10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Summer


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Warmer weather is here, which means it’s time for backyard barbeques, evenings spent on the patio, gardening, and playing catch with the kids. Break out the home maintenance checklist. We’re here to help you get your home ready for summer with these tips. 

1. Get Your A/C Tuned Up

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While there are some great DIY projects on this list, getting an A/C tune-up isn’t one of them. You should call in a professional for this task. Just as you need to get your furnace tuned up every fall, you need to get your A/C tuned up before temperatures spike in the summer.  An A/C tune-up includes inspecting and cleaning components and connections inside your A/C, and it’s important because the technician should be able to tell whether your A/C will need repairs soon. With regular tune-ups, you can help avoid unexpected breakdowns and A/C issues. If your home warranty doesn’t cover your A/C system, check out an American Home Shield® home service plan today. 

2. Conduct a Home Energy Audit 

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Now is the time to learn more about your home’s energy profile and what you can do to improve its energy efficiency. A home energy audit can tell you whether and where your home is drafty, for example, or if you need more insulation and where to install it. Whether you have it professionally done, or do it yourself, it’s worth it – and your local utility company may offer an incentive for homeowners to have this done.  

3. Install a Smart Thermostat 

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This is a great time to install a smart thermostat so you can keep your home cool while also being more energy efficient. A smart thermostat lets you program your HVAC to cool your home only when you’re in it, so you’ll save a bundle on cooling costs while still staying comfortable on even the hottest days. 

4. Get Ready for Bugs 

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Many species of insects go dormant during winter and early spring due to the colder weather, but they come out again in full force as soon as temperatures rise. Before the bugs come out, get ready for their return. Take steps to keep the bugs away, such as cleaning up piles of leaves or other debris near your house, sealing cracks in doors and windows, and inspecting window screens for holes. If you want to put out pesticides or other repellants, now is the best time to do so.  

5. Check for Water Leaks 

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The summer months bring more than heat – they can also bring storms and flooding. Check your basement for signs of water leaks. Clear out grates or drains near your home so that water is directed away from the foundation. If dirt has settled around your home, or your home is at the bottom of a hill, water will run towards your foundation. Install grates to direct water away. 

6. Clean the Gutters 

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If you only clean your gutters once a year, do it in the spring or early summer, so that they can most effectively direct the rain of summer storms away from your siding and foundation. Ideally, you should clean your gutters twice a year – once in the spring or summer, and again in the fall. 

7. Reseal Your Doors and Windows 

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Now is the time to inspect your doors and windows for missing, cracked, or peeling caulk and reseal them to prevent water leaks and draftiness. If you have wooden window frames, check to see if they need to be repainted. You can also take this opportunity to repaint your front door, if necessary, and wash your windows.  

8. Aerate, Dethatch, and Overseed the Lawn 

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Okay, so this is three things, but they all go together, and they’re all equally important to helping your lawn look its best in the summer months when you most want to use it. Your lawn may not need to be aerated, dethatched, and overseeded every year – if it looks healthy and lush, it’s probably fine, especially if it’s newly installed. But take the time to do it at least every two or three years, so your lawn stays healthy and oxygenated. It will make a big difference!

9. Spruce Up Your Garden Beds 

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This is a great time to weed, mulch, and plant in your vegetable and garden beds, and if you’re looking for summer crafts for kids, there are plenty of gardening tasks they can do. Kids love playing in the dirt, growing things, and helping out. They can help pull weeds, spread mulch and compost, and even plant seeds or seedlings. 

Related Article: Summer Gardening for You and Your Family 

10. Clean Your Patio Furniture

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Soon you’ll want to entertain friends, relatives and neighbors outside, so it’s time to drag the lawn furniture out of the garage or remove the furniture covers, and knock the cobwebs off. Use a power washer or a hose to clean chairs, tables and other pieces of lawn furniture. Don’t forget to wash the cushions! You can also take steps to protect your patio furniture so that it lasts longer. 

Don’t let summer catch you unprepared. Get your home ready for warm weather so you can focus on enjoying yourself and your loved ones.  

DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Please be sure to take the appropriate safety precautions and ensure your project complies with any applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations.

Tips for Flawless Outdoor Entertaining


Candle and string lights outdoor dinner

 

Summer will be here before we know it, which means longer nights and warmer weather. What better way to spend a summer day with family and friends than at an outdoor gathering? If you’re hoping to host a backyard soirée, here are some tips that will help things run smoothly.

