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Treat Dad to the Perfect Father's Day in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Father's Day is almost here, so it's time to make sure you've found the perfect way to show dad how much he means. There's plenty of great things to do with dad in Austin this weekend. Here's a few activities you can share with your father to make this a Father's Day to remember.

Saturday

FATHER'S DAY FLYER
​AUSTIN STEAM TRAIN

This special Hill Country Flyer journeys through the Texas Hill Country, crossing the wooden trestle bridge over the South San Gabriel River and Short Creek Canyon. 

TIE ONE ON FOR FATHER’S DAY
​BEN MILAM WHISKEY DISTILLERY & TASTING ROOM

Celebrate Father’s Day a day early on Saturday, June 15 at Ben Milam Whiskey. This party is too cool for dad to wear a neck tie, but if he does, they'll cut it off his neck, and give him a percentage discount off of purchase of a bottle of whiskey equivalent to the length of the cut portion of the tie (10 inches = 10% discount on a bottle). 

Sunday

FATHER'S DAY BUFFET
6:30AM - 12:00PM |  ​OMNI BARTON CREEK RESORT & SPA

Serving cooked to order omelets, fresh fruit, yogurt and an assortment fresh-baked goods, the Art of Breakfast Buffet is the perfect way to kick-off Father’s Day. Enjoy $6 Bloody Marys and Mimosas. Reservations are recommended. Call 512-329-4000.

FATHER'S DAY: GRILL ON THE PATIO
10:00AM - 7:00PM |  ​Z'TEJAS ARBORETUM

Join Executive Chef Dino on our stunning hill country patio for Father's day. He'll be grilling all your favorites morning and night.

FATHER'S DAY BRUNCH JAZZ TRIO: MANIFEST MUSTACHE
10:00AM |  ​BRENTWOOD SOCIAL HOUSE

Manifest Mustache - a jazz trio comprised of swing dancers turned musicians - play from 10am-noon. Enjoy the hot jazz music from the likes of Django Reinhardt with your morning latte.

DADS EAT FREE AT PLUCKERS
11:00AM |  ​ALL AUSTIN AREA PLUCKERS

All dads can enjoy a complimentary entree, side, and non-alcoholic beverage (up to a $15 value) from Pluckers’ extensive menu when they show their Pluckers Club or Pluckers Club Lite membership.

Have a Happy Father's Day in Austin!

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.
 

The 5 Most Important Home Closing Terms

by Rebecca Shahan
Buying a home can be a confusing process. This is especially true for first time buyers. All those words! But don't worry, that why you hire a professional to help you figure it all out. Still, there's some basic terms that you should familiarize yourself with, especially when closing a home sale.
 
Here's the 5 most important closing terms you should know.
  1. Down Payment Simply put, this is the amount of money you pay up front for a mortgage, just like buying a car. Most mortgage lenders require between 3% - 20% down payment. In the case of VA or government assisted loans, this amount can be less.
  2. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – You may be required to pay for private mortgage insurance when you take out a loan if you put down less than 20%. PMI protects the lender in case you end up foreclosing on your home.
  3. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – APR refers to the total cost of taking out a loan. It can include broker fees, interest rate, points, and others.
  4. Loan Estimate (LE) – A loan estimate deals with the estimated closing costs, along with the terms of the loan that you agreed to.
  5. Closing Costs – Closing costs are paid by both the buyer and seller. These costs can cover application fees, property fees, title examination, title insurance, attorney charges and settlement documents.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what you should know about buying a home. 

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

The Best Ice Cream in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Now that summer is heating up, it's time to find the best places to cool down. Austin is full of great frozen flavors and treats to help you keep down the heat. Here's some of the best places in Austin to find your favorite scoop of coolness.

Amy's Ice Cream

You'll never run out of new flavors to try at Amy's. With over 350 rotating flavors, every visit will be a new treat.

