New Standard Pacific Homes in Lakeline

standardpacific

Standard Pacific Homes will be selling in a charming and newly developed northwest Austin townhome community.  Standard Pacific is one of the premiere builders in Austin.  Here’s a great opportunity to own a townhome in one of the fastest growing areas of the beautiful Texas Hill Country!

Just off highway 183 and 45, Lakeline Center is a prime location:

  • Walking distance to Capital Metro Rail Lakeline Station
  • Major retail and resaurants
  • Popular Round Rock ISD schools
  • Close to Concordia University and Austin Community College’s Cypress Creek Campus
  • Numerous parks and trails

Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about Lakeline Center in northwest Austin!

Back to School Information

It’s August and for many of us that means it’s time to start planning for the new school year! Looking for school supply lists, new student registration information, or open house dates? Follow the links below for all the information you need for the start of the 2015-2016 school year

August 24th – Classes Begin

Georgetown ISD – more information here.

Austin ISD – more information here.

Leander ISD – more information here.
August 25th – Classes Begin

Round Rock ISD – more information here.

Perhaps your children are heading off to college. If the cost of tuition, housing and books concerns you, you might want to consider refinancing your home.

Tera Gilbert with New Penn Financial suggests that if you’ve been thinking of reducing your loan term from a 30-year fixed to a 10-, 15- or 20-year loan, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and start the refinance process. But while you’re at it, pull some cash out during the process to take care of college expenses. In Texas, you can pull cash out during a refinance up to 80 percent of the current market value of your home. And that cash can be used for any purpose you choose, including college tuition.

Say you have a 30-year fixed rate at 4.875% on a $300,000 mortgage and your home is worth $550,000. You determine that refinancing that note into a 20-year loan at 3.50% will save you a considerable amount of interest over time. During this process, you decide to not just change the term and reduce your rate but you also pull out $20,000 for college. The difference in monthly payments is just over $100 per month. Where else can you leverage $20,000 at such a rate?

If you would like to talk about your options and see if this process makes sense for you, send me a message and I’d be happy to connect you.

Happy Birthday America!

This July 4th, the United States of America celebrates its 239th birthday!

Here are some fantastic places for the entire family to enjoy fireworks safely:

Please check the links for updated information and remember most fireworks are not allowed in and around Austin.  Check your local laws.  Fortunately there are plenty of places nearby where you can enjoy fireworks!

Father’s Day Ideas

Are you looking for meaningful Father’s Day ideas that will really show Dad how much you care?  These suggestions are bound to make his day especially great.  Plus, they’re simple, inexpensive, and fun for the whole family!

Spend time together.

Take him out to the ballgame. Bring your gloves and baseballs! Round Rock Express has a home game on Father’s Day. Fathers and their kids can come down to the field to play catch before the game from 5:45 – 6:15. Bonus: Gatti Land will be giving away baseballs to all kids 12 and under.

Treat him to golf! Topgolf Austin opens an hour early (8am) on Father’s Day. They also have a new brunch menu and games for all ages to enjoy.

Go to the movies. Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out will be released the Friday before Father’s Day. Older kids will enjoy taking him to see the highly anticipated Jurassic World in 3D, which will be out the week before!

Make him something.

Get Crafty.  “All About My Dad” worksheets are a fun way for kids of all ages to show Dad how much they care. You can download a worksheet for Dad or Grandpa here.

Upload a YouTube video. Record your children recounting funny Dad Stories or telling their favorite thing about him. Include special songs or inside jokes that make you think of Dad.

Bring on the praise.

Appreciate him. Tell him how much you love and need him. Show him how you feel by writing him a thank you note detailing the ways he contributes to the family, how he gives moral and emotional support, or what makes him a great parent. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on extravagant gifts; your gratitude and love are the greatest gifts you can give him this Father’s Day.

 

Quiz – Buyers’ Favorite Features

What do buyers want most in a new home? The National Association of REALTORS collected responses from more than 2500 buyers who recently purchased a home. Let’s see how well you know house hunters’ priorities!

1. What single home feature do buyers say they want most in a new home?

A. Walk-in closet in master bedroom
B. Central air conditioning
C. Backyard
D. Fully finished basement

2. What was the median home size purchased in 2013?

A. 2,320 square feet
B. 1,860 square feet
C. 1.450 square feet
D. 1,000 square feet

3. Repeat buyers tend to be choosier than first-time buyers. In particular, repeat buyers place much more emphasis on these home features:

A. Fireplaces and air filtration systems
B. Bay windows and finished basements
C. Over-sized garages and master bedroom with walk-in closets
D. Backyards and proximity to entertainment

4. Within three months after buying a home, nearly half of all buyers remodeled or made improvements to which part of the house?

