Home Owners Plus

How to Handle Home Repairs During the Pandemic

Content Provided by American Home Shield

How to Handle Home Repairs During the Pandemic

Learn how to handle home repairs and upgrades during the pandemic. Which ones to do on your own and how to get help if you need it. Use these tips to remain safe.


It stands to reason that, if you’re staying at home more because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re going to see more things break around the house. More use tends to mean more damage from wear and tear.

You might be reluctant to let a service technician into your home at a time like this, and it’s true that fixing things yourself can be exciting when it all comes together. But before you take on house maintenance or repairs on your own, you should know your limitations. Sometimes, it’s safer to have a technician come in, taking proper precautions to prevent the spread of disease, than it is to attempt house repairs on your own. Here’s how to decide whether to tackle repairs yourself during the pandemic or consult the professionals.

When to Tackle a Job Yourself

There are plenty of repair and maintenance jobs around the house that are simple enough to tackle on your own, even if you’re a complete novice at home repair. For example, even if you don’t have a plunger or plumber’s snake, you can probably fix a badly clogged toilet with hot water and liquid soap

To decide whether you can handle a job, search for instructions online. If you can teach yourself the steps fairly easily, and they don’t require specialized tools or technical expertise, you can probably handle the job, even if you’re a novice. For example, it doesn’t take a lot of technical expertise to change the cartridge in a sink faucet, change a showerhead, replace an outlet or fix a running toilet. Read a few how-tos, watch a few videos, and really decide if you feel comfortable and have the required skills and safety equipment before you attempt a home repair.

That said, you might be pleasantly surprised at the kinds of jobs you’ll feel empowered to tackle after some research. For example, replacing a light fixture is pretty straightforward, and it’s safe as long as you shut off power at the breaker box. If you’ve already got wiring running to the spot, it’s even fairly easy to replace a light fixture with a ceiling fan, although it’s slightly more involved.

Many routine house maintenance chores can be done yourself, too, if you’re up for it. You can change your own HVAC filters, service your own A/Cclean your own gutters, and check your own weatherstripping. When it comes to appliance breakdowns, it’s worth trying to troubleshoot the unit on your own before you call a repair professional — sometimes, you can easily fix a broken appliance yourself.

When to Call a Service Technician

You may not want to call in a service technician during the pandemic, but for many house repairs, you might have to. While it’s certainly worth asking yourself whether you can live with an issue until a stay-at-home or lockdown order is lifted, you should also know that home repair professionals are typically considered essential and are likely to be working, even while these orders are in place. If something breaks down in your home that’s beyond your abilities to fix, you should call a service technician to come fix it, especially if it’s something that puts a massive cramp in your lifestyle or could cause further damage to your home.

For example, most appliance breakdowns will make it hard to live comfortably. If you can’t fix your broken refrigerator or clothes washer with a little internet-assisted troubleshooting, take advantage of your American Home Shield® home warranty coverage and schedule a service visit.

Know your limits when it comes to doing house repairs. While fixing a leaky faucet or changing an outlet or fixture might be simple enough to tackle on your own, most plumbing and electrical jobs are best left to the pros. With plumbing, there’s the possibility of water damage if you make a mistake, and with electrical, you could give yourself a nasty shock if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Other jobs that should be left to the pros include anything that involves repairing or replacing gas lines or garage door springs, as both could be dangerous. Avoid doing anything on the roof, or cutting down trees — both are safest when left to the professionals. Any job that you have to climb on a ladder to do can be dangerous. If you’re going to tackle jobs like gutter cleaning yourself, use ladder stabilizing equipment and have someone there to hold the base of the ladder for you.

Put Safety First

If you are going to have a service technician come to your home during the pandemic, make sure to follow appropriate precautions. Both of you should wear masks, and you should try to maintain six feet of distance between yourself and the repair person. When you book a service appointment, you can ask whether the technicians will be wearing masks and what other precautions they’ll take to prevent the spread of disease.

To avoid being in a closed space with the technician, you may want to go into another room or step outside entirely while they’re in your home. If you can’t do that, at least open your windows for ventilation. Clean and disinfect the area where the technician worked after they leave, making sure to sterilize commonly touched surfaces.

