August Home Maintenance


Historic home in Dallas, Texas.

It’s officially the last few weeks of summer! Soon, you’ll be ordering pumpkin spice lattes and decorating for fall. But before you get too far ahead of yourself, it’s time to schedule important end-of-summer home maintenance.

Get rid of unwelcome house guests.
Now is a great time to think about a once-a-year pest control solution. With pests, it’s best to be proactive rather than reactive. When you see them, you can be sure there are more around the corner. A once-a-year pest control solution is the most effective and economical solution there is.

Get out the germs.
We’ve all been in the house more than usual this summer. It might be time to give your home a deep clean. Go beyond mopping the floors and get your dryer vent and air vents cleaned, have your mattresses disinfected and cleaned, have your carpets cleaned and clean your washing machine and dishwasher. Doing a deep clean will improve air quality, reduce energy use, and clear out the germs. 

Get organized.
A new school year is starting, and with that comes a lot of chaos. It’s an excellent time to get organized. Donate or toss things that no longer help you or your kids. If possible, set up a homework station in your home. This not only keeps you organized, but it also helps kids to focus on their schoolwork. You’ll also want to set up a “drop zone,” a place for your kids to drop-off their backpacks, shoes, jackets and anything else they might have carried home.

If the thought of getting organized is overwhelming, there are pros that can help. Professional organizers don’t just move piles around or hide things; they come up with entire systems to help you and your family stay organized.

Zaarly, an Ebby Halliday Realtors partner, helps homeowners find and work with the best home service pros in the North Texas area. Visit Zaarly for assistance with everything from pest control and cleaning to home organization.


9 Ways to Rework Your Kitchen for the Holidays


Expecting family over for the holidays? According to a recent survey by WalletHub, D-FW ranks No. 9 on the list of top warm-weather destinations during the holidays.

 

Whether your family books a room at your place or pops in throughout the length of their trip, you want to make sure your kitchen is spot-on, and now is the perfect time to get started. Following are nine fixes for an impressive refresh.

 

1. Cabinetry

1477060873_485156-1925-fairmount-ave-fort-worth-tx-High-Res-16.jpg
1925 Fairmount Avenue | Fort Worth | $530,000

Dated cabinetry can serve as the biggest eyesore. Liven yours up by sanding them down, adding fresh paint and then installing snazzy hardware.

 

2. Countertops and Sink

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2255 Forest Hollow Park | Dallas – Stonegate at Forest Hills | $559,000

Newer countertops provide a stunning look. Consider changing your sink as well. And, if there’s still wiggle room in the budget, look at updating your faucet – it can really complete the new look.

 

3. Appliances

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6735 Kingsbury Drive | Dallas – Merriman Park | $470,000

If appliances aren’t working properly, it’s obvious they need to be replaced or fixed before family visits. It’s best to change out the refrigerator first – an appliance that is used daily. Then, match the replacement to existing equipment.

 

4. Backsplash

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7229 Yamini Drive | Dallas – Jan Mar | $939,000

Subway-tile backsplash adds an updated yet classic look. Going for neutral colors adds brightness and leaves room for more versatility.

 

5. Lighting

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4642 Edmondson Avenue | Highland Park | $1,395,000

Who wants a dark kitchen? Not your family. Consider purchasing and installing recessed ceiling cans. Although small, they highlight, brighten and add a modern touch.

 

6. Paint

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1750 Trace Bella Court | Westlake | $5,798,880

Probably one of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room. Neutral shades allow for brightness and more versatility, but soft greens and blues add a nice twist.

 

7. Flooring

listing_24
5007 Purdue Avenue | Dallas – Briarwood | $849,000

Dated linoleum or vinyl isn’t the most attractive. Opt for real-wood planks, which add a classic addition to any kitchen.

 

8. Statement Piece

listing_35 (1)
2260 Hermitage Drive | Allen – Shaddock Park | $699,999

Similar to what it does for fashion, a statement piece serves as an interesting, attractive and relatively eye-catching item that reflects your style. A pot rack or a unique light fixture can easily be installed by homeowners, adding a big impact for a small price.

 

9. Openness

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3207 Parkrise Court | Garland – Spring Park | $360,000

With good reason, the open floor plan trend continues to grow. Overcrowding in the kitchen is the last thing you want. Opt for knocking down a wall, allowing the central hub of your home to be a part of your living and dining areas.

