Archives for July 2008

Green Builders in Georgetown Village – Their newest customer

Craftsman-style home by Green Builders in Georgetown Texas

A few weeks ago, I helped one of my favorite clients, Rod and Carol, purchase a home by Green Builders in my neighborhood Georgetown Village. This was very special for me because it now meant that I have sold every major builder that has been built in this neighborhood! That would include Perry Homes, Bowen Homes and Origin Homes; which are the current builders, and also some past builders like David Weekley, Lennar and Morrison. That seems like a lot of builders for a small neighborhood of around 500 homes like Georgetown Village, but as we move forward, it seems as though only Green Builders and Perry Homes will be doing the bulk of the building.

After I showed the home to Rod and Carol I jokingly told them that I liked the floorplan so much that if they didn’t buy it, I would! The funny thing is, soon after they closed on the home, a contract on this home (pictured above) fell through and it came back on the market. It was the same exact floorplan as the one I had sold to Rod and Carol! So after a few days of negotiation, I am now the future owner of a Green Builders home! The beauty of this is that it’s just 5 houses down on my same street…so no moving truck needed:)

My wife is pretty excited because we gain an extra bedroom and lots more space. It may not look very large, but it’s 2400 SF and has 4 bedrooms, a gameroom, a study and a large studio above the garage which adds an additional 400 SF.

This studio is the main reason we’re moving. I’ve been blessed to be able to work from home, but the downside is that it’s hard to focus and concentrate with 3 kids running around in the home! Now, I can bring clients to my office without having to do the “5 minute house clean-up”, I can better focus on my work, and I’ll be better able to STAY AWAY from work when I’m with the family. I mean, what good is it to work from home yet not gain any additional quality time with the family?

So, here’s to HIGHER quality family time and LOWER energy bills!

If you have an experience with Green Builders please share them with me on this post! This blog is boring without any outside feedback and what you have to contribute can help somebody else!

Check out my home video for the tour:

Overzealous Underwriters in Georgetown Texas

I’m in the middle of buying my next home here in my neighborhood, Georgetown Village in Georgetown, Texas and my loan is almost out of underwriting. Then I get the call from my lender that goes something like this:

Hi Edward, there’s just one more thing they need.

Sure, what is it?

Well, the underwriters are having a hard time accepting this home as a primary residence

Ok, that’s easy…”Yes…it is.” Can you just tell them that? Isn’t this what I indicated when I applied?

Yes, but they want you to write them an explanation and “convince” them because you bought other investment homes in the past in this neighborhood and this one is only a few houses down from you.

At this point, I was a little annoyed. They were questioning my integrity! I applied and said it was NOT an investment home but would be owner-occupied, so what’s the big deal? Ok, so I own other homes in this neighborhood and I bought 3 of them last year. I’m not sure how that relates. But, if I really WAS lying, why would I suddenly stop now? So, I tell my lender

Oh, I’ll “convince” them…you can expect the email shortly.

And I send them this…

This email is to affirm my intent to occupy the home on 125 Village Park Drive as my primary residence. Although, I have purchased many investment homes in the past, in this same neighborhood, they were all purchased with the INITIAL INTENT to invest in them and rent them out. They are also all priced BELOW my current primary residence. It would seem to make sense that if my stated intent is to purchase this home on 125 Village Park Drive, as a residence and NOT an investment, that I would follow-through with this commitment, otherwise that would be considered fraudulent, dishonest and maybe even illegal. All of which I would never want any part of.

In addition to the fact that I’m qualifying for this home as a residence and not an investment, there are several other facts that must be mentioned that support the legitimacy of my intent:

1. This home is priced ABOVE my current primary residence which would classify this as a typical MOVE-UP purchase. All of my other rental homes were priced below with significant (20-25% down) cash down so that it would cash flow. This home would be a poor investment choice and could never cash flow given the mortgage and current rental prices

2. This is 4 bedrooms and my current home has 3 bedrooms; it also has 2400 SF and my current home has 2000 SF. Lastly, this home has 400 SF of space above the garage which will be converted to my home office which is one of the main reasons I am moving. I have 3 children under the age of 4 and have worked from a small study for the past 5 years in this home. If anyone has had children before, they can understand the reason for this move!

