Archives for April 2008

Top 15 tracts for residential development in Greater Austin

WANTED: Residential developer with $1 – 2 Million looking for 100 – 200 acres in Central Texas. Must be willing to take risks. Must be willing to travel. Enjoying the local BBQ is optional, but highly recommend.

LOCATION: Greater Austin:

According to the newspapers and TV, it’s a horrible real estate market. Nothing is selling and prices are stagnant. What better time then now to pick up land for a great bargain and have it ripe for building when the market recovers? Land in Texas is probably cheaper than most anywhere in the country and it’s definitely not getting cheaper. Here are the top 15 locations in the Greater Austin area today:

1. Bastrop – 120 FM 20 at Lone Star Road – $1,200,000 – 120 Acres

2. Bastrop – 429 Foothill Road – $1,649,000 – 194 Acres

3. Bertram – 4 Whitewater Springs – $1,500,000 – 101.42 Acres

4. Elgin – 2681 FM 1704 – $1,550,000 – 155.37 Acres

5. Georgetown – CR 242 – $1,611,000 – 179 Acre

6. Dripping Springs – 2201 Lost Creek Road – $1,350,000 – 100 Acres

7. Buda – 5142 Satterwhite Road – $1,290,000 – 129 Acres

8. Liberty Hill – 17580 Hwy 29 – $1,300,000 – 132.24 Acres

9. Liberty Hill – CR 204 – $1,560,500 – 256.31 Acres

10. Leander – 24601 Bingham Creek Road – $1,250,000 – 103.08 Acres

11. Manor – 21707 Hogeye Road – $1,328,000 – 166.17 Acres

12. Manor – 12719 Jacobson Road – $1,373,000 – 106.42 Acres

13. Manor – 14401 Bois D Arc Lane – $1,570,000 – 100.05 Acres

14. Manor – 17334 Blake Manor – $1,852,500 – 130.32 Acres

15. Taylor – 1150 CR 405 – $1,150,000 – 112 Acres

CLICK HERE for more pictures and details on these listings

If there is a particular property you are interested in, give me a call and I’d be happy to help you determine, through the Multiple Listing Services, the approximate absorption rate of lots and homes in that area, how much inventory is on the market and other questions to help with your investment decision.

If you’re looking for lots in Georgetown, Texas or homes in Georgetown, Texas visit my property search page on my website for the latest inventory available.

Georgetown Village: Who’s Pool Is It Anyway?

“…and what about the pool?” the excited, but naive, 26 year old was buying his first home and he couldn’t wait to tell his fiance all about it.

“Well, that is a community pool and you can swim in it anytime you want!” mentioned Tim, the slick salesman for David Weekley. His Otis Spunkmeyer cookies were warm and freshly baked and the air conditioning inside was blasting…I couldn’t resist….he had me….I had to buy the home.

The year was 2002, and Georgetown Village was just starting to take off. After relocating from Arizona and attending Military Intelligence Officer Advanced Course, my next assignment lead me to Ft. Hood, Texas. I fell in love with this cute neighborhood located on the Northwest side of Georgetown, Texas and the concept of unlimited swimming in a heated pool certainly had it’s appeal. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until after I signed the dotted line did I find out that this was a CITY POOL and not a COMMUNITY POOL with unrestricted 24 hour access.

Now, 6 years later, the developer is making the same mistake.

So how do you know if neighborhood marketing is a little too good to be true? The residents are a good litmus test for this. On the community website, here’s one comment by a resident:

Has anyone heard the ad on the radio for Georgetown Village? It is very nice and appealing – but the line that gets me is “Swim on a whim”.

Is there a new pool that has been built that I do not know about?

Because having a pool that is only open 3 months a year, only 6 days a week and for only 6 hours each of those days – does not constitute swimming on a whim.

My friend, David, joking made the sarcastic comment to me last night, “Hey check it out, we have a community pool and community center now!”

Bottom Line: Although this promotion is great for Georgetown Village, it’s important to be diligent in accurately promoting the amenities of a neighborhood. The developer, builders and real estate agents have that obligation to the future buyers of our great community. If the developer is promoting it as a community pool, I say, buy it back from the city or build another one! Most Georgetown Village residents want it and so will future ones.

