Category Archives: Tips

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.

Fireworks Safety Tips

Each county, city and neighborhoods can have different ordinances in regards to fireworks.  Their use, possession, and distribution depend on current burn bans, ETJ locations, Homeowner Association rules and general common sense. Please make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby.

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

Always have an adult supervise all fireworks activities. Children can suffer injuries even from sparklers, which parents often assume are safe. Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.

Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

To prevent a trash fire, douse spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.

 

 

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

Landscape-Designs-that-prevent-flood-damage1-660x250

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!

A Dry Foundation is a Happy Foundation – 4 Tips

4 Tips to Keep Your Foundation Dry & Happy

With how the recent droughts & how dry it typically is in Texas, one of the last things you may be thinking about is how to keep your foundation dry to protect it during the Fall/Winter months. However, keeping water away from your home’s foundation is an important part of maintaining your home’s structural integrity. Water can cause soils to expand and contract as well as do damage to the interior of the home should it flood. With all the wonderful rain we’ve been getting lately (and typically get during the Fall/Winter) we thought we’d share a few tips with you to be sure your home & foundation stays dry and happy. 4 Tips to Keep Your Foundation Dry and Happy

  1. Keep your gutters clean and make sure downspouts will divert water to a place where it can drain away.
  2. If your home is equipped with a sump pit you may want to install a pump, or if you have a pump make sure it is operating properly.
  3. If you have a basement and it has a drain, be sure it is clear in the event that you have an interior water leak, such as a broken pipe.
  4. Try to determine how rainwater from landscaping will drain. If you have landscape borders next to the concrete, they will act as dams holding the runoff water in the soil. There should be openings in the borders to allow any accumulated water to drain.

These are just a few places to start getting your home ready for the cooler/rainier months ahead. For more suggestions for your specific situation be sure to contact a licensed, local professional. 

 

 

Tasty Treats for your Labor Day Weekend!

Happy Labor Day from the Mallett Integrity Team! This year, we’ve rounded up some tasty recipes to help you make the most of your Labor Day celebration. Whether you’re planning a relaxing day with family & friends, or hosting a large get together, here are a few great recipes that are sure please!

Tasty Treats for Your Labor Day Weekend!

From http://willowbirdbaking.com

If you’re like us, no Labor Day celebration is complete without a GREAT hamburger! We saw this recipe for Old-Fashioned Burger Stand Burgers and Fries over at willowbirdbaking.com and got hungry just looking at it – YUM!

Tasty Treats for Your Labor Day Weekend!

From http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

Next, check out this tasty and patriotic side dish from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com! Who could resist this pretty (and tasty!) salsa with a stack of homemade tortilla chips!?

Tasty Treats for Your Labor Day Weekend

From www.iheartnaptime.net

Oh…and did we mention dessert? I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM! Whether you’re making your own homemade ice cream, or picking up your favorite brand at the store, we loved these dipped cones to make dessert a little extra special. 

Tasty treats for your Labor Day Weekend!

From Julia’s Room For Dessert

Or…if cones aren’t your thing, check out this great way to serve ice cream to your guests in individual mason jars. Oh…and did you notice they used a bird bath filled with ice to chill? No ice chest…no problem!

So…now that you have your party menu planned you can think about more important things…like taking your family to the pool, or that long nap on Monday afternoon! No matter how you choose to celebrate, we wish you and yours a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

 

Home Staging Checklist for a Show-Ready Home

Do you have a Home Staging Checklist for keeping your home show-ready?

Darden HIll StagedStaging your home and keeping it show-ready can make a BIG difference in how quickly your home sells and for what price. In addition to looking better online and in-person, homes that are staged typically spend about 73% less time on the market (Real Estate Staging Association). That’s why, when you list with the Mallett Integrity Team, we provide free, professional home staging services to stage your home and get it ready to sell. We also provide our clients with a home staging checklist for getting and keeping their homes show ready. That way, when a potential buyer calls for a showing, they’re always ready. Take a look at our home staging checklist, and be sure to call us if you’re thinking about listing your home or making a home purchase – we’d love to work with you!

Home Staging Checklist For Getting and Keeping Your Property Show Ready

O Curb Appeal/Landscaping-watered properly, weeded, trees
and shrubs trimmed, grass cut, sprinkler system working, trash
cans out of sight1608 High Lonesome

O Entry Way-Walkway and porch swept, front door
dust/cobweb free, front door re-painted/stained if needed,
potted plants watered, power wash if needed

O Patios/Balconies-Swept, furniture arranged neatly, plants
watered, surfaces dust free, power wash if needed1878 Darden Hill Front Porch Staged

O Thermostats-Keep at a comfortable setting especially during
days of excessive heat or cold

O Interior Scent-Wall plug-ins are helpful in controlling pet
odor, herbs and spices that are used in cooking, and other
odors that sometimes accumulate in homes. Placing a plug-in,
in or near the entry, laundry rooms and rooms were pets are
welcomed is helpful

O Outside screens, windows and glass doors cleaned-
(indoors as well on glass doors and windows)

O Lights/Fans-Make sure all work, replace bulbs and dust

O Living Room/Den/Family Room, etc-Furniture dusted,
floors picked up, media cords hidden, storage bins for toys for
quick pick up

O Kitchen-Appliances, counters, and stainless steel wiped
down, dishes stored and floors swept and clean1878 Darden Hill - Kitchen

O Laundry Room-Cleaning supplies stored, laundry put away
or in basket

O Master Bed/Bath-Bed made, furniture dusted, floors picked
up, tub/shower/toilet clean, hang towels, mirror wiped down
and counters clutter free. Closets orderly as possible.

