Real Estate Information Archive


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Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home in Lake Travis

by Rebecca Shahan

Reasons to buy a homenow in Austin and Lake travisAre you thinking about whether Spring is the right time to buy a new home in Lake Travis, Austin, or the surrounding areas? If so, here's some great reasons why now is a good time to buy a home instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports, home prices have continued to increase by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices in Austin has come to pass. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting to buy a home in Texas just doesn't make sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. And according to experts, that rate will continue to rise. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors all agree that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

Higher mortgage rates means higher mortgage payments. You likely want to avoid that from happening.

Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Many renters are afraid to take on a mortgage. The thing to remember is that you are paying a mortgage when you rent, it's just someone else's.  

Having a mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. when you rent, it's your landlord is the person with that equity.

It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

There are two things that determine the cost of a home: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. Both of those factors are rising. Would you still wait if they weren't?

Examine the real reasons you want to wait. Are you doing fine where you are living now?  Or do you need to have a better place for your children? Maybe safety is a concern.  Maybe now is the right time to buy.

Rebecca Shahan has been helping people buy their homes in Lake Travis and Austin for years. She can help you make the right choice in a home if you do decide it's time to move. Call today at 512-657-4467. Or search for a home online with our convenient home search tool.

11 Steps to Owning Your First Home

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you getting ready to buy your first home in Austin or Lake Travis?  If so, it’s certainly an exciting time for you. It’s easy to get lost in all the emotions and happenings. The trick is to not let yourself get swept away in the process.  But don’t worry, if you keep on track, you can successfully buy your first home in Austin and come out on top.  What are the steps involved, and how can you successfully complete them all so that you find the house of your dreams in Austin and the surrounding communities?

Here are the 11 steps that you need to follow.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Buying a home is without a doubt the biggest financial decision you’ll likely make in your life. You’ll need to consider factors such as price, housing type, neighborhood, school districts, and more. You can complete this worksheet to help you figure all these items out. Make sure to fill it out with everyone who’s involved in the process so that everyone has the same goals in mind.
  2. Start Shopping for Homes in Austin
    Now that you know what you're looking for, start looking for listings online.  Here's a great tool for finding the ideal home in Austin and surrounding communities.
  3. Find a Great Agent
    Rebecca Shahan is ready to help you find the perfect first home and help you through the process of finding the perfect home in Austin and Lake Travis.
  4. Choose a Lender
    Now it’s time to find the right mortgage lender. Your lender will be working closely with you throughout the process, so it’s important to find one that understands your goals and needs.
  5. Pick a Loan
    Your lender will work with you to determine the right mortgage to fit your financial needs.  You'll need to provide proof of income, employment, and other details.
  6. Look at Homes
    Here comes the fun part of the process! Rebecca Shahan can help you find homes in in Austin and the surrounding areas in Texas that fit your budget and the needs you determined in step 1.
  7. Make an Offer
    Now that you’ve located the home you want in Austin, then you make the offer.  Rebecca can help you decide how much you want to pay, along with contingencies that both parties can agree on.
  8. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
    This is where you work out the deal for your new home.  But watch out that you don’t get carried away by emotions because you want the house. Some sellers may just accept your offer, but some may make a counter-offer.  Your agent will work with you to decide what to do.
  9. Inspect the Home
    When an offer is accepted, then you'll sign a contract that will no doubt include a home inspection contingency.  At this point you'll hire a licensed home inspector to look for needed repairs. If major repairs are needed, then the seller will be asked to make those repairs.
  10. Appraisal
    Your lender needs to determine if the home is worth enough to cover the mortgage.
  11. Close the Deal
    You’re almost there! You just need to sign the final paperwork to finish the deal.  Now it’s time to get moved into your first home!

Rebecca Shahan has been helping people buy their first home in in Austin for years. She can help you through all of these steps to guide you to owning your first home in in Austin. Call her today at 512-657-4467.

