Lichman Group

Articles Tagged "Buy a Home"

July
25

What Features to Include in an In-Law Suite

In-Law Suite

There are many ways that an in-law suite can make your home feel more useful and spacious. Even if your in-laws never stay in the suite, it can be a great place to host out-of-town guests. Your adult child may even move into the space when they're job hunting after college. We've seen a lot of Round Rock homes for sale with lovely in-law suites. While every suite is different, we have identified a few features that the best suites have in common. Consider these features in your own in-law suite.

  • A Kitchenette
    The suite doesn't typically need its own kitchen, as the inhabitants will likely share some meals with your family in the main home. However, a kitchenette does allow those living in the suite to have more independence and enjoy some simple meals privately, if desired.

    An apartment-sized fridge, kitchen sink, toaster oven, and microwave are a good start. You can include a small, apartment-size range if you have the space.

  • Stackable Washer and Dryer
    Having to haul laundry into and through the main home to the laundry room can be annoying, both for those staying in the in-law suite and for those in the main home. You don't need to put a whole laundry room in the suite, but a stackable washer and dryer are a nice touch. There are plenty of space-saving models you can tuck into the bathroom or hall closet.

  • Separate Entry
    The best in-law suites always have a separate, private entrance. If possible, you should make this entryway wheelchair accessible. Include a ramp rather than stairs, and make the entry door extra wide. This makes it feasible to have older loved ones stay in the in-law suite when needed. 

  • Plenty of Outlets
    If out-of-town guests ever stay in your suite, they'll likely have lots of electronics to charge, such as laptops. Make sure you include plenty of outlets for easy access. Good places to add outlets include next to the bed, over a nightstand, along the kitchen counters, and next to the sofa in the living area.

  • Neutral Color Scheme
    Your in-law suite probably won't get as much use as the rest of the home. The materials used to build it should hold up well, so you want to make sure they continue to look stylish as long as they're around. Avoid trendy, bright colors in the suite. Instead, opt for cool neutrals, such as shades of gray. You can add a pop of color with accessories like blankets and towels. These are inexpensive to replace if they go out of style.

  • A Multipurpose Table
    Whether you place it in the kitchenette, the living area, or even the bedroom area, make sure you put a multipurpose table in the in-law suite. One set of guests may use it predominantly as a dining table. Someone else may use it as a desk while working remotely. A younger guest might even do their homework at it.

  • Cozy Furniture
    "Cozy" is a good vibe to aim for when designing your in-law suite. Cozy vibes make guests feel comfortable when they're away from home. They also make family members who are staying for longer feel more welcome and at ease in the space. 

Whether your in-laws move in or you just have the occasional guest, you will not regret having a well-designed in-law suite. If you're still looking for the perfect Round Rock home with an in-law suite, contact us soon. Our real estate agents will be happy to help.

June
20

Building a Deck? Deck Material Options

Building a Deck Tips

Having a deck off your home is so nice, especially in the summer. You can sit out there with a good book, just basking in the sun. Or, you can host a barbecue and enjoy a meal on the deck with friends. If you're looking at Round Rock homes for sale and discover one that would be even better with a deck, then it's time to start planning! Here are some deck materials to consider using.

  • Pressure-Treated Lumber
    Pressure-treated lumber has long been a popular deck material. This is essentially wood that has been compacted under pressure and treated with various chemicals to make it resistant to rot and insects. 

    Pressure-treated lumber is fairly affordable and readily available. It does not need to be sealed and waterproofed like "natural" wood. However, not everyone likes its greenish undertone. You can paint it, but that does add to the maintenance requirements.

  • Cedar
    If you want a wood deck you can leave natural and not paint, then cedar is a great wood to choose. The natural oils in the cedar repel insects and allow the wood to resist rot. Cedar takes on a beachy, grayish look as it ages, which can be nice with a more rustic home design.

    Cedar is abundant in the western United States and is typically harvested in an eco-friendly manner. The one main downfall is that it can start splintering once it ages — so you won't want to walk across a cedar deck barefoot.

  • Composite
    There are several companies that make composite decking boards from a blend of wood fibers and concrete. Composite decking is heavy and comes with a high price tag. Installing a composite deck also takes longer and is more expensive than installing a wood deck, largely because of the weight of the boards. However, composite decking is incredibly durable and long-lasting.

