Home Remodeling with Kids

“Is It Done Yet?” Home Remodeling with Kids
Spring home improvements can be stressful, especially when you’re living in the middle of it. Add children to the mix, and the tension increases.

But you don’t need to take a vacation while your home is being remodeled – even if walls are coming down. Here are some tips on how to continue to live as a family during a major renovation.

Your children’s space – and their routines – will be disrupted. To avoid comments like “When can we use the kitchen again?” share the construction schedule with them.

Prepare for disruptions: Kitchens and bathrooms are often the rooms being remodeled; unfortunately, they’re also the most used. If possible, consider completing one room at a time. Set up a temporary kitchen in another room and prepare meals in advance that can be quickly reheated. Get the kids to help you devise a bathroom schedule; they may be more inclined to follow it if they’re involved.

Make safety a priority: Know where your kids are during work hours. Make sure they understand the safety risks, and put lots of space between them and the work. Also ensure your contractor stores tools away safely at the end of the day.

Dust can be hazardous for anyone with allergies. Plastic sheeting should be used to seal off the area under construction from your temporary living space, but you also may want to consider closing the heating and cooling vents. As well, your contractor should use nontoxic paints and stains.

Choose your contractor wisely. Make sure the company has a reputation for completing jobs safely, and be prepared to pay more for contractors who are properly insured and follow regulations. Ask them how comfortable they are with children on site and make sure everyone agrees to and obeys the safety rules.

Finally, when it’s finished, have fun together in the new space. After all, you – and the kids – deserve it.

The Best “Valentation” of All May Be Just around the Corner

Whether at home or abroad, nothing says Happy Valentine’s Day like a romantic “Valentation.” Here are a few thought-starters:

Paris: Choose a boutique hotel in a 17th-century building or check out the elegant Right Bank from a hotel near the Champs-Elysees and the magnificent Arc de Triomphe.

Mykonos: If you’re considering Greece, pick an island – almost any island – and you’re sure to find sparkling sea views, rugged walks, and idyllic beaches. Ask, and most people will unhesitatingly recommend Mykonos. Try the Vencia Boutique Hotel for almost perfection at a reasonable price.

Ravello: Italy may be the most romantic place on earth, and while anywhere you choose will delight you, Ravello is special. High above the Amalfi coast, expect breathtaking scenery, an enchanting village, and spectacular cuisine. Try the Hotel Rufolo in the historic center of town – a family-run charmer with an outdoor pool and breakfast included.

New York: New York, New York is twice as exciting when you’re in love. Go to plays, go to jazz clubs, go to restaurants, or just stay in a romantic (albeit expensive) spot like The Mark Hotel and explore the city that never sleeps.

Sydney: Often overlooked, Sydney defines “lovers’ nirvana” with picturesque spaces, a fabulous harbor, and intimate cafes. Take selfies at every corner and be seduced by the beauty of Sydney.

Home getaway: “Home getaway” may seem like an oxymoron, but a Valentation at home just might be the best Valentine’s Day present of all. Play tourist, but come home to familiar (and romantic) surroundings.

Hold the Small Talk at Parties: Connect with Authenticity

It’s easy to get trapped in boring small talk at parties or events. But don’t let your conversation stop there; you may be missing an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with others.

Small talk produces small rewards. It’s easy, but generally of little value. It may fill silences, but it’s unlikely to establish a human connection. On the other hand, meaningful conversation has an emotional component. And that may have a positive impact on your health.

According to research conducted by the University of Arizona and noted in an article by the Wall Street Journal: “People who have more substantive conversations with others report a greater sense of well-being than those who engage in small talk.” The study found that “the happy life is social rather than solitary and conversationally deep rather than superficial.”

It’s never easy, suggests Sue Shellenbarger in the article; it must be learned: “The ability to draw others into meaningful conversations can determine whether people want to get to know you, or remember you at all.”

To be meaningful to your conversational partner, you need to show warmth and sincere interest. Above all, you should be authentic.

For example, instead of talking about the weather or asking tedious questions about the wine, you might begin with a probing question such as, “What are you working on that excites you?” or, “What do you love most about your work?” Yes, it may fall flat, Shellenbarger warns, but it’s worth the risk. Long-term friendships can start here!

Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!

Why Americans Are Now Buying into the Small Home Trend
Call it the tiny house effect, or perhaps it might be considered a change in attitudes after the 2008 housing crash. Whatever the reason, small houses are continuing to gain in popularity with home buyers. As pointed out in a recent article by real estate industry news site RISMedia, some in the industry see smaller houses beginning to sell faster than larger properties. They’re not just a fad. Small houses are an increasingly attractive option for many buyers. Here’s why:


In many hot markets with rocketing prices, prospective homeowners have had to reevaluate what they can afford. Other buyers have decided it’s not worth it to go house poor, and have sacrificed space for cash in their bank accounts. Many consider a small home a smart investment.

Less maintenance

The upkeep of a larger home can result in stress, especially for young families or aging owners. A smaller footprint requires less upkeep and outdoor maintenance, reducing stress and freeing up time.

Location vs. square footage

Location, not square footage, has become the marker of desirability in many of today’s real estate markets. Homebuyers now would rather buy a smaller house in a hip, vibrant, well-served neighborhood than go bigger in a less desirable part of town.


TV design shows where well-functioning and beautiful small spaces are created have become just as popular as those on multimillion-dollar properties. Maybe more so. Instead of thinking of a house as cramped, buyers are now just as likely to see the creative possibilities of a smaller property.

SA Realty Watch Group
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Chocolate Strawberry Panna Cotta
This romantic Valentine’s Day dessert
Serves 6
3 cups frozen strawberries thawed in a strainer
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
Store-bought chocolate sauce to taste
Blend together strawberries, buttermilk, and sugar until smooth, then pour through a fine sieve into a medium bowl.

In a separate small bowl, add gelatin to the whole milk and let stand.

Bring the cream to a simmer, remove from heat, and add the gelatin mixture. Stir until dissolved.

Whisk together cream and buttermilk mixtures, then pour evenly into 6 small stemmed glasses. Chill for at least 8 hours.

Serve with a fresh strawberry and drizzle chocolate sauce on top.

Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
Everyone says I should get a home inspection. Is an inspection really worth it?

Too often, buyers forgo a home inspection in an effort to save time and money. This is not the place to skimp. A home inspection is a crucial step in the home-buying process. Keep in mind the option to perform a home inspection is included in all standard real estate contracts. This should be a clue to buyers that it’s important.

A home inspection reveals any issues that are a safety concern or affect the value of the property. It allows the buyer to discover what items need to be replaced, serviced, or repaired immediately, as well as those that may require attention in the near future.

Buyers can use the information to decide if they should walk away from a lemon or negotiate further with the seller for repairs or credit. They can also learn a great deal about the home, including what potential repair costs to expect down the line.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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