Mars Hill Realty Group – Logo Time!

I recently announced on my Facebook Page, that I was starting an independent real estate brokerage and was naming it Mars Hill Realty Group.  Well, after 2-3 weeks of receiving over 450 logo designs from about a dozen top graphic designers, I’ve narrowed it down to these 3:

LOGO C:

4039457380-223

LOGO B:

4597455905-223

LOGO A:

4665459528-223

Which one do you like the best?  Feel free to comment below and vote on my Facebook page!  That link is www.YourFavoriteHomeboy.com

7/17/09 UPDATE – Check out the results below:

Williamson County Texas – No more “Sans” thanks to “Three Legged Willie”

Williamson County, Texas – No more “Sans” thanks to “Three Legged Willie”

Ever wonder why our home county is named “Williamson”? Most people would guess that it was named after some prominent resident who resided here or did some great thing in the county’s history. In fact, it was named after a man who never even lived here! Our county’s namesake is Robert McAlpin Williamson and although his connection to Williamson County doesn’t go much further than the name, his life makes for quite a story.

He was born in Georgia sometime between 1804 and 1806. Orphanrobert-mcalpin-williamsoned by the death of his mother and the abandonment of his father before his first birthday, he was raised by his grandmother in Milledgeville, Georgia. He studied law and was admitted to the bar by the time he was twenty. He must have been a peculiar site in Georgia courtrooms, as five years earlier, he had contracted a form of arthritis that left his right knee locked at a 90 degree angle for the rest of his life. Since the leg was perfectly healthy (other than the fact the knee wouldn’t unbend) the decision was made not to amputate the useless appendage. Instead a wooden leg was attached to the knee, giving him the nickname “Three-Legged-Willie.” Apparently he didn’t much care for the name since no one was willing to use it to his face.

Despite his odd deformity, something he obviously never saw as a limitation, he joined Stephen F. Austin’s colony in 1827. Some stories claim that the move was not of his own choosing. By those accounts, he was on the run after injuring a rival suitor in a duel over a young lady. Once in Texas, Williamson expended his considerable energy in founding and editing several newspapers and serving as the first public prosecutor for what later became Travis County. Never held back by his deformed leg, Williamson was an excellent rider and marksman and was soon appointed a Major in the Texas Rangers. He fought Comanches on the frontier and the Mexican Army at Gonzalez and San Jacinto. He helped to write the first constitution of the Republic of Texas and served as a Supreme Court Justice and Circuit Judge. (District Judges rode circuits within their districts and simultaneously served as Supreme Court justices.)

After ending his career in the Texas judiciary, he ran for and won office in the House of Representatives and later in the Senate in the Republic of Texas. After the annexation of Texas, he served as a representative in the state government and it is here that we come to the story of how Williamson County came to bear his name. In 1848 the state legislature, responding to a petition from 107 residents of western Milam County, decided to split off what is now Williamson County. The question came up as to what they should call what is now our home county. The most favored name seemed to be “San Gabriel” for the river that runs through it and was an early center of settlement. An objection was raised by Representative Williamson who stood up and irreverently exclaimed that, “We’ve already got enough San’s in Texas!” One of his legislative colleagues responded by proposing that since he disagreed with the name San Gabriel, they should just name the new county for Judge Williamson himself. The motion carried and today we live in Williamson County rather than San Gabriel County.

Check out my new Facebook page!

facebook-profile

In an effort to separate some of my networking and business posts from my personal facebook profile, I created a Facebook page!  Please check it out and become a fan by clicking here! Or you can search for “Edward W. Lui – Your Favorite HOMEboy” on Facebook.

I plan on using my Facebook page for “micro-blogging” and posting links, short updates, local listings/real estate deals and other helpful information to my “fans.”  One of the nice things about my Facebook page is that I can talk “real estate” with people who have signed up to hear about it and not blast my information to just anyone.  Please join the discussion anytime and feel free to ask questions yourself.  I would love to have some interaction with my readers!

If you haven’t joined Facebook revolution yet, you might as well do it now:)  As far as privacy is concerned, nobody can see your profile and personal information without first being approved by you.  I think it’s a great social networking site, that will be sticking around for a long time and provides a great way to connect with the people you really want to.  What do you think?  Do you have a facebook profile yet or do you think this is just a fad that will go away?

I hope you’ll check out my Facebook page, and if you find it to be helpful, sign up as a fan!

~your favorite HOMEboy

Who’s In that Cemetery in Georgetown Village?

gravestoneThose of you who live in Georgetown Village have probably noted the old cemetery next to the entrance of Phase I. I’ve always had a fascination with cemeteries as there lie the repositories of the last remains of people who lived and experienced another time.

