Christies Sereno White

Dave Bauer

Realtor®
CaDRE# 01166202

Attracting Birds To Your Backyard

Bird watching is a popular past time that is shared by many, but what if watching your fluttering friends was as simple as peeking into your backyard? Thanks to a few landscaping techniques, you can trade in your binoculars for a lawn chair and enjoy bird watching from the convenience and comfort of your own home. Attracting Birds Of A Feather If you want to attract birds to your backyard, you have to make it a place that they will be drawn to. One way of doing this is by studying the feeding and/or nesting habits of the birds that you want to attract. Like any other animal, birds have unique characteristics that are specific to their type and knowing what they enjoy will be your first step toward inviting them into your backyard. Bird Basics Birds have three basic needs-food, shelter and water. By planting familiar foliage, you will be providing a protective covering for birds. Flowers, inviting nesting areas and a birdbath will provide additional comfort for your feathered friends. Bird food, which is commonly available at any retail store, is often specific to certain bird types. For instance, black oil sunflower seeds will attract goldfinches and chickadees, while millet seeds are appealing to doves and sparrows. If you want to attract a hummingbird, you will need to include a sugar-water feeder in your backyard landscaping. A bird feeder, which is used to house seeds and food for your backyard birds, should be cleaned regularly. Just Splashing Around Believe it or not, a birdbath is a terrific aspect to include in your landscape if you want native birds to feel welcome. This single feature offers birds a way to bathe and drink, which makes your backyard especially inviting to visiting birds. It’s important to add fresh water regularly and keep birdbaths clean and free of bacteria buildup. Another popular water feature, which is great for both landscaping appeal and attracting birds, is a fountain or waterfall. The sound of trickling water will serve as an inviting habitat for birds. House Hunting If you want to attract birds, you need to provide them with a birdhouse. These structures provide a safe environment for your feathered friends and offer a way for them to feel right at home. When choosing a birdhouse, you must consider the size of the bird that you will be attracting as the size of the entrance hole will greatly be determined by the bird that will be using it. A quality birdhouse must have proper ventilation to ensure proper air circulation, and the drainage capability must also be considered in order to keep the bird’s nest dry and free of any water buildup.

Backyard Summer Entertainment Ideas

When it comes to entertaining outdoors, there’s no place quite like your very own backyard. Many families enjoy the warm summer weather by spending as much time outside as possible, and one way of doing that is by making it a fun place to be. Get Out Your Grill The smell of a freshly grilled hot dog or hamburger… the unmistakable taste of a meal that’s been prepared outdoors… the excitement of getting together with family and friends for a barbecue… these are all things that you are sure to enjoy and, if you really want to get things cooking, you will get out your grill and cook up something that your entire family will love. A cookout is a fantastic idea for summer entertainment, which means it is perfect for both small and large groups. Whether you prefer a quiet dinner with your family or you want to make your outdoor grilling adventure into a party by inviting your friends from the neighborhood, outdoor grilling is a fun way to make use of the summer heat. Host A Pool Party If you have a pool in your backyard, there’s no better time than summer to put it to use. When the sun comes out and the temperature heats up, a pool party is the perfect way to spend the day cooling down. Before you start picking out your swimsuit, make sure that the pool is properly cleaned and ready for guests. In addition, make sure that there are flotation units for those who need a little help in the water and towels for everyone to dry off when they step out. Hosting a pool party also means having something to eat and drink for your guests. Whether you’ve planned lunch or just a light snack for everyone, make sure that you have something on hand to curb those cravings. If you’re inviting children over for a pool party for the youngsters, make sure that you have their parents’ permission beforehand. Sports Fun Believe it or not, many homeowners enjoy setting up a backyard sporting event and inviting everyone to join in. Whether it’s volleyball, horseshoes or just a friendly game of basketball, there’s no better court than home court. If you plan to create a sporty atmosphere, make sure that you have plenty of water on hand for everyone to drink. It’s also important to refrain from playing when the sun is at its peak, which is typically in the early to mid-afternoon hours. Instead, wait until it cools down before heating up your backyard with some friendly sporting competition.

