Archives for November 2007

Christmas in Georgetown, Texas

My wife and her scheming siblings have developed an automatic way to get presents from me: The infamous “Secret Santa” tradition. Yes, also known as, “if you give me something, you’ll get something too.” However, much more subtle and affordable since you only need to get one gift instead of buying a gift for every person in the family.

So, I’m not sure who my secret santa is, but here’s my wish list:


Yeah Baby! If a picture speaks a thousand words then this bad boy is speaking a million…this 40-Inch flat panel LCD HDTV is 1080P– FULL HIGH DEFINITION. If my Secret Santa has deep pockets and can spare an extra $2 Grand, then I promise to let you hold the remote.


Ok, TV a little too pricey for you? Well, how about this beautiful new Nikon 55-200mm lens. This engineering masterpiece has a 200mm zoom and will allow me to take great pictures of my secret santa. My current wide-angle lens will make you look fat…Since this lens has VR (Vibration Reduction) I can make sure that you look very sharp and not fuzzy (and not fat). It’s a mere $250, that’s 10 times less then the TV, what a bargain!


Feeling like el cheapo this year? Well, if “secret santa” turns out to be “secret scrooge,” there’s always the “fall-back” gift. Yep, a good ‘ole pair of socks. I would say underwear too, but if I post a picture of underwear on my website I might bet blocked by parental software. These are at the Gap for $5 a pop. Five pairs will cost you $25….now we’re looking at 100 times cheaper than the Sony XBR4…now, wouldn’t a TV be much more fun than socks?

OK, So I think I gave my secret santa some pretty good options. What do you think? Any other wishlist suggestions? What about you “Secret Santa?” Dare to comment?

One Mile Mark

I finally did it! One mile, or 32 laps, in 45 minutes! Now I can justify eating some extra pie on Thanksgiving!:)

On Tuesday I set out for 24 Hour Fitness determined to swim 25 laps. Last week I was physically ready, but I had that darn headache develop around the 20th lap again….bad breathing technique maybe? I asked my friend Wayne to pray for me and he prayed my body would “oxygenate” correctly. I didn’t know that was a word, but to God’s credit, I didn’t get a headache! After 25 laps, I felt good so I decided to just swim 7 more so I could reach my goal before the new years.

I guess now I need to come up with a new goal for 2008. Any suggestions?

Until then, give me some more of that Monument Cafe pecan pie baby!

Georgetown Village – House for Rent – $1400


Flexible Lease Terms. Available December 1st.

Great Landlord too:) – Call 512-554-9594 if you know somebody!

Hill Country Views in Georgetown, TX: 600 River Down in River Ridge/Riverview

Front Pan 2 blog1.jpg

STUNNING ARCHITECTURE. Built on a breath-taking bluff, Jack Hunnicutt and Bryant Boyd have teamed up to create an architecturally unique home that perfectly captures this view. One place you don’t have to worry about hanging pictures is the back of this home. Classic wood windows line the entire back wall of this home creating an almost seamless view from the Family Room to the Kitchen. Are you the type of family that needs a His and Hers Study? With 2 rooms adjacent to the Master Suite, you can turn these “flex” rooms into a study, playroom, hobby or fitness room! Two more bedrooms, a full bath and a flex room reside upstairs.
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A HILL COUNTRY VIEW. If you’re tired of looking at homes that claim to have a Hill Country View and all you see is what amounts to a large field, here is something different: A genuine Hill Country View. Homes that have unique views generally appreciate the quickest…here’s your chance to soak in this view every waking day.

River Ridge is easily accessible from Parmer Lane or IH 35 – just 15 minutes from 1431 off either major artery. Walking distance to an elementary and middle school. Just 5 minutes to Wolf Ranch and downtown Georgetown!

If you’re in Austin and are looking to retreat from the hustle and bustle of big city life, you owe it to yourself to see this home! The Master Suite is on the first level (read: MAKE THE GUESTS CLIMB THE STAIRS!) and you have a large workshop/storage area so you can actually park both cars in the garage!