When there’s a pandemic going on, you have to carefully weigh whether it’s worth it to you to have a repair professional come into your home. It’s relatively safe to have necessary repairs done, if you follow precautions, but if you can make the repair yourself, you’ll save money and time, as well as staying as safe as possible.

Home Owners Plus

10 Ways to Get More Curb Appeal without Going Over Budget

Content Provided by American Home Shield

10 Ways to Get More Curb Appeal without Going Over Budget

Cheap Curb Appeal TipsThese eye-catching tips are here to help you get that perfect first impression when someone walks up to your home for the first time. Our list will help you get ideas for how to charm up the front of your house.

Whether or not you’re trying to sell your home this summer, curb appeal can help you make the right impression on everyone who walks up to your front door for the first time. These ideas can help you jazz up your covered porch or entryway, improve your front yard and make your home even more attractive at first glance.

1. Paint the Front Door

Painting your front door is a simple, easy and inexpensive way to change the look of your whole house. If your front door is in rough shape, painting it can make a huge difference in its appearance. And painting a front door is one of those DIY home projects that anyone can do. Use an app like Front Door Paint to try out different colors before you commit.

2. Switch Out Door Hardware

Now that you’ve painted your front door, it’s time to switch out the hardware. With fresh paint and new doorknobs, your front door will look brand new. For a budget-friendly option, simply remove your current door hardware and spray paint it with a paint designed for metal. No more contractor’s brass for you!

3. Hang New House Numbers

Large house numbers that are visible from the street do more than make your home look good. They’re also a safety feature. Imagine you need to call 911 – do you want the ambulance driver to have to drive up and down the street, peering at every doorway, trying to decide which house is yours? Good house numbers help emergency services, delivery men and repair technicians – as well as family and friends – find your house more easily. For added visibility, place them on a pole at the end of your driveway or walkway.

4. Upgrade Your Porch Lights

A new porch light can be a cheap way to dress up your front porch, and it’s an easy DIY project. Looking for cool front porch ideas that cost even less? Refresh the look of your existing porch light with a little elbow grease (to scrub the gunk off your existing light) and a can of spray paint to give it a whole new look. Use the same paint you used on your door hardware for a more cohesive look.

5. Add Pizzazz to Your Porch with Faux Tiles

Do you covet the look of a tiled front porch but not the cost? Create a budget-friendly version with concrete stain. You’ll need to clean the concrete surface and prime it for staining with some Quikrete BondLok or muriatic acid – make sure you use protective gear and keep the kids away during this step. Then, use tape to create the tile pattern and apply concrete stain in the color of your choice.

6. Increase the Charm with Planters

Planters can dial up the charm for every front porch, patio, walkway or front yard. A simple Google search will yield hundreds of cool DIY projects for container gardens and unique planters to fit every budget.

7. Plant Some New Beds

Flower beds are another way to add some color around your front door. Put in some new beds or spruce up existing beds with a fresh layer of mulch and a flat or two of bright, cheerful annuals or perennials. You’ll be surprised at how much a few pops of color can improve the look of your home’s exterior.

8. Give it a Good Cleaning

Pressure washing your front walkway, steps, porch, patio and siding can be a low-cost, but extremely effective, way to boost your home’s curb appeal. You can rent a pressure washer at your local hardware store or, if you have a friend or relative who can loan you one, you could get this job done for even less.

9. Put in a New Mailbox

A new mailbox can make those monthly bill deliveries a little easier to handle. A mailbox kit makes it easy to install a new, attractive mailbox post right over the top of your existing four-by-four post. Got one of those wall-mount mailboxes by the front door? Replace it with a locking model to keep your mail safe.

10. Hide the Eyesores

Every home has eyesores like electrical and cable boxes or air conditioning units stuck to one or more of its walls. Paint electrical and cable boxes the same color as your siding to help them blend in. You can easily camouflage an air conditioner with some wooden latticework panels or by planting a few shrubs in front of it. Just make sure you leave enough clearance so the shrubs don’t grow into the unit or clog it with leaves.

Your home only gets one chance to make a good first impression, so make the most of it. Whether you’re trying to sell or just want to show your pride in your house, prettying up your front porch and yard can really amp up your home’s curb appeal and boost your property value.

