RESIDENT REALTY REAL ESTATE BLOG

Oct. 13, 2017

Lawn Care Tip: Brown Patch

Hi there!  I hope you are enjoying this beautiful weather we're having here in Central Texas!  As you've probably heard me say before, your curb appeal and landscaping play a huge role in the value of your home.  This video by Jerry Naiser with Real Green Lawns gives a great explanation of brown patch, which affects St. Augustine grass, one of the most widely used grasses in Austin.  I hope you find this information helpful!  Have another problem or question with your home?  I'm here to help!  I've I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does!  And don't forget, when it's time to sell, I have a GREAT program that could save you thousands in Realtor commissions!  Visit my web page at www.buyonesellonefree.com to find out more!  

Brown Patch Video

Posted in Home Improvement
Oct. 10, 2017

Reasons Fall is the Best Time to Buy a Home

What time of the year is the best for real estate? We're sure many of you said, "Spring." However, that might not be 100 percent accurate. While the spring market is the ideal time to sell your home…it turns out; it may not be the best time to buy a house. Why do we say this? Well, with less competition and lower home prices, fall might just be the season frontrunner for home buyers. What reasons attribute to fall being the best time to buy a home? Let's take a look at the top seven:

 

 

Lower home prices

Did you know October is the best time to snag a great deal on a new home? According to RealtyTrac's analysis of more than 32 million home sales in more than 15 years, October buyers paid 2.6 percent BELOW the estimated market value at the time for their homes. While 2.6 percent doesn't seem like much, it is more than you think! For example, if you're looking for a home worth $350,000 – 2.6 percent is a $9,100 discount. That discount can help you pay for any number of new homeowner expenses: closing costs, homeowner’s insurance, monthly mortgage payments, moving expenses and more. If you can help it, wait until fall to begin shopping for a bargain deal!

 

Less competition

If they can help it, most home sellers will wait until spring to list their home. Why? Simple. It is the best time to get the highest market value for your home. With an increased number of homes on the market, there is also an increased number of buyers perusing. To avoid high competition for homes, avoid searching during this time. Instead, be patient and wait until the fall to buy a home. Less competition means more time to consider a home before putting in an offer and a lower likelihood of competing offers.

 

Worn-out home sellers

If a seller has their home on the market in the fall, it's usually because they don't have any other option. How does this benefit you as a homebuyer? As they have their home on the market out of necessity, they are probably in a position where they NEED to sell their home and are open to negotiating, resulting in a potentially better deal for you.

 

Did you know that sellers price their home higher in the spring? It’s true. While some do sell, others remain on the market for one reason: they are priced above fair market value. As these homes often receive little attention in the spring, they will sometimes remain on the market until the fall. If they do, chances are the sellers are getting impatient and looking to sell their home fast – resulting in a better deal for you!

 

Holidays are around the corner

The holiday season is right around the corner. As a home seller, there is nothing worse than being in the middle of selling your home during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? Because instead of enjoying the holiday with friends and family, you have to accommodate home showings whenever a potential buyer would like to view your home. These home showings have the possibility of ruining holiday plans. If a home seller wants to get into a new home before the holiday season, they will likely be extremely motivated to get out of their current home FAST – possibly resulting in a great deal for you! Use this pre-holiday window (October) as an opportunity to find a new home for a great deal.

 

Year-end tax credits

While you don’t buy a home for the tax benefits, it is a nice incentive. If you close a home at the end of the fiscal year, you might reap the benefits of some nice tax deductions: closing costs, property tax and mortgage interest.

 

Real estate agent has more time

Fewer buyers and sellers on the market allow your REALTOR® to dedicate more time to help you locate a home. More time with your REALTOR® gives you the opportunity to ask questions and view more homes.

 

Home improvement bargains

According to Consumer Reports, December is the best month to get a bargain on your home’s major appliances: refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers and more. If you are thinking you want to buy a home with the intention of fixing it up, waiting until the fall to buy and the winter to upgrade can save you a bundle of money! Bonus, the end of the year is also the best time to buy cookware and TVs.

 

Less competition, deals on home goods and lower home prices make fall the PERFECT time to buy a home. A little patience can go a long way.

 

Do you want to buy a home in the Austin area? Now is the ideal time to buy. Give us a call today to get more for your move.

