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Time to Fall Back

by Linnea Lavell

Daylight Savings Time ends on November 5 at 2 a.m. so don't forget to turn your clocks back before you go to bed.  It is also a good time to check your batteries in your smoke detectors.

Spring in Texas Means Storm Season

by Linnea Lavell

Springtime in Texas not only means beautiful sunny days and warm temperatures but it can also mean severe weather. We can get straight line winds, thunderstorms, hail, tornadoes, heavy rain, flash floods and parts of Texas can get hurricanes.  It is always a good idea to have a plan in place and be prepared for severe weather.  

Here are some things to keep in mind to so you are prepared for storm season in Texas.

  1. Have a battery operated storm radio or download an app that will alert you if storms are heading your way. Also make sure you have additional batteries. 
  2. Know where to go in your home if the weather turns bad.  You want to be on the lowest level of the structure with as many walls between you and the outside walls of the home. An interior closet or bathroom on the first floor with no windows is a good choice. A storm shelter is the best choice should your home have one.
  3. Make a plan with your family on where to meet or how to reach each other should you not all be in the same location when a storm hits.
  4. Have an emergency preparedness kit available.  This should include a first aid kit, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a battery powered radio, any medications you must take, bottled water, etc.
  5. Make sure to protector your head.  Cushions or pillows can provide protection for your head.
  6. Make sure you have the proper footwear on during a storm.  If you are home and are barefoot, you will want to put on shoes in case there is broken glass or debris you need to walk over.
  7. Make sure pets are secured and you have food/water for them as well. Your pets will be scared so put their leashes on them and keep them calm during a storm by talking to them.
  8. Stay away from windows and stay inside during a storm. It is very tempting to see what is going on outside but if debris is flying through the air, you don't want to take the risk of being hit by debris or broken glass.
  9. If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a safe location and find shelter.
  10. Watch for downed power lines that could still have an electrical current running through them. Do not touch any downed lines. 

If you do experience damage to your home make sure you contact a reputable repair company to do the work on your home.  Many cities are having contractors register with them.  The town of Little Elm is offering this to residence who have been impacted by storms this past week. To view the information, click here.

Finally remember, things can be replaced but lives cannot.  Stay safe this storm season and keep an eye on the sky.

Spring Forward

by Linnea Lavell

It's that time of year again to set our clocks forward 1 hour.  The official beginning of Daylight Savings time for 2017 is 2 a.m. on March 12.  Before you go to bed Saturday night, don't forget to set your clocks forward 1 hour.

It is also a good time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors.  

Spring is just around the corner.  Enjoy yourselves!

 

 

Water Safety

by Linnea Lavell

Summer is here and the most popular summer activity is swimming.  If your summer plans to beat the heat include being around water, make sure you do everything possible to keep your family safe.

According to the CDC annually in the United States there are 3,536 unintentional drownings (non-boat related) which relates to about ten deaths every day.   An additional 332 people died each year from boat related incidents.  Nearly 80% of the people who drown are males.  Children between the ages of 1-4 have the highest drowning rate.

The best thing to do to help keep your family safe around is to enroll in age appropriate swim lessons.  Knowing how to handle yourself in water will make it a safer, more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Tips on Making Water Safety a Priority

  • Swim only in designated areas that have a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.  Always had a buddy with you even at a public pool or life guarded beach. Use the buddy system.
  • Make sure everyone in your family knows how to swim.  The American Red Cross offers age appropriate water orientation courses.
  • Never leave small children alone by water and do not trust your child’s life to another child.  Make sure to teach your child to ask permission to go near water.
  • Have young or inexperienced swimmers wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket.   Do not rely on the life jacket alone.  You must still supervise them while in or near the water.
  • Establish family rules for being around water and enforce them. 
  • Even if you do not plan on swimming, be careful around water sources.   Currents, cold temperatures and underwater hazards can make a fall into the water very dangerous.
  • If you go boating, wear a life jacket.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol.   Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination.   It also reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Install and use barriers around your home pool or spa.   Pool covers, gates and alarms should be added as an additional layer of protection.
  • Make sure home pool barriers encompass the entire pool area and are at least 4 feet high with gates that are self-closing, self-latching and open outward away from the pool.  The latch should be high enough to be out of the reach of a small child’s reach.
  • On above ground or inflatable pools, remove portable ladders and secure with a safety cover when not in use.
  • Remove any structure such as outdoor furniture, trees, decorative walls or play equipment that allow access to the pool area.
  • Keep toys that are not being used out of sight.  Toys can attract children to pool areas.
  • Actively supervise children around water even if there is a lifeguard on duty.  Designate a responsible adult to supervise.
  • Always stay within arm’s reach of children and avoid distractions when supervising children around water.
  • Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.
  • If you own a home pool or spa, make sure you have the property equipment such as reaching or throwing equipment, life jackets, cell phone and a first aid kit near the area.
  • Learn CPR and know how to respond or prevent a water related emergency

By following these tips, you and your family can keep cool and stay safe this summer.

