The process of buying a new home can be both exciting and scary. While the initial stages of browsing through real estate listings, touring a house, and dreaming about your future can be fun, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re investing in a worthy piece of property. To ensure you aren't buying into [...]

7 Most Common Issues Found in Home Inspections

by Apple Moving 0 comments

Austin

The process of buying a new home can be both exciting and scary. While the initial stages of browsing through real estate listings, touring a house, and dreaming about your future can be fun, you’ll also want to make sure that you’re investing in a worthy piece of property. To ensure you aren't buying into a ‘money pit’ of problems, it’s essential to have a thorough home inspection performed as a part of the home buying process. Before signing on the dotted line or moving into your new home, here are some common issues found in inspections that might need to be addressed:

1. Bad Wiring

From dated knob-and-tube wiring to inadequate fuse boxes to open junction boxes, inspectors can uncover all sorts of wiring problems during a home inspection. While some don’t pose a serious threat, others could greatly increase the risk of an electrical fire. Because dealing with electrical issues can be dangerous, and even deadly, it’s best to hire a professional electrician who knows what they are doing! As Malco Electric points out, this is especially true in a high-tech city like Austin where new smart home technology must be fused into existing wiring. Protect your family and home from the dangers of electric problems by calling in a licensed expert.
Wiring like this could pose some serious safety concerns! Make sure the electricity in your new home is up to code before moving in.

Wiring like this could pose some serious safety concerns! Make sure the electricity in your new home is up to code before moving in.

2. Faulty Gutters

Although repairing a gutter isn’t typically an expensive fix, working gutters are essential to maintaining the value of your home. According to CenTex Gutters, a clogged, bent, or broken gutter can cause significant damage to your foundation, walls, ceiling, and landscaping. A properly installed and functioning gutter system can last for up to two decades and will protect your home from rain damage.

3. Damp Basements

Basements tend to be a hotspot for home inspection comments. Given their underground location, basements are especially prone to water, mold, and mildew. Thanks to the Texas’ limestone bedrock and high water table, most homes in Texas don’t have basements, so it’s unlikely that this will be an issue you have to contend with.

4. Roof Issues

Another expensive issue to consider is your home’s roof. Shingles tend to curl, blow away, or become brittle over time, which could expose your home to damage during a heavy rain or snow storm (unlikely in Austin, TX!). If the roof is looking a little worse for wear, it may be time to replace or rebuild missing shingles to protect the integrity of your home. When selecting a roofing contractor, Austin’s Kidd Roofing suggests requesting proof of insurance, licensing information (if applicable), and references from existing customers. Repairing a roof is an expensive investment in your home, so you want to make sure it’s done properly by trained professionals.

5. Defective HVAC System 

During Texas’ scorching summer months, it’s pretty near impossible to survive without a properly functioning HVAC system. An HVAC inspection is not only crucial to identify any necessary repairs to the existing system, but could also save your life by detecting a faulty heat exchanger. Small holes in the heat exchanger can allow carbon monoxide to escape into your home. This odorless and colorless gas can cause carbon monoxide poisoning or even death. In addition to HVAC inspections and routine maintenance, the HVAC experts at Strand Brothers recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector to ensure your family’s safety.

6. Troublesome Plumbing

Home inspectors consider plumbing to be of primary concern because of the myriad issues it can cause when it goes awry. Inadequate water pressure, leaks that cause mold or drywall damage, slow or clogged drains, and broken toilets are just a few of the things your inspector will look for during his review. While some repairs may be simple enough for a DIY fix, others may necessitate calling in the pros. As Wilson Plumbing points out, trying to correct a complicated issue yourself could result in a bigger headache (and more money to fix it!) down the road.
Hiring someone with the right tools and knowledge to get the job done could prevent major plumbing headaches down the road.

Hiring someone with the right tools and knowledge to get the job done could prevent major plumbing headaches down the road.

7. Foundational Flaws

One of the biggest deal breakers that an inspector can find is a flawed foundation. Serious cracks or sinking are huge issues that may not be visible at first glance. The discovery of small cracks in the walls, sagging floors, and doors and windows that stick could all indicate foundational flaws. According to Dawson Foundation Repair, Central Texas has a high degree of soil instability, which means that foundation issues are fairly common. Solutions may be as simple as filling cracks with caulking or as expensive as putting new supports in the foundational structure, depending on the severity of the damage.As you go through the home inspection process, make sure that you take time to speak with the inspector about each of these common issues. While it is likely that at least something minor will crop up on your home’s inspection report, not all repairs are necessarily deal breakers. By enlisting the help local home repair experts, you can better assess the extent of needed repairs and determine if this particular house is the right one for you.  

7 Top Tips for an Organized Move

by Apple Moving 0 comments

Moving

If you are getting ready to move, you might be panicking about how to make the transition easier, affordable, and less stressful. There are simple ways to make moving a smooth process rather than a dreaded, chaotic event. No matter where you are in the moving process, it’s never too soon to start thinking about ways to make your move more organized:

1. Use a Checklist

Making your move more organized and less hectic entails coordinating the process from the get-go, which can be done through putting together your own moving checklist that contains the necessary guidelines for a move. There are online printable checklists that contain moving criteria that you can personalize for your own use.

