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Monday, November 15, 2010

Keller Williams' Lake Travis' Most Wanted Leaders

The 2011 Agent Leadership Council has been announced last week.  Here are the current leaders of the Keller Williams Lake Travis office on 1921 Lohmans Crossing, Lakeway.  I have been appointed to this council.  It is my pleasure to be a part of this team!  Already, I have co-chaired the Educational Committee and can't wait to get started. Thank you everyone for your support!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Should you sell your home during the holidays?

I know, I know, who wants to be bothered during Thanksgiving or Christmas during showings?  The decorations are out, the Christmas tree is in the middle of the living room and the room looks awfully tight with the large tree in the corner.  Under the tree is a big pile of wrapped presents that look like such a mess.  What a hassle!

So do you think that people don't relocate to Austin during the holidays?  Think of it this way, an employer is most likely to hire someone during the holidays to fill up positions before their year end.  So where will that new employee live?  They need to find a home right?

Here are some other  reasons why you should list your home during these busy holidays:

1) The inventory is lower than that of spring.  Let's face it, the spring time is the buying season, hence, it is also the selling season.  Think of the abundance of inventory during that time.  You may have more competition and who knows if the competition will list less than your asking price.  Your competitor may also be thinking that they don't want to list during the holidays either.  So take advantage of the inventory and list now.
2) Prices are most likely to be higher since there is less inventory.  Oh, supply and demand.  Wouldn't you want more money in your pocket?
3) If you are worried about being disturbed during family visits during the holidays, you can restrict showings during the times your family is over.
4) Some people may want to buy before the end of the year for tax purposes.  Think of an investor who needs to write off some income by purchasing investments.
5) Some people feel the warmth of a home when it is decorated with holiday stuff!  Oh you mean a home feels cozier?  Just think of the smells of cinnamon and pine cones as you walk in a home!
6) People who will view homes during the holidays are most likely serious buyers.  That means looky loos won't be looking, their more likely to be shopping.  I remember a seller who got mad at me when I wanted to show their home on New Year's Day.

So next time you want to list during the holidays, please consider the above reasons.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lakeway Elementary School Carnival Sponsor for 2010

For 2 years, I co-chaired one of the biggest fundraiser for Lakeway Elementary School's Fall Carnival.  This year, I have decided to play a smaller role, a corporate sponsor instead.  I am a cake walk sponsor and a PLATINUM sponsor for the Carnival.  I want this fundraiser to be successful because all the monies raised goes BACK to the school for our classrooms.  Unlike the taxes the community pays for the school, the school shares the taxes to other less fortunate schools in Texas as part of the Robin Hood program, and that is gazillions of money.

Our carnival is ran by parents and volunteers and kudos to this year's organizer, Tara!  You rock!  Good luck this Saturday and we hope this carnival brings alot of smiles to our kids.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Search Properties in Austin by School District

Last week a visitor commented that there were no websites to search via School District!  Come to think of it, when I moved to Austin, TX, schools were an important factor to me, hence, I needed to search for homes via School District while I lived out of state.  I have found a great property search tool to find homes in a specific School District.  The information here in from my MLS and uptodate!

Here are a few links for your convenience. 

To search for properties in Eanes School District.
To search for properties in Lake Travis School District.
To search for properties in other school districts in Austin.

Hope this helps, your comments are important to me so please post them!

