Archives for January 2009

Green Builders in Georgetown, Texas – great home, bad stock

After I bought my Green Builders home, I also purchased some of their company stock.  It’s an expensive way to force me to pay attention to any financial news regarding the builder.  Same thing for my gym membership.  If I don’t pay, I just won’t exercise.

Today I ran across an article that gave me reason to sell all of my shares:

Green Builders gets delisting notice
January 29, 2009 6:14 PM ET

from bizjournals.com

nyse

Green Builders Inc. could be removed from the stock exchange its been trading on if it doesn’t regain compliance with listing rules.

The Austin-based homebuilder said it’s received a notice from NYSE Alternext US, formerly the American Stock Exchange, that the company is currently noncompliant with rules and has until Feb. 23 to submit a plan outlining how it will regain compliance by July.

According to Green Builders (NYSE Alternex US: GBH) the exchange, in explaining its decision, cited the fact that the company’s stockholder equity is less than $2 million and the company has sustained losses from continuing operations and net losses in two of its three most-recent fiscal quarters. Furthermore, the exchange said that the company’s losses are so substantial in relation to its overall operations or financial resources, that it appears questionable to the exchange whether the company will be able to continue to operate or meet its obligations.

The company said it will explore all of its options and has not made a decision whether or not it will submit a plan to continue to trade on the exchange. For now Green Builders continues to trade on the exchange.

Ouch, so what does that mean for the builder?  Hopefully that won’t affect their ability to operate in Georgetown Village.  I would think that the only thing that changes is their ability to raise money through their shareholders.  However, I’m no financial guru.  It’s an obvious fact that the stronger the financials of a builder, the more likely they’ll stick around and net losses in two of its three most recent fiscal quarters doesn’t sound very promising.  It would probably be harder for the company to borrow money and So what’s your prediction?  Do you think they’ll stay or go?

How to shave $300/month from your budget: Refinance

This is the primo market for refinancing:  I finally closed on my refinance that I was working on for the past 45 days!

I went from 6.375% to 5%, eliminated $99/mo of PMI and am now saving $300/month.  I was able to appraise my home high enough to give me 20% of equity, thus eliminating my PMI.  The refi cost me about $3500 so I’m estimating I should make that up within the year.  After that, it’s $300/month of savings!  It’s hard work to do anything in this lending climate, but the hassle could be worth it!

shave583

Ready for your shave?

Definitely run the numbers and see if it’s worth it.  If you’re only going to be staying in your home for another 2-3 years, then it might not be.  By the time you realize your savings, you would be out of the home!  However, a simple way to know for sure would be to use an online amortization calculator, punch in your interest rate and home loan and compare it with today’s going interest rate.  Divide the cost of the refi (could be $3000-$4000) with your savings and that’s the number of months it will take to make up the cost.

I’m ready, now who do I call?

I used Tracey Day (512-966-7246) with Home Source Mortgage in Georgetown, Texas and he worked like a dog to get all of my paperwork done.  Because of my investment properties, I had a debt to income in the low 50% range and so he had to be real creative with justifying it financially!  Usually, the banks scrutinize anything over a 46% debt to income ratio.  So if you need some help in this area, Tracey Day has been worked over with my file and should be very experienced with just about anything now:)  If you are curious about how your home will do during the appraisal process, he can connect you with some appraisers to give an opinion of your home’s value.  I used Pat Carey with the Georgetown Appraisal Group (512-750-8480).

So tell me about your experience….were you able to shave your budget through a recent refinance? Anybody out there beat $300/month? I’d love to hear your story! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

Family Movie Night – The theology of “Wanted”

I love free things.

We have one of those Redbox kiosks at our local Walmart and if you sign up online you can actually get a text message every monday for a free movie!  So that’s sort of been my cheap family tradition that the kids look forward to every Monday.  They usually get a kid’s movie and then I rent one for myself.

This time, the kids got this frog cartoon movie and I got a movie called:  Wantedwanted_film_poster

“Wanted” is about a guy stuck in his boring account manager job and finds out that his true calling is to be an assassin.   So, naturally, he begins his “training” by getting the snot beat out of him until he can answer the question, “Why are you here?” He finally gets it right and says, “Because I don’t know who I am.” and that’s when he really gets serious about his training.  He needed to come to a place where who he was or thought he was really didn’t matter, as much as who he was destined to be:  A kick-butt assassin like his daddy!

