Finding the Right Master Planned Community in Austin

Are you looking for a new home in one of Austin’s many master-planned communities? As a Broker/REALTOR® and Owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate, I can help you find a home that’s best suited to your lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for quick access to riding stables, great golfing and tennis, or sipping wine on your patio, one of the following three communities may be right for you.

The Hills of Bear Creek

Want a competitively-priced home with contemporary style, easy access to Austin’s airport and stables close by? The Hills of Bear Creek could be the answer. You’ll find homes priced from $300K-$400K. Moreover, property taxes are lower than in Austin. This is an 85 home community built by Milestone. It’s located South of Austin in Manchaca, pronounced “man-shack” by locals. Manchaca is about 16 miles from downtown Austin and features great BBQ at Valentino’s.

The Enclave at Covered Bridge

If you’re looking for more of a luxury lifestyle experience and access to the Texas Hill Country, The Enclave at Covered Bridge could be a good choice. The community is located on 290 West which is just a few miles away from the Texas Hill Country. It’s about 25 minutes from downtown Austin. Homes generally start at $450K. I give a big thumbs-up to the builder (Brohn homes) for preserving 18 heritage trees. Additionally, Brohn endeavors to create great Hill Country views and support the natural surroundings.

Rough Hollow

Does a lake-living resort-lifestyle appeal to you? If so, the Rough Hollow Community on Lake Travis may be the answer. Rough Hollow is a large luxury community built along a cove of Lake Travis with six distinct sections. If you love being active, you’ll have lots of choices to do so here.  Highland Village is the community’s private yacht club, water park and more. Additionally, if you love sipping a glass of wine at sunset you’ll find wonderful vistas here. Rough Hollow also feeds into the award-winning Lake Travis School District. I am impressed with Brookfield Builder’s commitment to their core values of passion, integrity, and community which is the foundation for a great community.

In Conclusion: When working with me as your Broker/REALTOR®, you can expect me to listen carefully to your priorities and show you the best homes for your lifestyle so you can enjoy your home for years to come!  Want to see one of these communities or others? I’m ready to help you today!

 

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Filed under Austin, Austin Homes, Austin Real Estate Market, Hill Country, master-planned communities, Real Estate, South Austin

The First Steps to Take to Sell Your Home this Spring

Will you be selling your home soon? If you’re planning to list your home this spring or summer, now’s the time to get your plan in order.

Select Your Listing Agent and Listen to Advice

To expedite your home sale and realize the most gain, your property has to be marketed and priced appropriately. As an experienced agent with a sound marketing plan and deep local knowledge of the market, I help many people in central Texas set the right price to sell their home quickly and conveniently. The first step is to meet and review the property; determine any repair, renovation or staging needs; and discuss the process of selling.  

Make Repairs and De-Clutter

Those small repair items that you’ve been meaning to do for years may have slipped your mind, but buyers walking through your home for the first time will notice. As I meet with you, I can point out some of those things you had on your “To Do” list, and give you a prioritized list of things to do. De-cluttering may be a multi-step process. Once you’ve made an initial attempt to clear off counters, minimize decorations and personal photos, and pare down the furniture and accessories, I’ll walk through with my “buyers eyes” and give you final recommendations.

If you need to deal with something major, like a damaged roof or HVAC system, it’s important to take care of that prior to listing the home for sale. Buyers will expect the roof to protect the home from a rainstorm and the heating and air conditioning to work well.

If it has been many years since you last painted your home’s interior, it’s probably time to paint again. Fresh paint, including all the trim work and doors, makes a home look clean and well-maintained. My article http://www.goodwin-goodwin.com/2018colors/ can give you an idea of wall colors, and I can help with that, too.

In Conclusion: When working with me as your Broker/REALTOR®, you can expect the most up-to-date information on Austin market trends and what buyers are looking for so you can get the best outcome for your home sale.

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Here are the Trending Colors for 2018 Home Design!

Spring is only a few weeks away and as a home owner, you may be thinking of ways to freshen up your home. Picking out new colors and using them in fun ways can make you happier with your home. You may want a change a dramatic bedroom color or an updated neutral in the hallway. You can make it fun! Paint your front door another color or create an accent wall inside.  As a Texas Real Estate Broker, I’ve had the opportunity to see color combinations in play in hundreds of homes.