Home Owners Plus

Setting the Stage on a Budget

Content Provided by American Home Shield

Setting the Stage on a Budget

Staging on a budgetHaving a home professionally staged has many benefits. Staging can help present a property in its best light, potentially making it more appealing to prospective buyers. Many times, staging may help a home sell more quickly and sometimes even for a higher contract price.

Bringing in professional home stagers can be expensive, and sellers may not always be eager or able to assume those costs. In those cases, homes can be staged by the sellers themselves with input and advice from you. Here are some tips you can share that can help get a home ready to show:

Prioritize the best features.

Ask yourself what will most likely attract buyers to the home, and then focus on those things first. For example, if the home has a beautiful fireplace or a fantastic view, be sure to have sellers arrange furniture and lighting to play up those features. If a large master bathroom is a selling point, have them spend time spiffing it up.

Clear clutter and personal items.

You probably get tired of hearing this and of saying it, but when it comes to getting a home ready to show, your sellers shouldn’t skip this step. Whether they donate it, sell it, or pack it up to move to the next house, getting the clutter out can help draw potential buyers in.

Get other opinions.

When you live in a home, especially for a long time, it’s natural to start to overlook flaws and imperfections. Suggest that sellers ask close friends and family members to tour the house and offer honest feedback and different ideas about how to make the home more attractive and inviting.

Focus on spaciousness.

Remove extra furniture and put it in an attic or in storage. Add as much light as you can to each room, either by using more lamps, opening window treatments, or installing brighter bulbs.

When in doubt, take it out.

If sellers question whether something should remain in the home for showings, it probably shouldn’t. This goes for furniture, accessories, collections, photographs, and closet contents.

Add inviting touches.

Look for ways that each room can welcome potential buyers. Drape a cozy throw across a chair, place a book on a bedside table, stack folded towels by the tub, and set the table with placemats and place settings.

Don’t forget outdoor areas.

Today’s buyers often want to enjoy outdoor living areas, so be sure to play those up as much as possible. Borrow or rent outdoor furniture to showcase decks, patios and porches. Spruce up gardens and landscaping and add color with blooming potted plants.

Add home warranty coverage.

An American Home Shield® Home Warranty with the Seller Coverage Option can help reassure potential buyers by offering important coverage during the listing period. For up to six months, until the coverage transfers to the buyers, sellers can enjoy the benefits of American Home Shield ShieldEssentialSM protection, which includes coverage for major components of the most crucial home systems that can be the most expensive to repair or replace, including heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and more. Ask your Account Executive for more information and for signs that you can place in the home to alert potential buyers about this special added-value coverage.
Staging a home is a lot of work, so be ready to give your sellers a standing ovation when the curtain goes up for the first showing. One way that you can do this is to take before and after photos to show the difference that their efforts have made. Be sure to pass along any compliments from agents and potential buyers, too.

Home Owners Plus

Buying Homeowners Insurance for Beginners

Content Provided by American Home Shield

Buying Homeowners Insurance for Beginners

Buying a new home is exciting but nerve wracking at the same time. You want to make sure your new home is covered in the event of a disaster, make sure you know what to look for when shopping for homeowners insurance.

Buying Home Owners Insurance for Beginners
A home is one of the most important purchases you can make, and it’s vital to protect this important asset with homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance covers your home and its contents in the case of a disaster, but it’s important to know what exactly you’re getting and how to shop for homeowners insurance effectively.
What does homeowners insurance cover? What doesn’t it cover? How can you make up the difference? How much is homeowners insurance? What is the difference between homeowners insurance and a home warranty? These are all questions you should answer before closing day, so you can move into your new home in confidence that it and its contents are protected.

