Articles Tagged "Leander"

June
6

Central Texas Hiking Trails for Beginners

Texas Hiking Trails

Round Rock is a great place to live if you love the outdoors. Located just north of Austin at the edge of the Hill Country region in Central Texas, Round Rock offers countless miles of great hiking.

Parks and trails in the area offer amazing hikes for all skill and fitness levels. Today, our real estate agents are very excited to share their favorite easy hikes for beginners in the Texas Hill Country!

  • Old Settlers Park Hike & Bike Trail - 3300 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Spanning 640 acres, Old Settlers Park is one of the largest and most popular parks in Round Rock. The park has several easy options for hikers, with 3.3 miles of trails that consist of several loops. The paved Hike & Bike Trail is popular among joggers and dog walkers as well as cyclists, and the 1.7-mile Meadow Loop Trail offers some lovely scenery and access to the park's disc golf course. Old Settlers Park is just minutes from many Round Rock homes for sale

  • Brushy Creek Trail East - 151 N A.W. Grimes Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78664
    The Brushy Creek Regional Trail is a greenway project that stretches across Williamson County, with numerous trailheads in several neighboring communities. The proposed trail will eventually span 20 miles, and several sections have already been completed, like the 3.06-mile stretch known as the Brushy Creek Trail East, which crosses through Play for All Park. It's an easy hike through a beautiful wooded area alongside the banks of the trail's namesake Brushy Creek. 

  • Meadow Lake Park - 2901 Settlement Dr, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Home to the 1.35-mile Meadow Lake Trail, Meadow Lake Park is a perfect place to enjoy an easy lakeside hike in Round Rock. The trail is flat and paved, mostly hugging the shoreline of the 55-acre lake. Texas Parks & Wildlife stocks Meadow Lake with bass and catfish every year, so bring a fishing pole!

  • Kensington Greenbelt & Park - 1891 Oxford Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78664
    A flat, easy 0.9-mile out-and-back trail southeast of Downtown Round Rock, the Kensington Greenbelt traverses a mixture of woods and meadows in Kensington Park. It's a great afternoon stroll within walking distance of several residential neighborhoods. Kensington Park was fully renovated in 2013, with brand new picnic facilities and playgrounds in addition to the Kensington Greenbelt. It's a great place for families to spend a day outdoors. 

  • Hutto Lake Park - 805 Estate Dr, Hutto, TX 78634
    Just a 15-minute drive from Round Rock, Hutto Lake Park is a lovely green space in the community of Hutto. The park features a small 10-acre lake, with a 1.1-mile loop trail that encircles its shoreline. The trail provides an easy hike with some surprisingly wild scenery, and the lake itself offers kayaking and fishing. The loop is popular for trail running, and bird watchers often see a variety of waterfowl and wading birds along the lakeshore. 

  • Southwest Williamson County Regional Park - 3005 Co Rd 175, Leander, TX 78641
    Few places in the Round Rock area offer more hiking options than Leander's Southwest Williamson County Regional Park. The park includes several linked trails that combine to offer 5.53 total miles of hiking in a wild, wooded setting. It's a fun place to spend a day exploring, and the additional amenities—which include ball fields, picnic areas, a disc golf course, and a miniature railway train—offer plenty of outdoor family fun. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Central Texas, and talk to our real estate agents about finding your dream home in the Round Rock area!

May
16

Disc Golf Courses in Central Texas

Texas Disc Golf

The casual, freewheeling nature of disc golf makes it an entertaining alternative to traditional golf for players of all ages. Our real estate agents love to take a break and hit the "links" at these disc golf courses throughout Central Texas. 

  • Benbrook Ranch Park - 1100 Halsey Dr., Leander, TX 78641
    The 18-hole disc golf course is the main attraction at Benbrook Ranch Park, a beautiful facility just minutes from Leander homes for sale. With a mixture of open and heavily wooded holes, Benbrook Ranch gets high marks from players for being a well-maintained course. Other amenities at the 46.5-acre park include hiking and biking trails, a skate park, Little League and adult baseball fields, batting cages, and playscape. Benbrook Ranch Park is open 24 hours a day.

  • Brushy Creek Sports Park - 2310 Brushy Creek Rd., Cedar Park, TX 78613
    Sprawled across 90 acres, which includes a lake, spacious Brushy Creek Sports Park is a wonderful place to enjoy the great outdoors around Cedar Park homes for sale. Leashed dogs are welcome at this popular park, which features a skate park, basketball court, playscape, and trails to go along with the nine-hole disc golf course. Baseball/softball and football/soccer fields are available by reservation for a nominal rental fee. Hours are 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.

  • Cactus Patch - CrossPointe Church, 5703 McNeil Dr., Austin, TX 78729
    One of the more unique disc golf courses around is Cactus Patch, which is set up on the grounds of CrossPoint Church. The convenience and accessibility of this nine-hole course makes it a welcome gathering spot not far from Austin homes for sale

  • Cat Hollow Disc Golf Course Park - 8334 Liberty Walk Dr., Round Rock, TX 78681
    Get your steps in at the 18-hole Cat Hollow Disc Golf Course, which stretches a full mile on the Liberty Walk Greenbelt. Located directly across from Cat Hollow Park, the course has trees, grassy areas, trails, and benches that create a peaceful oasis right down the street from Round Rock homes for sale. Ready for some competition? Twice a year, on May 29 and September 11 in 2022, Cat Hollow hosts a Partner's Play Disc Golf Tournament. After two rounds of play, awards are given for first, second, and third place. Entry fee is $20 per team, and lunch is provided. Regular park hours are 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. in spring and summer and 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. in fall and winter.

