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Rebecca Shahan

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Should You Use a Storage Unit When You Moving in Lake Travis?

by Rebecca Shahan

Many people chose to use a storage unit when they move. There are definitely advantages to using storage a storage unit when you buy a home. But is it always the right solution?

Moving is a time of transitions and new beginnings. It's a chance to weed out the things you no longer need in your life. That way you don't have to move as much, saving money and time.

Yet you may not have the time to comb through every possession. If time is of the essence, then you may just have to get the job done and turn to using a storage unit.

Here's a few things to think about when considering if storage is a good option to help you in the moving process.

Advantages of Using Storage

  1. Pack up all the things you don't need now.
  2. Staging your home will be more simple.
  3. You home will look larger, adding to selling appeal.
  4. Personal items will be out of sight from buyers.
  5. Out of sight, out of mind.
  6. You can sort all your items later.
  7. You can decide what furniture works best in your new home and decide what to keep after you move.

Disadvantages of Using Storage

  1. Another expense.
  2. You'll have to handle everything twice, which is more work.
  3. Not all units guarantee your items will be safe, so you may need additional insurance.
  4. Storing items can lead to delayed decisions about what stays and what goes.
  5. You may end up storing things you don't need, and paying monthly fees for those items.
  6. It's hard to reach items in the back of a full unit.

Portable Storage Units

What about portable storage? Portable storage units are becoming quite popular. PODS is the most popular portable storage company and was the first. The main advantage is that you can keep the unit at your home, giving you more time to load it. Then the unit is delivered to your new house. Some units are also designed to be long-term storage at a warehouse or at your home.

The advantage of portable storage is that you can pack and unpack everything in one go, eliminating the need to haul your things to a storage facility, then back again to the new home.

Moving is hard work for sure.  But with careful planning and good use of storage, you can make the process go more smoothly.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate advice for Austin and Lake Travis. Selling your home in Lake Travis or Austin? Get a FREE Home Evaluation of your home's value today!

Important Repairs to Make Before Selling Your Home

by Rebecca Shahan

As a smart home seller, you want to make sure your home is in the best shape possible. On the other hand, you don't want to spend too much on improvements and make less of a profit when you sell your home. You need to concentrate on making the most important repairs to make sure your home sells for a higher price.


What repairs should you make when you sell your home?

Fix Damaged Flooring

When flooring wears out, it can really detract from the appeal of an otherwise fine home. Bad flooring might even turn some buyers away right off the bat. So if your flooring is showing signs of age or damage, the easy fix is to replace or repair it.

Refinishing hardwood floors may be expensive, around $3000, but you will make that up in the sale.

You should also replace old flooring for new hardwood. Expect to spend about $5,000. But you will get back about 90% when you sell your home. Even if you can't afford these fixes, any amount of flooring repair will help.

Fix Water Stains

Even if you've learned to deal with any plumbing issues, most buyer's won't. Water stains are a tell-tale sign of plumbing problems.

Hire a good plumber to look for leaks and drainage issues. No matter what you spend, it will be cheaper than losing a sale.

Erase Pet Damage

Did your (sort of) darling kitten scratch your bedroom door? Fix the damage before listing your home. Otherwise, buyers may consider the scuffs a canary in the coal mine.

Refinishing a door costs between $100 and $215 (or less, if you're willing to DIY). Replacing pet-damaged carpeting or hardwood may be a bigger job than buffing out some scuffs — but it's worth the cash.

Selling your home in Lake Travis or AustinGet a FREE Home Evaluation of your home's value today! Visit our blog every week for more real estate advice and local Lake Travis and Austin real estate articles. 

Round Out Summer in Austin WIth These Top Attractions

by Rebecca Shahan

Looking for some more great ways to spend time with your family before summer ends? Austin is full of so many great things to do, it can be hard to pin down that perfect day out on the town. So here's a few ideas for some of the best ways to spend the day with your family in Austin.

Congress Bridge Bats

If you love bats, then this is the place to see them. The Congress Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America at an estimated 1.5 million bats.  Hot August nights bring them out into multiple columns, so now is the perfect time to view them. It's even more stunning to view them from a boat as they contrast against the evening sky. Or you can get even closer and watch them from the bridge.

Austin Duck Adventures

This is the only land and water tour in Austin, and it will give you great views of the Texas Capitol and then on to Lake Austin where you drive straight into the water and float around before heading back. 

The Escape Game

How good are you at breaking out of prison? Test your escape skills at the top escape room in Austin.Work together with your friends to complete the mission and escape from 5 different adventures - The Heist, Gold Rush, Playground, Classified, and Prison Break.

Austin Detours

This is a great way to explore your new city if you just bought a home here. This tour gives you the scoop on living life in Austin as a local. You'll also enjoy the Live Music Crawl that shows you why Austin earned the reputation as the "Live Music Capital of the World."

