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Upcoming Events in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

March has arrived and it's time to bring in the Spring season with some fun events in Austin this month. Here's a few of the fun and exciting events we have to look forward to.

3/8/19 - 3/17/19
SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival
Various Locations

Hosted by the Austin Convention Center and more than 50 venues, noted filmmakers, musicians, and multimedia artists from around the world will come together to showcase music, film and interactive media during this internationally-recognized event.

3/16/19 - 3/30/19
Rodeo Austin
Travis County Expo Center

The Rodeo Austin is one of the premier events in Austin, featuring Pro rodeo events, daily concerts, livestock show and more. It's a great time for the whole family.

3/17/19
St. Patrick's Day Festival
Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms

​Celebrates all things Irish at this annual family-friendly festival. Come enjoy authentic Celtic music and dancers, Irish language workshops, the finest Irish imports and plenty of good craic.

3/27/19 - 3/30/19
Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays 
Mike A. Myers Stadium

The premier track & field event brings together the best high school, college and professional athletes from Texas, the U.S. and the world. 

3/27/19 - 3/31/19
World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play
Austin Country Club

With a rare, match-play format consisting of the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play field consists of the very best players from around the world and is one of the most elite and exciting tournaments on golf’s calendar.

3/29/19 - 3/30/19
Austin Urban Music Festival
Auditorium Shores

More than 15,000 music revelers converge on Auditorium Shores at Lady Bird Lake to enjoy Austin's only music festival focused on R&B, neo-soul and hip hop music.3/31/19

3/31/19
90th ABC Kite Fest
Zilker Park

The nation's oldest kite festival features hundreds of kites in the air and is free to attend for people of all ages; complete with kite flying contests, food, games and more.

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.

 

Converting a Garage Into a Living Space: Your Family vs. Your Car

by Rebecca Shahan

Need to add more room to your home without adding onto your existing structure? Your garage may be the answer. Converting your garage into a livable area can add around 600 sq ft for a 2-car garage. On the up side, it will cost less than an addition. But the down side is your car may suffer.

What Does It Cost?

Converting a garage has the benefit of the existing structure. So it will cost about half of an all-new addition. You can expect to pay between $20,000 to $50,000 on a 2-car garage, depending on features. Want a bathroom as well? Add another $15,000 to $25,000.

What All Does It Involve?

Don't go thinking that converting a garage is a cheap project. A quality conversion may take 4-6 weeks and include:

  • Raising the floor height to allow for insulation over the concrete slab
  • Fully insulating walls and ceiling
  • Providing heating and cooling for the space, either by tying into the house’s main system or adding an independent one, such as a ductless mini-split system
  • An electrical service upgrade to accommodate the larger load
  • Opening up the partition wall between your house and the garage to create an open floor plan
  • Replacing garage doors with fully insulated stud walls
  • Adding windows and doors

How Do You Make Look Like It Was Always a Living Space?

If you go to the trouble of converting your garage, you may not want people asking "wasn't this a garage once?" You need to eliminate any evidence of the old garage door openings, install plenty of windows, and perhaps add rooftop design elements, such as dormer windows.

An architect can help you add design elements. Expect to pay $50 to $150 per hour for the services of a registered architect, or 5% to 20% of the cost of the whole project.

What’s the Downside?

The downside is where you now park your car(s). If you never parked them in the garage to start with, then great. But if you did, then you should look at the risks of parking outside, such as potential weather damage or theft. You may also lose storage for landscaping tools and lawnmowers. For that purpose, you might think about adding a shed for lawn tools.

What Are the Alternatives?

What about your basement, if you have one? If it's full height, then remodeling it will cost the same as a garage, and you won't give up your parking and tool storage.

Another approach is to leave the garage parking intact, and add new living space above it. It’s rare for a garage roof to be able to accommodate a full second story, so this project typically involves tearing off the existing roof, beefing up the garage’s structure, and then building the new space over it. But that can be a lot more work, and can cost much more.

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.

Cleaning Your Attic: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You

by Rebecca Shahan

Why should you clean your attic? Maybe it's unfinished and just used for storage, so you don't need to keep it clean, or so you think.

But dirt is dirt, and all that dust, dander, and mold can add up and irritate your lungs, and possibly make you sick. These allergens come into the rest of the house through ceiling hatches, doors, recessed lights, and heating and cooling systems (especially if they’re located in your attic).

Cleaning your attic will also let you put some great ideas to work to get more from this often neglected space.

