Real Estate News, Info, and Market Trends 

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings and general real estate information. We want to make the real estate process -- whether you are buying a home for the first time, selling an investment property, renting a condo, or purchasing a ranch -- simple and easy-to-understand. 

Please feel free to ask questions or request a topic to be discussed! 

Oct. 18, 2019

Property Owners: Understanding Your Choices at the Polls

By: Katie Gibbons, Homestead & Ranch Real Estate Realtor®


There are many hats that Realtors® wear and most of them are obvious -- such as house hunting, marketing, facilitating the closing process, and about hundred more!  However, one of the lesser known tasks that we have and take very seriously at Homestead and Ranch Real Estate is keeping you informed about the laws that affect property owners.  As real estate consumers and property owners, it is important to know that your vote counts when legislation is proposed that can affect the property you own.


As a Realtor®, it is our job and responsibility to provide the facts so that you can make an informed decision at the polls.


In the November 2019 election, voters will have an opportunity to vote on changes to the state’s constitution.  There are 3 amendments this year that directly affect property owners.


Let’s take a look!


1. State of Texas Proposition 2: Assistance with Water Infrastructure

What you will see on the ballot:

The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance in the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.

What’s in it for me?

This proposition gives the Texas Water Development Board authorization to issue general obligation bonds for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas of the state.  “Distressed area” is defined as an area where the median household income is at or below 75% of the statewide median income level.


2. State of Texas Proposition 3- Property Tax Exemption

What you will see on the ballot:

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislation to provide for temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of the portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by disaster.

What’s in it for me?

This amendment provides a temporary tax exemption for property owners in areas declared disasters by the governor.  This is an important one because it will give property owners a tax break if their properties are damaged in a disaster.  The Legislature would be able to pass laws determining the eligibility requirements for exemptions, as well as the duration and amount of any write-offs.


3. State of Texas Proposition 8- Flood Protection Funding

What you will see on the ballot:

The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.

What’s in it for me?

This proposition creates a fund for important flood infrastructure development, which will help Texas communities to better withstand future flood events.  


Texas voters make a difference and have a voice when it comes to protecting their property and investments.  You will have an opportunity to have your voice heard at the polls on Election Day, November 5, 2019. Early voting starts on October 21, 2019 and will end on November 1, 2019. For more information about the 10 constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot visit

At Homestead and Ranch Real Estate, we know that our clients value our expert advice.  This article is intended to simply share information that is important to our followers and clients.


Source: Texas REALTORS Magazine and House Research Organization-



Posted in Guest Blogs
Aug. 19, 2019

Buying a Home: What NOT to Do

So, you've been pre-approved on a loan, you've found the perfect home, and your offer was accepted!


Break out the bubbly, right? Almost. 

There are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to buying a home. Once you've gone under contract on a home, there are still some things you should not do if you want the deal to close. 

Here are just a few tips:

  • DO NOT apply for a new credit card! It can be VERY exciting to think of what you can buy to decorate and complete your new home. However, applying for a new credit card can effect your credit, which is certainly something you do not want when you are trying to get a loan! For that matter, don't run your credit for any reason. It is imperative that you get the best rate possible on your loan and a credit inquiry can drop your score substantially overnight.
  • DO NOT change jobs! Lenders want to see consistency. Are you making consistent money that will be able to pay your mortgage? Typically, lenders will want to see at least two years history at the same job to feel comfortable with loaning you the money needed for a home. 
  • DO NOT get behind on any payments! Think of it like this: Your credit will never be under a microscope more than when you are trying to buy a home. This is where you have to make sure your credit is pristine -- so getting behind on payments would look terrible to a lender. 
  • DO NOT deplete your bank account! You'll need to have enough money for a down payment and closing costs -- that's obvious. However, lenders will want to see that you have enough money to make your payments for 2-3 months, depending on the loan type.
  • DO NOT leave the country! Planned a Europe vacation? Awesome! However, if your close date falls on a day that you are out of the country, you'll have to visit the U.S. Embassy to complete the documents with a U.S. notary. 


