Monday, December 30, 2013

Home Values in Saddlebrook Estates in Keller, Texas

Home Values in Saddlebrook Estates in Keller, Texas

Saddlebrook Estates, located just north of Keller Parkway and west off of  Keller Smithfield in Keller, Texas, offers an ideal environment for homeowners seeking a smaller city, excellent schools, and convenient access to shopping.   Keller residents are justifiably proud of their  impressive city park system, extensive network of walking paths and biking trails, and Keller Pointe, a multi-purpose facility offering fitness, massage, recreational sports, and wellness programs.

Homeowners in Saddlebrook Estates can meet their day to day needs with a short drive or bike ride to Tom Thumb, Kroger, and local pharmacies.  Ace Hardware, Big Lots, and Stein Mart are all nearby and provide the variety of merchandise offered by chain stores without a big box atmosphere.  Shops and restaurants in Old Town Keller afford boutique shopping for antiques, gifts, collectibles, and personal services.

Of course, additional shopping can be found in Southlake, the Alliance area of north Fort Worth, and Dallas.  Many residents of the neighborhood live and work in Keller,  but others drive to Southlake, Alliance Airport, Fort Worth, and Dallas.

Saddlebrook Estates is located within the Keller School District.  The district maintains an excellent reputation for academics and athletics.  Schools serving the neighborhood are Keller Harvel Elementary, Bear Creek Intermediate, Keller Middle School, and Keller High School.

A great number of residents of the city of Keller work and live in Keller, but many also commute west toward Fort Worth and east to the Dallas area.  Golden Triangle Boulevard has been widened for improved access to Fort Worth and the west while an extensive project to enhance thoroughfares to the east (Highway 114 and Highway 121) is nearly complete.

In the recent past, seven homes in Saddlebrook Estates have sold with an average sales price of  $294,100 and an average days on the market of 30.  The majority of the subdivision was developed and homes were built from 1999 to 2003.  About 90% of homes are two story with an average square footage of 2,955 square feet, and sizes vary from about 2200 square feet to 3700 square feet.  The well-maintained neighborhood requires membership in a homeowner's association, but the fees of approximately $150 per year are modest in comparison with others in the area.

Visit this custom search for homes for sale in Saddlebrook Estates on our website. 

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.
Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on FACEBOOK

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Safety Tips from the Grove Team

Holiday Safety Tips from the Grove Team

The Grove Team would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a wondrous holiday season.  We are grateful to you, your business, your support and look forward to what 2014 has in store for all of us. 

The final bow is in place and we are all read settle in to spend this wonderful time of year with our family and friends.  It is hard to think that not everyone wants to play the part of the Christmas Elf, but be the Grinch.  The opportunist criminal can strike without notice, if the circumstances are optimal. 

To avoid a blue Christmas and an innocent victim we would like to pass along to you a few safety tips to assist in keeping you aware while enjoying the Christmas season.  Here is a quick list of safety tips for the last minute shopping, travel and holiday season. 

Holiday Shopping Tips:
• Try to finish shopping during the daylight hours if you can. When going out at night, go with a friend or family member.
• Never forget to lock your vehicle when you're out shopping, keep your windows rolled up, do not leave the keys in the ignition, and remember to hide other shopping bags and leave valuables out of view.
• Try not to overload yourself with too many packages.  Hold your bags and packages close to you. 
• Don't wait until you reach your vehicle to look for your keys. Have them ready in your hand.
• Go with a plan...make sure you know what you're purchasing in advance and carry only the amount of cash or credit cards you need.

Home Safety Tips While Away For The Holidays:
• Make sure to keep an inventory of serial numbers on items such as televisions, stereos, computers, etc. Should your items get stolen from your home, they may be identified later if found.
• Never leave your holiday lighting unattended, when leaving the house turn off the Christmas tree - indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
• Double check that all stoves and ovens are off prior to leaving your home.
• Lock all doors and windows prior to leaving your residence.  If you have an alarm, activate it through this season. 
• Leaving town?  Talk to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member to watch your home in your absence.

At Home:
• Try not to display holiday gifts near a window or door in your home, burglars may see this as an opportunity to break in.
• Expecting a package to be delivered?  Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
• Tis the season to donate, plan your donations before hand.  Criminals have been known to go door to door soliciting donations for charities.
• Always turn off Christmas lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
• Always keep doors locked at all times.

Finally, after the frenzy of opening presents has come and gone, break down boxes of the new toys and gifts and bag them in dark or black trash bags.  Criminals have been known to drive around after Christmas to see what is left in the trash piles. 

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.
Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on FACEBOOK

Friday, December 20, 2013

JUST LISTED - 12429 Lonesome Place

JUST LISTED - 12429 Lonesome Place

Just listed in the Villages of Woodland Springs, this stunning home offers four bedrooms with two and a half baths. 

Located in the acclaimed Villages of Woodland Springs that features a fantastic amount of amenities that include six pools, an amenity center, parks and walking/biking trails, retail and medical.  Easy access to highways, bi-ways, and great restaurants. 

The flexible floorplan offers an open concept creating an inviting atmosphere that is perfect for entertaining.  Enjoy the expansive kitchen that offers granite counters, ample cabinets for storage and plenty of counter space. 

Escape to the downstairs master retreat offering an en suite bath with dual sinks, large soaking tub and great walk in closet.  Three generously sized rooms are upstairs with a gameroom - perfect for game day Sunday or snuggling up to watch your favorite movie. 

Competitively priced at $192,500, offering 2,764 sqft and built in 2008 contact the Grove Team today to schedule a showing of this lovely home. 

Looking for something different in the Alliance Corridor?  Visit our custom search page to find your perfect home - search here now!

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.
Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on FACEBOOK

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alert to Computer Virus Conduit

Alert to Computer Virus Conduit

Lynn McClish, co-team leader for the Grove Team recently had an experience with a computer virus called Conduit.  In an effort to prevent others from the same fate, she wanted to share her journey in the world of computer viruses: 

"This post is based purely on personal experience, and I am not a computer expert, but my encounter with the program Conduit was so negative that I thought I would alert followers of our blog.

Last week I realized that Bing had taken over my browser and all of my requests to visit specific sites were being redirected to other sites.  For example, I would type in to learn how to deal with the virus and be redirected to another Internet security company with a site that looked like Norton's.  It was absolutely miserable.