Lick Honest Ice Creams

Have you ever had a roasted beets, goats cheese, or thyme ice cream cone? Now is your chance, made with peak-season ingredients sourced responsibly from local Austin farmer and artisans. And best of all, you can try samples before you choose your unique flavor.

Sweet Ritual

Everyone should be able to have a yummy scoop of ice cream, and that's why Sweet Ritual makes delicious dairy-free ice cream with options for a wide variety of dietary needs. Now you really have no excuse to treat yourself!

Dolce Neve

If you prefer the velvety smooth feel of gelato, then stop by Dolce Neve for the best gelato in Austin. Inspired by their Italian traditions, the owners an ever changing array of flavors, made from fresh local ingredients.

Manolis Ice Cream

Whether it's frozen treats or delicious baked goods, Manolis will satisfy your sweet tooth. Their pops and ice creams are made with fresh ingredients, and baked goods baked from scratch.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Understanding Real Estate Representation

by Rebecca Shahan

You have choices when selecting representation in a real estate transaction. Here are five tips for understanding which type of legal relationship with a real estate professional, called an agency relationship, will best protect you when you buy or sell a home.

Buyer’s Agency

When you’re buying a home, you can hire an agent who represents only you, called an exclusive buyer’s representative or agent. A buyer's agent works in your best interest and owes you a fiduciary duty. You can pay your buyer’s agent yourself, or ask the seller, or the seller’s agent, to pay your agent a share of their sales commission.

If you’re selling your home and hiring an agent to list it exclusively, you’ve hired a selling representative - an agent who owes fiduciary duties to you. Typically, you pay a selling agent a commission at closing. Selling agents usually offer or agree to pay a portion of their sales commission to the buyer’s agent. If your seller’s agent brings in a buyer, your agent keeps the entire commission.

Disclosed Dual Agency

Agents and companies can represent both parties in a home sale as long as that relationship is fully disclosed. It’s called disclosed dual agency. Because dual agents represent both parties, they can’t be protective of and loyal to only you. Dual agents don’t owe all the traditional fiduciary duties to clients. Instead, they owe limited fiduciary duties to each party.

Why would you agree to dual agency? Suppose you want to buy a house that’s listed for sale by the same real estate brokerage where your buyer’s agent works. In that case, the real estate brokerage would be representing both you and the seller and you’d both have to agree to that.

Because there’s a potential for conflicts of interest with dual agency, all parties must give their informed consent. In many states, that consent must be in writing.

Designated Agency

A form of disclosed dual agency, “designated agency” allows two different agents within a single firm to represent the buyer and seller in the same transaction. To avoid conflicts that can arise with dual agency, some managing brokers designate or appoint agents in their company to represent only sellers, or only buyers. But that isn't required for designated agency. A designated, or appointed, agent will give you full representation and represent your best interests.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Hiring the right real estate agent makes all the difference in a successful real estate transaction in Lake Travis and Austin.

You also need to understand who's side an agent is on when you buy or sell a home and move towards closing.

There are a number of ways agents may represent clients.

By knowing where your agent’s loyalties lie, you’ll know what you can tell her and what you can’t. If, for example, you’re dealing with an agent who doesn’t represent you but is representing the sellers of a home you want to buy, you won’t want to tell her how high you’re willing to go on the price.

No matter what form of representation you agree to, or where you live, watch out for your own interests and understand the six ways brokers and agents represent clients below.

Buyer’s Agency

Do you want the agent to represent you and only you when you buy a home so that all the information you share with her is confidential? Opt for an exclusive buyer’s agent.

Who pays the buyer’s agent? Surprisingly, even if you hire a buyer’s agent, you can still ask the sellers to pay his fee. You can pay your buyer’s agent yourself, or ask the seller (or the seller’s agent) to pay your agent a share of their sales commission.