A. Master bedroom
B. Backyard
C. Kitchen
D. Home office

5. Which kitchen feature ranked highest among buyers?

A. New appliances
B. Eat-in kitchen
C. Kitchen Island
D. Granite countertops

6. What three features did buyers say they’d be most willing to pay extra for in a home?

A. Proximity to work, a wooded lot, and a backyard or play area
B. Whirlpool baths, proximity to schools, and a deck
C. A corner lot, a lawn sprinkler system, and high-end kitchen appliances
D. Central air-conditioning, walk-in closets, and hardwood floors

7. A home’s energy efficiency is most important to which segment of buyers?

A. Repeat buyers
B. Second-home buyers
C. New-home buyers
D. First-time buyers

8. Where do first-time home buyers tend to purchase a home?

A. Rural area
B. City or urban area
C. Suburb or subdivision
D. Small town

9. What’s the most common type of home purchased?

A. Single level
B. Split level
C. Two levels
D. Three levels

10. What did new-home buyers most wish their home had more of?

A. Storage
B. Bedrooms
C. Kitchen space
D. Bathrooms


 

Answers

1. B          2. B          3. C          4. C          5. A          6. D          7. C         8. C          9. A          10. A

 

 

Bluebonnet Season in Texas

Taking pictures in among the bluebonnets has become a fun Texas tradition. Here are some ways to get the most out of your photo sessions:

The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom is to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.   -Jack Maguire

  1. Be safe! So many people pull over on the sides of busy highways to photograph their children and pets. Instead, scout out a location that is in a safer location. Also keep in mind that ants love bluebonnet fields and you never know when a snake might decide to show up so definitely check out the area where you plan to have your children pose.
  2. Keep the bluebonnets safe. You may have heard that it is illegal to pick our state flower but that is only a myth. However, we need bluebonnets to make seeds for next year so it is a good idea not to pick them. Also look for areas that are already crushed and use that spot to take your pictures. There’s no reason to smash more flowers.
  3. Know the law. People get so excited when they spot a beautiful field of bluebonnets that they sometimes completely ignore the law. Make sure you’re not trespassing onto someone’s property to get to the flowers. Also it’s illegal to damage anyone’s property – that includes making ruts in the grass or causing any type of damage to the landscape. And be sure you’re not blocking traffic with your vehicle when you stop to photograph the flowers.
  4. Take your pictures now. April is the prime month for bluebonnets!
  5. The best time of day to take outdoor pictures is before 10 am or after 4 pm. Avoid the middle part of the day to decrease squinting and shadows.
  6. Use your flash. This will also help eliminate shadows. You don’t need to worry about red-eye because you’ll be outside and your subject’s pupils are already dilated.
  7. Bring the camera down to your subject’s eye level and zoom in. Sure, the bluebonnets are beautiful but your kids’ smiling faces are the best part.
  8. Wear long pants or bring a blanket. The grass can be itchy so it’s best to cover up bare legs. Also solid colors tend to look best in bluebonnet pictures. The bluebonnets create a lot of pattern so solid colored clothing creates a more balanced picture.
  9. Pay attention to the background. Signs, cars, other people, and telephone poles – they can all ruin an otherwise great bluebonnet picture.
  10. Bring a tripod. You need to be in the pictures too!

If you come across a beautiful bluebonnet field please comment below! Texas-bluebonnets-field

bombay2austin on flickr

The 2015 Top Reasons Why Austin is a Great Place to Live

Everyone seems to be talking about Austin!  With our thriving economy, vibrant music scene, and eclectic culture, it is no surprise that we are America’s fastest growing city.  Below is a listing of recent acknowledgements and accolades that Austin has received from the online news sites, print media, recent studies, and public opinion polls at a national level.

