Having a Good Foundation

Crack! Slide! Pop! No, it’s not a new cereal, but they are common happenings when your home’s foundation begins shifting. What causes foundation problems?

Some may be due to improper construction (wrong kind of mix, not poured or reinforced correctly), but most issues are due to the soil underneath the home’s foundation, and in Austin, we see a wide variety of soils depending on the area.

I’ve lived in three neighborhoods in Cedar Park in the last thirty years. I don’t know about you, but every time I’ve tried to plant anything, I might get as far as four inches before hitting rock--if I’m lucky. Thanks to this, though, we might see less settling issues than other areas. That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, however!  As a realtor, I’m seeing some homes built in the 70s, 80s and 90s begin to show signs of what looks like settling issues. That doesn’t always mean our soil is changing; it could mean we’re not doing enough to take care of it!

According to Perma Pier, a professional foundation repair company, we can see issues pop up with homes’ foundations due to contracting and expanding of the soil underneath it due to too much or too little moisture in our soil. Too much water causes the soil to expand, or lift the ground--and your foundation. Too little causes it to sink. This continual fluctuation in your soil can cause minor to major damage to your foundation. Minor issues like tiny cracks in drywall are common and not necessarily a hint of anything more than minor settling. We see this happen with old and new homes alike. However, serious issues like large cracks, plumbing issues, or separation of walls are signs you need to call the professionals.

One great way to protect your home and its foundation is to have proper irrigation, landscaping and drainage installed, and then maintaining them. Now I’m a big DIY’er, and you may be, too. Before beginning any yard project, you can have a professional landscaper design plans for your yard based on its needs (the grading, type of soil, weather, shading, and how much/little you want to water). They aren’t expensive, and you’ll be ready and able to do things right the first time. Also, think about having a professional install your drainage system. Then, with those completed, you can DIY to your heart’s content--or hire someone and save your back.

If you’re already seeing issues (cracks in exterior/interior walls, doors/windows not closing properly), call in the professionals. While many different types of companies are able to install drainage systems, a qualified foundation repair company can correct drainage issues that are affecting the foundation. Perma Pier is one who offers a free evaluation, and there are others; just be sure to check the Better Business Bureau first to make sure you’re getting a reputable company.

Fixing to sell your home? Some must have tips!

You're ready to sell; congratulations! Here are some helpful tips to get your house in tip-top shape for showings!

  • Fix it, Frank. Okay, so you're not Frank, but if it's broken, loose or leaking, you should fix/replace it. Remove any molded grout, torn screens, even siding that is in need of repair.
     
  • Clear the clutter. Wall-to-wall furniture gives the sense your home is too small (even if it may be). Remove any furniture that's not absolutely necessary (this can include extra chairs, tables, even tvs). Toys should be put away in a closet, on a shelf, or in a basket. Put the family photos away so people can imagine themselves in the home. In fact, take down 60-75% of your wall and shelf decorations--yes, you heard that right--almost everything. After that, if we need to bring stuff back in, we can. But this step is hard to imagine when the clutter is all you see (not that you have clutter; I'm speaking general sense, of course).
     
  • Clean. And Clean again. Now that you've cleared the clutter, you'll want to give your home a deep clean from the top-down, inside out. This means ceiling fans, lights, vents, all the way to the inside of your oven, molding both above and below, and the tile grout behind your commodes. Remove the screens and clean the windows. This lets all the natural light in and makes your home feel larger. Spray off patios, sidewalks, driveways, and under awnings. Mow/edge/weed-eat your lawn and spruce up flower beds. Plant a few colorful plants in the front or place them in pots by the front entrance. Then, keep it this way (I know: easier said than done).
     
  • Create a cozy vibe. Your zebra-print drapes may be look fantastic with your decor, but you'll want to remove them and any other items that show off your individualism. A few subtle touches like a bowl of oranges on the counter, a colorful (or white) table runner, or a green plant can create a warm and inviting feeling in your home without going overboard.
     
  • Complement your palette. Before you start, make sure your current decor and new pieces blend. If your living room is painted a soothing ocean-blue hue, skip the loud red accents and opt for white, silver or gold and natural fibers. If you’ve got an earthy color scheme, accent with natural green and white.  The basic rule is if it's natural and neutral in nature (fibers, wood, glass, plants), you can leave it. If it's not (plastic, fake wood) or if it doesn't serve a purpose other than to admire (like your collection of Star Wars dolls--sorry, action figures), pack it for your new home.
     
  • Accentuate the positive. Too many items may distract buyers, but the right accessories can draw attention to your home’s best features. Place a few pillows on the ledge of a bay window, open the blinds to a beautiful view, or have some spa-like items on a jacuzzi tub.
     
  • Remove pets. Yes, I recommend removing dogs, cats, and anything else that has an odor. Obviously, you can't take the aquarium with you, but if it roams about the home, take it out during showings. Also, it won't hurt to wash pet bedding regularly to keep everything smelling fresh.
     
  • Set the stage. Make sure you turn on all the lights and open blinds before showing your home. Homes that are dark and full of shadows turn buyers off. Also, you may want to make your home smells nice (plug-ins, essential oils, or sprays), but do so lightly;Too much of the sweet smells can turn off buyers just as much as the stinky smells. Maybe one type of fragrance smartly placed in the main area of the home, and one more either in the master bedroom or upstairs.

You're home is now ready to show: sell it! If you'd like more information on how to best showcase your home to sell quickly, contact me today; I'd love to be of service.

Your Offer Was Accepted: Now What??

Your Offer Was Accepted: Now What??

If you’ve been concentrating on just getting an offer accepted, you get to this point and feel lost. No worries! Below is all the information you need to get you through to closing. Warning: it’s A LOT of information; I suggest printing it out and put it on your fridge so you can check off each step as it’s completed. Also, this information is based on the promulgated One-to-Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) specific to Texas. Also, if you’re purchasing a condo, you may have slight changes/additions to what is listed below. I suggest checking with a trusted realtor for specifics in your state.

Changes in 2017: Sell Now!

Changes in 2017: Sell Now!

The New Year is about to be upon us. You may be asking yourself this is the year you will sell your current house and move into your dream home. Many sellers think waiting until we hit the Spring Rush to put their home on the market. That might have worked in past years. However, this winter has proven different than previous years.

Flip or Flop?

Flip or Flop?

When I work with buyers, many are wanting homes as close to downtown as possible (meaning they’ll probably end up with an older home), and one that is “move-in ready” (meaning it has been mostly-to-completely updated). Are you one of these? Well, let me share some information free-of-charge: beware!

Hidden Property Tax

Hidden Property Tax

Have you wondered why, when Austin says it’s lowering its tax rate, you still have to pay more? While our economy and our home values have increased, we also pay some of the highest property taxes in the country — so much so that some homeowners are having to sell before having to lose their home to the banks.

What You Get With Me

What You Get With Me

Hello, my name is Lisa Waddill and I’m a people pleaser. Yes, I admit it. This is what you get with me. I feel good when I know someone else feels good because of something I’ve said or done. I truly get a “high” by knowing someone benefitted from me in some way—knowledge, expertise, experience, skill or even friendship. I feel good when I help someone.

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

For Sale by Owner (FSBO)

I recently read an article about a FSBO company which charges for minor advertising for someone who’s wanting to sell their home without an agent. They “hook” the seller by saying they’ll list the home on the Multiple Listing Service ({MLS} what professional realtors use to advertise your home to other agents and the public) for FREE, and then hope they’ll ask for more services when they see their home isn’t selling.