Refreshing Summer Recipes


It can be tough to beat the Texas heat, but ice-cold beverages and tasty treats definitely help. Here are some easy and delicious recipes perfect for relaxing on the patio or hanging by the pool.

 

SIPS

CLASSIC LEMONADE

Ingredients:
*6 lemons, enough to make 1 cup of juice
*1 cup white sugar
*6 cups cold water

Directions:
1. Juice the lemons via your preferred method of juicing.
2. Stir together lemon juice, sugar and water.
3. Serve over ice.

 

WATERMELON GREEN TEA

Ingredients:
*3 cups green tea
*8 cups watermelon, cubed
*1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*1/2 cup seltzer
*Springs of mint, for garnish

Directions:
1. Combine green tea, watermelon and lemon juice in a blender; blend until smooth.
2. Strain through a mesh sieve.
3. Refrigerate until cool.
4. Add seltzer.

 

BLACKBERRY SWEET TEA

Ingredients:
*1 pinch of baking soda
*4 cups boiling water
*4 tea bags
*2 1/2 cups cold water
*3 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen/thawed
*1 1/4 cups sugar
*1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

Directions:
1. Crush blackberries and sugar together in a large container.
2. Add mint and baking soda; set aside.
3. Drape tea bags over the side of a pitcher; pour boiling water into the pitcher.
4. Steep for 3 minutes; remove and discard tea bags.
5. Combine tea and blackberry mixture; rest for 1 hour.
6. Strain through a mesh sieve.
7. Add cold water and stir.
8. Refrigerate before serving.

 

SNACKS

SWEET RICOTTA AND STRAWBERRY PARFAITS

Ingredients:
* 1 pound fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved or quartered
*1 teaspoon sugar
*1 tablespoon snipped fresh mint
* 1 15-ounce carton part-skim ricotta cheese
*3 tablespoons light agave nectar
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
* Fresh mint

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine strawberries, sugar and the 1 tablespoon snipped mint; gently stir to combine. Let stand about 10 minutes or until berries soften and start to release their juices.
2. In another medium bowl combine ricotta, agave nectar, vanilla and lemon peel. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
3. To assemble, scoop 1 tablespoon of the ricotta mixture into each of six parfait glasses. Top ricotta mixture in each glass with a large spoonful of the strawberry mixture. Repeat layers with the remaining ricotta mixture and strawberry mixture. Garnish with additional fresh mint.
4. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 4 hours.

 

CAPRESE SALAD PITA POCKETS

Ingredients:
*1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
*4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
*1 cup coarsely chopped cucumber
*3/4 cup mixed spring salad greens
*1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
*2 tablespoons chopped green onion
*1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*4 large whole wheat pita bread rounds, halved crosswise
* Large soft lettuce leaves (such as butterhead, Boston or Bibb)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl toss together tomatoes, cheese cubes, cucumber, salad greens, basil, green onion, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.
2. Line insides of pita halves with lettuce leaves.
3. Spoon tomato mixture into pitas.

 

NO-COOK ASIAN CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS

Ingredients:
*3 green onions
*1/2 6-ounce package refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips
*1/2 of a medium green sweet pepper, seeded and cut up
*3 tablespoons rice vinegar
*1 teaspoon sesame oil or olive oil
*1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, as desired
*1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
*1 cup shredded cabbage
*2 tablespoons water
*2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
*8 leaves butterhead lettuce (Boston or Bibb), about 1 small head

Directions:
1. Trim and discard root ends of green onions. Cut off and slice green tops and set aside.
2. In a food processor combine white parts of the green onions, chicken breast, sweet pepper, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, oil, black pepper and, if desired, crushed red pepper. Cover and pulse until chicken mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl.
3. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Divide chicken mixture into four individual microwave safe containers; chill.
4. Spoon mixture into individual lettuce leaves and wrap.

For dipping sauce, in a small bowl combine sliced green onion tops, 2 tablespoons vinegar, water and soy sauce. Divide among 4 small containers.

 

Count Sheep Not Threads


 

It’s estimated that a person will sleep for a third of his or her life. If you’re spending that much time in bed, you should make sure you like your sleeping conditions. Comfortable sheets are crucial for a good night of sleep, and many people don’t seek out the sheets that are best for them.

 

A common misconception is that higher thread counts mean better sheets. While thread count is important, there are other factors to consider when searching for the perfect sheets: the type of cotton, weave and finish, to name a few.

 

Cost: When it comes to sheets, quality is better over quantity. More expensive sets of 200-thread count sheets will generally be higher quality than a cheaper set of 400-thread count.

