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Galveston Real Estate Blog

Jason Keeling


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 29

Buying A Fixer-Upper

by Celez H.

Buying A Fixer-Upper: Are You Ready for The Work

Always dreamed of renovating a home exactly to your specifications, or have you found an older house that is structurally sound but needs a lot of work inside?  Perhaps the price is right, and you can't resist all that house you can get for your money.  Whatever the reason, buying a fixer-upper can be both an exciting and rewarding purchase or a financial and time-consuming disaster, depending on whether you are prepared for what you have gotten yourself into. So, what should you know before buying a home that requires a little or a lot of tender loving care?


The Benefits

The benefits of purchasing a fixer-upper are obvious.  The price is usually right, and if the seller wants a quick sale because of decreased interest in the home, you may be able to negotiate a great price.  Also, if you intend to flip the home after the renovations, the profit for the money and time you have invested can be quite considerable.  The trick to getting these benefits, however, is knowing what type of property to look for, as well as having an accurate idea of the associated costs, and realistic expectations of the time and labor it will take.


What Makes A Great Fixer-Upper?

There are several features that may make for a great fixer-upper.

Location- Buying a home in a desirable neighborhood is always a smart idea, particularly with homes that require a lot of work. Purchasing a house in a sought-after area can mean a greater profit margin for resale value.

Layout and Configuration- This is especially important if you plan to sell the home after the renovations are finished.  Selecting a home that will appeal to the greatest number of buyers will get you the best price.  Also, choosing a home with a layout that flows may save you a considerable amount on the actual renovation costs because you are less likely to need custom installations and work.

Condition- Ultimately the most important consideration is the actual condition of the home. Choosing a fixer-upper with only cosmetic problems such as damaged flooring or old fixtures and appliances, and in need of only a new paint job, can often have the greatest profit margin and require much less money and time.


Overall, when purchasing a home that needs work, getting a qualified home inspector's advice and getting estimates of the cost of work to be done before making your offer can make all the difference.

3 Day Home Emergency Kit

by Celez H.

Family Three-Day Home Emergency Kit

Every home should have an emergency kit.  Whether it's an actual emergency, inclement weather, a power outage or other unforeseen occurrence, it's important to expect the unexpected.  Therefore, it's a good idea to prepare a three-day home emergency kit that includes the following elements:

Bottled Water

Experts recommend drinking 6-8 glasses (8 oz.) of water every day, which is why having bottled water in your home emergency kit is essential.  Not only is water necessary for good health, it's also necessary for survival.  You should keep enough bottled water for everyone in your family to drink for several days.

Canned Foods

Without electricity or running water, you cannot cook using traditional methods.  Therefore, ready-to-eat canned foods are a must.  Vienna sausages, Spam, canned fruit, ham, tuna and other similar foods that do not require preparation are ideal for a home emergency kit.  Because most canned foods have a lengthy expiration date, you can keep them on hand for some time.  And don't forget a non-electric can opener!


Whether it's common everyday allergies, a serious medical condition or a reaction to a bee sting, it's important to keep your home's emergency kit equipped with the medication necessary to treat sudden ailments.

Cellular Phone

What would happen in the midst of a winter storm if the electricity was lost and the phone was out?  How could you call the power or phone company to get the service restored?  In an emergency situation, how could you contact anyone?  If you have a cellular phone and live in an area where there is a strong signal for using the phone, you can use it in an emergency.  In some cases, this may be your only link to the outside world, especially if you live in a rural area. 

Flashlight & Batteries

Without electricity, the nights are dark.  This means that you will need a supply of flashlights and batteries.  If you need additional light, you should also consider purchasing a supply of candles for your home emergency kit.

Radio & Batteries 

In an emergency, a battery-powered radio can serve as your link to what's happening around you.  It not only informs you of the weather, but also of the latest news for your area.  You can also learn of road conditions, which will help you to decide whether or not travel is a good idea. 

Now that you know what to include in your three-day home emergency kit, it's important to know where to keep it.  Because it should be easily accessible, you will want to keep it in an area that's easy to reach.  The kitchen is one likely location but, if in doubt, it may be a good idea to create several emergency kits and place them throughout the home for easy retrieval.  Always keep a flashlight near your bed in case you lose power during the night.

Be sure to check your emergency kit on a regular basis to test batteries and update any supplies that have passed their expiration dates.

Financing? How much can you afford?

by Celez H.

How Much Can You Afford To Finance?

One of the hardest calls to make when it comes to buying a home is how much you want to spend.  The larger the mortgage you take out, the bigger the payments will be.  Of course, there is more to the cost than simply the amount of the mortgage, as interest plays a big role as well.  How much can you afford to finance?  Consider these important factors.

How Is Your Credit?