    You don't have to paint or stain a composite deck. The color extends through the material, so your deck won't start to look chipped and worn. You can clean the decking by simply power washing it; this is all the maintenance it really needs.

  • PVC
    PVC decking is a lightweight, plastic decking material. It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. You can even find PVC decking that is made to look like wood or concrete.

    PVC decking is affordable, easy to install, and easy to maintain. You never need to paint or seal it, and you can clean it with a hose and dish soap! However, PVC can get brittle with age, especially if installed in a really sunny area. The UV rays from the sun can slowly break down the plastic. This material also has a more modern look, which not everyone likes.

  • Polystyrene
    Polystyrene is another type of plastic decking. The boards link together with little clips, which makes polystyrene decks really easy to install. Plus, if one board is damaged, you can easily remove and replace that one board without having to deconstruct the rest of the deck.

    Polystyrene decking is lightweight and durable. It does look like plastic, but it comes in a range of colors. The surface is also textured in such a way that it does not become slippery when wet, making polystyrene a good choice for pool decks.

If you're still looking for the perfect home near Round Rock, our real estate agents would be happy to help. Contact us soon to learn more about our services for buyers and sellers.

February
14

5 Things to Do When Visiting a City You Might Move to

Move to Georgetown

Moving to a new city can be so exciting. But before you make it official, accept a job, and start looking for a place to live, you want to make sure this new city is a place you'll feel at home. Our real estate agents have worked with countless clients who are relocating, and they've learned a lot from these experiences. Below, they share some top things to do when visiting a city you might make your home. 

  • Stay in a neighborhood you'd like to live in.
    When visiting a city you're thinking about moving to, try to stay in a neighborhood where you'd like to live. Services like Airbnb make this easier. If possible, try to stay for at least three nights so you can get a true feel for the neighborhood, its personality, and its culture.

    Throughout your stay, try to pretend you actually live there. Go grocery shopping. Go to the gym. Go for a jog in the nearby park. You want to get a feel for what your normal, daily routine would be like if you moved.

  • Participate in your hobbies.
    Do you have a hobby you love, such as playing golf, hiking, birdwatching, or creating art? Before your visit, do some research, and find clubs and groups related to your hobby. Or, find the key places where locals engage with your hobby. Then, when you're in the new city, participate in your hobby. Hike the local trails, or book some studio time at a local art school. 

    If you find the local scene around your hobby engaging and enjoyable, this is a good sign you'll feel at home once you move there.

  • Walk around and explore.
    Set aside at least one afternoon to walk around the city and just explore. Perhaps you can start by looking at a few Georgetown homes for sale and then branch out from there. Discover what streets have the best coffee shops. Stop by parks that you pass on your way. 

    When walking around and exploring a city on foot, you get to take your time and really process what the place has to offer and the overall vibe it gives off. Either you'll be excited to see more, which is a sign you should move there — or you'll be itching to get back home, which means this isn't the place for you.

  • Research the cost of living.
    While you're visiting, pay attention to the cost of items and services. Do groceries cost more or less than they do in your current city? How does the cost of real estate compare?

    This research can tell you how much you need to earn in order to live comfortably in this new place. Allow it to guide your salary negotiations as you interview for new jobs. 

  • Talk to the locals.
    As you visit coffee shops, bars, and even local parks, don't be afraid to strike up conversations with people you meet. Ask them how they like living in the city. Ask what their favorite and least favorite things about the city are. Why did they move there? Do they recommend others move there, too? What advice do they have for a potential newcomer?

    Also, pay attention to how friendly the locals are. You probably want to move to a city where people are warm and welcoming, right?

Contact us if you've decided to move and are looking for the perfect home. 

January
3

Your Guide to Moving in 2022

Moving into a new home can bring up mixed emotions. Surely you'll be excited to settle into a new space and start decorating. But you might also feel a little overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities, from packing to assembling furniture. The more prepared you are, the less overwhelming moving will feel. Our real estate agents have watched a lot of clients move, and they have some excellent tips to share below. 

  • Make a Budget First
    Moving can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to keep costs down. You can pack yourself instead of hiring movers. You can reuse boxes rather than buying them. The best way to make sure you don't overspend, though, is to set a moving budget from the get-go. This way, you can make choices that fit into your budget every step of the way.

  • Get Rid of Extras Before Moving
    The longer you've lived in your current home, the more "extras" you've probably accumulated. Rather than spend time and money taking all these extras to your new home, get rid of them before your move. Donate items that are in good shape to local charitable organizations, or sell them. Recycle or discard items that are broken or too worn out.