Here's some helpful tips to get that attic clean and being a more useful space.

Attic Cleaning Basics

  • Dust walls, window frames, and rafters with an electrostatically charged cloth (think Swiffer) or duster, which grab twice as much dust as cotton cloths. Don’t forget to dust exposed roof trusses, attic fan blades, light bulbs, fixtures, hatches, and door frames.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum cleaner, which channels all vacuumed air through a filter designed to remove even microscopic particles. A less expensive choice: Install a top-quality, high-efficiency filter bag in your vacuum.
  • Line shop vacuums with a plastic bag, which traps irritants and makes debris disposal easy.
  • Wear a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) mask, which filters a high percentage of airborne particles.
  • If you suffer from asthma and allergies, hire a professional to remove the debris. There's no reason to risk your life. A clean attic is even more important for your health, but the cleaning process can be even more risky if you deal with asthma and allergies. A professional can remove that risk and make your attic a safer place for you.

Keeping Irritants Out of Your Attic

Preventing mold growth and sealing out insects and vermin helps reduce irritants in your attic.

Mold: Moisture can leak into your attic from a number of sources, such as roof leaks and old caulking. After a big storm, inspect your roof for missing shingles and fix any missing or broken ones immediately.

Don’t bother buying a home mold test kit, which may register mold spores that are constantly in the air anyway. If you suspect mold, or can see a mold-covered area that’s larger than about 10 sq. ft., call a certified indoor air quality professional to evaluate your situation.

Dust: Many of those tiny dust mites you see floating around are really dust mite particles, roach parts, and vermin dander made of dried saliva, urine, and feces.

These dust proteins can trigger allergic reactions, so search for tiny cracks and openings in your roof, walls, and windows where vermin and insects can enter. Seal attic air leaks with caulk and polyurethane foam, and repair any holes in attic ventilation screens that are under the eaves and in gable ends.

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.

Packing Hacks That Make Moving Less Awful

by Rebecca Shahan

No matter how you slice it, moving is exhausting. Packing up, moving, and then unpacking an entire house is the worst.

Yet there are ways you can cut down on all that aggravation, effort, and anxiety. Here's a few pro tips that can help during your next move.

Do a Pre-Pack Photo Shoot

Here's an idea that can save your memory and sanity. Trying to remember where all those cords go and how you had your bookshelf looking so good can get mind-numbing when you mix it in with the rest of the process.

Save yourself some grief by taking pre-packing photos of all those things that were hard to arrange int he first place, so you won't have to figure it out again. With photos in hand, you’ll be able to recreate it all in record time.

Corral Cords With Toilet Paper Rolls

There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to find extension cords when you need them during a move. You know you've seen them laying around, but where?

When you pack, wind up each cord in a 6-inch coil, then insert it in a toilet paper roll. You’ll have lots more room in the box, and no tangled mess to unpack later. Just remember to clearly label the box!

Create a "Moving Toolbox"

Keep all your moving tools, such as your Sharpies, packing tape, box cutter and such together in a “moving toolbox” that you can take from room to room as you pack. This will keep you from misplacing small essential items when your house is full of boxes.

Tape Appliance Cords to Their Homes

You could be exploring your new neighborhood, but you're too busy trying to find the right power cord for your appliances.

You can save more time by taping the plug to the appliance it belongs to. Then go get a taco on the corner with your reclaimed time.

Use Your Towels, Blankets as Packing Materials

Another way moving day gets frustratingly extended? Your third trip to the store to buy more bubble wrap.

Kudos on treating your breakables with care, you don’t need the store-bought stuff. Pot holders, oven mitts, and even those old paper and plastic grocery bags you were planning to recycle make great packing materials. Also consider towels, pillows, blankets, the kids’ stuffed animals — whatever’s soft!

Color-Code Boxes

If you’re paying movers, really get your money’s worth by making it easy for them to deposit every box in the right room.

Assign a color to each room, then mark that color on the outside of each box. Before movers arrive, add the correct color label to each room’s door. They’ll love the simplicity, and you’ll love not having to haul everything that was supposed to go in the office out of the playroom.

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.

Austin Home Remodeling Projects With Top-Dollar Returns

by Rebecca Shahan

Not every home improvement project brings the same return on the dollar. Certain improvements will yield a larger return when you sell your home.

Your home may be in the perfect location, with the right price and a perfect lot. But what about the house itself? Maybe not quite as perfect?