  • Northtown Park - 14508 Harris Ridge Blvd., Pflugerville, TX 78660
    Players give Northtown Park high marks for the nice variety of holes on the 18-hole disc golf course near Pflugerville homes for sale. The mix of long, short, wooded, and open holes keeps everyone on their toes, whether they're newbies or experienced players. A handful of water hazards add a welcome element of challenge. Bring Fido along for a post-game romp in the off-leash dog park. Kids' and adult soccer fields, a volleyball court, and a playscape provide other opportunities for lively outdoor activities. Northtown Park is open seven days a week from dawn until dusk.

Whether you follow an active lifestyle or prefer cultural activities, Central Texas has you covered. Contact us at RE/MAX Capital City for help with all your real estate needs. 

May
2

Central Texas Florists for Mother's Day Bouquets

Florists Central Texas

Our real estate agents know Mother's Day flowers are a yearly tradition you just can't miss out on!

From Round Rock homes for sale to Cedar Park homes for sale and beyond, local florists are showing their creativity.

Small, family-owned florist shops are the norm throughout Central Texas, and many of them have been around for years. When you order a bouquet for Mother's Day, you can rest assured that Mom will get a unique and beautiful arrangement, even if a few substitutions need to be made along the way.

Let's stop and smell the roses with some of the leading local florists in Central Texas:

  • Floral Fabulous Design Shoppe – 1906 North Mays Street #1, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Floral Fabulous Design Shoppe is the place to go for unique floral arrangements all year around. If you want to spice up a space or impress someone with a dozen red roses, the floral designers here will be glad to walk you through your many vibrant options. All orders can be delivered on the same day in the local area as long as they're received by noon – ideal for a way to surprise Mom at the last minute!

  • 620 Florist – 110 East Anderson Avenue #300, Round Rock, TX 78664
    620 Florist is a reliable Round Rock florist offering flowers, plants, special occasion bouquets, and even a flower subscription. Subscription options consist of seasonal flowers, roses, and plants, especially those colorful succulents. Winter flowers and sunflowers are also among the favorites at 620 Florist. The red and white "Gemstone Love" arrangement and pastel "Tender Reflections" stand out for Mother's Day.

  • Dream Flower Shop – 200 Cane River Road, Pflugerville, TX 78660
    Pflugerville homes for sale are not far from the one and only Dream Flower Shop, lovingly known as the "Pflugerville Flower Shop." These 100% florist-designed, hand-delivered selections come complete with an impressive 100% satisfaction guarantee. You can choose bouquets by occasion, color, or flower – a full assortment of tulips, sunflowers, orchids, lilies, and roses are available.

  • Cedar Park Florist – 600 South Bell Boulevard #14, Cedar Park, TX 78613
    Family-owned and operated Cedar Park Florist is an experienced shop that has made a name for itself with its unique wedding, birthday, and holiday offerings. You can even round out your order by adding selections from an expansive gifts list: Gourmet fruit baskets, candles, and many more. With help from the caring and dedicated staff, a thoughtful selection is always just a click or call away.

  • Billowing Blooms Florist – 1309 Leander Drive #1204, Leander, TX 78641
    Billowing Blooms Florist stands out around Leander homes for sale for a striking spectrum of flowers you may not be able to find elsewhere. More than a dozen flowers are on offer for fetching displays every day, from carnations and chrysanthemums to daises, tulips, and hydrangeas. From "Infinite Love" to "Shared Happiness" and "Sincere Stargazers," the handcrafted designs will make any holiday special.

Contact us to uncover the best real estate opportunities in Central Texas.

April
11

Spring is Here: Central Texas Parks to Explore

Texas Parks

With its rolling plains and lush valleys, Texas is home to some of the most stunning landscapes. Many of the state's parks reflect this diverse beauty.

This spring, our real estate agents invite you to explore the wilderness of Central Texas' most remarkable parks. To help you get started, we've listed a few standout locations below.  

  • Tejas Park - 4400 CR 258, Liberty Hill, TX 78642 
    Tejas Park is located on the south bank of the North San Gabriel River and features stunning views of the open water. Due to the park's proximity to the river, boating and fishing are especially popular here. There are also plenty of trails for hiking, picnic tables for outdoor dining, and even a large gathering space that can be rented for parties and other social events.  

    If you're interested in staying overnight, the park also offers a dozen basic campsites with amenities like barbecues, campfire rings, and vault toilets to make your stay more comfortable. It's the perfect place to get away for a day if you live near any of our Georgetown homes for sale.  

  • Southwest Williamson County Regional Park - 3005 Co Rd 175, Leander, TX 78641 
    Southwest Williamson County Regional Park is a sports fan's dream. The park's expansive acreage includes more than a dozen fields for playing sports like softball, football, soccer, basketball, and tennis, as well as a 400-meter track to practice your running.  

    Outdoor enthusiasts will love the park's sprawling collection of paved and natural trails and the campsites that are available on-site for longer stays. There is even a large playground and splash pad to keep your kids occupied, making it a favorite of many residents around our Leander homes for sale

  • Pace Bend Park - 2805 Pace Bend Rd N, Spicewood, TX 78669 
    Pace Bend Park is a quiet location on the banks of Lake Travis near our Spicewood homes for sale. Circled by a six-mile paved roadway, this tranquil location includes a number of pleasant walking trails and many primitive and improved camping sites for overnight guests.  

    The park's scenery is beautifully rugged, showcasing cliffs, rocky outcrops, and a soft sandy beach. In addition to hiking and swimming, many guests enjoy boating from Collier Cove and Tatum Cove, the only two places in the park where boats are permitted to enter and exit the water.  