9 Ways to Rework Your Kitchen for the Holidays


Expecting family over for the holidays? According to a recent survey by Orbitz, 71 percent of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season, with Dallas ranking No. 9 on the list of top Thanksgiving destinations.

 

Whether your family books a room at your place or pops in throughout the length of their trip, you want to make sure your kitchen is spot-on, and now is the perfect time to get started. Following are nine fixes for an impressive refresh.

 

1. New Cabinets

listing_29
Dated cabinets can serve as the biggest eyesore. Liven yours up by sanding them down, adding fresh paint and then installing snazzy hardware.

3513 Springhouse Way | Celina – Light Farms | $599,999

 

2. Change Countertops and Sink

listing_29-1
Newer countertops prove a stunning look. If those change, consider changing your sink as well. And, if there’s still wiggle room in the budget, look at changing your faucet – it can really complete the new look.

4403 Rawlins Street | Dallas – Perry Heights | $959,500

 

3. Replace Equipment

listing_26
If appliances aren’t working properly, it’s obvious they need to be replaced or fixed before family visits. However, if upgrades are on the mind, it’s best to change out the refrigerator first – an appliance that is used daily. Then, match the replacement to existing equipment.

201 Sir Brine Drive | Lewisville – Castle Hills | $408,000

 

4. Update Backsplash

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Subway tile backsplash adds an updated yet classic look. Going for neutral colors adds brightness and leaves room for more versatility.

7306 Mimosa Lane | Dallas – The Meadows | $679,500

 

5. Improve Lighting

listing_31
Who wants a dark kitchen? Not your family. Consider purchasing and installing recessed ceiling cans. Although small, they highlight, brighten and add a modern touch.

18007 Old Preston Court | Dallas | $599,000

 

6. Paint

listing_26
Probably one of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room. Neutral shades allow for brightness and more versatility, but soft greens and blues add a nice twist.

520 Laredo Circle | Allen – Twin Creeks | $510,000

 

7. Flooring

1444921507_462955-4312-hyer-st-dallas-tx-High-Res-14.jpg
Dated linoleum or vinyl isn’t the most attractive. Opt for real-wood planks, which add a classic addition to any kitchen.

4312 Hyer Street | University Park | $1,195,000

 

8. Statement Piece

listing_28
Similar to what it does for fashion, a statement piece serves as an interesting, attractive and relatively eye-catching item that reflects your style. A pot rack can easily be installed by homeowners, adding a big impact for a small price.

 

5833 Portsmouth Lane | Dallas – Cambridge Place at Preston Trail | $1,095,000

 

9. Openness

listing_28-1
With good reason, the open floor plan trend continues to grow. Overcrowding in the kitchen is the last thing you want. Opt for knocking down a wall, allowing the central hub of your home to be a part of your living and dining areas.

1037 Brigham Drive | Forney – Devonshire | $310,000

13 Ways to Add Value to Your Home


Whether you’re selling now, planning to sell in the future or just want peace of mind, there are always steps you can take to increase the value of your home.

 

Following is a list of items that will attract buyers and make the place you call home even more special.

 

1. Home Office

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The growth of technology has made it possible for people to work from their homes more often. By updating your current home office or designating a space to create one, you show your home’s full potential.

4428 Greenbriar Drive | Dallas | $1,798,000

 

2. Master Suite

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A master bedroom with its own bathroom is an expected amenity. If you don’t have one, try to find the budget (and space) to create one, focusing on amplifying storage space.

2630 Misty Meadow Drive | Propser – Gentle Creek | $829,000

 

3. Family Room

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Everyone needs a comfortable, open space to fill with family and friends. Make sure your room looks and feels inviting, and filled with plenty of natural light. Also, a fireplace is always a plus.

1095 Arches Park Drive | Allen – Waterford Parks | $464,900

 

4. Kitchen

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The kitchen can either make or break your home. Staying reasonable with materials and design will almost always guarantee your money back on a remodel.

7337 Blairview Drive | Dallas | $529,500

 

5. Bathroom

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Have you ever heard of a home having too many bathrooms? How about too few? If your home has fewer bathrooms than bedrooms, it’s time to think about adding another full or half-bath. Additionally, if your current bathroom has seen better days, consider an update that’s simple and clean.

