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Have a Happy 4th of July in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

When it comes to celebrating Independence Day, there's no better place to spend the day than Austin and Lake Travis. You'll find plenty of ways to celebrate freedom here, with fireworks and parties to liven your 4th of July holiday. Here's a few events coming up in the Austin area to plan for.

H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks
8 PM | Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park

The Austin Symphony Orchestra will present the largest Independence Day celebration in Austin. Tens of thousands of families will be decked out in red, white, and blue for an amazing event complete with a fireworks display over the city skyline backed by symphonic patriotic classics.

2019 July 4th Fireworks Paddle
7:15 – 10:30 PM | Rowing Dock

Be dazzled by the fireworks display over Lady Bird Lake from the best seat in the house – your boat! Late night rentals of kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards are by reservation with prepayment only.

July 4th Frontier Days Celebration
8 PM | Old Settlers Park

The Austin Symphonic Band will perform in front of a crowd of thousands at Round Rock's Old Settlers Park, as part of the annual July 4 Frontier Days Celebration. Watermelon, sky divers, music and fireworks celebrate the 4th of July.

Fourth of July Austin Symphony and Orchestra
Auditorium Shores at Town Lake Metropolitan Park

Central Texas' Largest Fireworks Show with a live performance by the Austin Symphony Orchestra.

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July 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. 

Attic & Basement Storage Ideas to Gain More Space

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you looking for more storage? Your basement or attic may be the ideal locations to create storage space. And more than just gaining space, you'll give your home more selling value.

Here's a a few ways you can get more storage in your home and free up space.

Conceal the Mess With Built-Ins

Built-in shelving is a great way to add more storage, and can be a DIY project. And if you don't feel like making them yourself, having a carpenter do it shouldn't break the bank.

Cover With a Curtain

If you don't have the time or money for built-ins, then you can use tubs or plastic containers. You can then keep them out of site by dividing a basement room in two with a curtain, giving a finished basement a dual purpose. It's also money-smart, because you'll get those finished-basement benefits without the wall-to-wall costs.

The key? Visual separation between the two. Science says clutter makes us anxious, so this basement storage idea suggests hiding the mess with a curtain. Choose a heavy curtain to keep out the basement chill.

Take Advantage of Rafter Space

Most people don't think about the rafters, but they can make for a smart storage solution. You can store lesser-used seasonal items on wall-to-wall shelves in the rafters. This will give you even more space for items you use more often.

Go Modular Beneath the Stairs

That behind-the-stairs space can be tricky to fill: nothing quite fits right. But this ingenious modular basement under stair storage idea fits any sloped space, no matter the size. Use wooden crates or build your own stacking boxes to fit all your storage needs.

Paint the back of the boxes to add color and interest, or to clarify whose stuff goes where. Bonus: If your kid knows the red-painted boxes are theirs, they'll be less likely to scatter stuff everywhere.

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.

Get the Most of Your Summer in Lake Travis

by Rebecca Shahan

Summer is here and there's no better way to enjoy the warm weather than in Lake Travis!  There's no end of fun to be had in Lake Travis.

Whether you want to have a sunset dinner, cruise around on the lake, get pampered at a spa, or zip through the trees, there's something for everyone to get eh most out of summer.

Take a look at the top 4 things to do in Lake Travis:

Zip Through the Trees

There's no bigger thrill than zipping along over 2800 feet of scenic beauty. Lake Travis Zipline Adventures will thrill you and your family with he longest zipline in Texas. As you hike up to your zipline launching point, your professional tour guide will offer an educational and fun experience.  Then you launch off a cliff and soar for over 2800 ft. There are shorter zip lines as well for the more faint of heart.

Watch the Sunset

Spectacular sunsets define Lake Travis. You can watch the spectacular sunsets from a variety of vantage points, on water or lakeside. How about a romantic dinner as you take in the sunset at Beau Theriot’s “Sunset Capital of Texas”The views from it's terraces perched 450 feet over the lake will leave you breathless. And so will the food. The Oasis, as it's known, is home to some of the best live music anywhere on the lake.

Have a Spa Day

You deserve a little pampering, don't you? Spend a day relaxing at the Lakeway Resort and Spa. This full service spa and resort features a great array of ways to pamper yourself. In addition to the full-service spa, there's three large swimming pools, a whirlpool, a swim-up bar and a slide area perfect for the kids. After a day of relaxing and playing, you can cap off the evening with a splendid meal at restaurant with outside seating featuring spectacular lake views. 