Austin Wine Tours

Visit select top vineyards for a great afternoon with friends as you discover why Austin wines are some of the best in the country.

Visit our blog every week for more things to do in Lake Travis and Austin. Selling your home in Lake Travis or Austin? Get a FREE Home Evaluation of your home's value today! 

Summertime is well underway, and now is a great time to take care of some home maintenance tasks while the days are longer. This is especially important if you plan to sell your home soon in Lake Travis and Austin.

#1 Update Outdoor Lighting

You're probably not too concerned about the shorter winter days yet when it gets dark at 4:30. But now is a great time to add to your outdoor lighting or update landscaping lighting.

The most energy efficient way to go is solar lighting, which is perfect for summer.

LED bulbs last up to five times longer and also use less energy than comparable bulbs.

#2 Clean Your House's Siding

Did you know that well-maintained siding can last for decades? Sometimes it can last up to 50 years. To make it last that long, it needs to be cleaned, which you can do with a long-handled, soft-bristled brush.

Start at the bottom of the house and work up, rinsing completely before it dries. That's how you avoid streaks. This will also add curb appeal to your home if you plan to sell it soon.

#3 Focus on Your Foundation

Inspecting your home during the summer is a good idea. You need to look for signs of trouble, such as crumbling mortar, cracks in the stucco, or persistently damp spots (especially under faucets). Then call a pro to fix any outstanding issues now, before it becomes an emergency later. And keep in mind that when you sell your home, an inspector will find these issues and it could affect the asking price. Taking care of issues now will help you get more from selling your home.

#4 Seal Your Driveway Asphalt

Your driveway takes a daily beating. Weather, sunlight, cars, bikes, and foot traffic – all of these deteriorate the asphalt. Help it last by sealing it. Tip: The temperature must be 50 degrees or higher for the sealer to stick, making summer best for this easy, cost-effective job.

Visit our blog every week for more real estate advice and local Lake Travis articles. Selling your home in Lake Travis or Austin? Get a FREE Home Evaluation of your home's value today! 

Keep Your Lake Travis Home Sale from Falling Apart

by Rebecca Shahan

Finding a buyer for your home in Lake Travis and Austin is just the beginning of the selling process. Now you need to make sure you keep that buyer happy until the sale closes.

Here are some mistakes to avoid to make sure you close the deal.

Mistake #1: Ignore Contingencies

Don't ignore the contract if it requires you to take care of something on the home before the sale. If a contingency requires you to make some repairs, don't do it on the cheap and expect it to go unnoticed.

Mistake #2: Don’t Bother to Fix Things That Break

Keep up your home during the selling process. If something breaks that was working when the buyer made their offer, they could notice it during the pre-closing walk-through. If the buyer thinks you aren't maintaining your home, it could end the deal.

Mistake #3: Get Lax About Deadlines

Deadlines are deadlines. Make sure you stick to all the deadlines.

Mistake #4: Refuse to Negotiate Any Further

After you negotiate a price, it's not uncommon for problems to be found during inspections that need to be fixed. Or the appraisal may be below what the offer is. You need to be able to negotiate further when issues arise, or the buyers may back out.

Mistake #5: Hide Liens from Buyers

If you have a lien on your home or have unpaid HOA fees, the buyer will find out during the title search. Those fees must be paid off for the deal to close. You could have the buyers pay those fees as part of the deal if you can't pay them. But if they aren't paid, the sale won't happen.

Selling your home in Lake Travis or Austin? Get a FREE Home Evaluation of your home's value today! And check back on our blog every week for more helpful articles about living in Lake Travis and Austin.

Cool Down This Summer With The Lake Travis Pub Crawl

by Rebecca Shahan

Need a great way to cool down this summer? When you combine cool water and great food and drink, you're in for a great time. 

Lake Travis is perfect setting for the restaurants and pubs that dot the coastline.  Not only do these restaurants have spectacular views, but you can access most of them by boat. So why not fire up the boat and take a delicious and refreshing Lake Travis On the Water Pub / Restaurant Crawl? There are 8 restaurants and pubs you can get to by boat on Lake Travis. You can stop for drinks at one of them, then food at the next.  Then top off the evening with live music at most of these venues. Here’s a few of the great dining experiences you can look forward to enjoying on the lake.

Volente Beach Restaurant & Waterpark

If you’re out with the whole family, pull into the private dock for the perfect blend of food and fun. You can enjoy burgers, chicken sandwiches, fresh-made pizza, great salads, wings, entrees such as pan-fried snapper, Ahi Tuna or MMMac n Cheese. Or have a drink at the full bar with lake views, along with live music. The whole family can have fun at the waterpark, featuring thrilling rides and a pirate themes park for the kids to explore. Then you can relax in the Lazy Lagoon featuring a waterfall fountain.

