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Cleaning 101 Before Listing

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Before you put your home up for sale, you’ll want to ensure it’s clean for all of the buyers that will come through. A dirty house isn’t appealing, and you won’t get a good offer, if you get one at all, if your home isn’t in tip-top shape. Cleaning your home doesn’t have to be overwhelming, below we’ve listed the top things to remember to clean for each room.

FOYER:

+ Clean the door and hardware.
+ Wipe off all fingerprints on windows/furniture.
+ Clean off scuff marks on floors and door.
+ Replace all light bulbs and ensure light fixtures are working.
+ Tidy/clean up the coat closet. People WILL look in there to see the size.

KITCHEN: 

+ Wipe down all cabinets.
+ Clean all appliances, inside and out.
+ Clean stove hood, on top and bottom.
+ Clean behind the refrigerator, on top and bottom too.
+ Ensure the microwave is clean of food splatter.
+ Clean the space behind the sink.
+ Wipe down blinds/shades.
+ Wash any kitchen rugs, clean the floors and baseboards.
+ Store all of your pet food/food out of sight.

BATHROOM: 

+ Clean behind toilet and under sink.
+ Only display absolute necessities, declutter.
+ Organize and clean under the vanity.
+ Scrub floors and clean grout lines.
+ Keep dirty clothes and towels off the floor.
+ Be sure to lock away any medication.
+ Clean the fan and make sure it’s functioning.
+ Replace any dead lightbulbs.

BEDROOM:

+ Wash sheets, comforters, and blankets.
+ Clean the curtains and rugs.
+ Dust furniture.
+ Remove any obvious stains from fabrics.
+ Keep closets clean and organized.
+ Store away dirty clothes and personal photos.
+ Clean marks on walls.

These are just the basics you don’t want to forget about. If it’s within your budget, we highly recommend hiring a professional cleaner to ensure your home is in its best condition. Contact your agent to get a great local recommendation.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Residential Property Disclosures

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When selling your home, you’re obligated, by law, to disclose certain information about your property. Most states require that all sellers complete a written property disclosure form. Majority of the forms have a required set of questions that must be answered.

THE BASICS

Most states require sellers to complete this form when listing for sale. Nearly all of the questions are a basic yes/no/unknown response. The questions will address material facts, major defects, special disclosures, and federal disclosures. All forms vary by state and require different information.

MATERIAL FACTS

These include the age of the property, it’s condition, known problems, and defects. These are all of the information that would influence a buyer’s decision to purchase your home. These disclosures require you to address known defects, things that are reasonably apparent, to ensure you don’t knowingly hide a major defect.

MAJOR DEFECTS

All major defects MUST be disclosed. For instance, fire or flood damage. If your home’s electrical system isn’t up to code, and you’re aware of this, it must be shared with potential buyers. Repairs you have completed, as well as improvements and upgrades, should be noted as well.

Since all states have varying federal and special disclosure laws, it’s imperative that you reach out to a local real estate agent to get assistance with the sale of your home. They’ll have a copy of the required disclosures and can assist you to ensure you don’t find yourself in hot water, legally, if an important disclosure isn’t shared with buyers.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Simple Sprucing Tips For Your Home

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You don’t need thousands of dollars to fully refurbish your home to make it feel like new again. Instead, you can DIY a lot of features in your house to help spruce it up for the upcoming season. Whether you plan to sell your home, have guests over, or are just tired of how drab it’s been feeling lately, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to refresh your space:

CLEAN + DECLUTTER
Throw out all of the junk taking up space! You’d be surprised by how much more you’ll fall back in love with your home when you take out the collection of accumulated stuff that has piled up over the years and finally get to see your home’s features for what they are. Store what you don’t need/use in either the attic, basement, or in a storage unit. After you’ve decluttered, be sure to finish it off by cleaning your home. Clean windows, walls, and the floors for the best results.

BRING IN NATURAL LIGHT
Do you have heavy curtains covering your windows? Bring them down! Not only will this make your space feel bigger by removing stuff off the walls, it’ll also feel alive again with all of the natural light that pours in.

