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4808 Hughes hero shot

4808 Hughes Circle | Flower Mound

 

Among the many benefits of living in Texas is the Lone Star State’s Homestead Exemption law, which allows a partial exemption from local property taxes for your primary residence.

 

Applications for property tax exemptions are filed with your local appraisal district. The general deadline for filing an application is April 30.

 

The Application for Residential Homestead Exemption is available here. A list of appraisal district addresses and phone numbers is available here.

 

If you have any questions regarding residential real estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors and our respected Associates are ready to serve you. To find just the right professional for your real estate needs, visit the award-winning, mobile-friendly ebby.com.

Count Sheep Not Threads


beautiful bedroom interior

 

It’s estimated that a person will sleep for a third of his or her life. If you’re spending that much time in bed, you should make sure you like your sleeping conditions. Comfortable sheets are crucial for a good night of sleep, and many people don’t seek out the sheets that are best for them.

 

A common misconception is that higher thread counts mean better sheets. While thread count is important, there are other factors to consider when searching for the perfect sheets: the type of cotton, weave and finish, to name a few.

 

Bedroom Detail

 

Cost: When it comes to sheets, quality is better over quantity. More expensive sets of 200-thread count sheets will generally be higher quality than a cheaper set of 400-thread count.

 

Fiber: Evaluate the length of the sheet’s fiber: longer fibers are better than short and lend themselves to longer lifespans. In addition, Egyptian cotton isn’t a myth – it’s indeed an indication of the quality of the cotton. Make sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton, because sheets can be labeled “Egyptian” even if they only contain a small percentage of actual Egyptian cotton. Alternative options are Pima and Supima, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester and even bamboo.

 

Finish: Sheets may contain bleaches, dyes or finishes to keep them from wrinkling. If you have sensitivities or allergies, steer clear and opt for 100% organic sheets.

 

Thread Count: Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Additional threads can be woven in, thus, increasing the thread count. In general, a higher thread count will make the sheets denser. It’s recommended to get anything over 200, but anything higher than 400 isn’t necessarily worth it. The threads used to achieve these higher thread count sheets are often thinner so they can all fit.

 

Weave: Weave is the last thing you should pay attention to and is the determining factor in how the sheets feel and the lifespan. Common weaves are percale or sateen â€” percale features a cool, crisp feel, while sateen is softer and warmer. When it comes to weave, pick what feels best to you.

New Year, Cleaner Home


Teach kids to take some responsibility around the house

 

It’s a new year, and many of you likely made resolutions revolving around the home: lower energy bills, de-clutter, cook more, etc. One resolution you also may have made is to keep a cleaner home.

 

For those of you who clean your own home, this resolution can be a big undertaking.

 

If you’re particular about cleanliness, then you may be tempted to clean all the time. Realistically, nobody has time for that. It’s better to stick to a schedule.

 

This helpful home-cleaning guide suggests how often you should complete your regular chores. Follow this schedule and come next season, spring-cleaning won’t even be necessary.

 

Home-Cleaning-Schedule-copy

5 Kitchen Countertops Worth the Hype


Considering a kitchen remodel? Not all countertops are created equally.

 

With so many options on the market, it can be hard to decide what countertop material is right for your kitchen. While it may be tempting to choose a countertop based on aesthetic alone, it’s important to consider the durability, cost and maintenance before making a decision.

 

Here are some popular options and need-to-know details about each.

 

Granite

beautiful kitchen with lights off in new luxury home with island, pendant lights, and glass fronted cabinets, and view of dining room

Once only found in high-end kitchens, granite has made its way to the heart of more and more homes. This durable, natural stone comes in a vast array of colors such as beige, black, brown, red, white and green. Because of its porous nature, granite must be sealed on a yearly basis. Even when properly sealed, it’s important to wipe up oils, wines, acids and sodas immediately, as well as use a stone cleaner for routine cleaning.

Cost varies depending on color and complexity, but has become more affordable with granite’s increase in popularity.

 

Quartz

beautiful kitchen in new luxury home with island, pendant lights, and hardwood floors

Quartz, often resembling granite or marble, is an engineered mix of mineral and resin. This extremely durable, low-maintenance material is a great alternative for busy kitchens. Quartz is harder and less porous than granite, so it doesn’t require sealing or polishing. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and looks great in both traditional and contemporary kitchens. Quartz is scratch, stain, heat and acid-resistant.

Because quartz is manufactured, it doesn’t have natural color variations and vein. When shopping, looking at a small sample rather than a big slab will suffice.

 

Marble

Luxury industrial kitchen with a marble island

Marble is a timeless and stunning option for a traditional or contemporary kitchen and is usually the most expensive. Carrara and Calacatta marble are synonymous with luxury, and instantly give your kitchen an elegant look. However, marble is very porous and has a high probability of becoming stained. If you choose marble, it’s important to seal it frequently and properly. Also, be wary as chips and scratches may occur.