 

Prepare your yard

Tidy up your yard before hosting guests. Mow the grass and pick up any tools, hoses or toys.

 

Choose the right seating

Patio furniture with thick, comfy cushions are the best option for homeowners who frequent their outdoor space. When hosting a gathering, make sure you have enough seating. Benches and tree stumps are a casual, rustic way to add seating to your outdoor space. Make sure all the seating is clean of debris before your guests arrive.

 

Keep guests comfortable

Guests will be more inclined to stay for the duration of the party if they are comfortable. Have ample shade coverage and consider running a fan near the dining area to keep guests cool. You may also want to set out a basket with warm-weather essentials for guests to grab — think sunscreen, insect repellent, handheld fans and iced spray bottles.

 

Plan a simple menu

Opt for recipes that can be prepared in advance and will withstand crowds and heat. Fresh grilled vegetables, pasta salads and guacamole are all popular (and colorful!) choices.

 

Add lighting

Outdoor globe lights, lanterns and LED candles are all great options for setting a relaxed summer atmosphere. Setting out candles with an open flame is a bit riskier — instead, use hurricane lanterns or jars to shield the flames.

 

Play relaxed tunes

Set the right tone with a playlist that is easy and laid-back. You don’t want to overpower any conversations among guests. Create a long enough playlist to avoid repeating songs too many times while guests are there.

 

Display fresh cuts

Use flowers and foliage from your own yard as centerpieces. Arrange your fresh cuts in jars or buckets and set them out to brighten up your display.

 

Offer activities

Providing lawn games like cornhole or croquet will keep your guests occupied and happy. Use butcher paper as a tablecloth and set out crayons for creative people of all ages.

 

Keep pests away

Be sure to protect food with mesh food coverings and light citronella candles to keep bugs away. Eliminate any standing water in gutters or the bottom of flowerpots to keep mosquitoes from breeding there. Offer guests bug wipes and insect repellent.

 

Create a beverage station

Make sure your guests are hydrated by preparing a beverage bar or cart stocked with the essentials. Include straws and plenty of ice.

 

Opt for melamine

Melamine is an affordable and durable option for outdoor dinnerware. Using the break-resistant plastic will help you reduce waste and also keep the area clear of lingering paper cups and plates.

 

Visit ebby.com to view all of the extraordinary outdoor patios on the market that are begging to have you as a host.

Fourth of July Lake Houses


The Fourth of July is here, which means an extra day to relax, unwind and enjoy time outdoors.

 

These amazing waterfront properties will have you planning next year’s Fourth of July festivities lakeside. Just think, everyone gathered on the porch with a gorgeous lake view and front-row seats to enjoy fireworks over the water.

 

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2 Chilton Point | Heath – Lake Ray Hubbard | $2,750,000

142 S MERLIN DRIVE S

142 S. Merlin Drive | Mabank – Cedar Creek Lake | $1,900,000

98 TANDA TRAIL

98 Tanda Trail | Trinidad – Cedar Creek Lake | $1,700,000

2944 LYNN DELL DRIVE

2944 Lynn Dell Drive | Tool – Cedar Creek Lake | $1,250,000

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388 Stonewall Drive | Streetman – Richland Chambers Lake | $1,150,000

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540 Mariah Bay DriveHeath – Lake Ray Hubbard | $949,999

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3711 CR 4804 | Athens – Lake Athens | $650,000

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325 Winding Shore DriveTool – Cedar Creek Lake | $599,000

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12747 Honeysuckle Circle | Eustace – Cedar Creek Lake | $475,000

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195 Seaside Drive | Gun Barrel City – Cedar Creek Lake | $399,000

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154 King Arthur RoadMabank – Cedar Creek Lake | $350,000

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138 Oakdale RoadTrinidad – Cedar Creek Lake | $344,000

 

To see all of the lake homes for sale in North Texas, visit the award-winning ebby.com.

Essentials for the Perfect Picnic


Going for a picnic is the quintessential way to spend a beautiful spring or summer afternoon. This season, upgrade your picnic game with these essentials.

