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! 

Feb. 14, 2020

2019: Our Year in Review

Dec. 19, 2019

Getting Your Home Ready for a Photoshoot -- For Free!

By: Katie Gibbons, Realtor®

Homestead & Ranch Real Estate

 

In the current digital age that we find ourselves, much of our lives revolve around the perfect photo.  We are inundated with photographs and digital images all day long.  Technological advancements have surpassed our expectations and we are now able to capture any picture imaginable with just a push of a button on our phones.  

Like most industries, the real estate industry has evolved.  The National Association of Realtors reports that 44% of home buyers begin their home buying process by searching for properties online and looking at photos.  

So why is this important for a person who is getting ready to list their home?  Because we already know that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Part of your listing agent’s job is to paint a picture of your home by using beautifully staged photographs on their listing website.

I recently spoke with international award-winning photographer Siggi Ragnar, who is based in San Antonio, Texas.  Siggi shared professional advice on how to get your home ready for a photo shoot. Prepping your house for an impeccable photo shoot is easier than you think!

Step #1- The Exterior

The outside of the home creates the ultimate first impression.  It is a good idea to view the outside of the home with a fresh set of eyes and imagine that your home is going to be featured in a magazine.  Here are some things you can do to get ready for exterior photos:

  1. Remove all vehicles from the driveway and close garage doors

  2. Remove trashcans, garden tools, and sprinklers from view

  3. Sweep driveways, patios, and sidewalks

  4. Remove barbeque pit covers

  5. Put up seasonal deck/patio umbrellas

  6. Remove pool toys, cleaner and floating items from pools/spas

  7. Mow the lawn, clean up leaves and store lawn equipment out of sight

  8. Bushes and trees should be trimmed to reveal a clear view of the house

  9. Enhance curb appeal with a front door wreath and/or greenery or fresh, season flower- pots


Step #2- The Interior

We all love Pinterest-inspired homes and so does your potential buyer.  We know that without a doubt, pictures of the inside of the home create the desire for your prospects to view the home.  As Realtors®, our clients are quick to let us know how eager they are to visit a home based solely on the picture they see online.  In order for your home to be perfectly captured by the photographer, here are the steps to get ready.

  1. Make sure all lights and lamps have working light bulbs 

  2. Clear off counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms, removing tissue boxes, soap containers, and paper towel rolls.

  3. A bowl of apples, oranges, lemons, and limes adds a nice touch of color to a kitchen counter.

  4. Remove all notes, pictures, and magnets from the refrigerator and any bulletin boards

  5. Turn off ceiling fans.

  6. Put away any evidence of “work”, including buckets, mops, trash cans, vacuum cleaners, sponges, soap bottles, and cleaning cloths.

  7. Hide the Kitchen trash can – the garage is usually a good place to store it temporarily.

  8. Pet beds, feeding bowls, and toys temporarily stored out of sight. 

  9. Secure pets.

  10. Remove newspapers, stacks of magazines, and all TV/video remotes

  11. Ensure windows and mirrors are cleaned and streak-free.

  12. Vacuum carpets and polish wood floors.

  13. Make sure the beds are freshly made and there are freshly folded towels in bathrooms.

 

Step #3- Declutter and Depersonalize

We all know by now that Marie Condo-ing your home is all the rage.  When you are preparing your house for sale, this is a must.  Spending time as early as possible to free your home of clutter and personal belongings is key.  So often, we view homes that are over-personalized and buyers cannot picture themselves there.  We want to help sellers create a space that allows buyers to actually picture themselves in your home and at top dollar.

If you are thinking about listing your home, it is important to contact your local real estate agent right away so that they can help you through all of the phases of preparing your home to sell!  Feel free to contact Homestead and Ranch Real Estate so that we can put you in contact with a REALTOR in your area!


www.HomesteadandRanch.com

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 www.texasrealtorssupport.com.


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-https://hro.house.texas.gov/pdf/focus/amend86.pdf

 

 

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! 

www.HomesteadandRanch.com

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.

THE FOOD

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

DRINKS

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!

CYPRESS CREEK NATURE PRESERVE

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 

512-412-0914

www.communitybeergarden.com

Cypress Creek Nature Trail & Preserve

Go to https://www.naturerocksaustin.org/greenspace/cypress-creek-nature-trail-park. 

 

Want more info about local real estate? Visit www.HomesteadandRanch.com!

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 realtor.com, 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 realtor.com, “…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!

 

www.HomesteadandRanch.com

Posted in Loans
June 30, 2019

UNDER CONTRACT in Round Rock!

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. 

Posted in UNDER CONTRACT
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 | ryan@homesteadandranch.com 

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