Building A Home Theater

These days, a home theater is one of the most popular trends in the nation. Homeowners are opting to save a bundle on the cost of theater tickets by bringing the fascinating world of cinema into their own homes in a big way. Quality Counts When it comes to creating a home theater, the choice is yours when it comes to the level of quality that you want to deliver. A home theater can include something as basic as a television and DVD system or it can include a projection screen with surround sound and, for the family who really wants the authentic experience, actual theater-style seating. Money Matters Building a home theater isn’t cheap, which is why it’s important to set a realistic budget before getting started. Unless you are an expert at installation, hiring a professional to install your home theater may be a wise idea. This means that you will not only be considering the cost of the theater itself, but also the labor necessary to get the job done. Comparison Shopping If you decide to hire a professional installation crew, make sure that you shop around and compare rates. In many cases, you will save a bundle of money by purchasing the materials yourself. This includes the television or projection screen, seating and sound systems. This way, all that’s needed is someone to install the items and make sure that the wiring is correct. You may be wondering why it’s important to consider purchasing the essentials yourself. Unless you have full control over the accessories for your home theater, you will not know whether or not your contractor is charging you the actual cost for materials. By purchasing everything yourself, you can also shop sales and take advantage of some great deals offered by retailers. Sign Here, Please… Once you have chosen the company to install your home theater, make sure that you get everything in writing. This includes the cost of labor, the completion time, payment schedules, deposits, etc. If you have an oral agreement, transfer it onto paper and get it signed before proceeding with the project. Don’t Forget The Popcorn No theater experience would be complete without the popcorn, so don’t forget to include a popcorn machine in your theater room. These portable units are sold as tabletop appliances that can create your favorite style of buttery popcorn in minutes. Most home theaters feature a small snack counter packed full of goodies, which makes the design even more authentic.

Childproofing Your Home

When it comes to decorating your home, there’s a lot more to consider than simply coordinating your window treatments with your carpet. This is especially true if you have children in the home, which presents a whole new concern for keeping them safe and sound. Take A Look Around When you take a quick glance throughout your home, what do you see? Is the home decorated for an adult or a child? If your little one is like most, he/she has a lot of energy and isn’t afraid to use it. To prevent a hard spill, many families replace hardwood or tile flooring with plush carpet or rugs for a little extra padding. If your child stumbles and falls, the extra cushioning will come in handy. Do you have any furniture with glass inserts or sharp corners, or do you see a lot of breakables throughout the home? If so, it’s time to remove them. You should get rid of any furniture that could be hazardous to your youngster and this includes glass top tables and anything with protruding edges. Lots Of Locks When you have children in the home, it’s important that you keep all cleaning products locked away in a cabinet and/or out of reach of your little ones. If possible, consider adding an alarm that will alert you if the cabinet is opened. Most families have a medicine cabinet, which contains either over-the-counter or prescription medication. This area is a serious concern for children and should be locked and out of their reach. It’s also important that all medications feature a childproof lid for added protection. If there is an area of your home or a specific room that your child is not permitted in, place a child gate in the doorway to prevent them from sneaking in while you’re not looking. Children are fast, but this is one way to make sure that they are also safe. Do Not Touch Children are curious by nature, but there are some common household items that they simply must refrain from touching. These include a fan, paper shredder, space heater, scissors and other sharp objects that could pose a serious risk for your little one. Make sure that these items, along with anything similar, are kept out of reach. All electrical appliances, including hairdryers, styling products and appliances must be stored away from water and out of your child’s reach to prevent injury. Speaking of which, all electrical outlets should be covered with outlet covers and any small items, including marbles and coins, must be picked up and kept out of your child’s reach. Because children love to see what they can fit into their mouths, it’s important that they not be left alone near these items. Safety At Play When your child is outside, make sure that the environment is a safe one. This means that your yard should be completely fenced with a locked gate to prevent him/her from wandering out into the street. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your child, but it’s even better to make sure that he/she is safe if you happen to glance away for a second.

