Archives for August 2011

Sponsoring Lunch at Champions School of Real Estate

Guess who’s the next lunch sponsor at Champions School of Real Estate?

Well, tomorrow’s the big day!  I’m sponsoring lunch for the students of the Principles of Real Estate II class on Monday.  This is the first time I’ve tried something like this, and I still don’t know what I’m going to do with the 20 minutes of time I have alloted!

Why am I doing this?

a.  I have so much money that I like to buy free lunches for rookie agents

b.  I am practicing my speech-giving skills

c.  I’m starting a revolution and I need a few volunteers

(Hint:  The answer is C)

Slow down there tiger, I don’t mean that type of revolution.  I mean a REAL ESTATE REVOLUTION!

At Mars Hill Realty Group, I’m offering real estate agents a revolution from the traditional real estate norms that plague our industry.

 

A revolution from the public distrust of real estate agents.

A revolution from the myriad of confusing marketing options available.

A revolution from ineffective negotiation expertise.

A revolution from poor pricing and predictive analysis skills.

 

Want to learn more?  Visit our brokerage website at www.MarsHillRealty.com or read our latest blog article on what makes us different from other traditional Austin real estate companies.

– Your Favorite HOMEboy,

Edward

 

 

Silver Increase in Sendero Springs

Two more homes for sale sprang up in the Sendero Springs neighborhood in Round Rock.  Unfortunately neither of these reaches the Gold standard, but they aren’t too bad and the $/sf is very low so these can still be seen as great deals!

4421 Angelico Lane – Silver

How often do you see a 6 BR, 4 BA home come on the market for $70/sf?  This 4,700 sf home is huge and is listed at $330,000.  The master and 4 bedrooms are located on the top floor along with a 5th bedroom downstairs, separate office, and formal dining room.  The kitchen has granite counters, breakfast area is big, the backyard isn’t huge but it’s nice, and it’s located in a cul-de-sac with only one neighbor to its side and a greenbelt behind.  So why isn’t it Gold?  It’s really close to being gold, but as I previewed the home, I counted about 12 beds and three refrigerators throughout the home!  It’s in overall solid condition, but it also means the home is taking as much wear and tear as three homes combined!

3008 Asombra Lane – Silver

This 5 BR, 3 BA home has the exact same floor plan as the home three doors down from it (3002 Asombra), which has been withdrawn from the market.  This one is offered at slightly lower price of $259,900 ($74/sf), which makes it a better value.  It’s also in better condition with granite counters, and custom floor tiles and back splash.  Carpet in the entire house will be replaced and most of the walls will have a fresh coat of paint on it.  But I still can’t get past the guest bedroom and bathroom in the middle of the home.  It creates an uneven flow to the home.  I’m sure someone out there will like it, but it’s a turn off for the majority of buyers.  It’s a good $/sf, but there are smaller homes out there for less money and a more efficient and pleasant floor plan.

Gold Index:

There are now two Gold homes in Sendero Springs for sale.  3203 Lazada is one of the most expensive homes on the market at $399,900, but has tons of extras and is a very nice home with good value ($88/sf).  4307 Pasada lowered their price to $198,000 ($77/sf) and should be snatched up quickly.  There aren’t many Gold homes for sale in Sendero Springs and to find one under $200,000 makes this a great purchase.

If you’ve got a home in Sendero Springs that you want to sell, get in touch with me to make it a Gold home.  If you are in the market for real estate in Round Rock or Sendero Springs and you need a Realtor, give me a call or email and I’ll gladly help you.

A New Home, An Old Republic

My wife and I recently purchased a home in Sendero Springs in Round Rock, Texas.  This was our first resale purchase and we wanted to make sure we went with a good builder.  The builder of the home is Streetman Homes.  They build a high quality home and it speaks volumes that as other builders are going bankrupt or not able to secure construction loans, Streetman Homes continues to build new homes in a new section of Sendero Springs.  In addition to a quality builder, we wanted some home protection.  No, I’m not talking about guns!  We decided to purchase a home warranty protection from Old Republic Home Protection.  My brother has been recommending Old Republic to clients for many years and has always received positive feedback from them.  It may have been the best (and most affordable) “upgrade” to the value of our home and to our peace of mind!

As the Texas heat approaches historic records for most 100-degree days in a year, what could possibly go wrong with a three-year old home built by a quality home builder?  The air conditioning, of course!

My first call was to Old Republic.  Actually, I went to their website and did everything online – it was fast, easy, and very convenient.  I was very excited to put my warranty plan to use.  The plan charges me $60 for the service call.  I was contacted by Adams Air Care and promptly scheduled the next available appointment (two days).  The technician was very professional in assessing the situation.  He suspected a leak in the system as he refilled about two pounds of 410A.  He even poured vinegar down the drain pipe for me and hosed down my condenser in the scorching sun!  A couple of hours later, he left my home feeling cooler than it had all summer!