  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area - 16710 Ranch Rd. 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 
    Enchanted Rock State Natural Area was named for the almost mystical look of its incredible pink granite dome. Rising up out of the earth, the wide, low swell of the mountain offers 11 miles of moderately challenging hiking areas that allow you to enjoy the open-air around our Fredricksburg homes for sale.

    If you have more time to spend here, you can also enjoy activities like birdwatching, stargazing, and camping. Make sure you make it all the way to the top for some breathtaking views!

  • Bee Cave Central Park - 13676 Bee Cave Parkway, Bee Cave, TX 78738 
    If you love the great outdoors, you'll love the airy freedom of Bee Cave Central Park's large open fields. You can enjoy a walk in the grass, play some soccer or a game of catch, or simply lounge around in the sun.  

    The park grounds include several pavilions and playgrounds, making this the perfect place to take your kids for a fun day spent outdoors near our Bee Cave homes for sale.   

Contact us today for more information on any of the Central Texas homes we have available and see how you can become a part of this rustic land.  

January
10

Winter Camping Spots in Central Texas

Winter Camping Round Rock

It's not always easy to find fun outdoor activities during the winter months. But here in Central Texas, where temperatures are often in the 70s even in the middle of January, camping is always an option!

Our real estate agents are delighted to share their favorite winter camping spots in Central Texas. Each one of these awesome campgrounds is open year-round and located within an hour of Austin. 

  • Cedar Breaks Park - 2100 Cedar Breaks Rd, Georgetown, TX 78633
    A picturesque park overlooking Georgetown Lake, Cedar Breaks Park offers more than 60 campsites. Each site has electric and water hookups, making them perfect for RVs as well as tent camping. Located just minutes from many Georgetown homes for sale, the campsites at Cedar Breaks Park are perched atop a series of bluffs overlooking the lake and offer a truly spectacular view. 

  • McKinney Falls State Park - 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744
    Austin's McKinney Falls State Park is a favorite local camping spot, and a great getaway when you need a break from city life. You can choose among more than 80 campsites here, including developed RV sites and rustic hike-in tent sites. The park encompasses 641 acres, and its centerpiece is McKinney Falls, where the waters of Onion Creek plunge over a rugged limestone ledge. 

  • Sandy Creek Park - 9500 Lime Creek Rd, Leander, TX 78641
    Lake Travis, a manmade reservoir spanning nearly 19,000 acres, is one of the great resources for outdoor recreation in Central Texas. Sandy Creek Park, nestled on the lakeshore not far from these Leander homes for sale is a perfect place to camp on Lake Travis during any season. With primitive campsites that are available on a strictly first-come, first-served basis, this park is best suited to tent camping, and makes an ideal base camp for fishing and boating trips. 

  • Jim Hogg Park - 500 Jim Hogg Rd, Georgetown, TX 78633
    Similar to Cedar Breaks Park, Jim Hogg Park is a beautiful green space on the shore of Georgetown Lake. Offering 142 sites with water and electric hookups, the campground in Jim Hogg Park is perfect for RVs, but tent camping is also welcome. Five reservable group camping shelters for large groups are available as well. This park also has a popular boat launch and fishing access site and is known for excellent bass fishing on Georgetown Lake. 

  • Pedernales Falls State Park - 2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636
    Located 30 miles west of Austin in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Pedernales Falls State Park is a popular destination for swimming, hiking, and horseback riding. It's a beautiful place where the Pedernales River tumbles and surges over a series of limestone slabs, surrounded by spectacular rolling hills. The park includes a developed campground with 69 tent and RV sites with electric hookups, as well as a handful of primitive hike-in tent sites. 

  • Pace Bend Park - 2805 Pace Bend Rd N, Spicewood, TX 78669
    Pace Bend Park includes more than 9 miles of shoreline along Lake Travis and is known for its dramatic cliff-top views of the lake. Primitive and developed campsites are available, making this a great option whether you prefer to camp in a tent with minimal amenities, or in an RV with all the comforts of home. The park also includes fishing access, hiking trails, a boat ramp, and a beach. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Central Texas. It's a great place for outdoor adventures all year, and our real estate agents can't wait to help you find your dream home in Austin and the Texas Hill Country. 

October
18

Cozy Season: Home Updates Perfect For Fall

Cozy Home

Cooler weather, sweaters, and pumpkin flavors...what isn't there to love about the fall? The cozy feeling of autumn weather makes this time of year a favorite among our real estate agents. Most of us will be spending more time indoors over the next several months, which is why we love making our homes as warm and comfortable as possible. If you're in the market for one of these Round Rock homes for sale, it's a great time to start thinking about the cozy upgrades you can make once you move in. Below are some ideas to help you get started:

  • A Hammock Chair
    Looking for a cozy, comfortable place to read a book or drink your coffee in the morning? Add a hanging hammock chair to the corner of any room to create the perfect nook. These chairs are easy to install, and you can cover them with a blanket or a pillow to make them extra comfortable.
     
  • A Large Bean Bag Chair
    A bean bag chair is another cozy seating option for a reading nook. They're comfortable, easy to adjust, and conform to your body for ultimate comfort. Place one in the corner of your room or near your favorite window.

  • Indoor String Lights
    Few things create a cozier vibe than a bedroom lit with string lights -- especially during a cold fall or winter. Run string lights horizontally across your ceiling, or line them vertically along the wall to provide some comfortable lighting tones.

  • A Comfortable L-shaped Couch
    Once cooler weather comes along, many us tend to watch more TV and movies, and an L-shaped couch is great for maximizing comfort. It really gives you the ability to comfortably lounge about instead of attempting to use the coffee table as a leg rest.
     
  • A Soft Bath Mat
    As soon as fall rolls around, the thought of taking a nice warm bath sounds even more appealing than usual. Cover your cold tile floors with a large, soft plush bath mat for maximum bathroom coziness.