2. Hire a Mover in Advance

Whether you are moving across town or have a long-distance move out of state, hiring a professional mover can make your move more manageable. While it’s probably cheaper to rent a truck and do-it-yourself with the help of family and friends, consider the additional stress of trying to coordinate schedules and delegate tasks. When you hire a moving company, you can trust us to show up and handle all the logistics for you. Unlike friends or family, moving professionals have training and the correct equipment to ensure the safety of your belongings. If you opt for professional moving services, hire well in advance to get the best rates. Last minute moves can be more expensive as companies have less availability. Also, try to avoid moving during the summer or at the end of the month as these are the busiest times for moving companies. When hiring movers, keep in mind that Apple has four convenient locations in Texas, including Austin, El Paso, Killeen, and San Antonio.

3. Sort and Sort Some More

Before you start the packing process, go through unused and unnecessary items and eliminate them. The less you have, the easier it will be to pack, move, transport and unload. Moving less will also cut down on the cost of your move. Keep a couple of boxes handy while you're sorting, so disposables can go right in a box. Call charities that pick up for donations or take them yourself to a drop-off location.

4. Color Code Your Move

Use color coded stickers or pre-printed labels for areas of an apartment or house where boxes are being packed. For example, use green circle stickers or adhesive kitchen labels on boxes that are designated for the kitchen. Mark the box with the stickers or labels and write out the contents of the box, such as "Kitchen-Pans".

5. Make Use of Boxes and Packing Tools

Packing boxes can be purchased through moving stores, home improvement stores, or discount retailers, but they can also be picked up for free through grocery stores, liquor stores, and big box type stores. Ideally, you want uniform sized boxes for easier handling, stacking, and transporting. Also, try to find boxes that have built-in handle areas.When you get ready to pack your boxes, keep a basket or plastic box with you that contains stickers, adhesive labels, packing tape, markers, scissors, zip-top bags, packing paper, bubble wrap, blankets, or even old clothing and towels for packing regular and fragile items. You want to be able to transport the basket or box with you from room to room and box to box.

6. Keep a Moving To-Do List

From transferring your utilities to getting a new driver’s license, you will still have hundreds of small things to do and take care of before and after your move. Write them down in a checklist or use an app on your phone or even use a white erase calendar type board for daily "to do" tasks.

7. Think Through Loading/Unloading

Load and unload boxes by groups with all the various labeled boxes together (kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom, etc.) If using a rental truck, load any heavy furniture and other items first and finish with the lighter boxed items. Don't forget to set aside a personal overnight bag and a clear plastic box with items you'll need right away. You don't want those important things packed in a truck that may be traveling a long distance.Any of these seven tips provides a great starting place for an organized move. There are hundreds of additional tips out there, but with a checklist in hand, you should be able to navigate your way through the moving maze, minus the moving day woes.

5 Best Reasons to Move to San Antonio

by Apple Moving 0 comments

San Antonio

Our hometown of Austin has seen a huge influx of people in the last decade, but recently San Antonio has been gaining in popularity too. In fact, San Antonio was just named one of the top ten hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017 by Trulia. With home prices and crowding in Austin on the rise, it seems that eyes are now shifting to see what the quieter city of San Antonio has to offer. Home to another of our Apple Moving locations, we have long loved living and serving our customers in the Alamo City. From the SA River Walk to the historical landmarks to the strong economy, there’s a lot to love about this South Texas town. Here are five of the best reasons to consider moving to San Antonio, TX:

1. Affordable Housing Market

The housing market in San Antonio has experienced a lot of change in recent years. Home prices have been on the rise, with Zillow data showing an increase in median list price from $132,000 in 2012 to a median list price today of $219,000. Even though the housing market is experiencing growth, the average sale price of a home in this area is still lower than the national average. This means that now is a great time to buy in this expanding market!

2. Family-Friendly Neighborhoods

Although San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the country, it is still considered very family-friendly thanks to smaller towns, neighborhoods, and suburbs outside of the city center. If you’re looking for a place with great schools for your family, Alamo Heights and Helotes are great options.

3. Continued Job Growth

Like many cities in Texas, the unemployment rate in San Antonio is far lower than the national average (3.8% vs. 5.2%). Recent job growth has also been ahead of the rest of the country as is the future projected job growth. If you decide to make San Antonio your home, you can be assured that the job market doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon. San Antonio’s economy is strong thanks to its diversity of industries which include the military, tourism, banking & finance, oil & gas, and healthcare. There are also six Fortune 500 companies located here that employ thousands of locals.

4. Unique Culture and Cuisine

San Antonio is a premier cultural destination and may be best known for its authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, barbecue, and chef-inspired restaurants. Many of the city’s cultural checkpoints can be found along the famous River Walk, which is a great destination for both tourists and locals alike. Considered the “heart of the city”, this is the prime location to experience dining, culture, and shopping in the Alamo City.