The design industry looks to the emotional climate of the nation and the issues facing people in selecting their colors of the year. In 2018, with the historic election and an uncertain future, the industry selected colors designed to ease our stress and give us hope for the future

In the words of one industry spokesperson, “The color combinations we’re searching for in home design in 2018 can be the equivalent to the classic comfort food of macaroni and cheese.” Interestingly, after the 9/11 attack in New York City, the color blue surged in popularity. Blue is a comfortable, soothing color associated with dependability, constancy, and peace — qualities Americans seek during unstable times. Now almost every product in the design industry still uses some shade of blue.

The Impact of Color on Real Estate

Have you ever had the experience of walking into a room and feeling uncomfortable? Your reaction is typically due to a combination of things, in large part color.  Color plays a significant part in a home’s selling price. I recently discovered a Zillow survey which found that homes using greige (a combination of grey and beige) as an exterior color sold for $3,496 more than comparable homes using darker colors. Simply put, outdated or abrasive color palettes negatively impact buyers.  For example, Avocado Green and Harvest Gold were important colors (especially in appliances) in 1979. Considered outdated today, those colors can affect a buyer’s offering price.

The Colors of the Year

I’d recommend that if you’re planning to stay in your home for three years or more, go ahead and personalize your home with colors that you love. If you don’t think you’ll be in your home over three years, using a neutral wall color can help you have it ready for the market without having to repaint. As any good home stager will tell you, depersonalize your space so that you can command a good sales price.

Behr Paints: “In The Moment” – a cool, tranquil, spruce blue inspired by nature. It’s a combination of blue, grey and green and designed to evoke a sense of sanctuary and relaxation amid our busy lives.

Sherman Williams: “Oceanside” –  a combination of rich blue with jewel-toned green using both blues and greens.

Benjamin-Moore: “Caliente”- a vibrant deep red symbolizing strength and vitality.

Dutch Boy Paints: “Sandstone Tint” – a neutral described as a color balanced between warm and cool incorporating both grey and beige. Personally, I think this is a wonderful color to use throughout your home. By the way, last year’s, the trending neutral was grey.

Black is the New Black in 2018

According to a common design rule, every space should incorporate black in some way. Black is said to create feelings of privacy, silence, and tranquility to help with relaxation in an information-heavy world.  Glidden, Olympic, and PPG created a version of black as their color of the year.

Glidden Paint “Deep Onyx” – a classic, deep rich black which pairs well with any color.

Olympic Paints & Stains “Black Magic” – a color that compliments greys, blush pinks, and warm whites.

PPG Paint “Black Flame” – a blend of black and navy, two classic hues.

How to Use the New Colors

You can incorporate color in many ways. For example, create a statement wall with just one wall in a room painted a bold color.  Or apply a designer’s touch by updating the color of kitchen cabinets, interior and exterior doors, window trim and exposed shelving. Add pops of color with pillows, lamps, rugs, and artwork. Take a look at the paint color booklets found in paint stores, home improvement stores or online.

In Conclusion: When working with me as your BROKER/REALTOR®, you can expect the most up-to-date information on color trends, the climate of the market and more so you can get the best outcome for your Real Estate needs.

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Filed under Austin, Austin Real Estate Market, Decorating Your Home, Paint Colors for 2018

How To Find the Best Schools in Austin

As the Broker/Owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate in Austin, one of the most common questions I get from people moving to Austin is: Where are the best schools? After all, schools can be a driving force for your family’s home selection. And even if you don’t have school-age children, school districts matter. Homes in high-ranking school districts generally command top selling prices.

Here is information about four school districts which make Austin a great city for education. You can take a look at my comprehensive school listings here: School Information.

Eanes Independent School District

When it comes to the top school district in the area, you’ll find Eanes ISD leading the way. Eanes serves the communities of Westlake, Lost Creek and Rollingwood in Central/West Austin. Eanes is the second highest-ranked district in the state. Moreover, it’s ranked 7th in the nation by Niche.com.  Your kids can participate in a robotics program, a gifted & talented program, health occupations courses and more. The high quality of education along with a central location and amenities make home prices here some of the highest in the area (Home Prices).

Lake Travis Independent School District

West of Austin you’ll find the cities of Lakeway, Bee Cave, and Spicewood in the Lake Travis School District. This district covers nearly 200 square miles. Lake Travis ISD is ranked number 72 in the top 100 school districts in America and ninth in Texas according to Niche.com. You’ll find homes with lake and hill country views and easy access to great shopping and amenities. The median price for homes is $478,500.

Leander Independent School District

If you’re looking for terrific schools plus affordability, Leander ISD is a good choice. It’s is one of the fastest growing school districts in Texas. It serves approximately 40,000 students in northwest Austin. Students come from the communities of Leander, Cedar Park, Austin, and Georgetown. Leander ISD schools have numerous advanced placement programs to help students reach their full potential. LISD is ranked 17th in Texas (Niche.com’s 2018).  In contrast to the Eanes and Lake Travis areas, you’ll find home prices starting in the upper 200’s.

Austin Independent School District

The Austin Independent School District (AISD) is the fifth-largest school district in Texas and serves approximately 83,000 students at 130 schools. Austin ISD is ranked 84th in Texas out of 985 schools (Niche.com’s 2018) You’ll find numerous high-ranking schools at all levels within the district. Furthermore, a study commissioned by the Austin Chamber of Commerce concluded: “Austin’s public schools are comparable, if not superior to, the benchmarked cities of Denver, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham and Seattle.”

A few of the great schools in AISD (according to Schooldigger.com ) include:

  • Elementary Schools: Kiker, High Park and Casis
  • Middle Schools: Gorzycki, Kealing and the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders
  • High Schools: LASA (magnet school), Ann Richards School for young women Leaders, and Bowie

In conclusion, your kids can receive a great education in Austin. Obviously, I’ve just scratched the service of educational options. As a long-time Austin resident, mom and Real Estate Broker/Owner of Goodwin & Goodwin Real Estate I can answer your questions and direct you to the best schools based on your lifestyle and budget.

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A Real Estate Scam that’s Sweeping the Country

I wanted to share with you important information that can protect you from falling victim to a real estate scam. It’s happening to home buyers here in Austin and around the country. In 2016, this type of real estate fraud held 16th place in terms of the number of reported complaints (12,005) but held first place in dollar losses (over $360 million).

Imagine this: After months of searching for a home and doing all the necessary paperwork to secure a loan, your closing date is just days away. You and your family can hardly wait move in. In the middle of last-minute packing, you don’t think twice about an email that appears to be from your Realtor®, lender or title company. The email instructs you to wire the closing fees to a different bank account from the one you were scheduled to use.

You stop what you’re doing to get it done. Inexplicably, you later find out that the title company didn’t receive the funds. Unbeknownst to you, offshore hackers diverted your money into their account. You are shocked. Moreover, if you can’t come up with additional funds, you’re apt to lose the home. Tragically, many buyers don’t know their money is gone until the day of closing.

How the Hackers Work

Hackers typically break into one of the real estate parties’ email accounts. Then they hack into as many of the parties’ email accounts as possible. One by one, they learn the identities of the parties by monitoring the email. Skilled hackers will go undetected because they mimic the conversational styles between the parties. They find out details about your closing and time their requests accordingly.

How to Tell Real from Fake

If you get a request to wire funds from your lender, Realtor®, or title company, regardless of how official the email looks, call to confirm the account number and the name on the receiving end. Sometimes it’s smart to look up the phone number yourself. Don’t call a phone number you don’t recognize. Additionally, after you send money, confirm that the title company received it.

I always tell my buyers to call the title company to verify the exact wiring instructions and never to believe any last minute email instructions on where to send their money.

What to Do if You Get Scammed

You may be able to get back your money if you act quickly. Call your bank immediately. Emphasize that you are a victim of fraud. Tell them to contact the recipient bank to reject the wire transfer as fraudulent.

  1. Report the scam to your regional FBI office. Explain that you’re a home buyer and a target of “email account compromise” in which a hacker instructed you to wire money to a fraudulent account. According to the FBI, the bureau might be able to help return or freeze the money.
  2. File an online complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
  3. File a complaint with the FTC by selecting Scams and Rip-offs, then Impostor Scams.

In conclusion:  It pays to be vigilant at all times.  I make sure that all my clients know about this scam. When working with me in the buying or selling process, you can expect very close monitoring of all email correspondence and the highest level of security.

 

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Filed under Austin, Austin Homes, Austin Real Estate Market, Email Security, Real Estate

Should Home Sellers Decorate for the Holidays?

