Tag Archives: Austin real estate

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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Filed under Austin Real Estate Market, listing agent, Paint Colors for 2018, Real Estate

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

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

The Price Tag for Austin Real Estate with Country Feel and Urban Amenities

Can you picture yourself sipping a glass of wine (or coffee) on your private back deck as you gaze upon natural beauty like big trees, beautiful sunsets and stunning vistas? Would you love to soak in the peace and quiet of country living yet also have easy access to downtown Austin and lots of amenities? A lifestyle in an urban/rural type community can fulfill you on many levels. You can enjoy beautiful surroundings and wildlife with quick access to amenities like restful spas, first-class shopping, new restaurants and fun Austin events.

With this in mind, I’d like to help you with your home search by giving you information about some of the urban-rural type communities in Austin and their current median sales prices.

South Austin Real Estate

The community of Shady Hollow (Zip Codes 78748 & 78739) is surrounded by amenities and is a relatively short drive to downtown Austin. Residents enjoy backyard privacy and a family-friendly community. Moreover, the large oak trees create canopies, giving the community an enchanting feel. The median home prices in Shady Hollow is $384,700. Homes values are predicted to continue rising in 2018.

The town of Buda (78610) is about 15 miles south of Austin. Additionally, it’s one of the fastest growing communities south of Austin. Buda’s proximity to downtown Austin and the Bergstrom International Airport coupled with affordability contribute to its appeal. Home values increased approximately 3.8% over the past year (2017) and are predicted to rise over the next year.  The median price of homes currently listed in Buda is $310,000.

A few miles west of Buda you’ll find the subdivision of Hays Country Oaks. You’ll find homesites with 1.5 to over 7 acres. Prices range from the lower 300’s up to over 1M. Some properties include pastures, stalls, and sheds. In other words, Hays County Oaks provides a true country lifestyle.

I’m currently selling two treed lots in South Austin. One lot is in Buda with a little over an acre of land (MLS #8763733). The second lot is closer to downtown Austin with over .8 of land (MLS #8506921). You can find out more about both lots here: My Lots for Sale

Southwest Austin Real Estate

You’ll find a variety of new and older communities as you drive West on Highway 71. The newer master-planned communities tend to have average size lots (less than .5 of an acre.) With that in mind, they frequently compensate for lot size by offering appealing amenities. For example, master-planned community of Sweetwater (78738) boosts a resort-lifestyle. You’ll have access to the Sweetwater Club, a 10-acre complex full of pools and party spaces, yoga classes and special activities. Moreover, you can explore over 700 acres of hiking and biking trails. Families are attracted to Sweetwater because it’s in the highly-rated Lake Travis School District.  The median home price in Sweetwater is currently $539,000. Personally, I think it’s poised to become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the area.

Lakeway (78734, 78738) was built around the Lakeway Resort and Spa in the 1970’s. It rests among beautiful rolling hills on the shores of Lake Travis. Years ago I thought of Lakeway as “far-away.” Not so today.  It’s easy to get out there due to the addition of more lanes on Highway 71. You’ll find mature oak trees and incredible views of both the lake and countryside here. Additionally, the schools are well-rated and in the Lake Travis Independent School District. The drive from Lakeway to downtown Austin takes about 30 minutes in non-peak hours. The median price of homes currently listed in Lakeway is $577,450.

Northern Austin Real Estate

Cypress Acres (78641). The subdivision of Cypress Acres is a quiet, lakeside community on the northeast end of Lake Travis. It’s built in the city of Leander, which is growing suburb. To me, this part of the lake feels more rural than the Lakeway community. You’ll find a diverse mix of home styles – from 70’s chic to new construction. The median price of homes currently listed here is $316,990.

I currently have a great waterfront home for sale in Cypress Acres.  You can find out more here: My Waterfront Home for Sale

Anderson Mill/Cedar Park (78750, 78613, 78750). Cedar Park is one of the 20 fastest growing cities in Texas. Its proliferation of parks together with walking trails make it both family and dog-friendly. Cedar Park’s location provides ample opportunities to attend concerts, events, and other experience in downtown Austin area. Overall, you’ll find a mixture of homes built in the early 80’s as well as newer, master-planned communities. The median home price is currently $307,990.

Note: Northwest Austin is very attractive because of shopping, restaurants, hotels and proximity to several high-tech companies. It continues to attact new residents which means more traffic. The commute to downtown can take 45 minutes during peak weekday hours.