When I searched Google for information, I found hundreds of similar complaints and some suggestions of ways to deal with Conduit.  I wasn't able to make any of the suggestions work for me.  I finally purchased Norton's one time virus removal ($99.00) and the third technician was finally able to clean the virus from my system.

In short, do not download any program that mentions Conduit.  I am very careful about my downloads and am convinced that I contracted the virus because I agreed to an update from a major company (e.g., Microsoft or Adobe.)"

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.
Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on FACEBOOK

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Staging your Home for Sale During the Holidays

Staging your Home for Sale During the Holidays

Whether you are selling a home for the first time or you are experienced in the process, selling your home can be stressful.  When you are selling over the holidays the added hustle and bustle can create a new dynamic to contend with. 
The Grove Team's experience can help you through each step of the process.  Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get your through selling during the holidays! 
Regardless of the time of year, a clean, organized and decorated property goes a long way creating an inviting property. Properly staging your home will help buyers envision themselves and their belongings in the space. Staging a home can not only be simple and inexpensive, as a seller it is possible to justify the asking price if the property looks great and highlights the key features.
Follow these four steps to stage your properties for the upcoming holiday season:
1. Staging Basics – Before starting any holiday staging, you must first start with the basics: neutralizing rooms, returning them to their intended purpose, fixing damage, etc. 
2. Choose a Theme – What is the particular holiday you want to focus on? Or do you prefer a season such as fall or winter?  Selecting a theme will keep things stream-lined and easier to decorate.

3. Generalize for Reuse – To minimize costs, choose items and a theme that you can easily re-purpose after the holiday season.  Recreate classic items like wreaths, pumpkins, table runners and topiaries that never go out of style.  This means less cost for you and a more seamless transition through the season.

4. Have Fun – Select staging options, themes and items that are going to excite you while you use them and arrange them in your home.  Enthusiasm is contagious and will hopefully rub off on the buyer.

Not ready to put your home on the market during the holidays?  It is never too early to start planning for next year.  Visit the Grove Team's website to learn more about a successful sale, preparing for pictures and more!

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.

Office (817) 337-0000

Find us on FACEBOOK

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Home Values in the Woodlands at Hidden Lakes in Keller, TX

Home Values in the Woodlands at Hidden Lakes in Keller, TX

The Woodlands at Hidden Lakes Hidden Lakes enjoys the status as Keller’s largest master planned community and offers all of the amenities that size offers: a gracious clubhouse, a volleyball pit, playgrounds, pools, and soccer fields, but maintains an intimate neighborhood atmosphere within its nine villages. The Woodlands is one of those villages. Located south of tree-lined Bear Creek Parkway, the Woodlands contains five neighborhoods: Woodlands I, Woodlands Central, Woodlands South, Woodland IV, and Woodlands West. Prospective residents of the Woodlands may choose from a wide selection of lot sizes and builders to suit any lifestyle.

Outstanding schools are of prime importance to residents of the Woodlands. The homes lie within the acclaimed Keller Independent School District. Children attend Hidden Lakes Elementary, Bear Creek Intermediate School, Keller Middle School, and Keller High School.

Home values in the Woodlands in Hidden Lakes: Average price: $424,447 Average days on the market: 45.  Search for homes listed for sale in the Woodlands here!

Are you looking for a home in Keller?  Visit the Grove Team website to search homes for sale in Keller, TX.
Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.
Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on Facebook

Friday, December 6, 2013

Open House in Colleyville - This Weekend

Open House in Colleyville - This Weekend
5208 Coventry Place
Offered for sale by the Grove Team, Keller Williams

Are you looking for a turn key property in an established Colleyville neighborhood?  Look no further and join us this weekend at 5208 Coventry Place.  This stunning renovation by TK Homes has left no detail left undone.

Stop by Sunday, December 8th from 2:00-5:00pm to see for yourself! 

Looking for a home in Colleyville?  Visit the custom search page on our website now to get started!

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.

Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on Facebook

Monday, December 2, 2013

Home Values in Newton Ranch in Keller, Texas

Home Values in Newton Ranch in Keller, Texas

Located in Keller between Keller Parkway and Johnson Road off of Keller Smithfield Road, Newton Ranch presents a prime opportunity for those seeking a central Keller address.  New construction and resale homes are priced from the high $300’s to the mid $500’s with Grand Homes and K. Hovninian continuing to build.  As the community begins to mature, buyers are able to purchase newer, lightly lived in homes at lower prices than new construction.  Visit this custom link for homes for sale exclusively in Newton Ranch. 
Keller represents an ideal choice for those seeking the atmosphere of a friendly, more intimate community with the convenient access to Dallas and Fort Worth.  Keller consistently wins awards for its sound city management, hiking and cycling trails that span the city, abundance of trees, and its first-class public schools.

Are you looking for a home in Keller?  Visit the Grove Team website to search homes for sale in Keller, TX.
Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.
Office (817) 337-0000
Find us on Facebook

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Video Tour - 4913 Bob Wills, Fort Worth

Video Tour - 4913 Bob Wills, Fort Worth
Offered for sale by the Grove Team 

Welcome home to 4913 Bob Wills Drive, located in the acclaimed community of the Bluffs within the Heritage subdivision.  We are glad you have taken the time to visit the wonderful executive home especially built for entertaining and privacy. 
You will appreciate the unobtrusive intimacy of the backyard.  You can easily add a pergola on the east side of the home with an outdoor fireplace to escape and spend peaceful evenings in a creation of your design.  The stone wall has been professionally designed to allow and redirect rain water away from your home. 

This well designed custom Toll Brothers home allows easy and smooth flow through the open living areas and kitchen.  Entertain all of your family and friends at once as a small dinner party or large holiday gathering.  This home has accommodated parties of up to 100 guests with its ample space to separate the adults from the kids so everyone has a wonderful time. 

Homeowners are happy to pay the reasonable HOA dues for the privilege of living in the Bluffs because they know the money is well allocated for the benefits and peace of mind they receive.  After visiting Heritage for the first time, you will quickly find there is no reason to leave this exceptional master planned community. 
Feel safe as you walk, jog or bike through the Bluffs on the thoughtfully planned parks and trails in this urban oasis.  Enjoy movie night with the family at one of the seven pools found in the 10-acre world class aquatic park.  Not into jogging or biking?  Stay fit and save on a gym membership with access to the state of the art exercise facility.  Abundant amounts of retail, exceptional medical care and facilities along with access to trusted babysitting services help to complete the package. 

