RESIDENT REALTY REAL ESTATE BLOG

Sept. 17, 2018

Austin-Area Events & Festivals: Fall 2018 Edition

From Austin City Limits to college football and Oktoberfest, fall is a great time of year in the Austin-area. While ACL is the biggie, there are tons of other events worth adding to your calendar! Here’s a look at the best Austin-area events and festivals this fall:

 

SEPTEMBER 2018

9/22-23
Fall Pecan Street Festival 
Sixth Street Austin 

9/23
Austin Museum Day 
Museums Across Austin 

9/28-29
PBR 25th: Unleash the Beast Winstar World Casino & Resort Invitational 
Frank Erwin Center 

9/29
Texas Craft Brewers Festival 
Fiesta Gardens 

9/29
Austin Oktoberfest
Scholz Garten

9/29-30
FIA World Rallycross
Circuit of The Americas

OCTOBER 2018

10/1-31
Texas Wine Month Trail
Texas Hill Country

10/4-7
Gruene Music & Wine Festival
New Braunfels

10/5-7 - 10/12-14
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Zilker Park

10/6
Texas Teen Book Festival
St. Edward's University

10/6-7
Fall Texas Wine & Art Festival
Austin

10/13
Marble Falls Music Fest
Marble Falls 

10/13
Liga MX Friendly: Chivas V Tigres
Dell Diamond

10/13
Oktoberfest
German Free School
 

10/14
Wine & Dine Showcase
Fredericksburg

10/18-20
Banger's Oktoberfest
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden

10/19-21
FORMULA 1 United States Grand Prix
Circuit of The Americas

10/25 - 11/1
Austin Film Festival
Paramount Theatre & Various Locations

10/27
Austin Area Jazz Festival
Rosewood Park

10/27
Viva La Vida Festival & Parade
Downtown Austin

10/27
Fredericksburg Food and Wine Festival
Fredericksburg

10/27
Halloween Mystery Dinner at Kerrville Hill Winery
Kerrville

10/27-28
Texas Book Festival
Texas State Capitol Building

10/28
The United Estates of Texas Wine Festival
Florence

10/28
Austin Symphony Orchestra Presents: Halloween Children's Concert
The Long Center for the Performing Arts

10/31
Texas Fireworks Dia de los Muertos Celebration
Kreig Baseball Field
 

NOVEMBER 2018

11/1-4
U.S. Vintage National Championships
Circuit of The Americas

11/1-7
Christmas at the Caswell House
The Caswell House
 

11/2
Tango of the Vines
San Antonio

11/2-4
UTOPiAfest Down in the Oaks
Burnet, TX

11/2-11
Wurstfest
New Braunfels, Texas

11/3
Austin Powwow
Travis County Expo Center

11/3-4
Austin Celtic Festival
Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms

11/3-4
Fossil Fest
Old Settler's Heritage Association

11/3-4
Texas Monthly BBQ Festival
City Terrace at The Long Center

11/10-11& 11/17-18
East Austin Studio Tour
Various Locations
 

11/14-18
A Christmas Affair
Palmer Events Center

11/17
Rockdale UnCorked Wine Tasting
Rockdale

11/18
Wine & Swine
Austin

11/22
Turkey Trot
The Long Center

Want to know more about the Austin-area? Give our team a call. We know tons about the area and would be happy to share our knowledge with you!

Posted in Austin
Sept. 6, 2018

7 Tips for Home Remodeling

With the kids back in school, things are finally starting to cool down – well everything but the weather in Texas. Are there some things you would like updated within your home? If so, fall, the lull between summer vacation and the holidays, is the perfect time. Ready to get started? Take a look at these seven tips for home remodeling projects before you get started:

 

 

Kitchen

Upgrading the kitchen is one of the most common home improvement projects. While completely gutting the kitchen and starting from scratch is an option, there are some other ways to up the appearance of your kitchen – if you like the layout, of course. For a quick and inexpensive remodel of your kitchen, consider painting the cabinets, adding some cabinet hardware, installing a new backsplash, replacing the light fixtures, etc. These projects will upgrade your kitchen without up-ending your life.

 

Cabinets

Cabinets are often one of the priciest aspects of a home remodel project. With that in mind, be sure to stick to something that is timeless. Shaker style or flat front cabinets are a great option. If you don’t have a color in mind, stick to white paint, natural stain, or, if you want your cabinets to stand out, grays and blues.

 

Flooring

The cost of flooring adds up fast, especially when it comes to real hardwood floors. However, other options may work better. Porcelain tile that looks like wood or marble is just as appealing, plus it is easy to clean and tough.   

