The Art of Pricing a Home Well – Gary Unruh Testimonial

Gary Unruh is one of my first clients when I got started in the business and has since become a very good friend. I’ve seen many changes happen in his life and he is a walking testimonial of the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ. Check out the video to see how God brought us together to sell a home at just the right moment. Currently, I’m helping his parents buy a home out in Sun City Texas.

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4 Blocks from Historic Georgetown Texas: 404 East 8th Street


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4Br/2Ba/2Living/Bonus Building in Backyard (Scroll map to the right to see location of home)

Live Music, Market Days, Christmas Strolls, the list goes on and on….it’s what makes Historic Downtown Georgetown the heart of this city and why people from all over the world fall in love with the city of Georgetown, Texas.

However, the real “magic” of downtown Georgetown isn’t just the “special events,” it’s the unique lifestyle it offers for those who live, work and play here. Now, here’s your chance to be less than 4 blocks from “the square” and own a piece of history on 404 East 8th Street.

The Numbers:

This home is being GIVEN AWAY at $200,000 by the current owners! It’s approximately 2000 SF and that doesn’t include the bonus room that the current owners built in the backyard. If you do a little preliminary analysis, you’ll notice that $100/SF in this part of town, with this type of proximity to the square, is amazing. When the real estate market was appreciating in recent years, the part of town that experienced one of the highest percent gains was downtown Georgetown. It’s not unusual to see these older homes sell upwards of $130/sf to $150/sf.

The Delimma:

So why isn’t this sold? Currently the owners have some college students living in the home and paying rent. If you’ve been a college student before (or have college-aged kids) you know that housekeeping isn’t something they normally choose to major in. When I was at the University of Rochester my priorities were: Fulfilling my ROTC obligations, serving my college fellowship, squeaking by in school and hanging out with my future wife Autumn. Not necessarily in that order. I worried more about how I would get my next chicken wing fix, then I would about cleaning up the place. Fortunately, God blessed me with Josue Padilla, quite possibly the cleanest Puerto Rican man on earth!

The bottom line, staged homes help sell homes quicker. Messy college-boy homes take a bit longer. The other difficulty is finding a buyer who is willing to move in after the current lease is up sometime in May of 2010.

However, if you’re an investor, this is a dream. These types of homes are rarely vacant because college boys just rotate through them pretty automatically. Hold on to the home and sell it when the market peaks.

If you want to take advantage of the tax credits and interest rates, now is the perfect opportunity to snatch this up even if you are an owner-occupant.

12/21 Update: If you’re an investor looking to capitalize on the college rental market here’s a tip. Don’t just get a home with proximity to Southwestern University. Get one that is also close to the square. That way you can attract the college crowd and also have maximum potential for appreciation on your home due to the rare location. As of this date, this is the ONLY home on the market that is in the prime location I just described. There are maybe 4-5 other rental homes close to the University, but they are all about 1/2 – 1 mile from the square and are mostly located across a major street (University Avenue).

Check out the pictures below:

Second Time’s a Charm – Joe and Christine Testimonial

I just closed on a home for some buyer’s out of Seattle, WA who found me on the Internet a few months ago. Joe and Christine first found a short-sale in Berry Creek and after several months of working with the bank, the deal fell through. They were troopers though, and they didn’t get discouraged…within a few days of looking, we found a second home in the Estates of Westlake and closed it in 30 days!

Check out the video below and tell me if you notice the “I just bought a home” glow:) Or maybe it’s the “Edward, your video camera fetish is embarrassing us.” glow. Either way, they put up with me and that’s what makes them cool.

Georgetown Village Flier – Door-to-Door in Georgetown, Texas

The weather is nice.

Walking is good.

Kids need to learn the value of work and earning money.

I need to do real estate marketing.

All of that adds up to our newest monthly LUI FAMILY TRADITION – Deliver real estate fliers door-to-door!

The Task: There are about 400 homes in my neighborhood in Georgetown Village and it takes my family of 5 about 1 hour/100 fliers.

The Method: I am on foot and I carry the fliers in my shoulder bag. Joshua is on the scooter, Chloe is on the bike and Autumn pushes Sabrina in anything that has wheels.  In the newer development, where houses are spread apart, we load up in the minivan.

The Loot: I pay the kids 5 cents per flier.  That’s a ton less then postage!

The Side Benefits: 1 hour of family time, walking in great Texas weather.  Teaching kids about work ethic and simple math.

Check out this month’s and last month’s flier below:

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Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Not just hype – Green building pays off

Green Building – Should you believe the hype?
hype-mfp-energy-drink-iiThere’s been a lot of hype surrounding green building practices lately.  Save energy, save the earth and feel good about yourself for making a difference for the next generation.  What’s not to love?  Especially if you can save money at the same time!  Well, last year I decided to test the waters with my own green building experience.  I decided to move into a home built by Green Builders in Georgetown Village and got my Ecobroker certification to learn more about the industry and help others through the process of “going green.”

