North Texas Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 3, 2019

5 Money-Saving Tips for Keeping Your Home Clean as a Pet Owner

Dog on couch

 

5 Money-Saving Tips for Keeping Your Home Clean as a Pet Owner

 

There’s a special joy that comes with owning a pet. However, keeping up with the recurring mess and clutter can be stressful and expensive. And we all know that a clean and healthy home is a happy home. Fortunately, there are solutions. For the pet owners out there, here are five money-saving tips for keeping your home spick and span.

 

Choose the Right Cleaning Supplies

 

You know that it’s time for a deep clean when you get a whiff of strong pet odors. In this case, simply vacuuming the floors isn’t going to cut it. One of the best ways to eliminate odors is by cleaning urine spots with an enzymatic-based solution. This cleaner attacks the odor-causing enzymes, but it needs time to soak the affected area and be left to dry in order to be effective. If you’re dealing with a urine spot on carpet, you may have to get it professionally cleaned or replaced depending depending on whether the spot reached the sub floor.

 

Doesn’t it seem like you have all the cleaning supplies you need until your pet makes a mess? Make sure you always have supplies available so that you can clean a mess as soon as possible. Sign up for rewards at your local pet supply store and stock up on items when they go on sale. Also, look into online retailers; companies like Amazon frequently offer promos and coupons for quality products.

 

Tidy Up After Your Pet

 

Your pets are probably not trained to pick up after themselves, which means that when they play with a toy, it’s left on the floor or furniture when they’re finished. This not only creates clutter, but it also adds to the dander, saliva, and other bacteria-filled substances circulating through your home. Anytime your pet plays with a toy, remember to put it back in their bin. This will help you keep a tidy home without costing you anything.

 

Groom Your Pet Regularly

 

Another way to keep your home clean is to keep your pet clean. Regularly taking your pet to the groomer is a great way to reduce dander and odors in your home. However, if you want to save money, you can learn to do a lot of the grooming yourself by utilizing online tutorials. For instance, regularly bathing your pet, brushing their teeth, and brushing through their fur will help keep them clean and healthy. Furthermore, trimming their nails regularly can reduce the dirt brought into your home while also protecting your furniture and floors from scratches.

 

Wipe Their Paws

 

Along with grooming your pet, the simple act of wiping their paws after they’ve been outside can do wonders for keeping your home clean. A lot of dirt, leaves, and other debris are tracked in any time a pet comes back inside. Before you know it, there are muddy paw prints all over the floors, furniture, and bedding. Keep a towel handy by the door and wipe their paws each time.

 

Wash Their Bedding

 

Your pet’s bedding is a hub for a variety of bacteria because of all the fur, dander, and saliva that accumulates over time. This not only makes their bed, pillows, and blankets smell bad, but the bacteria can also spread to other areas of the home. That’s why regularly cleaning your pet’s bedding is so important. It’s good to vacuum their bed every few days. Also, try to wash their bed (and pillows and blankets) at least every other week. If there are stains on the bedding, spray a stain remover on it before throwing it in the washing machine. These same principles apply to your pet’s toys and bowls as well.

 

Having a clean home is within reach, even if you own a pet. Start by gathering an arsenal of affordable pet cleaning supplies, and pick up your pet’s toys when they’re finished playing. Learn how to groom your pet, and be sure to wipe their paws anytime they come in from outside. Finally, wash their bedding regularly to cut down on bacteria. By implementing these habits, you can enjoy a clean home without breaking your budget.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

Posted in Blog, Pets
Aug. 19, 2019

Rachel Whitlock, Mary Kay Consultant

As a Mary Kay consultant, I'm in the business of enriching women's lives by offering pampering parties, one on one instructional facial care, make-overs, mom and daughter spa days, senior living centers, and much more! As your consultant, I'm also able to help you with choosing the right facial and cosmetic products to fit your specific needs. 

