Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Ultimate Moving Checklist

Moving can be hectic. With dozens of to-dos, a tight timeline and a growing pile of boxes, it's easy to get frazzled and let things fall through the cracks. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Get organized now by making a checklist to work from. Set deadlines for the most critical tasks like hiring movers, renting a storage unit and turning on your new utilities. Aside from packing up room by room, make sure your list has these often forgotten items, too:

Forward Your Mail: The post office makes it very easy to ensure your mail gets routed to the right place, at least for the first year after your move. Just head to a local branch or go online to update your address with the date you'll be moving, and your mail will automatically forward.

Measure and Decide: Take a measuring tape to your new home and jot down the measurements of each wall and nook. What furniture and decor will fit in your new home? What won't? It's better to make decisions about what to donate or sell before moving day.

Refill Prescriptions: It may take a bit to get your prescriptions forwarded to a new pharmacy and even longer for you to find the time to pick them up. If possible, get your prescriptions refilled ahead of time from your current pharmacy.

Back Up Your Electronics: Back up your computer and phone to the cloud, and make sure you've uploaded all your photos and documents somewhere safe. In the event something happens to your devices during the move, a backup will get you up and running faster.

Are you ready to make a move? Whether you're considering selling your current home or thinking of finding a new one, get in touch today for help and resources to guide you through the process.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Best Swimming Holes in Texas!

Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas

Summer is road trip season for many of us! But you don't have to go too far from Houston to enjoy an old-fashioned swimming hole experience. Here's a round up of places to take the plunge in Texas.

  • Barton Springs Pool in Austin: Underground spring water keeps the water at a refreshing temperature range of 68-70 degrees. There's a nominal entrance fee for Texas residents, a diving board, a designated area for the smaller set, and plenty of green space for lounging. Make sure you snack beforehand because food isn't allowed on the premises. Please check their website for additional rules and information before you go. Texas Trivia: Robert Redford learned to swim at Barton Springs Pool when he was a little boy visiting family in the Lone Star State! 
  • Krause Springs in Spicewood: Founded in 1955, Krause Springs has been a getaway for Texas families for years. 32 springs feed the manmade pool and natural pool on site. There's a rope swing for channeling your inner Tarzan or bring your own inner tube for a leisurely float. Don't forget cash for the entrance fee and a cooler filled with your favorite snacks and drinks. Campground space is available too. For a sneak peek, take a look at my pics from a relaxing weekend at Krause Springs here
  • Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs: Reservations are required for this scenic destination offering a natural grotto, 50-foot waterfall, and hiking trails. Finish the day with a feast at nearby Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood. Note: Cash only for Hamilton Pool and Salt Lick.
  • Blue Hole Swimming Area in Wimberley: Reservations are also required for access to this spring-fed creek surrounded by bald cypress trees where there's a rope swing waiting for you! Bird watchers love this spot so bring along a pair of binoculars too. There's plenty of local restaurants in the area for dining before or after your swim. 
Stay cool y'all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Home Inspections at a Glance

Most buyers and sellers know that a home inspection is an essential part of the home purchase process. But in real estate, there's more than just one type of home inspection to consider. In fact, there are dozens.

Whether you're purchasing a new home or investment property, selling your current home or trying to build equity in the home you're already in, here are the top five inspections you should know about.

Prepurchase inspections are the most common. They include a full assessment of a property's systems and structure, and they offer the buyer a full report of any repairs or issues that need attention. The buyer can use this report as a negotiating tool to have the seller address any repairs before closing or to lower the sales price to reflect the necessary repair costs.

Prelisting inspections are performed to give sellers a checklist of repairs to consider before listing the home. They can also help them gauge how much to list their property for, given its condition.

Feature-specific inspections are performed on a home's various features or systems. Some examples include inspections for swimming pools, septic tanks and wells.

Termite or wood-destroying insect inspections are needed if wood-eating pests are common in your area. Damage from these bugs can lead to costly repairs. Often, a buyer's inspector will recommend a termite inspection if they see specific signs of damage.

Municipal or COO inspections are required by municipalities to show that a newly constructed home or a home that has undergone major renovations is fit for occupancy. A municipal inspector will focus on the home's electrical, plumbing, building and fire code compliance to issue a certificate of occupancy.

Get in touch today if you'd like to learn more about a specific inspection process and how it could impact the value of your home.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Summer Storytime Fun in Houston

My commissioned Mini Mural on Heights Blvd celebrates my love for reading. Artist: Shelbi Nicole

Summer reading programs are underway in Houston. From the city's amazing public libraries to independent bookshops, there are so many opportunities for kids to enjoy reading - a great summer pastime for adults too.

Here's a sampling of free reading events for the young bookworms in your life!

  • Brazos Bookstore offers a Saturday Storytime session at 10:30 am for ages 2-9, plus crafts and snacks. Introduce the young ones to a literary classic, Moby Dick, when Brazos Bookstore hosts a party for kids with ocean-themed games, trivia, and food on Saturday, July 7th at 2 pm. Teen writers share their work with a public reading on Friday, August 10th at 7 pm. 
  • Blue Willow Bookshop treats toddlers and preschoolers to storytime every Thursday at 10 am. This cozy store in the Memorial area is also throwing a Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Party on Saturday, June 30th at 3 pm. Come prepared to receive your house assignment from the Sorting Hat before you enter the store, plus your very own Harry Potter name and name tag. Come dressed to impress - there's a costume parade at 3:45 pm!
  • Rienzi, maintained by the Museum of Fine Arts, is a River Oaks mansion dedicated to decorative arts and lovely gardens. A Storytime Tour of the picturesque grounds is available on Wednesdays at 10 am for ages 3 and up. (Through July 25th) 
  • The Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire hosts a Nature Storytime every Wednesday at 4 pm for ages 3-5. After enjoying books on nature, the group takes part in crafts and nature walks. 
  • Check your local Houston Public Library for reading activities ranging from storytime hours and teen book clubs along with puppet performances and wildlife encounters. 
  • Downtown's urban park, Discovery Green, has a Summer Reading series on Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30 am. In addition, the park hosts a Young Writers Workshop on Saturdays from 10:30-11:30 am. The class is limited to the first 25 students. 

In the words of Dr Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

Have fun!