 

Paint Color

Changing the paint color throughout the home is the easiest and most inexpensive way to make a significant change in your home's overall appeal. Neutral colors like gray and taupe are always a great option. But, if you want to go bold, consider choosing just painting an accent wall. Too much of a bold color can overpower a room.

 

Powder Bathrooms

The powder room is where you can have a little fun. Consider trying some fun light fixtures and maybe some wallpaper with fun designs.

 

Landscaping

Don't forget the outside! Prune and trim the bushes, mow the lawn, add some seasonal plants, replace the old house numbers and more. A welcoming front yard and a comfortable and appealing backyard will delight any visitors.

 

Security

Safety is of the utmost of importance as a homeowner. While you’re improving your home’s appearance, also upgrade its safety by adding some security cameras. Controlled by your smartphone, these cameras will come in handy when you are home and away.

 

Are you searching for a contractor in the Austin-area to help with some of these projects? Give us a call. We would be happy to connect you with a trusted professional.

Posted in homeowners
Aug. 21, 2018

Texas Education Agency Releases School District Ratings

 

The Texas Education Agency recently released the first set of school district accountability ratings with the new A-F system. Developed for two primary reasons - to inform parents about how their schools are performing and to provide information to help district and campus leaders -  this new method aims to provide information about school districts and to identify possible areas for improvement. Previously, the TEA only rated schools on a pass or fail basis. Here's a look at the ratings for schools around the Austin-area: 


A: Lake Travis ISD (Travis), Eanes ISD (Travis), Round Rock ISD (Williamson), Liberty Hill ISD (Williamson), Dripping Springs ISD (Hays), Wimberley ISD (Hays), Texas Preparatory School (Hays), NYOS Charter School (Travis), University of Texas University Charter (Travis)

B: Austin ISD (Travis), Pflugerville ISD (Travis), Lago Vista ISD (Travis), Leander ISD (Williamson), Georgetown ISD (Williamson), Thrall ISD (Williamson), McDade ISD (Bastrop), Harmony Science Academy (Travis), Cedars International Academy (Travis), Kipp Austin Public Schools Inc (Travis)

C: Taylor ISD (Williamson), Jarrell ISD (Williamson), Hutto ISD (Williamson), Florence ISD (Williamson), San Marcos CISD (Hays), Hays CISD (Hays), Lockhart ISD (Caldwell), Bastop ISD (Bastrop), Elgin ISD (Bastrop), Smithville ISD (Bastrop), Texas Empowerment Academy (Travis)

D: Manor ISD (Travis), Del Valle ISD (Travis), Promesa Public Schools (Travis), Wayside Schools (Travis), Luling ISD (Caldwell)

F: The Excel Center (Travis)

Click here for a detailed look at the rankings. 

 

The new A-F grade system ranks school districts in the following areas: 

·      Student Achievement - Measures how much students know and end-of-year performance

·      School Progress - Looks at student performance over time compared with other schools

·      Closing the Gap - Examines how different populations of students are performing in the district

 

Are you searching for a home in one of Austin's top school districts? Give our team a call. We would be happy to help you find a home in a school district where your kids can thrive!

Posted in Austin
Aug. 19, 2018

Thinking of Moving? Here are 5 Signs It’s Time

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, ten years is the average amount of time a homeowner stays in a house. Does that seem long? Or way too short? The truth is, the time frame is drastically different for every individual. And, so is the reason. How do you know when you are ready to sell your home? Here are five signs it’s time to make a move:

 

 

You want to get in on the seller’s market
Ready to make a profit on your property? NOW is the time as the Austin market is prime for sellers. To see what you can get, take a look at online listings in your neighborhood and see what other homes are selling for. Or, contact our team today for your complimentary market analysis. If the number looks appealing, selling may not be a bad option.

 

You’re feeling financially stressed
As home prices increase in the Austin-area, so too do property taxes. Are you struggling to make your monthly mortgage payments? If so, it may be the time to downsize to a smaller home. Easing your financial burden will relieve the stress in your life. To live comfortably, make sure your monthly housing costs don’t exceed 28 percent of your gross monthly income.

 

Your family has outgrown your home
A starter home is perfect when you just get married. However, it may not be practical when you have children. As your family grows, so should your home. Then, once your children fly the coop, consider downsizing. Too big of a home is hard to clean and more expensive in property taxes. The bottom line? Make sure your home works for your family.

 

You’re sick of high maintenance
On average, a homeowner spends $2,000 a year for maintenance services. And, as a general rule, the longer you have the home, the more likely parts will need maintenance or replacing. Are these costs getting too expensive? To avoid the high maintenance costs, consider buying a low-maintenance condo or a new-build home.