ADD FRESH PAINT
Nothing refreshes a home like a new coat of paint. If you have dark dull colors, opt for lighter tones. Covering up stains on the walls, or drab old paint, can help your house feel brand new all over again.

ADD TILE
Consider adding a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get beautiful results. Be sure you get tiles that compliment the colors in the space, so it doesn’t clash and look unappealing.

ADD COLOR
Although neutral colors are always recommended as the base of any home decor, don’t be afraid to compliment your neutrals with a pop of color. You can add it throughout the home by using flowers, pillows, decor, or even light curtains that are staged on the sides of your windows.

CHANGE OUT FIXTURES + HARDWARE
You’d be surprised by how much more a kitchen can look different just by replacing the hardware on the cabinets. A bathroom or living room can come alive again by installing a brand new light fixture. If you moved into a place that still has the same stock hardware or fixtures, replace them and add a little creativity with the new pieces you have installed.

REARRANGE FURNITURE
Head to Pinterest and get inspired for new living room, bedroom, or dining room arrangements. Most homeowners decorate “incorrectly” when it comes to standard staging rules. View a variety of furniture set-ups on social media and let it motivate you to rearrange your space. You don’t have to buy a bunch of new furniture to make a drastic change.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Tips To Get Settled In A New Home

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Moving into a new home? We know how exciting it can be! We’ve compiled a list of a few things you can do after your move to make sure your experience is comfortable. The hardest part of a move is getting settled in, after that, let’s handle a few loose ends that sometimes get forgotten about till the last minute.

CHECK MAJOR APPLIANCES

Be sure to check all the appliances to ensure everything is still in working order after the move. You want to make sure nothing was broken in the move or stopped working suddenly. Look at things such as your stove, dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, and microwave. If you brought any appliances yourself and you used movers, you’ll want to make sure everything still works with them, since mover’s insurance companies give a limited timeframe for when you can make a claim.

CHECK ALL OF YOUR BOXES & FURNITURE

Be sure to go over all your boxes and furniture to make sure nothing got damaged during the move. Be sure that everyone has arrived and didn’t get lost in the process. If you notice something is missing a month later, it may be too late to file a claim with the moving company. Even if you don’t plan on unpacking everything as soon as you move in, just do a quick review and inventory everything you brought to protect yourself and your belongings.

SET UP UTILITIES

Did you remember to set up your utilities before moving in? There’s nothing more frustrating than moving into your home to realize the lights don’t work. Make sure you’ve gotten with all of the necessary utility companies to have everything turned on in time for your move.

REGISTER INTO A GOOD SCHOOL

You may have already known to look for a school for your kids prior to your move, but if you haven’t yet found one, be sure to research all the schools local to you to find the right fit for your family. The sooner you can find the right school and register, the easier and less stressful it will be to get them in and settle.

REGISTER YOUR CAR

If you’ve moved to a new state or country, you’ll want to make sure to register your car in your new hometown and update your driver’s license, tags, and plates.

CONNECT TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Join sites like Nextdoor.com or get a subscription to your local magazine/newspaper to stay in touch with what’s going on in your neighborhood. Be sure to also join local community Facebook groups. You can find out about events or concerns relating to your community.

GETTING YOUR MAIL

Have you updated your address from all the people you’ll be expecting to get mail from? Like your bank, friends, family, and services you still pay for after your move. Check with the post office to have things redirected to your new address while you work to update your info with everyone else.

FIND THE RIGHT PROFESSIONALS

If you’re moving far from your last home, you’ll want to have the right connections. Find a new doctor, dentist, vet, handyman, plumber, etc. Add them into a contact book that’s easily accessible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST

If you’re moving to a new country, 911 won’t be the local emergency number. Make sure you have all the correct numbers in the case of an emergency. This can also include doctors, the local police station, a vet, etc.