Shack 512

Enjoy Southern cuisine in this relaxing Hill Country setting.  This casual outdoor venue lets you indulge in the extraordinary panoramic views of the Lake Travis and the hills. Pull into the courtesy walk and it’s just a short walk up the ramp.

Cedar Street Dockside

Located just 3 miles southwest past Starnes Island and the infamous Devil’s Cove, this floating restaurant and bar features a large dock to accommodate all diners.  Dine indoors or outside while enjoying  live music and dancing.

The Oasis

As the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas, The Oasis has certainly gained a reputation for amazing food and equally splendid sunset views as “the Sunset Capital of Texas.”  You’re guaranteed spectacular dining with the outdoor seating in this venue located 450 feet above Lake Travis. When the sunset bell rings, get out your camera to capture the gorgeous sunset.  With live music on 2 stages, it’s the perfect way to top off your restaurant crawl experience.

There’s more to Lake Travis than meets the eye.  Make sure to check back on our blog for more great things to do in Lake Travis and Austin. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.​

Now that you've bought the perfect home in Lake Travis, you no doubt want to get the most of your new home. If you have a back yard, you have a perfect place to spend time relaxing and enjoying your home.

What are some ways you can make your back yard a place to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors?

Let the backyard staycations begin with these ideas:

Al-Fresco Dining

A wood-fired oven is a great way to cook up a fresh meal in your back yard. You might think it's only for pizza, but you can cook up any meat, veggie, or bread, making this a full-on outdoor oven. Low-maintenance hardscaping means you can focus on your party, instead of mowing grass.

You can grow some veggies in your garden and prep them in an outdoor cooking island with a built-in grill and treat yourself to the freshest cuisine around for your backyard staycation.

Even better, since the entire ground area is pea gravel, you can spend less time mowing and more time dining.

But does it add value? Outdoor living and cooking spaces almost always add value. As do low-maintenance hardscaping features — like the patio.

An Outdoor Room Just for Leisure

Spend Saturday afternoon napping in your outdoor space — not laboring over it. Easy-care plants look lush with minimal intervention, including ground cover and stone to replace grass.

Install horizontal privacy fencing, and you're ready for one legendary siesta (adorable dog recommended, but not required).

But does it add value? See above about outdoor rooms (and the lovely plants definitely boost it, too). Win-win.

A Yard for Playing

You don't have to give up playing in the backyard just because you're an adult. Make your yard a grown-up rec center with a fire pit and bocce ball court (or cornhole, ladder ball, even giant Jenga).

Wood-paneled privacy fencing elevates the adults-only aesthetic, and low-maintenance gravel keeps the focus on fun instead of maintenance.

But does it add value? Seriously doubt it (except for the fence). But it's your yard. Remember, joy is an ROI of a different sort. Plus, the court is easy enough to erase with some basic landscaping (always a good value add).

Looking to buy a home in Lake Travis and Austin? Our home search tool can help you find the perfect home for sale. And check back on our blog every week for more helpful articles about living in Lake Travis and Austin.

Tips on Selling Your Home to Younger Buyers

by Rebecca Shahan

More and more these days, younger home buyers are hitting the market.  Young professionals and families are finding more options for helping them buy a home.  As such, when you sell your home, you need to keep this younger audience in mind.  It's highly likely that when you sell your home, it will be to someone younger than 40. How can you make your home appeal to this growing market?  Here's a few tips.

Using Neutral Colors

The younger crowd is no longer into the gold or pink walls you painted 10 years ago.  Paint the walls a more neutral color.  This will allow potential buyers to envision their own accent colors and furniture to make it their own.

White Cabinets

White or off-white cabinets appeal more to buyers under 40.  They don't want to be reminded of the dark cabinets of yesteryear.  You might try Benjamin Moore's Advance paint, as it requires little prep work.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Old appliances can be a big turnoff for younger buyers.  Many love stainless steel appliances, and for good reason.  If you have it in your budget, consider updating your appliances if they look dated.

Updated Countertops

Young buyers really love granite and stone countertops.  But keep it simple.  Don;t go with busy designs.  Black countertops or designs that are simple are the best.

Sell your home in Lake Travis and Austin fast! Start by getting a FREE home valuation. And check back on our blog every week for more helpful articles about living in Lake Travis and Austin.

Send Your Kids Back to the Best High Schools in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Choosing the right school for your high school aged kids can be difficult. You want to make sure the get the best send-off into their adult life. If you plan to buy a home in Austin, there are many great high schools to chose from. In fact, some of these schools rate the best in the whole state of Texas and all of America! Websites such as Niche.com have compiled lists of the best schools in America based on a wide range of criteria. Here's a list of some of the 2019 Best Public High Schools in the Austin Area to help you find a school that's right for your kids.