A couple of weeks later, the air conditioner wasn’t keeping up with my thermostat so I called Old Republic to have Adams Air Care come out again for a service recall (no charge).  The technician came back, added about four pounds of 410A and was determined to find the leak.  He said my evaporator coil needed to be replaced.  No problem.  I’ve got a warranty plan that will cover the parts and labor for this.  Upon further investigation by the technician, he would need to remove and re-install the furnace and several ducts in the attic in order to have proper access to the coil.  That would probably cost me about $2,000 and would certainly not be covered by my warranty plan.  Problem.

So I called my local Old Republic account executive and told her the mess I was in.  An hour later I got a call from an Old Republic representative telling me I had the option to get a second opinion and I could get a cash settlement from Old Republic to the tune of $953, which is what they would’ve paid Adams Air Care.  That means if it costs me $1,000, I pay $47 out of pocket.  It also means if it costs me $900, I pocket $53.  Originally, I thought having a leak in my air conditioner would make a major dent in my wallet, but after hearing this news, I couldn’t wait to shop around (my specialty) and find someone to “git-r-done.”

I contacted the original company that installed the unit.  They said it could be done and would charge a $650 flat rate to replace an evaporator coil.  Two guys spent over five hours to git-r-done.  The air conditioner is cooling like a champ and I’m about $300 wealthier.  Thanks to Old Republic, I can’t wait until something else needs fixing or replacing at my home.  Just kidding!  In all seriousness, I wish my home could be 100% problem-free, but it’s still great to have a back-up plan.

On your next real estate purchase, make sure you get a home warranty plan from a company like Old Republic.  It should give you immediate peace of mind and if anything were to happen, it just might save you some money and pay for itself.

Not For Sale By Owner

In today’s economy, people are pinching pennies any chance they get. In my line of business, that means more and more sellers trying to sell their home without the expertise or skill of a real estate agent. Central Texas has been home (no pun intended) to the most stable real estate market despite the crash the rest of the nation has experienced, yet I still see plenty of For Sale By Owner signs on yards across Georgetown, Round Rock, and Austin. No community is immune to the temptation of saving money.

Not only is the owner potentially saving thousands of dollars from paying the agent’s commission, with the internet at our fingertips, there are great websites like ForSaleByOwner.com that help owners sell on their own. So it must be pretty easy and money-wise to sell without a licensed real estate agent. Or is it?

The founder of a popular for sale by owner Web site used a real estate broker to help sell his 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom New York apartment after it lingered on the market for six months. Colby Sambrotto, the founder and former chief operating officer of ForSalebyOwner.com, tried to sell the property himself by listing it online and through classified ads, but after six months of it sitting on the market, he sought the help of a real estate broker. The condo soon attracted multiple offers and ended up closing recently for $150,000 more than the original asking price.

It’s like Dieter Zetsche (CEO of Mercedes-Benz) buying one of these for his daughter:

In other words, he got a much better product and paid less.

Contrary to popular (and unsubstantiated) belief, real estate agents can save you time and earn you more money than you realize. Contact your local REALTOR today if you are thinking about selling your home and if you don’t have one, contact your favorite HOMEboys!

Read the full story here.

Fantastic Home, Fantastic Price – 109 Bronze Cove

You think the exterior is nice? Wait til you step through the front door.

109 Bronze Cove is not your typical Sonterra home in Jarrell, Texas. For starters, it’s a home that is kept in immaculate condition. Built in 2008 and finished in early 2009, it was purchased by a caring woman in August 2009. As you can imagine, this 3 BR, 1,224 sf home was more than enough for one person. Thus, it was very lightly used in the past two years. Not only has it not been tread on by many feet, the owner is very clean and meticulous. You will need a magnifying glass and a lot of patience to find dust or debris in this wonderfully, well-kept home.

In today’s market of foreclosures and short sales, the care and condition of this home is about the best it can get for home buyers.  Think about all the savings from not needing to do any touch-up paint, carpet replacement, tile repair, popcorn removal, dusting, appliance replacement, bathroom cleaning, or window treatment.  It’s bad enough you have to deal with bank to get a loan, why deal with them on a short sale or foreclosure and double your headache for minimal savings?  This home’s fantastic condition can save you thousands of dollars out of pocket and months of coming home to a house that is in “renovation mode.”  That’s something your lender and your family should be ecstatic about!

All you need to do is replace the furniture in this well-kept home.

The amazing thing is that the excellent condition of this home isn’t even the best part.  That honor goes to the ultra low asking price of $100,000!  That price will get you 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, spacious living room (as you can see in the above picture), dining room and kitchen both peering out to the living room, a  2-door garage, an indoor utility room to do your laundry in reasonable temperatures, and a huge, private, fenced-in backyard with a patio.  Phew!  And if that’s not enough, the home is situated on a premium lot in a cul-de-sac.  Talk about maximizing your dollars on a home purchase!