Children who live in Heritage attend schools in the highly acclaimed Keller Independent School District.  Heritage boasts three on-site elementary schools and KISD has been consistently ranked as one of the highest school districts in Texas. 
Take this opportunity now to own this impressive home and lifestyle in this fabulous community.  You won’t be sorry that you did. 

Looking for homes in Heritage?  Visit our website for more information today!

Whether it's selling your home or finding a new one, we have designed this site so that you can quickly and easily locate the information you are looking for. The Grove Team's client-centered approach results in the best possible outcome for you. Please contact us now to begin the process of achieving your dreams in home ownership.  (817) 337-0000 or find us online,


Friday, November 15, 2013

Experts warn of cyber threats during peak online shopping season

Consumers often associate holiday shopping with long lines, crowded stores and overpriced goods. In recent years, many have turned to e-commerce as an easier alternative - holiday shopping without the headache. This year e-commerce sales are projected to reach $262 billion, a 13-percent increase over 2012.

This growth is due, in part, to the rising popularity of online "shopping holidays" like Cyber Monday, which is celebrated annually the Monday after Thanksgiving and accounts for more online sales than any other day of the year. Last year, Cyber Monday sales reached $1.46 billion - a record for online spending in one day.

Hampering celebration of this stress-free alternative to in-store shopping is the rapid growth of cybercrime. Cyber thieves are to blame for $113 billion in consumer financial losses in the last 12 months. That's enough money to host the London 2012 Olympics nearly 10 times over. An equally alarming statistic is the rising average loss per victim, which doubled from 2012 to 2013 to $298.

Despite the aforementioned dangers, many online shoppers are unaware of the risks associated with online shopping and don't believe they'll become one of the 556 million annual victims. Forty-eight percent of smartphone and tablet users do not take even the basic precautions such as using passwords, installing security software or backing up files from their mobile devices.

As the popularity of online shopping continues to rise, so do the opportunities for hackers to steal personal information. Online shoppers need to be aware of the risks associated with online shopping and take proactive steps to protect themselves.

The following tips for consumers to protect themselves from cyber attacks:

* Boost password strength: Weak and ineffective passwords enable identity theft. The first rule of password construction is to go long. Short passwords can be uncovered by high-speed programs built to steal password combinations.

* Ditch the debit cards: Debit cards are the least secure option for e-commerce purchases. PayPal and credit cards offer much better consumer protections including dispute resolution and fraud prevention.

* Use the most secure network possible: Wired networks are always preferable to wireless. If a wired network is not an option, make sure to use a secure wireless network that requires an encryption key. Be especially wary of accessing public Wi-Fi services at places like airports and coffee shops.

* Don't store personal finance information: Don't store credit card details online. Storing any payment information online exponentially increases the probability of a cyber attack.

* Shop on reputable sites: Scammers often begin fake URL's with names of reputable companies to lure consumers in. To avoid accidentally clicking on an infected site, look for the SSL certificate and ensure the site starts with https:// and has a padlock icon.

Cyber Monday is the most active day of online theft. Consumers should follow these tips all year long but should remain extra vigilant during the holidays to avoid the increased risk of falling victim to cybercrime.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top trends in kitchen cabinetry

A kitchen provides physical and spiritual nourishment, and for many a home is now the heart and soul of family life. The kitchen's central importance in most households means that Americans are paying more attention than ever to the design and decoration of this vital space - a search for functionality, comfort and beauty that's reflected in current trends in hardwood kitchen cabinetry.

There is an increased demand for rift-sawn white oak cabinets. The reasons for rift-sawing oak are not just practical (it produces very stable boards that are especially resistant to warping and shrinking, an important consideration in moist kitchen environments) but also aesthetic. It results in a distinctive grain - tight, straight and even - that takes neutral or light stains exceptionally well.

Today it's creating kitchens that are sleek and modern but also warm and inviting. Treated this way, the venerable hardwood gives contemporary homeowners the best of both worlds - cabinetry that's clean-lined, efficient and durable yet still exudes a natural, organic quality. 

Many customers are also requesting white oak cabinets that have been either cerused (limed) or wire-brushed, two textured finishes that produce an understated rustic. In fact the impulse to keep things light and simple is another watchword with today's kitchens. Not as austere as the minimalist look that was trending a few years ago, light-and-simple refers to the design as well as the finish or color of the hardwood cabinetry: shaker-style recessed-panel doors in blond beech or white-painted maple are the classic example of this turn toward a bright, uncluttered kitchen environment.

The trend toward simplicity and understatement can be seen in more elaborately embellished kitchen cabinetry too. While add-ons such as carved feet, undercounter corbels, and crown moldings, or decorative flourishes like turned legs, raised panels, and fancy cutouts are still in demand, they are noticeably more constrained and smaller-scaled than they would have been a decade ago. Carving is quieter and less ostentatious; lines are simpler and less convoluted.

Another way Americans are making the kitchen an even more central part of their homes is by installing cabinetry that looks like fine furniture. This style can range from totally freestanding pieces to kitchen islands that resemble tables to fitted cabinets that use furniture-emulating details. A current favorite is the stand-alone armoire, with drawers for storing silverware, table linens and serving pieces, and an upper portion ideal for housing a flat-screen television. Made of painted maple, it will exude an easy country vibe; fashioned in stained cherry or black walnut, it will become a handsome heirloom-quality piece.- A bulky kitchen island can be transformed into an open, airy worktable by removing the base and replacing it with elegantly turned legs. And furniture-style drawer pulls and door handles on wall and base cabinets bring the atmosphere of the living room into the kitchen.

The pleasing visual diversity normally found in a living room can be introduced into the kitchen by using different finishes on different pieces of cabinetry. Many homeowners are using this strategy when faced with the classic kitchen layout in which a central island is surrounded by walls of cabinetry:  And of course it's always possible to highlight an individual piece or a particular section of cabinetry by using a distinctive stain or paint color.

No matter what style of kitchen you favor, from the warmly traditional to the sleekly modern, American hardwoods in all their diversity will allow you to realize that vision perfectly.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Trophy Club Open House - Sunday

Trophy Club Open House - Sunday
3:00 - 5:00pm

Looking for a new home in Trophy Club?  Join the Grove Team, Keller Williams this Sunday, November 10th from 3:00-5:00pm at 6 Round Rock Court. 

This lovely four bedroom, two bath home offers a funcational floorplan and over 2,100 square feet of living space.  Built in 1986 there is so much to offer from the house to the town of Trophy Club - truly a package deal!