Cleaning Tips & Tricks

To clean your home is to free it from dirt, pollutants and other elements. Not only that, but cleaning can also translate into organization and proper storage of your possessions and eliminate your home’s clutter. Either way you look at it, cleaning is an important task and, although not the most fun, it can be simplified with a few tips, tricks and a little knowhow. Roll With It When storing clothes, roll them instead of folding. This not only prevents fold lines, but also results in your clothing taking up less space. What does this mean for you? Quite simply, you can maximize your storage space and still keep your clothes free of creases. Stain Removal If you want to remove stains from countertops, appliances, flooring or other surfaces, consider using baking soda or a vinegar/water combination. Either one of these is less harsh than typical cleaning products and still provides a quick fix for most of your stain removal needs. You may also consider anti-bacterial liquid soap and water for cleaning some surfaces. It’s important to note that you should never submerge any electrical appliance into water. Instead, spot clean it with a cloth. Categorize & Organize Before starting to clean, create categories for your clutter. By separating your items by intent, such as keep, donate and discard, you will be able to move through your cleanup quickly and efficiently. Getting Rid Of Dust When you clean, you are likely to stir up a little dust here and there. Regardless of how much or how often you clean, dust is a part of life and it’s bound to find its way into a few corners. If you want to reduce the presence of dust in your home, try using a portable air cleaner in the room where you are cleaning. Cut It Out Instead of simply tossing out your old bills or credit card offers, shred them with a cross-cut or confetti-cut paper shredder. This will prevent any unscrupulous crook from sifting through your garbage and discovering personal financial information. If you don’t own a paper shredder and don’t have the extra money in your budget to purchase one, simply use a pair of scissors and cut anything with your name, address, social security number or banking information into small unreadable pieces. Plastic Please . . . Cleaning leads to tossing those unwanted items away, which means you may have a need for a lot of garbage bags. You can use the plastic bags from your local grocer to line your small wastebaskets. The handles make them easy to retrieve, tie and discard. The next time you are asked if you want paper or plastic, say plastic please.

Decorating Ideas For Boys’ Rooms

If you have a room that requires a masculine touch, don’t fret. Decorating a boy’s room is not as intimidating as it may seem. In fact, there are a number of ways that you can turn your little man’s room into a space that he treasures. Bedding Basics Many young boys love sports, which means bedding that features a football, basketball, baseball, hockey or racing design may be a winner when it comes to decorating. If your youngster isn’t exactly a sports fanatic, ask him about his favorite colors and find a way to work them into the bedding theme. If necessary, you can always choose solid colors that work well together and still give your little boy a perfect space. Phone Favorites If your youngster wants a phone in his room, look for something that speaks volumes about his personality. Perhaps a helmet phone, car-shaped phone or even a character phone would be the perfect choice. Whatever it is, make sure that it reflects his own personal taste and is a phone that he will enjoy using. This ‘n That Every little boy loves something, right? Does he love model airplanes or cars? What about trading cards or sports? Find out what he likes and incorporate it into the room. You can place shelves on the walls, which will accommodate his action figures, comic books, sports memorabilia, etc. If he collects autographs, display some of his favorites in a frame and hang them on the wall. Wow His Walls If you’re looking for the perfect wall coloring, simply ask your little one what he favors in terms of paint color. In addition to a wide selection of wallpaper and/or borders, your local home improvement store will offer a choice of paint options that you can use to create a customized space for the No. 1 boy in your life. You can always repaint the room a more neutral tone, such as beige, if you later decide to sell your home. While it’s true that neutral shades are more attractive to potential homebuyers, the most important thing for now is to give your little man a space that’s all his own. Adding The Finishing Touches When all is said and done, the wall color has been chosen, the bedding has been bought and the major details have been selected, it’s time to think about adding the finishing touches. Accent rugs, table lamps, decorative throws, clocks, posters and framed photos will complete a look that your little one is sure to love. Now that you know how to decorate your little boy’s room, don’t forget to let him help with the item and color selection. After all, it’s his room and he will thank you for it.