  • Create a Checklist
    Moving can feel like tackling an endless number of tiny tasks, from buying packing tape to calling utility companies. This tends to feel a lot less overwhelming if you create a checklist and check off tasks as you complete them. You'll be less worried that you might forget something, and you'll get a sense of satisfaction each time you check something off.

  • Label, Label, Label
    As you pack, label each box not only with its contents but also with the name of the room it belongs in. This will allow those who help you unpack to put boxes directly in the rooms where they belong. Your unpacking process will then progress a lot faster, and you won't waste as much time carrying things from room to room.

  • Pack a "First Night Box"
    The first night in your new home, you don't want to have to dig through 10 boxes to find the various necessities you need. So, pack a first-night box with just these essentials. Include basic toiletries, towels, a change of clothes, basic dinnerware and silverware, and your important paperwork.

  • Ask for Help Early
    Whether you hire a moving company or ask your friends for help, make these plans early. You'll have an easier time getting friends to help you if you ask for help before they have other big plans. Moving companies often book a few weeks out, so the sooner you book them, the more flexible they can be with scheduling.

  • Clean After Moving Out
    Wait to clean your current home until you've moved everything out. It's so much easier to clean thoroughly without furniture and boxes in the way. If you're short on time, consider hiring a cleaning company to tackle this task for you. 

  • Pack a Little at a Time
    Start packing a few weeks or even a month before moving day. Pack the items you rarely use first. Holiday decorations and out-of-season clothing are good examples. Work your way up to packing things you use more often.

As you look at various Georgetown homes for sale, don't let the idea of moving overwhelm you. Yes, moving can be a big job, but it's a job you can easily manage with the tips above. Contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent to help you through the home buying process. 

December
6

December Home Maintenance Tips

December Home Maintenance

December is here, and cooler winter weather is just around the corner. It's the perfect time to check off some of the home maintenance tasks on your to-do list.

Follow these tips from our real estate agents to get your home ready for the winter season. 

  • Give Your Entire Home a Deep Dusting
    Since you'll be spending more time inside, hosting holiday gatherings, and running your furnace more frequently, it's time to rid your home of pesky dust. You don't want your furnace kicking dust around, and a clean, dust-free home is an inviting space to spend your time. Vacuum all your surfaces, including your light switches, baseboards, light fixtures, lamps, heating vents, and lampshades, using your vacuum's hose and a horsehair brush. Then, go over the surface with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dirt or dust particles. 
  • Check Your Lights
    With daylight hours in short supply, it's important to check that all your interior and exterior lights are working properly. A well-lit home is also important if you plan to add your home to the list of Georgetown homes for sale. Replace any lightbulbs that have burnt out or that don't properly brighten the space. See that you have ample lighting outside to illuminate your walkways and driveway in the dark. If you do need more lighting, consider adding motion-activated lights or solar landscaping lights. 
  • Clean Your Range Hood
    Now is the time to prepare your range for all your winter and holiday cooking. Your range hood directs odors and fumes out of your home; to do so effectively, it needs to be clean. Remove your range's filter and put it in the sink. Then, spray it with a degreasing cleaner and let it soak for a few minutes. Rinse the filter with warm water. Repeat the process if there's any grease remaining. Clean the rest of your range hood by spraying it with a degreasing cleaner and wiping it down with paper towels. 
  • Check the Insulation in Your Attic
    Inadequate attic insulation means that you're spending more on your heating bills than you need to. If your attic is missing insulation, doesn't have it in enough spots, or doesn't have it in the right areas, this will allow your home's warm, toasty air to escape. Fix any deficiencies in your attic's insulation to keep your energy costs under control. 
  • Set Up Smart Plugs
    If you're away from home for extended hours or have a holiday trip planned, it's important to give the appearance of an occupied home. Occupied homes serve as a deterrent to potential thieves. You can use smart plugs to program your lamps and task lighting to turn on and off automatically. Or, swap some of your lightbulbs in your overhead light fixtures for smart bulbs that you can program to automatically turn on at a specific time each day. 
  • Repair Cracks or Holes in Your Home's Exterior
    Inspect your home's exterior for any cracks, holes, or damaged areas that allow animals to enter your home. It's much easier to keep animals out than it is to get rid of them once they've taken up residency in your home. You can caulk small cracks and holes. Larger areas of damage will need to be repaired with a patching compound. 