  • Artificial Plants
    Don't underestimate the positive mental impact artificial plants can have on your mood during cold fall and winter months. Artificial flowers or trees can help bring a sense of nature indoors and can make for a great addition to your cozy room. 

  • Anything Velvet
    Velvet is so soft, warm, and smooth -- it's the ultimate cozy material. It's easy to add velvet elements into your decor. Try velvet pillowcases, furniture toppers, and curtains for the perfect cozy environment. 

  • Faux Fur
    If you really want to make your room comfortable and cozy, faux fur is the way to go. Faux fur blankets, slippers, rugs, and sweaters can help keep you warm all fall and winter.

  • Creative Book Displays
    Snuggling-up with a good book is the quintessential definition of cozy, so take some time to figure out a creative way to put your books on display. Turn a wall into a library with a large shelving unit and arrange them into unique patterns. Or, you can even create an end table for your reading nook out of your favorite books. The opportunities are truly endless!

Make sure your home is warm, comfortable, and cozy for the cold weather months ahead. For more tips on home upgrades, contact us today

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.

September
7

Inexpensive Home Security Upgrades

Home Security Upgrades

When you think of home security upgrades, you may think of expensive security systems. Many upgrades, however, are very affordable and will help your family and belongings stay safer. In many cases, you'll even be able to do the work yourself.

Our real estate agents share the following inexpensive home security upgrades that can make your home safer:  

  • Smart outdoor lighting
    Motion-activated LED lights for the exterior of your home can help shine a spotlight on any potential unwanted visitors. Use this feature for floodlights, step lights, and path lights, and consider buying ones that will send you an alert when motion is detected.

  • Upgraded door locks
    Upgrade the locks on the doors that lead to the outside of your home, and while you're at it, buy a better strike plate (the metal that's on the doorpost). Look for one that has holes for up to six screws, and when you attach it, use three-inch screws. These improvements will make it more difficult for a thief to kick your door in.

  • A safe for valuables
    If you have valuables that are small in size, such as expensive jewelry, a safe provides an extra level of security against thieves. You can get a basic one for around $100, with options such as fire protection raising the price. Bolt your safe to the floor using the holes provided inside in most models and hide it in the back of the closet. If you choose a wall safe, you can mount it inside a wall and cover it with a picture.

  • Foot locks for patio doors 
    Standard patio door locks are easy for a burglar to pick. To make it more difficult for intruders to gain access to your home in this way, add a foot lock. They utilize a bolt that fits into a grommet that holds the door secure, and they're easy to install using a drill.

  • Window stops  
    Window stops prevent windows from being opened more than six inches. This makes it impossible for burglars to raise your windows and climb into your home. Since they open six inches, however, you'll still be able to raise your windows enough to get some fresh air and ventilation inside your home.

  • Tamper-proof shed hinges
    If you have a shed with a standard hinge and a door that swings outward, it's easy for thieves to pop the pins, remove the door, and steal valuable property like lawnmowers and tools. To prevent this buy and install a security hinge that comes with tamper-proof pins and a locking tab.

  • Home security system  
    Wireless security cameras can help monitor your home and provide an extra layer of protection. Consider buying a system that has built-in sensors that are triggered by motion and trigger an alarm. An alert is then sent to your smartphone, and a video clip of the incident is uploaded to the Cloud.

  • Wide-angle door viewer  
    Entry doors don't usually come equipped with peepholes, and if they do, they're usually quite small. This makes it easy for potential intruders to hide out of view and also distorts images, making it hard to identify exactly who's at your door. Install a wide-angle door viewer so the images will be clearer and a burglar won't be able to simply step to the side to remain undiscovered.

Contact us to find out more about home security upgrades and to visit Round Rock homes for sale. If finding a home with some of these features is a priority, we'll help you identify ones that meet your criteria.

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
19

How to Pick a Pet Sitter

Pet Sitting Tips

Your pet is your best friend, so of course, you want to be there all the time. But sometimes, life gets in the way. Whether you're on vacation, in the process of moving, or out of town checking out Round Rock homes for sale, there are times when a trusted pet sitter is essential. 

But of course, you can't let just anybody take care of your furry friend. You need to know you're working with the best. Our real estate agents have a lot of experience connecting their clients to great pet sitters here in the Austin and Round Rock areas, and we have a few useful tips for finding and choosing the right pet sitting service. 

  1. Know Who Your Friends Are
    A lot of us have reliable friends, family members, or neighbors who we often entrust with the care of our pets. If your pet has formed a bond with this person, then that's a great option. It's always best for your cat or dog to spend time with someone they know and trust, especially in your own home. But there are situations when this may not be an option. Perhaps you're traveling longer or more frequently, or you simply don't want to put pressure on your friends and neighbors. In that case, it may be time to consider a professional pet sitting service. 

  2. Check Credentials
    Anybody can say they're a pet sitter. That doesn't necessarily mean they're experienced and qualified. Real professional pet sitting companies should have a business license and be fully bonded and insured. Pet sitters should also have undergone a criminal background check and received proper training. Be sure to ask if they've been trained in pet CPR and first aid. 

  3. Ask for References and Read Reviews
    One of the best ways to determine if a pet sitter is right for you is to find out what others think. There's no substitute for firsthand experience. So it's always a good idea to ask a pet sitter for references, but you can also go deeper. Unbiased online reviews can shed a lot of light on how a pet sitting company is viewed by its customers. Keep in mind that one bad review shouldn't make or break someone—anybody can have a bad experience—but if you notice multiple past customers making similar complaints, that's a definite red flag. 