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1. Picnic basket – $69.95
This charming basketweave picnic basket is the perfect vessel to transport your food to the ideal spot. The sturdy leather straps make it easy to carry.
2. Food storage – $34.95
Keep your picnic food fresh with these airtight storage containers. They neatly stack and have color-coded lids to help you stay organized. They’re also microwave and dishwasher-safe.
3. Steady stick wine glass holders – $10.95
These clever wine glass holders stick in the grass to hold your glass steady. Never knock over your wine glass again!
4. Insect repellant – $4.97
Be sure to have insect repellant nearby to keep insects away. This dry spray does the trick without leaving oily residue behind.
5. Acrylic wine glasses – $3.95
These acrylic wine glasses are a durable twist on the classic design. Plus, they stack neatly to save space.
6.
 Picnic blanket – $45.00
Relax in style with a fun picnic blanket like this one. It’s also reversible!
7. Paring knife – $9.95
This knife is perfect for paring, peeling, and slicing. The covered blade keeps it safe in a picnic basket.
8. Bamboo dining ware – Plates: $14.94, Flatware: $11.95
This beautiful bamboo dining ware is a sturdy and eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Pack it up and throw it out when you’re done!

Outdoor Entertaining Tips (+ the Perfect Homes for Hosting)


Some vegetable and meat skewer and some pieces of pork meat on a flamy grill in a garden. XXL size image.
 
Summer will be here before we know it, and that means longer nights and warmer (okay, much warmer) weather. What better way to spend a summer day with family and friends than at an outdoor gathering? If you’re hoping to host a backyard soirée, here are some tips and tricks that will help things run smoothly.
 
*Prepare your yard
Be sure to clean up your yard before hosting guests. Mow the grass and pick up any tools, hoses, or toys.
 
*Choose the right seating (and have enough)
Patio furniture with thick, comfy cushions are the best option for homeowners who frequent their outdoor space. When hosting a gathering, make sure you have enough seating. Benches and tree stumps are a casual, rustic way to add seating to your outdoor space. Make sure all the seating is clean of debris before your guests arrive.
 
*Keep guests comfortable
Guests will be more inclined to stay for the duration of the party if they are comfortable. In addition to having ample shade coverage, consider running a fan near the dining area to keep guests cool. You may also want to set out a basket with warm-weather essentials for guests to grab (think sunscreen, insect repellent, handheld fans, and iced spray bottles).
 
*Keep the menu simple
Opt for recipes that can be prepared in advance and can withstand crowds and heat. Fresh grilled vegetables, pasta salads, and guacamole are all popular (and colorful!) choices.
 
*Add lighting
Outdoor globe lights, lanterns, and LED candles are all great options for setting a relaxed summer atmosphere. Setting out candles with an open flame is a bit riskier — instead, use hurricane lanterns or jars to shield the flames.
 
*Keep music relaxed
Set the right tone with a playlist that is easy and laid-back. You don’t want to overpower any conversations among guests. Make sure your playlist is long enough as not to repeat too many times while the guests are there.
 
*Display fresh cuts
Use flowers and foliage from your own yard as centerpieces. Arrange your fresh cuts in jars or buckets and set them out to brighten up your display.
 
*Offer activities
Providing lawn games such as cornhole or croquet will keep your guests occupied and happy. Use butcher paper as a tablecloth and set out crayons for creative people of all ages.
 
*Keep pests away
Be sure to protect food with mesh food coverings and light up citronella candles to keep bugs away. Eliminate any standing water in gutters or the bottom of flowerpots to keep mosquitoes from breeding there. Offer guests bug wipes and insect repellent.
 
*Create a beverage bar
Make sure your guests are hydrated by preparing a beverage bar or cart stocked with the essentials. Include straws and PLENTY of ice.
 
*Opt for melamine
Melamine is an affordable and durable option for outdoor dinnerware. Using the break-resistant plastic will help you reduce your waste and also keep the area clear of all those lingering paper cups and plates.
 
Now that you know the tricks for a perfect outdoor party, here are some outdoor patios currently on the market that are begging to have you as a host.
 
Outdoor Entertaining6413 Old Gate Road | Plano | $6,999,000
Outdoor Entertaining
1750 Trace Bella Court | Westlake | $4,995,000
Outdoor Entertaining5701 Arcady Place | Plano | $1,999,999
Outdoor Entertaining
5003 Horseshoe Trail | Dallas – Bluffview | $1,998,000
Outdoor Entertaining11111 Eastview Circle | Dallas | $1,960,000
Outdoor Entertaining
5001 Pinehurst Drive | Frisco | $1,350,000
Outdoor Entertaining1300 Lincoln Court | Allen | $1,140,000
Outdoor Entertaining2803 Edgewood Lane | Colleyville | $995,000
Outdoor Entertaining712 Basilica Lane | McKinney | $885,000