Are you interested in putting your home on the market this winter? Contact us today!

October
25

Save Up for a Down Payment with These Tips

Down Payment Tips

If you're planning to use a mortgage to finance the purchase of your home, it's essential to have enough money in savings for your down payment. Depending on the type of mortgage you choose, you'll typically need anywhere from 3.5 to 20 percent of the home's purchase price.

Our real estate agents recommend creating a plan to help you save the money for your down payment. Start by opening a savings account specifically for your down payment and follow these tips.

  1. Develop a Timeline for Your Homebuying Plans
    Before you can calculate how much you'll need to save, you need to decide when you want to purchase a home. This will allow you to make adjustments to your budget and income that match your buying timeline. For example, assume that you want to start the process of purchasing a home in six months. You want to have a down payment of $7,000. Over the next six months, you'll need to put away $1,167 each month to meet your goal. Or, if you want to buy a home in a year, this means you need to save $584 every month. 
  1. Look at Your Budget
    Once you know how much you need to save, it's time to write down all your expenses and income. Be thorough and realistic; while it's wise to reduce your discretionary spending, it isn't realistic for most people to go an extended period with absolutely no money devoted to outings and "fun" expenses. Assume that each month, you spend $400 on eating out, $200 on shopping, and $250 on vacations, for a total of $850. If you can reduce this amount to $450, you'll have $400 each month to put in your savings account. Over six months, this is $2,400. 
  1. Track Your Spending
    A budget is of little assistance if you don't stick to it. Monitor your spending (either via an app, a bank service, or keeping track of your expenses with a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper). If you overspend, try to reduce your expenses somewhere else to cover the overage. For example, if you spend $200 more than you budgeted on gifts, cut back on dining out, activities, and grocery budget by that amount. 
  1. Increase Your Income
    Increasing your income is another way to meet your monthly savings goal. Assume that you work an additional 6 hours a week and clear $15 an hour after taxes. This is an extra $90 a week or $360 a month. After 6 months, you'll have saved approximately $2,160. 
  1. Save Any Unanticipated Money
    Most people receive at least a little bit of money each month that they didn't anticipate. You might get a bonus at work, receive a cash gift, sell items you no longer use, or collect a refund. Save any and all unanticipated money in your savings account. If you can save $100 a month in unanticipated money, this is $600 over 6 months. 
  1. Adjust Your Tax Withholding
    For the 2020 tax year, the average tax refund was $2,800. If you adjust your tax withholding to have less withheld, this is an extra $234 a month. Over 6 months, this is $1,404. Or, if you're not able to adjust your withholding, your tax refund is an excellent windfall for your savings account. 

Ready to start touring Round Rock homes for sale? Contact us to start your search!

September
27

Home Improvement Projects That Won't Break the Bank

Home ImprovementWhether you're getting ready to sell your home or just want to refresh your space for your own enjoyment, home improvement projects can be satisfying... but sometimes they come with an expensive price tag. If you can't afford a high-dollar renovation, here are a few suggestions from our real estate agents for home improvement projects that won't break the bank.

  • Update Your Front Door
    Nothing adds to curb appeal like sprucing up your entry. If you don't have a lot of money to spend on renovations, one thing to focus on for sure is the front door. Replace it with a modern front door or at least update the paint on your existing front door so that it's clean, shiny, and bright again.

  • New Interior Paint and Color Schemes
    New interior paint is by far one of the more expensive "cheap" projects you can do, but it's totally worth it, as it can overhaul your entire look. Don't worry about repainting trim if you don't plan on changing the color. If you plan on selling soon, opt for a neutral palette, as bright colors are too personal and Round Rock homes for sale do better when buyers can imagine themselves living there.

  • New Curtains or Blinds
    Another way to overhaul your entire look is to replace your window treatments. Whether you hang new curtains or splurge for high-end blinds, it's an opportunity to totally upgrade your decor. Be sure to check out options like room darkening and energy-saving materials.

  • Update Lighting Fixtures
    Nothing dates a home like old lighting fixtures. Brighten your space by upgrading your lighting fixtures and adding new lighting where possible. For instance, consider adding task lighting such as under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen. Ceiling fans are also a popular upgrade and can be a good investment if you plan on selling your home.