  4. Do a Meet-and-Greet
    It goes without saying that your fur baby and your pet sitter will have to get along! The first step is to schedule a meet-and-greet. Depending on your pet's personality, you may want the first meeting to take place outside of your home. This is especially the case if you have a very protective or high-anxiety dog. If the first outdoor meeting proves successful, the next step is to spend some time with your pet and pet sitter inside your home. You should be there for the first meeting, and if it goes well, perhaps schedule a short pet-sitting session before going on any long trips. 

  5. Establish Open Communication
    Communication between you and your pet sitter is key. You need to be able to reach them any time (and vice versa), especially while you're out of town. Make sure your pet sitter is comfortable with open communication and is willing to give you regular updates.

Moving to a new home always presents challenges, and finding the right pet sitting service is just one of them. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you find your dream home in Austin, Round Rock, and the surrounding areas. 

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.

June
28

Go Horseback Riding Around Central Texas

Horseback Riding Central Texas

Horseback riding is one of the best ways to connect with nature. Luckily, the Central Texas area offers a lot of opportunities for horseback riding. Whether you're looking to take riding lessons or plan to head off on a guided trail ride, our real estate agents have a few recommendations. 

  1. Spicewood Farms: 6607 Spicewood Spring Road, Austin, TX 78759
    If you'd like to start taking riding lessons, Spicewood Farms is a great choice. They offer both English and Western riding lessons for children and adults. Each lesson lasts an hour, and you pay by the month. They offer both private and group lessons.

    Spicewood Farms also offers horse boarding services. All breeds and disciplines are welcome, and the owners live on the premises. Their facility is exceptional, offering a jumping ring with sand footing, a 60-foot round pen, and marked trails. Also, it's roughly 13 miles south of Round Rock homes for sale

  2. Bella Luna Equestrian: 10804 East Hwy 29, Georgetown, TX 78626
    If you're an English rider looking at Georgetown homes for sale, and you'll need a place to board your horse nearby, Bella Luna Equestrian is a great barn to consider. They're an English facility offering lessons in the Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Eventing disciplines. They travel to a lot of shows in the area.

    If you don't have your own horse, Bella Luna Equestrian also offers lessons for adults and children ages 5 and older. Along with riding, beginner lessons include education on horse care, tacking up, tack cleaning, and grooming.

  3. Maverick Horseback Riding: 5766 Balcones Drive, Austin, TX 78731
    Maverick Horseback Riding
    is a good choice for beginners who want to go on a guided trail ride and enjoy the Texas landscape. They offer more leisurely rides that are open to everyone, along with trail rides that are better suited for more experienced riders. You can even book a group excursion that includes a trail ride and barbecue.

    If you have kids, Maverick Horseback Riding offers a great class called Children's Intro to Horsemanship. Participants learn all about caring for horses and taking care of the land.

  4. Cornerstone Farm​​​​​​​: 115 Woodland Trail, Leander, TX 78641
    Owner/trainer Jen Shaw has been training equestrians for over 25 years. At Cornerstone Farm she gives hands-on instructions for both beginners and advanced riders. The farm offers both private lessons and summer camps to help riders learn near Leander homes for sale.
     
  5. Texas Trail Rides: 8601 Bluff Springs Road, Austin, TX 78744
    Texas Trail Rides is a company that offers guided trail rides in cooperation with Lone Star Ranch, just outside of Austin. They have beginner-friendly horses and can accommodate riders up to 250 lb. 

    On a trail ride, you'll pass scenic creeks and sandy bluffs. Texas Trail Rides provides all of the necessary safety gear, but you will need to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. These trail rides are great for couples, small groups, and anyone who wants to get outside and enjoy nature for a few hours.

Whether you're an experienced equestrian or someone who has never ridden before, Central Texas is a great place to enjoy horses. Visit one of the stables or facilities above, and don't hesitate to contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent nearby.

June
21

Raised Bed Gardening: Tips to Get Started

Garden Bed Tips

There are few projects as satisfying as growing your own food, and raised garden beds allow everyone to do that, even in a minimal amount of space. Our real estate agents can show you some exciting Round Rock homes for sale to house the garden you have wanted. With a little patience and a few simple steps, you'll soon be enjoying your own fresh produce, and nothing tastes better than the vegetables that come fresh from your own garden.

  • Select the Container
    If you don't want to invest in expensive materials, consider materials you may already have or can easily acquire. Many people start with wooden pallets. Almost any container will do. A galvanized horse trough will work well, even if it has a few leaks and is no longer good for the purpose intended. If you want multiple beds that are all uniform, pre-made kits are easy to find at home and garden stores, some of which are on wheels so that you can optimize the sunlight. 
  • Chose the Location
    Select a spot with the proper amount of sun for the crop you are planting. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, and cucumbers thrive in full sun for the entire day. Root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and beets, need about half a day of sunshine to thrive. For shadier spots, plant leafy greens, such as kale and spinach. Take the time to do a little sun mapping before planting for the best results. Choose carefully because once you fill the bed with soil, it will be difficult, if not impossible to move, unless it is on wheels. 
  • Determine Watering System
    You may enjoy watering with a hose the old-fashioned way, or you might want to consider an efficient drip irrigation system. You can run a line directly from your water tap or rain barrel to allow you to water quickly and easily by simply turning a spigot. 
  • Fill the Container with Soil
    One of the advantages of a raised garden bed is that you won't need to worry about digging, rocky ground, or nutrient-poor ground. You won't find an article on raised garden beds that doesn't emphasize the importance of using the highest quality of soil your budget will allow. When purchasing garden soil by the bag, select products that support organic vegetables, after you fill the container about three-fourths full, top it off with compost. If you don't already have a compost pile, you can buy it at garden centers. This combination is important to fill your garden with rich nutrients and to hold moisture. To determine the amount of soil you will need, several suppliers offer online calculators that are very helpful.
  • Plant Your Crops
    Of course, you'll have done your homework long before this point and decided what crops to plant and when to plant them. If you're planting from seeds, you may have already started germinating them inside and have seedlings ready to place in the garden. You'll have learned that Round Rock has a growing zone designation of 8. Many vegetables should be started indoors in mid-February to avoid frost. For later planting, consider transplanting seedling tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, fresh herbs, and more from your favorite garden center. The optimal growing season in this area runs from April 1st to December 1st. 

