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How To Create A Home Inventory Just In Case

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How To Create A Home Inventory Just In Case


            Do you know every single item you own – and would you be able to remember it all if you had to recall from memory?  Taking a detailed home inventory requires making a thorough list of everything you own including a description, serial number, and estimated value.  Having this inventory can save lots of time and headaches after a home fire, robbery, flood, or other disaster, but it’s also a good exercise to make sure you have enough home insurance and for tax purposes, if necessary.


Taking The Inventory:  Walk through every room in your house.  Write down, take pictures or video, and/or create an audio recording of every single item.  A visual inventory provides a more detailed overview of your belongings.  Expensive items like jewelry and collectibles should be photographed from several angles.


Get Technical:  A number of apps make it even easier to keep track of your personal items using photos, bar codes, and sorting options.  These apps include American Family Insurance’s DreamVault (Android/iOS), Sortly (iOS), The Home Inventory (Android), and Know Your Stuff (Android/iOS).  For Android, go to and for iOS, go to


Note Prices And Serial Numbers:  Keeping purchase receipts makes it easier to record how much you paid for each item.  Look up the prices of those items for which you are unsure, and don’t forget to make a note each time something new is added to your home. 


Store The List:  Keep your list updated and stored in a safe or bank deposit box.  Don’t forget to keep a digital back-up in an accessible location as well.

How To Make A Home Safer For Babies And Seniors

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How To Make A Home Safe For Babies And Seniors

Mary Ann Sawyers - How to make a home safe for babies and seniors - Victoria, Texas

A happy home is a safe home. If there are babies or senior citizens living in yours, there are several things you can do to make it as safe as possible.


~ Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases.

~ Cover electrical outlets with plastic caps.

~ Tightly close containers with cleaning supplies, detergents, and paint, and move them to top cabinet shelves. Move sharp objects and suffocation hazards to top drawers.

~ Secure the oven door and refrigerator with appliance latches.

~ Add cushioned guards to sharp-cornered surfaces.

~ Move furniture away from windows.

Use doorstops and door holders to prop doors open.

~ Mark sliding glass doors and other expanses of glass with colorful stickers.



​~ Ensure flooring has a good grip. Remove small rugs and other tripping hazards, and place carpet or rubber flooring over slippery floors.

Remove electrical cords or cables that lie across pathways.

Place light switches near room entrances, and place motion-sensor nightlights around the home.

Install handrails in the bathroom and along stairways.

Keep fire extinguishers easily accessible throughout the home.

Replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, and place a suction-bottomed bathroom mat in the shower.

~ Place commonly used items in eye-level cabinets and cupboards so they can be easily reached.

Wishing you and your family a Safe and Happy New Year!


How To Use Your Senses to Transition Your Home from Summer to Fall

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - How to Use Your Senses to Transition Your Home from Summer to Fall

Allow sight, sound, touch, taste and smell to be your guide with decorating your home for Fall.


Fall at home is comfort, warmth and serenity under one roof. From the smells of cinnamon to the coziness of curling up under a soft throw blanket there is no better season to enjoy your little slice of heaven that you call home sweet home. Here are some easy ways to transition your home from summer to fall by using your 5 senses as your guide.

The scent of fall is perhaps the most intoxicating of all the seasons. It is Earthy and comforting and can a part of your home with a little help from scented candles, stove top simmers and homemade potpourri.

Here are a few of our favorite smells this fall:

Fall Candles | Bath & Body Works

If you are looking for the perfect candle at a reasonable price, Bath & Body Works has the ultimate. Their 3 wick candles are priced at $22.50 and fill the room with the perfect scents for fall.


Pumpkin Spice Stove Top Simmer | Free People Blog

“Bursting with the sweet and spicy scents , this recipe will make your home feel like fall in an instant”

Homemade Potpourri | Bustle

“Dried fruit, spices, and the right dried flowers can make for an ideal grouping of wonderful fall smells.”


Fall is the epitome of comfort from the clothes we wear (welcome back leggings and boots!) to snuggling up with a warm blanket. At home,  choosing the right decor can bring the “touch” of fall in with textures and materials that include faux fur, wool and knit.

Faux Fur Blanket | Restoration Hardware

Indulge in the feel of fur by faking it with this $99 throw from RH.

Striped Wool Blanket | Coyuchi

Add a PSL from Starbucks and you have a match made in heaven.

Cable Knit Throw | Pottery Barn

Cozy Chic

Cover up your grill and say goodbye to all your backyard garden fruits and veggies. It’s time to prepare for a fall feast. The staples for this season include any and everything pumpkin, crisp apples (you know you went a little overboard at the orchard!) and hearty meals. Here are a few of favorite fall recipes that will leave your kitchen smelling delicious and your tummy feeling full:

Creamy Pumpkin Soup | Living The LLife

A perfect appetizer for a fall soiree or all by itself with a warm piece of bread.

Mini Apple Pies |

This recipe is as easy as pie!


Crocktober Ideas | Jennfab1130

500+ delicious slow cooker recipes.


Summer and fall decor are polar opposites. Summer means light linens and bright colors and where fall is filled with plaids, cooler colors and bulkier throws and comforters. Here are a few fall decor looks we are totally vibing on from homes currently listed on 

A Stunning Contemporary | Aspen, CO

Seamless indoor outdoor living that allows you to soak up all that fall has to offer from a crisp cool breeze to the warmth of a flickering fire.

Simple Touches | Holladay, UT

A few colorful pumpkins add a cool fall look to this comfy living room.

Serenity in Seattle | Seattle, WA

Can you imagine enjoying the last few moments warm nights in style here?

Chic in Chicago | Chicago, IL

Don’t forget a nice big closet to house all your bulky jackets and sweaters!


The sounds of fall are different for everyone. The symphony of summer crickets starts to fade away only to be replaced by the howls of the fall breeze hitting the trees outside our windows or the sounds of leaves crunching as children jump into piles. Or perhaps it is the sounds of laughter from trick or treaters running around your neighborhood on Halloween. For me, it is the sound of family. During the summer we spend less time at home because of the beautiful weather but as the days get shorter and it becomes dark earlier we have a tendency to return to being homebodies. Some of our favorite fall sounds at home include the crackle of a fire and the clinking of wine glasses around the dining room table. Whatever your favorite sound may be we wish you a very happy fall from our home to yours.

Guest post by Lindsay Listanski, CB Blue Matther

Meet Scorpy

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Meet Scorpy. This is a very sweet 6 1/2 years old male. Scorpy was brought to Adopt-A-Pet by an elderly man whose wife passed away. He said Scorpy was his wife's dog and it was just too painful to keep him. Scorpy is now looking for a new family to love him. Visit Adopt-A-Pet at 8215 Houston Highway to check on Scorpy.

Adopt-A-Pet Shelter Mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and find loving homes for homeless animals. Most of the animals are rescued from the Victoria City/County Animal Control Facility.

Their Spay/Neuter Clinic is provided as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce the number of unwanted puppies and kittens born. Through this service, their veterinarians spay or neuter more than 1,300 dogs and cats each year from Victoria and surrounding communities.

The Well Pet Clinic is offered to encourage responsible pet ownership, including caring for the health and welfare of dogs and cats. The low-cost vaccinations, heartworm preventative, deworming, and flea control products available to the general public allow all pet owners to obtain these necessary veterinarian service. 

You'll find Scorpy and many other adorable pets for adoption when you visit Adopt-A-Pet.

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

by Mary Ann Sawyers

How to Cut Down on Pool Maintenance Costs This Summer

Enjoy your pool without breaking the bank with these simple cost saving tips from HomeAdvisor.

Pool maintenance doesn’t have to be an expensive annual chore. Rather than spending up to $700 on pool maintenance, you can cut costs by doing a lot of the work yourself. You don’t want the pool to fall into such poor shape that you have to spend thousands of dollars on repairs. Here are some steps to keep pool maintenance costs down to nearly nonexistent this summer:

#1 Run your filter at night.

Running the pool filter at night helps to cut down on energy costs while still keeping your pool clean. Some people opt to run their pool filter 24 hours a day, but this is a waste of energy and over-cleans the pool, which can cause more problems. See if there’s an optimum time to run the pool filter at night and save on your electricity bill.

#2 Clean the pool filter.

Sweet and simple: cleaning your pool filter keeps your swimming pool clear and prevents you from spending more money on other, more costly pool repairs. So just do it.

#3 Invest in an energy-efficient pool pump.

If you have a normal pool pump, it only pumps at one speed — and it wastes energy on filtration, among other tasks. If you invest in an energy-efficient, variable-speed pump, you could save more than a thousand dollars over the life of the pump. You may also qualify for an energy rebate.

#4 Keep the temperature low.

You pay more money for every degree you raise the temperature in the pool. Consider keeping the water as cool as possible while remaining comfortable. You should also turn the heater off in the off season, when you’re not using the pool.

#5 Maintain the pH balance.

You must pay attention to the chemical balance of the water — not only to keep the water safe, but to keep your costs down as well. If the alkalinity of the water is thrown off for any reason, you’re usually better off getting a swimming pool professional involved. Pool chemicals are expensive — and if you don’t get the measurements right, you’re throwing money away as you pour the chemicals into the water.