 

You’ve had the home more than five years
There is such a thing as selling your house too soon. How long should you stay? At least five years. At this point, most homeowners have built up equity beyond that of the down payment and selling is feasible. Urgent circumstances come up, but, if you can help it, you should plan to stay for more than five years. Oh, and remember, selling isn’t free. You have to pay for the costs associated with hiring a real estate agent, closing and buying a new home.

 

Of course, there is no guarantee that selling will work out better for you. Think about it and do what you think will work best in the long run.

 

Have questions about selling? We are here to help you get more for your move. Contact us today to learn more.

Posted in Sellers
July 16, 2018

North Central Texas Wineries and Vineyards

Summer in Texas, while hot, is the ideal time for a little exploration. Discover the North Central Texas countryside one glass of wine at a time by heading out to these wineries and vineyards: 

Austin
The Austin Winery
9007 Tuscany Way #100A

Bertram
Pilot Knob Vineyard
3125 CR 212

Bend
Alamosa Wine Cellars
677 CR 430

Cherokee Creek Vineyards
1353 CR 432

Fiesta Winery
18727 W FM 580

Burnet
Perissos Vineyards & Winery
7214 Park Road 4 W

Torr Na Lochs
7055 W Hwy 290

Driftwood
Driftwood Vineyards
4001 Elder Hill Rd (CR 170)

Duchman Family Winery
13308 FM 150 West

Fall Creek Vineyards at Driftwood
18059 FM 1826

Salt Lick Cellars
18300-C FM 1826

Wimberley Valley Winery
2825 Lone Man Mountain Road

Dripping Springs
Bell Springs Winery
3700 Bell Springs Road

Hawks Shadow Winery & Vineyard
7500 McGregor Lane

Solaro Estate Winery
13111 Silver Creek Road

Florence
The Vineyard at Florence
8711 FM 487

Fredericksburg
1851 Vineyards
4222 Highway 16 S

4.0 Cellars
10354 Hwy 290 East

Alexander Vineyards
6360 Goehmann Lane

Barons Creek Vineyards
5865 Hwy 290 East

Bell Mountain Vineyards
463 Bell Mountain Road

Chisholm Trail Winery
2367 Usener Road

Fat Ass Ranch & Winery
51 Elgin Behrends Road

Fredericksburg Winery
247 West Main Street

Grape Creek Vineyards
10587 East Highway 290

Hilmy Cellars
12346 US 290 E. 

Inwood Estates Vineyard
10303 Hwy 290 E.

Longhorn Cellars
315 RR 1376

Lost Draw Cellars
113 E Park Street

Mendelbaum Cellars
10207 Hwy 290 E.

Messina Hof Hill County Winery
9996 Hwy 290 E.

Pontotoc Vineyard
320 W Main Street

Rancho Ponte Vineyard
315 RR 1376

Santa Maria Cellars
12044 Hwy 16 S. 

Torre di Pietra Vineyards
10915 E. US Hwy 290

Wedding Oak Winery
100 Legacy Drive

Georgetown
Georgetown Winery & Vineyard
715 South Main Street

Grape Creek Vineyard
101 W 7th Street

Hye
Hye Meadow Winery
10257 Hwy 290 West

William Chris Vineyards
10352 Hwy 290

Johnson City
Lewis Wines
3209 US 290 W.

Ron Yates Winery
6676 Hwy 290 W

Texas Hills Vineyard
878 RR 2766

Lampasas
Pillar Bluff Vineyards
300 CR 111

Liberty Hill
Thirsty Mule Winery & Vineyard
101 CR 257

Marble Falls
Flat Creek Estate
24912 Singleton Bend E Rd. 

Spicewood
El Gaucho Winery
21301 Kathy Lane

Spicewood Vineyards
1419 Burnet CR 409 

Stone House Vineyard
24350 Haynie Flat Road

Stonewall
Becker Vineyards
464 Becker Farms Rd.

Kuhlman Cellars
18421 Hwy 290 E. 

Pedernales Cellars
2916 Upper Albert Road

Woodrose Winery
662 Woodrose Lane

Do you have questions about the Central Texas area? Reach out anytime, we are never too busy to lend a helping hand. 

