The Robert J Fischer Team Blog

You may have just been looking for fun things to do in Round Rock or Austin because you’re new in town, or you may have actually been looking for real estate updates. Regardless, we’re glad you have come to our blog and hope that these help you along the way as a buyer, a seller, a realtor professional, or just someone looking for some fun in the city!

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10 Essential Home Safety Tips

Safety is often not a concern until something happens in your home, but that is not a wise approach to home as lack of planning can have disastrous consequences. Not only do you want to keep your children and family safe in case of an emergency, but you also want to minimize the risk of those emergencies occurring.


Make sure that all locks are in good working order. Locks on gates and storage sheds should be difficult to remove for children and offer security against intruders. Updating or changing locks regularly is recommended. This does not mean yearly, but as locks begin to show signs of wear, changing them can help keep your home secure.


With children this is particularly important, as it is much more difficult to secure your home with children. Let them know whom they may allow inside and when to answer doors and telephones; teach them not to quickly trust strangers.

Also, teach them which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. Children should be comfortable reporting dangerous or unacceptable adult behaviors. Discuss these procedures with children from a young age.


Ensure medical information and physician contact details are easy to locate. A family binder is a good idea. This binder can have background/history on each family member and a list of doctors, pharmacies, and facilities that you usually use.  Keep medications in a secure location. Children should not be able to access these without parental assistance.


Lock up any toxins! Cleaners, automotive fluids, and household chemicals should always be inaccessible to children. Many household cleaners and chemicals smell appealing, and some have no taste. These can be fatal for children since they do not always know not to play with them. Keeping locks on cabinets and garage access restricted can mean the difference between life and death for a small child.

Keep Potential Weapons Secured

This suggestion may seem like common sense, but people do not always think about things that may be used as weapons  such as kitchen knives, razor blades, and baseball bats and these can be very dangerous around children.

This does not mean you should lock up everything in your house because it can be used as a weapon, but children do not always see the danger in things. Razor blades should be stored out of immediate reach. Knife blocks may need to be stored in high cabinets while children are young to prevent access. Once children understand the safety and use requirements, they can be stored on the counter again.


Do not leave children alone with pets. This is especially true for toddlers and small children as they do not always realize how hard they tug or pull on an animal. The animal, in turn, does not always know how to react appropriately. Pets will try to protect themselves and may attack a child. As children get older, this may be less of a problem, but even if you think you know your pet, do not leave him or her alone with a child.


Keep areas free of clutter and fire hazards should be minimized. Do not store flammable chemicals in places that may be exposed to sparks or flames and be sure to have appropriate fire extinguishers available in your home. Be sure that the extinguisher is designed for the room you store it in as well. Teach children fire safety, including stuff like not using wet or frayed cords and other basic information. Consider contacting your local fire department to see if there are any resources they recommend for your children.

Contact info

Make sure that your children know how to contact trusted people in an emergency. By having emergency phone numbers posted where everyone can find them. Do not expect them to remember everything in an emergency. This template from can be easily used or adapted to meet your family’s needs.

Kitchen & Bathrooms

In addition to sharp objects and chemicals, bathrooms and kitchens have many potential dangers. Be sure that bathroom floors have rugs and tubs have non-skid surfaces. Keep a lock on water faucets if children can potentially turn them on and off. When possible, keep doors and access points closed off from small children. Gates and barriers can be used to keep toddlers away from dangerous spaces. Stove knobs and oven locks are also essential.


Be sure that you keep your home well lit. Dark stairs and driveways can be dangerous, especially at night. Consider installing a security light or solar lights to light outdoor pathways and place lights in hallways and on stairs inside.


This list is a condensed version of what you should be doing in your home. You can find more information on keeping your children and family safe by talking to your local fire department, police department, or family doctor. These people are trained to help in an emergency, and many know what potential risks are hiding in homes and yards.


What safety precautions did we skip? Let us know what you do to keep your family safe.