Fighting for your right…to a fair property tax assesment

Well, it’s that time of year again when Williamson County Appraisal District appraises my home and makes me feel as though I’m living in California.

“What? My house went up $40,000?! Woohoo!”

Actually, that happened to my personal residence, $38,268 to be exact. Not a bad number, unless the home was appraised at $167,445 last year which would mean a 23% increase in value! They capped it at 10% so that makes it only $184,190. Fortunately, I’ve been contesting my home since the beginning and this number is actually favorable for me.

Need some help lowering your tax appraised value?

Just shoot me an email or give me a call and I’d be happy to help! I’m currently working on the following appraisals and will be posting the results soon:

Boxwood Loop – Appraised for $171,607

Westbury Lane – Appraised for $160,324

Rosebud Lane – Appraised for $214,193

Greenside Lane – Appriased for $182,535

If I have helped you lower your taxes, feel free to post the results in the comments section. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you!

Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog


Three Great Reasons to Rent in Georgetown Village

Three Great Reasons to Rent in Georgetown Village

I just rented out two homes this week in Georgetown Village and there are only three more available! Why should you rent in Georgetown Village when you can buy? Here are three good reasons:

  1. You’re relocating to the area and want to get familiar with Georgetown, Texas before you purchase
  2. You want to build up your credit and down payment to avoid locking in to a high interest rate
  3. You aren’t certain how long your company will keep you employed in Greater Georgetown, TX

If you’re still deciding on a neighborhood, read my post about Georgetown Village!

FEATURED RENTAL PROPERTY

What makes this home so special?

1. It’s practically brand new. I closed on this home in December and the renters only stayed for 4 months.

2. Flexibility – You might be wondering why they only stayed for 4 months. If you’re moving here for reason #1 and are looking to purchase a home, I offer you the opportunity to break the lease with no penalty so long as I can represent you as a buyer’s agent. How’s that for win-win? That way you will never miss a deal and can purchase a home on YOUR TIME FRAME without worrying about being locked into a lease contract.

3. This home is located on 1105 Boxwood Loop, which is a quiet street off the main road. No smokers have lived here and the home has been kept very clean.

If you’re ready to start renting, here are some details you must be comfortable with:

Rent is $1375/month and Security Deposit is also $1375. Do you have pets? There is a $500 non-refundable pet deposit for your first pet and $250 refundable deposit for each additional pet. There is also a $40/person application fee.  AVAILABLE MAY 5th, 2008

Application can be downloaded here: lease-app-_-residential-lease-application-10-16-07

Here are additional pictures:

If you want to purchase or sell a home in Georgetown Village, I would love the opportunity to represent you. I live, work and invest in this neighborhood and would love to put my expertise to work for you! Call me at 512-554-9594 or email me at Edward@gtownrealty.com.

What to do in Kerrville, Texas

I love working from home as a real estate agent and being my own boss. One of the benefits is that I can do errands or go on business trips and drag my family along anytime during the day or the week. With 3 kids, my wife can never get enough time to herself, so whenever I need to drop off fliers, stick a sign in the yard or take pictures, I bring one of the rugrats with me…otherwise they look like zombies from watching too much television:

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a networking event in Kerrville, Texas for Active Rain Bloggers. You can read about some of those experiences from some of my colleagues below (let me know if you blogged about this and I’ll add you to the list):

Carl Winters – New Braunfels, TX

Ricki Eichler – Kerrville, TX Don Eichler – Kerrville, TX

Liz Carter – Katy, TX Debra Brooks – Huntsville, TX

Alan Kirkpatrick – Austin, TX Gail Tassey – Austin, TX

Jason Crouch – Austin, TX Trey Thurmond – College Station, TX

Judi Morgan – San Antonio, TX Tom Plant – Murrieta, CA

Soooo, funny name like “Kerrville” + minivan = Roadtrip!

We piled into the van and brought along reinforcements to help watch the kids: Claire Shiramizu, who is ao sweet 9 y.o. family friend who loves to play with Chloe.

