The only home in Georgetown, Texas with a view of Village Park, the Hill Country and the Planet Mars

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133 Village Park Drive in Georgetown Village

The neighborhood of Georgetown Village has a unique street that’s called Village Park Drive.  I know, because I live on it!  It’s the only street in Georgetown Village that is a one-way street.  It’s the only one that has a park that fronts it with a neighborhood park/playscape and a city-run heated swimming pool.  It’s also the closest park to the exemplary-rated Village Elementary school.

Well, now here’s something more unique then Village Park Drive:

133 Village Park Drive, the only home in Georgetown that has a view of this lovely park from the front and a nice view of the Texas Hill Country from the back:

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But, here’s something else that this home has:  A perfect night-time panoramic view of the skies

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This custom-built observatory has been crafted to very exacting standards so that the roof slides open and you have access to the skies above.  Imagine hanging out here with your children or grand-children on a cool summer evening looking at the constellations and gazing at the moon with a high-powered telescope.  This isn’t just an educational tool for astronomers, it’s a memory builder tool for families.  Not a fan of telescopes?  Simply turn this into a club house, or workshop complete with electricity.

The home is built by David-Weekly and has 3 bedrooms/2 baths all on one level.  The owners are meticulously clean and the trees and flowers on this property will make the next owner look like a landscaping champ.  This home has approx. 2000 SF and is priced at $210,000.

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For more pictures, check out the gallery below:

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.

I want to make a bunch of “lowball” offers, can you help?

a1With the type of real estate market we’re in right now, many of us are looking for GREAT DEALS…buying opportunities that come around just once in a lifetime.

And if we can’t find the great deals, we think we can create them with a wonderful thing called the “lowball offer.”  Now, technically there is no real definition of what constitutes a lowball offer, except that it’s low ofcourse.  In the market that I’m used to working in (Greater Austin), anything more than 10% off a reasonable list price is considered a lowball offer.  I say “reasonable list price” because there are plenty of agents who list their homes way to high, just to get the listing, and an offer of 10% off list price would actually put the home at market value!

Well, the question that you have to ask is:  Is it worthwhile for a buyer to pursue this strategy for their next home or investment?

I received an email from a client regarding this very thing and I wanted to share my response with my readers:

I know this sounds bad…but given the market conditions and how many houses seem to be going up I want to buy something for what I consider a steal…I am sure there may be buyers in front of me but I figure what the heck I might as well try. We really are happy renting as we will be moving in 2 years for sure into Austin and will turn it into a rental property or sell it. I guess I would be willing to lob bids in on properties in the $125k area for sellers that are desperate. Tell me if I am wrong but, from what I have read, I think that should be doable if I am patient, and like I said I am buying for the bargain, not b/c we particularly need or want a house in Gtown. Your thoughts are appreciated! – JW

Dear JW –

Hmmm, you bring up some interesting points.

You’re not the only one wanting to snag a steal…I do too…in any market!  However, there is a reason why I, as a guy involved full time in real estate, have never gotten a good as a deal as you’re wanting to get through the lowball method even though I own 5 homes:

1.  I’m not savvy enough
2.  I don’t have the patience
3.  I haven’t been in the right place at the right time
4.  I never offered anything that lowball and it got accepted.

I’d say it is a combination of maybe all 4 of those reasons to some degree.  However, my goal is to own homes, not make offers, so eventually I need to be able to use the resources I have (time, money, patience, savviness – i know i didn’t spell that right), however limited they may be, and buy something.  Not because I need to, but because I want to.  For me, it’s better to own 5 pretty good deals, then 1 super great deal.

I don’t know how productive it would be for me to make the 50 offers for you just to get 1 accepted…..especially if I’m not willing to do it for myself! That is a full time job…and I already have one.  In my early (read: desperate) years of real estate when I had time to twiddle my thumbs, I helped a lady do this and we made a good handful of offers….in the end, all I did was spend my time and money and she never bought a home. I told myself that in the future I would never do that again.  If somebody insisted that I represent them on making lowball offers on a multitude of properties, I could only justify it from a business standpoint if I charged my client for every offer made.

If you’re trying to get a home for $125K and it’s worth $150k, why would the owner lose $25k to you when they can just lower the asking price to $135k (10% below market value!) and still sell it quickly and for $10k over what you’re offering?  What you’re trying to do can and has been done….but I haven’t personally been able to be successful with it.  Believe me, I’ve tried.

