Category Archives: Home

Home Security Options


Photo by Matthias Zomer on

I’m married to a security nut and I say that with the greatest admiration! Security of one form or another has been his job for over 40 years, so it makes sense that he knows a bit about it. Our house was the only one on our street that wasn’t burglarized when we lived in Italy! Security was a morning and evening ritual – house, cars, kids – he locked it all down. Or he left strict instructions for the 85% of the time he was out of town – to me.

Now, over 20 years later, we still have a similar ritual. And a security plan. I’m not talking about the home monitoring system. We have a plan for ‘in the event of a break-in while we’re at home’. You should too. But that’s not today’s topic.

What does a secure home look like to you? Smart home monitoring is pricey but there are great products available that cost far less. I thought these ’20 under $20′ were pretty cool!

1. Defender Security Door Lock for homes with small children


silver door reinforcement lock

Bad guys know to attack a door at the lock—so put a lock in an unexpected place. The Defender Security Lock can easily be installed nearly anywhere on the inside edge of your door. It’s easy to lock and unlock from the inside, but practically impossible to tamper with from the outside. And since you can place it high on the door, small kids can’t escape when it’s secured.

But it’s not a perfect fit for every door so you may need to get handy with a chisel to fit it on some doorways. Replace it after a few years of wear and tear. Watch for them on sale and buy a couple at a time so you can replace one as soon as it shows deterioration.


  • Easy to install
  • Good for childproofing
  • Tamper-proof


  • Not durable with frequent use
  • Not functional on all doors

2. SABRE Door Security Bar for added door security


door security bar

A door jammer security device like the SABRE Security Bar has a rubber foot and it fits under your door handle; the bar adjusts to the length you need. 


  • Works with hinged and sliding doors
  • Adjusts from 28.5 in. to 45 in.
  • Can be used on bedroom doors


  • May slide on tile floors

3. Defender Security Sliding Window Locks for vinyl window security


white window lock

This is cool! Literally! The Defender’s Sliding Window Locks offer both protection and airflow. No screws required. Just clamp it on to the window track at the desired location, and it allows for ventilation on those cool Fall evenings. How’s that for a breath of fresh air???


  • Easy installation
  • Durable die-cast construction


  • Difficult removal

4. Sliding Door and Window Locks for aluminum sliding doors/windows


Gripping pads on these door and window locks keep them secure on any sliding door or window track. Double thumbscrews make installation easy and snug. Choosing the lock placement along the track lets you control how far your door or window opens.


  • Heavy duty aluminum construction
  • Easy installation
  • Snug fit


  • Poor performance on vinyl windows

5. Addalock lock reinforcement for renters


red addalock

The Addalock does just what the name suggests: It adds a second lock to your doorknob. You can use it on a front door or on interior doors to block anyone from getting in. It takes seconds to install, and it won’t leave any holes or marks, so it’s a great security device for renters. 


  • Fast, easy installation
  • Non-marking design
  • Compact size


  • Non-universal fit

6. Defender Sliding Door Security Bar for securing sliding glass doors


The Defender Sliding Door Security Bar is just like your grandma’s broomstick in the sliding door track, but with handy components like a hinge that makes it easy to lock and unlock without removing the entire thing and an adjustable telescoping length.


  • Adjustable telescoping design
  • Hinged operation
  • Extruded aluminum construction


  • Drilling required

7. Taiker Personal Emergency Alarm for deterring intruders


gold and purple personal emergency keychains

A whole-house alarm system with monitoring might not be in your budget, but there’s no reason you can’t still scare off intruders with a loud noise. A five-pack of push-button Taiker alarms is under $20, so you can stash one in every room of your house.


  • LED flashlight
  • Compact key fob design
  • Loud 140 dB alarm


  • Limited durability

8. SABRE Shed and Garage Alarm for garages and outbuildings


Even though this alarm is marketed for sheds and garages, you can use it to secure any door in your home. It’s easy to arm and disarm with your own four-digit code, and you can choose between alarm and chime modes.


  • Loud 120 dB alarm
  • Easy installation
  • Entry and exit delay


  • Permanent entry delay
  • No remote monitoring
Continue reading Home Security Options

Why Pay More For a Premium Lot?

air air pollution chimney clouds
Photo by Pixabay on

When you build a new home there must be a lot for construction.  That’s basic.  How much does the lot cost?  I’ve heard buyers say their lot was included with the purchase of their home.  Nope. Not true.  Never, ever.  The cost may be minimal, but there is a cost.   Why would you pay more  – or less – for a specific lot?