Not wanting to disturb the dead, or get arrested for trespassing, I overcame my innate curiosity, until one Saturday when I noticed someone inside the fence cleaning up all the brush and grass that had accumulated. I figured that if he could be in there working, I could at least step in to have a look around and ask a few questions.

The man was Rev. John Gurley, a local Baptist preacher, who said that he cared for old cemeteries that no one else was taking care of. He said that it was a way of paying respects to his parents who were buried too far away for him to care for their graves. By the time I got there, he had cleared away most of the brush that had clogged the cemetery. He told me that an armadillo had dug down into one of the graves and that he had had to replace some of the bones that the animal had disturbed. There are numerous unmarked grave stones scattered around the area, based on their small size, the Rev. Gurley said that most appeared to be young children, a sobering reminder both of the material poverty of most of the early settlers and the fact that not too long ago many parents buried more children than they raised to adulthood.

The mysterious two gravestones: The two graves stones that do have inscriptions are enclosed in a small wrought iron fence in the middle of the cemetery, the one that a burrowing armadillo had disturbed was Cretia Lord (Jan 23, 1846 – Nov 15, 1902). The other person buried there is her infant son, David (Aug 25, 1872 – Jan 25, 1873) who appears to have died from Scarlet Fever, a common killer of children in that age. I little digging on the internet found that Cretia’s father, Joseph Martin Fish, born in Germany, was a veteran of the war of 1812. Cretia’s mother Nancy outlived her daughter by two years, passing away in 1904.

Cretia’s husband, Leroy B. Lord also outlived her, passing away in 1911. He is buried in the IOOF Cemetery behind Southwestern University. Besides being sheriff of Williamson County 1868-1869 he was also a relatively wealthy man. In a 2001 proceeding of the Georgetown City Council in which permission was given to begin development of Georgetown Village, that whole area was referred to as the “Leroy B Lord Survey.”

I’ve always found history to be most interesting when I find a personal connection and now I have one with the lady whose mortal remains lie in the cemetery at the entrance to Georgetown Village. If you live in the Village, then your house stands on land that once belonged to that lady and her husband.

What Documentation Is Needed to Apply for an FHA Loan?

What Documentation Is Needed to Apply for an FHA Loan?

Buying a home can be a trying experience. From negotiating a price to home inspections; whether it’s your first or fifth time there always seems to be surprises. Being as prepared as possible to meet with a lender will help make qualifying for an FHA backed loan a more pleasurable experience.

A loan officer will need several pieces of information, both personal and financial, to help you qualify for an FHA loan. The information is required of both you and a co-borrower if applicable. Bring this information with you to your first meeting with the FHA loan officer.

  • Your Social Security number
  • The addresses of all the places you have lived in the past two years
  • The names and addresses of all the places you have worked in the past two years
  • Your Gross Monthly Income (before taxes) or your current job or jobs
  • Pay stubs from the past four weeks
  • W-2 forms from all employers for the past two years
  • Personal tax returns for the past two years
  • Information about all current bank accounts
  • Bank name and address
  • Account numbers
  • Current available balance
  • Average balance over the past six months
  • Information regarding all current loans
  • School loans
  • Credit cards
  • Car loans
  • Any other loan – Information should include; account numbers, loan balance and minimum monthly payments
  • Information regarding any other real estate you own
  • The approximate value of your personal property including; jewelry, cars, bonds, etc
  • Self-employed individuals will be required to furnish a business balance sheet and current income statement
  • A certificate of eligibility is required for Veterans

Additionally, you should be prepared to pay for a credit check and property appraisal.

Being fully prepared for your first appointment with a loan officer will ensure fewer surprises on the road to home ownership.

(Article courtesy of www.fhaloansource.com.  Interested in advertising or posting content on www.GeorgetownCustomHomes.com/blog that will be beneficial to my readership?  Please contact me for details.)

Cleaning Tips by Maria

As a cleaning service owner, I’m often asked about what products work best to clean various surfaces.  There are many great products that work well and can be purchased right off of the shelves at the local grocery store.

For now, I would like to discuss a few products that can be used for dusting and bathrooms. Next time I will discuss some great products to use to get your floors and kitchens sparkling clean.

What products are good for dusting?

Swiffer Dusters, especially the extendable types as they do a great job of picking up and holding dust. Lambswool type dusters also work well.