We went up on Friday morning and stopped by Wildseed Farms to check out all of the pretty flowers and ate a ton of free samples:

After lunch at the Peach Tree Restaurant in Fredericksburg, we headed up to a place called Y.O. Ranch. They overbooked our tour, and to make it up to us they arranged a private tour JUST FOR US! The experience was awesome! This is the largest working ranch in the nation and they have all sorts of animals on the ranch. We drove around in an old rickety school bus and fed some animals and afterwards ate dinner on the ranch, cooked by a “rough around the edges, I don’t like to smile” cook.

I even kissed a girl named Carlita and Autumn didn’t even get jealous at all: My Girl Carlita

The next day, Autumn took the kids to the Children’s Museum in San Antonio while I spent the day networking with my new found real estate buddies from Active Rain. They later joined me for dinner before we headed back to Georgetown, Texas!

Yes, you can have a life with 3 kids, three and under, and with a ton of grace from the man upstairs. God protected us during the whole trip and nobody got thrown out the window:) Most of this was even tax deductible! Thanks Uncle Sam!

WordPress Upgrade – Who ya gonna call?

I started this Georgetown Texas Real estate blog one year ago and performed my first “upgrade” today!  Actually, it was more out of necessity than anything, I went to my blog this past weekend and noticed all of my posts were appearing in reverse chronological order!  So, an upgrade did the trick.

I tried upgrading it myself and that was a biiiig mistake!  I thought I killed my blog…fortunately I did a backup beforehand.  After poking around in some forums, I was referred to a guy named James Burton who would help.  I emailed him and all he requested was a donation to his wordpress support website.

After about an hour, I was up and running.  If you want to avoid spending hours doing something that you’re not good at and focus on your blogging, make sure you give James Burton a visit. And while he’s fixing or upgrading or getting you started…give his blog a read, it’s very heartwarming and genuine.

The Fiddler on My Roof….well, roof repair man actually.

Meet Terry Paris. You can’t see it from the picture, but he’s on a pretty steep roof slope…and it’s raining. Oh yeah, he’s not camera shy either. Now is that living on the edge or what? No pun intended. Actually, I called Terry about 3 hours before this picture was taken and here he is.

I had some roof tiles falling off of one of my rental homes and this was the forecast:

So, I didn’t want to take any chances. I called him and here he is, 3 hours later. What more do I need to say? Looking for a roofing contractor in Georgetown Texas who’s not afraid to get wet? Call for a free estimate at 512-477-7827.

I wish more services that I call upon make me this happy that I would bother to write a post in my blog! Anybody else have some good contractors in Georgetown, Texas you want to give a shout out to? Feel free to comment on this Blog, the more feedback I get, the better resource this becomes for everyone!

How’s your stock portfolio…in Heaven?

Over the past few years, my stock portfolio was growing so slowly that I decided to sell everything in it (minus the profits) and just invest in real estate. It was probably the best move I made, not just financially, but also from a standpoint of time. My mistake? Rather then diversify into some great mutual funds, I had all of my money in individual stocks! If you have ever invested in individual stocks before, you know the type of roller coaster ride you can have with that! As a result, I would normally wake up every morning to catch up on any news related to my stocks and check the latest and greatest price. What a consuming habit that was!

Now, with rental homes, as long as I don’t have some crazy stalker living in it, it’s usually a lot less time-consuming. Being a real estate agent helps with the tenant acquisition process and having the homes in my neighborhood helps with the time it takes to manage them. I guess if I were to rate it on a scale of 1-10, I’d give my stock portfolio a “3” and my real estate portfolio a “7”….but what type of rating would I give my portfolio in heaven?

I belong to a weekly small group with 9-10 other families and we just finished a lesson about storing up treasures in heaven. It’s part of a 13 week study on the Sermon on the Mount and this week it focused on Chapter 6:19-24.

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

After hearing a sermon about this, the pastor brought up an interesting point. How do you measure the performance of your portfolio in heaven? Or similarly, how do you “store up treasures in heaven?” Basically, the message behind the passage is that God wants us to be free from the unhealthy and temporal motivations that direct our actions here on earth. Instead, God wants our lives to have an eternal perspective and wants us to be motivated by Him and what He offers us in Heaven.