I was learning in Sunday School this week that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree that God forbade them to eat, they suddenly were self-aware.  They realized they were naked, not just externally, but internally as well.  They lost their innocence and became focused on themselves.  Since then, the pattern has never changed.  The more aware of ourselves we are, the more that it’s “all about us” and the more selfish we become; the more we fall short of what God destines us to be. Like the old hymn, we need to “turn our eyes upon Jesus” and get them off ourselves.

Like graduating from a boring account manager position and into the exciting life of an assassin, we will never realize our true calling until we can answer the question, “Why are you here?” with an answer that speaks less of what we want out of life and more so of what God wants.  When we give up our right to ourselves and decide to wholeheartedly become  a follower of Jesus Christ we realize our true potential.  Why?  Because Jesus is the originator and giver of life.

He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. – John 1:2-4

It’s foolish to think we can live a full life, without the Originator of Life.  It’s time to graduate.
CLICK HERE to watch a preview of “Wanted”….I’m featured on it towards the end!

Restaurant on the Georgetown square – Wildfire

It seems like restaurants in Georgetown go out of business just as quickly as new ones pop up. I just thought I noticed Stone Canyon Cafe disappeared and one of the restaurants I reviewed on this blog, Chantal’s, is also gone. What a shame. Chantal’s was good.

Well, here’s one that has been around for awhile and is located on the historic square in Georgetown, TX:

wildfirelogo

My wife and I took an afternoon lunch date and ordered the following:

Hickory Smoked Pork Roast, Red Eye Gravy
Red Bliss Mash Potatoes, Pearl Onions & Baby Carrots

Maple Leaf Duck-Spinach Salad
Hot Applewood-smoked bacon dressing

The pork was a bit dry, but the overall dish had a good smokey flavor. The duck was tender and salad tasted good. Autumn and I thought that the serving was a little small and hoped they would have crisped up the duck a bit more. For an entree the salad seemed to be sized more like a side dish. We were still hungry so we downed about 4 of their dinner rolls, which by the way, are served warm with a generous side dish of butter.

wildfire_exterior_twilightThe nice thing we noticed is that they finally renovated the nasty old ceiling. It used to be white and moldy looking, and now it’s a nice elegant maroon color. The setting in this restaurant is nice, not too expensive (lunch came to about $20) and ideally located downtown so you can walk off that side dish of butter that comes with your rolls.

So, if you want to meet a local real estate agent to talk about buying and selling, this could be a good place for lunch (hint, hint). Since I added that plug about real estate and talked about my experience, I guess that lunch with Autumn is a write-off right?

So, have you been here? What’s your favorite dish? This blog is boring without reader interaction, I value your comments! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

Best steak in Georgetown, Texas

…is unfortunately 30 minutes south (in Austin).

I celebrated my 6th anniversary with my wife, Autumn, on January 4th.  So we dropped off the kids at a friend’s home and headed off to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.  I’ve been here a couple of times and this is my all-time favorite steak place.  What doesn’t make sense to me is that although the stock price has been going down, the prices have been going up on the menu. Go figure.

Rather then order two steaks and clog up our arteries, my wife and I usually split a steak and then we buy a side item or two.

dsc_4277We started off with the Oysters Rockefeller, which looked like it was topped with the same type of creamed spinach that they serve as an appetizer.  Not too creative in my book, but it sure tasted good!  We then tried a Ruth’s Chris chopped salad next and decided to split it.  Good thing we did, because both of our portions were humongous!  If we had to do it over again, we would ask them to bring the salad out with the steak.  The salad almost looked too good to eat, but that lasted about 2 seconds before I stuck my fork into those beautiful greens and started gobbling it up like a rabbit that is about to have his last meal.  Don’t ask me what those green dots were or how they tasted, I’m not that kind of food critic.  All I know is, it was crunchy, tasty and to balance out the meat, make sure to have them bring both out together.

dsc_4278

Our next course was an overdose of meat.  As usual, the restaurant cooked it up to perfection.  After 1600 degrees in an oven and served to you on a 400 degree plate, you wonder how they can keep medium-rare so perfect.  Yet they did it again.  My ribeye was sizzling up a tune when it arrived at our table and the waitress split it on two plates since we were sharing.  That was a nice gesture.  The worst type of steak you can get is a lukewarm one.  I love a steak that is hot.  How many times have you had to blow on a steak to eat it because it was that hot?  Exactly.

We also paid $8 for glorified potato chips that were supposed to be “shoestring potatoes” according to the menu.  It was worth it, since we brought it home and the kids loved it for lunch the next day.  Ok, I admit it, I loved it too.  If you have a special occassion, be sure to tell the restaurant about it and usually you’ll get a free dessert.  Autumn was wondering whether they would or not and I told her that most definitely they would hook us up.  She asked me, “how can you be so sure?”  And I told her, well, I asked them for a free steak, and they already told me “Sorry, nice try, but we’ll get you a dessert.”  So, my shameless Realtor negotiating technique was to ask for the bigger item and settle for what I really wanted.

So, here’s the freebie in all it’s glory:

dsc_4281

Dang, this looks so good that I didn’t even feel like I should shrink the image.  That would just not be right.  Chocolate molten cake with fancy caramel and ice cream on top.  I’ll let the picture describe itself.  Usually we go for the Creme Brulee which is done very well here.  However, we were both so stuffed that we wanted something to bring back home for the kids and could be enjoyed as a leftover.  Are we great parents or what?

Hopefully, the restaurants in Georgetown, Texas will slowly improve and one day there will be a steak worth eating.  I’ve never tried the Montana Mike’s but I don’t have a good feeling about it.  For now, take the 30 minute drive to 6th street, order up a medium-rare ribeye that is perfectly marbled and sizzling at the table and enjoy.  Total bill was around $90 with tip.

Top Ten Reasons to buy a home in Georgetown, Texas

529w

Top Ten Reasons to buy a home now.

The combination of low interest rates and decreased housing prices represents a great investment opportunity.

By Alamo Title www.alamotitle-austin.com, submitted by Ysolette Nicoson

1. Selection – Homes are available in every area and at all price ranges. The quantity of houses on the market allows you to pick and choose the qualities you want to find just the home you want. It wasn’t so long ago that buyers were jumping on new listings as soon as they came onto the market, that is no longer a concern for buyers in this economy.

2. It’s a buyer’s market – The best time to buy is when most people want to sell. If you buy now you can get a lot more house for your money, and you have a lot more negotiating power.

3. Homes are more affordable – Real estate, which was overpriced during the housing bubble, has returned to earth. That’s especially good news for first-time home buyers who were priced out of the market four or five years ago.

4. Interest rates are low – Mortgage interest rates are at their lowest point in the last several years. This means your mortgage payment takes you a lot farther than it did before. We’re not that far off of the all time lows we hit several years back. It is smart to take advantage of the low mortgage rates while they are still available.

5. Tax savings – Buying a home is one of the best ways to save money on taxes. Your mortgage interest, real estate taxes and in many cases mortgage insurance are all tax deductible. If you are a first time home buyer this means that after-tax, you can pay a lot more for a mortgage payment than you pay for rent.

6. Appreciation– This might not seem like the best reason to buy, with prices stagnating and falling in some areas, but in the long run, home prices always move up. There is a lot of pessimism in the real estate market today, but even the most pessimistic are bullish in the long run.

7. Equity build up– As you pay down your mortgage you build up equity in your home. Most people don’t even think of this because it is so gradual, but every mortgage payment (as long as it is an amortizing loan) pays a little less interest and a little more principal. In a way owning a home is a form of forced savings.

equity-management
8. Rents are rising – Buying a home means you can fix your mortgage payment, at least the principal and interest portion. Rents are projected to rise this year and over time.

9. Lots of homes are Move-In Ready – In order to sell a home in a tough buyer’s market, sellers have to put their best foot forward. This means sellers will paint, landscape, and do any necessary repairs to make their homes look the best as compared to their competition. For a buyer this means, you are getting a nice looking home with no maintenance issues to take care of.

10. Incentives – Buying in a buyer’s market gives the buyer the upper hand. As a buyer, you may ask the seller to sell you their washing machine, refrigerator or pool table. In addition to material things, you can ask the seller for a homeowner’s warranty, lawn or maid service for six months to a year, etc.

What do you think, buy or wait?  This blog is boring without reader interaction, I value your comments! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com