Phone: (214) 537-2273 
Email: rwhitlock73@gmail.com
Website: www.marykay.com/rwhitlock

May 7, 2019

Small Dogs, Big World | Moving with Pocket-Sized Pups

 

Small Dogs, Big World | Moving with Pocket-Sized Pups

 

I can't take credit for this awesome advice.  My friend Cindy Aldridge is kind enough to make it available to all of us.  Enjoy!

 

While you might think having a tiny-tagalong would make moving much easier, the reality is that the smaller the dog, the bigger your worries. Here, we’ll take a look at why and touch on a few apps and ideas to help things move along.

 

Bite-sized breeds = big personality difference

 

Small dogs are treated differently than large dogs, which results in an almost universal difference in behavior. Karen B. London, Ph.D., explains that breeds under 44 pounds are often more easily excited than same-age larger dogs, and tend to be less obedient and affected more often by fear and anxiety. However, their velcro nature more than makes up for it, as they are always ready for a cuddle session. For these reasons, small dog owners must be duly diligent when packing and moving. Here are a few apps and services that will help ease the process.

 

MoveAdvisor

 

MoveAdvisor is an app-based moving timeline guide that will help you set a schedule of when and what to pack. Dogs are sensitive to even the smallest change, so packing over the course of one or two days will create added stress, which may lead to destructive behaviors. Custom reminders mean you can spend more time soothing your smallest sidekick as he watches his domain get deconstructed. MoveAdvisor will even remind you when it’s time to prepare your pets and choose your movers.

 

City Pet Sitters

 

City Pet sitters can connect you with dog-loving dudes and divas that offer a range of services no matter where you’re coming from or where you’re going. Small dogs that need lots of attention – attention you can’t get give while packing boxes – will find a loving lap to sit in through City Pet Sitter’s network of doggy daycares, overnight pet sitters and local dog walkers who can help you and your curious canine get acquainted with your new city.

 

U-Haul

 

Gone are the days when U-Haul simply meant gray and orange storage centers scattered throughout the sketchy part of town. Today, U-Haul is one of the nation’s leading moving and self-storage companies and offers a handy set of online tools to keep you organized during your move. U-Haul’s moving supply calculator will help you determine ahead of time the number and types of moving boxes and containers you’ll need to pack up efficiently. This will prevent making several supply runs that will set your dog’s internal alarm to “agitated” every time you open the door with boxes or bubble wrap. U-Haul even offers plastic moving crates so you can avoid the mess that comes with an inquisitive Chihuahua chewing through a corrugated moving box.

 

Whistle Pet Tracker

No matter how many precautions you take, there is always the possibility that your precious pooch can slip away on moving day. Doors can be left open and small dogs can even jump out open windows at gas stops. Whistle 3 is a collar mounted GPS tracking device that can help you find a frightened Fido no matter where he wanders. As an added benefit, Whistle offers a built-in activity tracker so you’ll always know if your dog is getting enough activity, which is vital for lowering stress levels in a panicky Pekingese or fearful Frenchie. Alternatively, if your French bulldog has started acting up, consider using a dog training collar to help him improve his behavior, thus preparing him to be a model neighbor once you’re all moved in.

 

Regardless of how many helping hands and assistive apps you have on moving day, ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that your entire family arrives at their new home safe and sound. Make sure your dog’s ID tags and microchip are up-to-date and that his collar is properly fitted. Never leave your dog unattended in the car and always keep him secured in an appropriately-sized pet restraint. Most importantly, take some time each day to simply hold your pet. This will ease his anxieties and reinforce his place in your pack.

 

Keep in mind, too, that it may take some time for your pup to settle in, so make the new home as familiar as possible by putting his bed and toys in similar places as they were in your previous home, and stick to your routines. Give your pup lots of snuggles, and use this time to get to know your new home together. You’ll find your go-to dog park in no time, and before you know it, your new house will be a home.

Moving with your pets

 Image via Pixabay

May 7, 2019

Red Gate Inn

Traveling for business or pleasure you need to check out the Red Gate Inn

 

If you are like me, one of the things I find least enjoyable about traveling is my loss of roots.  I don't have my regular coffee shop, grocery store, drug store or my favorite spot at home in which to relax.