In a nutshell, here were three suggestions he gave, that he calls the GRE Index:

Be Generous – are you reflecting the love of God (Matthew 10:42)?
Seek Righteousness – are you living out the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7)?
Have Enthusiastic Zeal – are you doing everything with an attitude that honors Jesus (Colossians 3)?

Bottom Line: Retirement is over-rated…we’ll all live forever and out-last the retirement we build here on earth. So what are you doing about your eternity?

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog


Georgetown Village Case Study: Which homes sell for the highest?

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What sells for $100/SF and higher in Georgetown Village?

Time is just FLYING by this year and I wanted to write about a series of case studies on my own neighborhood, Georgetown Village. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How much $/SF are the homes going for in Georgetown Village?” This is simply too difficult to answer because the median $/SF would not accurately reflect the value of your own home. For example, since Jan 2007, homes in Georgetown Village have sold from as low as $78/SF to as high as $112/SF! For a home that’s 2000 SF, that is a range of $156,000 to $224,000! The best way to assess an accurate value of your home is not to use a sloppy average, but to call on your friendly neighborhood real estate man (that’s me) and to look at the top 3 or 4 recently sold homes that best match yours.

I was curious to know which homes sold for a premium ($100/SF and higher) and there were 16 that sold since Jan 07 that fit the bill:

Half of these homes are New Construction homes (surprise, surprise). New homes in Georgetown, Texas will naturally have a higher premium stuck to them.

233 Village Park 136 Westbury 1111 Cedar Elm 801 Westbury

109 Cedar Elm 387 Westbury 743 Westbury 113 Cedar Elm

The first and second home on the first row is built by Cobblestone Homes and they are no longer building in this neighborhood. The third home is built by Bowen Homes. Once they finish building on their existing lots, they won’t likely be building in the new sections. The second home on the second row with the turret is built by Rothenburg Homes. They are a smaller builder that has built only 1 other home in Georgetown Village. All of the rest are built by Perry Homes and they have plans to continue building in the newer sections.

Here are the resale homes:

301 Greendside 113 VP 107 VP 109 VP

207 VP 203 VP 130 Chestnut 108 Greenside

It’s interesting that 5 out of the 8 resales are located on Village Park Drive. What makes this street so appealing?

1. They are within excellent walking distance to the Village Elementary School. You don’t have to cross a single street!

2. All of the homes are 4 sided brick with rear entry garages. Less maintenance and nice curb appeal!

3. All of the homes face a massive park that is kept by the city. All play and no work!

4. Because they have a no-maintenance park to play in, their own yards are quite small…

5. All of the homeowners hire a landscaping company so that their own yards are also maintenance-free. Are these homeowners lazy or what?:)

This street has a lot of appeal to a family that wants a low-maintenance lifestyle, but wants something bigger than an apartment or townhome. The third home on the second row is located on Chestnut Court, which is another desirable, private street located towards the back of the neighborhood. It backs to a “greenbelt.”

All of these homes are built by David Weekley (they pulled out several years ago) with the exception of the last one in the second row which is a Lennar. You won’t see many Lennar’s go for a premium in this neighborhood…it must have been those Brazilian Cherry hardwood floors!

Bottom Line: You can’t make a resale into a brand new home, but you can make it look like one! Make sure you have your home professionally staged and you spend the $1 in repairs to get the $10 in return. Simple things like cleaning your windows, fresh paint and new carpet will help you compete against new homes and command a higher premium.

What can we learn from the resales? Well, it might be a little difficult to create a park in front of your home when there is none, or grow a greenbelt behind your home overnight. I recommend turning your bland backyard into a park-like setting and work on your landscaping. This will also help your home command a higher premium and compete against those that may be adjacent to a park or greenbelt. It will certainly help you stand out against the other homes with bland backyards.

If you’re interested in knowing how much your home is worth in Georgetown Village give me a call! I employ cutting-edge marketing techniques and will put my experience to work for you to sell your home fast and for top dollar!

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