When dusting, always start from the top of your room and work your way down. The last thing you want to do is to beautifully dust your room just to get it all dirty again when you clean your ceiling fan! So, make sure to dust your cobwebs and ceiling fans first and then dust the rest.

Follow up dusting by polishing your wood furniture with a product such as Pledge, Howard’s Orange Oil, or your favorite Lemon Oil to give surfaces a nice finish and to ensure the dust stays off as long as possible. The product you ultimately choose to polish your furniture will depend on your furniture’s surface and how you would like the final appearance to be. Oil based products such as Howard’s will leave your surface shiny but be aware that some products such as Murphy’s Oil Soap may leave a buildup over time.

The absolute best way to keep dust at a minimum is to frequently change your filters on you’re A.C. vents.

What products should I use to get my bathrooms looking good?

When deciding what product to use to clean bathrooms, first determine what needs to be cleaned: General dust/dirt, soap scum and or hard water.

General Dust and Dirt: Any all purpose cleaner will work with warm water and soap. Our favorite soap is Ivory as it leaves surfaces super shiny.

Hard water: Hard water is heavier than soap scum so if you have both, you may need to remove hard water layers in order to get to the soap scum layer underneath. Products such as Ajax, Barkeeper’s Friend and Lemi Shine work great on hard water build up.

Tip: Lemi Shine can be purchased in the dishwasher isle and although it is intended for dishwashers, it is probably the best product out there for removing tough hard water build up. Lemi Shine is an all natural product, in a salt form, and it will not discolor your faucets.

Soap scum: To remove soap scum, try Easy Off Bam, Comet, and Scrubbing Bubbles. The best way to tackle soap scum is to spray your product and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes before wiping it off. Let the cleaner do as much of the work so you don’t have to!

To get a really nice finish, after you scrub your surface, rewipe it with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Give it one final rinse and presto! Soap scum will be history.

What products should I use to get my mirrors looking great?

To get mirrors looking great, we like to use Essentials from Arm and Hammer. The best way we’ve found to clean mirrors is to wash them using soap and warm water then follow with your favorite glass cleaner.

What works for toilets?

For toilets, we like to use The Works as it is an acid and cuts right through heavy hard water. If you are looking for an all natural alternative, Lemi Shine also works great.

With any product you choose, please test first in order to avoid damage to your surfaces!

And of course, if you find that you do not want to do the cleaning yourself or simply can’t, please give Welcome Home Cleaning Services a call! We serve the following areas:  Georgetown, Texas; Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto, Taylor, and parts of North Austin.

Editor’s Note: The next time you have a Georgetown, Texas home for sale and you need it cleaned, give Maria a call!

www.WelcomeHomeCleaning.com

“Read this Blog and then give Tametria B. a promotion…”

…she seems to be the only one giving me any confidence in purchasing from your company in the future.  Her extension is 2009.  Please forward this email to her.”

Does that sound a bit harsh?

That was the content of the email I sent a supervisor of letstalk.com recently.

I recently became a free agent in the cell phone world and decided to go with Sprint and eliminate all of my nit picky overage charges from verizon.  I have 3000 minutes and my cell phone bill was still over $300 last month for overage charges!  That was reason enough to switch.  So I got some pretty cool phones:

This one is mine:

This one is for my wife:

The hassle with ordering from letstalk.com was enough to make me want to pay $50 more and go through a Sprint store.  But, I chickened out since I was so close to finishing this order and I have a busy week.

The ordering process was pretty smooth, and Heather did a great job with the order-taking part, but lacked some follow-through.  I kept getting these ridiculous emails to call Sprint and verify my credit information before my order could be processed.  So I did that….THREE SEPARATE TIMES!  Every time I called, Sprint would tell me that my credit decision was approved.

I thought Heather was banking it big from my big order and she would return my call…..she didn’t.

I then tried the website’s “fill out this form and we’ll call you back” feature and…they didn’t.

So tonight I called again, asked to speak to a supervisor, and there was none to talk to (they were all busy).

Finally, I got a hold of Tametria and after 3 attempts to Sprint Credit, and 3 attempts with letstalk.com, she took care of business.  All it took was for her to call Sprint Credit and verify that I was approved.  So all of the emails and instructions for me to call Sprint Credit was a big waste of my time!

Thanks Tametria, for allowing me to move forward with my life.  Thank you for taking the time to listen to me and do a little extra work (like the credit verification phone call) that completed my order.  You deserve a raise.

So was my email harsh?  Well, I figure a letter that might potentially benefit somebody like Tametria is much better than a letter that is filled with complaints.  So there you go letstalk.com, please train your people and please give a bonus to Tametria.