Enjoy the small town feel that offers an active lifestyle strategically situated between Dallas and Fort Worth.  Featuring over 1,000 acres of parks and trail systems, a 36-hole world class golf course, Frisbee golf course, a community swimming pool or a Splash Park and so much more. 
Award winning schools and a little bit for everyone - 6 Round Rock Crt. is a great find in a fantastic location.  Visit our website to view more homes available for sale in the Alliance Corridor

For more information on this home or any other listed in the area, call the Grove Team-Keller Williams, (817) 337-0000 or find us online,
Visit us on Facebook!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

VIDEO TOUR - 5208 Coventry Place, Colleyville

VIDEO TOUR - 5208 Coventry Place, Colleyville
Are you looking for a home in a quiet, established neighborhood that is turn key and ready for your furniture?  Stop the hunt now and check out 5208 Coventry Place in Colleyville.  Expertly re-designed by TK Homes, this home is situated on an expansive half acre lot. 

No detail has been left undone - brand new vinyl, low-e windows, custom cabinets in the kitchen and two of the three baths, new interior and exterior paint, newly installed hand scraped hardwood floors, updated fixtures, updated electrical and new pool equipment.  The kitchen has been completely re-designed with upgraded granite, stainless appliances complete with double ovens! 

The floorplan has been updated and redesigned offer a fantastic layout for entertaining, split bedroom concept and two living areas.  Be sure to check out the fourth bedroom - featuring a private entrance, this room can easily be used as a private study or home office. 

Plenty of room to run on the expansive lot complete with a deep in-ground diving pool. 

For more information about homes for sale in Colleyville, or for additional information about this home, visit our website,
Find us on Facebook or call us at the office, (817) 337-0000

DIY decorating that lasts all season long

As the holidays roll around, it's natural to want to spread good tidings and cheer with festive decorations like wreaths, candy canes and Santa Claus figurines. But this year, instead of digging out the same old holiday decorations, why not create some new looks that will last the entire winter season, even after you put away the gift wrap and ornaments?

Stimulate the senses

Nothing says winter like the fresh smell of pine and the soft, warm glow of candle light. Repurpose simple glass bottles into an outdoorsy candlescape with a stone textured finish spray paint. It goes on easy and gives you the natural beauty of stone and an elegant, professional-looking appearance. Once dry, wrap artificial garland with pinecones around the bottle's neck or let the garland cascade down the bottle. Place pine tree-scented white taper candles in the bottle openings, light and enjoy for a fresh look and smell that will stimulate your senses well into 2014.

Color works wonders

Another easy way to excite the senses during a drab, gray winter is with pops of color. For a decorative display that lasts all season, avoid the red and green color combination associated with Christmas and branch out with more contemporary choices like teals, blues, purples and pinks. Metallics like silver and gold are also a great way to glitz up the season without looking like the North Pole in overdrive. Spice up old ornaments, vases, frames, centerpieces and more in no time at all. Group spray-painted ornaments or pine cones in a hurricane vase or glass bowl and display on the mantel for added ambiance to any living room.

Deck the halls

Looking for a way to display the abundance of holiday cards from friends and family? Repurpose an old window shutter to create a unique display. Start by spray painting it with a festive shade, such as green or burgundy, which adds a touch of holiday spirit. Once dry, hang the shutter in the kitchen or entryway and place holiday cards in the slats of the shutter for a creative way to stay organized. Once the holidays have passed, you can still use the shutter to display birthday cards, thank you notes, party invitations and more all year long.

Outdoor decor

The inside of the home isn't the only space you can be creative. Make a lasting statement before houseguests even step inside your home by focusing decorative attention to the outside. Line walkways and driveways with lights or faux miniature pine trees, and place white flameless candlesticks on each windowsill to add a simple touch of holiday spirit without going overboard. Prop a vintage snow sled outside the front door to welcome guests.

So, this year instead of the same decorations, consider some fun and easy ways to re-beautify them into pieces that you'll be proud to display throughout the winter season.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Make Your Yard SAFE for Trick or Treaters

How to Make Your Yard SAFE for Trick or Treaters

Fall is here and the holiday season is upon us.  Halloween is this week and soon the neighborhoods will be teaming with trick or treaters.  Check out the following tips and tricks to be sure your yard is safe and children are protected. 

1. Clean up and toys, trash, or animal droppings.  Think how awful it would be if Princess Aurora stepped in do poo.  Rake leaves and pick up sticks.  Put away ladders, buckets and garden tools too. 

2. Roll up garden hoses onto racks, remove or secure them.  If your sprinkler heads are a hazard or could be damaged by traffic, consider placing a upturned planter over them with an LED light on top.

3. Use glow sticks, LED lights, and other safe lights to illuminate your yard.  Work to be creative and not kill the mood, but make sure sidewalks, stairways and trip hazards are well-lit.

4. Keep pets inside the house, the back yard, or in a safe location away from the front door.  A barking dog can scare a young child and ruin the night.  Cats are apt to make a dash for outside if frightened by noise and commotion.

5. If you have outdoor decorations, make sure they are well lit and out of the pathway.  Cords can be particularly hazardous.  Make sure they are taped down securely if they are close to a pathway.

6. Turn off all lights when you have run out of candy or patience.  The porch light is the most obvious, but remember to turn off other outdoor lights as well.  If you want your home to maintain a Halloween atmosphere, consider leaving a small battery operated Jack O'Lanter by the doorway or window. 

7. If you need to back out of your driveway, be sure to be extremely cautious.  Drive very slowly and use your signals to notify trick or treaters to your intentions. 

As always, we appreciate your referrals very much.  Please let us know if you know of family or friends who might be thinking of moving. 

Have a safe Halloween!

Grove Team, Keller Williams Realty
(817) 337-0000

Monday, October 28, 2013

Buying a garage door? Think insulation

There are seemingly endless options through which homeowners must navigate when buying a new garage door: the style, materials and accessories, just to name a few. But perhaps the most important feature that should top the garage door consumer's list is energy efficiency. 
Why? Because the garage door is generally the largest moving object in your home and offers the greatest exposure to the elements. An insulated garage door will maintain the temperature in your garage in the winter and in the summer and likely decrease your heating and cooling costs. Insulated garage doors not only make the garage itself more comfortable to be in, but also the rooms adjacent to or above the garage. A well-insulated garage also helps keep moisture out, and its sturdy construction offers a greater noise-reducing sound barrier.