Decorating Ideas For Girls’ Rooms

If you have a room that requires a feminine touch, don’t fret. Decorating a girl’s room is not as intimidating as it may seem. In fact, there are a number of ways that you can turn the bedroom of your little princess into her very own fairytale retreat. Bedding Basics Every little girl wants a beautifully decorated bed, which means colorful bedding is a must. Whether it’s her favorite cartoon character or color choice, the right comforter and matching accent pillows can go a long way in making your little one’s room a truly customized space. Finding A Fantastic Phone Giving your little girl a telephone of her very own is a terrific way to let her enjoy a little extra privacy. Choosing the right phone for a girl’s room is as simple as learning her favorite color and style. If you are decorating the room with a specific color theme, it may be a good idea to choose a phone that matches the decor. If your little one favors a specific cartoon character, look for a phone that depicts that image. Colorful Additions All children love color and when it comes to decorating, nothing achieves the task better than flowers. If your little girl loves flowers, consider adding some framed artwork featuring various blooms in a fun pattern, some flowers that your little one can watch grow in her very own room or even wallpaper borders featuring colorful blossoms. Wow Her Walls If your little girl has a favorite color, consider adding it to her wall coloring. You can always repaint the room a more neutral tone, such as beige, if you decide to sell the home in the future. While it’s true that neutral shades are more attractive to potential homebuyers, the most important thing for now is to give your little girl a space that’s all her own. Adding The Finishing Touches Once you’ve painted a room and added the bedding, along with several other accents, it’s time to finish the project with a few last minute touches that will make your little girl’s room a palace fit for a princess. Accent rugs, her favorite stuffed animals placed on the bed and a display shelf for her dolls or other collectibles are a few of the items that she’s sure to love. Don’t forget to include some colorful pens, stationary, some stickers and matching envelopes for her to write letters to friends and family. Now that you know how to decorate your little girl’s room, don’t forget to let her help with the item and color selections. After all, it’s her room and she will thank you for it.

Do-It-Yourself Pest Control Tips

A pest is not just a word that’s used to describe an annoyance; in fact, it’s also the term given to a destructive animal that destroys crops, food and even livestock. Whether you have a garden that has become a hot spot for neighborhood pests or you simply want to keep them from entering your home, it’s important to keep in mind several do-it-yourself pest control tips. Spruce Up Your Space One of the most attractive places for a pest is that which is filled with food. Ants love anything sweet, including sugar, so make sure that any spills are cleaned up completely. It’s equally important to keep your food containers and bags sealed properly to avoid a problem. Landscape Designs That Pests Hate If you have weeds in your lawn, remove them to avoid attracting pests. Additionally, pay close attention to the plants and/or flowers that you use in your landscaping as certain types tend to attract pests, while others repel them. For specifics, ask a local gardening professional or a representative from your local home improvement gardening center. The Buzz On Mosquito Control Nobody likes mosquitoes, but they are still a part of life and it’s important to deal with them. You may not be able to rid your entire yard of these nuisances, but you can make it a place where they are not welcome. One way of doing this is to remove anything that could result in standing water, which attracts mosquitoes. Remove old flower pots, tires or anything else that could be a place for water to gather. Not only is this a health concern as mosquitoes often carry diseases, but it’s also a good way to clean up the yard. Home Repair If you know that pests are getting into your home, the next logical step is to find out how. Once you locate the entry point, repair the area so that it no longer allows for outside intruders to enter your home. If you notice cracks, holes or other needed repairs, make sure that they are corrected to prevent future pests from setting up shop in your space. Pest Control Products In some cases, homeowners are forced to deal with pests by using products designed specifically for the purpose of pest control. These products, which are commonly available at any retail and/or home improvement store, should be used as directed in order to prevent harm to yourself, your family and your pets. It’s important to keep all pest control products locked in a cabinet and out of reach of children.

