1101 East Parmer Lane #209 – Affordable City Living

20 Gate

The entrance to Bella Terra sets your expectations high and the condo meets them.

Bella Terra means Beautiful Land in Italian.  The Bella Terra Condos are indeed a beautifully master planned condominium community just north of Austin.  In under 20 minutes, you can be in downtown Austin or downtown Round Rock.  The 24-hour security gate keeps out unwanted visitors and solicitors.  The swimming pool, cabana, and grills will give your family and friends more than enough reasons to hang out after the sun goes down.

01 Living

The look and feel of a model home.

Of all the condos, unit 209 is a special two bedroom, two bathroom home that stands out from the rest.  Pride of ownership is evident in the time, effort, and money used to beautify the 1,441 square foot unit.  The carpet is less than a year old, along with every inch of paint on the walls, ceiling, doors, and trim.  All the kitchen cabinets are sanded, stained, and sealed into a contemporary black that compliments the stainless steel appliances perfectly.  The handrails receive the same five-star treatment to give continuity upstairs.  Small details such as light fixtures and bathroom mirrors were not neglected.

The owners are just as concerned with the functionality as the beauty.  The roof was entirely replaced in 2013, the back yard was re-sodded, and the master bedroom walk-in closet is outfitted with a genuine Elfa organization system.

03 Kitchen

Contemporary kitchen included.

The home is priced at $155,000 with all the mentioned features.  Water, gas, and common maintenance are covered in the $250 per month HOA fee; other utilities average approximately $125 per month.  Call your local Realtor (or me) for more information.

Texas-Sized Housing Boom

The Texas A&M Real Estate Center reports a huge increase in home values and bidding wars in Houston and Dallas.  Over 15% median price increases in Dallas and 14% in Houston represent the highest year over year increases in over a decade.  Although it doesn’t mention anything about Austin, we’ve had our own share of bidding wars and multiple offers for the better half of 2013 and still going on in many pocket neighborhoods.

A hot real estate market can be a difficult ocean for both sellers and buyers alike to navigate so if you need an experienced and savvy real estate agent to sell or purchase a home in a hot market, give me a call.

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/10/everything-including-housing-boom-bigger-in-texas?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSVxHPB81u25$z&om_ntype=RMODaily

Do Home Owners Have Mineral Rights

Most likely, no.

Home owners own the home and builders own the minerals beneath.

Why would builders want to keep the mineral rights?

If you have shale formations, that means lots and lots of moolah.  Oil and natural gas can be extracted by a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  The movie Promised Land is like a tip of the iceberg to fracking.  More than building and selling homes.

How does this affect you?

It only affects you if you have shale formations under your home.  You probably don’t, and there’s nothing you can do about it anyway unless you’re purchasing land.  Actually, builders will disclose this to all buyers so you’ll have to sign an extra paper or two.

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/10/you-own-home-builders-own-whats-under-it?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSVxHPB81u25$z&om_ntype=RMODaily

Rising Interest Rates Means Homes are More Expensive

With interest rates at historic lows, home buyers have been taking advantage of “cheap” money for the past couple years.  But interest rates are set to rise with the federal reserve’s decrease in bond purchasing.  The availability of cheap money will be gone soon so if you’re on the fence about purchasing, take a hard look at the following numbers:

Example: A buyer gets a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at a 5 percent interest rate on a $300,000 loan.

Monthly payment: $1,610.46
Total payment: $579,569.69
Total interest: $279,769.69

Example: A buyer gets a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 6 percent interest rate on a $300,000 loan.

Monthly payment = $1,798.65
Total payment = $647,515.44
Total interest = $347,515.44

Just a 1% rise in interest rate increases the monthly payment $188 and the total interest almost $68,000.  To avoid this increase, give me a call today!

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/10/why-it-might-be-cheaper-buy-now?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSVxHPB81u25$z&om_ntype=RMODaily

Government Shutdown Effects on Real Estate

With interest rates steadily rising, the government shutdown has caused a slight dip in interest rates to its lowest figures in four months.  For the week ending October 3, national averages of mortgage rates went down for a third straight week.  Freddie Mac reports the following averages:

30-year fixed: 4.22%
15-year fixed: 3.29%

These are approximately 0.5-0.75% higher than the rates 12 months ago, which we all know were historically low.

The other big effect is most FHA, USDA, and VA loans are experiencing delays in closing since the… government… is… shut… down.  Trust me, it’s not that obvious to everyone.

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/04/gov-t-shutdown-pushes-mortgage-rates-down?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSTyVLB81mOjB$&om_ntype=RMODaily

Starstruck in Austin

Have you ever wondered what are the top five cities in the U.S. you are most likely to run into a celebrity?  Probably not.  But Rent.com did and guess which major city in Texas made the list.  That’s right.  Austin, Texas, is the #5 city in the U.S.  Yet another reason why so many California residents are changing addresses.

1. Los Angeles, California
2. New York, New York
3. Wilmington, North Carolina
4. Boston, Massachusetts
5. Austin, Texas

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/03/5-best-celebrity-cities-besides-la-and-nyc?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSTdPPB81kybEn&om_ntype=RMODaily

Rental Vacancy Rates Lowest in Ten Years

Nationwide rental vacancy rates are now the lowest in the past ten years, according to real estate research firm Reis Inc.  Current vacancy rates are 4.2%, the lowest since 2001 when it was 3.9%.

If you’re looking to diversity your funds into real estate to generate instant cash flow and build long-term wealth, call Edwin Lui at 512-554-9594.