If you have great credit you are likely to qualify for the lowest interest rates.  This means that you will be able to take out a larger loan, since the same monthly payment will get you more.  More of the money you spend each month goes to principal, meaning you will also pay it off more quickly.

People with credit problems will find that a larger amount of their monthly payment has to go to interest since they will get higher rates.  This means that the amount you can afford to finance is actually lower.

Look At Other Expenses

Take a look at all of your monthly payments and debts that need to be paid off.  Try to be realistic about what you can really afford to pay.  While a mortgage company may qualify you for a larger loan, that doesn't mean you can afford it in reality.  Take into consideration your lifestyle and the extra things on which you like to spend money.  Are you willing to give them up to pay a bigger mortgage?

The items you pay for monthly may be static in some ways and may fluctuate in other ways.  You need to have a realistic idea of what you spend each month on average to be able to determine what you can afford to finance for your mortgage.


by Celez H.

Cut Your Cooling Costs With These Money-Saving Tips

When it comes to keeping your home comfortable in the summer, there are a number of ways to accomplish your goal without breaking a sweat over your cooling costs.  Believe it or not, the price of heating and/or cooling a home often accounts for more than 50 percent of a homeowner's energy bill.  What does this mean for you?  As a budget conscious individual, it's time to cut your cooling costs with these money-saving tips.


When the sun is up, consider pulling your shades down.  Close your curtains, blinds or whatever window treatments you use to keep the sun's rays from heating up your home.  This will help to keep the interior of your home cool, which can help to cut your energy costs by not making your air conditioner work harder simply because the sun is causing excess heat.  Solar screens for your windows and a radiant paint barrier for your attic are effective ways to block much of the sun's UV rays.  

Coolness Counts

If you use an air conditioner to cool your home, make sure that you adjust the temperature when you leave the house.  Otherwise, you are just wasting energy on a home when no one is there.  Additionally, you can also turn the unit down at night when the temperatures typically tend to cool off.  This is true whether you are using a window unit for an individual room or a central system that's used to cool the entire home.

Maintaining Your Cooling Unit

It's important to clean your filters and/or replace them as recommended by the manufacturer.  In addition to possibly resulting in dust and other allergens being circulated into the air, neglecting your filters could prevent the cool air from properly getting into your home.  Have your air ductwork inspected on a regular basis for leaks and clogs to insure your system operates at peak performance. 

Keep The Air Moving

Not every summer day is a hot one, which means you can often take advantage of the temperatures by using a standard fan instead of your air conditioner.  The latter uses a great deal more energy than a fan, so consider your needs on a daily basis when choosing how to cool your home.  You can install a ceiling fan for added air circulation, or you can use a standard rotating fan.

Cut Back On Cooking

Your kitchen oven can heat up your home in a hurry, which can make your air conditioner work harder to keep your house cool.  This, in turn, results in higher cooling costs.  Instead of using the oven, consider popping something in the microwave or on the outdoor grill for a change.  While this may not be possible every day, it's certainly something to consider on those sweltering summer afternoons.



by Celez H.

Creating Curb Appeal

If you're selling your home of you're just looking to spruce up your yard, there are a number of things you can do to improve your property's appeal.  Creating curb appeal is one of the most effective and easy ways to accomplish this.  Here are some simple and inexpensive ways you can increase your home's curb appeal.

Use Color Effectively

Color can be a power tool in attracting people to your home.  If the exterior of your home could use a fresh coat of paint or a new door, this is a great opportunity to add some points of interest to your property.  Always remember, however, more is less-choose colors that are similar to other homes in the area.  You can infuse more vibrant and interesting colors through accent features and flowers or plants.

Create An Inviting Entrance

Making the entrance to your home attractive and inviting will give potential buyers and guest an instant sense of welcome the moment they walk through the door.  Make the door the focal point of the exterior of your home, and think about elements such as lighting and color to make it as attractive as possible.  Also think about details such as including a nice welcome mat on your front step, some flowers in attractive pots or urns flanking the entrance, and even consider adding a chair with a small table if you have a larger porch area.

Landscaping Is A Must!

Making your lawn and yard attractive, free of clutter and debris, and nicely landscaped can really make all the difference in adding curb appeal.  First remove all weeds, fix any areas on your lawn that need repair, and mow it carefully.  If you have any unsightly items or clutter in the yard, remove it and replace it with well-placed flowers and plants.  If you have a large front yard with no trees, consider planting one or two to add interest and value to the property.

These are just a few of the many ways in which, with a little effort and a small amount of money, you can increase interest in your home.


by Celez H.

Building A Home Theater

These days, a home theater is one of the most popular trends in the nation.  Homeowners are opting to save a bundle on the cost of theater tickets by bringing the fascinating world of cinema into their own homes in a big way.