What should consumers look for in an energy efficient garage door? For starters, check out the R-value. R-value is a measure of thermal resistance to heat flow and is how most manufacturers show the energy efficiency of their product. The higher the R-value of a door, the more insulation you'll get. Second, look at the door's construction. Well-insulated doors will have a "triple-layer" construction, consisting of environmentally safe polystyrene or polyurethane thermal insulation between two layers of heavy-duty steel. Some insulated garage doors also include a thermal break which is a nonconductive material within the door that keeps thermal energy from passing through, resulting in improved energy efficiency for the home.

Well-insulated garage doors should be able to stand up to the most extreme of conditions while simultaneously protecting your garage and the rest of your home.

Whether your garage door withstands heat, wind, snow, rain, or all of the above, it's the largest line of defense for your home. Make sure that it's working hard for you by reducing your home's energy consumption and providing strong, durable protection from the outside. Your utility bills - and the rest of your (climate-controlled) house will thank you.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Easy-to-update items to make your new home yours

This year more than 5.4 million homes were sold by the end of August, according to the National Association of Realtors. Are you one of these millions of new homeowners? If so, you've most likely felt the urge to settle in immediately. However, before making any major renovations, it's a good idea to live in a new home a while to see how the space is meeting your needs. Here are a few swift swaps that will have a big impact in making that new house feel like home sweet home.

Personalize with paint

It may be the most obvious update but painting is an easy solution to change the look of a room in an instant. Whether you paint an entire room, create a bold accent wall or incorporate glossy white trim, paint is an affordable fix for any home.
Fabulous frames

When moving into a new space, the things you love should take center stage. Once your home reflects who you are, the rest will slowly fall into place. Photo frames are the ideal choice to add a decorative and personalized touch to any room. Bring this common decor pick into the modern age by creating a personal gallery and displaying frames of varying shapes and sizes. To do this, plan the layout of the frames before hanging, either with paper on the wall or by arranging them on the floor. Or, you can simply purchase pre-arranged frame galleries at home decor retailers.

Faucet focus

Kitchen and bath makeovers tend to have the biggest impact on a home and its resale value. However, new homeowners who are strapped for cash may not have a large budget for a full-scale bathroom remodel. Fortunately, there are several basic swaps that can quickly change the look and feel of a bath.

The easiest way to remodel your bathroom is to replace its hardest-working fixture - the faucet. This is a project new homeowners can tackle themselves at a reasonable price. There are a wide variety of faucet options to add a fresh, elegant look to the sink. For a polished look, swap out old hardware with affordable, coordinated accessories including robe hooks, towel rings and towel bars.

Energy-saving essentials

Wasting energy means wasting money. When you go from a renter to a home owner, it's important to recognize and fix energy-draining areas before bills pile up. Caulking around windows and spaces between the floor and baseboards in attics and sun rooms will help prevent drafts. Consider purchasing a draft stopper for the bottoms of doors so wind or heat doesn't slip through. Additionally, service your furnace annually, so it produces more heat while using less energy.

Let there be light

Lighting is a great way to add warmth to a sparse space. If you're looking to create an intimate atmosphere, place several table lamps throughout the room. -You can also amp up energy savings by switching to LED bulbs - these bulbs don't cause heat buildup and last up to 10 times as long as compact fluorescents and 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

It's very easy for decorating to become overwhelming for new homeowners. By starting with these few swift home decor swaps, your new home will be a comfortable and welcoming environment in no time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How a whole-house humidifier helps keep your home healthy and comfortable this winter

Dry, winter air causes numerous problems that can adversely affect the health and comfort of your family. Many of these issues materialize indoors, where countless people suffer from dry noses, cracked, itchy skin and sore throats. These health and comfort issues arise because the relative humidity (RH) of cold, outdoor air drops significantly when brought into your home and heated, resulting in dry and potentially damaging indoor air.

Dry indoor air can cause a myriad problems, including:

* Increased likelihood of colds, flu and other upper respiratory ailments. Viruses that cause colds and flu thrive in low humidity - dry indoor air can spread airborne viruses more easily than air that is properly humidified. And dry air can make people more susceptible to infection, as well as aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms.

* Home damage. Dry air causes walls, woodwork and hardwood floors to crack. Electronics can fall victim to static electric charges, requiring expensive repair or replacement.

* Higher energy costs. Dry air can make you feel cold at normal temperatures, leading you to turn up the thermostat. This leads to higher energy bills.

Dry air is also responsible for many of the physical discomforts we experience during the winter including a sore, scratchy throat, nose bleeds and dry lips and skin. The best way to alleviate these symptoms and prevent home damage is by controlling the humidity levels in your home with a whole-home humidifier.

A whole-home humidifier, installed as part of your heating and cooling system, is designed to deliver the perfect amount of moisture to your home without constantly making adjustments or refilling the water. Whole-home humidifiers are uniquely efficient and effective because they accurately measure the outdoor temperature and indoor humidity levels to automatically provide the ideal amount of indoor relative humidity - meaning home owners don't have to constantly adjust humidification settings. Simply set it and forget it.

Unlike a portable room unit, a whole-home humidification system is connected directly to your home's HVAC and water system, saving you hundreds of trips to the faucet, and hours of messy cleaning over the season.

Whole home systems deliver proper humidity levels throughout your entire home and require simple, inexpensive and infrequent maintenance by simply changing an internal water panel once a year.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Video Tour - 1024 Texas Star Crt.

Video Tour - 1024 Texas Star Crt
Offered for sale by the Grove Team, Keller Williams

Shown with pride! Take your time to enjoy this exquisite 1-story, 3-bed, 2-bath home complete with study today. Backing to a greenbelt you will find a treasure inside. Designer tile in the rotunda, upgraded ceiling fans & fixtures, art niches complete with electrical plugs, loads of storage. Enjoy cooking in the kitchen complete with oversized island & ample counters. Energy efficiency offers low utility bills-close to everything! 
Contact the Grove Team, Keller Williams to schedule a showing of this lovely new listing!
(817) 337-0000

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Embrace color trends in style this fall

From runway fashion to home decor, blue is definitely in the spotlight right now. Give your home a fresh boost of an on-trend color and make it through the fall season in style.
If you're warming up to the idea of a new look in your home, but aren't sure how to use color to create a good mood, consider using a fall or pre-holiday redecoration to get ready for next year.