Author: Elizabeth Shields
Elizabeth Shields is co-owner of HappyCleans house cleaning company in Oklahoma City. She is passionate about small business, the environment, and healthy eating.

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We Love ❤️ Our Clients! #WelcomeHome! 🏡 + Pie!

🎉 Happy Closing Day! 🍾

We Love ❤️ Our Clients! #WelcomeHome! 🏡

When you work with The RJF Team, we don’t treat you like just any other client, You Become Family!

#Congratulations to the Wilber family on the purchase of their new home! 🏡

Contact us today to see why we’re different from all the others.

☎️(512) 537-4977


Want The Recipe?

Chocolate Pecan Pie Recipe


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Appliance Lifespans and Costs to Replace (A Worksheet)

Appliance Lifespans and Costs to Replace (A Worksheet)

Article From

By: Amy  Howell Hirt
Published: August 28, 2018

Appliance lifespans can be a key factor in helping you budget for the house you’ve got your eye on — or the one you already have.

Here’s a question that’s easy to dismiss when you’re in love with a house and eager to make an offer: How long are its appliances and systems going to last?

Skip that question, and you might regret it.

Here’s a question that’s easy to dismiss when you’re in love with a house and eager to make an offer: How long are its appliances and systems going to last?

Skip that question, and you might regret it.

Because if you end up spending three grand in the first year to replace broken-down appliances, you’re probably going to wish you’d offered $3,000 less.

Make a copy of this easy worksheet to avoid regrets like that.

Simply add the year when an appliance was installed (scroll down for more on this), and the worksheet will tell you how much that house could cost you over the next 10 years — the typical time people stay in a home.

Then, with the help of an agent who knows the market, you decide if elderly appliances ought to be a negotiating item with the seller.

How to Find Out the Age of Appliances

Ask your agent to ask the seller. This is the most straightforward approach because homeowners usually remember major expenses like replacing a fridge.
Consider the home’s age. A house less than 12 years old may still have all original appliances.
Ask your inspector. If you’ve already made an offer, they’ll often have this information for you.
Ask to see the  start_tip 116 property disclosure statement. end_tip The property disclosure statement could have the answers you need. Sellers are legally required to fess up about problems with the home or anything that comes with it.
Scope it out. If a range is missing knobs or the oven bears years of burnt-on grease, chances are it’s in its twilight years, and you should probably plan to replace within the year.
Find the serial number. Then visit for HVAC equipment and water heaters and for the rest to find the manufacture date. This is the most difficult but most accurate method if you want to be precise. But it’s up to the seller if they want to let you snoop around to find the serial numbers or to provide those numbers to you.

How Long Do Appliances Last & What Are the Costs to Replace Them?

Below are the typical lifespans and costs of appliances and other key home components. (We’ve listed our sources at the end, if you’re interested.)

Costs include professional installation, FYI. And your cost could vary depending on whether you buy top-of-the-line, find a bargain, or DIY the installation.

Consider these numbers a general guide:




Central A/C unit

12-15 years

$3,700- $7,200

Furnace – electric

15-25 years


Furnace – gas

15-25 years



9 years



11 years



14 – 16 years

$350- $3,000







Water heater – tank



Water heater – tankless



Roof – asphalt (1,500 sq. ft)



Roof – tile, slate, metal (1,500 sq. ft)

50-100 years


Wood deck

10-30 years


Note: For the worksheet, we used the median number for the lifespan and cost ranges and broke down some appliances in more detail to create the calculations.



**Information courtesy of HouseLogic.

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The Cares Alliance – Poker & Purses Benefit 2019 

The Cares Alliance – Poker & Purses Benefit 2019 

Get Your Tickets Now!

Poker & Purses Benefit 2019 

Have you been to our Designer Purse Bingo and Casino Night (Poker & Purses) in the past? It’s always one of the most anticipated and incredibly fun events of the year!

Last year, we capped at 400 people so get your tickets before they’re gone!

Haven’t Been Before? 