5 Reasons to Work WIth an Experienced Agent

by Rebecca Shahan

Real Estate Agent​Are you planning on buying or selling a home in the Austin or Lake Travis Texas area? If so, get ready for an adventure. And as with any great adventure, you need someone to guide you on the journey. Buying or selling a home can be fraught with pitfalls. But some home buyers and sellers are tempted by instant gratification, so they may try to go it on their own.  This is called FSBO, or "for sale by owner." And some do have success, but not usually as much as they would if they used an agent. 

The reasons you should hire a real estate professional in Austin has not really changed, despite great changes in the industry. With the advent of internet marketing and home searches, many may feel more empowered to find a home on their own or sell one. But the fact is that projections of higher mortgage interest rates and home prices has made it even more crucial to have help when buying or selling a home. Here are 5 of the top reasons you need help when buying or selling a home in Austin and Lake Travis.

1. Do you want to deal with all the paperwork?

Texas has regulations regarding the contracts you need to buy or sell a home in Austin, and these regulations are constantly changing. A professional real estate agent is an expert in the Austin and Texas markets.  They know about all the paperwork that needs to be completed. Save yourself that headache and let a pro take care of it.

2. What do you do when you find your dream home?

Did you know that there are over 180 possible steps that need to take place during a successful real estate transaction. Do you know what they are? A real estate professional know all of these steps. Let them take care of the process.

3. Are you a good negotiator?

Many people don't know that it's necessary to negotiate with a number of people during the process of buying or selling a home in Austin. Are you familiar with this process or practiced in negotiation tactics? You need to negotiate with buyers, home inspection companies, all the way to the appraisers.  There are at least 11 different people who you will need to work with during the process. Again, this can be overwhelming if you're not familiar with the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

Do you know what your home that you're buying or selling in Austin is really worth? Pricing a home or determining it's value is important to attract the right buyers and shorten the amount of time that it’s on the market. You may be emotionally connected to your home more than you realize. An agent is not. They can give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to a study by Collateral Analytics, FSBOs achieve prices significantly lower than those from similar properties sold by real estate agents:

“FSBOs tend to sell for lower prices than comparable home sales, and in many cases below the average differential represented by the prevailing commission rate.”

To get the most from your transaction, you need someone who's familiar with the Austin market and can set the best price.  And if you're buying, you need someone who can tell if a home is set at the right price and can negotiate the best price.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the Austin, Texas market?

With all the information on the news and internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates, can you sort out what’s going on in the Austin area? An agent can competitively and correctly price your home at the beginning of the selling process. How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a lowball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring a local agent in Austin who knows the market will make your buying or selling experience a successful journey. 

If you're buying or selling a home in Austin, Lake Travis, Lakeway, Beecave or the surrounding areas, you can count on Rebecca Shahan to guide you. 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 And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.

Consider the Schools When Buying a House In Austin and Lake Travis

by Rebecca Shahan

If you're thinking about buying a home for sale in Austin or Lake Travis and have children in school, finding the right school is critical.  If you end up buying a home near a school that isn't right for your child, you could end up regretting buying the home itself.

You may think that a real estate agent can help you find the best schools in the Austin and Lake Travis area.  But actually, they can't.  Fair housing laws prevent agents from giving their opinion on schools.  This is for a good reason, as some agents in recent years have labeled schools as "bad" to swing the sale of a home toward more affluent neighborhoods. So in the end, you need to decide what schools are best for your children and base your choice on that information. And then of course your agent can help you find a home near the school you think is best.

There are at least 3 questions you should ask when finding the right school in the Austin and Lake Travis school districts.

What school will you child attend?

This may sound like an obvious question, but the problem is it's so obvious that you may not ask it. In Austin for example, there are 130 schools in the Austin Independent School District, so that means you have a lot of schools to choose from. So that does make it a bit easier, since one district covers most of the Austin area.

What are the numbers?

Test scores can say a lot about a school, even if they don't tell you everything about a school. The Austin Independent School District website actually has plenty of helpful information on individual schools and their test scores.  You can see an example with Akins High School.  They show recent performance ratings which can be helpful.  An even more impartial perspective can be found on a school rating website such as They use test scores, reviews, and other factors to rate the best schools in a given area.