 

Wood

Modern Kitchen

Those opting for a warm, traditional cottage kitchen may gravitate toward butcher block-style wood countertops. These countertops require regular maintenance in order to maintain the wood’s natural beauty, so it’s recommended that you oil the surface with a mineral oil every four to six weeks. If not properly cared for, wood countertops will warp and crack.

On the plus side, properly sealed wood countertops are sanitary and you can cut directly on the surface without damaging knives. Wood is also heat-resistant, which means you can place hot pots and pans directly on the surface.

 

Laminate

Modern Kitchen

Laminate is perhaps the most cost-effective option available. Not only is it durable, it’s also low-maintenance. Laminate is a great selection for those on a budget, and it comes in far more options than the familiar wood copycat – both neutral and bright colors are available. Laminate countertops are water-resistant but susceptible to scratches and heat damage, so be sure to use cutting boards and trivets when preparing and serving food.

Make Your Guests Feel at Home


light soft pillow on beautiful bed cozy bedroom with sun light from window interior concept

 

The holiday season is just beginning, and there’s a good chance you may be hosting family or friends. Here are some quick tips that will make your guests feel extra special during their stay.

 

Cheat Sheet

Create a home cheat sheet that provides your guests with the Wi-Fi code, instructions to turn on the television, garage code, and anything else they may need. Be sure to include your address, landline number and any emergency contact information.

 

Spare Samples

Have tons of hotel freebies and sample products lying around the house? Put them all in a jar in the guest bathroom. Your guests will like the availability of extra products, especially if they may have forgotten something.

 

Lovely Florals

Placing fresh flowers or plants in the guest room adds brightness and freshness that anyone will appreciate. Bonus points if your foliage is festive!

 

Cozy Essentials

To create the ultimate retreat for your guests, put a basket in the corner with items that will make them extra comfortable. Think soft throw blankets, magazines, bottled water, snacks and a reading light.

 

Freshening Up

Be sure to leave extra towels and washcloths in the bathroom so guests will always have dry ones. An extra toothbrush is always a nice touch.

 

Clean Scents

Adding a candle or diffuser to the guest suite is always a good idea to make the area warm and inviting. It’s best to find neutral scents – think fresh linen or clean cotton. If you’re feeling extra fresh, a small bottle of room or linen spray is another great addition to the room.

 

Sweet Treats

A jar of candy canes is a festive and decorative way to offer your guests a midnight snack.

Brighten Your Winter Landscape


As temperatures drop, so often do our hopes of having full flowerbeds. But winter doesn’t have to be dull and bleak. When updating your landscape for wintertime, there are a variety of plants that enjoy cooler temps.

 

Whether using native Texas or non-native plants, here are five plants for adding color and texture to your winter garden.

 

Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern

This robust, glossy fern is a great option for a border or accent plant. Although it won’t flower, ferns are easy to grow and stable in the right conditions. The evergreen fronds grow in clusters that will increase in size over time.

 

Lonicera pericylmenum Latin name Honeysuckle

Coral Honeysuckle

Great for a fence or trellis, this high-climbing vine can often bloom sporadically in January and beyond, especially in a warm spot or on a south-facing wall. The beautiful clusters of red or coral flowers will attract hummingbirds and large butterflies, and it has glossy evergreen foliage.

 

Ornamental Winter Cabbage

Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

These low-maintenance fall and winter plants become more vibrant as temperatures drop. They provide unique texture to a landscape or flowerbed with their colorful foliage. Cabbage leaves are broad and flat while kale leaves are ruffled, and the plants cover a lot of space. Leaves can be cream, lavender, purple and bicolor green/white, and can survive several frosts.

 

Pansies

Pansies and Violas

A popular bedding choice for cooler temperatures, pansies and violas bloom continuously through fall and spring. The plants come in a variety of colors, such as yellow, purple, red, white and lavender, and also look great as a border or in containers.

 

Christmas holly bush

Winterberry

Also known as possum haw, winterberry is an iconic plant in the holly family with bright red or orange berries. When it loses its leaves, the berries are left behind and will last until spring. However, be cautious when planting this one: the berries are poisonous and should be kept away from children and pets. This holly is great for homemade wreaths during the holiday season.

Get Your Fireplace Winter-Ready


Cozy winter drink

 

Colder weather is here and it’s time to get your fireplace roaring again. Before you fill your home with the warmth and scent of a crackling fire, there are some precautions to take.

 

Check the Chimney

Have you called a chimney sweep recently? Experts recommend having your chimney cleaned once a year. A fireplace is only as good as its chimney, so inspect the exterior structure to make sure there are no issues.

 

Open the Flue

Ever started a fire and had the room fill with smoke? If you’re new to fireplaces, you may not realize that this happens when the flue is closed. Simply look up and reach for a chain or lever to open it up before you light the fire.