829 Melba Street | Dallas | $389,900

 

6. Windows

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Did you know, on average, 30 percent of your home’s energy is lost through its windows? If your windows are in bad shape or you’re looking to impress buyers, upgrading to energy-efficient windows will not only save time and money for you, but also for your buyer.

3804 Villanova Street | University Park | $2,675,000

 

7. Basement/Subterranean Level

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Though it’s not the most common feature in D-FW, a subterranean level can add major value to your home. If the ceilings aren’t too low, a subterranean level is an ideal space for an office, playroom or media room.

4626 Dorset Road | Dallas – Strait Lane Estates | $6,500,000

 

8. Deck

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These days, outdoor space is a premium. On average, the edition of a deck provides a 76 percent return on investment. Typically, they’re not too expensive to build and create an entirely new living space.

4600 Stanford Avenue | Dallas – Briarwood | $850,000

 

9. Landscaping

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An overgrown and poorly maintained yard isn’t appealing to anyone. Liven it up with some color, height and possibly a designated seating and/or entertaining area.

6739 Lupton Drive | Dallas – Preston Hollow | $2,575,000

 

10. Paint

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A few coats of paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to update your home. If you’re selling, keep things light and neutral so that buyers can easily imagine their things in your space.

4415 Woodfin Drive | Dallas – Rockbrook Estates | $1,625,000

 

11. Flexibility

1443540144_462037-5192-havasu-dr-frisco-tx-1-High-Res-9.jpg
Your house is yours to make your own. If you think you may sell in the future, try not to over customize. Buyers need to be able to see themselves and their things working in your home, so try not to pigeonhole your spaces.

5192 Havasu Drive | Frisco | $469,000

 

13. Exterior

1443555734_454078-5009-spanish-oaks-dr-frisco-tx-High-Res-2.jpgThough we’ve been told to do otherwise, people do judge homes based on curb appeal and first impressions. Put the best foot forward by sprucing up your home’s landscaping, exterior paint, siding, and garage doors.

5009 Spanish Oaks | Frisco – Starwood | $2,798,000

 

 

 

 

Tackle Spring Clean 2015


CM Spring Cleaning lg

Daylight Savings Time is the perfect reminder that it’s time to get down and dirty for an annual spring cleaning. A good, deep clean puts everything back in order and restores peace of mind that your home is in tip-top shape once again.

 

Set aside some time, perhaps a long weekend, to knock out the spring cleaning list, organized by room, below. If you can enlist your family members or roommates for help, the work will be done before you know it! You can click below to enlarge the list and print it out.

Takle Spring Clean 2015

7 Ways to Stay Warmer This Winter


7 Ways to Stay Warmer This Winter

In light of the icy weather we’re having this week, we thought it was a great time to remind you of these 7 tips.

 

This time of year can be hard on efficiency and bills because cooler temperatures force the thermostat up and foggy days have us closing the blinds. Instead of giving in to higher bills, try out some of these techniques for a warmer winter at home.

 

1. Your Thermostat: If you have the funds and the ability, call an expert if the latter is not true, install a programmable thermostat. Programming your thermostat to let the temperature drop a bit while no one’s home and heat up when you return is an easy way to save a lot on heating bills. Also, remember that studies show that cooler temperatures make for a better night’s sleep.

 

2. Let the Light Shine: Draw back curtains and blinds during the day to allow the sun to come in. A sunny day, even a cold one, will heat up rooms a few degrees. At night, and in rooms that don’t get sunlight, keep curtains closed to keep more heat inside. If you’re home is particularly susceptible to heat loss, consider investing in insulated window dressings.

 

3. Fireplace Rules: While a fireplace may feel like a great way to keep warm, they are actually notoriously inefficient. Gas fireplaces can add significantly to your bills and both they and woodburning fires allow cold air to come in in other areas of your house. It is especially important that you keep the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use, otherwise it’s like opening a window.

 

4. Fan Flip: Ceiling fans don’t necessarily have or need to go off during colder months. If you flip the directional switch on your fan and turn it on a low speed it will push the hot air in your home, which naturally rises, back down. This trick is most beneficial in room with high or vaulted ceilings.

 

5. Mind the Gaps: Check your windows and doors for cracks, gaps and openings. Simply holding your hand up to the base of a window can reveal a strong current of air exchange. Replace any broken glass, framing, and caulk where necessary.

