Austin Diaries





 


Online security breaches where retailers are hacked and customers’ credit card information is stolen are becoming a regular part of the news cycle.


Cybercriminals can sell the data online to other criminals, who can then use the information to open bogus accounts in the names of legitimate customers, run up charges on the stolen credit cards and commit other acts of fraud.


The going rate for a U.S. credit card number and a software-generated card verification number is worth $5 to $8, according to a report by Intel Security called “The Hidden Data Economy.” If a bank ID number or date of birth is included, the black market price rises to $15.


Add in other details, such as a cardholder’s full...Read more




Your investing style and tolerance for risk can help determine what type of stock mutual funds you invest in. The two main types of funds — growth and value — have different characteristics that can match your investing style.


Owning a mix of both funds is probably a smart move, but it can still be worthwhile to understand how each fund works. Here are some short explanations of growth vs. value funds:


Characteristics


Growth businesses are likely to reinvest profits, instead of paying out dividends to shareholders, as a way to grow. Growth stocks can be seen as expensive and overvalued.


Growth stocks tend to be newer companies with products that are expected to be in high demand in the future....Read more




 


The entrance of your home says a lot about your character, from interior design to overall aesthetics. Below are some helpful tips for making sure your space wows you and your guests every time.


Kill the clutter. Clutter is a huge no-no in your entryway, as it impacts the entire vibe of your space from the moment you set foot in the door. However, this can be hard, as the entryway is the space you dump your keys, mail, boots and coat. To remedy this, make sure you have designated, tucked away spaces for everything you store at the entrance of your home. Hooks for coats, baskets for mail and a covered bin for shoes can all work wonders.


Add a statement. Placing a beloved piece of art or furn...Read more




Room Update – Try Color-Blocking


Repainting a room is one of the easiest ways to freshen the décor while changing the feel of the room. The hottest design trend this year takes this to a whole new level. Color-blocking techniques are dominating magazines and social media with vivid color palettes and bold geometric patterns, turning the traditional painting project into something special.


Color-blocking takes many forms—everything from a simple way to differentiate one space from another by changing the wall shade, to artistic pairings that would feel at home in a modern art gallery. Your style most likely falls somewhere in between. The common theme is to try something new while changing th...Read more



 






Published by: Daisy Gregg


 


Sparked by pent-up demand, the ability to work from anywhere, and the need for more space, real estate sales are on the rise across the country, making it a prime time for would-be sellers to consider listing their home. But many of today’s buyers are coming to market with a new set of criteria for their next home. Here are some of the features topping their lists:


Home office. With an increasing number of work-from-home situations morphing from temporary to permanent, office space is a must-have for many of today’s homebuyers. If your home doesn’t currently have a dedicated work area, consider turning your guest room into a home office, or staging a quiet corner ...Read more




Mid-Century Modern vs. Contemporary


There has been a great deal of excitement in the design field concerning the MidCentury Modern style. This ’50s and ’60s home décor trend is evidenced in every furniture store as more brands are incorporating the vintage look with modern lines. Yet what differentiates a Mid-Century Modern style from one that is merely Contemporary?


Both styles tend toward the minimalist look, but Mid-Century often features more color. Colorful carpets, walls, and furnishings—as well as vibrant wall trims and wallpaper—are all signs of a Mid-Century room while Contemporary styles lean toward neutral tone-on-tone elements with limited design extras, such as pillows or rugs.


A...Read more




 


Looking to kick the caffeine? While a moderate amount of the buzzy stuff has been shown to have heart benefits, it’s easy to overdo it or find yourself addicted to that morning jolt. If you’re looking to slay your latte habit, consider the following tips.


Time it right. Quitting anything you’re addicted to is challenging, and coffee is no exception. Choose a time that will support your withdrawal. The Monday your big work project is due? Not the best time.


A long weekend is a great time to begin so that you can distract yourself or, at worst, lay down with that 3 p.m. headache.