What’s Covered and What’s Not

If something happened to your house – if it burned down, or flooded, for example – could you afford to rebuild out of pocket? There’s a good chance the answer is no, and that’s why mortgage companies require homeowners insurance, and why most homeowners choose to buy a policy even if they don’t owe on a mortgage.
Most homeowners insurance covers damage and loss related to specific perils, including:

  • Fire or smoke
  • Wind
  • Lightning
  • Explosions
  • Hail, trees, or other falling objects
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Civil unrest
  • The weight of snow, ice, freezing rain, or sleet
  • Burst pipes, or ruptures affecting your HVAC or sprinkler system

However, most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flooding from storms or sewers – you’ll have to get a separate flood insurance policy for that. Damage due to earthquakes, mudslides, landslides, or other forms of land movement may also require a separate policy, as may damage due to severe weather events like hurricanes or tornados. Although your policy will provide some coverage for the contents of your home, you’ll probably also need some additional coverage for especially valuable possessions, such as luxury jewelry, collectables, furs, stamps, guns, coins, art or antiques. Other types of damage that may not be covered include:

  • Pet, insect, rodent or bird damage
  • Damage done deliberately
  • Failure due to normal wear and tear
  • Pollution damage
  • Perils related to acts of war or collapse or overthrow of the government

Neither will homeowners insurance cover repair or replacement of home appliances and systems. What your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover, however, your home warranty might.

Don’t have a home warranty? Get covered.

How to Shop for Homeowners Insurance

If you’re buying homeowners insurance for the first time, you should start by contacting the company that provides your auto insurance. You’ll usually get a better deal on homeowners insurance if you can bundle it with another type of policy.
If you want to get quotes from multiple companies, contact an independent agent to get quotes from a range of insurers at once. If you have military connections, you may want to contact USAA for a homeowners insurance quote. It’s also a good idea to contact some of the larger insurers, such as State Farm, which don’t sell through independent agents.

Save Money on Homeowner’s Insurance

Once you’ve chosen an insurer, it’s time to buy a policy. Make sure you get one that will cover the cost to rebuild your home, which may be more than its market value, depending on how your home was built and the cost of supplies in your area. While you might be in for some sticker shock when you get your first premium statement, you have several options for lowering the cost of your homeowners insurance.
The first, and most popular, is to raise your deductible. Raising your deductible to $1,000 can lower your premiums without placing an undue financial burden on your family. Just make sure you have enough money to pay the deductible if necessary.
In addition to bundling your homeowners insurance with another policy, such as an auto or life insurance policy, you can also lower your costs by sticking with the same insurer over the years, and by minimizing the number of claims you file. Adding security features, such as cameras, burglar alarms, deadbolts and smoke detectors can lower your premiums. You can also keep premiums low by:

  • Keeping your credit score high
  • Installing storm shutters on your windows
  • Adding earthquake brackets to heavy furniture
  • Reinforcing your roof against strong, hurricane-force winds
  • Replacing and updating appliances and systems as necessary
  • Maintaining storm gutters
  • Removing brush or dead trees that could present a hazard

Of course, not all of these measures will apply to every homeowner – if you live in Michigan, for example, you probably don’t need to bother with storm shutters and a reinforced roof. But adding these safety measures in Florida could save you a bundle on homeowners insurance premiums.
Homeowners insurance protects the most important asset you own, but if you’ve never bought it before, some confusion is understandable. Know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t, and what you can do to lower your costs and extend your coverage. You’ll be glad you educated yourself when the time comes to file a claim.

Home Owners Plus

5 Tips for Managing Time When You Have Multiple Listings

Content Provided by American Home Shield

Five Tips For Managing Time When You Have Multiple Listings

So, your business development and relationship building efforts have paid off, and you’ve landed several property listings at once. First, congratulate yourself on earning the trust and confidence of the sellers. Second, look for ways to get organized because your days are about to get even busier. Here are some tips that may help.

Writing in a planner to help with time management

1. Be intentional about each day.

Now isn’t the time to simply wake up and see what the days throw at you. Have a list of top priorities for each workday and set those tasks in motion first thing in the morning, before new distractions crop up. Have a schedule in place with time increments blocked out for handling related tasks such as administrative work, contacting clients, sending and answering emails, returning voicemails, and handling marketing responsibilities for your listings. Handling similar activities together can help you leverage time savings by avoiding duplicated efforts.

2. Consolidate listing activities as much as you can.

For example, replenish flyers and brochures for your listings all at once and update information for comparables and market analysis tasks frequently so that you have that information easily at hand when you need it. If possible, organize listing photos and showings in groups to minimize driving back and forth between properties.