O Guest Bed/Bath- Bed made, furniture dusted, floors picked
up, tub/shower/toilet clean, hang towels, mirror wiped down
and counters clutter free. Closets orderly as possible.

O Kid’s Rooms/Bath- Bed made, furniture dusted, floors
picked up, tub/shower/toilet clean, hang towels, mirror wiped
down and counters clutter free. Closets orderly as possible.
Have containers for toys that can be shoved under the bed or
neatly into a closet for quick pick up.1878 Darden Hill - bedroom

O Office/Mail Room-uncluttered, sensitive information stored,
cords hidden well

O Fireplaces-Clean and working properly

O Pool/Hot tub-clean and proper chemical levels, pool supplies
and leisure accessories stored, furniture neatly arranged

O Garage-items stored neatly, swept, garage doors working,
trash stored and unscented

When is the best time to list your home to sell by the Spring?

 When is the best time to list your home for sale? Now, although we don’t have a crystal ball to determine the future, we can help you determine when may be the right time to list based on what the market has done in the past.

Now that the holidays are over, and the New Year has dawned, some may be putting off listing thinking that the best time to list is in the “real estate high season” during the Spring & Summer. However, if you want to sell your home by Spring, the best time to list your home may be now!

I know it may seem early, but according to a national survey of real estate transactions, the best time to list your home may be now! Here’s why. The survey found that over 90% of buyers start their search on the internet. After that, buyers spend approximately two months looking for homes before finally deciding on the right home for them. That two month lag time means that sellers who list their homes right now are positioning themselves to close on their home in the early spring. So if you’re looking to sell in the spring, you’ll want to list the house now – and get a head-start on the competition!

As one of the top listing groups in the Southwest Austin area, the Mallett Integrity Team has the experience & expertise you need to help you get the most money for your home in the least amount of time. Want to know more about how we can help you list your home and what our team can do for you? Click here.

 

Top New Year’s Resolutions & How To Achieve Them!

Top New Years Resolutions & How to Achieve Them!

It’s a New Year, and a chance to get started off on the right foot! It’s also a time to look back and see if you kept New Year resolutions you promised to keep last year.  And, whether you kept your resolutions or not, you may be curious to know what other people listed as their top new year’s goals for 2013.  Not surprisingly, losing weight tops the charts along improving finances and exercise. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, quit smoking, or make 2014 the year you purchase or list your home, here are a few tips that can help make your goals a reality:

1.) Be Specific – How much weight do you want to lose? How much money do you want to save each month? Write down your specific goals and share them with your friends & family to help you stay accountable.

2.) Be Realistic – If you need to lose 50 lbs, don’t try to lose it all in one month. Set a reasonable goal each week and focus on accomplishing that goal each week. Same goes for finances. If you’re trying to save money for a down payment on a house focus on the small things you can do each day to save that will add up in the long run.

3)  Set a Time Frame – Where do you want to be in 1 month? 3 months? What about 6 months or a year from now? Set goals for each of these time frames in mind and work to achieve one at a time.

4) Keep a Log – Track your progress & celebrate your success! There are lots of apps and programs online that can help you keep track of everything from weight-loss & exercise goals, financial goals, and any other goals you may have for 2014.

New Homeowner? Have You Filed Your Homestead Exemption?

Have You Filed Your 2014 Homestead ExemptionIn an effort to help make your life a little easier, here are the links or phone numbers to download or request the Homestead Exemption forms that apply to all homeowners, those over 65, the disabled, disabled veterans, and surviving spouses.

Hays

Travis

Williamson

General information about Homestead Exemptions
Click here to read about how to know if you qualify for Homestead Exemptions
and what kind of exemptions are available to all homeowners

Homestead Exemptions for Homeowners age 65 and over or with disabilities
Click here to read about exemptions, limitations and special instructions
for homeowners age 65 and over and homeowners with disabilities

Homestead Exemptions for disabled veteran homeowners
Click here to read about exemptions, limitations and special instructions for disabled veteran homeowners

Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

If you haven’t already started preparing your home for the winter months, the recent cold snap may have made you start thinking about what you can do to make sure your home is ready for winter. Even though we generally have pretty mild winters in Central Texas, preparing your home for winter now could help you avoid costly repairs later. Here are a few tips you can use to start winterizing your home.How to Winterize your home

Gutters
Debris can gather in your gutters even before fall arrives, and once the leaves start to come down during winter—not to mention the rain and snow—clogs are even more likely. Be sure to clean your gutters out now to prevent clogs, and check for leaks.

Paint
If it’s still dry enough to paint, check to see if any outdoor surfaces could use a fresh coat. As it gets colder and wetter during the winter season, new paint won’t be able to dry and cure properly, and exposed wood surfaces could suffer water damage.

The driveway
Cracks may have developed over the summer, so give your driveway a good power washing, then make the most of any opportunity to seal the cracks. Then, add a new coat of sealant to the driveway surface to help it endure the winter rain and snow.

Doors and windows
Extra air flow may have felt refreshing in the summer and early fall, but that’ll change soon (if it hasn’t already). Replace any missing or damaged weather stripping around your doors, and do the same around your windows. It’ll keep your home better insulated and save you some money on energy costs.