Category Archives: Home Improvement

8 Steps to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh during the Winter

As winter settles in, we spend much more time indoors.  Being confined indoors means bad news if there are any triggers for allergies or asthma inside the home. Not to mention the fireplace smells, outdoor animals that are spending more time indoors because of the cold and children that are home inside more often. If your house is on the market or your you just want a clean home, follow some of these tips.

  1. Diffuser with essential oils – A few drops of your favorite smell can do your house wonders.  It creates a light mist with fragrant throughout your home.
  2. Lemons & Oranges – If the garbage disposal is still giving off the smell of last night’s dinner, run some lemon or orange peels through it to eliminate the odor.
  3. Lamp double duty – Put a dab of vanilla extract on light bulbs when the lights are off. Once the lights are turned on, the bulb will heat up the extract and emit a delicious smell.
  4. Potted plants aren’t just for looks   they’re also natural air purifiers. Some of the best are different kinds of palm trees, orchids and peace lilies.
  5. Pet Smells – If you love your cat but don’t love litter box odor, mix tea leaves with the litter. It will help to neutralize the smell.  Odors from pets can be from pet stains in carpet/pad or furnishings, or it can be from wet fur of animals.  Try getting your carpets steam cleaned on a regular basis and get pets house trained to keep carpets smelling fresh. Consider using a carpet powder or light baby powder on carpet and vacuum.
  6. Simmer Pot Recipe – For a long-lasting wonderful aroma that permeates your entire home, try a simmer pot recipe. Use this around the winter holidays to create a warm, homey ambiance.
    • Peel from 1 lemon
      Peel from 1 orange
      2 bay leaves
      3 cinnamon sticks
      2 Tablespoons whole cloves

    Add all these items to a medium pot or a small crock-pot. Add water to fill about halfway. Turn the burner on to low and let this simmer all day. If using a crock pot, set on low and let it freshen the air.

  7. Keep it Clean – With everyone spending more time inside the house, there is more of a chance with things such as pollen, dander, and dust mites to thrive. With more coughing and sneezing and less window opening, the air quality inside your home can be more dangerous than the air quality outside. Make certain to keep your home clean with regular dusting and mopping. If you do not have a fan in your bathroom to eliminate moisture that can cause mold to grow, perhaps now is a good time to invest in one.
  8. Don’t just sweep or mop – Using a vacuum that has good filtration and a HEPA filter is best. Of course, keeping the dust out can begin at the door. Install a dust walk-off system (grills, grates or mats that reduce the amount of dirt and dust that come into the home) and take your shoes off when entering. Having hard flooring is much better than carpet. Dust is harder to remove from carpet, and the older the carpeting is, the more difficult it is to clean. If you are going to clean your carpet, steam cleaning is better than chemical cleaners or shampooing.

Important Tips to Prepare For and Prevent Flooding

With all the flooding going on recently here in Texas, our thoughts and prayers are with flood victims, emergency response teams, and individuals currently assisting with the clean up. Many homes that have never seen flooding before have had incredible damage to their homes and belongings due to the record rainfall we’ve received in our area this May. With more rain predicted for the coming days we wanted to share some tips from around the web that may help you avoid damage while we weather these storms. Of course, these suggestions are only meant with small scale flooding – please stay tuned to local weather and get to higher ground in the event of a flash flood warning in your area. 

Design your landscape to prevent flooding. Landscape Designs That Prevent Flood Damage

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Tips to Prevent Flood Damage in Your Home

Is your Home Ready? Water Damage Prevention Checklist

image credit: www.houselogic.com

image credit: www.houselogic.com

Be prepared by putting together a Home Emergency Tool Kit

Know a storm is on the way? What to do BEFORE a Major Storm

Keep Pets Safe in a Flood

Have animals you need to keep safe? Protect your Horses From Flooding and Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Flood.

Have any more tips? Feel free to leave them in the comments below. Again, please be sure to stay tuned to local weather and stay safe out there!

Home Sellers…What’s that Smell!?

Those fresh-baked cookies sure do smell good, but will they help you sell your home? The answer may surprise you!

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Image from www.wsj.com

Eric Spangenberg, dean of the college of business at Washington State University, and his co-authors recently conducted a study in Switzerland to determine just how much people’s spending is influenced by smell. The results? Turns out, the more complex the smell the less likely people are tend to spend money.

After studying 402 people for 18 days in a home-decor store, the researchers found that people spent, on average, 31.8% more when the store was scented with a simple orange smell vs. a complex blend of orange, basil, and green tea. Even more interesting, was that shoppers actually spent more when there was no scent present at all!

These findings fly in the face of common thought about the relationship between sales & smell especially in regards to real estate. Homeowners are often coached to create pleasing smells when potential buyers visit to encourage them to buy. However, according to Spangenberg, complex smells such as baked goods and potpourri may produce the opposite effect. Spangenberg says this has to do with the fact that even pleasant complex scents can be a distraction to buyers who subconsciously devote time and energy trying to determine what the smell is rather than focusing on the product, or in this case, the home.

