Aug. 16, 2017

Hidden Costs of a Home Remodel

A home renovation can be costly – even more so if hidden costs arise during the project. Before starting your home remodel, be aware of these hidden costs that may end up costing you more money than the project is worth: 

Changing your mind

It turns out; changing your mind is one of the largest costs of a home renovation. Did you know that approximately 95 percent of costs come from inadequate scopes of work and scope creep, also known as change orders? It’s true! How can you avoid this cost? Make sure you know what you want before you start – and don’t change your mind! 

Surprise structural changes

Unplanned structural changes can increase your budget by 10 to 15 percent. To avoid a hefty cost, explore all remodel options with your contractor before you begin work. 

Building standards – “up to code”

What was once “up to code,” may not be today. Always consider the current building standards when starting a remodel – and be mindful that if you discover something that is not up to code during a remodel, you have to bring it up to code - which is an added expense.

Higher utility bills

This expense is minimal – but do expect for your electric bill to increase during renovation months. The amount is entirely dependent on what you're renovating and how much electricity you're using.

Board pets

To ensure your pets are safe and out of the way, board them during the remodel. Boarding your pets may be expensive - depending on how long the remodel is going to take and the boarding rate. To save money, make plans with a family member or friend to watch your pets during the days you are renovating. 

Eating out

If you’re doing a kitchen remodel, expect to eat out a lot – as your kitchen will be a construction zone! 

Pest and rot damage

Unforeseen issues can come to light during a home remodel. Be aware of pests (termite damage) in the South and rot (rotting wood) in the North. If found, fixing the damage can be costly. 

Your time is money

During a remodel, you will most likely need to take time off work to meet with contractors and make selections on design materials (backsplash, flooring, countertops, etc.). Can your work schedule accommodate for this? Make sure your schedule and budget can endure this time off. 

Moving out/in

Do you have to vacate your home or move out belongings to make room for the renovation? Consider the costs of pods and storage units and a place to stay during the remodel. To save money, consider making arrangements to bunk with a family member or friend during the renovation.


Be proactive and consider these hidden costs before embarking on your home renovation – your sanity and bank account will thank you.

Do you have any questions about the Austin area housing landscape? We are here to help you get more from your move; contact us today! 



Posted in Home Improvement
Aug. 11, 2017

South Austin’s Best Local Coffee Shops

Did you know drinking a cup of coffee a day could extend your life? According to two studies by the Annals of Internal Medicine, it's true! What did these two studies report? Let’s take a look at three of the key findings from the study:  

  • Higher coffee intake lowered the risk of death in several different races (Blacks, Japanese Americans, Latinos and Whites).
  • More than three cups of coffee a day reduced participant’s risk of death – especially digestive circulatory diseases.
  • Drinking coffee reduced a participant's risk of dying from seven of the ten leading causes of death in the U.S. (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer and respiratory illness).

Where can you enjoy your daily cup of coffee in the greater Austin area? To support local businesses, here are South Austin’s best local coffee shops: 

Kowabunga Coffee

6911 US-290, Austin, TX 78749

Hours: Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Radio Coffee & Beer

4204 Manchaca Rd., Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.


Summer Moon Coffee Bar

3115 S 1st Street #1b, Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Stouthaus Coffee Pub

4715 S Lamar Blvd. #102, Sunset Valley, TX 78745

Hours: Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.



2159 S Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Monday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Opera Café and Coffeehouse

11215 S IH 35 Frontage Rd. #127, Austin, TX 78747

Hours: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Crema Bakery & Café

9001 Brodie Lane B3, Austin, TX 78748

Hours: Sunday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.



440 E. St. Elmo A-2, Austin, TX 78745

Hours: Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.


Third Coast Coffee

4402 S Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78745

Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed Saturday and Sunday)


Trianon Coffee

3201 Bee Cave Rd. #163, Austin, TX 78746

Hours: Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Monterey Oaks Coffee House

4220 Monterey Oaks Blvd., Austin, TX 78749

Hours: Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (closed on Saturday)


Enjoy exploring South Austin’s local coffee shops! 

Do you have any real estate related questions? At Resident Realty Austin, our mission is to get you more for your move! Contact us to learn more today! 



Posted in Austin News
July 20, 2017

Flying in and out of Austin just got better!

With Austin, TX being one of the best places in the country to live, work and invest in Real Estate, our airport is growing by leaps and bounds! EIGHT new non stop flights have just been added!

When you're ready to call Austin home or if you are already here and are looking to buy, sell, or both, call me! Take advantage of the best deal in town with my Buy One Sell One FREE program!