3. Use technology wisely.

Set notifications to remind you of appointments and deadlines, and employ smartphone apps that can help you stay on track with schedules. Assign distinctive ringtones for clients so that you can distinguish their calls for quick responses. Avoid wasting time on social media and the internet during business hours.

4. Be flexible.

While it’s important to schedule your day for maximum productivity, it’s also important to leave room for showing requests, client questions, and unexpected issues that can pop up during the day. Leave a little wiggle room in your calendar so that you can be adaptable when needed. If your day gets interrupted, taking a few minutes to reprioritize will help you stay focused.

5. Learn to prioritize time.

You may need to map out traveling to listings ahead of time, especially if they’re same day appointments. Being proactive in knowing the most efficient routes could help you get the most out of your valuable time.

6. Ask for help.

Establish relationships with reliable network professionals with experience in serving real estate professionals and their clients. Having a network already in place can save you effort and worry when you need assistance quickly. For example, adding American Home Shield® Home Service Plans with the Seller Coverage Option* to your listings can help save time for you and for your sellers. That’s because for up to six months, until the coverage transfers to the buyers, sellers enjoy all the advantages of AHS® ShieldEssentialSM package protection while the home is on the market. ShieldEssential includes coverage for major components of the most crucial home systems that are the most expensive to repair or replace, including heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and more. If breakdowns occur for these covered items, your sellers can call AHS directly instead of going through you. Having a resource such as AHS can help also reduce seller anxiety about canceled showing appointments and covered repair or replacement expenses for home systems that they are leaving when they move. Contact your AHS Account Executive for more information about the Seller Coverage Option today.
*Subject to a $2,000 cap for all trades during the listing period.

Home Owners Plus

Clean and Cool Summer Series – featuring Custom Blinds & Designs

Clean and Cool Summer Series – The “Sunblock” you Shouldn’t Overlook: Custom Blinds & Designs
When you hear “Smart Shades” you may think of the latest version of Google Glass. In this third edition of our Clean and Cool Summer Series, we’re talking about our featured vendor, Custom Blinds & Design. Their Smart Shades are just as techy as the aforementioned Google gadget. Upping your “smart house” game with these new automated window shades and its pocket friendly rebate isn’t all that Custom Blinds & Designs have to offer.
As an official HunterDouglas Gallery, the leading manufacturer of custom window treatments, their knowledgeable “window fashion professionals” can help you and your inner muse style new window treatments to suit your tastes. Redoing the windows in your home can give a room the pick-me-up it needs without a full reno. Saving time and money on a renovation leaves more time and money for a summer vacation, right? There are a host of other benefits to upgrading your windows’ accoutrement.
Giving a room a breath of fresh air with new shades is a plus but it can also provide additional insulation to maintain room temps and block out damaging UV rays. Custom Blinds & Designs carries a variety of products to meet your needs. They carry roller shades, horizontal blinds, Roman shades, shutters, vertical blinds, and more. They have what your windows need to stay on trend. If you select some of their Hunter Douglas products, your purchase will be backed with a Lifetime Guarantee.
Window treatments can make or break even the most painstakingly planned room décor. If you’re over hunting inspo while digging through dozens of pins, they feature blogs about their most recently completed projects and other home décor tips. Their website also has how-to-repair videos. If you’re not confident in your DIY abilities, they provide repair services at no cost if made during your first year of ownership. Custom Blinds & Designs offers free consultations for design project so you can see for yourself why they’re Lincoln, Nebraska’s first choice in custom window coverings.

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HomeOwners Plus – Star City Heating & Cooling

heating, cooling, Star City

Guest Post by: Star City Heating & Cooling

Star City Heating and Cooling is an independently owned Trane Comfort Specialist company specializing in the design, sale, installation, service, and maintenance of heating and air conditioning equipment, zoning, humidifiers, duct cleaning, and air purification systems for residential and commercial markets. Although we offer many services, we don’t just believe in selling a product or service, we believe in providing positive experiences that begin in the office that follows through to the service call and beyond.