 

Posted in Austin
July 12, 2018

Top 6 Mortgage Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, the mortgage process may seem intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to with a little bit of knowledge and understanding. With that in mind, here is a look at six mortgage tips to educate you on the process before you even get started: 

 

 

Study the mortgage types
Do you know what your choices are when it comes to different mortgage loans? Likely, if you have never been through the process before, you have little knowledge on the subject. However, it is something you can learn with just a little bit of research. Start by taking a look at the pros and cons of conventional vs. government-based loans and adjustable-rate vs. fixed-rate loans. The information should help you narrow down your best option. If you still have questions, reach out to a lender in the area. They should be able to walk you through all of your options.

 

Consider how long you’ll live in the house
How long you plan on living in the house can be a big deciding factor on the type of loan you should get. For example, an adjustable-rate mortgage, with a lower interest rate up front, could be a great option if you plan to stay in the house for a few years while a fixed-rate is usually a better option long term. 

 

Shop for the best rate
The interest rate on your loan is determined by your credit history and credit score, among other factors. Typically, when your credit is good, you will get a lower rate and, when bad, a higher rate. But, every lender is different. What do we mean by that? Each lender has a different comfort level. With that in mind, shop around and look for the best rate. One lender may offer you a lower interest rate than another.

 

Consider paying points
Points. What are points? A “point” is simply one percent of the loan amount. To lower your interest rate, consider paying some points upfront. Keep in mind; this is a great idea over the long term, but likely not a great idea if you aren’t planning on staying in the home for more than five years. 

 

Ask for advice
Talk to family members and friends who have been through the process. They likely have great advice and information that may be useful to your decision. 

 

Factor in PMI
PMI, which stands for private mortgage insurance, is an increase in your monthly payments if your down payment is less than 20 percent. If you don’t have 20 percent for a down payment, be sure to factor this cost, generally found on mortgage estimates from lenders, into your monthly budget as it can get pretty expensive. To avoid this cost, wait until you have enough money saved up to make a 20 percent down payment. 

 

Need help locating a lender in the greater Austin area? Give us a call. We would be happy to connect you with a trusted professional in the area.

Posted in Buyers
July 11, 2018

Home Improvement and Maintenance Specialists

Whether you're looking to remodel your home, build a pool, refinance, give your landscape a makeover or need something repaired around your home, here are several local specialists we recommend.  Please feel free to contact us with your favorites too!

Home Mortgage Specialist

Tommy Hollahan

Home Source Mortgage

512.423.1710

tommy@mortgageatx.com

Home Source Mortgage

Painter and Drywall

Jesus Munoz

Munoz Painting

512.312.6453

mundopalcom@hotmail.com

 

General Contractor/Major Remodel or Addition

Ethan Hyams

Hyams Homebuilding

512.590.0114

ethan@hyamshomebuilding.com

 

HVAC Specialists:

Cool Horizons

David: david@coolhorizons.net; 512.934.0294 

JoJo: jojo@coolhorizons.net; 512.961.9779

Cool Horizons

 

Temperature Pro West Austin

keepaustincool@tprowa.com; 512.953.5822

Temperature Pro West Austin

 

Roofing Repair and Siding

Sanders Roofing

Eric Meador

512.940.0372

eric@sandersroofs.com

Sanders Roofs

 

Commercial and Residential Window Cleaning

Fannin Professional Services

Joseph Fannin

512.664.2870

fanninprofessional@gmail.com

Fannin Professional Services

 

Interior Design and Furniture

Robin Bond Interiors and Draped

Robin Bond

512.900.2588

robin@robinbondinteriors.com

Renee Koth

renee@robinbondinteriors.com

Robin Bond Interiors

Draped Austin

 

Dryer Vent Cleaning

Brett Ketchum

Fireman Dryerman

512.731.5299

brett@firemandryerman.com

Fireman Dryerman

 

Tree Trimming and Arborist

Keith Brown

Austin Tree Experts

512.996.9100

keith@austintreeexperts.com

Austin Tree Experts

 

Pool Building and Remodeling

Mark Whitehead

Master Pools of Austin

325.668.8300

mark@masterpoolsofaustin.com

Master Pools of Austin

 

Garage Door Installation and Repair

Carlos Acosta

Austin Affordable Garage Doors

512.947.7076

inquires@austinaffordablegaragedoors.com

Home Media, Lighting, Security

Robert Ridenour

J.J. Orion

512.202.7253

robert@jjorion.com

J.J. Orion

Posted in Home Improvement
July 7, 2018

Deer and Your Garden

If you're like me, you enjoy the beauty of the Texas Whitetail Deer.  But not when they are making a meal of your flowers! This article from Better Homes and Gardens is full of great ideas and tips to keep the deer from destroying your beautiful flowers, landscaping and lawn! Deer Resistant Plants of the South 