  • Install Shelving
    Especially in areas that lack sufficient storage, such as an older kitchen, attractive shelving can do a double duty of adding to your functional storage and your decor. Open shelving is trendy, so don't feel like you need to build cabinetry, but do make sure your shelves are built of attractive materials and be mindful of how you use them.

  • Replace Cabinet Hardware
    If your kitchen is looking tired and outdated, it may benefit from more than just a coat of paint. Replacing your cabinet hardware with something more modern allows you to update your kitchen's look and complement any paint scheme changes you've chosen. The same goes for your bathroom cabinets!

  • Update Bathroom Fixtures
    Sometimes an entire bathroom renovation isn't necessary, just some paint and updated fixtures. Old bathroom fixtures tend to look drab and outdated, but that's easy and usually fairly inexpensive to remedy.

  • Customize Your Closets
    Your closets may not be the first thing you see when you look around your house, but that doesn't mean they're not important. Plenty of closet space is one of the things homebuyers want when they browse Georgetown homes for sale. Maximize your home's storage space with custom shelves, bins, drawers, and multiple rows of clothing rods.

Home improvement doesn't have to mean big, expensive renovation projects. If you don't have much money to spend, look for little improvements to make a big impact. For more information about home improvement projects that will boost your home's appeal to buyers, contact us today.

August
16

What First-Time Buyers Need to Know About Credit Scores

Round Rock Credit Score

Your credit score is an important piece of financial information that influences your ability to purchase a home. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. 

Our real estate agents know that lenders will use your credit score when determining whether to approve your mortgage application. Here are a few things you should know about your credit score and homeownership as you prepare to buy your first home. 

  1. There's a Wide Variation in Acceptable Credit Scores
    The required credit score to purchase a home depends on the mortgage that you intend to use. For example, if you're applying for a conventional home loan, you'll likely need a credit score of at least 620. However, if you're interested in a jumbo home loan (a mortgage that exceeds conforming loan limits), it's best to have a credit score of 700 or higher. Some loans are ideal for buyers with less than stellar credit. An FHA loan has a minimum credit score requirement of 500. You'll need to make a 10 percent down payment if your credit score is between 500 and 579. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher, FHA loans permit a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. USDA and VA mortgage programs don't have a specified minimum credit score. Instead, the lenders who issue these loans are permitted to set their own requirements. Generally, to qualify for a USDA or VA mortgage, you'll want a minimum credit score of 640. 
  1. Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate and Loan Costs
    Your lender will use your credit score (along with other financial information, like your debt to income ratio and employment status) to decide what interest rate to offer for your loan. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. A lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Many lenders also use your credit score when determining the costs associated with a mortgage. For example, buyers with higher credit scores are offered lower PMI (private mortgage insurance) rates. They may also qualify for mortgage programs with minimal mortgage points or lower loan costs. 
  1. There are Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit
    Before you start attending showings for Round Rock homes for sale, it's best to take steps to ensure your credit is at its best. Start by making all of your loan payments on time. If you've had late payments in the past, the effects of those late payments will decrease over time. Check the balances on your credit cards. If you're utilizing more than 30 percent of your available credit, pay them down, so your utilization is under the 30 percent mark. Ideally, do this for each card and for your credit card balance as a whole. For example, if you have a $4,000 balance on one card with a $10,000 limit, pay the balance down, so it's less than $3,000. If you have a card with a $2,000 balance and $10,000 credit limit and another with a $5,000 balance with a $10,000 limit, focus on paying the second card down, so it's less $3,000. Thoroughly review your credit reports and dispute any information that's incorrect. If you only have one type of debt on your credit report, consider opening another product to diversify your credit usage. For example, if you only have credit cards, take out an installment loan (and vice versa). 

Are you ready to buy your first home? Contact us today to start your search!

August
2

What to Know When Building a Home in 2021

Building a Home 2021

If you're looking for a new home in 2021, you're certainly not alone. A housing shortage means that demand exceeds supply and that there are more buyers than sellers in the market. As a result, some potential buyers are choosing to build their own homes. This allows them to fully customize their homes.

Our real estate agents explain what you need to know when building a home in 2021:

  • It may cost more than you think.  
    Building a home may cost more in 2021 than in previous years. That's because builders are experiencing shortages of essential materials. More than 90% of builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders say they've experienced shortages of plywood, with almost that many reporting a shortage of windows and doors. This drives up the price for these materials as well as the cost of building a home.

