Real Estate Information Archive


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Remodeling to Get the Most ROI Selling Your Home

by Rebecca Shahan

Get the most ROI on selling your home in AustinAre you planning on selling your home in Austin or Lake Travis? If so, you no doubt want to do what you can to get the most money from the sale.  How old is you home? When was it remodeled or painted last?  If it's been a while, then it may be a good idea to look into updating your home. A dated or worn down appearance can take away from the resale value.  But where's the balance to avoid spending more than you get back in the sale?  Which projects will get back the most money and add to the appeal of your home to buyers? 

Not every improvement will increase the value of your home. Certain projects will only preserve the value, while others will help increase it.  In the end, you need to focus on what will increase the value.

So to get down to it, what are the projects that get the highest ROI?

Outside Projects

Nothing improves a home more than enhancing curb appeal. Most buyers will judge a home by how it looks from the outside.  Just about any project that enhances how your home looks on the outside will enhance the value. The projects that can get back the most money in the sale are replacing the garage door, replacing a steel door entry, adding or improving a wood deck, along with siding and facade projects. If you don't have enough money for those improvements, just adding a fresh coat of paint can make a huge difference. Make sure you keep with neutral colors so as not to put off any potential buyers.

Kitchens and Baths

We all know that the kitchen is the heart of the home.  We rely on our stove and fridge, along with other appliances. If your kitchen has older appliances, you may want to update them. Baths are also an important place to keep fresh.  If the baths have dated flooring and counters, you should think about updating them as well.

The Little Things

This may all sound like it costs too much to take on.  But that's OK, as you can focus on the little things. Updating the little things can really help sell your home. You can give your home a fresh coat of paint, trim trees and bushes, plant new bushes and landscaping. De-cluttering and cleaning your home only costs time. If you have an unfinished basement, you can put gray epoxy on the floor and paint the walls white. Never underestimate the power of improving the little things.

Every home and neighborhood is different in Austin. If you need help deciding what improvements would be best to sell your home, we know what sells a home in Austin and Lake Travis and what buyers are looking for. And make sure to check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice. And make sure you take advantage of our Home Valuation to get an instant market valuation for your Austin area home.


5 Spring Gardening Tips

by Rebecca Shahan

Gardening tips for Lake Travis and AustinSpring has arrive in Austin and Lake Travis, so get those tools tools out of the shed and get ready to get your garden back in shape. How can you get the most from your garden this spring? Here's a few simple tips to help you get started on growing a fantastic garden this spring.


During the winter, leaves and other debris can build up. And certainly weeds have built up. If you're pulling weeds rather than using weed killer, make sure you get the roots so they don't grow back as fast.  Also take time to sharpen your garden tools if needed, since you'll be getting a lot of use out of them.


During the winter, your soil may get dry and compact. You can help the soil by adding organic material such as compost or manure. You may also want to test the soil to see what exact nutrients are needed so that you get the right mix.

Trim the Old Plants

You may have some plants that survived during the winter, so they will need to be pruned so that they'll have new growth during the Spring. April or May is the ideal time to prune to avoid any unexpected freezing. The best time to prune summer plants is in early spring. 

Spread Mulch

Spreading 1 - 3 inches of mulch helps control the temperature and keep in the moisture in your garden, along with preventing weeds. Make sure you keep the mulch a few inches from the roots to prevent rotting.

New Plants

Why not explore planting new flowers and shrubs this year? Here's some great spring plants you might try:

  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Vegetables like lettuce, peas and arugula
  • Redbuds
  • Transplanting tomato plants from indoor pots to outside
  • Lilacs
  • Tulips

If you chose to plant more perennials than annuals, it might help over the years as annuals need to be replaced every year. Perennials can last up to 3 years, making them a better investment.

Join us on our blog every week for more real estate advice.  You can also search for your dream home in Lake Travis and Austin using our convenient and powerful home search tool.

Keeping Your Home Cool With Less A/C

by Rebecca Shahan

Stay cool in Asutin with less ACSpring is here in Austin and Lake Travis and Summer is soon to come, along with warmer weather.  In fact, this week the forecast is for temps in the 80's.  No doubt you're getting the A/C ready.  And if you don't have an air conditioner or cooling system, then you want every possible advantage to keep your home cool this year.  And even if you do have an A/C, running it non-stop can get expensive.  How can you keep your power usage down and still stay cool this summer? Here's a few tips that can help you saty cooler.

Run Fans

Sure this may sound obvious, but it certainly still bears mentioning.  The more air you circulate around the home, the cooler you'll feel even if the temperature remains the same. Plus it will help remove stagnant stale air that can add to your discomfort in the heat.

Run Appliances When It's Cooler

Try to schedule doing dishes or laundry during cooler times of the day.  These appliances build up heat and can cause the A/C to run longer, or make it harder to cool your home without A/C. Certainly avoid using these appliances during the mid-day heat if at all possible.

Cover Windows

Large windows let in sun, especially facing the south. Keeping them covered will help reflect the sunlight and keep your rooms cooler. Blackout curtains that have white on the side facing the window and darker colors facing the inside can help the most.

Plant Trees and Bushes

Landscaping is not only a beautiful ways to shield your home from the sun, but it's efficient and effective.

Attic Fan

An attic fan can suck the heat out of your living area, which can lower the temperature of your home.

Keep Thermostats Away From Heat

A thermostat located near a heat source can cause the A/C to run longer. Try to place appliances away from the thermostat.

Avoid Rocks & Cement

Landscaping with a lot of rocks and cement can soak up the heat and radiate it, especially on the south and west sides of your home.

Window Film

Properly installing window film can improve the efficiency of any window and help reduce heat.

With these few tips, you can stay cooler and save money during the warmer times of the year.  Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and helpful articles.

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.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5