5 Reasons to List Your Home This Holiday Season

Every year at this time there are many homeowners who decide to wait until after the holidays to list their homes. Here are 5 powerful reasons why waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense. Let’s get together today to discuss how we can market your home this holiday season!

Kim Billings 214-794-9738

5 Tips for Building a New Home

The current lack of existing inventory on the market has forced many homebuyers to begin looking at new construction. Seeing your home built before your eyes is a wonderful experience, but new construction purchases often come with unique hassles. If you’re ready to build your next home, let’s get together so we can help ensure that your next home-buying experience is hassle-free!

The Beauty of Breakfast Nooks

It’s the most important meal of the day, so why are you spending your mornings eating over the sink on your rush to get ready for work? For many homeowners there’s a perfectly cozy and wonderful alternative in their home that they might not even be using: the breakfast nook.

From Formal Dining to Chaotic Meals in the Open

Many people have long ago converted their formal dining rooms into home offices, instead opting for kitchen bars or dropping a dining set close to the kitchen in their open floor plan homes. These options are ok if all the chaos of eating in a non-space doesn’t put you off your feed.

For those who need a little more privacy, a quiet place to drink their morning coffee and contemplate life for a few minutes, the breakfast nook cannot be matched.

It’s simple enough. Take a house, add a little space off of the kitchen that’s just big enough for a dining set. Upgrade with a killer view. Insert your table and chairs. Nothing could be easier.

Styling Your Breakfast Nook

The word “nook” would imply a very informal space, or a dark and tight room. The word, certainly originally used to make the concept feel even more quant, is incredibly misleading. Although breakfast nooks are usually small, they’re not dark and they aren’t uncomfortable.

They’re often the best seats in the house!

Nooks are a flexible space that can do a lot.

There’s no wrong way to nook, work with the space and view that you have and the rest will follow. You don’t even need a traditional dining set! Plenty of breakfast nooks are outfitted with booths permanently affixed to the wall.

Who needs beaches when you can have a view of the neighbor’s garden?

Other contemporary nooks mix and match chairs and booths in order to get as much useful seating as possible in the small, but amazing space. Watching the sun rise over the morning head lines from your breakfast nook is an unmatched experience, even if your nook doesn’t have a dramatic overlook.

But some like to keep dining a formal activity, even in their nooks.

These people aren’t nooking wrong, they’re just serious about their space. That’s ok, nooks are for everybody, casual or formal. In fact, some formal nooks manage to gush with luxury in scale.

Here’s a Nook, There’s a Nook… Where’s Your Nook?

If you’ve been dreaming about a breakfast nook, but haven’t been sure about where to start with hiring a building contractor or talking to a banker, today is your lucky day. All you need to do to put your breakfast goals into motion is to log into your HomeKeepr community. Your Realtor can recommend contractors, bankers, interior designers and anyone else you may need to help you with your project. Since these pros have already been vetted and tested, you know they’ve got to be good!

3 Simple Secrets to Keep Your Home Warm for the Winter

It’s been a busy year. It almost feels like we completely skipped over spring, summer and fall and found ourselves barreling head first into winter like a kid on an out of control snow sled. With those cold days just around the corner, now is the time to make sure all your heating equipment is safe to operate and ready to go when you need it. After all, you don’t want to learn that your furnace needs to be repaired by spending a freezing night regretting not having found out sooner.

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

There’s nothing like a toasty fire roaring in the fireplace, except maybe for forced air heating that distributes heat evenly throughout the house. Hey, old fashioned fireplaces are romantic, but they’re not the most efficient heat sources out there — that’s why forced air heating was invented and is subsequently the best thing imaginable when there’s snow on the ground.

Most of the time, the furnace and blower are the kinds of things people really pay zero attention to. You just set the thermostat and magic heat comes out of the vents magically. You may have never even given a second thought to any sort of maintenance plan for this equipment at all.