 

 

Posted in Austin News, Sellers
Sept. 20, 2017

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Fall is in the air! And, while the temperatures haven’t cooled down much in the greater Austin area - make no mistake, they will! To ensure your home is prepared for the upcoming cooler season, we have created a fall home maintenance checklist. Follow these tips to ensure your home is ready for the season ahead: 

 

 

Interior

  • Hire an HVAC technician to service your furnace. A heating system will use fuel more efficiently, last longer and experience fewer problems if maintained properly.
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fan blade rotation. Blades should rotate clockwise (as you’re looking up at the fan), creating an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. Look for a small toggle on the side of the base of the fan to make the switch.
  • Test and change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Vacuum internal components of your air conditioner.
  • Apply weather stripping and caulk any air leaks around your windows and doors.
  • Ensure your fireplace is in working order by checking the insert’s door gasket for a tight seal and cleaning out your chimney.
  • Clean your humidifier regularly during the heating season. 

 

Exterior

  • Check your foundation. Look for cracks and caulk around where siding meets masonry, where pipes or wires enter the house and around windows and doors. This easy checkup can reveal issues early and prevent heat from escaping in chilly months.
  • Inspect exterior paint and make touch-ups as needed.
  • Inspect your roof. Wintry weather wreaks havoc on roofs and it’s better to proactively deal with repairs than to discover a leaking roof in a rainstorm.
  • Clean gutters. After leaves have fallen, take time to inspect and clean your gutters. Flush them with water, inspect the joints and tighten brackets if necessary.
  • Weather-strip your garage door. Ensure the seal between your garage door and the ground is snug to prevent drafts and small animals from entering.
  • Inspect your driveway. Look for cracks and repair damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealant.

 

Below is a printable checklist for your convenience. 

 

 

Be proactive and get started on this checklist today – before the temperatures really start to cool down. 

Do you have any questions about preparing your home for the fall season? Give us a call; we would be happy to send you a list of our preferred vendors around the greater Austin area.  

Posted in Home Improvement
Sept. 19, 2017

9 Interior Lighting Tips from Design Professionals

Lighting adds unique interest to your home’s interior design – it really can make a significant difference! What should you consider with your home's lighting? Consider these professional tips when selecting the location, style and function to ensure your home’s lighting is set to impress: 

Light Height

While some lights come with adjustable cables and rods - others don't! To ensure your light fixtures are at the proper height, keep the following measurement in mind: the bottom of the light should hang approximately 12 to 20 inches below a standard 8-foot ceiling – and, for each additional foot of ceiling height, add three inches.

Table Lighting

How far above the table surface should you hang your light? According to design professionals, 28 to 34 inches from the bottom of the light to the surface of the table or kitchen island is the industry standard. Keep in mind; these measurements do depend on the size of the fixture. In general, a smaller light can be lower, and a larger light can be higher.

Plan Ahead 

Are you designing your own home? If so, consider the lighting you want in your home during the initial design phase. It is important to decide what you want before construction starts, as once construction starts it may be too late to make changes! 

Innovate

If updating your lighting is part of your renovation, and you don't want a huge expense or hassle, consider cord swags. Basically, you can just swag the cord loosely over the bar or hook, or secure the cord tight to the ceiling for an industrial look.

Upward Lighting

Lighting doesn’t always have to angle down. In fact, upward lighting can create a softer ambiance to certain locations within the home. 

Glow

Different light bulbs give off a different glow. Typically, those glows range from warm to cool hues. Is the light bulb that important to the overall lighting of your home? Of course, it is! Just like the color of your décor, each individual prefers either a warm or cool hue. Not sure which glow you’d prefer? Here is a tip from the professionals: if your home's décor is mainly cooler tones, consider choosing the warm hue – as it will warm up the space. Of course, the opposite is true, too. If your home's décor is predominately warmer colors, consider the cooler hue to brighten up the darker space.

Light the Stairs

Why should you light the stairs? Other than the obvious reason of preventing a potentially dangerous situation at night, lighting your stairway can add a unique design element to your staircase. You can add lights to the risers or, if your stairway is enclosed, you can add them from the sides. 

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Consider adding some lighting below your upper cabinets to brighten up the kitchen and the counter space. This lighting also looks gorgeous at night. 

Add Color

If you have an isolated island in your kitchen, consider adding three colored pendants above. Not only do these lights create great lighting, but they also add interest and a “pop” of color to your kitchen. 

 

Follow these tips to ensure your home is lit to impress!  

Do you have any questions about adding any of these lighting ideas to your home? Reach out anytime; we are here to get you more for your move.  

Posted in Home Improvement
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.

 

Patika

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.

 

Spokesman

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:

Austin

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.

Freedmen's

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.

Taylor

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 issue...it'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 Energy.gov.

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