 

 

Fiber: Evaluate the length of the sheet’s fiber: longer fibers are better than short and lend themselves to longer lifespans. In addition, Egyptian cotton isn’t a myth, it’s indeed an indication of the quality of the cotton. Make sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton, because sheets can be labeled Egyptian even if they only contain a small percentage of actual Egyptian cotton. Alternative options are Pima and Supima, cotton-poplin, cotton-polyester and even bamboo.

 

Finish: Sheets may contain bleaches, dyes or finishes to keep them from wrinkling. If you have sensitivities or allergies, steer clear and opt for 100% organic sheets.

 

Thread Count: Thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. Additional threads can be woven in, thus, increasing the thread count. In general, a higher thread count will make the sheets denser. It’s recommended to get anything over 200, but anything higher than 400 isn’t necessarily worth it. The threads used to achieve these higher thread count sheets are often thinner so they can all fit.

 

Weave: Weave is the last thing you should pay attention to and is the determining factor in how the sheets feel and the lifespan. Common weaves are percale or sateen percale features a cool, crisp feel, while sateen is softer and warmer. When it comes to weave, pick what feels best to you.

 

Curious About Your Home’s Value?


Homeowners are often surprised when they receive their annual statements from the local tax appraiser’s office. Often the assessed value of their home is very different than what they believe the property is worth. Now’s a great time to take a look at the difference between two common real estate terms: “Assessed Value” and “Market Value.”

 

  • The Assessed Value is the dollar value assigned to a property by a public tax assessor for the purposes of measuring applicable taxes. The number is very often a point of contention with homeowners, who may believe it to be too high or too low. The Assessed Value does not offer a shortcut to a home’s Market Value.

 

  • The Market Value is the highest estimated price a property will bring in a reasonable amount of time if exposed for sale on the open market. Market Value is influenced by such factors as homes that recently sold in the area, the location of the property, the home’s amenities, and the condition of the property. Of course, Market Value is also influenced by the current economy.

 

Knowing the difference between Assessed Value and Market Value is great. But even better is knowing what your property is worth in today’s fast-paced North Texas housing market. To get started, contact a Williams Trew Associate today. To find the right agent for your real estate needs, visit us at williamstrew.com 

13 Ways to Add Value to Your Home


Whether you’re selling now, planning to sell in the future, or just want peace of mind, there are always steps you can take to increase the value of your home. Here is a list of items that will attract buyers and make the place you call home even more special.

Home Office – The growth of technology has made it possible for people to work from their homes more often. By updating your current home office or designating a space to create one, you show your home’s full potential.

 

A Master-Suite – A master bedroom with its own bathroom is an expected amenity. If you don’t have one, try to find the budget (and space) to create one, focusing on amplifying storage space.

 

Family/Entertainment Room – Everyone needs a comfortable, open space to fill with family and friends. Entertainments rooms can be anything from a home theatre, a game room, a rock climbing wall, anything that can entertain anyone, anytime. Just make sure your room looks and feels inviting, and filled with plenty of natural light. Also, a fireplace is always a plus.

 

The Kitchen – The kitchen can either make or break your home. Staying reasonable with materials and design, from subtle upgrades to drastic changes, you can almost always guarantee your money back on a remodel. 

 

Bathrooms – Have you ever heard of a home having too many bathrooms? How about too few? If your home has fewer bathrooms than bedrooms, it’s time to think about adding another full or half-bath. Additionally, if your current bathroom has seen better days, consider an update that’s simple and clean.

 

Windows – Did you know, on average, 30 percent of your home’s energy is lost through its windows? If your windows are in bad shape or you’re looking to impress buyers, upgrading to energy-efficient windows will not only save time and money for you, but also for your buyer.

 

Basement or Subterranean Levels – Though it’s not the most common feature in D-FW, a subterranean level can add major value to your home. If the ceilings aren’t too low, a subterranean level is an ideal space for an office, playroom, or media room.

 

Paint – A few coats of paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to update your home. If you’re selling, keep things light and neutral so that buyers can easily imagine their things in your space.

 

Flexibility – Your house is yours to make your own. If you think you may sell in the future, try not to over customize. Buyers need to be able to see themselves and their things working in your home, so try not to pigeonhole your spaces.

 

Deck/Patio – These days, outdoor space is at a premium. On average, the edition of a deck provides a whopping 76% return on investment. Typically, they’re not too expensive to build and create an entirely new living space.   

 

Exteriors – Though we’ve been told to do otherwise, people do judge homes based on curb appeal and first impressions. Put the best foot forward by sprucing up your home’s landscaping, exterior paint, siding, and garage doors.

