connie vallone

10 Energy-Saving Tips for Your Home

In Buying a new home, Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Improvement, Home Inspections, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Values, Marketing your home, Pricing your home, Sellers, Selling Your Home, Tax credits, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on November 20, 2015 at 11:07 am

Did you know the average American family spends at least $2,000 a year on home utility bills? You can cut down your own expenses significantly by adopting energy-saving methods and implementing a few eco-friendly products. The experts at Power Home Remodeling Group, one of the nation’s largest exterior home remodelers, recommend starting with:

1. Smart Appliances – For new installs or replacements, look for energy-efficient appliances and building products with ENERGY STAR labels. These products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.

2. High-Tech Thermostats – Consider investing in a high-tech programmable thermostat, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, that learns from homeowner activity, programs itself automatically and helps save energy when no one is home.

3. Filter Swaps – A dirty air filter can make your heating and cooling systems work harder and use more energy. Be sure to regularly change the filter on your air conditioning and heating unit.

4. Intelligent Power Strips – Purchase an intelligent power strip geared toward saving more energy, like the Modlet. This device plugs into your wall outlet and connects to your computer or smartphone, allowing you to monitor how much energy your electronics and appliances are using when they’re plugged in.

5. Recycled Water – Aside from inspecting your sprinkler system for leaks, consider collecting rainwater to water your landscape. Enhance your curb appeal in the process and purchase a rain collection system that can be camouflaged as a decorative piece on your lawn, such as a barrel, charcoal rocks or a flowerpot.

6. Low-E Windows – Replace single-glazed windows with low thermal emissivity windows to reduce heat transfer and keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Windows and doors should also be regularly checked to make sure they’re properly sealed to avoid heat from escaping.

7. Light-Colored Roofs – Choose a light-colored roof or add a ridge vent to decrease heat transferred to the attic. At the very least, consider adding insulation to the attic to lower temperatures.

8. Dual-Flush Toilets – According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, toilets consume up to 30 percent of a home’s average water use. Replace your toilets with dual-flush alternatives to save water and money.

9. LED Light Bulbs – Replace CFL lights with LED lights, as they use less energy and last five times longer. You might also consider custom-made hardware that allows you to adjust your lights from your phone. Carnes Audio is one of many vendors that install these types of controlled systems.

10. Fans – Add ceiling or portable fans to your home to help circulate air and cut down on air conditioner use.

Source: Power Home Remodeling Group

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Do you have real estate questions?   Call Connie Vallone at 713-249-4177 or email .

9 Smart Tips for Keeping Your Home Looking Spotless

In Curb appeal, Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Values, Houston Real Estate, Marketing your home, Sellers, Selling Your Home, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on November 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

Nobody likes to spend hours cleaning house – and sometimes there are few hours to spare. Yet some people seem to have a knack for keeping their homes looking spotless even when the time spent cleaning is minimal.

Country Living Magazine polled home bloggers and other busy women to come up with nine little tricks that help keep a home looking spiffy:

  • Take your shoes off – Shoes carry in dirt and germs. Train the family to remove them when coming in the door – and put up a cute little sign in the entryway asking visitors to do the same.
  • Make the bed – Even if the bedrooms are not picture-perfect, a neat bed makes the space looked pulled together.
  • Squeegee the shower every time – It only takes about 20 seconds and it keeps the glass looking clean and bright.
  • Clean the bathroom sink – A quick swipe with a baby wipe will keep it sparkling. Keep the wipes handy under the sink.
  • Wipe down kitchen counters – Keep a spray bottle filled with a home-made solution of one part vinegar with three parts water. It cuts through grease and easily removes fingerprints from stainless steel appliances.
  • Clean up as you go- When cooking, clean up the pots you are finished with, mixing bowls, and extra ingredients as you work. The goal is to have nothing much left after dinner but put your plates in the dishwasher.
  • Do a five-minute clean-up before bed – Get the whole family to pitch in. Five minutes before bedtime, pick up the dog toys, newspapers, and personal items, hang up jackets, put away the mail and put things back in their place.
  • Put your clothes away – Almost every master bedroom has one chair that starts off empty on Monday and ends up covered with clothes by Friday. Before you go to bed, put dirty clothes in the hamper and hang the clean ones away.
  • Open a door or window – Letting in fresh air at every opportunity is a good way to help keep your home feeling fresh and breezy.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Are you thinking of buying or selling your home?

Contact Connie Vallone at 713-249-4177 or .

6 Easy Steps to Efficiently Declutter Your Home

In Buying a new home, Curb appeal, Home Buying, Home buying in West Houston, Home Improvement, Home Maintenance, Home Selling, Home Staging, Houston Real Estate, West Houston Real Estate, West Houston REALTOR Connie Vallone on October 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Does your home look like a storage locker or a pack rat’s dream? If so, it’s time to purge, declutter and refresh. It may sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are some quick, effective ways to declutter your home without feeling overwhelmed:

1. Set time aside. If you don’t plan for decluttering, you’ll probably keep putting it off. So, make yourself do it, whether you spend the entire weekend, one evening a week or just a few minutes or a few hours a day. If you’re not sure how or where to start, a home organizer can help you create a game plan.

2. Make a list. A list will help you get organized, whether it’s your entire living space that needs work or just one particular area. Creating a list of what needs decluttering will also help keep you motivated from start to finish.

3. Start in one spot. Never attempt to declutter all areas at once. Start in one room — or a specific area of one room — and work your way out from there, understanding that it may take a few hours to get it done. Some areas commonly in need of a good declutter include:

  • Counters: Get rid of any old appliances, decorative pieces and utensils you don’t need or use.
  • Shelving: Remove old books, trinkets and toys — anything that’s just sitting there gathering dust.
  • Closets: Gather the clothes, shoes and accessories you never wear. Donate the items that are in good shape and toss or make rags out of the rest. Invest in closet organizers for what’s left in your closet to ensure everything stays in its proper place.
  • Cabinets: Go through your kitchen or bathroom cabinets and remove everything that’s been “stuck in the back” or is otherwise cluttering the space. Old dishes, dishtowels and other items can go to secondhand stores or the trash.
  • Drawers: If you have a junk drawer, dump it out on your bed. Then go through it and remove everything but the essentials. When you go to put the drawer back, organize what’s left for easier access and retrieval.

4. Take it one trash bag at a time. You don’t have to keep a box of trash bags on hand when you start decluttering. Just start with one and see how long it takes you to fill the bag. You might be surprised at how much trash and clothing you’ll come up with. If you can’t fit all of the secondhand store bags in your car, call one of the many donation groups that will pick the bags up from your home.

5. Give away slowly. If you feel that decluttering your space and giving things away will emotionally drain you, space out the process. Once you’ve rid the house of the absolute non-essentials — trash, junk, waste, broken toys and shoes, etc. — then it’s down to those items you hold onto for personal, emotional reasons. Work your way up to it one piece at a time. You might be surprised at how good it feels to give!

6. Designate a routine moving forward. Put a process in place to keep future clutter at bay, and include everyone in the house in that process. Kids should know where their clothes and toys go, and everyone may need to have a dedicated place for shoes and other items near the entryway. Developing a habit for where items go will help you keep your home better organized. For more tips on home organization, check out this post from HuffPost Homes.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for winning real estate tips and trends for you and your clients.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Connie Vallone – or 713-249-4177 – can answer all your real estate questions!


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