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| Sunday, January 15, 2017

Real Estate Preview

Advertising Sales - Charla Seeton Ad Director - Shannon Simmons For more information on the Real Estate Preview Please contact Charla Seeton @ cseeton@empiretribune.com -or-

254-965-3124 702 E. South Loop P.O. Box 958 Stephenville, TX 76401

Phone: (254)965-3124 Fax: (254)965-4269 www.yourstephenvilletx.com


Real Estate Preview

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Natural Stone in the Shower

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Family Features Family Features

hen it comes to beauty, W few building materials can

compete with natural stone. One-of-a-kind markings, dramatic colors and rich finishes make it a popular choice, especially in bathrooms where it can transform a utilitarian space into a spalike retreat. Long considered a great choice for countertops, more homeowners are now installing natural stone in the shower. “Stone can be a good choice for the shower, but it does require certain care and maintenance,” said David Bonasera, owner of ESP, a San Jose, California-based distributor of environmentally safe cleaning and sealing products for natural stone. “The most important thing you can do is be a good steward to the stone.” Know Your Material Your success will depend on the material you choose, said Gregory Mowat, founder of Forensic Tile Consultants in San Diego, California, who investigates stone installation failures and assemblies. While marble is a beautiful and popular choice for bathrooms, homeowners should be aware that it should be sealed prior to use in the shower. A useful generalization is that the lighter the stone, the more porous it is. Darker stones have a tighter molecular structure and are less likely to

stain, Bonasera said. There are many exceptions to this concept and a knowledgeable stone supplier and fabricator can help guide you to a suitable material. Granite is a good choice for bathrooms, said Jacqueline Tabbah, vice president of International Stoneworks, Inc., a stone restoration company in Houston, Texas. “Most granites are easier to maintain because they don’t react to the three As: acid, ammonia and alcohol,” she said. “Acid reacts to marble and travertine, and etches the surface, removing the polished finish.” Understand Proper Care No matter what material you use, there will always be maintenance, Tabbah said. “Customers may decide not to use natural stone, but porcelain tile can become discolored and grout lines can darken,” she said. “There is always upkeep, it will just be different.” When cleaning natural stone, it is best to keep things simple. Soapy cleaners can add buildup and attract dirt while vinegar and harsh cleaners can damage stone. To avoid these issues, always use a neutral cleaner with a pH level around seven. A few quick preventative measures can keep stone surfaces looking fresh. To help avoid water marks on the stone surface, use a squeegee on the walls

Stoneshop

after showering. Bonasera also recommends leaving the door open to accelerate air drying and using glycerin over traditional bar soap. “It’s transparent and doesn’t have a lot of fat, lye and animal byproducts that are in regular soap,” he said. “It will cut soap scum, which is a food source for mold.” Maintain Stone Even the tidiest homeowner should consider hiring a professional to come out every 2-5

years to have the stone rehoned or re-polished because it can lose its luster over time due to water exposure or calcium deposits, Tabbah said. To prolong its original luster and minimize maintenance, homeowners should consider sealing stone when used in bathrooms that receive daily use. For more information about using natural stone in your shower, or elsewhere in your home, visit usenaturalstone. com.

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| Sunday, January 15, 2017

Real Estate Preview

Home improvements that increase home value MetroCreative

W

hen granite countertops or shiny, stainless steel appliances beckon homeowners from the display areas of home improvement stores, it’s tempting to gear remodeling thoughts toward the items that will add flair and decorative appeal to a home. Even though most improvements add some measure of value, deciding which are the best investments can be difficult. Return on investment, of-

ten referred to as “ROI,” varies depending on the project. Frequently, the projects that seem like the best investments don’t bring the greatest rate of return, while those that seem like smaller projects bring substantial returns. Real estate professionals routinely weigh in with their expert advice, and homeowners can couple that advice with Remodeling magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Index” to reap the greatest financial impact from their renovations. The following were some of the

projects that garnered the greatest ROI in 2015. • Open the door to improvement. Region by region across the United States, installation of a new steel door on the front of a home can have a large impact on the resale value of a property. The ROI ranges from 123 percent at the highest, to 86 percent at the lowest — which is still a considerable investment return for such a simple project. Match the door’s style with the style of the house for the best value.