These are the heavy-hitters for things you shouldn't do while buying a home, but if you are ever unsure, ask your trusted Realtor® with Homestead & Ranch Real Estate!

Posted in Loans
Aug. 11, 2019

Places We Love: Community Pizza & Beer Garden & Cypress Creek Nature Trail

It's the final weekend before school starts for us. We typically like to go to state parks or zoos or something outside, but it's hot here in central Texas -- like crazy hot. Like it's 103 degrees and then that heat index makes it feel like it's 4938783 degrees. 

So, we opt to stay inside. 

However, yesterday was an exception. It was still hot, but we were tired of being cooped up with our 5-year-old. So we ventured to Wimberley. First stop? Finding something to eat.

We had decided to try Community Pizza & Beer Garden. It's an indoor/outdoor establishment, and since it was packed inside, we opted to sit under the covered picnic area. There were fans with misters, so the heat was not an issue. Plus, there is a big, wooden pirate ship playground area, which our son had his eye on from the parking lot. The picnic area gives you direct access to this.


We were hungry. We started with the Spring Green Salad, which has greens, heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, red onion, and a light balsamic. This was certainly big enough to share, so we were happy we did. 

After our salad, we split the Illuminati pizza. We tend to like most ingredients, so if it seems interesting, we are game to try it. This pizza is shareable (cut into 6, good-sized pieces), and had a little bit of everything: garlic, mozzarella, soppressata, house sausage, gorgonzola, hot honey, serrano peppers, and lava salt. A beautiful mixture of flavors! Not one ingredient overpowered the other. 

The Illuminati


I'm a tea snob. There, I said it. I love a good, fresh glass of iced tea, and their tea did not disappoint. 

They also serve beer (obviously, it's a beer garden), wine, and mixed drinks. It's worth mentioning that the beer selection is on point. They have a wide variety of rotating beers on tap, ranging from well-known local craft beers to beers from all parts of the country. 

We enjoyed this place a great deal and it's so family-friendly! Our kiddo was thrilled to play on the playground while we ate, so it was a great experience for all of us!


Following our meal, we walked to the nearby entrance of the Cypress Creek Nature Trail and Preserve. The City of Wimberley has developed a little over 7 acres for this preserve. Here you have a nice trail that takes you along the Cypress Creek. There's a playground and restrooms at the entrance. 

What we loved was that the shade from the huge cypress trees made the trail easily walkable in the afternoon. You get to see gigantic trees with impressive root systems, the beautiful creek, and massive boulders throughout. An extra added bonus? We were able to see wildlife -- even with a 5-year-old who doesn't know how to talk quietly! We walked up on some deer and even watched a couple of squirrels -- all in very close proximity to Wimberley's downtown area of shops and restaurants!

Want more info on the places we visited?

Community Pizza & Beer Garden 

111 Old Kyle Rd. Ste 330

Wimberley, TX 


Cypress Creek Nature Trail & Preserve

Go to 


Want more info about local real estate? Visit!

Posted in Places We Love
Aug. 5, 2019

Looking for a Lender?

Looking for a lender?


The home-buying process is a fun one! Your Realtor® helps you find the best house to suit your needs and goals, but did you know that your lender does the very same thing — but instead of finding you the right house, he or she finds you the right loan. 


When shopping for a lender, it’s important to discuss the following:


  • Are you able to get approved for a loan? A lot of times, consumers have no idea what their buying power is or how to determine it. A lender will ask questions about your financial profile in order to determine if you are pre-qualified. If you are, in fact, pre-qualified, then your lender will have you submit personal documents (income, assets, credit history, etc.) to determine if you are pre-approved. If you are, then it’s house hunting time! However, if you aren’t, your lender will discuss ways to improve your financial profile and give you a plan of action to get you ready to buy a home within a set amount of days. 

  • What types of loans are offered? Not all loans are created equal! There are many loans to choose from — conventional, VA, FHA, USDA, jumbo (just to name a few) — and some will be more beneficial than others. Your lender will help you decide which loan will be the best fit for your situation.  