3. I purchased my current home when I was single, 6 years ago. I am purchasing this home, 3 kids, a wife and a minivan later. Yes, that sounds like a move-up to me.

I hope this helps clarify my intent to purchase this home for a primary residence. If you or the underwriters would like to call me for further clarification please don’t hesitate to call me.

As far as me moving down the street, what person would NOT want to move their belongings a short distance and find the perfect home this close by? This means less time packing and unpacking a moving truck and more time enjoying my glass of ice cold lemonade on the front porch of my new home overlooking the neighborhood park.

So, what do you think? Were the underwriters being a little overzealous or just doing their job? Do you think what they did would really prevent a liar from stop lying at that point? I mean, if a guy is going to say he’s going to occupy it and then really rent it out, why would writing a letter change that? Is this just more “busy work” or is it really effective? I’d love to hear a situation from a lender or underwriter that was similar to this, but had different results (i.e. the purchaser wrote the letter and admitted he was secretly buying the home as an investment but was qualifying it as owner-occupied)

Message to Underwriters/Banks: It’s hard enough to qualify somebody these days, give us “legitimate” buyers a break! Sheesh!

(Bet that picture makes you thirsty huh?)

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Serenada in Georgetown, Texas – Time-honored custom home for sale

Tempting buy in venerable neighborhood: Time-honored custom home on a 1 acre lot thriving with trees. Priced at only $249,500

The Greenest feature in the home: You may have heard industry-talk of “R-values” in relation to a home’s insulation and how that helps you save on your energy bills. Well, nothing is better than the T-value. Yes, that “T” stands for TREEES. There are over 50 mature trees speckled on this 1 acre lot that provide shade to this home from every direction. If the sun rarely hits your home, it would naturally make sense that it would require much less energy to cool it in the summer. The front porch and the rear covered patio also provide additional overhang over the windows to prevent direct sunlight from shining into the home. Despite this great energy-saving feature, the interior of the home gets plenty of natural light due to recent window renovations.

Living in Serenada: Among many Georgetown residents, this neighborhood is considered a desireable place to live for three good reasons. First, it’s located close to Williams Drive which gives you quick access to major roads. Second, it’s one of the original custom home neighborhoods in Georgetown so you won’t find many “cookie-cutter homes” here and availability of homes is more scarce. Case in point, at the time of this writing there is only half the amount of supply (3 months) in this neighborhood compared to all of Georgetown. Lastly, you can still find wooded acreage homes here without spending twice as much and driving twice as far. This home has a desireable location, with easy access to major roads and sits on one wooded acre. With over 2500 SF and 4 bedrooms and a custom built workshiop it just might be one of the best values left in this market.

If you’re familiar with Georgetown Texas real estate, you’ll notice that lots like these are selling for $150,000 just down the road. Here’s your chance to own a custom home on a one-of-a-kind lot for under $250,000. Would you like a private showing? Contact Edward at 512-554-9594 or Nancy at 512-818-4892

Other Features:

Two Bonus Rooms
If you’re like most families, you typically need another room for a study, playroom or library. This flexible floorplan has a large room towards the front of the home that is perfect for that extra space. Need another living space? There is also a second, smaller bonus room located off the garage.

Large Living Room
The first thing you will notice when you walk into the room are the thick wood beams lined across the ceiling. The space is saturated with natural light and is larger then most modern living rooms. It is located adjacent to the kitchen for a nice, open floorplan perfect for entertaining.

My Georgetown – by Maria Dorian – Welcome Home Cleaning

My Georgetown

Did you know that Georgetown, Texas was recently rated the second best city to live and launch a business according to CNN Money?

Although I am thrilled that Georgetown is getting national media recognition, I know firsthand that Georgetown truly is a wonderful and unique city to live in and open up shop.

Hi, My name is Maria Dorian and I proudly live and own a business in Georgetown, TX. In the past 5 years I went from working part time waiting tables to owning a growing residential cleaning service.