Quality Counts

When it comes to creating a home theater, the choice is yours when it comes to the level of quality that you want to deliver.  A home theater can include something as basic as a television and DVD system or it can include a projection screen with surround sound and, for the family who really wants the authentic experience, actual theater-style seating.

Money Matters

Building a home theater isn't cheap, which is why it's important to set a realistic budget before getting started.  Unless you are an expert at installation, hiring a professional to install your home theater may be a wise idea.  This means that you will not only be considering the cost of the theater itself, but also the labor necessary to get the job done.

Comparison Shopping

If you decide to hire a professional installation crew, make sure that you shop around and compare rates.  In many cases, you will save a bundle of money by purchasing the materials yourself.  This includes the television or projection screen, seating and sound systems.  This way, all that's needed is someone to install the items and make sure that the wiring is correct.

You may be wondering why it's important to consider purchasing the essentials yourself.  Unless you have full control over the accessories for your home theater, you will not know whether or not your contractor is charging you the actual cost for materials.  By purchasing everything yourself, you can also shop sales and take advantage of some great deals offered by retailers.

Sign Here, Please...

Once you have chosen the company to install your home theater, make sure that you get everything in writing.  This includes the cost of labor, the completion time, payment schedules, deposits, etc.  If you have an oral agreement, transfer it onto paper and get it signed before proceeding with the project.

Don't Forget The Popcorn

No theater experience would be complete without the popcorn, so don't forget to include a popcorn machine in your theater room.  These portable units are sold as tabletop appliances that can create your favorite style of buttery popcorn in minutes.  Most home theaters feature a small snack counter packed full of goodies, which makes the design even more authentic.

Decorating for The Fourth Of July: Show Your Patriot Pride!

Decorating for the Fourth of July is really a great and easy way to show your patriotic pride, and with our nation's colors of red, white, and blue going so well together, it also couldn't be easier.  Whether it's decoration ideas for a Fourth of July party, or even if you are just looking to give your home a more patriotic look all year round, here are a few great ideas for infusing the traditional, or the contemporary American look, into your home!

Denim Blue

Really, what could be more American than blue jeans?  Denim is a great fabric for decorating for the holiday or all year round, as it is an inexpensive and durable fabric.  You can create pillow covers using denim with a vintage American flag sewn on or can also create placemats with a similar theme.  You could even make napkins using a softer grade of the fabric.

Set the Table

If you are hosting a Fourth of July party, setting a table for the day can be simple.  Finding red, white, and blue tablecloths, napkins, and tableware is easy at this time of year; just keep in mind that it is not a good idea to use the flag itself as a tablecloth or placemats.  Instead you could use a red tablecloth with blue and white placemats.  For a centerpiece, a combination of red and white carnations with little American flags placed in the arrangement will finish the table off.  White plates would look great on this table, but you may also want to find a set specifically for the day.

Decorate Outdoors!

Independence Day is a great excuse to get outdoors and celebrate with friends and family.  You can decorate your yard for the day by not only thinking red, white, and blue, but also Americana.  Touches like porch swings and hammocks bring us back to a simpler time.  Flowers are a great way to show your pride, and potted arrangements of red, white, and blue flowers will look great on any patio.  You can also hang a flag in both your front and back yards and find various outdoor decor items that have an American theme.

These are just a few of the countless ways you can bring your American pride into your home for the Fourth of July, and keeping the theme going all year can really lend a cozy feel to your home and yard.

Childproofing Your Home

by Celez H.

Childproofing Your Home

When it comes to decorating your home, there's a lot more to consider than simply coordinating your window treatments with your carpet.  This is especially true if you have children in the home, which presents a whole new concern for keeping them safe.

Take A Look Around

When you take a quick glance throughout your home, what do you see?  Is the home decorated for an adult or a child?  If your little one is like most, he/she has a lot of energy and isn't afraid to use it.  To prevent a hard spill, many families replace hardwood or tile flooring with plush carpet or rugs for a little extra padding.  If your child stumbles and falls, the extra cushioning will come in handy.

Do you have any furniture with glass inserts or sharp corners, or do you see a lot of breakables throughout the home?  If so, it's time to remove them.  You should get rid of any furniture that could be hazardous to your youngster and this includes glass top tables and anything with protruding edges.

Lots of Locks

When you have children in the home, it's important that you keep all cleaning products locked away in a cabinet and/or out of reach of your little ones.  If possible, consider adding an alarm that will alert you if the cabinet is opened.

Most families have a medicine cabinet, which contains either over-the-counter or prescription medication.  This area is a serious concern for children and should be locked and out of their reach.  It's also important that all medications feature a childproof lid for added protection.

If there is an area of your home or a specific room that your child is not permitted in, place a child gate in the doorway to prevent them from sneaking in while you're not looking.  Children are fast, but this is one way to make sure that they are also safe.