BOTTOM LINE: Value is not determined by how much of a discount you can get off a home.  To many lowballers think that if they can get a huge discount off the home, they can brag to their friend’s “I’m da man!” yet really have no idea of the true value of what they bought.  I would much rather determine the value of a home and purchase it at a great price rather then feel the need to have to lowball everything in sight.  I guess what I’m saying is that you don’t have to lowball (offer a ridiculously low amount) a home in order to get a great deal.  Real estate investing is determined by the end result…how many homes you own is more important than how many offers you’ve made. Case in point:

On the market today is a home on 1125 Boxwood Loop in the city of Georgetown, Texas.  It’s listed for $157,500 and is 1953 SF.  If you are an investor or homeowner, I can help you own this home for probably around $150,000.  Is that a lowball offer?  No.  Is it a great price?  Well, let’s just say that it will be the second cheapest home to sell in Georgetown Village since January of 2005 (according to the MLS).  I’d say that’s a great deal!  Interested?  Call me before I buy it for myself.


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:

Green Builders in Georgetown, Texas – great home, bad stock

After I bought my Green Builders home, I also purchased some of their company stock.  It’s an expensive way to force me to pay attention to any financial news regarding the builder.  Same thing for my gym membership.  If I don’t pay, I just won’t exercise.

Today I ran across an article that gave me reason to sell all of my shares:

Green Builders gets delisting notice
January 29, 2009 6:14 PM ET

from bizjournals.com

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Green Builders Inc. could be removed from the stock exchange its been trading on if it doesn’t regain compliance with listing rules.

The Austin-based homebuilder said it’s received a notice from NYSE Alternext US, formerly the American Stock Exchange, that the company is currently noncompliant with rules and has until Feb. 23 to submit a plan outlining how it will regain compliance by July.

According to Green Builders (NYSE Alternex US: GBH) the exchange, in explaining its decision, cited the fact that the company’s stockholder equity is less than $2 million and the company has sustained losses from continuing operations and net losses in two of its three most-recent fiscal quarters. Furthermore, the exchange said that the company’s losses are so substantial in relation to its overall operations or financial resources, that it appears questionable to the exchange whether the company will be able to continue to operate or meet its obligations.

The company said it will explore all of its options and has not made a decision whether or not it will submit a plan to continue to trade on the exchange. For now Green Builders continues to trade on the exchange.

Ouch, so what does that mean for the builder?  Hopefully that won’t affect their ability to operate in Georgetown Village.  I would think that the only thing that changes is their ability to raise money through their shareholders.  However, I’m no financial guru.  It’s an obvious fact that the stronger the financials of a builder, the more likely they’ll stick around and net losses in two of its three most recent fiscal quarters doesn’t sound very promising.  It would probably be harder for the company to borrow money and So what’s your prediction?  Do you think they’ll stay or go?

Georgetown Village – Fall Tour of Homes 2008

Home sales are excellent in Georgetown, Texas! We’re breaking new records and we just can’t keep up with the demand! Buy now or rent forever…local shortage of homes!

Ok, not really, but I just thought you’d like to hear something positive in the news these days…and maybe, just maybe those headlines will be true for Georgetown one day.

Here’s a headline you can believe in:

FREE KID-FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT:

Balloon Twister, Face Painter,Refreshments, and Gift Card Give-Aways at Georgetown Village Tour of Homes

Sunday, October 19th from 2-5PM

Since the “ace in the hole” for Georgetown Village is the Exemplary Village Elementary School, I thought it would be very fitting to have a kid-friendly event that would be different then the typical, boring open house. This tour of homes will feature homes by local builders: Origin Homes, Cobblestone Homes, Green Builders as well as larger builders: Lennar, Perry and David Weekley. It will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity to check out 6 different builders in one of the most talked-about communities in Georgetown.

Hope to see you there! Check out the map: gtv-edwardlui-handout

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Don’t forget about Temple, Killeen and Ft. Hood Texas!

You hear a lot about how Georgetown, Texas is such a great place to live for people who work in Austin. But what about 30 minutes in the other direction North? Well, that would land you right in Temple and the entire Killeen/Ft. Hood area. Don’t be scared off by the picture on the left…that would be more like your commute to Austin, then Temple. You see, if you’re heading north, there rarely is any traffic! Heading south into Austin, well, that’s another story.

I have recently had an influx of clients who are working in Temple/Ft. Hood/Killeen and one thing that is important to all of them is the drive time. So here’s a little research I put together thanks to the power of Google maps.

These calculations were done to the entrance of the neighborhood to the Hwy 195 exit 268. You’ll want to add another minute or two to get to the actual home.