This is a casino and designer purse bingo event to help raise awareness about
The Cares Alliance Program and to raise funds towards continuing The Cares Alliance’s mission of pouring
back into our community, making it a better place to live by helping those in need.

This is going to be an amazing and exceptionally well-attended evening full of food, drinks, high-end prizes, and entertainment!
Someone has to win all those designer purses, big-screen TVs, Yetis, etc…It might as well be YOU

The Cares Alliance Poker & Purses Benefit

Event Details


Casino Night & Designer Purse Bingo Fundraiser Event
for The Cares Alliance


Saturday, October 19th at 7 pm
(doors open at 6:15 pm)


Round Rock Sports Center
2400 Chisholm Trail,
Round Rock, TX 78681

Pricing Details: Tables, Tickets, Sponsorship

♥ Tickets: $50 per person

♠ Tables: $500 – Reserved Table for 10 people (limited spaces)

♣ Sponsorship Levels: 1k, 3k, 5k, 10k Platinum Exclusive

*Join The Cares Alliance for one year and receive a VIP table for 10 people,
VIP early seating, and event swag/perks….details and consultations available at your convenience.

Sponsorships, tables, & memberships to The Cares Alliance are available:
Contact Jen Jones


The Cares Alliance Logo

 About The Cares Alliance

The Cares Alliance is a 501c3 non-profit serving Central Texas. The Cares Alliance provides financial donations to schools, churches, charities, missions, and individuals while bringing awareness to the different needs of those individuals and organizations. The mission is to be a force of good that highlights financial needs and provides safe, secure opportunities to support those needs within the community.
With over $110,000 in donations awarded since 2016, the potential
community impact of The Cares Alliance is both humbling and exciting to anticipate.
To grow beyond our own team and to further multiply our impact, we invite any interested business or organization to join The Cares Alliance as we seek to build stronger communities, together.

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Protest Your Tax Appraisal


In shock from your property tax appraisal notice? Think about challenging that appraisal by filing a property tax protest. These annually evaluated appraisals are sent to homeowners with the amount owed and how it was determined, including information like the land value, the type of property and if it had any improvements made from the prior year.

With these values continually increasing, the values set by the government appraisers aren’t always correct and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation even estimated that between 30% and 60% of the taxable property is over-assessed, causing some homeowners to lose hundreds and even thousands of dollars. The bottom line is, if your property valuation is too high then the homeowner may have to pay higher taxes, and no one wants to lose money.

How to File a Property Tax Protest

After receiving a notice of appraised value in the mail, you can either agree or disagree with the value assessed for your home. If you disagree with the value, then a notice of protest needs to be filed. This notice should include reasons why you’re filing the protest and must be filed by the May 15th deadline.

Once this notice is filed, a hearing is scheduled by the appraisal district. This hearing can be either informal or formal. An informal hearing will take place with a representative from the district, an appraisal staffer, while a formal hearing takes place in front of the appraisal review board.

When meeting with the representative, ensure you bring all necessary documents with you, including any independent appraisals, photos, and estimates for repairs, as well as any records showing a devaluation of your house. The district representative may offer to revalue your property after going through the documentation. If you accept this new value then you will not need to appear before the review board.

If you are still not satisfied with the value after reassessment, you can choose to keep your hearing date with the review board to further appeal the decision. Once this hearing is completed, you once again have the option to either accept the value set, have a binding arbitration, or file a suit in the district court.

Important Deadlines for Filing a Property Tax Protest

On January 1st your home value is appraised. This value is based on the condition that your property could sell for on this exact date and any damage or improvements after the first of the year won’t affect the value for the current year.

In Late April or Early May, your appraisal will arrive by mail telling you the home value for your property taxes. Make sure you take a close look at this. If your appraisal looks incorrect, you will want to protest it.

May 15th is the deadline for filing a “notice of protest”. This can usually be done online and by mail. If you received your notice of appraised value after April 15th, then you have 30 days from that date to file a protest. The following month is when homeowners begin to see their letters from the appraisal district to inform them of their hearing dates.

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