Relax at the Red Gate Inn

 

If any of that sounds like you, you are in luck, especially if you are traveling to McKinney.  The Red Gate Inn is easily accessible from US 75, SH 121, and especially downtown McKinney, where you can find entertainment galore.

Settle into the Red Gate Inn

Bring your bags in, settle in, enjoy a beautifully appointed early 20th Century home that is yours.  That's right, you get the dining room with never-ending snacks and coffee, the great room, the front foyer, the gardens, the porch, the comfy beds, Apple tv in every room, Sonos sound throughout the house.  It's a bed and breakfast, so you get breakfast too!  It's all yours...plus you are minutes from exciting downtown McKinney.

Don't take my word for it.  Come talk to Paul or Melissa and check it out for yourself.  You may find yourself traveling more often to McKinney,

 

Check them out at 

 

April 14, 2019

Home Warranty

Home Warranty?

Looking for a Home Warranty Company.  Check out this website for a listing of many top Home Warranty Companies.

Local Home Warranty Companies

 

April 14, 2019

VCS Website Design

Located in McKinney, TX, VCS Website Design can help your business to come alive on the web.  Don's skill and energy are evident in the content of your website.  Contact him by clicking on his picture and he can build an affordable website you can count on to deliver your message and bring new customers.

VCS Website Design

April 14, 2019

Anderson and Worth Office Furniture

Located at 1203 Crestside Dr #300 Coppell, TX  75019, these folks have any furniture you might need for your office.  They will come to you, measure your space and make recommendations so your new furniture will fit your space.  Their installers will bring your new furniture, install it, clean up and your office will look great.

Anderson and Worth Office Furniture

Jan. 21, 2019

First-Home Nightmares

First Home Nightmares

Owning a home has long been a part of the American dream. Having your own slice of real estate indicates you are stable, committed, and responsible.

For most Americans, it's the largest single purchase they will make and most likely their biggest asset. For all the excitement that comes with a first home, the ultimate dream can turn into a nightmare when unforeseen problems surface before the ink on the mortgage papers dries.

First Home Nightmare Quote One

Those who have been down the long road of purchasing a first home can attest to the dozens of hurdles buyers must clear before the keys are handed over. Finding the right neighborhood, making the initial offer, haggling over counter offers, scheduling home inspections, and dealing with renovation contractors is enough to confuse even the most organized person.

We surveyed just under 1,000 people, mainly those who have experienced the negative aspects of first-time homeownership, about their most costly mistakes. Paying attention to their advice might save you a lot of heartache and money if you're considering buying your own place one day.

The homebuying devil is always in the details

You've spent enough hours on Zillow and other real estate sites to secure a graduate degree in nuclear physics before finding the perfect place. Writing the first mortgage check gave you a sense of empowerment—an emotional high—one never felt the previous five years of sliding the rent check under your landlord's door. You are the king (or queen) and owner of your own castle. And then you notice the rotten hardwood floors when you peel back the 35-year-old pea-green carpet.

Regretfully Yours - Top 5 First-Home Regrets, by Generation

Texting your landlord to schedule the repair is no longer an option. That's because you are your own landlord. When the floor guy does arrive, it's only a few short minutes before he breaks the news that a few damaged wood planks are just the beginning of your problem. A leaking pipe running from the upstairs bathtub has caused the drywall to mold and the ground to soften, resulting in the back bedroom sinking ever so slightly into the soft sandy soil. Ouch.

First-Home Nightmares Quote 2

One of the first questions we asked survey participants was their biggest regret after purchasing a first home.Buying something too small was an issue for 22 percent of baby boomers, 20 percent of Gen Xers, and 15 percent of millennials.

By packing your own lunch and declining the previous three long-weekend trips organized by your college roommates, you saved enough of a down payment to qualify for a mortgage. But after the devastating repair news, you have no earthly idea how you're going to cover the five-figure repair estimate.