These are all close to 10 minutes or less:

Shady Oaks = 4.1 Miles                          (6 Minutes)
Berry Creek/Logan Plateau = 4.5 Miles   (8 Minutes)
Falls of San Gabriel = 5.8 Miles              (9 Minutes)
Georgetown Village = 5.4 Miles              (9 Minutes)
Historic Georgetown Square = 5.4 Miles (9 Minutes)
River Chase = 6.7 Miles                           (9 Minutes)
Wood Ranch = 7.5 Miles                          (11 Minutes)

These are all 15-20 minutes:

Fountainwood Estates = 8.4 Miles              (14 Minutes)
Cimarron Hills = 11.9 Miles                        (15 Minutes)
Woodland Park = 9.1 Miles                          (15 Minutes)
Teravista = 12.2 Miles                                 (15 Minutes)
Mayfield Ranch = 13.7 Miles                       (15 Minutes)
Gabriels Overlook = 12.6 Miles                   (16 Minutes)
Behrens Ranch/Walsh Ranch 14.1 Miles      (16 Minutes)
Escalera Ranch = 12 Miles                           (17 Minutes)

From the Hwy 195 exit 268 to Temple exit 301 is 33.8 miles or 30 minutes. So you can get to Temple from any of these neighborhoods in 36 – 47 minutes one way. If you drive faster you can probably deduct another minute or two. Driving like a Grandma? Well, add another 5 minutes. Anyways, you get the point.

I’d be interested in some actual results! Do you live in one of these neighborhoods and work in Temple? How accurate are these times? Post your results!

Are There Big Lots in Georgetown Village? You betcha!

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about this Big Lots,

I’m talking about THIS:

That’s right, .25 acres of beautiful irrigated grass that backs up to a panoramic view of the woods. It’s hard to find a lot like this in Georgetown Village. The lot has a nice slope towards the back of it, which would be ideal for building an in-ground pool with a negative edge that gently slips off into the horizon. You can best get this view from the back patio, living room and kitchen:

The kitchen is connected to the living room through a space that’s perfect for a large breakfast table and all of the counters and art niches have granite counters. Wood floors are in the kitchen, great room, study, dining room and hallways and the owners have used top quality plantation shutters, honeycomb shades and blinds in all of the windows. There are also granite countertops in the hallway “Tech center.”

One of the unique features of this home is that it is over 2400 SF and has 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths. The owners designed the floorplan to give this home two master suites so that you can have maximum flexibility:

There are also many great energy saving features in this home: Radiant barrier paint in the attic, Low-E windows, ceiling fans and a very efficient 13 seer air conditioning unit. The home also has 10 foot ceilings, an oversized garage and a front and rear covered porch. If you’ve been wishing homes had bigger yards in this neighborhood, you can stop wishing and check this home out for yourself. The price is $269,900 and it is also available for a lease or lease purchase for $1600/month for the first year.

Sellers Disclosure: sellersdisclosure

Survey: survey

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Overzealous Underwriters in Georgetown Texas

I’m in the middle of buying my next home here in my neighborhood, Georgetown Village in Georgetown, Texas and my loan is almost out of underwriting. Then I get the call from my lender that goes something like this:

Hi Edward, there’s just one more thing they need.

Sure, what is it?

Well, the underwriters are having a hard time accepting this home as a primary residence

Ok, that’s easy…”Yes…it is.” Can you just tell them that? Isn’t this what I indicated when I applied?

Yes, but they want you to write them an explanation and “convince” them because you bought other investment homes in the past in this neighborhood and this one is only a few houses down from you.

At this point, I was a little annoyed. They were questioning my integrity! I applied and said it was NOT an investment home but would be owner-occupied, so what’s the big deal? Ok, so I own other homes in this neighborhood and I bought 3 of them last year. I’m not sure how that relates. But, if I really WAS lying, why would I suddenly stop now? So, I tell my lender

Oh, I’ll “convince” them…you can expect the email shortly.

And I send them this…

This email is to affirm my intent to occupy the home on 125 Village Park Drive as my primary residence. Although, I have purchased many investment homes in the past, in this same neighborhood, they were all purchased with the INITIAL INTENT to invest in them and rent them out. They are also all priced BELOW my current primary residence. It would seem to make sense that if my stated intent is to purchase this home on 125 Village Park Drive, as a residence and NOT an investment, that I would follow-through with this commitment, otherwise that would be considered fraudulent, dishonest and maybe even illegal. All of which I would never want any part of.