Preventative Maintenance

A well-known fact within the HVAC industry is that regular maintenance is the most effective way to keep your heating and cooling system safe, strong, and efficient. One of the ways we provide the best value for our clients is through our unique VIP Maintenance Program.

“In hopes of encouraging home-owners to be proactive in caring for their heating and cooling investment, our VIP program not only offers year-round benefits but also includes two 50-point maintenance appointments.”

Indoor Air Quality

The focus of building new homes and business is on energy efficiency, which causes indoor air to be tightly sealed in, causing 100 times more pollution than outside air. For this reason, higher quality filtration is of utmost importance to create a better fight against pollutants to create healthier air quality. Poor filtration will keep cycling the allergens, dust and bacteria back into the air, while proper filtration will stop the contaminants from entering back into the air. Other determining factors of air quality include temperature, humidity, and microbial contamination levels. For air quality improvements, consider upgrading to a Trane CleanEffects filter, utilizing our duct cleaning services, incorporating a humidifier and air scrubber, and regularly checking and cleaning filters. For more information on our product and services to help improve your indoor air quality give us a call or visit our website.

Community Involvement

In 2010 we wanted to show our gratitude for the loyalty Lincoln and Lancaster County residents have provided, in-turn, Lincoln’s first annual furnace giveaway was born. The Warming Your Home for the Holidays Furnace Giveaway is a nomination process for homeowners who need a helping hand, or have helped others to be placed into a selection pool to receive a new furnace. Seeing a positive response from our community, we branched out and began quarterly volunteer opportunities and sponsorships with different nonprofits by starting our Community Outreach Program. If you know of a non-profit looking for corporate partnerships, tell them about our outreach program, or contact us; we’re always looking for new opportunities.

Contact us today

For over 30 years, Star City Heating & Cooling has been establishing strong relationships by continuously exceeding our customers’ expectations with quality work built on a firm foundation of team values:

Trustworthiness               Integrity                             Honesty                 Communication           Reliability                          Determination                  Adaptability 

We look forward to working with you to improve your indoor environment. Give us a call for a company you can rely on, we’re always ready to build new relationships.

Home Owners Plus

Home Owners Plus Vendor of the Month: Select Van & Storage

Select Van and Storage, MayflowerSelect Van & Storage is our Home Owners Plus featured vendor for the month of November. Select Van GUARANTEES to accommodate your clients unique needs and scheduling to ensure little to no hassle.  An award winning Mayflower Agent, we are committed to exceeding your clients’ expectations.  We offer move planning expertise, detailed move time lines, competitive pricing options, skilled professional crews, fully background checked employees, no job too large or small, and specialized industrial moving equipment and vans.  A family owned company for over 65 years moving people locally and long distance.
In addition to providing top quality moving services, Select Van is an active member in supporting the Lincoln community. Join Select Van as we “Fill the Mayflower” full of canned goods to support the People City Mission. Mayflower trucks will be located at the Super Saver locations at 56th and Highway 2 as well as 27th and Cornhusker Friday November 20th from 4:00 – 6:30 PM and Saturday, November 21st from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Canned goods and other non-perishable donations are welcome.
Please come out in support of our Lincoln community and help those who need it most. Read more about the People’s City Mission.