So where do you start in your improvement endeavors? How about with data? Data is that friend who tells you like it really is.

The “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS® has tons of data on how much improvements cost — and how much of those costs you can recoup.

Here are the best five home remodeling projects with equity-building might:

New Roof

If you find yourself sprinting for the buckets when it starts to sprinkle, getting a new roof should be your No. 1 to-do. Measuring rainfall from the indoors isn’t cool.

The cost: $7,500

The return: 109% at $8,150

Considering it’s what’s between you and the elements, it’s a no-brainer.

Not sure if you need a new roof? Signs you might include:

  • Shingles are missing, curling up, or covered in moss.
  • Gritty bits from the asphalt shingles are coming out the downspout.
  • The sun’s shining through your attic.
  • You notice stains on ceilings and walls.
  • Your energy bill is sky high.

Hardwood Floors

You flip on the TV to see that your fave home reno-ing duo is it at again, flipping a ranch that’s stuck in the ‘80s.

They make it to the living room, pull back the dingy carpet to reveal hardwood floors in great condition. They’re psyched — and for good reason.

Hardwood floors are a timeless classic. Refinishing is a no-brainer. Neither will you regret adding new hardwood floors if you have none.

The cost to refinish: $2,500

The return: 100% at $2,500

The cost to buy new: $5,500

The return: 91% at $5,000

New Garage Door

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto this #winning list — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal at a relatively modest cost.

The cost: $2,300 (for a two-door)

The return: 87% at $2,000

There are options galore, too. A host of factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel, and glass window insets are just some of the possibilities that’ll give your doors bankable personality.

Better Insulation

Insulation is tucked out of sight, so it’s often out of mind — that is, until you’re forced to wear your parka indoors because it’s sooo darn cold.

The cost: $2,100

The return: 76% at $1,600 (plus the added savings on heating and cooling costs!)

New Siding

In any color! And never paint again.

Those are two of the three benefits of vinyl siding. The third, of course, is your home’s value.

But if long-time homeowners look at you funny when you mention vinyl siding, just tell them that today’s vinyl is way better than what they remember because of fade-resistant finishes and transferable lifetime warranties.

The cost: $13,350

The return: 75% at $10,000

Want fiber-cement siding instead? It also shows a strong payback of 83%. Although it’s the pricier option — you’ll spend about $18,000 with a payback of about $15,000 — it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

And quality matters. Quality is the one of the most important traits that home buyers focused on when house hunting.

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.

Enjoy a Romantic Valentine's Day Dinner in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

​Have you made plans yet for your romantic outing in Austin? Valentine's Day is coming up fast this Thursday, so don't forget to show your special someone how much you care. And Austin the ideal place for a romantic evening.

Here's some of the best restaurants for Valentine's Day in Austin:

Le Politique

Don't have a date for Valentine's Day? Le Politique will celebrate Galentine’s Day during lunch + dinner on February 13th. Groups of ladies are welcome to make a reservation to celebrate one another. You'll get two complimentary heart-shaped macarons as well. Reservations can be made at https://lepolitiqueaustin.com/reservations.

Central Standard

Central Standard’s is featuring a special Valentine’s Day menu including truffled mashed potatoes, grilled broccolini with braised cippollini onions, porcini mushrooms and wagyu ribeye for sharing. Reservations can be made at https://centralstandardaustin.com/reservations.

La Condesa

La Condesa will feature their A La Carte Dinner special which will be available 2/14 to 2/16. The menu includes Huachinango ($17); Tamal de Pato ($19); Pescado Asado ($39); NY Strip ($45); and Pan y Chocolate ($10). 

Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse & Brewery

The Uncle Billy’s winter seasonal beer, Shokolad Chocolate Imperial Stout, is back for its third season just in time for Valentine’s Day. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Uncle Billy’s will have a series of sweet pairings during the week of February 11. They will close out the sweet week with two Shokolad Firkins released on Friday, Feb. 15 with an aged cask of Shokolad and a cask of Shokolad infused with chili peppers.

Aloft Hotel

Element  at the Aloft Hotel, will feature a Galentine’s Day special with two buckets of Infinite Monkey Wine in room upon arrival, $250 dining and drinking credit at onsite restaurants & bar, four packages containing robes, slippers, face masks, nail polish and chocolates. Available 2/8-2/18. The Indulgence Package features a sweet treat by Chef Jessica and a bottle of champagne waiting in room upon arrival.