Click here for information about parks in and around Lake Lewisville.

 

 

 

The days are getting longer, the sun is shining and the temperatures are getting warmer.  It is Springtime in North Texas.  While we all love to see longer day and  warm, sunny days it can create some real issues with the weather in North Texas.  

In addition to warm temperatures, we also can get a lot of humidity from the Gulf of Mexico, cold fronts coming from the north or northwest and a dry line (the line where dry cold air and warm moist air meet) which will cause the atmosphere to become unstable and severe weather will develop.  

There are certain things you can do to be safe during a severe weather outbreak.  Make sure you are following the forecast and are aware of where the storms are and what type of weather is expected.  You can get a weather radio at various locations such as Walmart or Amazon that will give you alerts as severe weather is detected in your specific area.  You can also sign up for weather alerts from the local network weather forecasters (WFAA, NBC/DFW, CBS/DFW) through their weather apps.  The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a wealth of information on their site and is a great resource.

There are three stages that you should be aware of when discussing severe weather.  The first is Forecast which is classified as storms are possible. Not everyone will see severe weather at their location when this is advertised.  The second is Watch which indicates that conditions are favorable for severe weather.  Storms will develop soon or already developing.  The third is Warning which which means severe weather is occurring or immanent in location.  When you have a Warning, do not delay take action immediately.  Take cover in the lowest level of your home in an interior closet or room with no windows and put as many walls between you and the exterior wall of your home until the threat passes.

If you find yourself outside or in a vehicle during a tornado Warning, take shelter as quickly as possible in the nearest sturdy building.  If there are no buildings find the lowest ground (a ditch or dip in the landscape), cover your head to avoid flying debris and hail that could cause serious bodily damage. 

Make sure you have supplies available in your storm shelter in case the power goes out or you have serious damage.  Your storm survival kit should include at a minimum water, battery powered radio, emergency food, any medication you need, a leash for pets, pet food and a fully charged cell phone and charger to contact emergency services and your family.

Severe weather can be dangerous and scary but it is part of life so be as prepared as you can, have a plan in place, make sure your family knows how to contact each other in the event of a disaster, pay attention to the conditions around you and take all precautions to protect your family and yourself.  Hail, straight line winds and flash floods can be just as dangerous as a tornado so understand the risks and have a plan in place.

 

 

Protect Your Pets During Winter

by Linnea Lavell

Winter in Texas, one day it is 54 the next it is 70.  We are having some unusual temperature fluctuations this year due to El Nino but we still have a few months that could get really cold.  With the cold comes the reminder to make sure your pets are warm, dry and safe when it gets cold outside. 

When the temperatures fall to the freezing mark, it is best to leave your pets inside if at all possible.  Keep in mind the happiest dogs will need to go out for exercise, walks and bathroom breaks frequently. Short haired pets may need the extra protection of a sweater or jacket to help keep them warm while they are on a walk.  Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite or hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage. 

If for some reason your dog is outdoors most of the day, plan accordingly.  Make sure there is a dry, draft-free shelter available for them that is large enough for them to stand up, sit and lie comfortably in but small enough to hold his/her body heat.  The floor should be raised a few inches and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The door should be covered with a waterproof material to keep the wind and snow out. 

Pets that are outdoors will need additional food because keeping warm depletes energy.  Routinely check the water bowl to make sure it is unfrozen and has fresh water.  The food and water bowls should be make out of plastic. In freezing temperatures, a metal bowl could cause your pet's tongue to freeze to it. 

Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can cause irritation to your pets paws and their mouths when they lick so make sure to wipe off your pets paws with a damp towel.

Antifreeze is deadly poison but has a sweet taste that attracts animals and children. Wipe up any spills and keep antifreeze out of reach.  Read more about pets and antifreeze.

Be careful with pets, wildlife and cars. A warm engine can provide shelter and warmth for cats and wild animals.  Bang on the hood of your car or honk your horn to scare any animals that may have taken shelter in the engine compartment of your car. 

If you see a pet in an unsafe situation, politely let the owner know that you are concerned.  If they don't respond well document as much information as you can including a description of the animal and circumstances, date, time, location.  Take pictures of the situation too.  Then contact your local animal control or sheriff's office and present them with your evidence. Take detailed notes of who you have spoken with and if the situation is not remedied in a day or two follow up with them again.

Avoid Regrets - Get a Home Inspection

by Linnea Lavell

The home buying process is a lengthy one, and many buyers rush through or even forgo the home inspection. It's important that you don't make the same mistake! Professional home inspections can save you time and money, or even prevent you from making a disastrous deal. In case you're not convinced, I've compiled a quick list of some serious home defects that can be found during a home inspection:

 

  • Defect #1: Bad Foundation
    Unless your agent can negotiate a price reduction to cover cost, walk away.

  • Defect #2: Worn Roof
    Most likely it will need to be replaced. If the seller will not do so, negotiate a lower price.

