slogan
About Us
Find a Property
Find a REALTOR
Community Info
Tools
Blog
fill
fill
fill
fill fill
House Number
fill fill
fill fill fill fill
fill
and/or
fill fill fill
fill
Street Name
fill fill fill
fill fill fill
fill
Zip Code
fill fill fill
fill fill fill
fill
MLS Number
fill fill fill
fill
You can enter multiple MLS Numbers separated by a comma.
fill fill
fill
Agent Name
fill fill
fill fill fill
fill fill fill
fill

Your Austin real estate blog

Thank you for visiting Homeowner Herald, the official blog of AustinHomeSearch.com, providing valuable information for both home buyers and sellers. Follow us on Twitter or check in each week for new posts on topics ranging from holiday decorating to the economy to moving into your new home. This blog is maintained by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. If you’d like to suggest a blog topic, contact the ABoR Marketing Department.

Home improvement topics

Austin real estate blog
Do-it-yourself pest control
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2010

We all have to deal with them at some point in our lives: roaches in the kitchen, ants in the sink, mosquitoes that have flown in from the backyard. For some people, the immediate reaction is to either call the exterminator or reach for the can of pesticide. But, believe it or not, you can avoid pest-control bills or toxic chemicals and take care of the bugs with common household items. Below are some tips for natural pest control.

Roach Remedies
One powerful concoction some homeowners use against roaches is soap and water. Any type of soap may be used, such as hand soap or dishwashing soap. Put a little bit of soap into a spray bottle and fill the rest with water. You can spray this mixture directly onto a roach to kill it, or spray in areas where you tend to find roaches. Soap is certainly less toxic than insecticide, but you'll want to make sure you wipe up excess suds after spraying.

If you'd prefer to leave a trap instead of attacking roaches head on, you might try a mixture of baking soda and sugar. Place a small bowl on the floor filled with equal parts of sugar and baking soda. Then, place a similarly sized bowl nearby and fill it with water. Baking soda doesn't mix well with roaches once ingested and it will kill the roach soon after. You can leave this mixture out overnight when roaches are most active.

Anti-Ant Solutions
If you find a trail of ants in your home, try blocking them with spicy products such as red pepper, cinnamon, paprika or even hot sauce. Create a liquid mixture of the spice and water in a spray bottle and spray the point of entry ants are using to get into your home. Ants generally avoid the alkaloids (such as capsaicin or piperine) found in spicy foods and will be forced to search elsewhere for food. You can also sprinkle red pepper or a similar substance directly onto an ant bed if you find one in your backyard-just be careful to keep small children or pets away from sprayed or spiced areas.

Cucumbers have been known to act as a natural deterrent to ants, as well. Place few slices near cracks in the wall and you'll likely find that ants are no longer searching your countertops for food. Of course you'll need to change out the slices every so often, as the cucumber will eventually rot. Alternatively, you could use cucumber peels in a similar manner to help prevent ant infestations.

Mosquito Buffers
Some homeowners report that spraying a combination of garlic oil and water on their outdoor garden or other areas where mosquitoes dwell is a useful method of keeping mosquitoes away. However, it's not recommended that you spray yourself with the garlic mixture, as some people can have allergic reactions to certain organic compounds found in garlic.

As there are a variety of resources and recipes available online, you might consider making a homemade insect repellant. You may have to experiment until you find the formula that works for you. And remember to apply homemade repellant more frequently, as these recipes usually don't have the lasting power that over-the-counter products do.

Although store-bought insecticides have proven to be effective when dealing with these nuisances, homemade sprays with natural ingredients can provide a safer alternative to pest control for you and your family.

Austin real estate blog
Remodeled home tour highlights renovation potential
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2010

Are you thinking of remodeling your home? Get inspired at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Austin Chapter's 8th Annual Tour of Remodeled Homes! The tour will take place this Saturday and Sunday, October 16 and 17, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

Join Austin NARI as they visit eight different homes in the Greater Austin area, showcasing some of the latest trends and possibilities in remodeling. Projects on display include whole-house renovations, kitchen and bathroom expansions, second-story additions and unique energy-efficient designs. These renovations range in price from $60,000 to $800,000.