If you’re selling your home during the holidays you may wonder if you should decorate your home, and if so, how. Putting up a few decorations cam help your home feel warm and inviting. If you tend to cover every surface with decorations, you might go for a lighter touch when your home is for sale. Still, it’s worth the time and effort to decorate your home because:

  • People looking at houses during the cold-weather months are serious buyers.
  • The weekends before Christmas and New Year’s tend to have some of the highest traffic of the year. In fact, December 28th is one of the busiest selling days in the entire year according to Realtor.com.
  • There are fewer homes on the market to compete with. Many sellers will wait until after the holidays to list their homes, creating a flooded market and increased competition. (Read more here http://www.goodwin-goodwin.com/winter-home-sales/

My Top Ten tips for Holiday Decorating:

Clean your home thoroughly. Before you decorate, clean your home from top to bottom. Regardless of the time of year, one of the first things buyers notice is the cleanliness of your home

Create a cozy feeling. When buyers walk into your home and feel relaxed, they are more likely to take their time in your home which can lead to an offer. Holiday touches like a bowl of pinecones, an evergreen wreath, or a pot of cider simmering on the stove can create a cozy, festive feeling in your home.

Use natural, seasonal greenery. A real evergreen wreath on the door with a big red bow is tasteful. So is a real Christmas tree, pine garland on the porch or across a fireplace mantel

Curb appeal is still important. This is where the excitement starts for a buyer. So avoid the twinkling, musical or colorful animated characters on the lawn, front porch or the roof. No blow-up Santas or things that deflate during the day.

Don’t eat up square footage. Find a Christmas tree that fits the size of your room – don’t go too big. You don’t want it or the presents underneath taking up valuable floor space and making your home look smaller.

Tasteful decorative lights are fine. Lights inside your home can be cozy and festive. It’s best to use white lights or just a couple colors of lighting and to avoid flashing lights. Don’t use a lot of extension cords if you have a lack of outlets. This can be seen as a negative to buyers.

Don’t display your holiday greeting cards. They can distract buyers and prevents buyers from “seeing” themselves living in your house.

Be wary of displaying presents. The best thing to ensure security is to wrap a few empty boxes, tastefully, and put them under your Christmas tree.

Avoid putting up personalized stockings. You can put up a couple of generic stockings, however, avoid personalized stockings and obscuring your fireplace mantel.

Be an equal-opportunity decorator. Overtly religious decorations may be off-putting to some buyers. Keep neutrality fore-front so you can attract any type of buyer. If you’re not sure what qualifies, ask me!

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My Tips for Buying a Lot and Building a New Home

Are you thinking about building a new home? For many home buyers, building a new home from the ground up is appealing. Understandably so. You’re able to get what you want rather than live with choices the previous owners made. You have control over paint colors, flooring, energy-efficiency and more. In fact, you’ll be able to have a home that completely reflects your lifestyle.

First off, to ensure a great experience building your dream home. take the time to do your homework.  As a Texas REALTOR®, I want to share the following tips to save you time and money.

Determine Your Budget

Before you purchase land, it’s wise to investigate the cost of building on it. Based on my experience, a good rule of thumb is to plan to spend up to 30 percent of your budget on a lot and 70 percent on your actual home. For example, if your budget is:

  • $500K = You should spend up to $150K or less on the land.
  • $1M = You should spend $300K or less on the land.
  • $1.5M = You should spend $450K or less on the land.

The market conditions, the location of the lot and the school district are among the variables that come in to play in deciding whether a lot is right for you. It’s a good time to buy in Austin because of its current and projected growth. You can find out more about Austin here: Austin Stats

Talk to a Realtor®

Find an experienced REALTOR® that knows the area well. A good REALTOR® knows information about the type of soil you’ll find in different areas of the city, the comparable prices of other homes in the neighborhood and the current market conditions. Moreover, they can be a good resource to help you choose a reliable builder.

Vet Your Builder

People frequently get into trouble because they find out too late that the builder they hired is falling short of what was promised. Even though you may pay more, hiring a builder with a strong reputation and references is worth it. Knowing that your builder is responsive to your questions and concerns goes a long way to alleviating stress. There’s nothing more frustrating than having your calls go unanswered when you need information!

Read what happened to a couple who didn’t vet their builder. Home Building Horror Story

Manage your Expectations

Overall, it’s important to have realistic expectations. Custom homes usually take between 6 months to 18 months to build. Why? Because the lot may require additional site work that’s not apparent until the building begins or suppliers run behind or the weather isn’t cooperating. Not to mention easements, zoning laws, property line restrictions and the architecture guidelines and review processes. Moreover, if you’re building a home with your significant other, don’t understand the amount of stress (and joy) this process may create. Keep the end goal forefront in your mind.

In conclusion building a custom home is limited only by your imagination and your budget. With lots of forethought, you’ll make the process an easy one. I’d like to help! Here are my lots for sale My Lots for Sale – and I can show you many more not listed here.

 

 

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Filed under Austin Homes, Austin Real Estate Market, Buying a Lot, Real Estate