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Image from www.wsj.com

So how should you use smells to help encourage, rather than discourage the sale of your home? Spangenberg recommends using natural, simple scents such as lemon, orange, pine, or cedar, and encourages people to think about what makes sense in the environment of your home. For example, pine might work well for a mountain cabin, but would be out of place, distracting, and therefore discourage the purchase of a beach house.

So, if you’re selling your home, take a few minutes and assess the smells buyers smell when they walk through your door. Though we can’t make any promises, it may  make a difference between a casual looker, and a motivated buyer!

See the entire article here.

 

 

Meet Michelle, Our Home Staging Professional!

If you’ve listed a home with us, you know the importance we place on staging your home to sell. Why? Because, simply put, when properly staged, homes sell for more money and in a shorter amount of time, which is great for everyone! Since this is such a vital part of our listing process, we thought you might want to meet the person behind the scenes that makes our beautifully staged homes a reality. So, without further adieu…meet Michelle, a wonderful addition to the Mallett Integrity Team!

Q.) Tell us a little about yourself and your experience as a home stager.

A.) Although I’ve been in the Austin area off and on since 1986, it’s only been three years that I have been able to call Dripping Springs home. I have been married for almost 20 years and I am a proud mother to three daughters. The love of decorating began in my teens. Quite often I would move furniture around and reorganize my room. Probably not typical teen behavior and no surprise to my family when I began my staging and interior restyling business, “Originally Inspired.” I’ve actually been full circle on the staging wheel. Several times I was the home seller preparing my own home for listing. I also spent 16 months as a home manager, living in three different vacant listings within that time, while

Living Area Prior to Staging

Living Area Prior to Staging

Living area after staging

AFTER

keeping them staged until sold. I have also been through the process of several home builds, including custom, and the design and material selection that each entail. Now I get to do what I LOVE on a daily basis and assist clients in getting their property ready for the market.

Q) What do you like most about home staging?   

A.) What I love about home staging the most, is the transformation of the space and the confidence and satisfaction it brings the client. Even the smallest transformation can make a huge impact. That impact benefits the home seller, the agents and even helps the buyer visualize how their own furniture may arrange in the home. I get to be a part of that process and it’s rewarding to me personally and a positive experience for all involved.

 

Q.) Why should someone use a home stager when selling their home?

A.) Staging helps sell homes.  It’s about setting a tone in a home that is appealing to abroad, target market of potential buyers in order to get your home sold as quickly as possible and at top dollar. When getting a house ready for the market I remind the client that changes made are not about their style or decorating ability, so it’s never personal. We aren’t decorating to stay, that’s personal. We are decorating in order to move on to that

An empty dining room becomes warm & inviting.

An empty dining room becomes warm & inviting.

next space that is waiting to be decorated to your personal taste and desires. Most stagings do not require the home owner to purchase anything. Usually, the stager is able to re-merchandise existing furniture and decor. Selling your home can be a stressful time and a stager helps in minimizing the sellers stress so that time can be spent doing other projects. We come in, figure out our plan and we make it happen.

BEFORE & AFTER of a Gameroom area

BEFORE                                                                                                             AFTER

Q.) What are some easy things people can do to keep their home organized & “show ready” (whether they’re selling their home or not!)

A.) Whether you are selling a home or not, there are many things you can do to keep a home “show ready”.  Investing in bins and nice storage containers are a must.  Kids toys, magazines, personal papers and other loose items quickly become cluttering and troublesome to the eye if not contained.  Rule of thumb, less is more.  Find one, maybe two focal walls in a room (depending on how large the room is), not every wall needs to be decorated. Keep counter tops in kitchens and bathrooms at a minimum with appliances, toiletries and personal items.  Store items that aren’t used daily in a cabinet or drawer or group into a basket that can be stowed and pulled out while in use. Make it an annual must to go through the garage, cabinets, closets and de-clutter by donating, selling or throwing away.  These tips will help you stay prepared if your listing and thankful someday if you do. to.

Whether you’re planning on moving in the Austin area sometime soon, or just planning a remodeling project, you may be thinking about renting a storage unit. But how much is that going to cost you? We’ve provided an info-graphic here to help you see approximately how much a storage unit in the Austin area will run you. Of course, these prices are just estimates – it’s probably still a good idea to do some price checking with a few companies.  However, this should give you an idea about what to expect, and may be a good place to start!

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Building or Remodeling? Have you checked out Houzz yet?

If you’re thinking about building or remodeling a home, you may already have a Pinterest board filled with ideas for your dream home. However, wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole lighted-jacuzziwebsite dedicated to not only helping develop an online idea book filled with pictures from top designers, but also serve as a one stop shop to assist you in finding contractors, and selecting products to make those idea books a reality? Enter Houzz.com. This free website allows you to browse over 1 million photos by room and design, search through over 350,000 products curated by the sites experts, and helps you find professionals in your area. You can even discuss your remodeling/building questions with other members and professionals. So if you’re thinking about building or tackling a remodeling project, or are already in the process, checking out Houzz.com might just make your life a little easier!