  • Defect #3: Termite Infestation
    The house is probably in need of expensive structural repairs. Unless the seller is willing to help pay, it's probably not a good investment.

  • Defect #4: Outdated Wiring
    This can be expensive to correct, and is a dangerous problem. Your agent should negotiate with the seller after getting an estimate from an electrician.

  • Defect #5: Damaged Shower Pan
    Get an estimate from a contractor if you find water under the shower, and your agent can negotiate with the seller to cover costs.

Protecting your investment, especially one as special as a new home, is crucial. An expert home inspection is often the most important step in securing that protection. More tips on home buying are available on my website. If you'd like to talk more about home inspections or any of your real estate questions, please call. I'd love to hear from you.

 

Home Wiring

by Linnea Lavell

The type of wiring in residential homes generally depends on when the home was built, where it was built and if it has been updated. In the older homes, knob and tube type wiring was the norm, replaced later by encased plastic-sheathed wiring.

In most cases the newer plastic-sheathed wiring is copper, insulated with plastic and then wrapped with insulation and another layer of plastic for protection. Breaker boxes are another story; sometimes a well-meaning home owner can inadvertently make things unsafe.

It is always wise to consult a reputable home inspector and even an electrician before you buy. A little homework today can save you a lot of money down the road. more on home wiring is available here.

 

 


As the temperature in North Texas continue to climb don't forget about our four-legged friends.  The summer heat can be uncomfortable and dangerous to both humans and pets.  

It is important not to leave your pets in a hot car, even with the air conditioner running, during hot temperatures. On an 85 degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows open slightly can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes.  After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die.

Watch for humidity too.  Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If humidity levels are too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their body temperature will skyrocket dangerous levels - very quickly. Taking a dog's temperature will quickly tell you if it is a serious problem. A dog's temperature should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees.  If your dog's temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke

Take care to limit exercise on hot days.  Adjust intensity and duration of exercise on hot days in accordance with the temperature.  Snub-nosed pets are more susceptible to temperatures that could cause breathing issues.  White colored pets or pets with white ears are more susceptible to skin cancer.  Don't forget that asphalt gets very hot and can burn the pads on their feet so walk your dog on the grass if at all possible.  Always carry water to keep your pet from getting dehydrated. 

Pets react differently to heat than humans do and so don't count on a fan to cool your pet down. They may not be as effective as you expect.

Any time you take your pet outside, make sure to protect them from heat and sun.  Provide plenty of fresh, clean, cold water. Add ice to the water if necessary to keep your pet cool inside as well as outside. Shade from trees or tarps provide good air flow so they are good ways to stay cool.  Dog houses may not be a good choice in the heat and may make things worse since they do not provide air flow or relief from the heat.

It is important to keep your pets cool on the inside as well as the outside so whip up a batch of peanut butter popsicles (you can use peanut butter or another favorite food flavor).   Again fresh, clean, cold water is always important to have available for your pets when the heat starts to rise. 

If baths don't stress out your pet, see if they would enjoy a cool bath or a small pool to help keep them cool.  You can always wrap a cool wet towel around them to help cool them off. 

In the case of a summer power outage, make sure you have an emergency plan in place for your pets as well as the rest of your family. 

Please be a responsible pet owner and get your pet spade or neutered. Finally make sure they have identification tag on your pet or they are micro chipped in case they get out of your yard. 

Enjoy your summer with the entire family and stay cool.

 

North Texas - From drought conditions to flooding conditions

by Linnea Lavell

After years of water restrictions and drought conditions, North Texas is now having issues with too much rain and flooding. So far, we are having the 9th most wet year of record.  We need the rain but not all at one time.  

With all the rain we are seeing more animals heading for higher ground to get out of the water and many roads are flooding. Most of these animals are harmless but some of them can create a danger. Mosquitos love this wet weather and any standing water is going to be a breeding ground for them.  There are also small lizards, turtles, frogs, and toads that are looking for a place to dry out and warm up.  We have had reports of increased snake activity in the area too.  Some snakes are harmless but we do have some venomous snakes that you need to keep an eye out for so you don't get bitten.  Most snakes are going to be afraid and stay clear of humans but if they feel threatened, they will strike.  As with any wild animal, give them plenty of room and most likely they will move on. If you have an animal that is not moving on or you feel it is a dangerous situation contact animal control and let them deal with the animal.

It is important to drain any standing water around your yard.  If you can not drain the water, you can get the mosquito dunks at your local gardening store or on-line at Amazon.  The dunks are harmless to beneficial insects and pets. 

To keep snakes away from your home, keep your grass mowed and as short as possible.  You can also get a product that is designed to repel snakes at your local gardening store on on-line.

Please remember if you see water over a roadway, do not drive through it.  Just 12 inches of flowing water can carry a small car away. 

 

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Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 10

Contact Information

Photo of Linnea Lavell Real Estate
Linnea Lavell
Lavell Realty, LLC
P.O. Box 1243
Little Elm TX 75068
214-280-5900
214-810-5906
Fax: 877-488-1740