INSURANCE COMPANIES

More than likely, you handled home insurance and home warranty during the purchasing process. If you haven’t, be sure to get those taken care of right away. You’ll also want to get your auto, health, and any other necessary household insurances sorted for your move.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Eliminate Pet Odors In Your Home

blog pet odors

Eliminating bad odors from your home is incredibly important, you want to make sure you’ve removed them before putting it on the market. Often times, the first thing buyers notice upon entering your home, is how it smells. If there is an odd odor, it will instantly put them off. No matter how beautifully staged and presented it is, strong odors or stale air can make your home unappealing to prospective buyers. Opening windows and exhaust fans will only go so far in removing foul odors, but won’t generally eliminate it completely. To ensure you don’t lose potential buyers, follow these odor eliminating tips to ensure your home smells and feels fresh and new.

Don’t Use Artificial Freshening Sprays

Don’t make the mistake of spraying artificial room freshener sprays in hopes that it will remove the bad odor. Deodorizers will quickly fade, and only mask the smell, sometimes in an overwhelming way. If a buyer walks into your home, your air freshener can cause a reaction, like a runny nose or a headache, and will make them suspicious of an underlying foul odor. Instead of trying to mask it, locate the actual source of the bad odor and get rid of it.

Best Pet Carpet Cleaners for Accidents

We all love our furry friends, but unfortunately, they can get your home pretty smelly. Whether the smell is on the carpet, furniture, or even on the walls – it’s essential to have it removed. Most odors stem from accidents. You always want to attend to the accident right away. Blot them with a paper towel and use mild dishwashing liquid to help remove the odor. Once completely cleaned, blot again with fresh paper towels to dry the spot. If the accident is not recent, use an enzyme cleaner to eat the bad bacteria. Another great idea is to use activated charcoal. It is a form of carbon that has been activated to make it extremely porous. You can get activated charcoal meant for pet odors at most pet stores.

Green Cleaning Products

Using natural odor eliminators is a great green alternative to most of the chemicals sold at stores. One of the most recommended products is to use baking soda. You can place an open box of it in a room to help absorb unwanted smells. It also helps to remove musty aroma in dark spaces, like a basement. On top of being used to remove pet odors, it also works great for cigarette smells. If you don’t wish to use baking soda, most pet supply stores will have green cleaning products that help remove odors, while still being safe for your household.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Using Paint to Enhance the Size of a Room

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Paint colors can drastically affect the feeling of a room. It can make it enjoyable to be in, or leave you feeling uncomfortable. It can alter the perception of the room’s shape and size and add to, or take away from, the atmosphere you’re trying to portray in your space. The paint you use in your house can make or break its aesthetics.

COLOR TIPS

Dark Colors:
+ Adds coziness to a room.
+ Used to make a large room feel smaller.
+ Advances the color in the room.

Light Colors:
+ Used to make small rooms feel bigger.
+ Recedes the color in a room.
+ Light colors help a space feel more airy.

Lighter colors tend to recede, which makes it appear farther away, therefore making the room feel bigger. Darker colors tend to advance, which makes them seem closer, in turn making the room feel smaller. You can use colors to completely modify the size of a room by perception. You can use this concept to minimize unattractive features in your house or highlight focal points.

If your room is too large and doesn’t make the space feel cozy, you can paint your ceiling a darker color than the walls, to help them feel a little lower. Conversely, if your ceilings are too low and makes you feel claustrophibix, you can paint them a lighter shade to help them feel higher.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Fall Leaves Bring Sold Signs

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Summer has come to an end and you probably are thinking you’ve lost the opportunity to sell, and need to wait till next summer. But that’s far from the truth! Although it’s not as hectic and crazy with the swarm of buyers on the market, the fall season brings out the most serious of lookers. They are the pool of buyers that waited out the summer frenzy to find their perfect home in the fall, and you don’t want to miss these buyers! They are ready to make a move, today! And selling in a slower period does not equate to less money. That’s a misconception that home owners have based on untrue data that floats around. With the right agent, and your home being priced correctly, you can get a great deal selling your home during the fall season. And might actually prefer it. Here are the top 3 benefits to listing during the fall season.