 

Vacuum

A quick vacuuming of the flue, smoke shelf and the surrounding hearth is the last step in preparation for fabulous fires in the coming months.

Strategic Pricing is Key


Suburban House

 

Strategic pricing is the key to selling your home at an attractive price in an acceptable amount of time. While many brokers will gladly list your home, the reality is if it is not properly priced your home may sit on the market month after month and actually help sell competing properties.

 

At Ebby Halliday Realtors, our Associates take pricing your property very seriously. Your Ebby Associate will utilize Multiple Listing Service data to create a competitive market analysis that estimates a market-value range for your home based on the recent action of buyers and sellers in your neighborhood. A few of the factors your Ebby Associate will consider when estimating your property’s market value:

 

Successfully Sold Homes
The selling price of recently purchased homes comparable to yours.

 

Competitive Properties for Sale
Since these homes are not yet sold, the market value is undetermined, but they are important, as buyers most likely will view and compare these properties with yours.

 

Pending Sales
Though they have not yet closed, homes under contract are a good indicator of value in the current market.

 

Failed to Sell
The listed price of these homes suggests what potential buyers will not pay.

 

If you’re curious about what your home is worth in North Texas’ competitive housing market, visit the award-winning ebby.com, where you’ll find just the right real estate professional for your needs.

Pumpkin Seed Recipes for Feasting


Roasted Salty Pumpkin Seeds

Many families carve pumpkins for Halloween, but for some, the fun comes after the carving is over. The pumpkin seeds that remain can transform into a delicious snack. If you still have decorative pumpkins adorning tables and porches, don’t toss the guts. Separate the seeds from the pulp, give them a rinse, and you’re on your way to roasting.

 

When you reach your fill of all the sweet treats, you’ll be glad to have a healthy snack on-hand. Pumpkin seeds are packed with a variety of nutrients. In fact, about 2 tablespoons of shelled, roasted pumpkin seeds contain 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and 8% of your daily iron.

 

Whether you like them salty or sweet, these recipes are a perfect way to add some flavor to your pumpkin seeds.

 

Asian Zing

• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

Toss pumpkin seeds with soy sauce and ground ginger.
Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet.
Bake at 300° for 20 minutes.

 

Buffalo Ranch

• 1 tablespoon butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon buffalo sauce (preferably Frank’s)
• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• 1 ½ tablespoons ranch seasoning mix

Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet; roast at 275° for 20 minutes.
Melt butter in microwave, mix with buffalo sauce.
Pour mixture over seeds, then sprinkle with ranch seasoning.
Bake for 5 more minutes or until the seeds are dry.

 

Garlic Parmesan

• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and salt.
Roast at 350° for 5 to 10 minutes.
Melt butter in microwave, add garlic powder, pepper and grated Parmesan.
Pour mixture over seeds until evenly coated.
Bake for 5 more minutes or until the seeds are dry.

 

Pumpkin Pie

• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Melt butter in microwave, add brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice.
Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
Roast at 350° for 30 minutes.

 

Spicy Garlic

• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon garlic powder
• ½ teaspoon paprika
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Spread the pumpkin seeds in an even layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil.
Blend the spices in a small bowl; pour over the pumpkin seeds, making sure they are evenly coated.
Roast at 350° for 7 to 12 minutes.

 

Traditional

• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• A few pinches of salt

Melt butter in microwave, toss with pumpkin seeds in a bowl to coat.
Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle with salt.
Roast at 300° for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

Zesty Mexican

• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 cups pumpkin seeds
• 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
• 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
• 1 tablespoon lime juice

Melt butter in microwave, toss with pumpkin seeds in a bowl to coat.
Add cilantro and taco seasoning.
Spread the seeds in a single layer on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet.
Roast at 275° for 20 minutes.
When finished, drizzle with lime juice.

Prep Your Home for Fall


Home Exterior

Cool breezes and colder months call for necessary upkeep. Now is a good time to be proactive about protecting your home against cooler temperatures. Follow these steps to prepare your home for fall.

 

Exterior

Roof – Inspect for missing, loose or damaged shingles. Make necessary repairs to keep cold air and precipitation out.

Gutters and Downspouts – Clear leaves and debris. Check alignment to ensure water can flow through and drains away from your home and foundation.

Plumbing – If you’ve noticed issues or leaks, get them checked. Winterize pipes that are exposed outdoors.

Trees – Inspect your property for damaged branches, and trim limbs at least 2 feet from your roofline.

 

Interior

Heat – Inspect furnace, water heater and air ducts. Fix any issues and replace air filters.

Windows – Check for cracks, gaps, damaged trim and broken glass. Caulk, weather strip and repair as needed; the same goes for doors.

Detectors – Test and replace batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that keep you safe.

Fire Extinguisher – Test your fire extinguisher and replace or recharge if necessary.

Backup – Have working flashlights and spare batteries for potential outages.

Attic – Check for moisture or leaks and repair immediately; same for basements, where necessary.