Seller’s or Listing Agency

An exclusive seller’s agent represents only the sellers, not the buyers. If your exclusive seller’s agent finds a buyer for your home, he may have another agent - maybe even a co-worker from the same brokerage - represent the buyer in your transaction. In some cases the buyer may have no agent at all. Your exclusive seller’s agent is loyal only to you, so it’s OK to discuss strategy with him.

Who pays the seller’s agent? The seller pays a commission to the seller’s agent from the proceeds of the sale. The seller’s agent may, and often does, share the commission with the homebuyer’s agent.

Dual Agency

In many states, agents can represent both the buyer and seller. These dual agents seek to bring both sides together. They can’t do something that’s only good for you and not for the other side.

A dual agent situation often arises when one agent represents the buyers and the sellers of the same home. The agent must disclose the relationship and, in many states, you must agree in writing to such dual representation because of the potential for conflicts of interest. While dual agents have an obligation not to share any confidential information of a client without their permission, be sure to inform the agent that the information is confidential and know that any non-confidential information may be shared with the people on the other side of the transaction.

Who pays the dual agent? Usually the seller pays the commission.

Designated or Appointed Agency

What happens when the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent both work for the same broker?

To make sure both sides of the home sale are treated fairly in this situation, some brokers designate an agent in their company to represent only the buyers and another to represent only the sellers. A designated agent or appointed agent will be loyal to you and only you. The strategy helps avoid a dual agency situation.

Who pays the designated agents? The sellers pay the commission and the designated agents share it.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Have Fun In Lake Travis in June

by Rebecca Shahan

Summer is here and it's time to get out and have fun in Lake Travis this month. There's something for everyone in Lake Travis, with plenty of fun to be had on the water and the shores. Here's a few events and things to do for the whole family coming up this month to help you get the most from the start of summer.

Sunset Zipline Tours

Fly the fastest zip lines in Texas as you take in the breathtaking sunset over Lake Travis, guided by the best guides around.

BARge Crawl

Bring your friends and adult family members out on Lake Travis and stop at shoreline watering holes fo your choice.

Saturday Pontoon Party on Devil’s Cove

Looking for a great place to party? Devil's Cove is one of the best party coves on Lake Travis, perfect for Bachelor/Bachelorette parties or Graduation Celebrations.

 HCI Summer Football Camp

A beginner-level skill development football program designed to teach the core fundamentals of the game to first-timers or those with limited experience.

Father’s Day Dad throws Free!

Treat Dad to the thrill of AXE throwing this Father’s Day. 14 and up can throw with Dad and dad is Free.

Annie Musical

Lake Travis Music Theatre presents Annie June 21-23 and June 28 - 30.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Getting the Most Curb Appeal For Your Lake Travis Home

by Rebecca Shahan

If you plan to sell your home in Lake Travis or Austin, you're going to have competition, so you need all the edge you can get. 

What do buyers see first when they come to your home for sale? Obviously, the outside. And how your home looks from the curb can make ore break a sale.

What are some affordable and simple ways you can spice up your curb appeal?

Replace Old Hardware

Replace old hardware, such as door knobs and house numbers, with fresh new fixtures.

Makeover the Mailbox

If your mailbox is next to your home (not across the street), then you can spruce it up to compliments your home. Pick a box that reflects your home's trimmings. You can paint the post or surround it with flowers.

Add Planters

Place various potted plants on the front steps and patio accentuate you garden.

Outdoor Lighting

To add a little appeal to your home, you can add low voltage lighting along the walkways for a little flare.

Reveal the Architecture

Don't go overboard with plants and landscaping that can hide your home. Keep your landscaping back from the home to let it shine.

Pressure Wash the Exterior

This is a quick and easy makeover that will make your home shine.. A pressure washer can be rented at most hardware and home improvement stores, and are easy to operate.

Display a Wreath

Welcome buyers with a beautiful seasonal wreath on the front door.

Lay Out a Path

You can use river stones to make a curved pathway and add unique flair to your yard.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

A fresh coat of paint can liven up any home, especially if the current coat is fading or chipped, or the color is outdated.