How to block that Western Austin Sun

Okay, face it, we live in Austin, TX and we get probably 325 days of sunshine a year.  The sun is unavoidable. Do you have a home that has the backyard facing West and it's unbearable to sit in your family room (which also faces west) due to the sun?  What if you have a home where the buyer's most common objection is that the backyard faces West?  Or the buyer's want to enjoy the deck but it's too hot?  The SOLUTION is Build A Pergola!  The pergola on this home blocked much of the sun exposure in the family room.  It's amazing!  Not only that, the family can enjoy the top part of the deck where it is also shaded!  As you can see, the time the photo was taken, the sun was beating on the house at a good time.  Look at how much shade the pergola contributed in the top part.
So next time you've found a home that meets all or most of your criteria, don't let the western exposure of the back of the home stop you from making an offer!  There is  usually a solution but explore building a pergola before you give up!
Speaking of solutions, I always have a solution to an objection so if you want a great home seller come the time you list your home, call me!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Find SHORT SALES in Austin, TX

I've been getting alot of emails and phone calls asking where do I find short sales in Austin?  I've been working on finding a good site to search short sale properties and finally.  This is a property search tool where it Searches live date from my Austin MLS and only see Short Sales! I have verified that my short sales are in this link so here it is.

It is very important that you have a buyers agent to represent you who knows how short sales work.  So please give me a call when you find that awesome short sale deal online.

4 Muirfield Greens, Lakeway - SHORT SALE

Someone is going to get a great deal on this Short Sale.  The lienholder has approved the price of  $218K or $99.63/sq ft! The average price per sq ft home SOLD in this community since March of this year was $123.98/sq ft. This home has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 car garage PLUS and OFFICE and a LOFT and a Formal Dining Room.  Home comes with a family room with fireplace, breakfast area and a large kitchen.  Home is located on a quiet cul-de-sac and has a very nice backyard fenced for privacy.  This is in the St. Andrews Section of Lakeway.  This was a great opportunity for a family who wants to be in the Lake Travis ISD or someone who wants to downsize or for investment.  We anticipate to close on this deal next week.

I have other short sale listings, so select the link to view what other great deals are out there.  If you wish to search for short sales, go to this site to see all short sale listings in the Austin area.

FREE Real Estate Investment Seminar in Lakeway

Are you tired of your CD earning a 2% interest rate?  Are you tired of keeping an eye of the stock market and nervous of the volatility of your stock?  Leases are up 20% and Interest rates are still low.  What does this mean to you?  You need to come to this FREE Real Estate Investment Seminar on Wed, Nov 17th at 7 pm to find out why IT'S TIME TO INVEST IN REAL ESTATE.

WHEN:  Wed, 11/17 7-8 pm
WHERE: Keller Williams Real Estate office - 1921 Lohmans Crossing, Ste 100, Lakeway
RSVP: (512)786-7355 to Reserve your seat

Enclave/Ridge at Alta Vista Community Food Drive was a success!

Ridge at Alta Vista and Enclave at Alta Vista residents of Lakeway came together on 10/5 to donate 120 bags of food!  Last year, we collected 104 bags.  Many bags were filled with canned goods.  All bags were brought to Riverbend Church on Saturday, 10/6, where Capitol Area Food Bank took the food for distribution.  Thank you so much neighbors for making this a huge success.

When I arrived at Riverbend Church, I was saddened to see that the 2 tractor trailers were only have full of crates.  The spokesperson said that the response has been alot lower this year BUT the demand for food has increased!  I can understand as many people are jobless but I am so thankful for all the people who have still donated food.

Keller Williams Lakes Travis 2nd Annual Halloween Carnival

What a huge success!!! Over 400 kids attended our 2nd Annual Halloween Carnival which occurred last night Thursday, 10/28 at our Lohman's Crossing, Lakeway office.  We had over 40 booths, a Spook House (hosted by Lakeway Police), Costume contest and parade, and Fire Dancers.  It was a FREE event and it was a blast.  Did you see me at my booth?  I hosted the colored hairspray booth, I called PJ's Punk Rockers.  Besch Insurance Agency helped me spray paint the kiddos hairs!  Well, here's a photo one of our staff took of me.  If you made it, post a comment please.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Austin, TX's Housing Market for September

I usually see a quiet market during school openings and thereafter.  After all, we are getting into the winter months.