While that’s not unusual, you’ll be a lot happier if you adopt one this year.

Getting your furnace ready for the big chill isn’t all that difficult and takes just a little time. All you need to stay warm all winter are these three simple (not so secret) steps:

1. Remember the little things, they matter a lot. Check your furnace filter! Whether it’s just a little dirty or has three inches of dust on it, give it a toss. This is a good time to consider investing in an electrostatic filter that allows you to clean and reuse it again and again. Depending on the size of your furnace filter, they start around $30 and go up from there. An electrostatic filter can be washed often, keeping the air cleaner and making it easier for the furnace to do its thing.

While you’re at it, don’t forget your condensation line. If you just said, “My what?” take a look around the furnace until you find a tube or plastic pipe that goes from it to a pump or drain. That neato little tube tends to accumulate algae and other build-up, until it plugs entirely. Running vinegar through it once a month will help keep it flowing freely and your furnace performing at its best by moving any condensation away from the system. This is especially important if you’re using a heat pump, since it’s essentially an air conditioner with a valve that can go either forward or reverse, depending on your desired results.

Last, check all accessible ducts for air loss. Sure, you like your crawlspace and attic, but maybe not enough to share your heat with them. The tighter your ducts, the more air pressure in your system and the less heat loss you’ll experience. This is by far the most difficult part of basic furnace prep for winter.

2. Call your favorite HVAC professional for a cleaning and inspection. Yes, you cleaned the filter, but there are a lot of parts inside your furnace where dirt and dust collect over the years. If you’ve never had your furnace professionally serviced, now is the time. A pro will look over your air handler and heating elements to ensure they’re safe to use this winter. A cracked heat exchanger is no joke. This is how people die from carbon monoxide poisoning.

While you’re at it, maybe consider asking for a recommendation for a CO detector.

3. Put together your heating backup plan. This goes double if you live somewhere very cold, like Maine. If you live somewhere that’s not really cold at all, like Texas, your plan could be buying a coat. In Maine, or even New Jersey, you’ll want to choose an alternative heating source in case your furnace goes out. Even with a thorough inspection, you could have a small, but important, part go bad, throwing your furnace all out of whack.

Some good options (no, the fireplace sans blower is still a bad option) include infrared heaters or electric oil-filled radiators with safety shut-offs in case they tip. Combustion heaters should never be used indoors without proper ventilation. If you’re planning for a short-term heating solution, just until your furnace is fixed, they can be a lot more trouble than they’re worth. However, if you really want the warmth of wood heat, pellet stoves and catalytic wood stoves can make safe and energy efficient alternatives.

Who You Gonna Call When You Need a Furnace Inspection?

If you don’t already have a favorite HVAC pro, it’s high time you found one. You could ask your neighbors, but why not start with your HomeKeepr community? After all, this group of home pros and homeowners can tell you a lot more about the people they personally recommend (and stake their reputations on) than your neighbor can about the guy that comes by once a year. A quick visit with your network and you’ll have the names of pros you know you can trust to get the job done.

Owning a Home is Important to All Generations

All generations agree that homeownership is an important piece of the American Dream, but there are still many people who are unsure of how to achieve that dream in today’s market. Let’s get together to get you on the right path and to talk about how you can achieve your American Dream in our market today!

Kim Billings 214-794-9738 http://www.kimbillings.com

#dfwrealestate #dfwrealtor #home #realestate #dallas #plano #allen #frisco #mckinney


Don’t Fall for these Home Selling Myths

When it comes time to sell your house, you’ll quickly learn that there are a lot of different opinions floating around. While some of the advice you’ll get from friends, family, and coworkers about selling may be good, you may also hear some of these classic home selling myths:

  1. If your home is stylish, you don’t need to stage it. Staging isn’t just to bring dated houses into style or to get cluttered houses clean. Instead, the goal is to create a home that any potential buyer can see themselves in and to highlight the best features of your house.
  2. You know what your home is worth. It’s easy to believe that you know better than anyone what your home is worth. After all, you know your home inside and out — and you’ve read the online estimates! Unfortunately, that’s a mistake: Home valuation should be left to the professionals. It’s literally their job!
  3. Price high so you have negotiating room. Sounds logical, right? But actually, pricing too high can stop interested shoppers from even considering your home. In general, the longer your home is on the market, the lower your average offer will be. Instead, pricing accurately is more likely to draw the right buyers to the table and bring good offers quickly.
  4. Big renovations will increase your sale price. Don’t start on that full kitchen remodel just yet! Small updates, like replacing faucets and lighting fixtures, tend to have a higher impact on your home’s value. And they’re inexpensive.

So how do you tell the bad advice from the good? That’s where the fifth myth comes in: The myth that you don’t need a real estate agent! It’s true that you can sell your house on your own… but should you? Not only does a real estate agent have the training and education to guide you through the complicated process of selling, but they also have access to resources and connections that you don’t. With the right expert at your side, you’ll be choosing between great offers in no time!

Kim Billings  214-794-9738


The October Events in DFW You Don’t Want to Miss

Riley Heruska – BubbleLife Staff

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Can you believe October is already here? It seems like we were rounding up the best events in September just a few days ago. This month, we’re all about good food, live music, and in honor of Halloween, some thrilling scares. Check out some of the following events to see if there are any you should be adding to your calendar.

The State Fair of Texas (Now Until October 21) 

The biggest fair in the state opened its doors last weekend, and they’ll stay open for 20 more days until October 21. Don’t miss the opportunity to gorge yourself on fried food and check out some of the fair’s newest attractions. Tickets are now available online, and if you click here, you can learn how to save a little on admission. 

Autumn at the Arboretum (Now Until November 21)

No doubt you’ve already seen pictures of the famous Pumpkin Village littered throughout your social media feed. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden has created a nationally-acclaimed display that incorporates more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. This year, the theme is “The Adventures in Neverland.” Admission to the autumnal exhibit is free with your ticket to the gardens. 

Six Flags Over Texas – Fright Fest: Fright by Night (Select Nights October 5 – 31)

Whether you’re hoping to ride some scream-inducing roller coasters or let creepy villains do the trick, Six Flags is the place to be if you want to be scared this Halloween. Their Fright Fest event transforms the park into a spine-chilling experience, complete with roaming ghouls and other terrors. You can buy a daily admission pass to the event online, plus a haunted house pass, for $92. 

Dark Hour Haunted House (October 5 – 31)

It’s that time of year again. Dark Hour in Plano has opened for the Halloween season once more with Coven Manor, a land haunted by various witches and their nightmarish powers. You might also run into Carl Cleaver, who runs a children’s pizza parlor that’s way creepier than it should be. Dark Hour opens this Friday at 7:00 PM and will be bringing the scares until Halloween evening, so get your tickets whenever you’re ready to shriek in terror. 

Taylor Swift in Concert (October 5 – 6)

This queen of pop music will be hitting the AT&T Stadium stage TWICE in two days this coming week. Her current tour, Reputation, is supporting her newest album and features Charli XCX and Camilla Cabello. Although affordable tickets will probably be difficult to come by this late in the game, it’s worth looking for some if you’re desperate to see Taylor live. 

Plano Food and Wine Festival (October 6)

This weekend, stop by the Shops at Willow Bend to sip fine wine, sample delicious foods and listen to live music. This event will feature hundreds of different wines, as well as culinary demonstrations, grape stomping, and of course, plenty of shopping. What better way is there to spend a relaxing Saturday in autumn? Get your tickets online today. 