Community Information Home Owners Plus

Exceeding Customer's Expectations

Star City Heating and Cooling’s main priority is exceeding our customer’s expectations through quality work and integral work ethics. Our second priority is elevating our technicians to higher skill levels through educational opportunities and technological advancements. Since Star City Heating and Cooling has been Lincoln’s Comfort Specialist Company for over 30 years, it’s important that we keep supporting our clients and community the way we have been supported by them. When we go into a client’s home we go in with the same respect for their home and needs as we do for our own.
One of our most valuable ways of providing the best for our clients is through our VIP Maintenance Plan. We designed this program to encourage homeowner’s to take proper preventative measures to care for their heating and cooling systems. It’s a well-known fact within our industry that maintenance is the number one way to keep HVAC systems safe, strong, efficient, and properly working. We designed the VIP plan to be full of specialized benefits and discounts that are valid for a full year on top of a discounted rate of two seasonal maintenance appointments. As a VIP, clients are able to save money all year long.
Because Lancaster County has been our foundation of support, we created a way to support those who make up this great place. In 2010, Star City Heating and Cooling began Lincoln’s first annual Warming Your Home for the Holidays, Furnace Giveaway. Since then, various local HVAC companies have also begun their own furnace giveaways, which is rewarding to know that we’ve also had a greater influence within our industry. Our Warming Your Home for the Holidays furnace giveaway is implemented during the Christmas season to generate a way for Home-owners who need a helping hand or have helped others, to be nominated to receive a new furnace. For us, the most rewarding parts of this program are building the relationship with the individuals involved, and the positive outcomes.
After the furnace giveaway began we expanded our community support by creating partnerships with various local nonprofits. Our current one is with Men With Dreams (MWD), a nonprofit organization that incorporates educational assistance, fitness, mentorship, family support, and guidance by providing experiences and goal setting to help elementary through high school students exceed their goals. Our intention with these partnerships are to generate a broader impact on the lives we work with by helping these organizations fulfill their needs.
Now that you are aware of our company motives, remember us as your go-to provider for all your HVAC needs. We are proud to offer expert design, installation, zoning, duct cleaning, maintenance, and repair services for residential and commercial sites. We have additional products as well to keep indoor climates clean, safe, and comfortable. If you are looking for a dependable and integral company devoted to efficient, high quality service, give us a call. We not only work for our families, but we work for our client’s as well.

Angela McRoberts
Client Outreach Coordinator
Star City Heating & Cooling
4810 N. 57th  Lincoln, Ne 68507
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Interested in becoming a Home Owners Plus vendor and having exposure to all HomeServices agents in Lincoln? Call 402-437-7600 or visit 

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Valued Vendor – Custom Blinds & Design

5 Tips to Mix Patterns and Textures Like a Designer

by Jolene Wismer
Design Consultant,
Custom Blinds & Design


Mixing patterns and textures is a great way to personalize your space and add interest to any room, making your home feel more established and inviting.  Use your upholstery, rugs, pillows, draperies, ottomans, wall papers, and accessories to apply different textures and patterns in a space.

1.  Follow the basic design rule of thumb for adding pattern:  a neutral palette and adding color/pattern as an accent. To achieve an eclectic look for your space, find 3 patterns to use in one room.  Consider using the 60/30/10 approach;  60% of your favorite selection, 30% with your second choice, and 10% being an accent (i.e. pillow, side chair).  You’re not limited to these guidelines, they’re just good formulas to follow if you need direction.

2.  Start with the basics:  Use a black and white pattern first. A black and white accent will sharpen up the look of any room, adding that WOW factor your space might be missing.  The smaller the pattern scale, the less bold.  But it’s OK to go bold!  You don’t have to upholster an entire chair with this concept, just try a couple of pillows or a throw for now.

3.  Pattern and texture will also compliment a ‘cleaner’ more contemporary space. You can maintain a preferred minimalist look if you add your patterns to different parts of the room, i.e. by limiting the patterns to a small chair or pillow in one corner…an ottoman or bench in another part of the room…or by applying very subtle neutral tone-on-tone patterns for your fabrics and rugs.  For a more muted space, try using textures instead of patterns.

4.  For an effortlessly stylish look, mix the old with the new. Mix a classic French scenic toile (Google it, it’s a real fabric!), with a bold, contemporary geometric pattern, or a traditional plaid with some fun polka dots!  Trust yourself; if you like it, it works!  If you’re unsure, you might always feel that way and so, it doesn’t work!  If you love a particular fabric or pattern, you will find its compliment…it’s out there, so keep looking!

5.  If you’re using different colors, consider sticking with the same saturation for each hue. Just keep those deeper saturated colors consistent from one pattern to the next. If you like a lot of contrast, mix different colors with different saturation levels (i.e. mixing jewel tones with pastels), but repeat some colors from one fabric to the next.  If you do a dark green striped pillow, pull that green from those stripes and select a fabric with that same green somewhere in that pattern.

Experiment with trial and error…have fun, and you’ll achieve a look you love!

Contact a Custom Blinds and Design professional for more tips to help you design your dream room!

6101 S. 56th Street Lincoln, NE 68516  402-730-2000