Add Window Boxes and Shutters

Adding colorful shutters with window boxes with matching paint will liven up any exterior. You can also plant colorful flowers to make it stand out even more.

Line Up the Porch Chairs

If you have a porch large enough for a few chairs, make sure they're lined up. If you don't have matching porch chairs, it would be worth investing in a set.

These are just a few ways you can spice up the exterior of your home and drive a higher price on your home for sale.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Fire Pit or Money Pit? Ways to Avoid Overspending

by Rebecca Shahan

Indoor evenings on the couch are so last season. Relaxing around a fire and under the Austin night sky is the place for a perfect night. But a built-in fire pit can cost as much as $4,500 installed. That’s a pricey upgrade.

With these money-saving tips, you can build a fire pit for your home for less than a grand, and still have a fabulous one:

Choose Wood Instead of Gas

Gas fire pits are more expensive because you’ll have to hire a plumber to run the gas line and an electrician to power the pit.

A wood fire pit has none of that cost, which will run at least several hundred dollars. Besides, who doesn’t love the smokey ambiance of a wood fire?

If You Want Gas, Put It Close to Your House

OK, not everyone loves an ashy, smoky fire pit. If you do want the simplicity of gas, you can get it most cheaply by keeping that gas line as short as possible.

The farther from your house that plumber has to run the gas line, the longer he’ll be there. And the longer he’s there, the more it will cost. And remember the electrician you’re going to pay to run wires to power the automatic starter? Same thing.

Skip the Built-In Seating

Those stone benches in a semicircle around a flaming fire pit look like money. That’s because they’re made of it.

Built-in benches that will seat six people with a comfortable amount of personal space can cost as much — or more — as the fire pit itself.

Six resin Adirondack chairs can cost as little as $120. Plus, chairs are easier on your butt as well as your wallet.

Don't Do Custom Anything

You can have a fire pit designed just for you. But unless you’re a trust-funder or just like spending money like one, stick with a contractor’s standard build. Most offer prefab, modular units that cost at least half as much as a custom build.

Go With a Paver Patio

Flagstone gives you the natural beauty of real stone, but it costs $15 to $20 per square foot. Unless you’re making a one-person pit, that will add up. A paver patio looks manufactured, but it costs $6 to $10 per square foot.

Choose a Decomposed Granite Patio (It's the Cheapest!) It looks like sand. It isn’t fancy. But it’s cheap. A pro can lay this stuff for as little as $2 a square foot.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Have a Great Memorial Day Weekend in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Memorial Day is coming up quickly, so now is the time to plan for fun this Memorial Day weekend in Austin. It's the essential holiday to remember those who serve and take part in some good old American fun and food. And there's no better place than Austin to do all of those things. Here's a list of Memorial Day weekend events in Austin.

Round Rock Express: Friday Fireworks @ Dell Diamond
Friday, May 24, 7:05 p.m.

Enjoy America’s national pastime and stick around after the ballgame for a post-game fireworks show. Tickets start at $7, and can be purchased here.

Close Assault: 1944 @ Camp Mabry
Saturday, May 25 & Sunday, May 26Shows at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. each day

This free, two-day event includes demonstrations and displays featuring tents, equipment and vehicles such as an M4 Sherman Tank, M3 Halftrack and Jeeps. Click here for more info. Free admission.

Go Outdoors Kids Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops
Saturday, May 25 & Sunday, May 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Go fishing in a catch and release pond, make crafts, take part in a variety of free in-store workshops. Click here for more details.

Summit Hike @ Enchanted Rock (Fredricksburg, TX)
Saturday, May 25 & Sunday, May 26, 9:30 a.m.

Join a park ranger or Master Naturalist as they climb to the top of Enchanted Rock. You'll learn about the geology, history and biology of this special place. Meet at the Gazebo at the base of the Summit Trail. Entrance fee for the park is $7/person (children 12 and under are free); no additional fee for this program. 