 

6. Close It Up: If you find yourself spending more time in some rooms than others, simply close doors to trap the heat. Additionally, if there are some rooms you never use, shut the door and vent to direct the heat where it needs to go and save on heating bills.

 

7. Add Layers: This means to your floors and to yourself. Rugs keep heat from escaping through the floors and will keep your feet warmer. If you’re really looking to save, stop worrying about heating the house and throw on a pair of fuzzy socks and a warm sweatshirt. Add blankets to your bed and bundle up instead of heating your entire home.

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home


Whether you’re selling now, planning to sell in the future, or just want peace of mind, there are always things you can do to improve the value of your home.

 

Check out this list of 15 items that will attract buyers and make the place you call home that much more special.

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Home Office: Technology has made it possible for more and more people to work out of their homes. By updating your home office or designating a space to a new one, you show your homes full potential.

(Pictured: 9226 Hathaway St., Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Master Suite: A master bedroom with its own bathroom has become an expected amenity these days. If you don’t have one, try to find the budget and space to create a master suite. If you do, focus on amplifying storage space.

(Pictured: 3210 Carlisle St. 51H, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Family Room: Everyone’s looking for a comfortable, open space to fill with family and friends. Make sure your room looks this way by drawing attention to windows and natural light. A fireplace is almost always a plus.

(Pictured: 9029 Broken Arrow Lane, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Kitchen: This space can make or break your home. As long as you stay reasonable with materials and design, you’re going to get your money back and then some on a kitchen remodel.

(Pictured: 6601 La Cosa Drive, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Bathroom: Have you ever heard of a home having too many bathrooms? How about too few? If your home has fewer bathrooms than bedrooms or no bathroom on the main floor, think about adding another full or half-bath. Additionally, if you have an old, dingy bathroom, consider an update that is simple and clean.

(Pictured: 5418 Deer Brook Road, Garland)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Windows: Did you know that, on average, 30% of your home’s energy is lost through its windows? If your windows are in bad shape or you’re looking to impress buyers, upgrade to energy efficient windows that will last and save the future owners money for years to come.

(Pictured: 9836 Gooding Drive, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Basement: Though it’s not the most common feature in DFW, a basement can add a major value to your home. If the ceilings aren’t too low a basement can be the ideal space for an office, playroom, media room, or spare bedroom.

(Pictured: 12541 Renoir Lane, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Deck: Outdoor space is at a premium these days. On average, the addition of a deck brings a 76% return on investment. Typically, they’re not too expensive to build and they create an entirely new living space.

(Pictured: 11120 FM 678, Whitesboro)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Landscaping: An overgrown and poorly maintained yard isn’t appealing to anyone. Liven things up with some color, height, and possibly a designated seating and/or entertaining space.

(Pictured: 3612 Villanova St., University Park)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Paint: A few coats of paint is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to update your home. If you’re selling, keep things light and neutral so that buyers can easily image their things in your space.

(Pictured: 1314 Cardinal Creek Drive, Duncanville)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Flexibility: Your house is yours to make your own, but if you think you may sell in the future try not to over-customize. Again, buyers need to be able to see themselves and their things working in your home, so try not to pigeonhole your spaces.

(Pictured: 9629 Whitehurst Drive, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Blending: When adding an addition, choose materials that blend well with the existing house. Carry over design elements from the original house in order to create a flawless transition.

(Pictured: 9610 El Patio Drive, Dallas)

14 Ways to Add Value to Your Home

^Exterior: Though we’ve been told to do otherwise, people do judge homes based on curb appeal and first impressions. Put the best foot forward by sprucing up your home’s roof, exterior paint, siding, and garage doors.

(Pictured: 5715 Wortham Lane, Dallas)

Get Your Home Ready for Fall


home-improvement-2

Cool fall breezes and cold winter months will be here before we know it! When it comes to your home, it is always best to be mindful of necessary upkeep with every changing season. Even though fall isn’t here quite yet, now is a good time to be proactive about keeping your home protected.

 

Here’s a basic checklist to get you going:

 

Exterior Items:

-Roof: Inspect your roof for missing, loose, or damaged shingles. Repair the ones that need it to keep the cold and precipitation out.

-Gutters and Downspouts: Clear these of leaves and debris and check them for proper alignment. You want to make sure water can flow through and that it drains away from your home and foundation.