In addition to the fact that I’m qualifying for this home as a residence and not an investment, there are several other facts that must be mentioned that support the legitimacy of my intent:

1. This home is priced ABOVE my current primary residence which would classify this as a typical MOVE-UP purchase. All of my other rental homes were priced below with significant (20-25% down) cash down so that it would cash flow. This home would be a poor investment choice and could never cash flow given the mortgage and current rental prices

2. This is 4 bedrooms and my current home has 3 bedrooms; it also has 2400 SF and my current home has 2000 SF. Lastly, this home has 400 SF of space above the garage which will be converted to my home office which is one of the main reasons I am moving. I have 3 children under the age of 4 and have worked from a small study for the past 5 years in this home. If anyone has had children before, they can understand the reason for this move!

3. I purchased my current home when I was single, 6 years ago. I am purchasing this home, 3 kids, a wife and a minivan later. Yes, that sounds like a move-up to me.

I hope this helps clarify my intent to purchase this home for a primary residence. If you or the underwriters would like to call me for further clarification please don’t hesitate to call me.

As far as me moving down the street, what person would NOT want to move their belongings a short distance and find the perfect home this close by? This means less time packing and unpacking a moving truck and more time enjoying my glass of ice cold lemonade on the front porch of my new home overlooking the neighborhood park.

So, what do you think? Were the underwriters being a little overzealous or just doing their job? Do you think what they did would really prevent a liar from stop lying at that point? I mean, if a guy is going to say he’s going to occupy it and then really rent it out, why would writing a letter change that? Is this just more “busy work” or is it really effective? I’d love to hear a situation from a lender or underwriter that was similar to this, but had different results (i.e. the purchaser wrote the letter and admitted he was secretly buying the home as an investment but was qualifying it as owner-occupied)

Message to Underwriters/Banks: It’s hard enough to qualify somebody these days, give us “legitimate” buyers a break! Sheesh!

(Bet that picture makes you thirsty huh?)

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Georgetown Village classic – $235,000 – 4Br/3Ba + Gameroom & Study

123 Village Park Drive: Classic David Weekly with acres of wooded parkland for a front yard…maintenance-free.

A Georgetown Village Classic: Ideally located in the heart of the neighborhood. You don’t have to cross one major street to get to a wooded park, an exemplary Village elementary school or the Village playscape and pool. If one or all of those amenities appeal to you, this ideal location will give you the peace of mind and convenience most homeowners only dream of.

The home’s all-brick construction with a front porch, dormer windows and an alley-accessed garage bring out the charm in this David Weekly home. The classic design and architecture makes this home stand apart from your typical box-shaped two story and, like Mary Poppin’s bag, you will be amazed at how well 2900+ SF will fit in here.

Interior Pictures (Click to enlarge):



If you have ever visited a park and wished you could just take your home and stick it right in the middle of it, this is probably as close as it gets. Imagine drinking your morning coffee on the front porch and listening to the sound of chirping birds and rustling leaves of giant oak trees.

Located within this park is an enormous playscape underneath a canopy of trees with nearby picnic tables and built-in grilling stations. There is also an in-ground heated pool that is a stone’s throw away from the playscape. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, the backyard on this home is just perfect for a small dinner party with friends or neighbors. All of the cutting, trimming and edging on this home is maintained through the HOA. Go ahead, sell your lawn equipment on Craigslist. You won’t need it anymore, and if you’re like most Texans, you could probably use more space in your garage anyways. The time you save maintaining the yard, can now be spent enjoying it. Enjoy the large park in front of you too, because all of that is meticulously maintained by the city.

There are 4 bedrooms, 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. This allows the next owner the flexibility of having a guest room or in-law suite on the first floor. There is also a bonus room on the first floor that you can convert into a gym, home office or media room. Upstairs are two additional bedrooms that are adjacent to an over-sized game room.

The great thing about this home is that there is 2900+ SF and no wasted space here.  Even the laundry area  is refined to a closet so that you can just wash clothes, dry them and put them away.  Instead of having a place to accumulate “stuff” it’s in a closet to help keep your life simple.  Another example of great space-saving design is the attic space.  The gameroom has several doors that lead into some very useful attic storage. While you’re checking out the attic storage, don’t forget to look at the roof, there’s a radiant barrier there that helps to keep the inside of the home cooler so you’re not paying those outrageous Texas air-conditioning bills.

There’s a tricky balance between being close to daily conveniences and being too close! I mean who wants to live behind a CVS Pharmacy? This home achieves the perfect harmony: Located on one of the quietest streets with the best views and still walking distance to everything. Interested in viewing this home?

Contact Edward at 512-554-9594

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