This home has 3329 SF, 3 Bedrooms and 3 “flex” rooms. Contact Edward at 512-554-9594 for your private viewing today!
Living Room blog.jpg Master Shower.jpg survey.pdf

How to get a loan with a New Home Builder part 1 of 2

For those of you who know me, I’m not normally known for being a complainer or having many pet peeves. However, there is one thing that many new home builders do that really irritate me: Tying in incentives to using their lender.

These builders should be concerned about selling their home more than how you’re going to pay for it. It’s one thing if the financing terms they offer are unbeatable, then I would happily use them. However, often times they are offering terms that are thousands of dollars more than a comparable outside lender.

autofinance_small.jpg The auto industry and furniture industry are good examples of how to do it right. These days you can buy a car or a set of leather furniture and pay ZERO INTEREST for years! This is head and shoulders above any other financing terms you can obtain on your own…unless those terms involve gift money from the parents. The auto and furniture industry is willing to take a “hit” on the financing side to serve their overall purpose of moving product.

The more I think about it, it seems as though the builders are trying to sell their financing over moving their product. Is this backwards or what?

What should you do?

1. Most of my clients don’t want to deal with the hassle of “fighting the builder” for the best financing terms. However, I would always recommend getting at least one other Good Faith Estimate from an outside lender. When you do, compare only the closing costs associated with the loan (not the fees from title co, prepaids, etc.) and make sure you have given both lenders the same loan amount, percent down, tax/insurance estimates and loan product so you’re comparing apples to apples. I used Tracey Day with Home Source Mortgage and he beat the pants.jpgPANTS off of UAMC, Lennar’s in-house lender, by .60% and over $1300! (6.15% versus 6.75%).

2. Take your GFE from the outside lender and have your real estate agent forward it to the new home sales counselor and the in-house lender. Request that they either match those terms or allow you to use your own lender and keep the incentives.

3. If they don’t match the terms, they’ll lower theirs “as best they could.” The lender from UAMC gave me the “best possible GFE”…which narrowed the gap .25% and now just $725.

4. I then sent another email to the new home sales counselor and asked her to forward it to her supervisor explaining that they were STILL LESS COMPETITIVE and that I requested they make up the difference.

5. After doing that, I got another email from UAMC and then they gave me the “ABSOLUTE best possible GFE”…saving me another $250.

Did I take it? Stay tuned for part 2 of 2 and I’ll share the rest of the story after I close on Nov. 28th.

Georgetown, Texas is the place to retire!

Check out this article below:

Guidebook names Georgetown top retirement spot
10:10 AM CDT on Monday, October 15, 2007

By BOB MOOS / The Dallas Morning News

North Texans in search of the best place in America to retire don’t need to fly off to picturesque Cape Cod, sun-drenched Arizona or resort-rich Colorado. They have only to drive a few hours south on Interstate 35 to Georgetown. The Central Texas town has just earned top billing in the latest edition of Retirement Places Rated, one of the oldest and most popular guidebooks for footloose boomers and seniors looking to relocate upon retirement. “Though Georgetown may not be the first place to come to mind for most people, its strong economy and affordable housing gave it an edge over the 199 other communities we researched,” said author David Savageau.

A half-million Americans move to other states each year to retire, while another half-million resettle within their states. Retirement experts expect those numbers to double as boomers claim Social Security and seek out their own Golden Ponds.
Mr. Savageau, who has published seven editions of his guidebook in 25 years, used seven criteria to determine the best retirement spots this time around: climate, economy, community services, ambience, living costs, housing and personal safety. “Georgetown offers the best of two worlds,” he said. “It’s a small community on the edge of the Austin metropolitan area. Retirees want both the neighborliness of a small town and the cultural, entertainment and health-care amenities of a big city.”