  • Interest rates are still quite low.
    If you need to obtain financing for your new home, the news is good. Interest rates have been around 3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the summer of 2021, which is historically very low. Although rates can sometimes be difficult to precisely predict, experts expect them to stay steady or rise only slightly by the end of the year, which makes financing a home build (or buying an existing home) easier financially.

  • Factor in the cost of land.
    Don't forget to factor in the cost of land if you're planning to build a home. Even if you already own the plot of land you'll be building on, you'll probably want to budget for some improvements. These can include a driveway, landscaping, and outdoor structures.

  • Consider healthy home features.  
    Homeowners have placed a higher priority on healthy home features in the past few years, and this trend has grown even more since the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider faucets controlled by motion sensors and smart home devices that minimize the number of times you'll touch surfaces like light switches and door locks. Features like low-VOC paint and an efficient HVAC system and insulation that helps improve indoor air quality are also important healthy home features.

  • Look beyond the open floor plan.  
    Open floor plans remain popular, but many homeowners now prefer a more formal layout. Think about what your family likes to do before deciding on a layout. If you like to entertain, for example, an open floor plan may better suit your needs. But if you have a family member who works at home or would like your home to have more private space, a more formal layout is probably the way to go in your new home.

  • Patience and flexibility are key.  
    You'll usually run into some unexpected delays and issues when you're building a home, so you'll need to be patient as well as flexible. This is particularly true in 2021 since shipping delays and material shortages are common. If you approach the project expecting some delays and are flexible about some of your decisions, you'll have a much better experience and be under less stress. 

Contact us to find out more about the local housing market and Cedar Park homes for sale. If you decide to build your own home, we can help you find the land that meets your needs and share information about specific neighborhoods and other areas. 

July
26

What to Look for During a Final Walk-Through

Final Walk Through Guide

You've made it to the final walk-through process, which means your long journey to securing your new property is almost complete. The final walk-through might seem like a simple formality, but it's one of the most important steps in the process. This is your final chance to ensure the seller held up their end of the bargain regarding repairs, maintenance, or contingencies.

Our real estate agents receive lots of questions about what to expect during the process. If you're in the process of purchasing one of these Round Rock homes for sale, below are some tips to guide you through the final walk-through process to ensure you don't miss anything.

Inspect All Repairs
As a homebuyer, your priority during the final walk-through is to ensure the seller completed any agreed-upon repairs or maintenance and that the work has been completed to your liking. Whether it's a minor fix such as doorknob replacement or a significant structural issue, remember to inspect every item closely. You can also ask the seller to leave behind any receipts or warranties if issues arise in the future. 

Look For New Issues
A lot can happen over 4 to 6 weeks, so it's also wise to keep an eye out for any new issues that may have popped up since the last time you visited the home. If you notice any significant problems that may have occurred since your last visit, this is your final opportunity to bring them to the seller's attention. Below are some common things to test during the walk-through process: 

  • Check the basement for new cracks or water spots
  • Run the garbage disposal
  • Open the garage door
  • Flip on and off the light switches
  • Flush toilets and run sinks

Check For Items Left As Part Of The Sale
If the seller agreed to leave behind any items such as appliances, lawnmowers, or pool tables, make sure they're still around after the seller has moved out. Most sellers won't attempt to skirt their end of the bargain, but it's still a good idea to check that everything is still in place.

What To Do If You Find Issues
While it doesn't happen often, sometimes buyers do find issues during the final walk-through process, so you should be prepared in the event there is a problem. If a seller did not complete required repairs or a new issue has occurred, you typically have three options:

  1. Delay closing until the repairs are complete.
  2. Negotiate compensation and make the repairs on your own.
  3. Back out of the deal. This is generally unfavorable for all parties given the amount of time and energy put forward and is only recommended under the most egregious of circumstances.

Make Sure Your Real Estate Agent Is Present
Your real estate agent has conducted dozens of walk-throughs, so he or she knows exactly what to look for. Having a second trusted set of eyes is highly advisable during the process. Your agent will have a record of all contingencies agreed upon during the sale and will be able to help ensure you don't miss anything.

Most of the time, the final walk-through process tends to go very smoothly, but it's still important to it seriously and check everything. If you're looking for guidance on the buying process, contact us today.

July
5

Is it Time to Update Your Driveway?

Driveway Tips

An aging, cracking, or crumbling driveway is a problem that will gradually get worse the longer you wait to fix it. It's an eyesore that tanks your curb appeal and can also detract from your home's value. Sprucing up your driveway will protect your investment in your home, and you may be able to get the money back when you sell. Here are a few driveway improvement tips from our real estate agents.