What about reputation?

What are people saying about a school you're looking at?  Sure, everyone has opinions. If you know people in the area, you can ask them.  You might even meet with the principal of a school to get an even closer look, presuming you can make such an arrangement. See if they can give you a tour of the school with your child present.  Look at class sizes.  Is the library well stocked? What does your child think about the school? These are great indicators to look for.

Finding the right school and the right home for sale in Austin and Lake Travis TX can be a challenge, but one worth the effort.  Once you do find a great school for your child, let us help you find the right home near that school.  Our powerful search tool can help you find homes for sale near the schools of your choice in Austin, Lake Travis, Lakeway, Bee Cave, The Hills, and more. Also make sure to take advantage of our Home Buyer Listing Alert website to get automated alerts of homes as they hit the market.

Prepare Your Home to Sell This Spring

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you thinking about selling your home in Austin or Lake Travis this Spring? If so, Springtime is one of the best times of the year to sell your home.  But don't wait until then to prepare your home to sell.  The more preparation, the more chance you'll have of selling your home faster and getting more money from the sale.  Remember that first impressions are lasting impressions.  When a potential buyer comes to your home, you need to make sure you've done all you can to peak their interest. So here are a few ways you can get your home ready to sell this Spring!

Here are 6 great tips to get your home prepared:

1. Get a Home Inspection.  Having a home inspection before you sell will prepare you for any potential troubles that could make your potential buyers turn around and go to the next house. You'll still need to disclose what the home inspection finds, but you'll have time to make repairs. 

2. Gather all your Warranties. Have all the warranties for any appliances in your home that have them. This gives the buyer confidence in the home.

3. Make all Minor Repairs. Walk through your home with a critical eye and check each room for any minor fixes. This includes patching of holes or cracks, painting, floor replacement, windows, closets, outlets and more. Make the repairs you can and get ready to negotiate for those you can't make.

4. Clear out Clutter. No one wants to see a mess when looking for a new home.  Store as much as you can in an alternate location or get rid of as much as you can altogether.  This makes your move even easier and makes your home even more appealing.

5. Sparkle and Shine. Clean your home as if an army sergeant was coming through with a white glove!

6. Stage your Home to Sell! Consider hiring a professional home statger Home Stagers are experts at presenting your home's best assets and hiding those that are not. They also create the best light and flow to showcase your home. 

For more Home Selling Tips, visit our website or give us a call for a personal evaluation. And make sure to check back on our blog for more tips!

Top Restaurants in the Austin Area

by Rebecca Shahan

There are many great reasons to buy a home in Austin Texas and the surrounding communities, such as Lakeway, Costa Bella, Flint Rock, Spanish Oaks, Lake Pointe, Falconhead, The Hills, Arbolago, and Vineyard Bay.  Austin is one of the best cities in America to live.  And one of those reasons is the amazing food!  Every year, comes out with their list of top restaurants in Austin.  Out of over 3000 places to eat in Austin, here are the top 3.

#1. Truluck's Seafood - Austin Downtown

Truluck’s is certainly a fine dining experience, featuring fresh seafood and prime steak, along with wine by the bottle or glass. The prices may be higher than average, but so is the food, service, and atmosphere. The full service bar is noted for its happy hour and piano bar.

#2. Eddie V's Prime Seafood

According to Eddie, “Man cannot live by music, wine, and fine dining alone. But it’s worth exploring.”  And you’ll certainly explore some of the best food and drink in Austin at Eddies. Reviewers comment on the comfortable elegance and the amazing service, not to mention the delicious food and drinks, and of course happy hour.

#3. Uchi

Hands down the best Japanese cuisine in Austin.  Featuring a daily menu, Uchi serves up Japanese dishes such as kinkan kanpachi (amberjack, kumquat, negi), and wagyu no daikon (ribeye, daikon, curry). All of this comes complete with valet parking and a knowledgeable and attentive wait staff.

Want more great reasons to buy a home in the Austin area?  Check back on our blog every week for more great places to eat and things to do here!

Displaying blog entries 1-6 of 6