Reindeer Manor Halloween Park (Now Until October 31)

Less than 20 minutes from Downtown Dallas lie not one but four haunted attractions that can kick-start your Halloween scares. Attend a “killer” party at a Gothic-themed mansion, explore a creepy mortuary, immerse yourself in a bewitching arcade game or avoid murderous clowns in a dark house. The attractions are open now and will welcome guests until Halloween evening. Tickets for one attractionstart at $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Plano Steinfest 
(October 19 – 20)

For the fourth year in a row, Downtown Plano is hosting an Oktoberfest-style event full of great beer and food. Bring the whole family and dance to polka music as you drink and eat. You can also shop at the 40 Marktplatz vendors and join in fun contests. To learn about volunteering at the festival or buying VIP ticket packages, click here

The Rocky Horror Show by The North Texas Performing Arts Repertory Theatre (Select Dates Starting October 18)

If you’ve never seen this show live before, this is the one to check out. A stage full of acting veterans will bring the musical to life with impressive costumes and plenty of audience interaction. You’ll laugh and sing along as Brad and Janet are forced to reevaluate everything they thought they knew about themselves. Catch the show on the weekends of October 18-20 or October 15-27. 

Ed Sheeran in Concert (October 27)

One of the biggest names in popular music, Ed Sheeran, will be gracing the stage at the AT&T Stadium this month. Sing along to live versions of your favorite songs like Thinking Out Loud and Galway Girl while you watch this red-headed superstar entertain thousands of fans. Tickets are already limited, so act quickly if you’re interested. 

Post Malone Presents Posty Fest (October 28)

We might as well refer to 2018 as the “Year of Post Malone” since his songs have hit the top charts so much. At the end of this month, the megastar will be hosting a day-long musical extravaganza with performances by Travis Scott, Tyler the Creator, and others. He’ll also be singing some of his most popular tunes, so join in the fun and support his newest album, Beerbongs & Bentleys. 

Which of these October events are you going to check out? 

The Gelato Cone Coming to Downtown Plano

Downtown Plano is about to get a little sweeter with the opening of The Gelato Cone, an artisanal and all-natural gelato shop.

Mustafa Efendiler grew up in Macedonia in the family ice cream business, then moved with his family in 1956 to continue their business in Turkey for about 60 years. Mustafa had a dream to expand the business to the United States, so he moved to Texas to start a business under The Gelato Cone name, along with his partner, Selim Senocak.

The Gelato Cone is currently under local ownership but they are in the works of transitioning to a franchise style of business. There is already a Gelato Cone located in Dallas and in Allen, and they have plans to expand to McKinney and Frisco in the second quarter of 2019.

The shop offers over 50 total flavors of gelato and sorbet, rotating 24 flavors at a time. Some of the flavors offered are Special Pistachio, Coconut, Cookies, Nutella Crunch, Milk OCena, Peanut and Banana. They also offer several dairy-free options like Dark Chocolate, Mango, Red Berries and Peach.

Fresh waffle cones are made daily in all locations, ensuring a delicious aroma in the shop.

Stack of gelato // courtesy The Gelato Cone
Stack of gelato // courtesy The Gelato Cone

In addition to providing gelato and sorbet, a variety of smoothies are offered, such as Mango-Banana-Pineapple Splash, Pomegranate-Banana and Chocolate-Banana-Peanut Butter.

The Gelato Cone is unique in the sense that their all-natural gelato does not contain any cream, butter, syrup, artificial ingredients or preservatives. They only use whole milk, real sugar, fresh fruit and other premium ingredients. Due to the healthier ingredients, each scoop ranges between 77-120 calories and the flavors are more intense.

The Gelato Cone plans to open at 1005 E. 15th Street next door to the A.R. Schell building by mid-October.



Is There a Shift Happening in the Real Estate Market?

Housing inventory is up year-over-year for the first time in three years which means that home price appreciation will likely begin to slow. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, now is still a great time! Let’s get together today to go over what this shift in the market means for you.

Kim Billings 214-794-9738

#dfwrealestate #realestate #dfwrealtor #forsale #homesweethome #dallas #texas #plano #allen #frisco #mckinney #collincounty