Seaside harmony - What says "summer" better than a trip to the beach? While winter's lower temperatures mean you probably won't want to get sand between your toes or dip them into the ocean, you can still enjoy the warmth and relaxation of the seashore. Simply choose colors that echo the natural hues of sun, surf and sand. Cool blue-greens soothe the senses, while gentle peach and soft white evoke the warmth of the sand and revive the spirit. Create the effect with an inspiring wall color. Then, extend the theme throughout your decor with accessories and lighting that celebrate the look of a chic modern resort.

Urban alternative - If modern decor appeals to you but you think it might underscore the chill of winter, try an urban alternative look. The style celebrates the warmer aspects of modern decor, emphasizing wood, metal and stone tones. This natural evolution of industrial modern decor creates an effect that feels more modest, relaxed and attainable. A palette of rich browns and soft grays creates this look.

Grand reign - From the mansions of the "Great Gatsby" to the magnificent homes of Newport, R.I., Americans continue to be fascinated with grand residences. These opulent homes carry us to another place and time, when the Vanderbilts, Carnegies and Rockefellers set the standard for luxury and elegance with their fantastic homes. You can recreate some of this effect with opulent detail, color and ornamentation. This style works for either richly masculine rooms, the deep eggplant purple or more neutral for delicately feminine ones. Whatever style you choose, colors will create a sense of romance and mystery.

Natural avocation - One way to while away the cold hours of winter is with a hobby, and what better hobby for winter than a little nature-watching? Explore the natural disciplines of botany, geology and astronomy with color by choosing tones that call to mind flora, fauna and celestial bodies. Wall colors can bring the vibrancy of the natural world into your home.

Color's effect on emotion and energy has been well-documented, and what better time to give your mood a boost than in the fall and winter months? When natural changes in the environment weigh down your mood, you can bolster your mental state - and create a more pleasing, warmer and welcoming environment - by strategic use of color.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Tips to ensure your shower upgrade doesn't turn into a leaky mess

Bathrooms are certainly among the busiest rooms in any home. But a bathroom can be so much more than just the place where you get ready during your hurried morning routine. One of the hottest trends in home decorating and remodeling is creating a bathroom that serves as a spa-like retreat.

Soothing colors and natural materials are right on trend, but if you really want your bathroom to be an oasis of calm, it also needs to be low-maintenance. If you're worried about your beautiful new shower leaking, it's hard to enjoy the experience. Instead, start by taking steps that ensure you don't have to worry about leaks and the damage they cause.

Whether you're a DIY expert or hiring the job out to a professional, it's important to carefully review the plans for a new shower. If you're bringing a contractor on for the job, ask what kind of materials and practices they'll be using to ensure that they're not cutting corners. If you're up for a do-it-yourself job, carefully consider the materials you'll use - look for options that make your job easier but don't skimp on quality.

 Keep these tips in mind to ensure that your shower is as durable and leak-proof as possible:

* The shower tray: Having the right base in your shower makes all the difference. There's a perception that the best way to ensure a leak-proof base is an expensive and labor intensive mortar bed. But there are solutions that can cut down on cost and labor. A pre-sloped, high-density, molded-foam shower tray is easily compatible with a wide array of tile shapes and sizes, offering comfortable flooring and simplicity of installation.

* Waterproof membranes: No matter how beautiful your tile, it's what's underneath that counts. Using a waterproof membrane ensures far better performance long term. A strong (tear-proof) and thin waterproof membrane over a durable backerboard ensures that your shower stays waterproof, even beyond what your eye can see.

* The drain: A securely fitted drain will help keep water flowing where it's supposed to go. If you're installing a shower system, consider using the proper drain assembly that goes along with it. Elegant and functional grates integrate with shower systems but still allow homeowners to choose the style that's right for them. Keep in mind that grate height might need to be adjusted to match tile thickness.

A carefully constructed shower will hold its beauty for a long time. And that means your bathroom will remain a retreat where you can think about relaxing instead of repairing.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

What a home inspection can do for you

While giving a new $900,000 home a thorough going-over, a home inspector found a problem under the deck. The builder had cut corners, using the wrong kind of fasteners to secure the deck to the house. Yet, the municipal building official had approved the work. 
In some cases, a building inspector is not going to crawl underneath the deck looking at the hardware but a good inspector will.

Because it uncovers aspects of the home that are unsafe or not in working condition, an inspection is a must when buying a home.

A thorough home inspection by a certified professional can help ensure that there are no surprises.
An inspection of the house you want to buy helps identify not only safety concerns and failing structural elements but faulty mechanical systems and areas that soon may need maintenance.

You'll pay around $300 to $500 for an inspection, which can take two to three hours. The cost can vary based on your geographic region, and the size and age of the home. Requesting other services, such as septic and radon testing, will add to the fee.

An inspection is money and time well-spent.. If your inspector finds things that should be repaired, you can use that report as leverage to have them fixed or negotiate a lower price.

To help get the most from a home inspection:

* Do your homework: Many contracts include a home-inspection deadline, so start shopping for an inspector when you qualify for a mortgage. This gives you time to find a qualified, professional inspector.

* Look for the inspection clause: Before you sign a contract, make sure it includes a clause that makes your purchase contingent on the findings of an inspection with the inspector you choose. This can provide a way out of the contract if the inspector finds a major problem the homeowner won't address. Make sure the clause is included even if the contract specifies an as-is sale, meaning the seller does not agree to make repairs. If a seller's not willing to let you inspect the house, that's a big red flag.
* Hire a pro: Shop around. Ask friends, neighbors and real estate agents for recommendations. Look online for lists of certified inspectors and important questions to ask inspectors.

* Ask to see a sample report: Inspectors fill out reports, following checklists for different areas of a house. It should be clear and informative. Reports longer than 25 pages filled with lots of legal print — usually meant to protect the inspector against liabilities — raise a red flag. By the same token, a few pages aren't enough.

* Accompany the inspector: Take notes and ask about maintenance issues you'll need to address, such as waterproofing the deck, caulking the siding, changing air filters and other matters.

* Review the report: The inspector will send you a written report detailing his or her findings. Read it closely and ask questions to make sure you understand the condition of all areas of the home.

If your inspector finds a leaky roof, a faulty water heater or some other problem, you may have the right to ask the seller to correct it to your satisfaction or to lower the price.