In September, residential units sold in Central Texas have DECREASED a whopping 43% compared to last September.  In Lake Travis ISD which includes Lakeway, Bee Caves and Spicewood, residential units sold have DECREASED only 7% compared to last September.

Now that the Attorney General released earlier this month his demand letter to the banks which resulted to a freeze in foreclosures, I wonder what October sales would look like.  It seems that we have a challenge each month in the housing market but the interest rates seems to be dropping.  A builder in Austin is offering 3.875% fixed rate conventional loan financing for 30 years!  WOW!

So if you are still on the fence about buying, you have got to be kidding me, there are so many deals to be made.  Give me a call and let's talk!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Newsweek ranks many Austin High Schools in their top for 2010 picks the best high schools every year.  A few Austin high schools made it again.  I'm not surprised that Eanes School District's Westlake high school made it to the top 100, ranking at #59.  Another school beat Eanes at #54, Liberal Arts and Science Academy. Westwood made it to #91, Lake Travis at #914.

A Texas high school, Talented and Gifted school in Dallas made it to #1.  #4 is another Dallas school, Science and Engineering Magnet.  Wow that is awesome!

Here are the other Austin High Schools that made the list:

Ok, if you are wondering if your school made the list, and to find out how they came up with the best high schools in the country, view the article.

August real estate statistics for Austin, TX

What is going on in real estate in Austin, TX?  Oh no, our market has flattened in August.  Alamo Title in Austin has reported that in August, our residential sales (units) have decreased 18.91% compared to last August.  In Lake Travis ISD, our residential sales (units) have decreased 21%!

 Here are other statistics Alamo Title has announced:
New listings are down 8.35%.
Pendings are down 21.87%.
Sold average sales prices increased 10.42% to $261,006.  For August 2009 it was $236,376.
Is it still a good time to buy?  Absolutely!  Our interest rates are still low and look at the sold average sales, they are up last month!  If it continues to go up, hmmm do you want to buy high?

Note: The statistics above was obtained from Alamo Title of Austin.  The Lake Travis statistics was obtained from Austin Board of Realtors and has not been confirmed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

July 2010 Real Estate Statistics

Here's the latest on Austin's real estate statistics:

In July, 2010, residential units sold in the entire Austin MLS DECREASED 42% compared to last July. In Lake Travis ISD which includes Lakeway, Spicewood and Bee Caves, residential units sold INCREASED 15% compared to last July. This information was obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and has not been confirmed or verified. This report was ran on 8/15/2010.

A 45% decrease in sales in suppossedly one of our peak selling months (spring/summer) is not very good. Could it have been because we had a surge of buyers in April/May/June due to the tax credit when they could have been our July/August buyers? What is going to happen in August? I guess we will have to wait until September to find out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Odd Real Estate Joke - Back to School year 2010

This is my second year advertising in the Lake Travis ISD School directory and football program. In my effort to set myself apart from the many other realtors that advertise yearly, mine is a cartoon. Here is this year's advertisement.

Same goes for my marketing flyers for every home that I sell. I never use a template flyer (except for my short sales). After all, every home is different, right? So why should I use a template flyer?

Enjoy my real estate joke regarding back to school year 2010.

Double click on the image to enlarge.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Blog about a Blogging Class

This month, I am teaching a class in my Market Center on blogging. I called it "Blah, Blah, Blogging". The class will last an hour long next Tuesday, August 17th from 11 till noon.

This will be my first time teaching this class. Other classes I teach regularly at my office are: Wolfnet, How to incorporate the MLS finder into your KW website and Short Sale class for Buyers Agents.

The class will be geared for real estate agents and hopefully convince them to pursue blogging once the class is finished. An outline of the class will be as follows:
What is Blogging?
Samples of good Real Estate blogging sites
Who should Blog?
Why should you Blog?
Blogging Platforms
What to Blog about?
Blogging Rules
Blogging widgets

I think it will be a very informative class. If you have any suggestions or topics to cover or even good real estate blog sites that are meant showing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lake Travis ISD has done it again!