• Turn up the kitchen heat. An attractive kitchen can encourage buyers to overlook some of a home’s less attractive components. In the kitchen, replacement countertops, wall color changes, new cabinetry and flooring offer the biggest ROI. • Dreaming of a new bedroom. Remodeling magazine also points to creating an attic bedroom to increase home value. The ROI of an attic remodel that adheres to code can garner an 83 percent ROI. • Home maintenance projects. There’s little good to improving the aesthetic appeal and functionality of a home if there are existing structural or maintenance issues, warn experts. Siding replacement, HVAC system repair or replacement, a new roof, and basement dampness prevention solutions can be smarter investments before other flashy remodels. Many buyers have a strict budget for a house, and those buyers may be more likely to buy a house with little or no maintenance issues. Such buyers will then upgrade the kitchen or baths themselves, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. • Worthy window replacement. Angie’s List, a home services review and referral resource, has found that the average ROI of new windows is 77 percent. The cost of installation and energy savings tend to offset at around the 10-year point. If remodeling is on the horizon, homeowners should give strong consideration to ROI before choosing a project.


Real Estate Preview

Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Real Estate Preview

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Real Estate Preview

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| Sunday, January 15, 2017

Real Estate Preview

able, welcoming environment. • Switch to e-statements for bank documents and utility bills. Paper is a big contributor to household clutter. That’s still the case even though many adults now pay the majority of their bills online. When given the chance to choose between paper or e-statements, opt for the latter so bills and bank statements don’t pile up on your desk or throughout your home office. If you still want to keep important bills and bank statements, download them to your computer and keep them in a designated folder on your desktop. • Adopt an “out with the old, in with the new” mantra. Resolve MetroCreative to discard old items after purchasing new ones or receiving birthday or holiday gifts. Hanging on to old items because they can still function and serve some utility is a recipe for a • Purchase furniture that cluttered home. Anytime you or doubles as storage. Storage ota family member brings a new tomans and benches can help item into your home, make sure clear common areas and bedthe item it’s replacing finds its rooms of clutter such as blanway out the door. kets and bed linens that can Clearing clutter is a goal for make rooms feel more clausmany people at the dawn of a trophobic. Storage furniture new year. As intimidating as might not get excess items out clutter can seem, discarding it is of the house, but such furnisheasier than it may appear. ings can create a more comfort-

Make the year ahead clutter-free M

any people feel the dawn of a new year provides an opportunity to clean the slate and begin anew. That notion can be applied in various ways, including around the house. Cleaning the slate at home may involve reducing clutter around the house. Clutter can gradually overtake a home’s interior, turning a once pristine home into one overwhelmed with nonessential items. Clearing a home of clutter can seem like a monumental task, but the following tips can help homeowners and apartment dwellers make the year ahead clutter-free. • Scan important documents and save them on a computer. Some documents cannot be discarded, but that does not mean they have to be stored

in bulky file cabinets or desk drawers. Scan important documents such as medical receipts or tax returns and save them on your computer where they won’t take up any physical space. Purchase an external hard drive as a safety net where you can store backups of important documents in case a computer crashes and cannot be rebooted. • Thin out DVD and CD libraries. Thanks to streaming services and digital music players, DVDs and compact discs have become somewhat obsolete. Discard or donate DVDs that you can just as easily stream through your television, and convert compact discs to digital files that you can play on your computer and MP3 players, ultimately donating the discs and clearing space.


Real Estate Preview

Sunday, January 15, 2017

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Real Estate Preview

Beginner’s guide to real estate investments P

urchasing a house or property is about more than setting up a home. Although quite a number of people buy real estate to establish their future, long-term abodes, many others recognize the potentially lucrative investment that lies within a real estate purchase. Despite the ups and downs of the economy, real estate has become a common investment vehicle — one that has plenty of potential for making big gains for those who are willing to put in the effort. According to the experts at Entrepreneur, even in a bad economy, real estate investments will usually fare better than stocks. Real estate also continues to appreciate despite the occasional economical slow-down. Like any other endeavor, there

is a right and a wrong way to go about investing in real estate. Novices may not know where to begin their first forays into the real estate market as investors, even if they already own their own homes. Buying a property as an investment is an entirely different animal than buying a home to establish a residence. However, with the right guidance, anyone can dabble in real estate. • Establish financial goals. Before you even begin looking at properties or put forth the effort of meeting with an agent, you must determine what you expect from the investment. The days of buying real estate and flipping it for a fast profit may no longer be here. However, real estate can provide a steady stream of long-term income. Understand what you hope to achieve by investing. If it’s to become an overnight millionaire,