Are you ready to start looking for a place to plant your own raised vegetable garden? Contact us today to arrange a tour. 

June
7

What to Know When Buying Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture

These days, a home's outdoor spaces are just as important as its indoor spaces. Just look at all the Round Rock homes for sale with outdoor living spaces! Homeowners use their outdoor spaces for dining, entertaining, and relaxing, so patio furniture and decor require some planning. Here are a few things to know before you go shopping for new patio furniture.

  1. Think About Your Goals
    Do you plan to use the space for grilling, outdoor dining, and entertaining? You'll want to prioritize a table and chairs where you can eat. If your dream patio is one where you can enjoy a glass of wine, read a book, and relax, you'll want to look for furniture that is more appropriate for lounging.

  2. Consider the Size of the Space
    Choosing patio furniture based on the size of your patio is very similar to choosing indoor furniture based on the size of the room. Leave plenty of room for the flow of traffic around the furniture. Measure your patio before shopping so that you know how much space you have to work with. The "less is more" approach to staging a home applies to outdoor spaces as well, according to our real estate agents, so this is especially important if you're preparing your home to sell.

  3. Keep the Weather in Mind
    The sun, rain, and humidity in Texas are something to consider when shopping for patio furniture. Being exposed to these elements can weather some types of furniture, such as wood, faster than others. If your patio furniture isn't protected from the elements by a roof or overhang, opt for something sturdy such as metal. Cushions left outside will likely need to be replaced every few years, but this may be seen as a bonus since it gives you a chance to freshen your look!

  4. Storage Options
    If you can, storing your patio furniture (or at least your cushions) will keep it looking nicer, longer. A patio storage bench is perfect if you want a handy place to put your cushions when you're not using the space, or you could build a garden shed with room to store lightweight patio furniture when not in use. Well-planned outdoor storage can be a selling point when you go to list your house, too. 

  5. Remember That You Get What You Pay For
    Sure, you have a budget, but try not to buy the cheapest patio furniture you find, as you will surely get what you pay for. Inexpensive patio furniture tends to be made of materials that don't hold up to weather exposure, such as plastic that will degrade quickly in the sun or cheap metal that will rust quickly with exposure to rain. If you need to stick to a tight budget, check out resources for secondhand goods, and keep an eye out for higher quality patio furniture.

Ultimately, look for patio furniture that not only looks good but where you can also see yourself spending time. Your outdoor living spaces should be an extension of your home: the perfect place to hang with family and friends or kick back and relax after a long day. For more information on what homebuyers expect from an outdoor living space, 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.

May
3

Bakeries Near Austin Perfect for Mother's Day Treats

Austin Bakeries

Mother's Day is the perfect time to choose some sweet treats for mom, and bakeries near Austin offer plenty of deliciously fresh selections to choose from. Whether you'd like a whole cake or would rather mix and match some of mom's favorite sweet treats, you'll be able to find what she'll love at a local bakery.

Our real estate agents recommend visiting one of the following bakeries near Austin for your Mother's Day treats:

  • Paige's Bakehouse – 110 E. Anderson Suite 400, Round Rock, TX 78664  
    Located near Round Rock homes for sale, Paige's Bakehouse makes unique treats, cakes, and pies from scratch using the highest quality ingredients. Buy mom a variety of the bakery's ready-made sweets, including petit fours, cake pops, or cake parfaits that are available in different flavors, depending on the day you stop by. If you're planning ahead, order a beautiful custom-made cake. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

  • Whipped Bakery and Cake – 15609 Ronald Reagan Blvd. B220, Leander, TX 78641
    Whipped Bakery and Cake, located just around the corner from Leander homes for sale, creates cakes that are lighter than what you'll usually find. They also don't have the overabundance of sugar that you'll often taste in cakes. The bakery's artisans use real butter and milk fats along with fine ingredients like fruits, nuts, chocolate, and natural flavorings like Bourbon vanilla, along with modest amounts of sugars. Order a delicious cake for mom or choose a selection of fatcarons, decadent double-stuffed macarons in flavors including raspberry cheesecake, crème Brulee, and tiramisu. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

  • Sugar Shaker Bakery – 251 N. Bell Blvd., Suite 114B, Cedar Park, TX 78613 
    Sugar Shaker Bakery serves a variety of celebration sweets that go far beyond traditional cakes, although you'll still find them on the menu as well. The bakery, located just around the corner from Cedar Park homes for sale, is known for high-quality, fresh treats including cookies, brownies, and bars, and loads of specialty desserts like cannoli and fruit tartlets. If you'd like a cake, cupcakes, or cake balls, you'll have your choice of signature flavors such as almond and raspberry. Whatever you choose, mom is sure to love it! Hours are 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, and 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

  • Bosslady's Bakery – 1201 Leah Lane, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Chocolate cake, cheesecake, and rum cake are a few customer favorites at Bosslady's Bakery. If you'd prefer something smaller or want to vary your selections for mom, the bakery also creates macarons, cupcakes, cookies in various flavors, s'mores in a jar, and more sweet treats that are sure to be a hit. Hours are by appointment, and you can also have your order delivered locally if you'd like to save some time.