Central Austin, the closest country-feel to downtown Austin

West Lake Hills and Rollingwood (78746)  are communities widely known for stunning luxury homes to say nothing of the dramatic landscape, wildlife and desirable location. You’ll find small-town charm along with the convenience of easy access to downtown Austin. A friend and former West Lake resident told me she used to hand-feed deer outside her front door, take her dogs for a walk around the lake less than five minutes away and be in downtown Austin in less than 10 minutes.

The neighborhood grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s on some of Austin’s most exclusive real estate. These communities are centrally located just minutes from downtown Austin and close to many highways that make traveling anywhere in the city a breeze. You can easily access the Barton Creek Wilderness Park, Red Bud Isle, the Barton Creek Greenbelt, Zilker Park, and the Lions Municipal Golf Course. Additionally, the award-winning Eanes ISD is a top draw for families.

Needless to say, the price tags for these coveted homes are some of the highest in Austin.  The median selling price in Westlake and Rollingwood is 1.3M.

In Conclusion

Although this is a relatively small list of neighborhoods, it can give you a lot to think about. Maybe you’re just starting your search or maybe you’re a little further along with. Regardless of where you are in the process, I can help.

If you want more information about:

  • Price per square foot in different areas
  • Future road improvements and development
  • How to find the best deals in the Austin market
  • And more!

I am available anytime to talk with you and help you succeed in finding your dream home!

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Filed under Austin, Austin Homes, Austin Real Estate Market, Hill Country, Real Estate

The Benefits of Winter Home Sales

I’d like to talk to you today about one of the most significant decisions you can make in real estate – when to put your home on the market or, in turn, to look for a new home.  You may have heard the conventional advice – wait until spring to buy or sell your home. However, winter home sales have unique benefits. In light of Austin’s popularity and amenities, its luster doesn’t dull in the winter. The home itself, its location to schools and work and the desirability of the city are important and don’t change. As a broker and sales agent, I’ve helped many clients over the years with winter home sales.

The following are some of the key benefits to winter real estate sales.

For Sellers

1 -Less competition. You’ll find most real estate markets flooded with new listings in the spring.  In the spring you may be one of a sea of listings in your neighborhood while in winter you may be the sole listing. Buyers may be better able to appreciate your home and focus on the positive aspects which can induce an offer sooner than you might think.

2- Great weather. Austin winters are temperate. For buyers seeking to escape icy winters, there’s no better marketing than the experience of mild and sunny days while touring homes.

3- A faster sale. Many buyers want to get moved-in before the holidays so they can enjoy their new home and enjoy the season with friends and family.

4- Unique home appeal. The glow of tasteful holiday lights and colorful decorations can uniquely showcase your home. Because buying a home is a mostly emotional experience, creating sparkle and comfort can attract and motivate buyers.

For Buyers

1- Motivated Sellers. Fewer buyers are out in the winter so sellers are usually more motivated to work with you on price and other details of the sale. If you are looking to put in a contingent offer, this can be a good time for it.  You can read more about contingent contracts here: http://www.goodwin-goodwin.com/contingent-contracts-austin/

2- More time to look. You may have the luxury of paid days off giving you more time to focus on your home search without work distractions.

3- Attention from others.  You’ll enjoy more attention from the people that make the deal come together. Loan officers, home inspectors, moving companies and others can generally give you more attention and are more responsive to your questions.

4- Tax Advantages.  Some owners want to take advantage of selling their homes before the year ends to improve their tax situation. That makes them motivated to sell and willing to negotiate.

In Conclusion

In the final analysis, winter homes sales can be even more satisfying than other times of the year. If you want to find out more about how I can help you (in any season) with your real estate needs, please call or email me. I look forward to exploring the best options for you!


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Highmark Townhomes – South Austin, 78745

Today I was out looking at some townhomes and condos in South Austin.  This new community along South Congress caught my eye, so I stopped in.  The community, Highmark, is so new that there are only the two models that are complete so far, but they have started framing several more homes and poured the foundation of some others. When complete, there will be 50 townhomes in all.  There are 4 different floorplans and range from roughly 1800-2200 square feet. Prices are from $309K-$334K.  The community will be gated and is located South of William Cannon, not far from Southpark Meadows.  A good number of the units will back up to a greenbelt area with some nice tall trees there currently. I like the floor plans – both have good-sized kitchens that are open to the living/family room.  The models of course have many upgrades and show very well. Meritage has a number of energy efficient features they put in their homes. I think this will make another nice lock-and-leave community for South Austin.