Liberal Arts & Science Academy

  • #11 Best Public Highs School in America
  • #5 Best Magnet High Schools in America
  • #1 Best Magnet Highs Schools in Texas
  • #1 Best Public High Schools in Texas
  • #1 Best Public High School Teachers in Texas
  • #1 Best College Prep Public High Schools in Texas

Liberal Arts & Science Academy has 1,111 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. According to state test scores, 99% of students are at least proficient in math and 99% in reading. One happy student comments "LASA is a fun, unique school filled with people from a bunch of different backgrounds. There's a great community among the students and teachers (who are themselves eccentric and talented educators who make classes as interesting and thought-provoking as they can) that helps build a network of learning throughout the school."

Homes For Sale Near Liberal Arts & Science Academy
 

Westlake High School

  • #2 Best Public High Schools in Austin
  • #5 Best Public High Schools in Texas
  • #4 Best College Prep Public High Schools in Texas
  • #7 Best High Schools for STEM in Texas

Westlake High School has 2,659 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. According to state test scores, 93% of students are at least proficient in math and 96% in reading. A student who was thrilled with Westlake says "Westlake is THE best school in Texas hands down. The academics are rigorous and challenging. Teachers are accessible to the students for tutoring or outside help. The campus is always warm and inviting, and the athletics here is a perennial powerhouse!"

Homes For Sale Near Westlake High School


Westwood High School

  • #1 Best Public High Schools in Williamson County
  • #6 Best College Prep Public High Schools in Texas
  • #8 Best Public High Schools in Texas

Westwood High School has 2,678 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. According to state test scores, 89% of students are at least proficient in math and 89% in reading. One young man who graduated 10 years ago says "As a graduate of Westwood High School in the last 10 years who is currently in a medical field graduate program, I can say that this school prepared me well for a rigorous course load in my undergraduate career, in a STEM Master's program and now in a medical field Doctoral program."

Homes For Sale Near Westwood High School

Find the home that's right for your family in Austin and Lake Travis. And check back on our blog every week for more helpful articles about living in Lake Travis and Austin.

How to Get Stains & Grease Off Walls

by Rebecca Shahan

You're getting ready to sell your home in Austin, and now you need to paint the walls and freshen up the place. But upon close inspection, you see all that grime and grease that's too tough to clean with a standard vinegar wash.

What are some ways to get rid of those grease stains, watermarks, and kids’ crayon and ink wall art?

Kitchen Grease on Walls

Kitchens are notorious for grease stains. It's almost impossible to keep grease of  the walls and cabinets. And of course, grease invites more dirt.

The solution is sitting right on your sink - dish soap.

For small stains, mix: 1/4 teaspoon of soap in a cup of warm water, and wipe. Rinse with clean water, and blot until dry. Clean stubborn grease stains with solution of 1/3 cup of white household vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.

Dirt and Grime Buildup

We don't need anything other than our own bodies to get oil on everything. We have it coming out of our finders all the time, and it builds up.

A wall eraser easily wipes away these stains. Wet the sponge and rub gently to avoid taking bits of paint off with the stain.

Or make your own homemade wall cleaning sponge:

  • 1 cup ammonia,
  • 1/2 cup white distilled or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • one gallon of warm water.

Wipe the solution over walls with a sponge (or cloth), and rinse with water.

Crayons

Here's another use for a wall eraser. But if that doesn't work, try this:

  • Rub marks with toothpaste (not gel).
  • Erase marks with an art gum or a pencil eraser; use a circular motion.
  • Swipe marks with baby wipes.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub marks.

Permanent Marker

The word "permanent" certainly applies to markers. But you can still get rid of most of these marks.

Soak a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and dab the stain. Or spray marks with hairspray, then wipe drips.

Ink

An interesting way to get rid of ballpoint ink is with shaving cream. But you can also use nail polish remover, or dry-cleaning solvents. Make sure you open windows when using cleaning solvents and polish remover.

Mildew

Mildew is a fungus that eats soap scum and body oil. To remove from walls, spray with vinegar water: 1 tablespoon white vinegar to 1 quart water. Also, try an enzyme laundry detergent; follow the pre-treating directions on the label. Blot it on the stain, and then rinse thoroughly with water.

Water Stains

After you’ve solved the problem that caused the water stains, rinse with a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Thoroughly dry with a hairdryer or fans. If bleaching doesn’t remove water stains, you’ll have to repaint. Prime the walls with a stain-killing primer.

Find the home of your dreams in Lake Travis and Austin with our home search tool. Make sure to visit our blog every week for more helpful real estate articles and Lake Travis news and activities.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 242

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