ECONOMY

  • Number one of the 6 most affordable, Fast-growing US Cities – Urban living without breaking the bank (Cheapism.com, February 2014)
  • Number one of America’s 20 Fastest-Growing Cities (Forbes.com, February 2014)
  • Number two of 16 U.S. Cities Where Women Actually Earn More Than Men (Nerdwallet, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks fourth on Forbes’ List of America’s Most Creative Cities in 2014 (Forbes, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks 45th among 2014’s Most & Least Recession-Recovered Cities (Wallet Hub, July 2014)
  • According to a Nerdwallet study, Austin ranks number seven among the 10 best cities to launch a start-up (CNN Money, July 2014)
  • Austin, Round Rock, and San Marcos are grouped at number six among Best Places for STEM Graduates (Nerdwallet, July 2014)
  • CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists rank Austin as number five among the Top Ten Metros with the Highest Gains in Share of U.S. Jobs for our data processing and hosting, computer system design, management, scientific and technical consulting services, and semiconductor manufacturing. (CareerBuilder.com, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks number three among Cities Stealing Jobs from Wallstreet (NewGeography.com, June 2014)
  • According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Austin will be the fastest growing U.S. metro economy through 2020 (U.S. Conference of Mayors Online, June 2014)
  • Austin is one of the top five most small business-friendly cities in the nation (Thumbtack, June 2014)
  • Austin ranks number two in the Best Cities for Women in the workforce (Nerdwallet, June 2014)
  • Austin is the third best city for starting an online business (HighSpeedInternet.com, May 2014)
  • Austin ranked number three on Forbes’ Top Large Cities for Jobs list (Forbes, April 2014)
  • Austin is the third Best City for College Grads (Livability.com, April 2014)
  • Austin’s economic performance from the recession through the recovery ranks number one in the nation (Brookings’ Metro Monitor, April 2014)
  • Austin is the third Best City for Job Seekers (Nerdwallet, January 2014)
  • Austin is number two in the Top 5 Fastest Growing Cities for Renters in the U.S. (Rent.com, May 2014)
  • Austin ranks number one for 2012-2013 population growth among the 100 largest U.S. metros (U.S. Census Bureau, March 2014)
  • For the fourth year in a row, Austin ranks number one on Forbes’ annual list of America’s Fastest-Growing Cities (February 2014)

EDUCATION

  • Austin makes the list of Best Cities for Service-Oriented Students (BestColleges.com, July 2014)
  • University of Texas at Austin named the 28th best university in the world (Times Higher Education, October 2014)
  • Austin tops ranking of U.S. metros for net migration of adults with college degrees (NewGeography.com, August 2014)
  • The University of Texas ranks 5th worldwide for U.S. patents granted to universities in 2013 (National Academy of Inventors, June 2014)
  • According to data culled by ZipRealty Inc., the Eanes school district of the Austin area is one of the country’s top 10 Best Places for Families to Live (Ziprealty, July 2014

FOOD/ENTERTAINMENT

  • Texas ranks number two on the list of U.S. states by food/drink (Thrillist, July 2014)
  • Austin is one of the 10 Best Cities to Dine with Your Valentine (Trulia, February 2014)
  • Austin’s District Kitchen and Cocktails is included in the Top 100 Neighborhood Gem Restauraunts in America (OpenTable Inc., June 2014
  • USA Swimming’s top 50 swimming cities in the country ranks Austin as number eight (USA Swimming, July 2014)
  • The Guardian’s top 40 international holiday hotspots lists Austin as number three for 2014 (The Guardian, January 2014)
  • Hamilton Pool of Dripping Springs, Texas was ranked #18 among “America’s Best Swimming Holes” (Weather.com, August 2014)
  • Jacob’s Well: Wimberley Valley, Texas was ranked #3 among “America’s Best Swimming Holes” (Weather.com, August 2014)

LIFESTYLE/ENVIRONMENT

  • Two Austin neighborhoods (Mueller and Gallindo) made the list of Top 10 Neighborhoods for Green Homes (Redfin, April 2014)
  • Austin is in the top 10 affordable purchase markets for aspiring millennial homebuyers (RISMedia, July 2014)
  • Austin ranks 16th in the nation for solar power by Total Installed Solar PV Capacity (EnvironmentTexas.com, April 2014)
  • Named among the top 10 budget-friendly retirement spots for having a lot of retirement-friendly attributes, including low taxes (CNBC Online, June 2014)
  • Austin was ranked among the “Top 20 Coolest Cities in America” (Forbes Magazine, August 2014)
  • Austin is the No. 3 City in the U.S. to Educate, Entertain, and Exhaust Your Kids (Macaroni Kid, September 2014)
  • Austin is one of the Ten Best Cities for Coffee Snobs (Redfin, September 2014)
  • Austin ranked 40 of 100 among the most recreation-friendly cities for park quality, weather conditions, entertainment and rec. facilities (WalletHub.com, July 2014)
  • Austin is number one on the list of top ten cities in the U.S. for group fitness (MyFitnessPal, July 2014)
  • Austin made the list of the Five Best Cities for Pet-Friendly Vacations (SheKnows.com, July 2014)
  • Austin is rated the number three most patriotic city in the U.S. (MyLife.com, July 2014)
  • Austin is rated the second best city for millennials (Niche.com, April 2014)
  • U-Haul names Austin the sixth U.S. Destination City in 2013 (April 2014)
  • Austin and San Antonio are the two Best Places for Veterans overall. Austin ranks in the top five for veterans starting out, mid-career, and military retirement (United Services Automobile Association, October, 2014)
  • Austin ranks number seven on the list of the world’s most dynamic cities (Jones Lang LaSalle, January, 2014)

If you or someone you know is interested in taking advantage of the hot Austin real estate market, give me a call. 