Hanging Pictures 101

A home is a place where we create precious memories with those that we love, which is why photos are a big part of what makes a house into a home. Pictures have a way of transporting you to another time and place through memories that are forever recorded and can be framed for all to see. If you are hanging pictures in your home, make sure that you keep in mind a few simple tips to keep your images picture perfect. Keep It Together Group similar photos together for a customized collage look. When you put photos with the same theme or pattern together, you give the appearance of a framed print collection. The Significance Of Support When hanging photos, the hooks that you use should be able to hold a minimum of four times the weight of the frame. This will help ensure that the hook is strong enough to hold up over time, plus you won’t have to worry about the accidental breakage of your glass frames. Be Level Use a level to make sure that your photos are straight and look pleasing to the eye. In addition to a level, there are a number of tools that various manufacturers have designed to help ensure that your photos are perfectly straight. Nail Knowhow If you don’t want to put holes in your walls, which is an unavoidable result of nails, consider a popular alternative to hanging your photos traditionally. With the creation of peel ‘n stick hooks that are designed to simply stick onto your walls, you will not have to place a nail everywhere you want to display a photo. Plus, if you ever decide to sell your home, you won’t have to worry about patching holes and potential buyers won’t be turned off by unsightly nails in the wall. Measuring Your Space If you are hanging multiple photos in one area, such as a collage, make sure to space each photo evenly. For instance, if you include a two-inch space between two photos, make sure that all others in the same group are spaced exactly the same. This will create a flowing design that looks as though a lot of thought has gone into the decorating process. Get Creative If you have a lot of small photos that you want to display, but are unable to find a frame or the wall space to fit them all in, consider purchasing a very large frame and using it to create a collage of photos. You can do this by attaching the individual photos to the frame with a dab of glue or transparent tape. The best thing about this approach is that anything goes. Your photos will not have to be perfectly placed inside the frame and you will always have an attractive wall-hanging that grabs the attention of your guests.

Home Safety Tips

Your home is your haven and, as such, it should be a place where you feel safe. If you want to protect yourself and your family, home safety should be a priority in your life. Here are some ideas on how to deal with some of the most common concerns facing homeowners today. Do Some Detective Work On Your Detectors Make sure that your smoke detectors are working and have fresh batteries. It’s important to clean them regularly to avoid a buildup of dust and dirt, which may cause them to malfunction or stop working altogether. Make Sure That Your Security System Is Secure If your home has a security system, make sure that nobody else has the code. If you purchased your home with the security system in place, have the code changed as a precaution. Just as you would change the locks to prevent friends, acquaintances or family members of the previous owner from entering the house without your permission or knowledge, it’s equally important to change the code on your security system. Obstacles & Falls Many people die or get injured each year as a result of a fall in their home. Make sure that the way you arrange your furniture and possessions makes it easy for you to move around your home. Be especially careful about where you put low items that you may trip over. Trailing electric and phone wires can also be hazardous-try to connect appliances to a socket nearby. If trailing wires are unavoidable, arrange them as far out of the way as possible and tape them down with strong electrical tape or something similar. Keep staircases and passageways clear, and never place a loose rug at the top of the stairs. Try to organize your storage so that you can reach items you use regularly without having to climb. Don’t be tempted to balance on chairs or boxes if you do need to reach something high-use a proper step ladder with non-slip steps, or wait until someone else can help.

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Contact

Dave Bauer, Realtor® CaDRE# 01166202
380 Diablo Rd, Ste 100 Danville, CA 94526
Phone: (925) 855-4040
Email: dave@davebauer.com

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