None of this comes as news to Geoff Lawrence and his wife, Denise. The boomer couple moved from College Station to Georgetown’s biggest active-adult community, Sun City Texas, three years ago after he retired from the military. “The town’s small enough to get tee times easily, and it’s close enough to Austin to get to UT football games without much trouble,” he said. Mr. Lawrence said he also enjoys living in a college town – Georgetown is home to Southwestern University, a private liberal-arts institution. The Lawrences could well mount their own marketing campaign for their community. Not only have they moved to Georgetown, but so have his parents (from Santa Fe, N.M.), her parents (from Alabama) and, most recently, her sister and brother-in-law (from Waco). They all live within about 3 miles of each other in Sun City. “We all have different interests and lead separate lives, but our back yard has seen quite a few family get-togethers,” Mr. Lawrence said.

Retirement Places Rated has sold a half-million copies over the years, and a favorable score has sometimes bolstered a town’s fortunes. Murray, Ky., reversed a population loss with its No. 1 ranking in one edition, Mr. Savageau said. The president of Georgetown’s Chamber of Commerce, Mel Pendland, said retirees have played a significant role in his community’s growth in recent years. The town’s population has jumped 64 percent to 46,479 since 2000.

Sun City Texas, the active-adult community Del Webb began developing in the 1990s, now contains 5,500 homes and 9,000 residents, mostly 55 and older. Plans call for 2,500 more homes, Mr. Pendland said. “The first retirees to arrive in Georgetown came from other parts of Texas,” he said. “The next group moved from the Upper Midwest. Now they’re from Arizona, Florida and California.”

Central Texas’ lower housing prices have attracted them, Mr. Pendland said. Retirement Places Rated found that the median price for a three-bedroom, two-bath home was $199,210, compared with $339,600 in Sarasota, Fla., and $556,800 in Scottsdale, Ariz. “People are taking the equity they’ve built up in their old homes and paying out of pocket for something here,” he said. “Suddenly, retirement becomes much more affordable for them.” Mr. Pendland said some longtime Georgetown residents’ initial fears that the senior influx would overburden the town have proved false. “These are highly educated, accomplished people who want to stay engaged. Many are our most active volunteers,” he said. Through the Partners in Education program in the Georgetown schools, older residents have served as mentors for schoolchildren.
“Seniors are valued here,” he said.

Read more about Texas Retirement Communities:

Georgetown Village goes “green”

Here’s an interesting report on the Village from KVUE and my comments below:

06:35 PM CDT on Monday, October 29, 2007

Green homes appear to be the wave of the future when it comes to building houses in Central Texas. A development in Georgetown promises some of the best state-of-the-art technology for environmentally friendly houses.

Developers are building more than 2,000 green-built houses. When it’s done, Georgetown Village should be the largest development of its kind in Central Texas. Emily Thomson of GreenBuilders says they are using high tech construction as well as recycled materials. “We are using eco-cycled tiles in our homes so it is made out of recycled materials and some clay to even down to the floors we are walking on,” Thomson said. They are also using water base stains on the cabinets — which is better for the environment — along with detached garages so fumes don’t leak into the house.

Madison Wickham of GreenBuilders says the most important feature is the air-tight foam for insulation. “This particular insulation is quite a bit more expensive but pays for itself in the long run,” said Wickham. “The idea is to include a lot of different features like this insulation that in the front are more expensive, but in the long run they pay for itself.” Thomson says another advantage to an airtight home is that it helps keeps out the pollen. “What we are doing with green building is we are not only giving you an affordable home, but we are also giving you a healthier home for you and your family,” Thomson said.

CEO of GreenBuilders Clark Wilson says building green just makes sense, “It’s a smart thing to do and the right thing to do and a green built home will save you 50 to 60 percent on your energy bill, freeing up hundreds of dollars to do something else with,” Wilson said. The homes’ prices will run around $250,000. The company is also planning on two more green communities in Central Texas — one in Buda, the other in Driftwood.

tp_product_image.jpgI live just a few houses down from these environmentally friendly homes. My main concern is that with such “air-tight” precision being built into these homes, have they thought about the effects of indoor air pollution? Check out this site: and find the best solution…

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