-Plumbing: If you have leaks or you’ve noticed plumbing issues, get them checked out and winterize the pipes that are exposed to the outdoors.

-Trees: Winter means snow, ice, and weight on your trees. Inspect your property for damaged branches and cut back limbs to at least 2 feet from your roof line.

 

Interior Items:

-Heat: Inspect your furnace, water heater, and air ducts. If you notice any issues, now is the time to have them fixed. It’s also a good time to switch out your air filters.

-Windows: Check for cracks, gaps, damaged trim, and broken glass. All of these can let the heat out and the cold in. Caulk, weather strip, and repair where needed. The same goes for doors.

-Detectors: Cooler months mean the heat is on and the fire is roaring, so you should check and replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors that keep you safe.

-Fire Extinguisher: As with detectors, this is the perfect time to test your fire extinguisher to see if it needs to be replaced or recharged.

-Fireplace: Check for soot build-up and schedule a chimney sweep if you haven’t had one in a while.

-Stock up: Ice and snow also mean power line issues. Make sure you have working flashlights in your house just in case.

-Attic: A quick look around the attic can reveal moisture or leaks that you may not have noticed from the outside. Have these fixed where necessary.

-Basement: The same tips for the attic also apply here.

6 Home Issues You Shouldn’t Ignore


6 Home Issues You Shouldn't Ignore

Cracks, stains, and dust happen, that’s just part of homeownership. Most of the time these things are minor, but sometimes small issues can be signs of larger problems. It’s important to know when your house needs a quick fix and when it can use some serious TLC. In all cases, catching these things early and calling in an expert are best. Here’s what to look out for:

 

Creeping Cracks: Like we said, cracks are almost inevitable, especially in older homes. However, any crack that is wider than 1/4 inch or seems to be growing regularly should be checked out. Something like this can mean a bigger problem with your home’s structure and foundation.

 

Attic Puddles & Stains: A few drips here and there is not always a sign of a major issue, but constant water stains or a puddle in your attic pretty much always means there’s a problem with the roof. Your roof is essentially your home’s umbrella, and an umbrella with a hole in it is really no good.

 

Higher Water Bills: Again, baby leaks are no big deal, but a water bill that is considerably higher than normal could mean you have a major leak. Leaks can mean flooding, mold, and a big impact on your water bills.

 

Electrical Sparks: Can you say fire hazard? Electrical sparks are no joke. If you’re seeing sparks or feeling shocks when plugging or unplugging things in your home, there could be something wrong with your electrical wiring.

 

Mud Tunnels: Tiny mud tunnels near the foundation of you house are a direct indicator of termites. If they’ve been there a while, try breaking off some of then and seeing if they come back. If so, call in the pros.

 

Major Dust Bunnies: If you’re constantly dusting just to turn around and see another layer of dust form in the next day or two, you could have one of two problems. Either your home’s air ducts need to be cleaned or your furnace is ready for a filter change. Keep filters updated on a regular basis to avoid this turning into a larger problem.

Spring Home Maintenance Checklist


OTD

5316 Mariners, Plano

Even though we’ll most likely see some cold temperatures back in D-FW before spring is officially here, it’s never to early to get your home ready for the next season. On today’s OTD we’re sharing with you a checklist of outdoor and indoor tasks to get your home ready for the spring, specifically for it’s characteristic windy and rainy days. By checking off this list, originally posted by Lowes, you’ll have your home freshened up and prepared for the months ahead! To see a year-round list for every season, click here.

 

Outdoor Tasks:

-Clean gutters and downspouts.

-Inspect roof and chimney for cracks and damage.

-Touch up peeling or damaged paint. Watch our video for ideas on troubleshooting exterior paint problems.

-Wash all windows, inside and out.

-Install screens on windows and doors.

-Clean outdoor furniture and air out cushions.

-Service your lawn mower.

-Fertilize your lawn.

 

Indoor Tasks:

-Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set clocks forward.

-If your basement has a sump pump, test it by dumping a large bucket of water into the basin of the sump pump. This should activate the sump pump. If it does not switch on or if it’s not pumping water, it may need to be serviced by a professional. Also, check for and remove any debris and make sure there are no leaks.

-Wash and change seasonal bedding.

-Dust blinds and vacuum curtains throughout your house.

-Clean kitchen and bathroom cabinets and throw away outdated food, medicine and cosmetics

Photo: 5316 Mariners Drive, Plano