This is all you need to bring to the table. Figuratively speaking, of course.

See below for more pictures, video, and information.  If you have any questions or would like to see this property, please call Edwin – available by appointment only.

 

109 Bronze – sellers disclosure
109 Bronze – Survey

 

Sendero Springs Update

There is a new home for sale in the Sendero Springs community of Round Rock, Texas.  Not too long ago, I previewed every home for sale in this community.  I created a system to categorize these homes in a gold, silver, or bronze group for potential home buyers looking in Sendero Springs.  [Click here to read more about gold, silver, and bronze homes for sale.]  I will continue to use this criteria for all the real estate that is for sale in the Sendero Springs neighborhood.

3011 Luminoso – Silver

This 3 BR, 2 BA home is kept in good condition with great landscaping with an asking price of $224,900 ($100/sf).  It has some nice features like wood floors in the living room, a big master bedroom, and nice landscaping in the front and back yards.  However, $100/sf is at the premium end of the spectrum and we should not expect to see an outdated kitchen (that has a center island painted a different color than the rest of the cabinets!) or a home that backs to the main road entrance (the most through traffic).

Here’s a quick update of the Sendero Springs real estate market and how it affects you as a potential buyer in this neighborhood.

4204 Cancelo (Gold) lowered its price from $285,000 to $282,000 ($98/sf) making this a steal – remember this is a brand new home!  It was under contract 10 days later.

5301 Sendero Springs (Gold) lowered its price from $249,000 to $239,000 ($80/sf) making this an even better deal than 4204 Cancelo for the resale market.  It was under contract 7 days later.

4105 Pasada (Gold) came under contract on July 22 with no price adjustment – just 6 days after I had labeled it a gold home!

This means that three out of the five homes I targeted as gold homes are now under contract.  Not a bad ratio considering there were 20 homes on the market during that initial review.  There have been no other homes under contract since then, which tells me these gold homes had something that none of the silver or bronze homes had.  This also tells me in Sendero Springs, there are currently 15 homes for sale and there are only two gold homes left – 4307 Pasada and 3203 Lazada!  So if you’re looking to purchase in this community, or are comparing to other Round Rock homes for sale, you should definitely check these homes out before making any final decisions!  Call me if you need a Realtor to assist.

Entertainer’s Delight for an Austinite – 11608 Larch Valley

Host to your heart’s desire in this spacious home with an open and elegant floor plan.  11608 Larch Valley is located in north Austin, TX in the cozy neighborhood of Pioneer Crossing just minutes from I-35.  The drive to downtown Austin is less than 20 minutes so it’s perfect for those looking to avoid the urban sprawl and still enjoy the benefits of the Austin culture and amenities.  The home is a shade under 2,000 sf (1,936 sf to be exact), but it feels much bigger than that due to its intelligently-designed floor plan and your guests will appreciate it when you’re playing host to a dinner or baby shower!

Priced at $175,000, this home comes equipped with an upgraded kitchen that includes granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and a nice, long breakfast bar.  A formal dining room is placed right next to the kitchen to conveniently serve a 10-course meal without tiring.  More importantly, your food will stay hot and your guests will not go hungry.  The rest of the home has recessed lighting and upgraded light fixtures (with ceiling fans), but you won’t even notice them with the natural light flooding through the many big windows in the home.  Another bonus is the front office, which easily converts to a fourth bedroom.  This is a great place  for working at home full-time, bringing home work from the office, or using for a third child or out of town guest.

Dining Room can also be used as a Sitting Room, Game Room, or 2nd Living Room.

 

If you want to really impress your guests, show off your Texas barbeque skills on the large back patio!  The patio is naturally located off the breakfast area and kitchen.  It features a large concrete slab ready for a pergola for instant shade, or if you’re handy, you could build a beautiful wooden deck.  The lush back yard comes with automatic sprinkler and will complement your patio nicely as it serves to be a good distraction for the kids and dogs while you grill your meat to perfection under the covered patio.  Lastly, the master bedroom is privately tucked away in the rear of the house to guarantee your privacy no matter how many guests are in the house.  It features a wide view of your back yard and private entrance to the master bathroom.  The master bathroom is equipped with double vanity, separate shower, large bath tub, and large walk-in closet.  Best of all, it’s a great place to relax and catch a breather during your party!

Master bedroom makes the Queen-size bed look small!

For more information, check out the photos, videos, and attachments below.  You can also call or email us and ask for Edwin.

 

11608 Larch Valley Options and Upgrades
11608 Larch Valley – Survey
11608 Larch Valley – Sellers Disclosure

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