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/10/03/rental-vacancy-rate-lowest-in-more-decade?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSTdPPB81kybEn&om_ntype=RMODaily

Top Ten Rental Markets for Investors

According to RealtyTrac and RentRage, Williamson County, Texas, is the fourth best rental market nationwide for investors.  The stats are based on gross yield percentages.  If you’d like more information on investing in Texas real estate, call Edwin Lui, a licensed Texas Realtor with an Economics degree that might be of use when determining gross yield.  He’s also a fellow investor.

Williamson County, Texas:
Median market value: $158,000
Median rent value: $1,403
Gross yield: 10.7%

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/09/20/top-10-hidden-gem-single-family-rental-markets?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSPKI6B81T4DuK&om_ntype=RMODaily

VA and FHA Loans – Additional Selling Tools for Homeowners

Homeowners who purchased their homes with a VA or FHA loan can use their low interest rates as an extra incentive to buyers.  By assuming the current loan terms, buyers can take advantage of low interest rates and, in most cases, lower closing costs.  Another advantage is that the loan is further down the amortization schedule, which means more of their payments go toward principal.

Sellers can now offer a great home with a low interest rate that other homes cannot compete with.  Just remember that with VA loans, your VA eligibility is tied to the home as long as the loan exists.

If you are a homeowner in a similar situation, contact me for details.

Source: http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2013/09/20/sellers-can-use-their-fha-va-loans-marketing-tool?om_rid=AACLKS&om_mid=_BSPKI6B81T4DuK&om_ntype=RMODaily

Passing the torch in Georgetown Texas

Editor’s Comment: This has been re-posted from our company blog at www.MarsHillRealty.com to make sure all of our readers and clients know what is happening in our business.  Since the time of this writing, Autumn now has a work-at-home position and I will be re-building my real estate business in Northern Virginia.  We are very excited!


2012 ended with a great 10-year anniversary celebration for my wife and I on our first real vacation to Hawaii.  Personally, we felt refreshed and blessed that we could get away and celebrate what God has been doing in our lives since moving to Texas and starting our family back in 2003 when I was stationed at Ft. Hood as an Army MI Officer.  So much has changed since then.

Getting the Call

As we were making preparations for our vacation, we also received a call from a long-time friend of ours from college, Pastor Tom.  Over 10 years ago, we felt led to help Pastor Tom start a church when he was ready to transition away from leading Agape Christian Fellowship (ACF), a Christian student group at the University of Rochester in New York.  This is the same group that Autumn and I attended in college and how we first met.  ACF and Pastor Tom both have a very special place in our hearts.  Pastor Tom essentially told us that he was ready to plant a church and it would be located in Northern Virginia.  Specifically in Ashburn, VA, a town in Loudoun County.

Over the next few weeks, Autumn and I had to do some self-reflection and praying to make sure this is still something we felt led to participate in.  And if so, timing was also another consideration.

Making a Decision

To help us with our decision, we looked back over the years to see how God has been preparing us for this eventual move.  Over recent years, we have been developing goals in various areas of our lives to help us confirm the timing of this move and almost every one of those prayers have been answered!

We had financial goals that will be met next month.  We also had personal goals and relational goals that we witnessed God’s faithfulness in recent years.  Some of our goals are still unmet, such as securing a job in Virginia or developing a business idea before we move down.  However, we know God will continue to provide for us as we trust Him and make decisions by faith.

Finally, we also had goals for our brokerage, Mars Hill Realty Group, and my personal business of buying/selling real estate.   My goal was to transition away from my buying/selling business and eventually sell it.  Over two years ago I asked my brother, Edwin, and his wife, Candice, to join me in Texas, move from California and partner with me in my business as an initial step.  After a successful two year transition, Edwin has fully taken over my buying/selling business and I have been focusing on building up the property management division for Mars Hill Realty Group.  All this was done in preparation for an ineveitable move back east for church planting.

As Autumn and I look back at these goals, we know they could never have been accomplished on our own.  For God to have his hand so clearly in these plans, we knew that moving to Virginia to be a part of this church plant had to be God’s direction for us.

Preparing for Change

So, as of January 1, 2013, your favorite HOMEboy has passed the torch to another HOMEboy named Ed Lui.  To make it easier for our clients, we also exchanged phone numbers so that 512-554-9594 will now be answered by Edwin.  My new number is Edwin’s old number, 512-761-6476.  I will continue to serve as the broker for Mars Hill Realty Group and our property management team will continue to seek Investors to work with and manage investment property.

In case you’re wondering whether this change will affect the service you will receive, you can take comfort in knowing that, unofficially, Edwin had already been leading the buying and selling side for the past 12 months.  And for the past 2 months, Valerie, our VP of Operations, has been doing an excellent job running the Property Management division so that I could focus soley on new client development and sales.  During my extended vacation in December, I was able to “field test” for the first time how Mars Hill would operate without my physical presence and everybody passed with flying colors.

I’m so thankful for all of my clients and friends who have supported my family by trusting in me to help them buy, sell, invest and manage real estate over the years.  Your continued trust and referrals will continued to be handled with the same care and professionalism that you have experienced with me personally.  The Mars Hill Property Management team and my brother Edwin, have been personally trained by me to continue to serve your real estate needs in the areas of buying selling, investing and property management and are eager to help.

As my family and I prepare our move to Virginia this coming summer, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.  We are certainly excited for this adventure, but also sad to leave such great friends, clients and a close, loving community that we’ve raised our family in.  Mars Hill Realty is expanding to Virginia and we’ll keep you updated on our progress through this blog as well as our Facebook page:  www.MarsHillRealtyGroup.com.  Please send us any questions you have, and comment on our Facebook page.  We would love to hear your thoughts!

Your Favorite HOMEboy,



Want to learn more about Property management in Round Rock, Georgetown, or Greater Austin?  Visit our 2-page educational website here:  www.WEmanageYOUhavepeace.com

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