 

Landscaping – An overgrown and poorly maintained yard isn’t appealing to anyone. Liven it up with some color, height and possibly a designated seating and/or entertaining area. 

 

Trees – Trees don’t ask for much — dirt, water, sunlight. Yet they provide many benefits for you and your home: They add beauty and value to your property, cut your energy bills with the shade they provide, provide a home to wildlife, and improve the air you breathe. To get the full benefits from your trees, choose the right one and plant it in the right location. Planting a tree that sheds its leaves annually on the west side of your house provides cooling shade in the summer. In winter, after it loses its leaves, the same tree will let in sunlight that cuts heating bills. 

Spring Home Maintenance Check List


There is Spring Cleaning but there is also Spring Maintenance and it’s never too early to get your home ready for the next season. We’re sharing with you a checklist of outdoor and indoor tasks to get your home ready for the spring, specifically for its characteristic windy and rainy days. By checking off this list, originally posted by Lowes, you’ll have your home freshened up and prepared for the months ahead!

Outdoor Tasks:

  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Inspect roof and chimney for cracks and damage.
  • Touch up peeling or damaged paint. Watch our video for ideas on troubleshooting exterior paint problems.
  • Wash all windows, inside and out.
  • Install screens on windows and doors.
  • Clean outdoor furniture and air out cushions.
  • Service your lawnmower.
  • Fertilize your lawn.

 

Indoor Tasks:

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you set clocks forward.
  • If your basement has a sump pump, test it by dumping a large bucket of water into the basin of the sump pump. This should activate the sump pump. If it does not switch on or if it’s not pumping water, it may need to be serviced by a professional. Also, check for and remove any debris and make sure there are no leaks.
  • Wash and change seasonal bedding.
  • Dust blinds and vacuum curtains throughout your house.
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom cabinets and throw away outdated food, medicine, and cosmetics.

For spring cleaning tips, check out this Spring Cleaning article.

Curb Appeal is What It’s All About


Curb appeal should be important to all homeowners, not just the ones looking to sell their homes. Attractive views from the street can help sell your home as well as extend your property’s value and the neighborhood’s.

 

Curb appeal is described as the visual attractiveness of a house as seen from the street. This applies to the exterior of the home as well as the landscaping, outdoor fixtures, sidewalks, and driveway. Check out this selection of Curb Appeal Inspo!


6158 Indian Creek Drive  |  Shady Oaks Golf Course  |  $4,960,000  |  Listed by Lynne Eller & Alann Nolan

6158indiancreek.williamstrew.com


22 Valley Ridge Road  |  Old Westover  |  $3,595,000  |  Listed by Martha Williams & Joseph Berkes
22valleyridge.williamstrew.com

 


43 Valley Ridge Road  |  Westover  |  $3,350,000  |  Listed by Susanna Bartolomei
43valleyridge.williamstrew.com

 


3737 Aviemore Drive  |  Riverhills  |  $2,795,000  |  Listed by Jackie Prowse
3737aviemore.williamstrew.com

 


2617 Colonial Parkway  |  Colonial Country Club  |  $1,898,000  |  Listed by Martha Williams
2617colonial.williamstrew.com

 


1707 Catalina Court  |  Rivercrest Landing  |  $1,875,000  |  Listed by Kris Karr & Kendall Kostohryz
1707catalina.williamstrew.com

 

6837 Lahontan Drive  |  Mira Vista  |  $1,399,000  |  Listed by Kelly McLean
6837lahontan.williamstrew.com

3828 Monticello Drive  |  Monticello  |  $1,279,000  |  Listed by Kelly McLean
3828monticello.williamstrew.com


4333 El Campo Avenue  |  Near Cultural District  |  $420,000  |  Listed by the Phillips Group
4333elcampo.williamstrew.com

 

If you practice regular maintenance on the exterior of your home, it will prevent larger costly repairs in the future.

 

A few simple, cost-effective things you can do to improve your curb appeal:

          • Mow and edge your lawn
          • Weed flower beds
          • Seed you lawn
          • Apply a new layer of mulch
          • Sweep and pressure clean any sidewalks and driveways
          • Replace exterior light bulbs and any broken fixtures
          • Clean windows and any glass panels
          • Pressure wash siding
          • Remove dust and cobwebs from outdoor fixtures.
          • Repaint any chips on your home’ s trim, front door or posts
          • Repair or replace any damaged exterior items as needed

Sparkling Summer Pools


Spring is here but summer is right on its heels. Pools are a dream and these are picture-perfect. Check out the listings below and mentally prepare for the summer sun!


