Fire Only Where You Want It


Don’t do what I do. Do what I say. We have lived in this house for over two years now and today we finally had a visit from the chimney sweep/dryer vent cleaning crew. Please, please, please have these people visit your previously-owned home immediately after you buy it.

Yes, we had a serious fire hazard situation with our dryer vent. Yes, it was preventable. Yes, we are lucky we didn’t burn down the house.

The vent for the dryer that travels through the wall, through the attic, and outside the rooftop vent pipe was packed, PACKED with lint. Extremely flammable stuff, lint is. The vent is clean now, and I expect it will take a much shorter time to dry that load of towels. My cleaning company says the dryer vent should be cleaned once a year. And they give us a discount if we make that next appointment in a timely fashion.

We have only built two fires in the fireplace since we’ve lived here; once, when a gang of bees audibly took up residence in the chimney. Smoked ’em right out, we did. The second fire was in December when we thought we’d do our S’mores indoors, rather than out. The rest of the time, I was waaaay too skeptical about the condition of the flue, chimney, and firebox to use it much until we had it inspected and cleaned.

Turns out, the fire system wasn’t bad. However, our grate is too low to the bricks on the bottom of the firebox- too low to get proper ventilation underneath to feed oxygen to the fire. Also, found out that, with our fireplace construction, nothing is supporting the bricks at the back of the firebox, so we can’t let logs fall and hit that wall, lest we crack the mortar and provide an avenue for fire to escape into the wall. So, need a new grate. And we know to be careful of the back wall.

Patty and Sam were extremely efficient, tidy, educational, well-mannered, and good natured (and Patty is a ‘cat person’!). Below is a photo of their family-run business card.



Stats Working for You


Here is an example of what the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) statistics reveal when using them to help price a house that is going on the market.

This graph is data from the past year regarding the median list price versus the median sold price for all single-family homes in the Dripping Springs Independent School District. As you can see, in general, the homes listed on the MLS were listed at higher prices than the price for which they eventually sold. The exception is this month. (Do you think a single spectacular sale skewed the numbers? Maybe. We need to look at the coming months to find out)

This graph is one of many data points I can generate when helping a selling client decide on an asking price for their house. This is a graph I would use in passing to demonstrate how a majority of homes in this school district start off being priced higher than the market says they should be.

Graphs such as this one are points of interest when anticipating the market for your home.

In preparing for your home listing, I look at all the homes that have been sold recently in your area, the sold homes that are similar to yours, the average days on market compared with price per square foot, the current listed prices of homes similar to yours, the number and quality of upgrades on your home and homes of similar size in your area, and many other parameters.

Knowing the numbers helps you to be smart about pricing your home to be the most desirable in your market. Smart price, quick sale, most money in your pocket.

Next up: The Cost of Having Your Home on the Market.

Your Move and Your Pets, Part 1


So, you’ve decided to move. Caution: big changes ahead!!!

Selling a home and moving is always more work than we think it is. Even with the smoothest of transactions, there is still a lot of upheaval for the people in the household. Our pets want us to know that they are feeling stressed, too!

If we want our home sale to go as well as possible, we MUST plan ahead to keep the pets as emotionally and physically secure as possible. Having a plan takes a load off the people.

We have cats at our house, and being the emotional creatures that they are, cats can freak out at even small changes in their environment or routine, and disrupt a perfectly staged house faster than anything. The lovely animal in the photo above will eat any plant in the house, whether natural or fake, and throw up the leaves afterward.

This isn’t hard to remember under ordinary circumstances, but when staging a home to look inviting for potential buyers, it would be super-easy to forget the cat’s predilections and place cut flowers in strategic places. BAD MISTAKE!

Or, when rushing to get knick-knacks packed away and out of sight, it would be sooooo easy to leave a plastic bag lying out where this tuxedo lovely could get it:


Here is a partial list of pet challenges I work out with sellers ahead of putting their house on the market.

  1. Pet safety when readying house for market.
  2. Being intentional about addressing the pet’s feelings.
  3. Securing, or even better, removing pets from the house before showings.
  4. Stain and odor removal.
  5. Planning pet transportation to the new home.
  6. Readying the new home for the pets.