Real Estate Information Archive


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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.

Millenials - Take Advice From a Millionaire: Buy, Don't Rent

by Rebecca Shahan

Millenial Home BuyersAre you a millennial and currently renting a home? Why not take some solid advice from a self-made millionaire? David Bach is just such a person and has written nine consecutive New York Times best-selling books. For 31 weeks his book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” was on the New York Times bestseller list.  He is also one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes. 

In a recent CNBC article, Bach says that: “The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” Then he said that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.”

Here's his reason why buying a home is so important:

“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”

 “Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early, do a 15-year mortgage. What happens if you do a 15-year mortgage? Well, one, you pay the mortgage off 15-years sooner, that means you’ll be able to retire in your fifties. Number two, you’ll save a fortune (on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments).”

What will it cost to pay your mortgage in fifteen years?

“For fifteen years, you got to brownbag your lunch. Think about that! Brownbag your lunch literally for fifteen years. You can retire ten years sooner than your friends. You’ll have real wealth, because you bought a home – you’re not a renter. And you’ll be financially secure for life.”

When a well-respected millionaire gives you advice, it’s usually a good idea to follow it.  But this is hardly the first time that experts have given advice on the wisdom of buying a home. Many successful individuals have found that over time, buying a home is the most advisable course toward financial security.

As an additional note on David Bach’s experience, he has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. Not a bad resume!

If you are currently renting a home in Austin or Lake Travis and are looking to take this advise, give us a call at 512-657-4467 to see how this dream can become a reality.

Plan the Perfect Valentine's Day in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Austin Valentine's Day IdeasIf you're looking for something special to do for Valentine's Day this year, don't worry. Austin is full of great ways to spend the day with your sweetheart.  Austin is rife with unique culture, art, diversity, and plenty of special events, activities, clubs, concerts and more. And of course you can find plenty of special packages at hotels and restaurants for a special evening. And you don't have to be in a romance to have fun.  There's plenty of ways for people who are “single and want to mingle,” hanging with girls, or having a night out with the guys to have a great time.  Here's a few of the best ways to enjoy Valentine's Day this year in Austin.

Romantic Weekend Hotel Packages

This is for couples who want to have a weekend getaway. Even if you live in Austin, you can take a weekend getaway to various hotels offering special packages. lets you choose from tons of sweet little inns to get away from the city. Visit to make romantic reservations for a sweet package for two.

Zilker Botanical Gardens

This is a great idea no matter if it's for a family, an outing with friends, date groups, or just the two of you.  The 31 acres of greenery set among the Colorado River makes the perfect setting for a picnic of wine and cheese. Or you can dine at the Garden’s cafe. Best of all, these gardens are free to visit, saving more money for chocolates!

Ride a Horse-Drawn Carriage

What can be more romantic than taking a ride through downtown in a horse-drawn carriage? Die Gelbe Rose Carriage and Austin Carriage both offer great deals. This is also a great idea for the family, especially the kids. Bring some flowers and enjoy the ride! 

Austin Steam Train

Climb aboard this special Hill Country Flyer or the Valentine's Day Dinner Train to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They will take you on a romantic ride through the Texas Hill Country, crossing the South San Gabriel River and Short Creek Canyon. During the two hour layover in Burnet you can enjoy lunch and shopping on your own, a leisurely stroll around the historic town square and the Wild West Gunfight (weather permitting). Adult-only cars and family friendly cars are available. Or take a ride on the Valentine’s Day dinner train and enjoy handcrafted premium wines from The Austin Winery at the three course wine pairing dinner.

Want to learn more about what makes Austin and Lake Travis such a great place to live? Check back on our blog every week for more fun things to do in Austin!


Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4