Bring the Sing Family Karaoke @ Barrel O’ Fun
Saturday, May 25, 12-2 p.m.

Enjoy a free all-ages karaoke party. There will be a full catalog of songs to choose from, props to take it to the next level, and onstage challenges for the very brave of heart. Kids 13 and under must be accompanied by a parent, so plan to sing along with the kiddos!

Memorial Day Service @ Texas State Cemetery
Monday, May 27, 10 a.m

This annual Memorial Day Service will take place in the SW section of the cemetery, known as “Republic Hill.” The service honors all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service for our country.

Have a Happy Memorial Day in Austin!

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

New or Redo Your Kitchen Cabinets: Options and Costs

by Rebecca Shahan

If you plan to sell your home, you may be considering home improvement projects that can increase the value of your home. Your kitchen is a great place to start.

Refacing kitchen cabinets can make a huge difference in the appeal of your kitchen. Refacing your kitchen cabinets includes covering the exposed frames with a thin veneer of real wood or plastic laminate.

Doors and drawer fronts are replaced to match or complement the new veneer. New hinges, knobs, pulls, and molding complete the transformation.

What are Your Refacing Options?

The options are limitless when it comes to the finished look of your cabinets. You can buy veneers in a wide range of colors, patterns, textures, grains, and more, which you can mix or match to get a relatively low-cost kitchen facelift.

  • Rigid thermofoil (RTF) doors, which feature a durable plastic coating over fiberboard, are an affordable alternative to wood or laminate doors.
  • Plastic laminates come in hundreds of colors and patterns, are durable and moisture-resistant, and are reasonably priced. You can pick matching or contrasting laminates for your doors and drawer fronts.
  • Real wood veneers include many standard species, such as oak, cherry, and maple, and you also can choose from an array of stain colors. Wood veneers are the most expensive option. Wood must be carefully sealed to protect against moisture.

You can further customize and update the look of your cabinets with new kitchen cabinet hardware.

What Does Refacing Cost?

A professional cabinet refacing for a typical 10-foot-by-12-foot kitchen starts at around $1,000 to $3,000 for laminate. Expect to pay $2,500 to $6,000 for real wood veneer. Costs can rise to $7,000 to $9,000 or more for a large project with high-quality wood veneer.

Finishing the project with new hardware (pulls, knobs, hinges) runs $2 to $4 per piece, up to $20 to $50 each for high-end hardware.

In comparison, completely replacing old kitchen cabinets with new cabinets starts at $4,000 to $5,000 and up for stock cabinets; $8,000 to $10,000 for semi-custom cabinets; $16,000 to $20,000 and up for custom-made cabinetry.

How Do I Know If My Cabinets are Good For Refacing?

If your existing cabinet boxes are sound and in good shape, then they should be able to refaced. But if they have water damage, are warped, or have broken frames, refacing is not a good idea.

How are They Installed?

A professional installer will measure your cabinets to see how much veneer is required and how much hardware is needed.

When all the materials are in hand, your installer will remove the old cabinet door and drawer fronts, and prepare the surface of the cabinet boxes by washing the exteriors with a degreaser and lightly sanding the finish. Any significant flaws in the surface should be repaired or filled to ensure a smooth, secure fit for the new veneer.

The installer will apply the veneer to the cabinet faces and any exposed cabinet ends, then mount the new doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. The process typically takes two to four days.

Can I Do Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Myself?

Detailed instructions and adhesive-backed veneers make cabinet refacing a feasible do-it-yourself project.

If you have extra time, patience, the necessary veneering tools, and a knack for precision, you can save money by tackling kitchen cabinet refacing on your own.

If you opt to do your own kitchen cabinet refacing, you’ll spend about $200 to $500 on average for materials. Specialized tools (rollers, blades, irons) add $5 to $60 to the cost.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. 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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 228

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