Lake Travis Superintendent, Dr. Kirk, announced on July 22nd 2010 via email that Lake Travis ISD has earned an EXEMPLARY rating from Texas Education Agency (TEA). This rating is for the 2009-2010 school year! Exemplay is the highest rating given my TEA. AWESOME!

He also announced the individual ratings of the schools in the Lake Travis ISD as follows:

Lake Travis ISD - Exemplary
Lake Travis High School - Exemplary
Lake Travis Middle School - Exemplary
Hudson Bend Middle School - Recognized
Bee Cave Elementary School - Exemplary
Lake Travis Elementary School - Recognized
Lake Pointe Elementary School - Exemplary
Lakeway Elementary School - Exemplary
Serene Hills Elementary School - Exemplary

I am so proud! Partly because I was a Lakeway Elementary/Lake Travis Middle School and Lake Travis High School parent this past school year and these 3 schools all earned Exemplary rating. Congratulations Lake Travis, you did it again!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Austin's June Real Estate Statistics

It's the middle of summer, almost the peak of the real estate season. How did we do? Lucky for me, Alamo Title of Austin provides up to date statistics of our real estate market. Here are the numbers:

Preliminary June 2010 Data:

Units for Sale: (compared to June 2009)
New listings are down 2.86%.
Pendings are down 30.61%.
Solds increased by 6.56%

In Lake Travis ISD, the residential sales are up 9% compared to last June. Not bad.

If you are from a different part of the country, please share with me how your market is doing. I would really like to know.

Thanks again to Alamo Title of Austin for providing these statistics.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

OMG - Oh My Guy, It's Father's Day in Austin

It's time to remember those wonderful dad's out there. Here are some Fun Facts about Father's Day (source:

Father's Day by the Numbers
It is a big day for the 66.3 million fathers in America.
Father's Day is the 4th largest card sending occasion.... Nearly 95 million Father’s Day cards were given last year in the United States.

Popular Gifts for Father's Day - Not so popular with dad anymore
Neckties lead the list of gifts and are so of the past!
Other items high on the list of Father’s Day gifts include items such as hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers, those items you may find in dad’s toolbox.Other traditional gifts for dad such as fishing rods and golf clubs make for a happy dad in America.

What? You bought dad a tie? It's not too late to change that gift. Check out these great ideas Ten Ways to Rock Your Austin Dad's Father's Day

After all, doesn't your dad deserve the best?
Dad also deserves the best real estate agent on his next transaction. So when dad is ready to move to Austin, sell his Austin home or buy investment, who will you refer dad to? Please give dad my contact information and I will make sure that I provide him with great real estate advice and professional service. Your referral matters to me.


Austin's May real estate statistics

Alamo Title of Austin reports that in May, 2010:

Units for Sale: (compared to May 2009) New listings are up 5.18%.
Pendings are down 32.10%.
Solds increased by 49.68%

Note that the chart attached has not been updated to include May.

On June 13, Alamo also reported that our Austin MLS has 13,124 ACTIVE listings! New listings continue to rise as we get into the buying/selling season.

Disclosure: The statistics in this blog have been obtained from Alamo Title of Austin. The information has not been confirmed or verified.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Real Estate Joke: Financing Then and Now

Remember when you could get a NO DOC loan? That is now a thing of the past. In the past couple of months, many of my deals have been delayed due to, ehem, financing. My buyers have been stressed because they've had to give notice to their landlord, moved out, or relocated to Austin and come to closing and NO loan approval yet, hence, can't close.

There's really nothing I can do about it, well, except blog about it or joke about it. What do you think? So true? Double click on the photo to magnify.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Austin real estate sales in April is up 21%

Austin's residential sales are up 21% in April compared to last April. In March, sales were up 23%! In Lake Travis ISD which includes Lakeway, Bee Caves and Spicewood, sales are up a whopping 27% compared to last April. In March, sales were up 19%.