2014 Austin Area Housing Statistics

Dec14_1

For the fourth year in a row, annual home sales have increased in the Austin area. According to a report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS, the Austin area set a record for single-family home sales in December (2,283 homes), along with a record for annual home sales in 2014 (27,768 homes).

With its growing economy and below-average cost of living, Austin is the third-fastest growing big city in America. This population growth combined with low housing inventory is driving up home prices.

Townhouse and condominium sales also increased in 2014. December 2014 sales were up 6% compared to December 2013. In the same time period, the median price for condos was $229,750, which is 5% more than the same month of the prior year.

If you are thinking about selling in this incredibly strong market, call Edwin today!

December 2014 Statistics

  • 2,283 – Single-family homes sold, 14 percent more than December 2013.
  • $246,530 – Median price for single-family homes, 10 percent more than December 2013.
  • $311,082 – Average price for single-family homes, six percent more than December 2013.
  • 55 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, three days more than December 2013.
  • 1,546 – New single-family home listings on the market, 10 percent more than December 2013.
  • 5,077 – Active single-family home listings on the market, 12 percent more than December 2013.
  • 1,623 – Pending sales for single-family homes, 18 percent more than December 2013.
  • 2.2 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.2 month more than December 2013.
  • $710,200,206 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 21 percent more than December 2013.

2014 Year-End Totals

  • 27,768 – Single-family homes sold, two percent more than 2013.
  • $242,500 – Median price for single-family homes, eight percent more than 2013.
  • $309,975 – Average price for single-family homes, seven percent more than 2013.
  • 47 – Average number of days that single-family homes spent on the market, three days fewer than 2013.
  • 35,423 – New single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than 2013.
  • 5,734 – Active single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than 2013.
  • 28,325 – Pending sales for single-family homes, one percent more than 2013.
  • $8,607,385,376 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, nine percent more than 2013.

Source: https://www.abor.com/news_media/press_releases/2014/p16_14.cfm

How to Make Your Savings Goals Stick

In our last post we discussed ways to begin taking control of your finances. This week we’ll go over some ways to make those savings goals stick.

1. Do it automatically.

You can set up an automatic transfer with your bank so that each pay period a certain amount of money will be transferred to your savings account. This way you don’t have to think about it, which makes it much more likely to happen!

2. Make it fun.

Challenge a friend or family member to see who can save the most over a period of time. Just make sure the prize is FREE! Maybe the loser has to cook the winner a meal or wash their car. Make saving money a family affair by creating a savings thermometer. Draw a giant thermometer with your savings goal at the top. Once you reach your goal have a party to celebrate.

3. Reward yourself.

You have been pinching pennies and your savings account is growing! Periodically rewarding yourself with a small bonus will motivate you to keep going.

Taking Control of Your Finances in 2015

If you’re like most people, the New Year often prompts you to set goals for yourself. Maybe this year you have decided to reduce your debt or save more money. Here are some great tips to get you started:

1. Identify your goal.

Do you want to start an emergency fund? Save for a home? Get out of debt? Identifying your financial goal will help you develop a plan and stick to it.

2. Review your finances.

Most people underestimate how much money they spend. Print out 12 months of statements from your bank and credit card accounts. Highlight your fixed (mortgage/rent, utilities), irregular (car and home maintenance, taxes, etc), and discretionary expenses (shopping, restaurants, entertainment, etc.)

3. Create a budget.

This gives you control over your money. 55% of millionaires keep a budget!

4. Track your expenses.

Tracking your spending habits will show you exactly where your money is going.

5. Eliminate debt.

Eliminating debt can seem intimidating. Remember to tackle one debt at a time. For credit card debt, start with the card that has the highest interest rate. Make larger payments on that one while making the minimum payment on any others.

6. Review your credit report.

It’s smart to check your credit report annually to confirm that all your information is correct as well as to alert you in case there has been any fraudulent activity.

7. Start an emergency fund.

Having 3-6 months of living expenses stashed away will give you peace of mind and protect you in the event of an emergency.

8. Invest

By making smart investments you can have your money work for you!

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