That's why 15 percent of millennials indicated one regret was not saving enough money before making their first-home deal. Along those same lines, 14 percent of both baby boomers and millennials, followed by 12 percent of Gen Xers, said they underestimated how much money owning a home required.

Seeking the advice of a competent and qualified professional contractor or handyman is always a good idea. One of the items they strongly suggest is being present for the final walkthrough to minimize expensive surprises later on.

As one 45-year-old man from Illinois wisely stated, "Attend the home inspection."

The true cost of homeownership

Scraping together the down payment for a first house is only the beginning. Whether you purchase a newly constructed home or a fixer-upper, home repairs and upgrades can quickly drain a checking account. For most buyers, it's the unexpected costs that present the most significant challenges.

The Real Cost of Homebuying-Expected vs. Actual First-Home Spending

When first-time homebuyers were asked if they adequately planned for home maintenance costs during the first year, 48 percent indicated they had not set aside enough money.

In fact, 46 percent of respondents admitted first-year maintenance costs exceeded the amount anticipated. Only 16 percent stayed within their budget, leaving 38 percent saying their expenses were under budget. The good news for those coming in under budget is the amount they spent was $6,650 less than planned.

Purchasing or replacing appliances was the most considerable expense for 16 percent of first-time homebuyers. That slate green refrigerator purchased in the early 1980s may still keep your food chilled, but it isn't nearly as fashionable as the double-door stainless model with a touch-screen monitor.

First-Home Nightmares Quote 3

Ranking second at 13 percent of first-time homebuyer expenses was replacing the roof. According to a popular home repair website, the average cost of replacing a roof on a 2,000 square feet single story home can rangebetween $8,500 and $16,500. A few factors determining this cost include size, the pitch of the roof, materials, and accessibility.

Other significant home repair expenses that can wreak havoc on a budget include replacing the heating/AC unit, landscaping, and replacing the floors.

Falling for your first home

It was love at first sight. The manicured flower bed surrounding the wraparound front porch was something you had only seen in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Your dream home really does exist.

Love at First Sight - Most Influential Factors When Buying a First Home, By Generation

It is often said the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, and location. Recent studies do suggest nearly five in six Americans place as much emphasis on the neighborhood as the actual house. Adding money, money, and money to the list seems to round out the top six elements for our respondents.

Besides aesthetic appeal, features such as finding a home that fits into a budget, something close to work, and in a good neighborhood makes falling in home-love easier. For 67 percent of baby boomers and 61 percent of Gen Xers, finding an affordable first home was most important. Millennials also placed a high priority on finding something within their budget. Plus, millennials also liked finding a home with renovated bathrooms, just slightly more than the two other generations.

Finding a home that was move-in ready was an essential factor with all generations, with 36 percent of baby boomers, 33 percent of Gen Xers, and 31 percent of millennials.

We know home renovations can get pricey, and one thing that appeals to potential first-time homebuyers is finding a home where the kitchen and bathrooms are fresh and up to date. There are several projects that usually add value to your home and kitchen and bathroom additions/renovations always top the list.

First-Time Home Nightmares Quote 4

After all, not having to cough up the extra dough for renovations and repairs may allow you to purchase the new sectional sofa you've had your eye on.

Location is a factor for many reasons. Most people agree living close to work is an advantage, and if you have school-age children, finding a home in an area with a good school district is important. That's what 20 percent of Gen Xers said made them fall in love with a home.

Emotions obviously play an important role in purchasing a first home. Our survey results revealed an interesting point in that Gen Xers were more drawn by emotion when deciding what home to buy. For example, 21 percent of Gen Xers mentioned the importance of their partner falling for the right house, which was several percentage points above millennials and baby boomers.

Satisfaction is great, but not guaranteed

Purchasing a first home is not only expensive but can be emotionally exhausting. After the last box is unpacked and the final decorating touches complete, you can now sit back and survey your own castle.