Do Not Touch

Children are curious by nature, but there are some common household items that they simply must refrain from touching.  These include a fan, paper shredder, space heater, scissors and other sharp objects that could pose a serious risk for your little one.  Make sure that these items, along with anything similar, are kept out of reach.  All electrical appliances, including hairdryers, styling products and appliances must be stored away from water and out of your child's reach to prevent injury.

Speaking of which, all electrical outlets should be covered with outlet covers and any small items, including marbles and coins, must be picked up and kept out of your child's reach.  Because children love to see what they can fit into their mouths, it's important that they not be left alone near these items.

Safety at Play

When your child is outside, make sure that the environment is a safe one.  This means that your yard should be completely fenced with a locked gate to prevent him/her from wandering out into the street.  It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your child, but it's even better to make sure that he/she is safe if you happen to glance away for a second.

Get Summer Guest Ready!

by Celez H.

Preparing Your Home for Summer Guests

It's wonderful having friends and family at your home to share the long summer days with, but it can also be a lot of work.  Hosting comes with some challenges that are best met with preparation and an extra dose of patience.  Here are a few quick tips to get your home ready for your visitors.


Overnight Company

Whether you are expecting guests to spend the night, or a surprise visit leaves you scrambling to find bedding for everyone, the simplest way to deal with it is to keep an air bed on hand.  Today's air beds are a lot more comfortable than they were in the past, and you can buy a quality raised air bed for less than a hundred dollars.  A raised air bed will keep guests off the floor and will feel more like a real bed.

A deflated air bed can be stored easily and blown up in a matter of minutes, so you can save space and still have a comfortable guest bed when you need it.  Having an extra in the house comes in handy for all sorts of guests.


Anticipate Their Needs

Be prepared with things guests may use up or simply forget to bring.  Stock up on things like toilet tissue.  Pick up a few extra toothbrushes and toothpaste. Add a few extra towels as well, to avoid having to do constant laundry.

Buying in bulk can save a lot of money on the household items you go through quickly when extra people are in the house-make a trip to your local warehouse store before your guests arrive.


Clear the Clutter

Nothing makes clutter more obvious, or more of a problem, than having extra people in the house.  When you are expecting guests, grab a few storage bins and put away some of the things that tend to clutter up counter tops.  Make a sweep through the house and grab anything that won't be needed for a while.  The less general clutter you have, the more room you'll have for guests and their luggage.


Getting through the summer smoothly and with as few frustrations as possible can be done-even with guests in your home.  Just be ready for their arrival and anticipate what will be needed ahead of time, so you aren't running around in search of an extra towel.

Spotless home in just 15 minutes!

by Celez H.

Clean Your Home In 15 Minutes A Day

Housework has a way of getting overwhelming quickly.  You put a few things off and before you know it you're facing hours of cleaning just to get it back to normal.  But if you plan carefully and stick to a plan, you can get all your basic housework done in only about 15 minutes a day and keep it clean and company-ready all the time.

Start with A Baseline

You'll have to do that deep cleaning before you start, because otherwise you'll always be playing catch up.  Set a day aside and clean your house from top to bottom.  If you stick to the simple 15-minute-a-day plan from here on out, you'll rarely if ever spend a whole day cleaning again.

This deep cleaning establishes a baseline of clean that you would like to maintain; once you have this baseline, you simply must take the time each day to keep things in order.

Your Daily Fifteen

Make a list of the main cleaning jobs in your home.  These will usually include vacuuming/floor sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, washing floors and counters, and laundry.  The things on your list may differ depending on the size of your home and how many people live there, as well as the type of flooring you have.

Select one or two things to do each day.  Smaller jobs such as dusting can be combined with another small job to make up most of your fifteen minutes.  There will be things you need to do every day or every second day that can't only be done weekly-add one of these things onto the main job for the day.

How It Looks

Your weekly cleaning list might look something like this:

Monday, you vacuum the floors.

Tuesday, you dust, do a load of laundry, and wipe down the counters in the kitchen.

Wednesday, you clean a bathroom and sweep.

Thursday you clean a second bathroom and do another load of laundry.

Friday, you clean the windows and mirrors around the house and wash the kitchen floor.


On each of these days you will add small everyday jobs to the list such as emptying the dishwasher or washing dinner pots.  If you do these things as part of your cleaning time, they won't pile up on you.

Of course, if you have a large home or large family, you may need a little more than 15 minutes a day; you will have to adjust the schedule to your needs.  You will quickly find, though, that housework is never a huge job again.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 29




Contact Information

Ryson Real Estate
Ryson Real Estate
2115 61st, Suite 101
Galveston TX 77551
Direct: (409) 740-1600
Fax: (281) 476-6202