  • Weikel's Bakery Foodie's Corner – 11340 TX-183A Toll Rd., Leander, TX 78641
    Weikel's Bakery is perhaps best known for its award-winning kolaches, made with fillings such as prune, cottage cheese, poppy seed, and the most popular, cream cheese. Their Foodie's Corner location carries the bakery's most popular products, and they're made on site from scratch. Treat mom to some Czech favorites like pockets made with poppy seeds or cottage cheese or choose from a variety of fruit danishes. You'll also be able to select muffins, strudels, cupcakes, bars, and much more.

Contact us for your real estate needs. We can help you buy or sell your home near Austin and look forward to serving you! 

April
19

Earth Day: 5 Places to Enjoy Nature Near Austin

Earth Day Near Austin

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd, so it's a great time to start thinking about how to show your appreciation for our beautiful planet. Whether it's cleaning up the neighborhood or just spending time outdoors, it's important to take the time to appreciate our air, land, and water. Our real estate agents will tell you that there are so many beautiful outdoor parks and activities in our area, which makes getting outdoors easy and enjoyable. If you're thinking of ways to spend Earth Day, look no further than this list of excellent places to enjoy nature around Austin.

  1. Chisholm Trail Crossing Park - 500 Chisholm Trail Rd, Round Rock, TX 78681
    One of the most beautiful outdoor areas near Austin is Chisholm Trail Area over in Round Rock. Not only is there a beautiful hiking trail that runs along Brushy Creek, but there is also a park where you can picnic and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Over at Chisholm Trail Crossing, you'll also find an awesome sculpture exhibit. All in all, Chisholm Trail Area is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon this spring.

  2. Old Settlers Park - 3300 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Also located in Round Rock, Old Settler's Park is a great place to enjoy nature this spring. With over 645 acres of parks, pavilions, playgrounds, ball fields, and soccer facilities, there really is fun for the whole family. Whether you're looking to get some exercise or need a place to host a family reunion, Old Settlers Park is one of the most beautiful outdoor areas around Austin. Best of all, it's just a short drive from some beautiful Round Rock homes for sale.

  3. Barton Springs Swimming Pool2131 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX 78746
    Barton Springs isn't your ordinary swimming pool. The water actually comes directly from a natural underground water spring that pumps water ranging from 68 to 70 degrees. The springs are also listed as a federally protected habitat because they are home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander.
     
  4. Pedernales Falls State Park2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636
    Just west of Austin near the Pedernales River is Pedernales Falls State Park. This 5,200-acre park has everything -- hiking trails, camping, and even some great river swimming spots. It also has no shortage of beautiful scenery, including picturesque river views and waterfalls. 

  5. Southwest Williamson County Park - 3005 Co Rd 175, Leander, TX 78641
    One of the most beautiful parks in the area is Southwest Williamson County Park, located just over in Leander. This park is not only scenic, but it also has bike trails, soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball fields, and even a miniature train. There is an abundance of grassy fields and picnic tables, making it a popular place for a weekend picnic. After spending the day outdoors, be sure to stop by these beautiful Leander homes for sale, which are just a few minutes away.

Outdoor activities are one of the best parts of living in the Austin area. With so many parks, rivers, and scenery, spring and summer are some of the most popular times to visit the area. Contact us today for more local recommendations. 

March
1

DIY Tips for Designing a Home Library

Home Library Tips

If you've always dreamed of having a home library to house your favorite novels, you can turn this dream into reality with some careful planning. Our real estate agents know that you don't need an entire room to create a gorgeous home library; instead, scour your home for unused or underused areas that will make a lovely home for your books. Here are some tips to follow when designing your home library. 

  1. Make the Library Work for Your Lifestyle
    While there's nothing wrong with the serenity of a conventionally quiet library, this simply isn't compatible with every household. One of the top benefits of a home library is that you can adapt it to your lifestyle. Maybe you have children who love to read, solve puzzles, and play board games. Set your home library up so that your children's reading materials are easily accessible; add a few kid-friendly chairs and tables so they have their own space. Or, maybe you know that you'll use your home library in between at-home work sessions. You might set-up your library in your home office so that you can take advantage of short breaks to enjoy a new book or reread an old masterpiece.
  1. Add Layers of Lighting
    Your home library is one area where you don't want a lot of direct natural light, as sunlight can damage the delicate pages of your books. Instead, incorporate multiple layers of lighting to ensure you have ample illumination for your reading and research. Start by adding ambient lighting that reaches the entire room; recessed lighting and lighting fixtures are two alternatives for whole-room illumination. Then, add accent lighting around the various spaces of your home library. For example, you might add track lighting around your bookcases. Next, incorporate task lights into your home library. This includes items like desk lamps and floor lamps. Whenever possible, opt for lighting that's dimmable so you can adjust the lights to your needs. 
  1. Use Space-Efficient Book Storage
    When space is a concern, maximize storage for your books by choosing shelves that utilize frequently unused areas. Corner shelving units are one solution, as are vertical bookcases that extend to your home's ceiling. Make sure to invest in a sturdy step stool so that you can easily reach the books on the top shelves.
  1. Check the Weight Limits for Your Floors
    Before your start setting up your shelves and books, confirm that your floors are capable of supporting the additional weight of a lot of books. Books are heavy, and if you store a lot of them in a concentrated area, it can put additional stress on the floor. If your floors can't support the additional weight as-is, a contractor can reinforce them by adding additional plywood or beams. When you add your home to the inventory of Round Rock homes for sale, you'll know that you completed the project correctly. 
  1. Add Decorative Pieces
    Make sure to add a few decorative items so that your home library reflects your tastes. A few framed photos, attractive bookends, pottery, or interesting sculptures can all add individuality to your new space. 

