Austin Diaries





A well-equipped home tool kit is not just for weekend warriors and do-it-yourself types. Hanging a picture, tightening a cabinet door, or assembling a Swedish-built cabinet are all moments when one might reach for a tool kit. If your toolbox consists of duct tape and a hammer, a quick, inexpensive trip to the local hardware store can save you lots of time and headache later when you need your tool kit.


Essential Components of the Home Tool Kit


• Hammer – The hammer is the most used tool in any home. Choose one that feels comfortable in your hand and is light enough that you can use easily.


• Screwdrivers – While fancy ratcheting screwdrivers are comfortable, the plain old inexpensive ones wo...Read more




Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) have become very popular over the past few years. Often called “Granny Flats,” these units have often been used to provide for multi-generational housing needs, but they can also become a great source of secondary income. ADUs can also make great home offices, guest suites, game rooms, and home theaters.


With new zoning laws paving the way for more ADU options, here are 5 things you should know before moving forward.


1. Types of ADUs – There are many different types of ADUs. From detached units to garage conversions, what form the ADU should take will depend on your property and your needs.


2. Zoning Laws Vary – Almost all jurisdictions require permits, but zon...Read more




It’s no secret that most of the country is currently experiencing a strong seller’s market. Yet even in this competitive environment, almost 25 of all escrows fall through before closing. Home inspections, appraisal surprises, and loan approvals are just a few of the issues which can arise, causing the buyer to pull out of the deal. An essential component of any listing strategy should be a good backup offer, meaning that another buyer is willing to step in and close if escrow falls through.


As you consider a backup offer, here are 4 things you need to know:


1. A Backup Offer Is Legally Binding – A backup offer is a fully executed offer, just like the original, so make sure the terms are acc...Read more




The increase of pricing in the housing market and lack of inventory has left some potential homebuyers renting instead of purchasing.


As a result, these renters may not just be viewing rentals as just a temporary steppingstone to homeownership and expect their rentals to have nicer amenities than in previous decades. If you’re a landlord, there are 8 amenities your rental should consider including:


1. Dishwasher – Rentals without dishwashers may experience more turnover than those that include one.


2. Washer and Dryer – With all the great space-saver appliances on the market, there is no excuse not to find room for a washer/dryer unit.


3. Alarm System – Security systems cost a few hundred doll...Read more




Real estate markets across the country are experiencing a strong seller’s market right now. For potential sellers, this may be a golden opportunity to get top value for their property. While it may be tempting to aim for the sky when setting the listing price, that may not be your best option.


Here are 3 pricing strategies to consider before deciding on your asking price.


1. Listing at Market Value Buyer’s love “realistic sellers.” After considering the market data for your area, choosing to list at the current market value can attract the right buyer and encourage a solid offer or two. Typically, this results in a full-price offer with straightforward terms.


2. Listing High It is always temp...Read more




Typical real estate offers include a wide variety of standard contingencies. These can include home inspections, appraisal, and loan approval. In a fast-moving, seller’s market, one of the ways to make an offer more appealing is to remove contingencies.


Real estate contingencies are intended to protect the buyer from unforeseen issues. Once these contingencies are removed, the buyer typically has no recourse from these issues. The most important contingencies include:


• Home Inspections – including mold, well/septic, structural, geological


• Lending Approvals – including appraisal, title, loan rate and terms, final loan approval


• Property Condition – this relates to the final walk-through, en...Read more




Concrete was once a not so attractive alternative to a more expensive landscaping hardscape. Modern techniques have brought this versatile material back in vogue. While still an affordable alternative, concrete can add excitement to your front yard while still maintaining the low-maintenance advantage it’s always had.


Fresh Concrete Ideas for Your Front Yard


• Concrete Walkways – Because concrete is poured wet, it can take any shape you like. Adding color, stain, or texture can add interest to any front walkway.


• Stamped Concrete – Stamped concrete can take any form. Consider a geometric pattern or create a focal point like a compass or sun. Embed colorful tiles to add further interest.


• Re...Read more




It may seem like there are a million steps to the closing process when buying or selling a home. A title search is just one of the many stages and title problems may account for almost 10 of closing delays. As a seller, doing a preliminary title search can help avoid costly delays at the end. So, what is a title search and what does it disclose?


In the simplest form, a title search identifies who owns the property. This may obvious, but surprisingly, sometimes the party selling the home may not actually have the legal right to do so, at least on paper. For example, in the case of a married couple, the property might be in only one spouse’s name. Another example would be a property held in t...Read more




Wildfire season is here for many around the country. Once confined to the Western US, sadly wildfires can affect homeowners all over the country. Hot temperatures and drought conditions have combined to create fire danger in areas once thought safe. If your property is in a fire zone, now is the time to apply fire mitigation tips to prepare and protect your home.


The goal of fire mitigation is to alter the way a fire burns through the property. Slowing the spread of a wildfire on your property gives firefighters the best chance to save your home from major damage.


• Create Defensible Space – The first and most important step to take is creating defensible space around your home. Eliminate an...Read more




Interior design has a fresh look After years of subtle trend changes, this year style gets a complete makeover. Spaces are being lightened, softened, and eclectic merging of styles encouraged. If you’re ready for a change, the good news is almost anything goes. Find the trend that suits you and experiment with new textures, colors, and styles.


10 Design Trends to Try This Year


1. Home Office – Not surprisingly, homeowners are carving out specified office and workspace.


2. Separated Rooms – The open floorplans are not exactly gone, but new designs are separating spaces into separate areas.


3. Houseplants and Indoor Gardens – Herb gardens and houseplants offer a soothing, natural environment.


4....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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