1. Serious Buyers – Let’s be honest, if buyers are out during the busy season, looking for homes, they are serious and ready to buy. Although the summer brings in a large crowd, that crowd contains a lot of people that are excited by the season, and fall into the “trend” of house hunting. These people end up not really being serious about the process, and tend to hold off for another time. If people are investing time to look during the fall season, they are more likely to be interested in actually buying your home, instead of touring it.

2. Less Competition – Selling in the fall isn’t something many families can accomplish due to personal schedules. That’s why a significant amount of homes get listed during the summer season. Which means that summer time brings in a lot of competition. Selling in the fall means the potential house next door that has slightly more perks that may have been listed during the summer, doesn’t make your home sit stagnant, since everyone wanted your neighbor’s house. It also doesn’t devalue your home because of the house that could go up next door that could be under-priced in your neighborhood, and draw all of the attention.

With a slower season, you get dedicated attention to your property, which increases the chance of a sale.

3. Easier to Find Your Dream Home – Not only do you get to benefit from a slower season during the selling process, but you can also benefit on the buying side. With less competition on your dream house, you can get a better deal. The summer brings a lot of missed opportunities for buyers on their dream homes, because they go off the market instantly. This will give you the opportunity to get your home on the market and take your time to find the right one to resize into. A much calmer pace to the transaction will make it less stressful, and everyone all around happier. Don’t feel rushed into buying a home overnight during the summer, it could turn into a headache. If you want a far more peaceful transaction, that has calmer pace, then selling during the fall is perfect for you.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Kitchen Improvements Under $100

KitchenImprovblog

Want to spruce up your kitchen but stuck on a tight budget? Check out the list of improvements you can get started on for under $100. These tips can come in handy when you’re ready to list your home to sell on the market.

1. REFRESH THE SINK:

If your sink is starting to look outdated, find an affordable, yet stylish, replacement. If you have the eye for DIY, you can also purchase some sandpaper and a $4 can of spray paint that is made for metal, and dye it to refresh and brighten the color.

2. HANG A NEW LIGHT FIXTURE

A decorative light fixture doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You can generally find some decent ones that are under $100. Go for a chrome finish or choose the rustic route, whichever suits the current decor in your kitchen. You can also add LED lights under your kitchen cabinets for around $10-$20.

3. PAINT THE CABINETS

With care taken in the prep work, you can refinish the paint on your cabinets. You can generally get a kit around $75. Refreshing the paint color or the stain can make your kitchen feel brand new.

4. TURN YOUR FRIDGE INTO A CHALKBOARD

Chalkboard finishes are a hot trend, especially on the fridge! They add more functionality by allowing home owners to write grocery lists, menus, and even to-dos. Use painters tape to outline the shape and size you want to use as the chalkboard then coat it with magnetic primer, then chalkboard paint.

5. REPLACE OUTLET PLATES

Replace the outdated outlet wall plates for your light switches. You can add some character to it by using bold patterns, bright colors, or elegant textures. If they look faded, yellow, or chipped, they’re a cheap fix to replace.

6. CHANGE HARDWARE

Replacing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can provide a drastic change to your kitchen. Not only can you get rid of hideous outdated hardware, but you can add a completely new feel to the theme of your kitchen just by updating the hardware throughout it.

7. EXPAND STORAGE

Have empty wall space? Search your local home stores for cute baskets or storage containers you can use to fill the space. Not only can it add some character to your kitchen, it also adds functionality and more storage options. A feature buyers love if you’re thinking of listing your home.

8. DRESS UP YOUR DECOR

Bring some color to your kitchen. Throw out decor that looks like it belongs in the 90’s, rugs that are falling apart, and anything else that weighs down a fresh look. Add in some new rugs and hand towels that match your personality and the theme you’re trying to achieve. You can also add some plants and decorative pieces to add character.

9. CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER

The best cleaning tip I can give all of my clients is to remove the clutter. Nothing is a bigger eye sore than too many things. It also messes with the energy in a home. Throw out a lot of things that are taking up too much space. If it’s sentimental, see if you can store it in a new place or even donate it.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
jennifercoteATX.com
Real Estate

Let’s Landscape That Pool

poolblog

Ready to take on the task of landscaping your pool space? You generally don’t realize the importance in the types of trees you use until it’s too late. Let’s go over a few rules the trees around your pool should follow that will provide minimal upkeep and provide the best aesthetics.

  • The trees you choose should have minimal leaf drop and are not overly messy. You want to avoid cleaning seeds, fruits, flowers, and dead leaves as much as possible. This task can get tedious.
  • Choose trees that have shallow root systems. Some tree roots can cause cracks in the concrete and cause problems with the plumbing.
  • Choose trees that can be preferably moved around in large growing containers.
  • Go with a tree that matches the theme of your decor, weather that’s tropical, Japanese, Mediterranean, desert oasis, etc.
  • Pick a tree that doesn’t block a view you may want to keep when it’s fully grown.

Below, we’ll list top 9 of our favorite trees to use throughout your pool landscaping. We recommend these trees based on their root system and the minimal amount of shedding in their leaves and fruits. Choose from one below that will match the theme of your decor:

1. Palm Trees

2. Citrus Trees

3. Banana Trees

4. Japanese Maples

5. False Cyprus

6. Floss Silk Tree

7. Fruitless Olive Trees

8. Ironwood

9. Palo Verde

Have questions? Call me and I can get you some recommendations on awesome Landscapers to help with your yard! Pool or Not!

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Durable Kitchen Floor Options

durablefloorblog

Kitchen floors get put through quite a lot! Between all of the dropped utensils, the spills and drips; being one of the most used rooms in a home, your floors need to handle kitchen hazards and look good doing it. A large variety of floor materials won’t be an ideal fit for the kitchen because of this. Below, I’m listing my favorite kitchen floors that help with maintaining low maintenance, and keeping a balance between style and functionality.

CERAMIC TILES

Ceramic tiles can be a great fit for the kitchen because they are resilient, hard, and impervious to stains and water. It also helps that they are resilient to heat and breakage, under normal conditions, that is. They came in a variety of colors and even faux finishes to add a beautiful, yet smart, addition to your kitchen.

DURABLE CONCRETE

Concrete is a great option for ground level kitchens and are a long lasting option for homeowners. Sometimes, concrete slabs may have already been placed beneath your existing flooring. The surface of it can then be polished or stained to provide a stylish look for your kitchen.

NATURAL STONE

Natural stone is a hard rock that allows it to remain durable and long lasting. The only drawback to stone is that it is porous, which makes it susceptible to water and liquid stains. This can be avoided with an annual application of chemical stone sealer, which simply provides an invisible coat of protection.

HARDWOOD

Hardwood can be tough to work within a kitchen because the material is porous and relatively soft. However, if you like the look of hardwood in a kitchen, you’ll just want to have it treated with a quality polyurethane-based finish. Keep in mind, it will, overtime, take on a more aged look. If you find character and personality in imperfections, then hardwood will work great for you.

BAMBOO

Bamboo has a similar look and feel to hardwood, and can be a great alternative. It is a harder and more durable material that helps it become more resistant towards moisture and water damage. The only drawback? It’s tough to refinish them because there is no direction to the natural grain.

LINOLEUM

Made popular about 50 years ago, linoleum seems to be making a comeback. Linoleum is made from all natural linseed oil, which makes it pretty environmentally friendly. They’re also pretty easy to clean and maintain. If it is properly cared for, it can generally have a lifespan for upwards of 40 or so years. However, if it is immersed in water, it is highly susceptible to damage. Be sure to avoid basement quality linoleum in your kitchen or they will begin to curl when faced with humidity.

VINYL

Vinyl is a great and affordable kitchen flooring option. Their lifespan generally tens to run around 7 to 10 years before they start showing significant signs of wear and fade. Vinyl is man-made and is nearly impervious to water issues, stains, and other damage. It is also very easy to clean.

Don’t want to replace your flooring? You can always give me a call and we’ll find you a house with the type of kitchen flooring that you love!

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com