Lake Travis

Finally had a chance to drive up to the Austin area and visit Lake Travis. If you have not had the opportunity, it is something to add to your bucket list.

Very scenic drive and the day I went (last Thursday), there was very little traffic. The water is amazingly clear and I saw some decent sized fish.

If you are into zip lining - or want to try, that is available too. Check it out!


Today we made loans to people in Columbia and Mexico - our 15th and 16th countries in our loan portfolio! So far ALL loans have been paid back or are on the payment schedule.

It is nothing crazy - you can make loans of as little as $25. Click the link to see how they are funded and find out how you can help people help themselves! There is a world out there waiting - and even some folks right here at home in the USA.

The Home Inspection

Why you need a home inspection - and what does that mean?

You find a home you like, you make an offer and it is accepted. Now what? In Texas, we use what is called an "option period". Typically, you pay the seller $100 or so (depending on the price of the house) and you get X days to have the house inspected. I said X days because while 10 days is what I typically see - it can be more or less as negotiated with the seller. You want enough time to allow a professional to inspect the home for your protection. You should also have the house inspected for bugs - termites eating your investment is not the best thing!

Once arrangements are made with the inspection company, you should plan to be there that day. Some inspectors may want you there the entire time - others may give you a time perhaps at the half way point. The inspector will show you many things you may not know and answer some questions that you may have. Following the inspection, you will receive a report with the good and the bad listed. Most reports that I have seen include pictures.

If there are issues, no reason to freak out. Get professional advice. Somethings are just ordinary and others may be critical. Your agent will work with you to prepare a request for the sellers to make repairs or give you an allowance for you to make repairs after closing. Each case is different and that is where your professional REALTOR can get you through it.

Buying a home should be a great experience. We hope that yours certainly is!

Tax Reform and Housing

The feared doomsday did not happen!

It is not at all unusual to fear the unknown - more like human nature. Some folks support an idea and some think the roof will cave in. Then there are a lot of folks in between.

The great news is prices did not tumble, demand for homes did not go away and the rate of homeownership did not decrease (just the opposite happened). For more have a look at today's report.

Hidden Trails

Today we visited Hidden Trails as guests of Scott Felder Homes. They are award-winning builders – including numerous years as Builder of the Year! Looking for quality and innovation? Be sure to check them out and we would be happy to meet you there.

Hidden Trails is a new master planned community in Bulverde, just North of San Antonio. The location is out of the city, but an easy drive in. Comal ISD. We went up there on 281 and entered at the Johnson Ranch entrance. It is about a mile and a half in to Hidden Trails. Along the way, we passed a beautiful lake – worthy of two pictures here and even that does not do it justice.

As you can tell from the pictures, this is an "early in" opportunity with great options for your new home – and one not to be missed. This community even has more than a typical HOA - they have a community Lifestyle Director – Ivy Garza. There are many great things happening here. Call me if you would like to see for yourself.

Practice For Your New Home

"Practice For Your New Home"- you might be thinking, what the heck does that mean?

When you have been living in an apartment or at home with the folks, you may be in for a culture shock. The reality of owning your own home changes the playing field. Don't let that scare you - just another block in the cycle of life - and many people do it!

So, reality check - you need to buy an affordable house. After you make the mortgage payment, the car payment and the utility bills - maybe even a student loan - you want to have enough money for food! OK... seriously - you want to have money to enjoy life and not be house strapped.

This guide has a few pointers for preparing to own your own home. Your investment awaits you!

A Home Built With Love

A home is not just a structure with walls and beams - it is a place for love!

Home To Retire In

Moving does not always mean moving to a larger house. There are points to consider for your retirement home.

As we go through the various stages of life, our needs and wants are likely to change - several times. If you are empty nesters living in more house than you need, now may be the time to downsize. All kinds of options are out there for you and personally, I have referred many folks to brand new homes. New homes are more energy efficient and have lower maintenance cost. You would not need to worry about upgrading and remodeling. Whether you choose new construction or just a smaller home - it is a great time to give your lifestyle a makeover!

Renovate or Move?

Which gives you more bang for the buck? Renovate and stay put or invest in a new home?

Sometimes, on the surface, renovating a home sounds like it may be less costly than buying a new home. Sometimes, investing in a home that needs work and updating is a great opportunity. Sometimes, there are personal reasons for staying put. And, sometimes it makes sense to just move on.

Did you know that renovating a home "too much" can make it not fit the neighborhood? You may end up with the highest price home in the area - one you really like and works for you. But someday, when it is time to sell and all the other houses in the neighborhood list for far less, you are likely looking at a loss (cost of renovating not recovered). A common mistake is taking a 4 bedroom home, knocking down a wall so that there is a larger bedroom. When you go to sell, you will be selling a 3 bedroom home instead of a 4 bedroom. You lowered the value of your home.

Consider a new home that fits your needs. Remember, a home is an investment. Investing in a new home vs investing in renovation has a payoff. I have a booklet that I will send you for free. It arrives by email so send me a note with your request or call me. It gives you some ideas about the return on your investment room to room.

Two Real Estate Markets

Did you know there actually is a Buyer's Market right now? You do not hear that very often lately!

There are in fact two separate home markets. The inventory of available homes in the lower priced market is way below what is needed to fill buyer demand. That describes our seller's market. No sign of that changing soon.

The inventory of higher priced homes has grown and homes are on the market longer. That inventory is creating a buyer's market and making some great opportunities available.

If you are looking for a higher priced or a luxury home, now is a great time to shop - and buy! If you are looking for a lower priced home, we can help with that too. Call me and let's start looking together.

A New Milestone

Well - I just looked at the stats. Our last post was the 750th since this blog started!

Time flew by. I hope you enjoy the articles and information.

Thank you for following us,


Buying Your First Home

What were you feeling when you bought your first home?
If you have not done that yet, call - we can help!

Paperwork galore! (But, you can be good for 30 years!)
It is really not that bad. But, it is SO worth it!