1) The View – Water, city, mountain, park, golf course – these are a few examples of lot views that would command a premium price.   Is there a landfill, factory, or what would be considered a nuisance across the street?  No premium!

2) Traffic – A busy road behind or in front of your lot would decrease the value of your property.  The lot is cheaper.  Homes are usually more difficult to sell when built on a busy thoroughfare.  Sometimes builders offset the location by increasing the lot size as well as setting a lower price.

3) Proximity – Is your site near the park or pool?  The value of a lot so located depends upon your preferences.  Many people don’t want to live next to high traffic areas and a pool in summer is definitely high traffic in Texas.  Others are thrilled with the convenience.  Personal preference plays an important role in the home buying process.  In a neighborhood, proximity to the pool or park may or may not be considered valuable. Depends on the neighborhood involved.   Just remember the same feature you fall in love with may not be desirable to others when you put your home on the market in a few years. 

4) Convenience – This is not the same as proximity (meaning simply ‘near to’).  Proximity to a golf course or a lake, especially if the neighborhood was built specifically for the use of these amenities is a convenience and a lot located nearby would probably be considered premium, with the price adjusted accordingly.

Continue reading Why Pay More For a Premium Lot?

The Many Seasons of Texas – Turkey, Deer, Duck, Dove…

Everyone has a favorite season…mine is Spring.  It’s too short but I’ll take it as I get it.  The air is fresher after a stale winter of heated spaces and heavy clothes, wind burned faces and chapped lips.  The sun is cheery on new green grass and the birds are hopping with excitement to see insects working their way to the surface again.

My Mother loved summer and gardening.  Dad lived for deer, duck and dove seasons.  If it needed a license, stamp or permit, Dad would hunt, stalk, track, or catch it.  He sometimes spiced it up a bit by a weekend of fishing or a couple of days in the woods hunting rabbits or squirrels.

But make no mistake, deer season found him trekking through the cold, peering around trees or perched in a deer stand patiently stalking his quarry.  Dad might come home after a few days with an 8-point buck and an amazing story of the hunt.  Or he’d come home empty-handed.  With a more amazing story.  Deer are cunning and evasive creatures, after all.

Continue reading The Many Seasons of Texas – Turkey, Deer, Duck, Dove…

Life in the Sun – Texas Homeowners

Photo by Bradley Hook on

Downstairs master, playroom, island kitchen, backyard space, high ceilings and, of course, OPEN CONCEPT.  How many times do you hear that term on HGTV?  A list of your preferences is imperative when you consider purchasing a home.  But there’s so much more to it.  Selection criteria should take into consideration where, how and when you use the space, just for a start.

In Texas, morning sun is a fabulous perk!  But when was the last time you noticed every home in a neighborhood was built with the patio facing East-Northeast?  Lots have a ‘premium’ for a reason.  Solutions are available but when you find ‘the perfect house’, it’s easy to get carried away and overlook important points.  Do you have sufficient afternoon shade for entertaining?  Do you garden?  Have outdoor pets?  Want a pool?

silhouette of forest with birds flying above body of water during sunset
Photo by Pixabay on

What about new construction?  Is the house on a lake?  (That will require another post!)   How will the house sit on the lot?  Do you enjoy morning coffee or evening wine?  Will the glare through the windows require everyone to don dark glasses at breakfast?  Will guests simmer during dinner?  And, if you’re watching the playoffs, will the glare on the screen make your head pound?

Consider wall space – are there too many doors or windows?  Will the sectional sofa you’ve been considering work when you add a Christmas tree in December?  It’s not important to everyone, but is it important to you?  Will traffic flow smoothly through the kitchen or will the family be trampling each other while getting meals on the table?

Imagine getting groceries from the car to the pantry.  Must they be carted down the hall, across the living room, around the island and through the laundry room?  Again, not important to everyone.  But it’s a deal breaker for others.  The monetary investment required for a home is certainly sufficient to require a few thoughtful notes about your lifestyle. Continue reading Life in the Sun – Texas Homeowners