Real Estate Information Archive


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Should You Buy a Second Home?

by Rebecca Shahan

Do you dream of buying a 2nd home, or vacation home? Of course many people do.  It’s kind of a rite of passage, getting married. Buying a 2nd home can be a strong investment.  It’s also a sign that you’re doing financially well and can plan more for retirement.  And since finance rates are lower than they’ve been for a while, now may be a good time to think about whether you should buy a second home.

The main question is why should you should buy a 2nd home? Answering this question will help you see where your priorities are.

You Can Afford It

Can you afford to buy a 2nd home or vacation home?  Usually, the age range for people who buy an additional home is 40s -50s.  By this time, their children may have moved out.  Therefore, they don’t have as much reason to remain in the same place, especially as they get closer to retirement.  Also, by the time most people get to that age, they’re making a higher income and have more in savings.

A Good Investment

If you’re looking for a great investment, an additional home may be just the right choice. But don’t forget, there are still risks. Make sure to look for a home in an area that’s growing, as it could improve the property value over time.

Comfortable Retirement

Since most people buy a 2nd home in the latter half of their lives, they are planning for retirement or at least thinking about retiring by that age. Owning a second home can be a great way to plan for retirement.

Let’s say you want to retire to a community with a beautiful lake front and sunny skies such as Lake Travis (assuming you don’t live here already). Why not search for a home in the area you want to retire? That way you’ll already have the home and it will have increased in value until then.

Tax Benefits

Everyone loves a good solid tax break. The great news is that you can write off the property taxes on a second home. And it doesn’t matter if it’s an investment, rental, or for your own use. You can also deduct interest, insurance, and depreciation against your home’s value.

Buying a second home may not be for everyone. But if it’s something you can do, take time to consider the advantages and disadvantages before you make the big move.

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 And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Is a Recession Fueled Housing Crisis Coming?

by Rebecca Shahan

Over the past decade or so, our nation has been benefiting from economic growth.  Yet, after all this growth, economists and analysts agree that a recession is looming. Zillow Research recently highlighted a Pulsenomics survey that analyzed the housing market by surveying market analysts and experts.  The report also revealed the possible timing of the next recession.

Experts largely expect the next recession to begin in 2020.”

This analysis agrees with a recent survey of economists by the Wall Street Journal:

“The economic expansion that began in mid-2009 and already ranks as the second-longest in American history most likely will end in 2020 as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to cool off an overheating economy, according to forecasters surveyed.”

But there's no need to panic.  A recession doesn't mean that there will be a housing crisis.

Here's how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a recession:

“A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”

A recession means that the economy is slowing down. But just because the economy slows down, it doesn't mean the housing market will. Sure, a housing crash cause the recession of 2008. But notice that the recession did not cause the housing crisis. In fact, during the previous five recessions home values appreciated.

According to the experts surveyed by Pulsenomics, the top three probable triggers for the next recession are:

  • Monetary policy
  • Trade policy
  • A stock market correction

A housing market correction was ranked ninth in probability. Those same experts also projected that home values would continue to appreciate in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.  

There are other experts who agree that the housing market won't be affected by a recession:

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economistexplained:

“If a recession is to occur, it is unlikely to be caused by housing-related activity, and therefore the housing sector should be one of the leading sources to come out of the recession.”

And U.S. News and World Report agreed:

“Fortunately – and hopefully – the history of recessions and current issues that could harm the economy don’t lead many to believe the housing market crash will repeat itself in an upcoming decline.”

To sum it up, a recession may be in our future, but it doesn't mean that there will be a housing crisis.

Add Value to Your Home With Great Landscaping

by Rebecca Shahan

Everyone loves a well landscaped home. Landscaping is such an important part of your property’s value that it can actually raise your home value by up to 11%, sometimes even more.  Better yet is that even though landscaping has such a big impact on your home’s value, it’s one of the easiest home improvements you can make. Here’s a few tips to help you make your landscaping a valuable asset for your home.

Match the Style of Your Home

You need to make sure that the landscaping matches or compliments the style of your home. A Victorian home would not look so great with a Japanese garden, for example. For a Victorian home, a cottage style or country landscape would work best as it fits in with the formality of the home.  By contrast, modern homes look best with landscaping that has greenery and natural looking beds that blend in with the contours of your property. You would definitely not want to plant a formal garden with a modern home.