I know for a fact that people wanting the tax credit (first time home buyer and move-up buyers ) are waiting the last minute to buy! I found myself and my buyers in multiple offer situations!
Does this mean that we are experiencing a SHIFT in our market? Check out the graph to the right. The bolded line represents 2010. That would be awesome if the sales just keep going up! Interest rates are still in the 5% range, which is still pretty low.
Don't wait any longer to buy! When the sales get hot, what does this mean to pricing? A-HA!! Now you're thinking.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fireplace faux painting, what a difference

I have never hired a faux painter before nor even lived in a home where there was any faux painting done. My fireplace was white and it was very bright. My husband and I decided to hire Kate Sheddan of Exclusive Wall Design to paint our fireplace. At the consultation, she interviewed us to find out what it is we wanted the room to look and what colors we had in mind. At the second consultation, she brought us a sample on a painted board of what we talked about in the previous meeting. My husband and I actually agreed on the color and whoalla she started working on the project immediately.

Faux painting was not nearly what I thought. It was a 4 step process and done naturally in 4 days. On the first day, she primed the fireplace with a base color, on the second day, she filled in the holes with a dark brown color, the third day was the actual faux painting day (lots of painting on and wiping off and blotting), then the 4th day was the final glaze.

The results are amazing. We are of course very happy with the outcome. The color blended with our decor and style. Next project, we are going to get the trimmed boxes in my family room faux painted. I can't wait to see the final product and blog about it.

Kate's contact information can be found on her website: Please tell her that you read about it on my blog.

Learn how to protest your property taxes

I have invited a guest spearker, Jeff Bullard of Tax Remedy to come to the Community Center at Ridge at Alta Vista in Lakeway to speak to the homeowners how to protest their tax appraisal. Around May, many ask me to provide them the sold comparables in their neighborhood to submit to their tax appraisal, with the hope that the appraisal district would lower their taxes. Unfortunately, it is more than that and Jeff will explain what you need to provide when you protest your taxes.

I have invited 500+ people to this event and I hope to get a good turn out. This is a FREE event and the knowledge gained is priceless.
Please call me at (512)786-SELL to RSVP. Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My morning at a Travis County Foreclosure Auction

Yesterday, February 2nd, 2010 was Black Tuesday, First Tuesday of the month, otherwise known as Foreclosure day. I attended my first auction in Travis County outside the courthouse on 1000 Guadalupe. There were about 100 people who attended this chilly and drizzly morning. With my nephew in tow (he really isn't that young, only 9 years younger than me but has 8 years more real estate experience than me), we arrived at 9:50 am just a few minutes to get acquainted with the process.

There were 3 folding tables in there, one table was marked Flsonline, an online foreclosure listing service who provides lists of upcoming foreclosures. There were providing free handouts. One table was handing out free lists of tax foreclosure, were 10 homeowners were scheduled to lose their home due to non payment of property taxes. The other table was Wendy Alexander's table, an agent who represents a bunch of big name banks who at exactly ten am started to call off several properties to auction off.

At ten am, the crowd still stirring chatting in small groups continued to chat at the top of their voices as this tiny lady, Wendy, called off the first property, the homeowner, the legal description of the property, the lien holder, and a bunch of legal jargon and mortgage amounts, then a man yelled out a number, then another woman yelled out another number, then Wendy continued to speak. The only sensible words I got from Wendy were "Are there any bids?" then no one responded and she quickly mumbled something then continued to the next property in her list without taking another breath and then the whole jargon started all over again. The 2 number yellers where representatives of 2 firms that provided the foreclosure lists, FLSOnline and Real Estate Foreclosures of Travis County. They were calling off the respective item numbers from their catalogues that you would have previously purchased before the auction. I paid for my 40 page booklet for $5.00.

The most interesting part of the morning was when the bystanders actually started calling off prices after Wendy asked for bids. An example of a bidding war was this home on Richmond Ave. in the 78748 area code of South Austin. Wells Fargo held the note and Wendy called off an amount that sounded like $99,000, an amount the bank was taking the home back for, then the bidding war started and ended at an amount which was $136,000. The tax assessment on this home listed at $234,563. You do the math, the winning bidder just had a $100K instant equity on this home. I wonder if the winning bidder did his due diligence before hand and searched to make sure there were no additional liens and that the property did not require a substantial amount of repairs? Assuming that he did his homework and there weren't any, I still like the end result which was a whopping $100K deal. So it appears, if you have the cash, patience and ready to partake in a bidding war, deals are out there.

At about 11 am, after Wendy finished, packed up and left, small groups formed and other agents which looked like lawyers started auctioning off HOA foreclosures, and other properties I have yet to figure out. Some lawyers just stood and mumbled as they read legal jargon.

Now, the sad part, the list I purchased from Real Estate Foreclosures of Travis County stated in this 40 page booklet that there were 695 properties auctioned off, a total amount of $507M or $216M in tax assessments/appraisals. WHOA!

Read the 2 statistics reported by Real Estate Foreclosures of Travis County. January 2010 so far is reported 809 foreclosures!!! Right after Christmas, 809 homeowners lost their homes. My heart goes to all these homeowners. Have any of you heard of short sale?

If you wish for more information about Travis County foreclosure sales, please visit this site. It has an explanation of the bidding process etc. I plan to attend March's sale event again and hope to learn more. It will be a while before I partake in the bidding war, I guarantee.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Austin seeing a rebound in home sales? reports that the sales of existing homes in Central Texas were down 6% in 2009, suppossedly a 6 year low of 19,005 units. Towards the end of the year, there was an improvement in s ales volume due to the tax credit which originally was to expire November 2009. But since then, the government has extended and expanded the tax credit to repeat buyers as long as the house they are purchasing is in contract by April 30th of 2010.

In addition to the tax credit, low mortgate interest rates and many lower home prices have helped our sales in 2009.

The article concludes that Austin is seeling recovery and that the housing market will see moderate gains in both sales and prices in 2010.

To read the complete article, please select this link.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Austin December 2009 Real Estate Statistics

2009 is now the time of the past and let's see how Austin did:

Alamo Title of Austin reports the following:
Preliminary December 2009 Data:
Units for Sale: (compared to December 2008)New listings are down 6.36%.
Pendings are down 3.23%.
Solds increased by 2.45%

Can we keep the inventory down? When inventory is down, the current inventory seem to have better chances of selling. Let's ponder on that for a bit. The first time home buyer incentive is still going on (expires April 30th) and the interest rates are still low (currently 5%) THAT IS WHY NOW is a good time to SELL!

As a buyer, should you buy now? HELLO first time buyer or current home owner? Are you listening? First time home buyers may qualify for an 8,000 tax credit, current home owners of at least 5 years may qualify for a 6,500 tax credit AND the interest rates are still low. Alamo title reports that in Jan. 17 - Jan. 23, 2010, the Sold average sales prices increased 17% to $235,839. In 2009 it was $201,584 for the same week. If the SOLD average sales price on the home keeps going up and you Mr. Buyer keeps pondering about buying and NOT pulling the trigger, hmm, would you rather pay more for a home? AHA, then should you buy now?

In Lake South MLS which includes Lakeway, Bee Caves and Spicewood, the average price SOLD in 12/2009 was $519,510 (in 12/2008 was 393,057) that's a 32% increase!!!! In HH which includes Buda and Kyle had a 9.9% increase in average price SOLD. In RRE (Round Rock East) had a 29% increase in average price SOLD!!! WOW!

Here are some great listings that I have that you should consider. Visit my listings page OR better yet, give me a call at (512)786-SELL. Stop pondering and BUY NOW!