6158 Indian Creek Drive  |  Westover Hills  |  $4,960,000  |  Listed by Lynne Eller & Alann Nolan
6158indiancreek.williamstrew.com

 


43 Valley Ridge Road  |  Westover  |  $3,350,000  |  Listed by Susanna Bartolomei
43valleyridge.williamstrew.com

 


4000 Monticello Drive  |  Monticello  |  $3,250,000  |  Listed by Lynne Eller & Alann Nolan
www.4000monticellodrive.com

 


4404 Ridgehaven Road  |  Near Ridglea Country Club  |  $1,750,000  |  Listed by Spencer Perry
4404ridgehaven.williamstrew.com

 


2205 Hidden Creek Road  |  Westover Hills  |  $1,699,000  |  Listed by Martha Williams & Steve Berry
2205hiddencreek.williamstrew.com

 


304 Crestwood Drive  |  Crestwood  |  $1,650,000  |  Listed by Ida Duwe-Olsen & Ted Olsen
304crestwood.williamstrew.com

 


3828 Monticello Drive  |  Monticello  |  $1,279,900  |  Listed by Kelly McLean
3828monticello.williamstrew.com

 


6620 Wells Burnett Road  |  Eagle Mountain Lake  |  $1,200,000  |  Listed by Rees Atkins & Piper Pardue
6620wellsburnett.williamstrew.com

 


440 Eastwood Avenue  |  Crestwood  |  $1,150,000  |  Listed by Jackie Prowse
440eastwood.williamstrew.com

The Ultimate Home Inspection Checklist


 

Buying a home can be overwhelming, but a home inspection checklist can help you keep track. Thanks to our partners at American Home Shield, from costs to what’s covered, we walk you through a home inspection. 

 

There are a lot of moving parts in the homebuying process, including pre-approvals, loan applications, information gathering, fact-checking, and doc signing. And that’s before you even make an offer. Luckily, there are valuable tools, like a home inspection checklist, to help keep you on track.

 

Once the seller accepts your offer, the property officially goes into escrow and the window for a home inspection opens. But what is a home inspection exactly? It’s a professional evaluation of the property you intend to purchase that is completed by a third party. Assessing the home from a structural and safety standpoint, an inspector helps ensure the house is free of hazards, up to code and a wise investment. But what do home inspectors look for? What happens if problems are identified? Who pays for a home inspection, or repairs for that matter? To point you in the right direction and eliminate uncertainty, let’s take a closer look at what you need to know now and what to do next. 

 

What is a Home Inspection and why is it important?

An inspection offers detailed insight into a home’s current condition. Sometimes it proves a property is in great shape. Other times, a report spotlights issues the seller didn’t even realize existed. From repairs that need to be addressed immediately to maintenance that may be required down the road, identifying problems at this point in the process can be eye-opening for all parties. Home inspections give sellers the chance to fix any issues upfront and affords buyers the opportunity to ask for credits and repairs.

 

Ready to take the next step? Follow this home inspection checklist:

 

Find an Inspector

Your realtor will likely offer a list of professionals he or she trusts and has used in the past, but you are free to choose your own. Remember, licensing is different in every state, so take that into consideration when looking for recommendations.

 

Hire an Inspector

It’s important to reach out and schedule your home inspection as quickly as possible. The more valued the inspector, the more quickly their calendar fills up.

 

Prepare for the Inspection

Home inspection costs average between $350 and $600 depending on your state. Money should also be budgeted to cover additional assessments should the need arise.

Wondering who pays for a home inspection? Traditionally buyers are responsible, though sellers may choose to conduct independent evaluations that they will pay for.

 

What do Home Inspectors look for?

Both homebuyers and sellers can be present for the inspection. The process usually takes a few hours and is an ideal time to ask questions, bring up concerns and take your own photos and notes. Make a detailed list of components and areas to be evaluated, including:

          • Appliances
          • Attic
          • Basement
          • Doors and windows
          • Electrical panel, power outlets, and light switches
          • Exterior paint, siding or stucco
          • Foundation
          • Garage
          • Plumbing faucets, fixtures, and water heater
          • Porches and balconies
          • Rain gutters and downspouts
          • Roof
          • Stairs, steps, and railings
          • Thermostats and heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) system
          • Walkways and driveways
          • Walls, ceilings, and floors

 

It’s important to note that inspectors can only report on physical components they can see. This means they may not catch issues hidden behind walls or beneath the ground, such as in the sewer line, sprinklers, and fireplace.