Tickets are available now at Breed & Co. and Central Market locations in Austin and are priced at $5 per home or $25 for all eight homes in the tour. Tickets may also be purchased at each house included in the tour on the days of the event.

For more information about this event, visit AustinNARI.org.

Austin real estate blog
Work those windows!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 2010

If you're fortunate to have windows that can stand alone as a grand architectural statements, congratulations! Beautiful windows are truly stunning to behold. If you have windows that need a little help in meeting their full potential, consider adding "hard" or "soft" window treatments as a way to give rooms a more finished appearance, camouflage imperfections and insert additional color, texture and visual appeal.

When considering treatments that will offer both the privacy and light control required for each room, remember that your options extend beyond standard plastic blinds or sheer curtains that may automatically come to mind. Let the following suggestions spark your creativity!

Organic materials: Wooden blinds and natural woven shades have become popular choices that create a modern look while helping you maintain privacy and light control.

Bold prints: Striped, floral and geometric patterns are quick and easy way to add a dash of youthfulness and life to an otherwise simple room. Keep in mind that such window treatments will often become a focal point in a room.

Luxury fabrics: For a more sophisticated look, chose silk, leather, suede, fur, or damask-and don't forget to embellish with beaded tassels and other fun window hardware! Keep in mind, though, that luxe fabrics may not hold up as well in direct sunlight as hardier fabrics, such as wool, so consult a professional to discuss your options.

Green design: Suffer from allergies? Choose from fabrics with anti-microbial or anti-fungal traits woven into the yarn. Environmentally conscious? Choose from fabrics made with non-toxic dyes. However you're looking to "go green," there are a variety of options to choose from that may suit your needs.

In addition to deciding which materials to use for your window treatments, remember that you have a variety of options regarding its length and positioning. Your decisions should ultimately be made depending upon the overall look and feel you want each room to have-traditional, contemporary, country living, eclectic or whatever is "you." Ready to start looking at your options? Read up on the latest trends or talk to your REALTOR® or interior designer today.

Austin real estate blog
Flawless floors: Key to a clean home
THURSDAY, JUNE 17, 2010

Clean floors can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your home-especially to potential buyers who can pick up on the smallest details. While lower-traffic areas, such as guest bedrooms, can be maintained on the monthly basis, entryways, kitchens, living rooms and other high-traffic floor areas should be tended to at least once a week. Below are weekly cleaning tips for various types of flooring

For hardwood floors, first use a broom or vacuum to pick up dust and dirt. Next, go over the floor with a damp mop, as excessive water is damaging to wood. Linda Cobb, The Queen of Clean®, recommends adding several tea bags to hot mop water for a healthy, inexpensive way to clean wood.

For tile and vinyl floors, also sweep or vacuum away dust and dirt first. Then, experts recommend mixing a tablespoon of Borax with a gallon of water to use for mopping. A gallon of plain, warm water also works well. Use a micro-fiber mop on ceramic tile floors for best results and stay away from vinegar-based cleaning products, which can damage your grout.

For carpet, it's helpful to vacuum high-traffic areas more than once a week-perhaps even daily if you're in the process of showing your home. Cleaning experts recommend sectioning your carpet into quadrants and vacuuming each section entirely before moving to the next. Go over these sections multiple times, moving slowly to ensure you pick up as much dirt as possible. The most frequently used areas of carpet should be vacuumed in a criss-cross, overlapping pattern. It's also helpful to take care of spots and spills as they occur.

Tending to floors on a regular basis will help you avoid scrambling to clean up age-old stains or thick layers of dust and dirt before guests arrive in your home. Following the tips above will help you achieve flawless floors in no time!

Next Page >>

 

We are Your Advocate

Sign up for updates about your property rights.

Sign Up

Buying & Selling Tips

Learn about buying and selling Austin real estate.

Get Tips