#6 Balance stabilizer levels.

While all pool owners are aware of how important it is to maintain chlorine levels, not all may realize how stabilizer (cyanuric acid) plays into the process. Stabilizer aids the chlorine in its effectiveness. Too much or too little stabilizer will result in chlorine losing its effectiveness.  Pool owners need to check their stabilizer levels and decrease or increase the amount of chlorine needed in the water to keep the pool safe.

Additional Pool Maintenance Costs:

These are quick and efficient steps to keeping your pool in shape this summer. However, there are some costs you need to keep in mind for the future too:

·       Using a pool cover in the fall: $75 – $200

·       Running an automatic pool cleaner: $700 – $2,000

·       Vacuuming the pool: $50 – $100

·       Using chemicals: $20 – $100/month

If this seems like too much work for you, you can hire a swimming pool maintenance service. It will cost more, but they can do a lot of the work as part of a package, which could cost less in the long-term. Packages generally include:

·       Brushing the pool

·       Skimming debris

·       Adjusting chemical levels

·       Cleaning the pool filter

·       Vacuuming

For more information on the costs of maintaining a swimming pool, check out this piece from ImproveNet.

Guest Post by Andrea Davis


Meet Tinkerbell at Adopt-A-Pet

by Victoria, Texas

Mary Ann Sawyers - Adopt-A-Pet - Victoria TX - Tinkerbell - Coldwell Banker"What, what you say you'll adopt me? Yay! My name is Tinkerbell and I am 9 months old." 

Tinkerbell was rescued from the city's animal shelter in March. She has been patiently waiting for a fur-ever home. Adopt-A-Pet is a no kill facility and is able to give homes to loving animals just like Tinkerbell with your help. They are in need of several items to help the animals until the adoptive "parents" come to claim them. Here are some items on Adopt-A-Pet's list.

                           Adopt-A-Pet's Wish List:

• Non Scoopable Tidy Cat Litter
• Bounty Paper Towels
• Bleach
• HE Laundry Detergent
• Pedigree Canned Dog Food
• Gently Used Towels & Blankets
• Dog Toys
• Cat Toys

Bring your donations to Chick-fil-A Monday June 12th. Chick-fil-A is having a fundraiser- Spirit Night- for these cute critters from 5-8 PM. You'll receive a Chick-fil-A coupon to use on your next visit!                  





Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy
The rise of smart home technology is making both buyers & sellers ask themselves the same question before deciding where to call home: “Is this a smart home?”

Buying a home is a big decision. Budget, location and the vibe of the house (could this house become my home?) top the list of considerations for most people when they are buying a house. Noticeably, “is this a smart home?” is making its way to the top of the list for buyers.

According to the 2017 Smart Home Marketplace Survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate, 71 percent of home buyers surveyed are looking for “move-in ready” homes. Home buyers want “smart ready” homes complete with smart security, smart locks, smart thermostats, smart lights and other smart devices. In fact, Coldwell Banker affiliated agents note that the majority of top selling homes over the past few months in some markets, such as Miami, have smart home technology installed before the sale***.

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy

There are two key trends driving this evolution in home buying behavior:

First, smart home devices, like the Nest thermostat and August Smart Lock, offer an attractive industrial design, are easy to install, have key features that allow users to save money or deliver convenience and  peace of mind . The smart home devices also provide a simple and elegant user experience that makes them very easy to use while hiding all of the technical complexity.

Second, home buyers have become increasingly knowledgeable about smart home technology. Conventional wisdom indicates that millennials are early adopters of smart home technology. The Coldwell Banker Real Estate Smart Home Survey (August 2016)** found that over half of baby boomer and Gen X-ers are expressing an interest in smart home technology at the time of purchase. This clearly indicates that smart home technology adoption has moved from early adopters towards mainstream customers.

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy

The popularity of  voice assistant technology from giants including Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), Apple (Siri), Microsoft (Cortana) are also accelerating the adoption of smart home technology, serving as an entry point to the smart home experience. These companies have sold millions of devices and simplified the use of smart home devices through their voice interfaces by making it as easy as speaking naturally to control lights or adjust the temperature or lock a door. There is no learning curve beyond installing the device.

The adoption of smart home technology has had a significant result for home sellers. Homes designated as a smart homes on are receiving two times more conversions than similar non-smart home properties* highlighting a change in buyer preferences as smart home technology becomes more prevalent. August Home partnered with Coldwell Banker to be part of its Smart Home Staging Kit, which packages three core products that help sellers make their home “smart.” The kit includes the August Smart Lock, Nest thermostat and Lutron lights for under $1000 – an investment that pays for itself.

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Smart Home Technonogy

The onus is now on agents to ensure that home sellers are aware of how a small investment in smart home technology can enhance the appeal of their property for buyers. By facilitating the procurement and installation of the most popular smart home devices, agents will bring new value to sellers and accelerate the rise of  smart home technology is soon going to be a checkbox for every home buyer’s checklist.

Guest post by Tejash Unadkat, General Manager, August Home

A Home with Somebody to Love

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Frequently I enjoy featuring an animal from the local Adopt-A-Pet with the hopes of helping in the adoption process.  I suppose it is fitting that all three of my children are all heavily involved in dog rescue in their own cities. Even more amazing is that my company, Coldwell Banker partners with to help find homes for adoptable dogs!

Prepare for teary eyes from Coldwell Banker’s latest TV Commercial.



 Ralph Waldo Emerson most notably penned the phrase “A house is made with walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.”

While a roof over our head provides shelter, it is the love inside the home that makes it a refuge. While the walls of a house protect us from the elements, it is the love inside the home that protects us from everything else. While the foundation of a house keeps our feet out of the mud, it is the love inside the home that carries us over all of the other obstacles in life.

At Coldwell Banker, our calling is to help people find a place to call home, and if love is what makes a house a home, we wanted our campaign to highlight how even the smallest of things can fill it with love. This year our campaign was created to remind everyone that home is the place where love resides, and those looking to add more love into their lives need only look at adding a small addition to it – a four-legged one.  For the past two years, we have worked with to help find homes for more than 20,000 adoptable dogs. A dog’s unconditional love, eternal forgiveness and innate ability to help you melt the day’s stress away is what can turn any day, regardless of its troubles, into a joyful occasion upon entering that front door.

The physical and emotional shelter that home provides is one of the single greatest investments anyone can make, and adopting a dog into it. makes it even more valuable. Find out how you can help find homes for adoptable dogs through the Coldwell Banker Homes for Dogs Project at

Whether love is represented by family, friends, passion or even a furry friend, we hope your home is filled with “Somebody to Love.”

Meet Sue At Adopt-A-Pet

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Meet 6 month old Sue – Yes, she had a haircut at Adopt-A-Pet, but she would like for you to take her home and improve upon it! Sue is our featured pet of the month – one of the many animals saved by Adopt-A-Pet.  Sue was brought to the facility by a elderly gentleman who found he could no longer provide for her.

Adopt-A-Pet, a no-kill facility has been saving pets for over 20 years and always welcomes your donations. 

Here are some non-monetary items they are in need of:
• Cat & Dog Toys, Beds, Treats 

• Used Sheets, Towels, Pillows, Pillowcases, Blankets

• Bleach, Liquid Dishwasher Detergent, Air fresheners 

If you wish to help in any way, take the items to Adopt-A-Pet at 8215 Houston Hwy,
Victoria, Texas 77904.

5 Fitness Fictions That May Surprise You

by Mary Ann Sawyers

Mary Ann Sawyers Victoria Texas Real Estate - Fitness Fictions That May Surprise You
IT'S A NEW YEAR, and you’ve probably made resolutions to work out more often or lose weight.  The fitness world is full of myths about diet and exercise.  To get off to a good start, join a gym or hire a fitness coach.  Here are five fitness myths and the facts you should know so you can choose the fitness regimen that’s right for you. 

Fiction:  No pain; no gain.

Fact:  While you may feel sore a day or two after working out, you shouldn’t feel real pain.  If something hurts, stop and rest.  If the pain persists, don’t work through it.  Talk to your doctor instead. 

Fiction:  Lifting weights will bulk you up.

Fact:  Weight training forces your muscles to work 10 to 20 times more than cardio.  But bulking up comes from high calorie intake.  You can tone your muscles by combining weight training with a moderate diet. 

Fiction:  If you work out every day, you can eat anything you want.

Fact:  If only it were true!  To burn fat, you need to expend more calories than your body uses.  While personal metabolisms vary, the answer is to eat a balanced diet – including on rest days – to fuel your body, and to exercise regularly to feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

Fiction:  You’ll lose weight if you exercise and eat a low-carb diet.

Fact:  Carbs are essential if you want to do strength training, cardio or almost any sport.  Without them, you won’t perform as well or recover as effectively between training sessions.

Fiction:  You can spot reduce one area of your body.

Fact:  Working out can reduce overall body fat, but you can’t control where that fat comes from.  What does work is to burn as much fuel as you can with a good overall exercise program and a healthy diet. 

Here's to success with your fitness resolution and your health in 2017! 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 62


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Mary Ann Sawyers
Coldwell Banker The Ron Brown Co.
2505 N Navarro
Victoria TX 77901

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