Monday, October 7, 2013

PRICE REDUCED - 1618 Meadow Park, Keller

PRICE REDUCED - 1618 Meadow Park, Keller
Offered for sale by the Grove Team, Keller Williams
Brand new HVAC units have just been installed, prime Keller location and updated from top to bottom.  Did we mention it has a pool too? 
Call the Grove Team today to schedule a showing of this fantastic home!
(817) 337-0000

Friday, October 4, 2013

Expert strategies for defining flow and function in your yard

Many strategies can enhance the flow and function of a home's interior and how a family lives and uses the space. But what about a home's exterior? When it comes to a yard, the same thoughtfulness can help homeowners create functional spaces outdoors that not only look great, but also deliver maximum enjoyment.

Here are a few ideas experts use that will instantly improve the function and flow of your yard, helping create a space that is not only beautiful, but value-enhancing, too.

Recreation - No matter what size your yard, it's important to incorporate some type of open space. It's visually appealing and offsets other landscape features, plus it's a must for pets and family. Designate at least one segment of your yard for open space, and plant grass or another plant that's friendly to foot traffic.

Property line - Define your property with attractive trees, shrubbery and fencing. Keep in mind today's homeowners aren't stuck with bland chain-link fencing. Try mixing sizes of beautiful vinyl fence in different areas.  Consider installing a 6-foot vinyl fence in the back of your yard to increase privacy. In the front, a beautiful white picket fence adds a decorative accent with all-American appeal.

Relaxation - A deck or patio serves as an area of relaxation typically located close to the home for easy access. Define the space with multifunctional furniture, decorative accents and outdoor dining necessities. Thoughtful placement of furniture helps create boundaries that enclose the outdoor room and encourage socializing and relaxation. Just be sure not to block doors or stairways.

Amenities - Value-enhancing amenities should be highlighted in your yard. Do you have a pool? An intimate spa? How about a meditation garden? Add definition to these amenities while also protecting privacy with attractive professional-grade fencing.

Functional - Each year, interest in gardening at home grows. The good news is that even a basic vegetable garden can be an attractive yard enhancement. Gardens typically need a sunny location, but make sure the placement doesn't disrupt the flow of the yard. The last thing you want is the kids mistakenly tromping your prize tomato plants. Define the space and protect plants by adding modified vinyl fencing around the perimeter.

Concealment - No matter how organized your yard is, there are bound to be items you'd rather not see. Yard waste, garbage cans and compost piles can detract from the beauty of your outdoor space. There's a simple solution:  fencing can conceal these things so they don't disrupt the organic beauty of a yard. You can even partition AC units and storage sheds while keeping them easily accessible.

Designers and builders know that flow and function are as important outside as they are inside. Homeowners who want to take a fresh look at their existing outdoor space can apply these concepts to help define different areas to improve the appearance and functional potential of their yard for all-year enjoyment.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Expert tips to transform your style for fall

With fall's arrival, many people change out their wardrobe, meals and turn up the thermostat, but often forget that just a few simple changes can get their home and other parts of their life ready for autumn. 
Here are some quick and simple tips to transition and transform your interior spaces for the season, no matter your budget or style.

Freshen up your colors. One of the easiest ways to transition into fall is to switch up the color palette in your home. To get a fall feeling you don't have to rely on just reds and oranges. Add in a pop of yellow to a room with a cool color scheme.  Yellow is a foundational color that ties everything together.

Adding new throw pillows, a cozy blanket on the couch or a new lamp can make a dramatic difference, and can be easily changed with every season. Small changes can go a long way in making your space feel new and fresh.

Upgrade your tech. If your computer is feeling sluggish or you've been longing for a new cellphone, fall is a great time to invest in new technology. With the coming holiday season, there are many sales and deals on the latest technology. And for design lovers, the newest devices don't require you to sacrifice style. Your favorite design concepts - like sleek lines and bold colors - can be found in the technology you use, and now is a great time to match your technology to your lifestyle.

Rearrange and reorganize. Rearrange furniture for upcoming gatherings as you move from outdoor entertaining to indoors. Depending on how you like to use your space during the colder months, you can easily make a room feel more formal or more casual. Do you spend your time entertaining dinner guests and serving up cocktails?  Bring in a bar cart and arrange your furniture into small group seating areas. More of a movie and popcorn family? Arrange the furniture so everyone has a clear view of the television and a cozy spot to curl up.

Dress your table for the season. Set your dining table with new accessories and pieces to liven up your family dinner or cocktail party. Small or large additions to the dining room can have a dramatic impact. Add grandeur to the room with a chandelier above the table, or create depth and visual interest with mirrors throughout. On the table, layer tablecloths, placemats and napkins to bring in the colors of fall for a rich and visually interesting tablescape.

These are just a few of the many ways to transition your home into fall.  Whether you opt for bold new colors or rearrange your space, you're sure to create a stylish space that signals fall is in the air.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Technology to keep families connected and protected this season

It's the time of year when family schedules change and their daily routines reset. From coordinating calendars to handling additional demands such as homework and extracurricular activities, it can be a challenging, if not daunting, time for even the most organized family. 
The good news is advancements in technology can help organize busy families' schedules, streamline their routines and simplify their days - making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. Today's technology tools can also help eliminate the stress and worry of whether or not someone remembered to lock the door or adjust the temperature while the house is vacant for the day. Here are a few tips to help families get organized this season.

1. Connecting via social media: Family members can stay connected throughout the day by using private groups on social media platforms, allowing everyone in the family to post quick messages, send photos or ask questions.  More than 60 percent of teens ages 13 to 17 have signed up for a profile on one social networking site. With teenagers' high social activities, parents can often receive responses and information from their children in a more timely and effective manner.

2. Protecting the family: October is National Crime Prevention Month, a time when families should take into account the importance of home security. With approximately one in nine children coming home to an empty house after school, according to U.S. Census data, advancements in home automation and security technology can help parents remotely safeguard their homes and families. Some systems allow parents to receive email and text alerts when the kids arrive home after school, check in during the day with real-time video monitoring, and even lock and unlock doors if the kids arrive home before they do.

3. Sharing lists online: Shopping trips can take a lot of time during the week, but the process can be simplified by sharing lists via online spreadsheets and smartphone apps. Organize the lists by categories such as grocery, pharmacy or pets to ensure both parents conveniently have access to the list the next time they make a trip to the store. Not only does this save parents time, it's also a great way to earn brownie points with their spouse. The tip also works for organizing the family chores. Create a to-do list assigning each family member a job, and have them check off the task when completed.

