each room in the house and put colored stickers on the boxes so that the movers or anyone helping you can easily determine in which room a box belongs.

Bonus Tip: Sometimes Less Is More

One final consideration that can make your move easier is to use your move as an opportunity to pare down your unused belongings.

Plus, you won’t be left wondering why you decided to move things from one home to another once you start unpacking.

As with many things, the more organized you are when packing, the less stressful it will be when you arrive and at your new house.