This just underscores how important it is for me to listen to my clients and not just go after the sale.  With 10,000+ real estate agents in Greater Austin, doing that alone will differentiate me from the crowd.

Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments?

Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below and don’t forget to comment on my blog, I love reader interaction!

Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

In your FACE…book

I joined yet another social networking site:  Facebook

Heard of it?

If not, it’s time to dust off the computer and start using your Internet!  I’ve been trying not to get an account for several months because my time is stretched already writing for the Georgetown Texas Real Estate blog, balancing work/church/family life and still making time for myself to just chill.  So I thought I would just get an account, not waste any time on it, wait for people to find me and maybe even sell a house or two.
Boy was I wrong!  As far as selling a home, that hasn’t happened…yet.  But I have to tell you, that Facebook sure is addicting.  I love it when I can find an old high school or college buddy and we can link up as “friends.”  Everytime they write or do something, Facebook notifies me on my account.  It’s a real neat way to stay in touch with friends a little more frequently then the once a year Christmas card.
So check out my Facebook profile and find out what I’m having for lunch, when I’m brushing my teeth and other useless things to know.  Or you can just do it to spy on MY friends.  After all, you can learn a lot by the friends someone has.

And oh yeah, if you’re an old buddy, look me up!  Just don’t get me confused with the other 65 “Edward Lui’s” that pop up when you do a search.  Sheesh, so much for feeling special.

Property Tax Protest – Results are in!

Property taxes are pretty high in Georgetown, Texas. Anywhere in Texas for that matter. The last thing you should do is pay more than you need to. In my previous post on property taxes in Williamson County, I revealed the actual value that the Williamson County Appraisal District appraised some homes for:

Boxwood Loop – Appraised for $171,607

Westbury Lane – Appraised for $160,324

Rosebud Lane – Appraised for $214,193

Greenside Lane – Appriased for $182,535

Well, here are the resuts:

Boxwood Loop – Adjusted to $153,600

Westbury Lane – Adjusted to $152,400

Rosebud Lane – Adjusted to $184,000

Greenside Lane – Adjusted to $158,300

That’s a total reduction of $80,359. Assuming a tax rate of 2.4%, I just saved $1928/year in taxes. Now that’s worth fighting for! I believe that service happens before and after every transaction so I provide this tax-fighting service free to my clients every year. Did you get good results fighting your taxes this year? If so, let us know your experience. This blog gets more interesting when you give your feedback!

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Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog


Where to get gas in Georgetown Texas at 4am

These days you mention anything with the word “gas” and you can get all sorts of attention…so I’m cheating with this blog post to get some additional readership

If you searched for GAS PRICES, GAS STATIONS, GAS IS GOING UP, GAS IS GOING DOWN and/or GEORGETOWN, TEXAS I hope this blog comes up. Don’t worry, I will actually write something relevant:

My parents and my older sister, Jennie and her whole family, came down from Maryland to visit us a few weeks ago. It was nice, we stayed in a time share at San Antonio and then spent a few days in Georgetown, Texas. Well, since all things must come to an end, it was soon time for me to drive them back to Austin Bergstrom International Airport (just 40-50 minutes from Georgetown). I left at about 4-5 AM since it was an early flight and I needed to get gas. So I went down Williams Drive and thought I would hit the most convenient gas station I saw:

Wow, this looks like a very nice place. Lots of bright lights and existing vehicles tell me that this place is open! However, when I got here, for some reason the first pump would not accept my credit card. As a matter of fact, neither would the second pump I drove to. I tried a debit and a credit card and no luck. What was worse was that the pump started asking me all sorts of silly questions that took me forever to scroll through. WORD OF ADVICE: If you’re in a hurry, and you’re in a hot Texas summer, avoid gas stations that advertise the “TOUCHLESS CAR WASH” Why? It’s just another silly option that they offer and it can delay the whole gas filling process. What happened to the good ‘ole days when the only options you had was the type of gas you wanted. Now, they start trying to sell anything from soda, to oil additives to car washes at the pump!

Anyway, since I struck out at Valero with their non-credit card working pumps I hopped on down to the only other gas station that was open at this hour on Williams Drive:

Another nice looking gas station and gas here was actually a whole penny cheaper! Wow! So I saved about a quarter filling up here. Options were kept to a minimum (no brushless car wash system here) and the pumps actually worked!

So, the next time you come rolling into my part of town, go for the big name in gas: TEXACO. You’ll sweat less (by having less options to scroll through), pay less and be finished quicker!

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Georgetown, Texas Real Estate Blog

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