Here’s my story:

Five years ago, I was pregnant with my third child as I waited tables in a popular restaurant in Round Rock. Soon after giving birth to a baby boy and while on maternity leave, I started to get a nagging “feeling” that I was not supposed to go back to work at the restaurant. I was not really sure why I felt this way but about two weeks before I was supposed to return to work, my boss at the restaurant called to let me know about my new schedule. I broke down crying and told her that I had every intention of going back to work but I didn’t think I was supposed to be waiting tables any more. Her response to me? “Maria, you’re postpartum, call me next week and we’ll talk.” We both shared a laugh and that was that.

So here I was, needing to work but at a loss as to what to do.

Shortly after, while at church, my then 3 week old son had a dirty diaper in the middle of service. Go figure right?! Who knew this would end up being a blessing in disquise. While in the nursery changing the diaper, I overheard a lady talk about her sister who cleaned houses. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me. There it was.it! My next thought was, “Wow-I’m supposed to be cleaning houses.” Still blows me away to this day as cleaning houses was just so…random! Needless to say that I believe that the incident was God’s way of leading me to start my own business.

Long story short, I did A LOT of research on the industry, got my first client, called myself Marvelous Maria’s Cleaning Service and off I was to clean my first house. I will never forget my thoughts walking into my first home. I was so excited and I remembering saying to myself, “Yeah! I’m here to clean this house!” Quickly followed by, “Oh, cr_p, I’m here to clean this house!” The realization that I’d never actually cleaned a house, besides my own, of course, set in. Boy did I feel the fear of the unknown. But that first cleaning went well and I ended up keeping that client for many years before they moved away. In fact, I still have many of the clients I picked up way back then and they still tease me with, “Oh, there’s Marvelous Maria!” Ha, ha.

Today, I call my company Welcome Home Cleaning Services. We have an office on Williams Drive and currently have ten employees and two managers. To date we have serviced over 6,000 cleans with most of those being right here in our very own Georgetown, Texas!.

I am honored to live and work in Georgetown. And, I’d be just as honored to help you with any cleaning needs you may have!

Maria Dorian

512-931-2095

Upcoming Blog Topic: Cleaning to Sell your home

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Another Lui to join the real estate market

I have a younger brother named “Edwin.” Yes, I know I’m “Edward” and he’s “Edwin.” Ha ha ha.

Well he lives near Anaheim, California and is studying for his real estate license. I’m pretty excited that he’s doing that and I hope he is able to get enough business to transition out of his full-time work.

I entered into the real estate business by just jumping in with both feet. However, the other option is to gradually build up enough business to fully transition over like Edwin. Even though it was scary for me to do that and I didn’t make my first sale for a couple of months, I think the learning curve shot up very quickly for me. It was either “do or die.”

Well, maybe “die” is a little too dramatic.

More like, “do or flip burgers.”

Edwin: (If you’re reading this) BLOG, BLOG, BLOG – that’s my first tip. I wish I would have started blogging about Georgetown, Texas in my first year of real estate rather then waiting until year four. That’s the best way to expose yourself to a large audience quickly. If they like you, they’ll read you and you’ll probably like them. If they don’t like you, you probably don’t want them as clients anyway. Hey, it’s the truth!

On another note, this week I’ll be introducing a friend of mine on this blog, Maria, who also started her business by just jumping in with both feet. I think you’ll enjoy reading her story and writing style.

What about you? Are you a “jump in with both feet” type of person or do you think a slower transition would work better for you if you were to start a business? I’d love to hear your story!

What’s the Mortgage Rate?

What’s today’s mortgage rate? That, my friend, is the million dollar question.

Ok, so I’m buying a house: the “cat is officially out of the bag.” I tried to keep it low-key because i wanted to surprise my in-laws. I wanted to wait for them to visit me and find renters in my current home! I would have LOVED to see that! So, I’ll write about this homebuying experience later.

For now…what’s today’s mortgage rate?

I locked my loan for 6.375% because I was told that rates went up today on the 30 year fixed. However, later this evening I was told by another lender that rates went down! So what gives? Like any resourceful, diligent young real estate agent I decided to Google this. I Googled “daily mortgage rate history” and “mortgage rates” to get to the bottom of this.