Play or Relax at Volente Beach Resort

Volente Beach Resort is a great place for the whole family to relax and play. The resort features a waterpark with a number of themed areas for the kids. You can also enjoy a casual meal at Beachside Billy’s restaurant with a beach bar and grill. You can even rent a bungalow to stay overnight and enjoy the amenities even longer.

There’s more to Lake Travis than meets the eye.  Make sure to check back on our blog for more great things to do in Lake Travis and Austin. 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.​

Don't Make These Mistakes When Buying a Home in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Your home buying experience in Austin and Lake Travis should be one that creates great memories and excitement. The trick is to not let all that excitement get out of hand and lead to you making mistakes during the home buying process.

Here are some common home buying mistakes and how you can avoid them.

"I Saw the House Online. It's Perfect — Let's Make an Offer Before It's Gone!"

Photos are never enough to show you everything you need to know about a home. They are meant to be a preview.

Consider this:

  • Agents take photos that they want you to see. They can't show every nook and cranny.
  • You need more than just sight to truly evaluate a home. How does the home flow? What can you smell or hear?
  • Wide angle lenses are used in photos sometimes to make homes look larger.

Before you make an offer, look at the home, the yard, and the neighborhood in person.

"I Want to Buy This House. And Look, There's an Agent Right Here!"

When you go to an open house, the seller's agent is usually there to host it. You might think that's convenient. But remember that the agent represents the seller, not you.

If you start trying to negotiate with the seller agent on your own, you could compromise your negotiation. So make sure you hire a buyer's agent who will work on your behalf and help you get the best home for your needs.

"If a House Doesn't Have Everything On My List, I'm Not Looking At It."

You should make a "needs" and "wants" list of what you want in a home. But don't turn it into strightjacket. It should be a guide to help you find the home with the right balance of features.

You need to prioritize your list to make sure it guides you to the right home and not keep you from it.

Not sure what should go on your list? This worksheet can help you get your priorities straight: The Ultimate “I Wanna Buy a House" Checklist.

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.

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.

5 Tips For First Time Home Buyers

by Rebecca Shahan

5 tips for first time home buyersIf you're ready to buy your first home, no doubt you've realized already there's a lot of things you need to think about. It can seem overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be.  Millions of people have bought homes before, and we know what makes the process go more smoothly. All it takes is planning and patience.

There are some simple steps you can take to make sure your home buying experience goes more smoothly. Here's a few things to think about before you decide to buy.

How Much Home Can You Afford?

Like any purchase, you need to know how much you can afford. It can be disappointing to find out you can't afford the home you fall in love with. The best thing to do is to determine the maximum amount you can afford.  An online mortgage calculator is a great way to start. You can find out your maximum price limit based on a 30 year mortgage.

You can also pin down a more exact amount of what you can afford is to talk to a loan officer at your bank. A loan officer will have a better idea of what the bank will loan you and what your down payment will need to be.

Knowing how much you can afford in advance, along with being pre-approved for a loan, will give you an advantage over buyers who haven't taken this step.  And it will save you time, since you know exactly what you can afford before you start your home search.

What Are The Must Haves In a Home?

Knowing what you want in a home, and what you don't want, is important. Sit down and think about all the things that you must have in a home, and the things that will make life miserable. Write it all down and use it in your home search. Show it to your agent as well so they know what to look for. You can adjust your list as you look at homes and see first hand what's available.

Use an Experienced Local Real Estate Agent

The right agent who knows the area inside and out makes a huge difference. Research the real estate agents in the are you're moving to.  If you have friends or family who've bought a home there recently, ask them for a referral. If not, read reviews online.

A good agent will know the area you're moving to inside and out, and will pay attention to your needs. In many cases, a great agent will have repeat clients over the years. They will also be able to connect you to loan officer and real estate attorneys, along with other needed professionals.

Compare Prices

You should look at homes in the area that are comparable to get an idea of what they're selling for.

You can easily compare homes in the area you plan to move to using tools such as our Home Search feature.

Ask Your Real Estate Agent About Closing Costs

Closing costs can vary, so make sure you determine the expected costs in advance to avoid any nasty financial issues during closing. Closing costs can include the costs of hiring an attorney to look over the  seller agreement, along with a home appraiser to inspect the home before the sale. A good real estate agent will be happy to help you determine closing costs.

Being a first time home buyer may seem daunting, but it's something you can accomplish successfully with the right planning and information.

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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