  • Do you offer a mortgage rate lock? We all want a low interest rate when making a big purchase (or any purchase, if we’re being honest), so seeing if your lender offers a rate lock is absolutely imperative. A rate lock will lock in the interest rate (which is super helpful when rates are fluctuating regularly) for a certain period of time. Many lenders will offer a 30-day rate lock, but sometimes, a fee comes with it. Make sure you do your homework so you know the true cost of your rate lock. 

  • What are the closing costs? A good lender will be very up front with closing costs. Closing costs are the fees associated with getting a loan for a home. According to, closing costs “typically run about 3% to 4% of a home’s sales price. So on a $250,000 home, your closing costs as a buyer would amount from $7,500 to $10,000. The good news is some closing costs are negotiable: attorney fees, commission rates, recording costs, and messenger fees.” It’s best to ask for a Good Faith Estimate from your lender to get the full breakdown. 

  • Do you offer down payment assistance programs? Buying a home usually requires some sort of down payment. If you find yourself coming up short on the amount of cash for your down payment, never fear. There are programs that help with this! Your lender can explain what is available and what you qualify for. According to, “…buyers who use down payment assistance programs save an average of $17,766.” While this is just an average, saving money is always a good thing!


Finding a great lender isn’t hard — just ask your Realtor®! At Homestead & Ranch Real Estate, we have a list of recommended lenders that can make house buying a reality, If you want to get the ball rolling to see what you could afford, let us know so we can put you in contact with our trusted lenders!

Posted in Loans
June 30, 2019


UNDER CONTRACT in Round Rock! 🏡🏡🏡

After undergoing a multiple-offer situation, our buyers won out! 🙌🏻🎉🙌🏻

Does your Realtor have a pulse on your area? Knowing the market, understanding contracts from the perspectives of both the buyer and the seller, and negotiating like an expert are all aspects of real estate that we pride ourselves in. 

June 28, 2019

FEATURED LISTING: 159 McKennas Cove in Buda

NEWLY LISTED | 159 McKennas Cove | Buda, TX 78610 | 4 BR, 2 BA | 2,160 sf | Presented at $274,900!

Check out all that you get for UNDER $275,000:

🏡 Updated home on a quiet, cul-de-sac street with mature trees and no rear neighbors! 

🏡 Excellent location! Minutes to well-ranked schools, downtown Buda, and the new 45 toll access to south Austin! 

🏡 Beautiful kitchen with island open to the living, vaulted ceilings, a spacious master suite with dual sinks and garden tub. 

🏡 Private backyard with an extended patio! 

🏡 Crown moulding, new fixtures, tile and new carpet, new paint, new roof! 

🏡 Community pool, playscape — A MUST SEE! 👀👀👀

For more info: Ryan Smith | 512-466-1460 | 

Posted in Featured Listings
June 25, 2019

Patio Dreamin'

OUTDOOR SPACES: What is something you have to have? A fireplace, inviting patio furniture, a pergola, a water feature? Tell us! 

Posted in Outdoor Spaces
June 25, 2019

Check out this Austin Remodel!

We sold this home in south #Austin just months ago. In a great location and with great bones, this home just needed a little love — check out this incredible #makeover our clients did to this home!! What do you like best about the updated space?
Don’t let homes that need some cosmetic fixes scare you away! It can be a simple as paint and flooring changes to make a huge difference in a space (and we can recommend great contractors to work with to make your vision a reality!).

Posted in Fixer-Uppers
June 24, 2019



Our buyers are under contract on this pretty, 5-acre property in La Vernia!  

If you had 5 acres to call home in any part of the world — where would it be?!

June 22, 2019

New Agent: Katie Gibbons, Realtor®

We are absolutely thrilled to announce the newest Realtor® at the Homestead & Ranch Real Estate brokerage: Katie Gibbons, Realtor- Homestead & Ranch Real Estate!

Katie is a fantastic addition to our Austin-area group! Learn more about Katie here: