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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.