I found three articles:

This one says that rates are unchanged http://www.reuters.com/article/gc03/idUSN1043138120080710

This one says that rates are higherhttp://money.cnn.com/2008/07/10/real_estate/mortgage_rates/?postversion=2008071013

This one says that rates are lowerhttp://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/finance/bankrate-mortgage-rates-fall-weeks-row/

Can you figure this out? First one to give me an answer gets Starbucks on me…

Radical Love

Here’s a story about my friend in Georgetown, Tx

She has 2 beautiful grandbabies who have been fostered and one is now officially adopted (Praise the Lord). The other grandbaby was in the process of being adopted, when there came opposition from her birth mom. Well, the courts ruled that the baby should stay with her birth mom.

After caring for the baby for about a year, my friend’s daughter had the gut wrenching task of returning the baby! Instead of just washing her hands of the matter, she decided to continue to keep in contact with the baby no matter what the cost. The birth mom lives about an hour or so from here and for months my friend or her daughter would make the long trip down there and pick up the baby and bring her to all of her well-baby doctor visits. In addition, she would ask to have the baby for selected weekends throughout the year with the approval of the mom and have the mom and baby over during holidays! And before and after these visits, she again would make that lengthy trip down to pick up and drop off the baby. As if that wasn’t enough, I just found out that the birth mom and the baby are now living with my friend until they can find housing close by!

As I listened to my friend speak of this, I commented that she and her daughter are amazing to do so much for someone they may never claim as theirs. Her response blew me away…she said:

“She’s my grandbaby at heart.”

She is an inspiration to me. I don’t know if she is a Christ follower, but what she and her daughter have done gives me a tangible example of what Christ’s love looks like in the 21st century. They reached out to give this child and her mom love and hope, without expecting anything in return. I am grateful for an example of such radical love. ~Autumn

Editor’s Note: It’s refreshing to read this example of a selfless act of love. Especially in the world we live in where the tradition is always about looking after yourself. Need a break from tradition? Call a Realtor who’s radical about real estate and will look after your best interests. No “old school” high pressure sales tactics or bait-and-switch listing techniques here.

Contact me anytime at 512-554-9594 or email at Edward@georgetowncustomhomes.com

Georgetown Texas Historic District – A secret that’s not so secret anymore

best-neighborhoods-09

One of the fastest appreciating neighborhoods in the Georgetown Texas real estate market has been the downtown area. There is always an investor/builder doing some type of major renovation on an old home in the Georgetown historic district. Just drive through the streets downtown and you’ll see many beautiful homes that have retained their historic charm next to fixer-uppers that are just waiting to be purchased by the next visionary. The downtown area is Georgetown’s best kept secret for attracting new business and residents, but it looks like we have once-again caught national attention and the secret is out!

In the July issue of THIS OLD HOUSE magazine, Georgetown was identified as one of 12 neighborhoods nationwide that is considered the best old-house neighborhoods in the United States. For your convenience, I’ve posted the original article below:

Best Places to Buy an Old House: Editors’ Top 12 Picks

By: KEITH PANDOLFI, ALLISON GOLDSTEIN, TARYN LONERGAN, AND MELISSA THOMAS, This Old House online

Georgetown, Texas

The Neighborhood
Georgetown once served as a staging area for cattle drives along the Chisholm Trail. These days, the town’s historic center bustles with boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants, but it still looks like a scene from a John Wayne Western. Georgetown is located on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, and is home to Southwestern University, recently named one of “America’s Best Value Colleges” by the Princeton Review. Plus, it’s only 30 miles away from hip-and-happening Austin.

The Houses
Late-19th-century Queen Annes and Greek Revivals as well as beautiful 1930s Arts and Crafts and Stick Victorian homes are scattered throughout the area.

The Prices
Price tags on fixer-upper bungalows sometimes read as little as $90,000, though grander homes here can run in the millions.

Why Buy Now?
Old homes with Western flair are dang hard to come by, and these are close to Austin, the best little hot spot in Texas, with music, food, and culture that gets better by the minute.

Among the best:
Art Lovers, City Slickers, Luxury Homes, Craftsman Houses, The Southwest

If you’re looking for that perfect downtown charmer then call me at 512-554-9594 and lets meet!

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