MetroCreative

you may be looking at the wrong investment vehicle in real estate. • Establish a plan. New investors who do not have a plan in place will likely spend too much or have more setbacks than others who have planned accordingly. When investing in real estate, it’s more about the bottom line than the property itself. According to Springboard Academy, a real estate academy for investors, look for motivated sellers and stick to a set purchase price. Try to make offers on a variety of properties that work in your financial favor. And know what you want to do with the property (i.e., renovate and sell, remove and rebuild, or rehab and rent) before you buy. Fit the house to the plan, and not vice-versa. • Start small. If this is your first time out there, stick with properties that will turnover quickly. Research areas

in and around urban centers or close to transportation and shopping. A good starter property is a small house or a condominium that can be refurbished and then rented. Rental properties offer steady sources of income when renters are properly vetted, offers Investopedia, an investment resource. • Look at many different properties. Become an expert by learning as much as you can about what is out there. Attend open houses; look for vacant/ unattractive properties; scour the classifieds in your local paper; or put the word out there that you’re interested in buying a property. Only look at properties that have motivated sellers, because then you’ll get closest to the price you want to pay. And don’t forget to research the area and the home turnover rate for the specific area where you are looking. Don’t make assumptions that a property will appreciate without doing your homework. Real estate can be a worthy investment opportunity. With research, a plan and the right price, just about anyone can be a real estate investor.


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

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tips to prepare to sell your home

ccording to Realtor.com, A spring is the busiest and best

season to sell a home. While a good home can find a buyer any time of year, homeowners might find the buyers’ pool is strongest in spring and into summer. The reasons for that are many, ranging from parents wanting to move when their children are not in school to buyers wanting to move when the weather is most accommodating. Because spring is such a popular time to sell a home, homeowners who want to put their homes on the market should use winter as an opportunity to prepare their homes for the prying eyes of prospective

MetroCreative

buyers. The following tips can help homeowners during the preselling preparation process. 1. Address the exterior of the home. Winter can be harsh on a home’s exterior, so as winter winds down, homeowners who want to sell their homes should make an effort to address anything that might negatively affect their homes’ curb appeal. A study of homes in Greenville, S.C., from researchers at Clemson University found that the value of homes with landscapes that were upgraded from “good” to “excellent” increased by 6 to 7 percent. If it’s in the budget, hire professional landscapers to fix any problematic landscaping or address any is-

sues that arose during the winter. Homeowners with green thumbs can tackle such projects on their own, but hiring professionals is akin to staging inside the home. 2. Conquer interior clutter. Clutter has a way of accumulating over the winter, when people tend to spend more time indoors than they do throughout the rest of the year. Homeowners who want to put their homes on the market in spring won’t have the luxury of waiting until spring to do their “spring” cleaning, so start clearing any clutter out in winter, even resolving to make an effort to prevent its accumulation throughout winter. Just like buyers are impressed by curb appeal, they are turned off by

clutter. The Appraisal Institute suggests homeowners clear clutter out of their homes before appraisers visit, and the same approach can be applied to open houses. Buyers, like appraisers, see cluttered homes as less valuable. In addition, a home full of clutter might give buyers the impression, true or not, that the home was not well maintained. 3. Eliminate odors. A home’s inhabitants grow accustomed to odors that might be circulating throughout the house. Pet odor, for instance, might not be as strong to a home’s residents as it is to guests and prospective buyers. Because windows tend to stay closed throughout the winter, interior odors can be even stronger come late-winter than they are during the rest of the year. A thorough cleaning of the house, including vacuuming and removal of any pet hair that accumulated over the winter, can help to remove odor. In the weeks leading up to the open house, bathe pets more frequently, using a shampoo that promotes healthy skin so pet dander is not as prevalent. Open windows when the weather allows so more fresh air comes into the home. Spring is a popular and potentially lucrative time to sell a home, and homeowners who spend winter preparing their homes for the market may reap even greater rewards.

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| Sunday, January 15, 2017

Real Estate Preview

BUSINESS & SERVICE DIRECTORY ATTORNEY

DIRT WORK

FARRIER SERVICES

Mark Lee

Professional Farrier Services Hot and Cold Shoeing Corrective Shoeing 15958 East State Highway 6 Dublin, Texas 76446

254-979-6458

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To Advertise in this Directory, contact Staci Woods at:. 1-800-283-0998


Real Estate Preview

Sunday, January 15, 2017

BUSINESS & SERVICE DIRECTORY LANDSCAPING

PLUMBING

REAL ESTATE

VIEW THE ENTIRE REAL ESTATE GUIDE AT

YOURSTEPHENVILLETX.COM

POWDER COATING

SEPTIC

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What’s missing?

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To Advertise in this Directory, contact Brittany Craddock at

1-800-283-0998

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Real Estate Preview


REP Jan 2017