Want a property with more space for your home library? Contact us today to get started!

February
15

Is it Time for a Kitchen Upgrade?

Austin Kitchen Updates

When it comes to upgrades and renovations, the kitchen is one that's almost guaranteed to pay off when you sell your home. But how do you know your kitchen is dated enough that you'll benefit from updating? Here are a few indicators our real estate agents say mean the house is past due for kitchen renovations.

  1. Your appliances don't match.
    When a house is first built, or a kitchen is first renovated, all the appliances typically match, if not by brand, then at least in appearance. As they get older and start to go out, they typically get replaced with whatever can be found to fit and at a good price. The result is that after a while, a kitchen may end up with three or four appliances of varying styles and ages. If this describes your kitchen, most likely everything else is old enough that it's time to just upgrade it all.

  2. Your kitchen has a recognizable vintage.
    If guests tend to say things like, "Hey, this kitchen looks just like where I grew up!" when they come over, it's a sure sign that it's time for renovations. A few vintage touches can be a stylistic choice, but outdated kitchens just look old.

  3. There's visible damage.
    As kitchens get older, things break. The tile develops cracks, the linoleum begins to chip and peel, and appliances start showing wear. Appliances may stop working as well, too, or develop quirks as they age. Pretend you're touring Georgetown homes for sale and look at your kitchen the way a stranger would. If you see a bunch of tiny indicators of age, it's time to update.

  4. The layout is counterintuitive.
    The way we live and cook has changed, and so has kitchen design. Kitchens of the past tend to be counterintuitive in design, perhaps because they lacked design elements such as islands or conveniences such as pull-out cabinet drawers to help you better utilize and access your storage space. If preparing a meal is a hassle, it could be that your kitchen needs updates that will make the process more streamlined.

  5. The lighting is terrible.
    Another universal in dated kitchens is horrible lighting. Most older kitchens have only overhead lighting, with the only task lighting being the hood light over the stove. Good lighting is a huge selling point of any kitchen, though, so even just updating the lighting and appliances can go a long way toward improving your kitchen. Use the opportunity to light up your workspaces better with focused task lighting, such as under cabinet lighting.

Why waste your time cooking in a dark, cluttered, and outdated kitchen when cooking could be a pleasant experience with the right updates? Plus, updating your kitchen can add significant value before listing your home among the Round Rock homes for sale. For more advice on what updates you should do before selling your home, contact us today.

February
1

National Pizza Day: Where to Celebrate Near Austin

Austin Pizza Shops

Between the crust, cheese, sauce, and toppings, pizza more or less covers the major food groups, so our real estate agents can rationalize that they're eating healthy! More importantly, pizza just tastes really good. Celebrate National Pizza Day on Tuesday, February 9 with the pie of your choice from these top restaurants around Austin homes for sale

  1. Brooklyn Pie Co. - 2711 La Frontera Blvd., Suite 330, Round Rock, TX 78681 
    The Big Apple may be more known for pizza than Italy is. Brooklyn Pie Co. brings those iconic foldable slices to the community near Round Rock homes for sale. The dough and Old World tomato sauce are made from scratch, using family recipes passed down since the 1940s. Fast-food lovers will go for the White Castle Cheeseburger, topped with hamburger, red onions, bacon, and Cheddar cheese, while purists will appreciate the classic simplicity of the Margherita. For more NYC flavor, try the Carnegie Deli cheesecake. Hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. seven days a week.

  2. Yaghi's New York Pizzeria - 1552 FM 685, Pflugerville, TX 78660
    When it comes to the freshness of their pies, Yaghi's New York Pizzeria goes the extra mile. In addition to their dough and sauce, Yaghi's makes all their sausage, meatballs, hamburger, chicken, and steak toppings in-house. All meat is 100 percent natural, with no added preservatives or artificial flavors. Vegans and vegetarians will appreciate the number of meat-free specialty pies and calzones available. Call ahead or order online for pickup after a day of viewing Pflugerville homes for sale. Yaghi's is open daily from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. except for Friday and Saturday when hours are extended until 10 p.m. 

  3. East Side Pies - 1401 Rosewood Ave., Austin, TX 78702
    By its nature, pizza offers a pleasing range of variety to diners. East Side Pies goes one better by providing a number of different sauces to go with the large selection of toppings. Choose from the traditional red sauce, ricotta, black bean, chimichurri, pesto, or extra virgin olive oil. Take your pie up to the gourmet level with toppings such as organic brown eggs, avocado, roasted cremini mushrooms, smoked salmon, and sweet potatoes. Hours are 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily.

  4. Sabino's Pizza Pub - 2082 US Hwy. 183, Suite 110, Leander, TX 78641
    Do you prefer pizza crust you can really sink your teeth into? Sabino's Pizza Pub features the double-crust stuffed Chicago style, made famous in America's other pizza capital. Thin crust is also on the menu, so everyone can have their favorite. Are you up to the challenge of El Diablo? This spicy crossover pizza is topped with pepperoni, poblanos, serranos, jalapeños, habaneros, and pepperoncini. Sabino's is just minutes from Leander homes for sale for quick carryout. Hours are 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

  5. Guy Tano's Kitchen - 901 Crystal Falls Pkwy, Suite 101, Leander, TX 78641
    The name of Guy Tano's Kitchen is a loving tribute to owner Ambrogio Buraglia's dad. Gaetano Buraglia had his own Italian restaurant in California and shared his culinary secrets with his son, hoping Ambrogio would follow in his father's footsteps. No matter what type of pizza you order, Guy Tano's devoted customers say your meal isn't complete without an order of the signature garlic knots, dusted with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara dipping sauce. Guy Tano's is open noon - 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon - 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday.

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