At the End of the Day-People's Satisfaction With Their First Home, By Generation

Satisfaction is important with most major decisions. When it comes to being "completely satisfied," baby boomers led the way at 22 percent, followed by millennials and Gen Xers at 17 and 15 percent respectively.

Interestingly, the tables turned when it came to being "mostly satisfied." Gen Xers took the top spot in this category at 53 percent; however, millennials and baby boomers were not far behind.

When it came to being "somewhat satisfied," all three generations were about equal, ranging from 20 to 22 percent.

Sound advice from experienced first-timers

You're only a property virgin once, and after enduring the marathon process of closing on your first home, you can quickly catapult to the expert division.

Must-Haves Before Buying

If you have already purchased your first home, what advice would you give to others?

"Avoid PMI at all costs," was the advice of one 39-year-old male homebuyer from Nebraska.

If you are not familiar with the acronym, PMI stands for "private mortgage insurance." Most mortgage companies and banks require PMI if your down payment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price. So, basically, it's an insurance policy if the borrower defaults, or fails to satisfy the loan. However, due to the escalating costs of homes, some experts argue not using PMI can end up costing you money. Discussing the issue with your mortgage broker or a financial professional may help you make the decision for your individual situation.

One 50-year-old female advised first-time homebuyers to set realistic expectations. "Buy under budget and don't make it perfect right away," she wrote. "Be patient."

Ah, patience. Who wants to be patient when you're fixing up your first home? Her advice was also echoed by another 46-year-old Arkansas woman. "Focus on the big stuff—solid structure and support." That could also be useful advice for entering into a committed relationship, and buying a home is definitely a commitment.

First-Home Nightmares Quote 5

Another piece of practical advice came from a 38-year-old Texas man. "Add 10 percent to the purchase price to account for maintenance within the first three years."

The lesson from this Lone Star resident is also reinforced by homebuying experts who recommend the "one-percent rule" for home maintenance costs. For example, if the home you are purchasing costs $300,000, setting aside an average of $3,000 annually for maintenance is advisable.

Keep in mind, that ratio doesn't mean that will be your total costs for maintenance, but a realistic rule of thumb. If you buy a newly built home, there's a good chance the annual maintenance cost might be lower for the first few years when compared to purchasing a 50-year-old house that is due for major upgrades such as wiring or a new roof.

Lessons from the closing table

Life is full of lessons, and those learned after closing on a first home are invaluable. Some are mundane, but others can be expensive. Now that you've gleaned insight from others, hopefully, you won't repeat some of the more costly ones our survey respondents experienced.

First-Home Nightmares Quote 6

One way to keep informed on all your home needs is to visit Porch. We're your one-stop site for all your home improvement needs. Advice for how to fix that spot in the drywall to tackling bigger jobs is only a click away. And, we can help you find the right professionals in your area.

Methodology

We collected the stories of 989 people from Amazon's Mechanical Turk about their first homes. The demographics of our participants were 58 percent women and 42 percent men. They ranged in age from 19 to 99 with a mean of 37 and a standard deviation of 12. Fourteen respondents did not report their generation, and as such, their responses were excluded from generational calculations; Generation Z, the Greatest Generation, and Silent Generation were excluded due to low sample sizes, and all generations represented in the graphics included a minimum of 165 respondents each.

We calculated whether people were under, on, or over budget based on the amounts reported for how much they expected to spend within the first year outside of the initial purchase price versus how much they actually spent within the first year outside of the initial purchase price. These data were collected using self-reporting and, while valuable, can be subject to some of the following: selective memory, telescoping, attribution, and exaggeration. It was not statistically tested, and we present it based on means alone. This project is exploratory, so we welcome future rigorous research on the topic.

Sources

Fair Use Statement

Learning from others is a valuable part of life and, for many, so is buying their first home. If you feel compelled to share this advice and help future homeowners avoid costly pitfalls, please be our guest (just make sure it's for noncommercial purposes, though). The only request we have is to link back to this page so that your readers can get their fill of details.

Posted in Blog, Current Events
Jan. 8, 2019

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Blog, Market Updates