Have a Plan

Make sure you lay it all out in your mind and on paper. Good landscaping has a balance between too many plants and just pain grass. A few points of interest is the best way to go. Diversity in your planting is a good thing, but with care. In other words, don’t get every type of plant at the garden center.  You should aim for a uniform look that has just enough variety to make your landscaping interesting.

Seasons Change

Don’t just plant for one season.  Your landscaping should look good all year. For example, in Spring you may want blooming bulbs, in summer annual beds, in fall shrubs with bright leaves, and in winter you might want evergreens. Buyers will see that the landscape will be attractive all year, further increasing its value.


Despite how some may feel, trees add value to a home. According to one study, homes on streets lined with trees had a 10 – 15 percent higher sale price compared to similar neighborhoods with fewer trees. Trees have many advantages beyond removing carbon dioxide and pollution from the air.  They also keep your home cooler and relieve stress.


A well maintained lawn can look even better when it’s edged. An edged lawn gives the appearance of being easy to maintain since there’s fewer weeks. It’s also a great first impression for buyers, as it shows that you take meticulous care of your lawn and property.

A great landscape job will always improve the value of your home, especially if you plan it out and focus on balance.

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 And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

What to Expect With a Home Inspection

by Rebecca Shahan

A home inspection is a must when selling or buying a home. It brings peace of mind to both buyers and sellers knowing that the home is structurally sound. Here is the whole process outlined, along with how to get the best out of your home inspection.

Why Have Your Home Inspected?

Having your home inspected as a seller is beneficial because it allows you to list the home for a higher value after you make all the needed repairs. A with fewer problems is easier and faster to sell because the buyer won’t have to make those repairs.

Make sure your home inspector has a good track record. You can do this by researching home inspectors in your area and looking up what people say about them or by hiring a home inspector trusted by someone you know.

During the Home Inspection

Make sure to be there during the home inspection so that the inspector can point out possible problems in person and explain the options you have to fix those issues. You can have the opportunity to ask questions, take notes, and take photos. This will also help you learn about what things to check for when buying a home. Make sure to check each possible home issue to protect yourself from bigger problems down the road.

Recheck and Take Notes

After the home inspection, go over the identified problems and take a closer look at what is found. This will help you with negotiation whether or buying or selling. You can add or deduct from the sale or buying price depending on what needs to be repaired.

Discuss and Negotiate Repairs

If you’re selling the home, either you can do the repairs needed and then list the home for a higher price or not make the repairs, then offer the home for a slightly lowered price.

If you’re the buyer, you can ask for an asking price deduction that is equal to the estimated cost of repairs if you’re buying the home as-is. Another option is to suggest that the current owner get repairs done and then you buy it after a re-inspection following the repairs. This would be best for very expensive repairs such as for changing the entire roof or re-plumbing the entire home.

A good home inspection can make the difference between a smooth transaction and a disaster.  Make sure you find the right inspector and be involved in the process.

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 And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

4th of July Celebrations in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

The 4th of July is only a few weeks away, so it’s time to think about how you plan to celebrate our independence in Austin. Austin will be full of fun and memorable ways to celebrate, from the usual fireworks to parades and live music. Here’s a few 4th of July events coming up in Austin to look forward to.

H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks

The fireworks at the Long Center for the Performing Arts is where you’ll find families decked out in red, white, and blue at Vic Mathias Shores. This amazing event featuring a fireworks display will fill the city skyline with spectacular colors. Make sure you get there early for a perfect place on the grass.

Westlake 4th of July Parade

The Westlake parade begins at 9 am featuring live music, bouncy house games and fun activities after the parade. You and your pets can compete in a costume contest. There will also be breakfast tacos from Texas Honey Ham, cookies from P. Terry’s and ice cream at Northstar Bank.  The best part is it’s all FREE!

