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Lake Travis Texas Real Estate Blog

Rebecca Shahan

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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.

Trees

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.

Edging

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 WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. 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 WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. 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?

Discussion

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.

Planning

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.

Rewards

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?

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

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

First Time Buyers - Avoid These Common Mistakes

by Rebecca Shahan

Avoid these first time buyer mistakesAre you ready to buy your first home?  If so, this is an important time for you.  This is a big decision, so don’t get caught up in the emotions and make the same mistakes that so many first time buyers make. Let’s take a look at just a few of those mistakes and what can be done to avoid them.

Picking Out a House Before the Mortgage

Having enough money to buy your home is a step you would think most people would realize. But it turns out that many first time buyers get so excited that they start looking at houses before they secure financing. You can’t blame people for doing this, as looking at homes is definitely more fun shopping for a mortgage. But if you don’t know what you can afford beforehand, it can lead to disappointment if you can’t finance enough money to buy the home you want.

Make sure you talk with a lending professional to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan before you start looking at any houses.  You’ll have a better idea of what you can afford. And it also gives you leverage, as the seller will be more confident that you’re serious.

Not Looking at First Time Buyer Programs

As a first time buyer, you may not have a lot of money saved up to put down on a home and cover closing costs. This may lead you to think that you have to wait until you save enough for a huge down payment.

However, there are programs such as Veterans Administration or U.S. Department of Agriculture loans that don’t require a down payment. You may also qualify for a Federal Housing Administration loan that only need a down payment of 3.5%. Even some conventional loans have down payments as low as 3%. You never know until you ask.

Applying For Credit Before Closing

The closing period is the worst time to apply for new credit, as some make the mistake of applying for credit cards so they can buy furniture and other items for their new home.  To be blunt, that is a huge error on their part. The lender will be looking at your credit during this period and will base their decision on your debt-to-income ratio.  Applying for credit can lower your score. About a week before closing they will also check your score.  So if they see any change in credit activity, it could change the interest rate or fees.

Pick out what you want to buy ahead of time, and then get any needed credit after the closing.

Not Having the Home Inspected

Not having a home inspected before you buy it is only asking for trouble. Homes, especially older ones, can have many issues that are hidden from immediate view. You need to be able to see the hidden issues. Some buyers feel that if they waive the inspection that it will give them an edge on other buyers.  But if you end up buying a home that needs major repairs, it ends up being a bad deal anyways. 

The simple solution is to hire a home inspector of your own choosing.  This way they won’t have any bias toward the home seller or your agent, and can give you an honest assessment.

Buying your first home can be a positive experience if you take the time and make wise decisions with the future in mind. 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.  

A Home WIth a View of Lake Travis - What Is It Worth to You?

by Rebecca Shahan

How much is a view of Lake Travis worth to you?The amazing views in the Lake Travis area are certainly what draws people to move here. But the real question is how much it’s worth to you to see those amazing views of the hills, water, or other scenic features from your front window? What you need to decide is how extra you’re willing to pay for a stunning view.

According to appraisers and analysts, there’s no simple answer. “Views are actually really difficult to quantify. It’s somewhat subjective,” according to Principal data scientist Andy Krause at Greenfield Advisors.  “What makes a better water view? Do you want it to be wider? Do you want more of the water from a taller angle? You know, some of that is in the eye of the beholder.”

And that’s a great thing to consider when it comes to living in a location like Lake Travis. What kind of view matters the most to you?

If a view is a must have for your next home in the Lake Travis area, here’s a couple of tips.

Is the view protected?

In Houston, a homeowner sued after a high-rise office tower was built across the street. Not only did the office block their view, but workers could see their back yard and pool. Were they protected from this intrusion? As it turns out, no. With some basic research, they would have seen that the area was zoned for such a building, and so the lawsuit was dismissed. How can you avoid this happening to you?  Make sure to check with planning authorities about zoning near your home and if there’s any large projects planned where your view is going to be.

Find a Great View with a Not As Great House

What if you find a house with a great view, but the windows are smaller and don’t show off the scenery? This may be a great opportunity, as you can pay less for the home and then spend money later for a remodel to add larger windows or perhaps a rooftop deck. Make sure you check the deed for restrictions as well as homeowner association rules, if any.

What could be better than a home with a spectacular view of the Lake Travis area? If you’re looking to buy a home in Lake Travis, whether it’s a view of the lake, or just a regular view, we can help you find the perfect home. You can also search for your dream home now using our convenient home search tool.

Have a Memorable Memorial Day in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

Memoral Day Parades in Austin

Memorial Day is almost here.  It’s a time to celebrate our freedom and honor those who sacrificed their lives for it. What better way to do that than a parade? It’s a great way for families and communities to come together, have fun, and remember. There are some great Memorial Day celebrations and parades scheduled this weekend in the Austin area.  Here’s what you can look forward to this weekend:

Saturday May 26, 2018

Fiesta Amistad 2018:  Come to the Old Settlers Association Ground for the 50th Annual Fiesta Amistad You can enjoy food, games, arts and crafts, and a plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Musicians from around the area will perform, including Ruben Ramos, Jay Perez & The Band, Marcos Orozco, Hugo Guerrero y Fanango, and Round Rock Ballet Folklorico along with DJ Primo and Jess Lopez setting the tone during the day. Admission $5 at the gate.