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Sweetwater – Austin, 78738

Not that long ago, Sweetwater seemed to be a long way out and isolated.  Now when I drive to the neighborhood, I am envious of the recently expanded Hwy 71.  Two lanes each direction and a turn lane when you come to the entrance of Sweetwater or other neighborhoods up and down the road.  And what beautiful views as you drive out Hwy 71. The neighborhood has some nice views, too, and great amenities and schools. Like many new neighborhoods, it takes a little time for it to become popular, but the time has come for this neighborhood.  With all the shopping you can desire just 10 minutes away at the Hill Country Galleria, Sweetwater is no longer isolated. The homes are spacious and well laid out with open floor plans and high ceilings, spacious kitchens and bedrooms, and tastefully decorated.  A home I’m selling right now is 5517 Brady Bayou Cv, priced at $438,000 and 2999 sq ft.  Builders in the neighborhood include David Weekely, Chesmar, Perry, Coventry, Ashton Woods, M/I, River Oaks and Drees.  Prices range from $325K on up to nearly $1M. There are a number of homes to choose from – both new construction and recently built. Overall, this is a great community that will continue to grow in popularity as the population of Austin continues to grow.

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Ideal Family Vacation Home… but no STR here

Blanco RiverShort term rentals (STRs) have really gotten a bad name lately.  Not only is Austin hostile to them, but now the sentiment has trickled down to Wimberley.  My husband and I went to check out an adorable cabin in Wimberley, right on the Blanco river (but high enough not to flood), and we fell in love with it.  How great to have a place to go a few times a year with the kids or friends, for a peaceful weekend away from the frenzied pace of Austin.  But as I’m asking the listing agent some questions, she says it would not be ok for this home to be used as a short term rental.  Really?  This cabin that is totally set up as a vacation home?  The floorplan is ideal for weekend retreats, but as a full-time home it has some definite shortcomings – including the main shower in the house being downstairs while all the bedrooms are upstairs.  And the fact that the bedrooms all accommodate beds, but little else, and slanted ceilings to boot.  And the closets are definitely not intended to hold more than what you might bring for an extended stay of a week, perhaps.

I can understand home owners not wanting nightly parties going on next door… but wait, my next door neighbor does just that.  He has a pool in his backyard, and frequently has his family and friends over enjoying his pool and outdoor concerts which spill over into my backyard.  Should I ask my local politician to create an ordinance to stop him from his partying ways?  Again, I can see both sides of the argument, but I lean toward giving people a little more freedom and a little less regulation.  Think about it, if this cabin were a vacation home, the neighbors on the street might have the opportunity to meet people from around the world as they travel to a cabin on the Blanco.  They might meet people they’d never meet if they had to stay at a hotel or a vacation home somewhere else.  And, if they were likewise unable to rent vacation homes in other locales, what a shame.  Some of my families’ best vacations have been spent in homes, not in hotels.  There are always two sides to every coin, and before city councils end the days of vacation homes, perhaps they should take a moment to consider the other side of the coin.  Rather than eliminating short term rentals, why not just send law enforcement to quiet down the bad actors?


Filed under Austin Homes, Real Estate, Wimberley homes

Hip, New South Austin Homes in 78745

1601 StassneyI recently showed some homes in the new South Austin neighborhood of “1601 Stassney” which can be slightly confusing, because the home addresses are not on Stassney, though the entrance to the neighborhood is. This little pocket neighborhood is located West of IH35 just off Stassney near Crockett High School and ACC (Austin Community College). The developer did a very nice job with the entryway, which is a winding road with trees and nice landscaping, a very welcoming entrance. The homes are close together – as in a garden home community. When finished, the neighborhood will be comprised of about 100 detached condos. The community is impressive, and the homes range from $320K-$380K. The front doors are very contemporary looking with 6 horizontal windows surrounded by mahogany. The model homes feature color schemes in grays, the “in” color of 2015 and still lingering. Homes have the “Nest” thermostat, 2-car garages, basket weave privacy fences, and a choice of finishes for the flooring, lighting and fixtures. Overall, this is a nice community not far from downtown with just a few homes and lots still available.

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