  1. Add Lighting
    If your problem isn't a broken driveway but just a boring one, you can make the old seem new by adding some cool new features such as lighting. Round Rock homes for sale that offer lighting alongside the driveways offer instant class and curb appeal. Solar-powered lights are fairly inexpensive, or spring for an electrician and get the system wired up so that you can control the lights with a switch or put them on a motion sensor.

  2. Use Bricks or Pavers
    Another perfect upgrade for a boring driveway is a border. Use bricks or pavers to create an attractive border along the edges of your driveway. As an added bonus, the border creates a segway into your landscaping and may even serve to hold back dirt, mulch, and overly enthusiastic plants. Stepping stones and crushed rock set alongside your driveway can also boost curb appeal, not to mention provide a pathway for visitors to travel on the way to your front door.

  3. Repair Minor Damage
    Sometimes the damage to your driveway is minor, and you can get away with just doing a few repairs to preserve the original driveway. If you're unsure whether your driveway can be repaired, it's best to contact a driveway paving contractor and get an expert opinion. If you're planning on selling your home, you'll probably want to spend the least amount of money that will produce a return on your home's value, so sometimes repairs can be cost-effective.

  4. Cover with Stamped Texture
    If you don't like the look of a patched or repaired driveway, there are various ways to cover the imperfections and make your driveway look new again. One way is by covering it with a spray treatment and adding texture. The result can be attractive and classy and gives the driveway a newer, more upscale look without redoing the entire thing.

  5. Add a New Layer of Concrete or Asphalt
    If your driveway is damaged beyond repair, the easiest way to get a whole new driveway is by patching any cracks or breaks and adding a layer of concrete or asphalt on top of the original one. This is easier and less expensive than bulldozing everything and starting over. You can even add on to your driveway while you're at it, widening or adding a parking area or turnaround since the new pavement will match.

One of the first things someone sees when arriving at your home is your driveway, making it a crucial part of your curb appeal. An attractive driveway is as much a part of that first impression as your landscaping or your front door. For more ideas on how to improve curb appeal, contact us today.

May
10

Austin: A Top Housing Market in the US Right Now

Austin Housing Market

Year after year, the Austin area continues to maintain its position as one of the top housing markets in the United States. The population of the greater Austin Round Rock area was around 2.2 million in 2020 and has grown a whopping 32% since 2009. As more and more young people move into the area, the median age is also on the decline. Austin's median age is currently 31.8 years, which is less than many major US cities. So why are so many young people moving to Austin? Below are a few of the many reasons:

  1. Booming Job Market
    One of the leading drivers behind the population increase is Austin's booming job market. Austin's employment growth is also consistently increasing between 2.5% and 3% annually. Technology, manufacturing, and digital media are among the top industries in the area. A growing number of major brands also have built regional offices in Austin, including Facebook, Apple, Google, Oracle, and eBay. As a result, there are ample job opportunities within close proximity to these Leander homes for sale.

  2. The Climate
    Our real estate agents love Austin's weather. With an average of 300 sunny days per year and warm temperatures during most months, the climate in Austin is fantastic. For those who dislike cold weather - Austin winters are usually short and mild. Summers are long and hot, which means there is no shortage of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities. While Austin does get precipitation, total rainfall is about 4 inches less than the national annual average.

  3. Cost of Living
    Austin's housing market pricing isn't necessarily low compared to other areas of the country; however, it is lower than areas of California or New York. What makes Austin's cost of living affordable is its housing prices in relation to its high median income. Add on affordable public transportation, gas prices, and grocery prices, and you'll find that the overall cost of living in Austin is lower than many other areas of the country.

  4. Diversity
    Austin's diversity brings a wide array of art, food, and culture into this city and surrounding suburbs. Diverse communities can have a major positive impact on education, job markets, home values, and quality of life.

  5. Education
    Austin's numerous, high-quality public schools, trade schools, and universities produce a rich talent pool, which is just one of the reasons why so many companies are establishing a footprint in the city. With the University of Texas campus right near downtown and 17 other colleges and universities just a short distance from these Round Rock homes for sale, people are moving to Austin to receive a top-notch education before starting their careers.

With a strong job market and a growing economy, there has never been a better time to move to the Austin area. If you're looking for a new home in the area, contact us today.

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