Mortgage Process Do’s and Don’ts

September 29th, 2017

Juggling all aspects of the home-buying process can be overwhelming. While stressful, there are some things you can do, and some things you shouldn’t do, to alleviate some of the pressure of the process. These mortgage process do’s and don’ts should help ensure a stress-free approval of your home loan:

mortgage process do's and don'ts

Mortgage Process Do’s and Don’ts


  • Inform your lender if any of the information you’ve provided has changed. Changes in information include address, job, salary – or any other pertinent information for the loan process.
  • Maintain records of all bank transactions, especially if you transfer large amount from one account to another during the loan process.
  • Obtain homeowners insurance with coverage equal to the mortgage amount or replacement value of your home.
  • Order a termite inspection of the property you intend to purchase.
  • Keep track of your credit score as any little change can impact your loan.
  • Communicate with your lender if you have any questions or concerns about your loan. 


  • Make any significant purchases during the loan process as this can negatively impact your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Open or close any credit cards during the loan process as this too can negatively impact your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Pay off collections or charge-offs as this can cause your credit score to drop.
  • Quit or change jobs, if possible. Lenders are more favorable toward individuals who show a two-year work history and a new job can affect that.
  • Cosign for another borrower. Signing a loan for another borrower will show additional debt on your record and could affect both your credit and your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Change your current assets. Changes include rotating investments, open/closing accounts, making unexplained deposits and more.

Not only will these do’s and don’ts help you secure a mortgage, but they will also make your home-buying experience more enjoyable.

Do you have any questions about buying a home in the Austin area? I can help! Give me a call today!

Austin Fall Events & Festivals Guide

September 28th, 2017

Let’s be honest, fall is one of the best times of the year in Texas’ Capital City. As the weather begins to cool down, residents look for festive ways to enjoy the fall season out-and-about in the Austin area! Whether you’re new to the Live Music Capital of the World or you’re just looking for some new events to enjoy with your friends and family, below are some of the top Austin fall events and festivals:

Austin fall events




Texas Craft Brewers Festival

Fiesta Gardens




Scholz Garten



10/6 – 10/8 and 10/13 – 10/15

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Zilker Park




German Free School


10/20 – 10/22

FORMULA 1 United States Grand Prix

Circuit of the Americas




Ironman 70.3 Austin

Various Locations



Dia de los Muertos Festival

Fiesta Gardens



11/3 – 11/12


New Braunfels, Texas


11/4 – 11/5

Texas Book Festival

Texas State Capitol Building


11/4 – 11/5

Austin Celtic Festival

Fiesta Gardens



Texas Monthly BBQ Festival

City Terrace at The Long Center


11/6 – 11/8

Fun Fun Fun Fest

Auditorium Shores


11/10 – 11/12

Sound on Sound Festival

Sherwood Forest



Chuy’s Christmas Parade

Congress Avenue



Turkey Trot

The Long Center



11/22 – 12/31

ZACH Theatre Presents: “A Christmas Carol”

ZACH Theatre


12/8 – 12/23

Ballet Austin’s “The Nutcracker”

Long Center for the Performing Arts



Austin Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s “Messiah”

Hyde Park Baptist Church



51st Annual Trail of Lights

Zilker Park



Austin New Year

Auditorium Shores



1/1 – 1/8

Free Week

Various Locations around Austin



Martin Luther King March and Festival

Huston-Tillotson University


Click here for a printable PDF of the top Austin fall events and festivals.

Have questions about the Austin area? I would be honored to share my expertise of the Austin area with you – give me a call today!


Home-Buying Myths Exposed

August 30th, 2017

As real estate questions circulate, misconceptions arise. How do you know what to believe? To ensure you have an accurate understanding of buying a home in the greater Austin area, here are some of the most common home-buying myths exposed:

Home-Buying Myths Exposed

You must make a down payment of 20 percent

While a 20 percent down payment is ideal so you can avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), there are a variety of loan programs, like FHA and VA loans, to help you get into the home of your dreams for much less.  Always consult a mortgage lender about your options before assuming you have to make a certain down payment. Asking can only benefit you!

Since you have enough for the down payment, you’re all set

In most cases, the down payment is the only thing homebuyers save up for when they are searching for a home. On top of the down payment, you will have the following additional costs: homeowner’s insurance, closing costs, appraisal and inspection costs, monthly mortgage payments and utilities, property taxes, regular maintenance and repairs and more.

Saving for the down payment is a good start, but go past the amount needed for the down payment to ensure you can afford the additional expenses listed above.

A 30-year fixed mortgage is always the best option

A 30-year fixed mortgage may be the best choice if you plan to keep the home that long…However, if you only intend to keep the home for five to seven years, there may be other options (like an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM)) that are more appropriate. Remember, the longer the fixed rate, the higher your interest rate – meaning, you could be paying a higher rate for nothing. Before choosing a mortgage plan, think about how long you plan on living in the home – and, always consult your REALTOR® and lender for advice.

You must have a perfect credit score to qualify for a mortgage

While an excellent credit score – over 700 – may make it easier to get a mortgage with a lower interest rate, your credit score isn’t the only consideration that goes into determining if you qualify for a loan. On top of your credit score, a lender will look at your credit history, savings, debt and more. Find out your credit score on FICO’s loan savings calculator to see where you stand and how it will affect your loan interest rate.  However, take the information found online at face value. To determine how you REALLY stand, contact a lender in your area.

The seller’s asking price is non-negotiable

Much like buying a car, the offer you make on a home doesn’t have to be the full asking price. If you have good credit, pre-approval, and a down payment ready to go, sellers will likely negotiate with you rather than hold out for another buyer. Keep in mind, every market is different, as is every seller’s approach to pricing his or her home. Consult your REALTOR® on what to offer and trust their recommendation – their expertise and knowledge of the market will ensure your offer is positioned to be accepted.

If you don’t have kids, the school district doesn’t matter

The neighborhood and school district your home is located in matters. Even if you don’t have children, good schools are a sign of a good community. What does this mean for the resale value of your home? When the time comes to sell, your home will likely sell quicker and for a greater value than a comparable home in a rougher neighborhood. Keep in mind, location always matters!

Since I have the Internet, I don’t need a REALTOR®

If you think you don’t need an agent because you have the Internet, think again! When you align yourself with a real estate agent, you get a guide for every step of the home-buying process: searching for homes, inside information on properties and neighborhoods, a skilled negotiator and more. Your REALTOR® is there to guide you – trust their recommendations.

Don’t fall for these home-buying myths again!

Do you have any questions about buying a home in the greater Austin area? If so, give me a call anytime. I would be happy to provide guidance.

Home Showing Decorum

August 29th, 2017

While professional photos and home staging efforts are what draw potential buyers to your property, your job doesn’t stop there! As the home seller, there are other things you can do to ensure your home shows in its best light. What more can you do? Follow these home showing decorum practices to “wow” any potential buyer that visits your property.

home showing decorum


Leave the property

Leave your property during the home showing. Why? Simple: it’s polite and you being there may make the buyers feel uncomfortable. Allowing potential buyers to view the property without you there gives them the opportunity to visualize themselves in your home – which is a HUGE selling point. Plus, buyers envisioning themselves and their belongings in your home is the entire reason for a home showing!

Take your pet(s) with you

During a home showing, you should aim to create the ideal living environment. To create this perfect environment, take your pets with you during the home showing and do your best to wipe all trace of them from your home. The last thing you want is your dog barking and distracting buyers from getting a real feel for your home.

Provide driveway or curbside parking

Is there anything worse than having to drive around in circles looking for a parking spot? Of course, there is – but you don’t want buyers visiting YOUR property to do that! A lack of parking may give a potential buyer a bitter first impression of your home. To accommodate buyers and their real estate agent, clear your driveway or the curb right outside of your home.

Layout pertinent documents

Layout appropriate documents for easy access during the home showing. Doing so may lead to a faster sale of your home.

Practice patience

Be patient when waiting for feedback from buyers after a home showing. Potential buyers will likely want to process what they saw during the home showing before making an offer or providing feedback. Pestering your REALTOR® and their REALTOR® for feedback will only be considered an annoyance.

Listen to your REALTOR®

Listen to your REALTOR® and don’t take their suggestions personally; they are just giving you their professional opinion to help sell your home faster. Take their suggestions seriously; you hired them for a reason!

These home showing decorum practices may lead to a faster sale of your home – take them to heart when listing your home in the Austin area.

Do you have any questions about selling your home in the greater Austin area? I would be happy to help; give me a call anytime.





Local Coffee Shops – Northwest Austin

July 31st, 2017

Did you know drinking a cup of coffee a day may extend your life? According to two studies by the Annals of Internal Medicine, it’s true! What were the key findings from these two studies? Let’s take a look!

Key Findings from Annals of Internal Medicine Coffee Studies:

  • Higher coffee intake lowered the risk of death in several different races (Blacks, Japanese Americans, Latinos and Whites).
  • More than three cups of coffee a day reduced participant’s risk of death – especially digestive circulatory diseases.
  • Drinking coffee reduced a participant’s risk of dying from seven of the ten leading causes of death in the U.S. (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer and respiratory illness).

Where can you grab a cup of coffee in the Austin area? In an effort to support local businesses, here are Northwest Austin’s top local coffee shops:

local coffee shops


Cypress Creek Coffee Company

2100 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 200, Cedar Park, TX 78613

Caffe Yolly

12129 N FM 620, Ste. 102, Austin, TX 78750

Red Horn Coffee House and Brewing Co.

13010 W Parmer Lane, Ste. 800, Cedar Park, TX 78613

Lamppost Coffee

1205 Round Rock Avenue, Round Rock, TX 78681

Coffee Shark Espresso and Pints

7300 Ranch Road 2222, Bldg 5 #111, Austin, TX 78730

Summer Moon Coffee Bar

11005 Burnet Road #112, Austin, TX 78758

Epoch Coffee – Village

2700 W Anderson Lane #409, Austin, TX 78757

Epoch Coffee – NorthLoop

221 W N Loop Blvd., Austin, TX 78751

Houndstooth Coffee

4200 North Lamar Boulevard, Ste. 120, Austin, TX 78756


I hope you enjoy exploring the Northwest Austin area’s top local coffee shops!

Do you have any real estate related questions? Consider me your resource; give me a call today.

7 Energy Saving Tips

July 28th, 2017

If it seems like your electric bill has increased this summer, that’s probably because has! The summer heat in Texas causes your air conditioner to work on overdrive – therefore increasing both your energy usage and your energy bill. How can you reduce your electric bill this summer? Below are some of my top seven energy saving tips:

energy saving tips

Cover Your Windows

Shut your blinds during the day and only open them at night or early in the morning. To keep your home even cooler, close your curtains during the day as well.

Use Your Ceiling Fan                                                                                 

A ceiling fan is an excellent source of ventilation and helps maintain circulation throughout the home. The breeze created by the ceiling fan can make a room feel up to eight degrees cooler.

Shut Off Heat Generating Appliances

It turns out; the majority of our everyday devices produce heat. At the very least, refrain from doing laundry and cooking anything in the oven or on the stove on extremely hot days.

Regulate the A/C

While going without air conditioning in Texas is nearly impossible, there are ways to control how much energy you are using.  Try moving the thermostat up a couple of degrees during the day – each degree you raise the thermostat saves seven to 10 percent on your cooling costs.

Smart Home Thermostat

A smart thermostat may be a great investment during the never-ending heat of a Texas summer. These thermostats allow you to decrease or increase the temperature in your home remotely – some will even learn your habits and know when you are home and when you are away. A smart thermostat can save you five to 15 percent on annual heating and cooling bills, according to

Free Energy Inspection

Do you know where you use the most energy? If not, consider asking your power company to conduct a free energy inspection. These professionals will tell you exactly where you are using the most energy and make recommendations on how to decrease your bills.

Seal Air Leaks

You can save up to 20 percent on your heating and cooling bills by sealing any air leaks throughout your home. Ensuring your home is properly sealed also increases home comfort.

Even the smallest change can make a difference! What energy saving tips do you recommend? Send them my way – I would love to add them to my list!

Do you have any questions about the greater Austin area? I know this area extremely well and would be honored to any questions you may have.

Fourth of July in Austin

June 28th, 2017

How do you plan to celebrate America this Independence Day? If you don’t already have plans, here are some of the best red, white and blue events happening around the Austin area this Fourth of July:

fourth of july

Austin Fourth of July Events

H-E-B Symphony: Fourth of July Concert & Fireworks

  • Location: Vic Mathias Shores (Auditorium Shores)
  • The event is free and open to the public.
  • Fantastic event complete with a firework display over the city skyline backed by symphonic patriotic classics.
  • The Austin Symphony Orchestra performs at 8:30 p.m., followed by fireworks around 9:30 p.m.

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic Ft. Willie Nelson & Family, Sheryl Crow, Kacey Musgraves, Jamey Johnson and more! 

  • Location: Circuit of the Americas
  • Fantastic lineup of live music returns to COTA for the third year – doors open at 11 a.m. and tickets are $39.50 -$550.

Northwest Austin Fourth of July Events

Round Rock’s Frontier Days Celebration

  • Location: Main Street and Old Settlers Park
  • FREE to the public. Frontier Days, Round Rock’s Fourth of July Celebration, features a parade, fireworks, jalapeno pepper eating contest, carnival rides and more!
  • Event Schedule:
    • Parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street
    • Frontier Days at noon at Old Settlers

Sertoma’s Annual Fourth of July Family Celebration

  • Location: San Gabriel Park, Georgetown
  • FREE To the public.
  • Event schedule:
    • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. – 60 arts and crafts booths, 20 food vendors, kiddie rides, bounce houses, games and a petting zoo. The “Hometown Parade” starts at the low water crossing on Morrow Street and ends at the Gazebo.
    • 12 to 9:30 p.m. – Gazebo entertainment featuring some of the best local and Central Texas talents.
    • 9:30 p.m. – “Fabulous Fireworks Finale” by GWPyro.

Leander’s Liberty Fest Ft. Josh Abbott Band

  • Location: US 183A South between San Gabriel Pkwy & Hero Way
  • The family-friendly event features live music, food and craft vendors, children’s activities and a spectacular firework display. Here is the event schedule:
    • 4:30 p.m. – Gates open
    • 5-10 p.m. – Activities and vendors
    • 6-10 p.m. – Live music
    • 9-10 p.m. – Fireworks by Pyrotecnico

Cedar Park’s Fourth of July Parade & Celebration

  • Location: Elizabeth Milburn Park, 1901 Sun Chase Blvd.
  • FREE to the Public.
  • Parade Details:
    • Time: 10 a.m.
    • Route: The parade starts at the H-E-B Center and ends at the Cedar Park Recreation Center
  • Celebration Details:
    • Time: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • The 4th of July Celebration features live music, bingo, washer tournament, air castles, free watermelon and a firework display. Food concessions, face painting, and carnival games require a fee.

Are you looking for some red, white and blue events in the greater Austin area? Here are some of the best!

I hope you have a fun-filled, patriotic Fourth of July with your family!

Popular Austin Swimming Holes to Cool Off In This Summer

June 20th, 2017


Summer has officially hit the Austin, TX, area. For those of you who don’t already know, the summer season in Austin is long and HOT! Can you think of any better way to survive the scorching heat than cooling off in some of Austin’s most popular swimming holes? If you want to spend your summer outside – there is no better way. As a longtime Austin resident, I’ve jotted down some of the best Austin has to offer. Here are some of the most popular Austin swimming holes, plus the best public pools in North Austin and its surrounding communities:

Austin swimming holes

Popular Austin Swimming Holes

Deep Eddy Pool

The Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest and most historic swimming pool in Texas featuring a bathhouse built during the Depression era by the Works Progress Administration. The site, located on the Colorado River, was originally used as a swimming hole, because of the cold springs that rose from the river banks, became a resort, featuring a bathhouse, in the 1920s, and is now a popular swimming pool owned by the City of Austin. The shallow end, cool water, and massive cottonwood trees make this spot a family favorite! A small fee is required for admittance to the pool. Click here for more information.

Location: 401 Deep Eddy Ave., Austin, TX 78703

Barton Springs Pool

Three acres in size, Barton Springs Pool is fed from underground water and is a refreshing 68 degrees year-round (on average). With the beautiful trees, cold and clear water, and diving board, this is certainly a favorite among Austinites! Bring a mask and snorkel to explore all the fish life.  Moss makes the bottom a bit slippery for young children and non-swimmers. Note nominal charge for admittance.

Location: Located in Zilker Park, 2201 Barton Springs, Austin, TX 78704

Hamilton Pool

Formed by thousands of years of water erosion, Hamilton Pool is one of the most unique swimming and hiking destinations in the Austin area. Hamilton Pool is located 23 miles west of Austin and features a 50-foot waterfall, picnic tables, hiking trails, and restrooms. Reservations are now required to enter Hamilton Pool from May 1, 2017, to September 30, 2017 – click here to reserve your entrance to the pool.

Location: 24300 Hamilton Pool Rd., Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Lady Bird Lake

Running directly through downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake is an outdoor haven for all walks of Austin residents. Austinites love to use the 10-mile trail around the lake to get their daily exercise. In the summer months, rent kayaks, canoes, or paddle boards to enjoy life on the lake with unbeatable views of the Austin skyline.


North Austin Neighborhood Pools and Splash Pads

  • Bailey Splash Pad
    • 1101 W. 33rd Street
  • Balcones Neighborhood Pool
    • 12017 Amherst Drive
  • Brentwood Neighborhood Pool
    • 6710 Arroyo Seco
  • Canyon Vista Neighborhood Pool
    • 8455 Spicewood Springs
  • Kennemer Neighborhood Pool
    • 1032 Payton Gin Road
  • Murchison Neighborhood Pool
    • 3700 North Hills Drive
  • Northwest (Beverley S. Sheffield) Municipal Pool
    • 7000 Ardath Street
  • Springwoods Municipal Pool
    • 13320 Lyndhurst Street
  • Walnut Creek Municipal Pool
    • 12138 N. Lamar Blvd.

Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown and Round Rock Public Pools

  • Block House Swimming Pool Apac
    • 3100 N Blockhouse Dr., Leander, TX 78641
  • Elizabeth Milburn Park and Pool
    • 1901 Sun Chase Blvd., Cedar Park, TX 78613
  • Sendero Springs Pool
    • 4203 Pasada Ln., Round Rock, TX 78681
  • Creekside Park & Pool
    • 4300 Brushy Creek Rd., Round Rock, TX 78681
  • River Ridge Pool
    • 414 S Ridge Circle, Georgetown, TX 78628
  • Lake Creek Pool
    • 800 Deerfoot Drive, Round Rock, TX 78664
  • Cat Hollow Pool
    • 8600 O’Connor Drive, Round Rock, TX 78681
  • Veteran’s Memorial Pool
    • 2525 W New Hope Drive, Cedar Park, TX 78613

For a crisp and refreshing summer, dive into any one of these Austin swimming holes. And, don’t forget the sunscreen, sunglasses, and refreshments! Happy summer to all!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? Give me a call; I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about this great community!

How to Explore Neighborhoods with Social Media

May 25th, 2017

Exploring a city can be difficult when you don’t live there, or even when you do live there. If you’re looking for an easier way; you’re in luck! The following social media features, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the iPhone Maps app, are all available to help you learn more about the city you are moving to or the city in which you already live. Take a look at how to explore neighborhoods with social media:

  1. Facebook’s secret feature: City Guides

It turns out, Facebook’s City Guides feature, intended as a travel planning resource, can be used to learn more about the city you live in, or are looking to move to. Simply search for a city (currently only 20 cities in America), and then explore each category (restaurants, nightlife, cafes, parks, attractions, etc.). Lucky for us, Facebook has already created a City Guide for the Austin, TX, area. Go in and take a peek! You can explore where your friends in the area go, or you can go straight to the section called “Places the locals go” to get a good feel for the area and places you should try now, or when you move to the city.