4th of July Celebration at Blue Starlite

Come to the Blue Starlite Urban Mini Drive- In’s Independence Day celebration and watch the movie Independence Day starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum.  After the movie, enjoy a fireworks show on their high definition screen. And you can enjoy this all from the comfort of your car.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

Spend the 4th of July with Willie Nelson! Live Nation, C3 Presents, and Circuit of The Americas (COTA) are hosting the return of Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic to Circuit of The Americas.  Country music legend and American treasure Willie Nelson hosts one of America’s most celebrated festivals.

Grey Rock Stars and Stripes Firework Show

Celebrate independence day at the Grey Rock Golf Golf Course and Tennis Club with their annual Stars and Stripes event the first week of July! Members and their friends can buy tickets to get an up-close relaxing view of the event from the 18th Fairway. There’s great food the whole family will enjoy along with some of the best fireworks in South Austin.

Whatever you do this 4th of July, make sure you have a fun and safe Independence Day in Austin!

Tips to Get Your Family to Clean Out the Closets

by Rebecca Shahan

Messy closets. We all have them, especially if we have children. And of course, most children aren’t crazy about cleaning and organizing closets.  For that matter, most adults don’t look forward to the chore either. Since most of us have a busy life, how can you get on top of keeping your closets clean? How can you get your family to help?

Organizing closets may seem like a daunting task. But if you have a family, hopefully you can recruit them to help out. What are some ways you can get your family to help?


Talk with your family about what you want to accomplish before you start. If you can all agree on goals, this will help everyone be happy with what’s to come. In other words, don’t just announce that it’s time to clean all the closets. Make sure you let your children know there will be a reward in it for them according to how much they accomplish.


What are your goals with organizing your closets? Do you just want them to look cleaner, or do you want more detailed organization? If you lay out your plan before you start, this will help enormously. Are there any clothes you don’t wear?  Set realistic goals to clean out unwanted items, and then organize what’s left.  Setting realistic goals will help to avoid disappointment.


Who doesn’t want a fun reward for a job well done?  Take regular breaks, and reward your family with things that you know they love. Pizza night? Going out for ice cream? You know what your family loves to eat or do, so try to make that happen for them when they reach a goal. Making the experience fun and rewarding will go a long way to making your goals a reality.

Unwanted Items

You’ll almost certainly come across things you don’t want or need any more. Make a pile or put them in boxes to either donate or sell. Donating useful items to charities such as Goodwill is a great way to teach your children to give. Or you can also try some consignment shops to make some fast cash.

Organizing your closets can actually be a rewarding experience for the whole family. It teaches your kids cooperation and organizational skills.  And it can be a fun time if you plan ahead.

Make sure to visit our blog every week for more home decorating ideas, local articles, and real estate news. And if you plan to move to the Lake Travis or Austin area, you can search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool.

Is a 15-Year Mortgage Right For You?

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you planning to buy a home in Austin and want to pay it off faster and save money? If so, then a 15-year mortgage can be a great way to pay off your mortgage in half the time and save tons of money on interest. Just keep in mind that to really get the most from this type of mortgage, you need to have enough income to keep on top of the payments, along with all your regular expenses. This fact alone can deter home buyers to stay away from a 15-year mortgage, since the payments are about 50% higher than a similar 30-year mortgage.

As with any mortgage, there’s pros and cons.  What are the pros and cons of a 15-year mortgage?


  • Owning your home faster. Your home will be paid for in only 15 years.  Plus you’ll have peace of mind that it belongs to you after it’s paid off.
  • Builds equity. Paying off the principal faster helps you build more equity.
  • Save money. As there’s fewer years of risk in a 15-year loan, they have a lower interest rate. And since the term is shorter, you save even more money on interest.


  • Higher payments. The payments will be 50% higher than a 30-year loan, so you need to be sure you can keep up with them.
  • Locked up equity. The equity you’re building is locked up in the home. The only way to use it is to sell the home or refinancing.
  • Missing other opportunities. Higher payments means you may not have enough money to take advantage of other financial opportunities, such as investments or matching your employers contribution to a retirement account.
  • Lower quality home.  Since you aren’t stretching your payments over 30-years, you won’t qualify for as high of an amount as you would with a 30-year loan.

To sum up, a 15-year loan is an ideal way for those who can afford the higher payments to save money and own their home more quickly. But if you’re not entirely sure your finances are stable, then you should avoid a 15-year mortgage. 

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 And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7