Find a suitable substitution. If you don’t want to quit cold turkey, you can find a substitution. Some people like ...Read more




Understanding the Back-Up Offer


When can I consider my home sold? This is one of the most common questions real estate agents are asked. While the laws vary in different states, generally the contract is binding once both parties sign the offer. At that time the closing process begins. This is also the time when sellers must stop considering other offers, but they can accept back-up offers.


What is a back-up offer? This is when the seller accepts an offer contingent upon the first one falling through. There are many reasons why the home purchase might not close—the buyer may fail to secure the loan, the home inspection may find issues the two parties can’t resolve, it could even be that the ...Read more




After Forbearance – Now What? 


Covid-19 has impacted homeowners across the country. With job losses and income reductions, many have taken advantage of the ability to enter a forbearance program with their lenders. During the forbearance program, the agreements state that no late fees will be assessed, and the balance of missed payments will be deferred to the end of the loan.


As a result, many homeowners have been able to keep their homes during this time of economic upheaval.


Some of these affected may now have stabilized incomes and are ready to exit forbearance. They might be wondering if they will be penalized for this if they choose to refinance or buy a new home. Fortunately, there is ...Read more




 


Looking for space to store your things at home?


Everything you own is competing for space in your house. Everyday items, such as clothes and exercise equipment, along with seasonal things like pool toys and Christmas decorations, are taking over your limited square footage.


You can create more space by moving some things around, but that doesn’t always solve the problem. Here’s where you can find additional storage space in a cluttered home:


Under the BedDon’t let the space under your bed go unused or gather dust. Buy some plastic bins and use them to store seasonal items such as winter clothes. Put your heavy sweaters in them during warm weather, and switch them out with your bathing suites...Read more

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It's no secret that Austin is among the most desirable cities in America. The diverse culture, balanced economy, and booming job market has led to a hot real estate market, with many new residents looking for a new home in the trendiest neighborhoods.


Of course, this high housing demand has led to the discovery—or in the case of some long-time Austin residents, the re-discovery—of many wonderful local communities. These up-and-coming Austin communities have become increasingly popular for a range of reasons, such as the quality of homes, parks, and shops, as well as proximity to the cities top amenities, affordability, and general attractiveness of the community in general.


Here ar...

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It should go without saying that buying a home is a huge step in anyone's life and it requires plenty of planning. The problem is that many first-time buyers don't know how to make sure they're ready when it comes time to buy, which could mean that you're missing out on amazing homes. This is particularly important in the hot Austin real estate market, where most homes don't stay on the market long and sellers won't wait for buyers who don't have all their ducks in a row.


But even though preparing to buy a home may seem a bit daunting to inexperienced buyers, having a clearly defined list of thing you need to do before buying your first Austin home will make things much easier. That's why we'...

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As we talked about last time, interest rates have gone up a bit. So what does that mean for the buyer? Should you wait? Well, since rates are predicted to continue to go up, the answer is no, you should not wait. As this article points out, yes, the record low rates are gone, for now at least. Who knows what the future will hold. Most economist are saying that the next five years will see an increase in rates. So certainly waiting is only going to make your house more expensive. Sure, you could wait for the rates lower than 4% to come back. But you may be waiting a long time. The odds point to us getting back to 6-8% in the next few years, long, long before we get back to the sub 4% rates ag...

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the five most expensive austin homes currently on the market


There's no question about it. Austin is booming. Aside from being consistently voted among the most livable cities in the entire country, the Austin real estate market is also on fire!


It shouldn't be a surprise either. Austin enjoys a temperate climate, a great jobs market and a justified reputation for being one of the liveliest cities in Texas! Whether it's live music that you love, a world-class, gourmet culinary scene or the city's laid-back culture that's drawn you. Austin is where it's at.


Many of the below properties may be out of the reach for the average resident, but its fun to see how the other half lives. Prepared to be a...

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