How to find it: On your mobile app, click on the bottom right button and look for City Guides in the menu. This feature is extremely new, so make sure to install the latest version before looking.

explore neighborhoods with social media

  1. Instagram’s secret feature: Places tab

While the Facebook City Guides feature is used to explore the city as a whole, the Instagram Places tab can be used to search through particular neighborhoods. Simply search the neighborhood, city, or area you live in, or want to live in, and the Places tab (located to the far right, after a search) will collect all the recent snapshots from users geotagged by location. This tab will allow you to explore what is happening right now in that area – as well as where people who live in that area, or visit it, like to go to eat, drink, etc.

How to find it: The Places tab is located to the far right, once you have typed in your search. Simply search for the neighborhood and then click on the Places tab to begin exploring the area!

explore neighborhoods with social media

  1. Twitter’s secret feature: Advanced search

Twitter’s secret feature is the advanced search. How do you use it? Simply go on your computer, type in a location on the search tab, and then hit the advanced search option. This will allow you to customize your search. Once customized, hit search, and start exploring all the local blogs, news sources, and influencers in the area. These people, photos, or news are all located within 15 miles of your location, making them hyper-local.

How to find it: On the computer, simply search for an area, and once searched, click on the advanced search feature.

explore neighborhoods with social media

  1. iPhone Map App: Flyover feature

Do you want to get an overall feel for a city? There’s an app for that! The flyover feature, located on the iPhone map app, shows you an overall view of an entire city. However, this feature is not available for every area of the United States. How do you know if it is available? There are two ways: one, simply scroll over the city and see if there is a “3D” option, as shown below; or two, search for the city and see if there is a “flyover tour” button available, as shown below as well. Once clicked on, the flyover feature will take you on a flyover tour of the city. This tour points out the major attractions, while also giving you a good feel of what the city looks like.

How to find it: On your iPhone, go into the Maps app and look for either a “flyover tour” button or a “3D” button over the city.

explore neighborhoods with social media


Do you have any questions about the Austin area? Give me a call; I would be happy to help you get to know the city!



Memorial Day 2017 – Austin, TX

May 22nd, 2017

Every Memorial Day, we take the time to remember the men and women who died in America’s armed forces. Whether you choose to spend the day with family, at an event in the Austin area, at a cookout with friends or floating down the river, keep in mind that this day off, from work or school, is dedicated to remembering the brave men and women who died serving our country.

memorial day


What events are going on around the Austin area? Take a look:


Poolside Cookout at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa

May 27-28 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with Pool Cabana Menu

Pool Cabana Menu: cheeseburger, Coach Royal, hot dog, kid’s burger sliders, cookies, brownies, and chips.

Poolside Cookout includes the above grill items, plus miniature golf tournaments, dive-in movies, live music and more.


Red, White & Blues On The Falls – Ft. JP Harris, Luke Winslow King, Motel Radio & More

Cypress Falls Event Center

Sunday, May 28 at 1 p.m.

Tickets: $16 (Early Bird), $21 (At the Door), Children 8 and under are FREE

Float, swim, and relax on Cypress Creek while jamming out to live music! Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.


Memorial Day Splash & Bash

Zip Lost Pines

Monday, May 29 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FREE Entry (pay for food and activities)

Enjoy a full day of food, face painting, games, arts n’ crafts, snow cones, water slides and other attractions. Active Duty and Veterans will receive special discounts for our FULL zip tour. The event is BYOB.


Memorial Day Brunch

Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden

May 28-29 at 11 a.m.

Brunch includes the following: bacon steak, freedom toast, Banger’s bennies and more!


The Hell Yes Project Olympics & Memorial Day Party


Monday, May 29 at 12 p.m.

Come on out for food, beer, music, and sports! The Olympics start at 3 p.m., with karaoke to follow, where you get to place your vote for the best performance!


Memorial Day Weekend Pig Roast

Duchman Family Winery, Driftwood

Sunday, May 28th from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event features live music and a roasted pig buffet. $35.00 per person, price includes pig roast buffet ticket and one wine glass ticket (advanced ticket purchase required).


Do you know of any Memorial Day events in Austin that didn’t make the list? Let me know – I would love to add it to my list in the future.

We wish you a happy and fun Memorial Day!

Do you have any questions about the Austin area? I love this great city and would be happy to answer any questions you may have. Give me a call anytime.