Posted in Austin News
July 18, 2017

Coveted Austin Barbecue Joints

The smokier, the better! In Texas; there's nothing better than some good old peppery-smoked barbecue. From tender beef and pork ribs to homemade beef sausages to smoked banana pudding, here is a list of the most coveted barbecue joints around the greater Austin area:


Franklin Barbecue

Rating: 4.75

Location: 900 E 11th Street, Austin, TX 78702

Hours: Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until the meat runs out) & closed for vacation August 1-10

Favorites: The lean, tender brisket is out-of-this world delicious – as is everything else. Beef ribs are ONLY available on Saturdays.


Rating: 4.5

Location: 2402 San Gabriel Street, Austin, TX 78705

Hours: Open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Favorites: Peppery spare ribs, house made sausages and the fatty brisket are the steal showers at this classy barbecue joint! Freedmen's also serves incredible cocktails (Ol'Schmokey – bourbon-based cocktail), sides and desserts - smoked banana pudding, anyone?

La Barbecue

Rating: 4.5

Location: 1906 E Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX 78702

Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or until meat runs out)

Favorites: Located in a fancy food trailer at the Aztec Food Park, La Barbecue has spectacular sausages, tender pork ribs, monster beef ribs and buttery-flavored all-natural beef brisket! How can you skip the line? By ordering at least five days before on their website.

Micklethwait Craft Meats

Rating: 4.75

Locations: 1309 Rosewood Ave., Austin, TX 78702

Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or until meat runs out)

Favorites: What’s the star of the show? The beef rib – that will feed a family of four! If that’s not what you’re looking for, consider the peppery brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork or chicken – all of which are just as scrumptious as the beef rib!

Stiles Switch

Rating: 4.5

Location: 6610 N Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78757

Hours: Open Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Favorites: Going out with a large group? This Austin barbecue joint is the spot for you. While there, order the fatty brisket, meaty pork ribs and ALL three of the homemade sausages! Head out to Stiles on Sunday for “Southern Comfort Sundays,” a day full of smoked chicken wings and hot-rub fries.

Terry Black’s Barbecue

Rating: 4.25

Locations: 1003 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704

Hours: Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or until meat runs out)

Favorites: Featuring meat-market style service (line up for desserts and sides before being ushered by a meat cutter over to the chopping block), Terry Black’s show stoppers are the peppery pork ribs and homemade beef sausages!

Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

Rating: 4.25

Location: 11500 Manchaca Rd., Austin, TX 78745

Hours: Open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (or until the meat runs out) – closed first Monday of the month.

Favorites: Offering a fusion of barbecue and tacos, Valentina’s fifteen-hour mesquite-smoked brisket is the very definition of mouth-watering. Are you looking for something different? The smoky chicken, carnitas and grilled fajitas are delicious as well.


Louie Mueller Barbecue

Rating: 4.75

Location: 206 W 2nd Street, Taylor, TX 76574

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Favorites: Nearly everything on the menu is delicious at this legendary barbecue joint! However, these are must-try items: brisket, beef ribs and the house-made jalapeno beef sausage! Pro tip: call in your order to skip the line!

If you’re looking for more barbecue joints around Texas, and your waistline can take it, here is Texas Monthly’s 2017 list of the Top 50 BBQ Joints in Texas.

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? We are here to help you get more from your move; contact us anytime.

Posted in Austin News
July 12, 2017

Energy Saving Tips

Did you know heating and cooling account for approximately 40 percent of your home's energy expenses? In Texas, heating isn't the's cooling the house during the seemingly never-ending summer heat! How can you reduce your energy bill this summer? Even the smallest change can make a difference. Below are some of our top energy saving tips:

Cover Your Windows

Shut your blinds during the day and only open them at night or early in the morning if you are looking for some natural light. If you have curtains, closing them during the day will keep the interior of your home even cooler.

Use Your Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is an excellent source of ventilation and helps maintain circulation throughout the home. The breeze created by the ceiling fan can make any room feel up to eight degrees cooler.

Shut Off Heat Generating Appliances

It turns out; the majority of our everyday appliances produce heat. At the very least, refrain from doing laundry and cooking anything in the oven or on the stove on extremely hot days. If you don't have another option, use the laundry room fan or hood fan to help maintain circulation.

Regulate the A/C

While going without air conditioning in Texas is impossible, there are ways to control how much energy you are using. Try moving the thermostat up a couple of degrees during the day – each degree you raise the thermostat saves seven to 10 percent on your cooling costs. If you like sleeping at a cooler temperature, you can move your thermostat down a couple of degrees at night – as at that night your air conditioner isn't working quite as hard as it is during the day.