5. Living Among History

Last, but not least, we cannot forget the Alamo! San Antonio is not only a growing, modern city, but it is also a city steeped in history. As a local, you would be able to frequent historical sites like the Alamo and tour the four other historical sites along the Mission Trail. Or if art is more your thing, you could stroll the galleries at the San Antonio Museum of Art to see famous works by Americans artists or artifacts excavated from Latin America. No matter what your interests, San Antonio has a rich history to explore.A Texas gem, San Antonio is a city on the rise. If you’re looking for a new place to put down roots, consider the Alamo City. And of course, if you do decide it’s the right place for you, we’d be thrilled to help you get settled in!

A Weekend at the San Antonio River Walk

by Apple Moving 0 comments

San Antonio

A visit to San Antonio wouldn’t be complete without at least a stroll on the city’s famous River Walk, a developed stretch of the San Antonio River full of shops, restaurants, nightlife, and endless entertainment. In fact, there’s so much to do along the River Walk that you could spend an entire trip just exploring this Alamo City treasure. Whether you're planning an in-town staycation or a weekend getaway from another part of Texas, here are a few ideas of how to spend a weekend at San Antonio’s famed River Walk.

Book a Room at San Antonio’s Coolest Boutique Hotel

From the posh Saint Cecilia in Austin’s trendy SoCo district to the eccentric, nomadic El Cosmico campground out in Marfa, Austin hotelier, Bunkhouse Group, is known for its unique collection of boutique hotels that wow guests. And their San Antonio property, Hotel Havana, doesn’t disappoint. Located right on the river, the Hotel Havana is a quiet retreat from the more touristy, older section of the River Walk just a half a mile to the south. Check into one of the hotel’s 27 beautiful (yet surprisingly affordable) rooms, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another time and place. Some of the carefully chosen touches include colorful serape robes, retro refrigerators jammed full of carefully selected refreshments, and luxurious Red Flower bath products. A night or two at this peaceful haven will leave you feeling restored and rejuvenated.

Start Your Morning Right at Local Coffee

Local Coffee is, well, arguably San Antonio’s best local coffee joint. While there are six Local Coffee locations throughout the Alamo City, the southernmost location at the Pearl Brewery development is most convenient to the River Walk. The historic Pearl Brewery complex, filled with shops and dining, is just a pleasant mile-and-a-half stroll from Hotel Havana. If you want relief from the overly touristy areas farther south, this is the place to come. Local Coffee brews coffee from its sister company, Merit Roasting Company, which is located just a few miles down the road in Southtown. Local Coffee has curated the best cup of coffee in San Antonio by painstakingly overseeing the entire coffee-making process – from purchasing the raw beans from farmers around the world to hand-pouring every last drop of coffee.

Take a Spin on a BCycle

San Antonio BCycle is a bike sharing program that makes getting around the city on two wheels cheap and easy. A 24-hour day pass costs just $12 and gives you the ability to check out a bike for an hour at a time from one of the dozens of BCycle stations scattered around the city (there’s even one on the Hotel Havana property). To avoid additional riding fees, you simply re-dock and un-dock your bike at any station in San Antonio, and the 60-minute timer starts over. BCycle is a great way to easily explore the 15-miles of sidewalks and paths along the River Walk.

Explore San Antonio’s Historic Missions

Almost everyone has heard of the Alamo, the site of an important battle in Texas’ quest for independence from Mexico, but did you know San Antonio is home to four other historic missions? All five missions, which are maintained by the National Park Service, are located along a ten-mile stretch of the River Walk known as the Mission Trail. While you can quickly drive between these historical sites, if you’re feeling more adventurous you can complete the Mission Trail by bike. Starting at the Alamo, check out a BCycle from one of the nearby stations, then wind your way along the river, stopping at Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and finishing at Mission Espada. Round trip, the Mission Trail is about a 20-mile ride, so if you like a challenge, you won’t be disappointed. On the return trip, we recommend stopping for refreshments at Halcyon or Blue Star Brewing in the King William neighborhood.

Sip the City’s Best Margarita While Enjoying Some Supper

San Antonio is known for having some of the best margaritas in Texas, but if you want to try THE BEST, head over to Supper at the Hotel Emma. According to a waitress, the La Babia Margarita is the hotel owner’s own recipe, and the tequila, Naranja, and lime concoction couldn’t be more refreshing after a day spent exploring the city. Of course, since Supper dishes up some of San Antonio’s best food, you must stay for more than just drinks. Crowd pleasers include the Salt & Vinegar Brussels Sprouts, the Warm Roasted Mushroom Salad, the Kabocha Pumpkin Soup, and the Grilled Beef Bavette. After your meal, retire to the hotel bar, the Sternewirth, for a post-dinner cocktail.These recommendations are just a few of the many things you could do during your visit to the River Walk. You may also want to check out the San Antonio Museum of Art, take in a performance at the Tobin Center, hop aboard a river cruise, or dine at one of the many Tex-Mex joints along the river. From our San Antonio moving team, we hope you enjoy your time in San Antonio!