Caroline Restaurant

Caroline’s Valentine’s Day menu specials include Smoked Beef Tataki – $16; Lobster Dinner- $38; and Red Hot Cinnamon Cheesecake – $9. There’s also a featured cocktail – Love Potion No. 9 – $9. Caroline is located in the Aloft Hotel downtown.

Have a happy and romantic Valentine'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.

Staircase Makeovers That Most Any DIYer Can Tackle

by Rebecca Shahan

When it comes to DIY home improvement, usually the staircase gets overlooked. Yet if you take a second look at your stairs, you'll see that they can really make a difference in the appearance of your home.

What are some ways you can spruce up those old stairs and bring up the appeal to potential buyers?

These DIY staircase projects can get you started.

The Look of Tile Using Stencils

You can't beat the look and classic feel of black and white. And there's no material more dignified than tile.

You don't need to get a loan to cover each riser in custom tile. You can get some paint and a stencil for the same effect.

If you have a longer staircase, consider stenciling every other riser. You want to delight climbers, not make them dizzy.

A Pretty Pattern With Chalk Paint

A personalized staircase doesn't need to take over the interior design of the house.

You can use chalk paint to give your stairs a soft, subtle look. The pretty pattern is unique enough to feel custom, but the light colors and chalky finish prevent it from overpowering the room.

And here’s a tip for any time you’re painting a staircase: Consider leaving the banister unpainted for a nice pop of contrast.

An Eclectic Look With Real Tile

You can also use tile to give your stairs a great look and offer more durability.

Creating alternating sets of pattern and complementary colors on each riser makes for a one-of-a-kind staircase that’s anything but redundant. While trimming tile to fit stair risers might be above some DIYers’ pay grade, this personalized look could be worth flagging down an expert to pull off.

A Way to Show Off Your Reading Obsession

Have a specific obsession? Decals are a great way for your staircase to share your fandom.

Peel-and-stick decals can be customized with your choice of words or images. Bibliophiles can choose book titles like these, but thanks to the wide world of available decals, you can also find favorite sayings, patterns, characters. Just make sure not to do this if you plan on selling your home soon. This is for those of you who want to customize a home you plan to stay in for a while or just bought.

When working with decals, just make sure to read the fine print. These decals, for example, are just the lettering of the book titles, so painting the risers is a project you’d need to take on first.

A Stair Runner Out of Floor Runners

Standard stair runners are as snooze-worthy as the stairs they cover. Don’t settle if you can’t find one that makes your heart dance.

ouble-check you’ve picked a rug that’s narrower than your stairs. Rugs come in such a blinding variety of dimensions, it’s easy to pick the wrong one.

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.

Upcoming Events in Lake Travis & Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

One of the many great reasons to own a home in Lake Travis or Austin is all the great ways to have fun. The Austin area is host to many great events that celebrate the culture and flavor of Austin. Here's a few upcoming events in the Austin area that are sure to bring excitement to your life.

Carnaval Brasileiro
2/9/19 | Emo's

Carnaval in Austin is one of the biggest Brazilian Carnaval celebrations outside Brazil. Brasileiro-style samba, costumes and wild abandon can all be seen in the heart of Texas. 
 

Austin Marathon & Half Marathon
2/17/19 | Downtown Austin

One of the country's premier races attracts nearly 20,000 participants from around the world. Events surrounding the marathon include a 5K, live music, finish line festival and beer garden.


Austin Oyster Festival
2/23/19 | Republic Square

This is one tasty festival you don’t want to miss! The Oyster Festival is an annual hit among locals and visitors alike. Not sure which kind of oyster you prefer? Try ‘em all while enjoying a little live Cajun and “newgrass” music on the lawn!
 

SXSW® Music, Film and Interactive Conference and Festival
3/8/19 - 3/17/19 | Various Locations

Austin Convention Center and more than 50 venues host noted filmmakers, musicians, and multimedia artists from around the world converge to showcase music, film and interactive media during this internationally-recognized event.

Rodeo Austin
3/16/19 - 3/30/19 | Travis County Expo Center

Over the years, Rodeo Austin has grown from a show featuring 16 animals into one of Austin's premier events, featuring Pro rodeo events, daily concerts, livestock show and more. 

St. Patrick's Day Festival
3/17/19 | Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms

This annual family-friendly festival celebrates all things Irish. Come enjoy authentic Celtic music and dancers, Irish language workshops, the finest Irish imports and plenty of good craic!

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 1-8 of 8

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