With a secure and efficient home and by staying connected to each other, families can settle into a smooth routine and enjoy the exciting activities of the fall season.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hard water: bad for your home and wallet

Nearly 90 percent of American homes have hard water - water containing high levels of calcium and magnesium. The hardest water is commonly found in the states that run from Kansas to Texas as well as in Southern California. Hard water on its own is bad enough, making it difficult to wash clothes and dishes and leaving scaling on your pipes and showerheads as well as nasty brown rings in your sinks and toilets. However, it is also costing you money. 

Research found that with hard water, showerheads lost 75 percent of their flow rate in less than 18 simulated months and could not maintain the required flow rate because of scaling. 

Water heaters are also negatively affected by hard water. When using softened water, researchers found that all the water heaters tested maintained 100 percent efficiency over a simulated 15-year lifetime, but with hard water, the gas and electric heater efficiency dropped by 25 percent - an incredible loss in energy resulting in significantly higher costs. In the case of the new instant tankless water heaters, hard water caused them to completely fail to function because of plugged-up scale, or mineral build-up associated with hard water, after only 1.6 years of simulated use - about a tenth the normal life of the appliance. 

Another study assessed the impact of water hardness on automatic dishwashers. Soft water was up to 12 times more effective at cleaning dishes than increasing the amount of detergent used. Researchers also found that for washing machines the most important factor in removing stains was water softness. Reduction of water hardness was up to 100 times more effective at stain removal than increasing the detergent dose or washing with hotter water. 

You can take steps to eliminate the source of the scaling with a salt-based water softener. In order to make hard water into soft water, you have to remove the calcium and magnesium. The only way to do that effectively is with a salt-regenerated water softener. These work by running the incoming hard water through a resin filter that traps the calcium and magnesium in the water, as well as any iron, manganese or radium ions and replacing them with sodium ions. Magnetic and other non-salt based water softeners do not remove these harmful hard minerals. 

Do-it-yourself water testing kits are available at most hardware stores, or you can have a water treatment professional do the testing. 

Eliminating hard water minerals delivers significant benefits in terms of the efficiency and maintenance cost of appliances and plumbing. From a budgeting perspective, using less detergent and energy can add up to real savings for families and individuals. Plus the harder these machines have to work, the faster they wear out and need repair or replacement, representing another very significant expense for homeowners.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Three easy tips to create a more natural bedroom

The formerly "fringe" back-to-nature movement has become mainstream in America and nowhere is the desire for a more natural approach to living more prevalent than in our homes. From organically grown fruits and vegetables to free paint choices, the trend is toward fewer additives, synthetics and chemicals.--

But for all the farmers market-purchased food in the kitchen and goat milk soaps in the bathroom, one room that has been neglected in the quest for a more natural home is the bedroom. However, it doesn't take very much to make the bedroom more natural or "green." Here are three easy and effective tips:

Choose natural bedding materials

Down and feathers come from nature, are biodegradable and renewable; consequently they have the lowest carbon footprint of any bedding fill material. Thirty-six percent of U.S. adults use down and feather bedding precisely because it is eco-friendly.

Being a natural insulator, down helps regulate body heat for an optimal sleeping experience, which allows homeowners to turn down the thermostat at night and save on heating costs.  55 percent of U.S. adults who use down and feather bedding have chosen it precisely for its natural warmth.

Add fresh plants and flowers to your decor

Live plants act as natural air filters and some plants - spider plants, Boston ferns, rubber plants and palm trees - are particularly effective absorbers of chemical pollutants emitted from carpets, furniture and electronic equipment. Adding fresh flowers and plants to your bedroom helps with the natural cycle of carbon dioxide and oxygen, improving the overall air quality in your bedroom.

Take advantage of nature's best heater: the sun

In the cold winter months, open blinds, draperies, and shutters during the day to let solar energy warm and brighten your room naturally. In the hot summer months, be sure to do the opposite, and close your window coverings to prevent your bedroom from overheating and causing air conditioning units or fans to work harder, thus using more energy.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Winter home safety: Quick steps to help protect your family

As cooler weather descends, homes heat up and so does the risk your family could experience a home fire or carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Most home fires and CO poisonings occur in the winter. Besides heating appliances, seasonal activities such as increased cooking, candle usage and holiday decorations all add to the risk. In fact each year winter fires claim an average of 945 lives, injure 3,825 people and cause more than $1.7 billion in property loss. 
To help keep your home worry free from fire and CO this winter, answer these questions to customize your winter home improvement projects with tasks that save money, reduce a common household annoyance and increase safety.

One in four older homes needs to update fire safety equipment. How old are your alarms?

* Replace smoke alarms every 10 years and CO alarms every five to 10 years, based on the alarm model.

* Purchase an alarm with a 10-year sealed lithium battery to receive hassle-free protection for a decade -- no need to change a battery or hear a low-battery chirp.

Seventy-five percent of homeowners don't know where to install smoke alarms. Do you have enough?

* Fire experts recommend placing smoke alarms on every floor and inside/outside all bedrooms. Choose alarms with room-specific features, such as an LED light in the hallway, or a voice notification for the bedroom.

* Place a CO alarm near sleeping areas and on each floor. Keep them 10 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

Do your alarms incorporate the newest features and technology?
* A sealed-in 10-year lithium battery not only continuously powers the alarm, it's also tamper-proof and can't be removed.

* A digital display shows the level of CO in the air and updates the reading every 15 seconds.

*An intelligent multi-sensor responds faster to real fires and CO, while reducing nuisance alarms like those commonly caused by cooking.

*An end-of-life appliance warning lets you know when to replace your alarms.

Do you need other safety products?

* Fire extinguisher - place one within reach in rooms where fires often begin: kitchen, garage, bedroom, living area.

* Escape ladder - place in second- and third-floor rooms as an alternative escape route.

Have you developed a family escape plan?

*Create a plan and practice regularly. Know two ways out of every room and who will assist children and loved ones with mobility/health issues.

Do your children know their address and how to dial 911?

* Post your home address and emergency phone numbers on the refrigerator.

Are your appliances and chimney winter-ready?

* Have a professional inspect fuel-burning appliances to ensure they function properly and that they vent outside.

* Have a professional clean or inspect fireplaces annually. Birds and small animals can cause leaves to build up on top of the chimney, preventing carbon monoxide from venting properly.

* Create a 3-foot clutter free zone around fireplaces, space heaters or wood stoves.