Posted in Home Improvement
June 22, 2018

3 Steps To Master Social Media for Seasoned Real Estate Agents

The skills needed to be a successful real estate agent in Texas has changed drastically over the decades. What used to be a cold-calling, word-of-mouth dependent profession now relies on likes, follows and retweets. Becoming a master of real estate social media takes skill, but for those who can build a following, it’s worth the time and energy. As a real estate agent, you should focus your attention on the three most popular (and powerful) social media outlets: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Using Facebook As A Realtor

Facebook is the outlet that lets you connect with real estate clients from every generation, on the buying and selling side of the transaction. You don’t have to be a technical guru or Photoshop expert. Start by building your business Facebook page, add attractive property photos, and share the content you or your broker use on your real estate blog. Building your Facebook page is free, but it is important to know how to create a Facebook ad.

Before you launch a Facebook ad, it’s important to set goals. Facebook provides choices like making people aware of your brand, increasing engagement, and converting lookers into buyers.

You’ll also want to know your audience. Be specific with your ad targeting to reach the most relevant audience. For example, you can choose an audience that is “likely to move,” which is created by Facebook’s algorithms.

Consistency and engagement are key factors to success as a real estate agent on Facebook. Answer questions, post daily and start conversations by asking questions.

Instagram Leaves A Good Impression

Nearly as popular as Facebook for real estate agents is the use of Instagram. Real estate Instagram use is a great way to market your business and the social media site’s dependency on good visuals means spotlighting properties is a great fit. Consistency and really good, relevant content win the Instagram battle.

Because Instagram is focused on visuals, the platform has a number of tools to edit photos, allowing you to create high-quality content.  

Instagram photos and videos should be more than awesome properties (that, oh by the way, happen to be for sale). Use this platform to give a behind-the-scenes look of your agency, awesome parts of your city or a hobby that you love. With a good mix of professional and personal photos, you’ll build an engaged following.

Get To The Point With Twitter

Twitter is the social media tool that is fast paced and conversation driven. You’ll need to find the conversations that are relevant to your business to succeed with real estate on Twitter. The site uses a 280 character limit, so you have to get to the point.

Twitter posts do well with images or video. Because the site is based on live feeds, your tweets need to be eye-catching and well-crafted. Generate engagement by using relevant or trending hashtags. Find a way to incorporate them into your posts.

If you’re ready to partner with one of the best Austin, TX real estate firms where you’ll find continued success and ongoing growth, check out what Resident Realty offers new agents

Posted in Agents
June 19, 2018

Summer Home Maintenance Tips to Save Money and Energy

As many know, a summer energy bill in Texas can be quite spendy. However, it doesn’t have to cost nearly as much as records show. How can you reduce your energy bills this summer? These summer home maintenance tips should do the trick:

 

 

Dust the appliances

Clean the vents, grates and coils in your appliances (dishwasher, exhaust vent, washing machine, refrigerator, etc.). Increasing their efficiency and performance can reduce the amount of energy they use by nearly 30% (Consumer Energy Center).

 

Dry your clothes outside

Give your dryer a break and dry your laundry outside on a clothesline this summer. If this doesn’t appeal to you, at least delay using your washer and dryer until the evening to avoid generating extra heat in your home.

 

Turn on the ceiling fans

Switch your ceiling fans on and ensure they are rotating in a counterclockwise direction. The circulating airflow can save you up to $165 in energy costs over the fan’s lifetime (EnergyStar.gov).

 

Service the air conditioner

In Texas, the air conditioner is likely the most important system in the home – especially in the summer months. To ensure it is functioning properly, hire a professional to come out and service it and replace any dirty air filters. Replacing these air filters can reduce your energy consumption by up to 15%.

 

Seal air leaks

Seal air leaks around your windows, doors, floors, ducts, fireplaces, etc. with expandable foam. Reducing these air leaks can save you 10% on your energy bill – somewhere around $200 a year. To ensure you do this correctly, hire a professional energy assessor to come out and run an energy audit on your home. A professional can locate and assess air leaks.

 

Install low-flow nozzles

Change out the nozzles on your shower head and lawn hose to a low-flow option. Making this change can save water - around 5 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower (according to Energy Star) – and decrease your energy bill.

 

Adjust your water temperature

Set your water heater temperature to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only will this save you money, but it will also extend the life of your heater. 

 

Not only will these summer home maintenance tips save you money, but they will also extend the life of the systems in your home.

 

Searching for a maintenance professional in the Austin area? Give us a call. We would be happy to connect you with a reputable professional in the area.

 

Posted in homeowners