Sunday May 27, 2018

Close Assault 1944: Remember the true meaning of Memorial Day at the Texas Military Force Museum at Camp Mabry with this look back at World War II. This show focuses on the history of the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard during World War II. The program is free and features members of the Texas Military Forces Living History Detachment exhibiting the uniform and equipment worn by the American GI in the European Theater of the Second World War, as well as those of his German opponent. There will also be firing demonstrations of the most famous U.S. and German small arms of World War II, along with displays of everything from tents and radio equipment to GI baseball gloves and mess kits and operational vehicles such as an M4 Sherman Tank, M3 Halftrack and Jeeps. Showtimes are at 11 am and 2 pm. 


Monday May 28, 2018

Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial Plaza Memorial Day CeremonyThis annual Memorial Day ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial Plaza on Monday, May 28. The ceremony begins at 9:30 am. United States Senator John Cornyn will be the guest speaker and there will be music by the 36th Infantry Division Band of the Texas Army National Guard.

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.​

Have a Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Experience the Lake Travis Pub Crawl

by Rebecca Shahan

Experience the Lake Travis Pub CrawlWhat could be better than enjoying amazing food and drinks by the lake? Lake Travis is the jewel of the Highland Lakes, making it the perfect setting for the restaurants and pubs that dot the coastline.  Not only do these restaurants have spectacular views, but you can access most of them by boat. So why not fire up the boat and take a delicious and refreshing Lake Travis On the Water Pub / Restaurant Crawl? There are 8 restaurants and pubs you can get to by boat on Lake Travis. You can stop for drinks at one of them, then food at the next.  Then top off the evening with live music at most of these venues. Here’s a few of the great dining experiences you can look forward to enjoying on the lake.

Volente Beach Restaurant & Waterpark

If you’re out with the whole family, pull into the private dock for the perfect blend of food and fun. You can enjoy burgers, chicken sandwiches, fresh-made pizza, great salads, wings, entrees such as pan-fried snapper, Ahi Tuna or MMMac n Cheese. Or have a drink at the full bar with lake views, along with live music. The whole family can have fun at the waterpark, featuring thrilling rides and a pirate themes park for the kids to explore. Then you can relax in the Lazy Lagoon featuring a waterfall fountain.

Shack 512

Enjoy Southern cuisine in this relaxing Hill Country setting.  This casual outdoor venue lets you indulge in the extraordinary panoramic views of the Lake Travis and the hills. Pull into the courtesy walk and it’s just a short walk up the ramp.

Cedar Street Dockside

Located just 3 miles southwest past Starnes Island and the infamous Devil’s Cove, this floating restaurant and bar features a large dock to accommodate all diners.  Dine indoors or outside while enjoying  live music and dancing.

The Oasis

As the largest outdoor restaurant in Texas, The Oasis has certainly gained a reputation for amazing food and equally splendid sunset views as “the Sunset Capital of Texas.”  You’re guaranteed spectacular dining with the outdoor seating in this venue located 450 feet above Lake Travis. When the sunset bell rings, get out your camera to capture the gorgeous sunset.  With live music on 2 stages, it’s the perfect way to top off your restaurant crawl experience.

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.​

Have Success With an Indoor Garden

by Rebecca Shahan

Over the centuries, If there’s ever been one constant in home décor, it’s been the indoor garden. There have been indoor gardens of all kinds over the years, from just a few plant carefully placed to elaborate displays. But making your home look great isn’t the only good thing about having an indoor garden.  Having an indoor garden is an ideal way to relive stress. So an indoor garden certainly has its benefits. How can you have success with starting your own indoor garden?

Are you hesitating to start your own garden because you don’t think you have a green thumb like dear mother or grandma had? Better Homes and Gardens commented in 1939 about “green thumbs”: “Mother's and grandmother's plants grew, not because of green thumbs, but because they were treated as living, feeling beings that required the same common-sense care as the canary or any other house pet."

So in the end, all you need is just common sense to plant an indoor garden. As long as you cover the basics, you can have success.  Factors such as sunlight and water are certainly needed basics, along with nutrients, cleansing and care to deal with the dry environment of your home. Once you have these basics down, you’re well on your way.

Let There Be Light

Making sure you have enough light for your plants is critical. You can do some basic research on the best type of plants for your home’s lighting situation. Plants vary significantly in how much light each one needs, so you can be sure to find the right type of plants for home design. What style of home do you live in? Older homes, such as Victorian styles, were designed to have more natural light, making them ideal for indoor gardens. But many homes, especially those built in the mid 20th century, don’t let as much light in. These home and apartments present a bit of a challenge because there aren’t as many windows to choose from. But don’t let a little challenge stop you.

If you have windows that face south, those are perfect. You’ll have more light for your plants to soak up what they need for photosynthesis. But if you only have north facing windows, try going with plants that require minimal light, such as a fern, spider plant, or African violet. Pothos don’t need any light to thrive, in case you have very little to no natural light available.

Get With the Program

Having a regular schedule for plant care is essential, as this will also help them thrive.  You can also do research on how much water and nutrients your plants need. Make sure to schedule to water and feed your plants with plant food or fertilizer.  Cleaning the leaves of larger plants with a damp cloth periodically will help them stay healthy. Also check for mold or pests as this will indicate if your routine is effective. Periodically trim or thin out your plants on occasion.  You may also have to repot large plants in larger pots as they grow.

Don’t have enough time for all this? Then perhaps you can start with plants that don’t require as much attention. Succulents are a popular choice as they are easy to care for and offer unique textures and colors. Cactus, succulents, or bamboo plants are ideal choices.

Of course there’s more to consider when it comes to having a thriving indoor garden. But with planning and patience, you can succeed.

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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 133