Looking for a unique gift this holiday season. Why not consider something for the home that the entire family can enjoy? I’ve curated a list of my favorite home items that are sure to make an impression on anyone on your list this year. Some of these are decorative items, some of them are incredibly useful, and others are a mix of both. Take a look at my top picks below, and try to remember this is the season of giving even though you may be tempted to buy them all for your own home!
These adorable little planters will seriously brighten your day. I have two on my windowsill and every time I look at them they bring me so much joy! They are playful and easy to care for with minimal maintenance. You can buy them locally at Maya on South Congress or on Etsy for about $20
Have someone on your list who always wants the latest tech gadget? Consider a ring doorbell. This modern doorbell features a camera that displays straight to your smart phone so you can know who is at the door without even getting up. Find it on Amazon from $99
Faux Animal Head
Looking for a unique gift for someone you love? Consider getting them a Faux Animal Head that will seriously turn heads! White Faux Taxidermy makes a variety of beautiful animal heads that come in assorted colors to match any rooms décor. In true Austin fashion, I chose a longhorn skull for my home, but they also have deer and elephant heads as well as more imaginative ones such as their unicorn mount. Find them at White Faux Taxidermy; prices range from $40-$140.
Map of The World Scratch Off
The map of the world scratch off poster is the perfect gift for the world traveler in your life. Recipients can scratch off all the places they have been, and continue to scratch off locales as they travel. This map has outlined states for the US and Canada so they can mark their domestic trips too! Get it from Amazon for $27.99
Looking for the gift that keeps on giving? Consider an automatic vacuum that will keep floors sparking all the time. No one enjoys spending time cleaning floors, so consider gifting that special someone in your life a robotic vacuum cleaner. The iRobot Roomba learns your home’s floor plan, can be set to a schedule to go off at a certain time each day, and the latest model even empties itself. Find it at Best Buy or Amazon starting at $249
Buying a home can be super exciting! You’re likely looking for something that has enough space for your family, is convenient to work or in a good school district. You may be looking for something that is your style, or maybe you’re looking for something with good bones that has the potential to be your dream home. No matter which of these items you are looking for in a home, you should also play close attention to the physical elements of the home. Understanding the expected life expectancy of the various aspects of the house will help you make an informed decision and save you from unexpected expenses down the line.
When I am helping a client find a home, there are a few areas I look at right away to determine if they are in decent condition. Before I even step foot in the home, I like to look at the seller’s disclosure notice. This will inform me of any known past or present issues with the home. If there is anything of note, I will make sure to take a closer look when I get to the home. The seller’s disclosure sometimes includes the age of the roof. Oftentimes, the current owner may not know the age so, the first thing I do when I get to the home is take a look at the roof. Rarely can I fully view the roof from the ground, but I can see if there are tree limbs that may be damaging it. Sometimes, I can visibly see the roof is in poor condition.
Next, I enter the home. One of the most-costly home issues is a home with a poor foundation. If the foundation is not performing as designed, the entire home can have various issues. I am not an inspector, nor a foundation expert. However, I do know of some tell-tale signs of foundation issues. Uneven cracks in walls, a floor that feels un-level, cracks in the exterior of the home are all signs of foundation issues. These characteristics could also be entirely unrelated to a foundation problem. A floor may simply be uneven due to a poor sub-flooring job. But, If I suspect foundation issues, I will let my clients know. This way, they can then make an informed decision if they want to still pursue the house, and then hire an inspector and foundation expert to give their professional opinion.
In Texas, a good AC system is important. I want to take a look at the system right away, and see if I can ascertain more information about the home’s HVAC. Simple things like dirty filters can tell you if a person takes care of their system or not. I also like to look at the condenser unit and see if I can find a serial number. The serial number of most appliances is coded to tell you the age of the appliance. A simple google search will usually help me decipher the code for any given manufacturer and consequently the product’s age.
As I mentioned before, I am not a home inspector. However, if I can identify a potential major money pit simply from walking through a home, I’m going to make sure my clients know. This way, my clients don’t end up getting their hopes up about the home, spending money on an inspection and then realizing the home is going to be too problematic in the long run. When you’re looking for a new home, make sure to keep an eye out for more than just a gorgeous master with his and hers closets. Also, look at these important elements of a home to make sure you are not moving into a money pit. If you’re considering buying in the Austin area, contact me today, or take a look at these homes for sale in Austin.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.