After 12 months of living in a green home, I decided to compare my utility bills with the previous year of living in a “non-green” home and see if there was a noticeable difference.  Keep in mind that this blog post will only focus on the financial benefits, but green building also benefits the environment and the health of your family.  Before I get into the results, there are a few details I need to share with you first:

1.  My previous home was on 115 Village Park Drive (115 VP) and I only moved 5 houses down to 125 Village Park Drive (125 VP) – Location is pretty much the same (Georgetown Village), and so all the climate and home positioning factors are relatively equal.

2.  I compared the time frame of August 2007 – July 2008 for 115 VP with August 2008 – July 2009 for 125 VP – The 2008 summer was pretty dang hot….but anybody can tell you that the 2009 summer was even worse, not to mention a pretty bad drought that we’ve been having too!

3.  For utility consumption purposes, my family size stayed the same:  Just Me, my wife and 3 rascals under the age of 5.

4.  Lastly (here’s the big one); the home on 115 VP drive is a 2000 SF, SINGLE STORY and my new home on 125 VP drive is a 2800 SF, TWO STORY – a home that is 40% larger!

Comparing the Gas Bill

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Both of my homes used used gas for the stove, furnace and water heater.  125 VP had a slight advantage in efficiency because the home was built in 2008 and 115 VP was built in 2002.  My home on 115 VP used a traditional water heater that would maintain the temperature at a fairly consistent temperature.  The home on 125 VP uses a tankless water heater so it heats water on demand.  I also have a 50 gallon traditional water heater that is dedicated to my 400 SF home office above my garage, but I hardly ever use hot water up there.  So despite the fact that I have 2 water heaters, 1.5 more bathrooms and 800 extra SF more in my newer home, I still ended up spending only $359 over a 12 month period compared to $521 for 115 VP.  A savings of $162/year.

Winner:  125 VP

Comparing the Electric Bill

So how did my larger 125 VP home use 20% less electricity then 115 VP?  Well, for one, all of the bulbs in that home are compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).  According to the Energy Star website, CFL’s use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs.  This is an easy upgrade for any homeowner to do.  Word of warning though, you’ll notice that the cost of these bulbs are MUCH higher.  Sure, they’ll boast that the CFL lasts 7 years or longer and that might be a good justification, but as of the 12 month mark, I had 4 of my CFLs go out on me already.  I also purchased a more efficient refrigerator, and a front loading washer/dryer set for my new home.  The HVAC unit in my Green Builder home also went up in efficiency to a minimum of 14 seer.  These appliances can make a significant difference in reducing energy consumption.

Another HUGE advantage that 125 VP has is that the insulation is spray foam.  You can go up in the attic at 125 VP during a 100+ degree summer day and you won’t feel like you’re in an oven.  In fact, you might feel comfortable enough to play a game of checkers up there.  The foam does an amazing job keeping cool air in and hot air out during the summer so that my HVAC doesn’t have to work as hard.  The home’s exterior is a white Austin stone, which is better at reflecting heat then the red brick on my 115 VP home.  In order to minimize direct sunlight shining directly into the home, Green Builders constructs their windows higher up and extends the roofline over the home further out.  The result: I spent $1304 for 125 VP and $1418 for 115 VP, a savings of $114/year.

Winner:  125 VP

Comparing the Water Bill

125 VP has low-flow toilets and showerheads, a 53 gallon rain collection barrel, drought-tolerant landscaping and more efficient appliances.  115 VP has a smaller yard.  Even though my grass is looking pretty ugly over at the 125 VP home, at least I can feel satisfied that I spent less on my water bill then I did at my 115 VP home!  In fact, it was a measly $16/year less ($378 versus $394), but still a win for green building!

Winner:  125 VP

Conclusion:

Living in 125 VP saved me money and usage on all three utilities:  Gas, Electric and Water.  A total savings of almost $300/year or $25/month!  However, keep in mind the home is 40% larger and still managed a savings.  At a utility cost of $0.73/SF/year, that would mean that if I didn’t upgrade and just moved into a 2000 SF green home, my utility costs would only be $1458/year.  115 VP, a 2000 SF home, cost me $2333/year!  That’s a difference of $875/year or $73/month.

This $73/month could justify a homeowner paying $10,000 more for a green home and keep his cost of ownership (house payment and utilities) pretty much the same.  Another way to look at it is this:  If you are going to invest $10,000 to achieve a savings of $875/year, you might want to make sure you live in the home long enough to reap the financial benefits.

If you’re considering a purchase of a green home or doing energy efficient upgrades, tap into my Georgetown Texas real estate expertise and give me a call or share your experiences in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from you!

Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

The best of both worlds: Modern home in Downtown Georgetown Texas

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Downtown Georgetown Texas Real Estate – Typically characterized with words such as “highly appreciating,” “charming homes,” “desireable location,” and “older homes.”  Well, the developer on this street took advantage of some lots on the outskirts of Downtown and changed the perception that a highly appreciating area with close proximity to major conveniences had to consist soley of old homes.  Enter the homes on 19th street.  They are all recently built and have all of the same advantages of living in downtown without the headache of renovating a home from the 1920’s.

At just over 1300 SF and priced at $122,000, this home is an affordable way for somebody to experience downtown living, without needing a trust fund to update the entire home.  Walking distance to Southwestern University and Annie Purl Elementary, check out the pictures and video below:

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414 W. Esparada – Serenada in Georgetown

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Serenada in Georgetown, TXThis home sits on just over .5 an acre and has an incredible amount of trees that shade it from the sun all day long.  It is 1989 SF and priced at just $190,000 with 3 Br/2Ba/Study and Formal Dining.

Most of the yards available on the market in Serenada at the time of this post are about 1/3 of an acre, so this lot is larger than most of what you will find.  The only lot I could find larger in this neighborhood was a home priced at over $100,000 more!

One thing you need to watch out for in these older homes are the upgrades and renovations that the previous owners have done.  Typically, these are very sloppy upgrades done by “handy man” uncles in exchange for free pizza and a beer.  Fortunately for you, everything in this home has been tastefully updated and the owners have a record of every professional vendor, the price paid and the phone number for every major renovation done to the home since 1996! A total of over $50,000 has been invested in this home since then.  They even hired professionals to clean their windows!  No “spotty” workmanship here…pun intended.

Check out the pictures to see for yourself:

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The Importance of Home Lighting when Selling Your Home

quoizel-chastain-tiffany-table-lampimgqzqz4882_lWhen it comes to selling your home, there are few things as important as home staging. By presenting your home in the most appealing way possible, you can greatly increase your odds of attracting potential buyers.

There are many different ways that you can utilize home staging in today’s real estate market, through the use of elements as simple as home lighting. By creating the right lighting scheme in your home you can be sure that you’re making a great first impression on any and all prospective buyers.

The key to creating the perfect lighting scheme in your home is by finding the right balance. You want to make sure that your home is not too dim, but by the same token you also don’t want your lighting to be too harsh. The best way to achieve a good balance is through a combination of different lighting sources. By pairing table and floor lamps with your overhead lighting, you can create the warming glow that you need to achieve an inviting atmosphere that best showcases your home.

Natural light is another element that should be utilized when lighting for home staging. Keep the curtains opened to let sunlight 102808_light01shine in and do your best to keep your windows clean. Natural light has a calming effect and helps create a more upbeat and positive atmosphere that is great for keeping spirits high. If you happen to have a dimmer switch installed, then you can slowly raise the brightness level of the room as the sun goes down. This way you can keep a well balanced lighting scheme throughout the day and well into the evening.

While a well lit interior is very important, you must consider the exterior lights of your home as well. By using exterior flood lights you can shine a spotlight on your home which will help it stand out against the dark backdrop. Lighting your home’s exterior will also make it easier to find at night. You don’t want potential buyers to drive past your house simply because they can’t see your address number. You should also make sure your entrance way is well lit to help guide your visitors to the front door. The more comfortable your prospective buyers are, the better your chances of selling your home.

Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

Going, going….gone? – Summercrest in Georgetown, TX

Summercrest in Georgetown Texas

Just listed a home on 2323 Rockledge and I have an offer in 2 days!  Home isn’t completely under contract, so if you’re interested, you can still make a backup offer for yourself!

What makes the home so appealing is that it is very well staged and the owner took great care of it.  It’s a clean home with granite countertops and a wooden staircase.  The backyard has a nice shed and stone patio, in addition to an enclosed patio (which is hard to find in this neighborhood).  It’s priced at $175,000 for 2630 SF, so if you want to make this home yours, make sure you see it before it goes!

More pics below:

413 Rosedale in Georgetown Village

Here’s a cute home in my neighborhood that has 4 bedrooms and is listed at $175,000.

The architecture has the same characteristics of those downtown historic homes like big front porches, large dormer windows and siding/stone exterior. However, you don’t have to worry about updating the plumbing or leveling the foundation because, unlike those old historic homes, this one is built in 2004.  I like these homes in Georgetown Village because it combines the best of both worlds:  Old home look without the old home maintenance.

Here are the  pictures:

Video of home can be found here:

More information on the home can be found here:

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Looking for information on Georgetown Texas Homes For Sale? Visit my website or call me anytime!! Want the latest updates on Georgetown Texas Real Estate, news and latest developments? Sign up for the blog by clicking the link below:

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