Smart Home Thermostat

A smart thermostat may be a great investment during the never-ending heat of a Texas summer. These thermostats allow you to decrease or increase the temperature in your home remotely – and, as a bonus, some will even learn your habits and know when you are home or when you are away. A smart thermostat can save you five to 15 percent on annual heating and cooling bills, according to

Free Energy Inspection

Do you know where you use the most energy? If not, consider asking your power company to conduct a free energy inspection. These professionals will tell you exactly where you are using the most energy and make recommendations on how to cut your bills.

What energy saving tips do you recommend? Send them our way – we would love to add them to our list!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? We are here to help you get more from your move; give us a call anytime.

Posted in Home Improvement
July 6, 2017

Media Rooms, Home Automation Systems, Lighting and Security...J.J. Orion is Your One Stop Shop!

When a home has over 3000 sqft, you start to expect some sort of media or theater room. To make sure you get the most out of your space, you want to make sure it's designed well and the electronic system is the best you can afford. Besides kitchens and bathrooms, one other space sells a house well and that is a home theater! Intelligent Spaces. That's what J.J. Orion creates! Robert Ridenour with J.J. Orion can help you create the intelligent space you envision! Whether automated lighting, theater and media rooms, surround sound systems or security systems, Robert will more than meet your expectations! Take a look at his previous projects and ideas here. When you're ready for the best in home automation and sound, call Robert with J.J. Orion. And when you're ready to sell you home and save thousands in Realtor commissions, contact me and ask about my "buy one sell one FREE" program!

Posted in Home Improvement
July 5, 2017

Remodel Mistakes Mean Resale Problems!

One of the biggest mistakes I see homeowners make is in remodeling choices. Why do I care? Because when they call me to sell their home, if they've made remodeling mistakes, it usually will cost them money when they sell their home. There are different types of mistakes you can make when remodeling. One mistake is what I refer to as a "functional" mistake. For example, adding a media room or game area is a great idea. But you don't want to have to go through a bedroom to get there! Or adding a bathroom to a bedroom is a great idea...but not just a sink! You need a full bathroom to be functional. Another type of remodeling mistake is over improving for the particular area. You should be aware of what your particular neighborhood or area will support in terms of price and improvements, this is especially true if you are adding on or planning on making an investment of several thousand dollars. Make sure you can get that money out of your home when you sell it! Finally, personal preference on colors and styles is a mistake I often see. Teal hard tile is not going to appeal to the majority of people and can be very expensive to replace. I always advise my clients to use neutral choices with expensive materials such as flooring, counter tops and back splash. If you like color, add it with decor items or paint a small accent wall. How can you have confidence that your choices are not going to be a problem when it comes time to sell? Get the advice of a Realtor! If you live in the Austin, TX Metro area, I'm happy to give you my professional opinion on any remodeling ideas you have. Just send me an email to

Posted in Home Improvement
June 27, 2017

Another New Awesome Austin Development is Coming!

The Austin real estate market continues to thrive! The former Backyard venue in Bee Caves is about to be transformed into a mixed use development sure to be loved by all! With new home developments popping up all over the Bee Caves area, this new commercial and retail space is going to cater to the needs of many! Find out all the details by clicking here!

And if you're thinking you might want to explore the new home developments in Bee Caves, first make sure you check out my unbeatable, "buy one sell one FREE" program!

Posted in Austin News
June 23, 2017

The Feds Debate Inflation Data...what does that mean?

Tommy Hollahan with Home Source Mortgage is one of my trusted referrals! I have complete confidence in his ability to take great care of my clients and their mortgage needs! The latest from Tommy's desk....the Feds aren't sure what they think about the recent data showing that inflation has declined that last few months. Find out more from his newsletter, Mortgage Time.

And when you're ready to buy and/or sell real estate in the Austin METRO area, don't forget you can save thousands in Realtor commissions by taking advantage of my "buy one sell on FREE" program!

Posted in Austin News
June 22, 2017

The Austin Housing Market is STRONG!

It should come as no surprise that Austin's housing market continues to be strong. The Austin Board of Realtors recent press release is an excellent article! My perspective from the field...for homes priced under $350,000 we are still often seeing multiple offers, in many areas. The luxury market is softening a bit and our inventory is increasing some. Even though our market remains strong, and indications are it will continue to be strong, if you are selling a home, it is still imperative you take the steps to properly prepare your home for market and price it correctly in order to get the most for your home in the shortest amount of time. If you fail to properly prepare your home, you will generate lower offers. If you price your home too high, it will sit while the buying market allows you to "test" the market. The longer it sits, the more likely you are to actually get less for your home, than had you priced it correctly in the very beginning. Call me today for more information on what you should be doing to get your home ready to sell and a market analysis on where to list your home. And don't forget, I usually save my clients many thousands of dollars when they take advantage of my "buy one sell one free" program! For more information, go to