Ashton Woods Homes Re-Starts Versante Canyon

Atlanta, Ga. based Ashton Woods Homes , has purchased  the foreclosed Versante Canyon Subdivision in North West Austin. Commuters on FM 620 no doubt have seen the new signs on the property advertising the Spring 2011 opening. Versante Canyon is a first-rate little in-fill project with 74 single family lots and 60 condominium lots.

Entry Gate Versante Canyon Homes

Located at the intersection of Boulder Lane and FM620, the gated subdivision lies adjacent to hundreds of acres of environmentally protected canyon lands. Subdivision amenities include a pool and a  3000 square foot club house with a  full kitchen, two bars, and a gym.

The builder is only now finalizing specific designs for the new product they’ll build so floor-plans are not available. Five of the original Villas are for sale and they will be looking for purchase offers perhaps as early as next week.

Versante Entry at FM 620

Go here to see a youtube video on the attached condos and here  to see a video on the detached Villas produced by the original developer.

Ashton Woods Homes plans to open their model, a 2000 square foot, one story, three bedroom, two bath-sometime within the next 90 days. There are likely going to be some super-premium canyon lots in Versante Canyon so home-buyers looking for views or canyon side living need to act quickly to secure a once in a lifetime lot opportunity.

 To arrange your personal tour of the subdivision or any of the finished product on the ground for sale contact me.

“…put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

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Austin Ranked #2 By Builder Online

Builder Online Magazine ranked our market #2 for 2011 in an article posted March 3rd. Austin dropped a notch from number one in 2010 but still edged out all other Texas housing markets this year.

Builder Online Magazine maintains a huge information rich website which is aimed more toward the building industry. Nevertheless there is a ton of useful information on the website for non-industry insiders.

In Northwest Austin where housing stock is aging, homeowners needing to up-grade existing homes would be well advised to book mark Builders On Line Magazine to look for emerging design trends for kitchen and bath make-overs, the hottest new color schemes or green building trends and more!

If you have been considering making a  real estate move contact me for all the latest buying and selling information and opportunities.


“…Put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

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The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC) aka Freddie Mac, has a duplex for sale in North West Austin and I like this deal for owner-occupants and small investors alike.

Pricing And Location

Freddie Mac listed this a little over two months ago for 204K dropped the price to 199K a couple of weeks ago and just dropped the price again to 189K! The bed/bath configuration on this two-story building is 3-2-(1/2)-/2-1-(1/2) with a one car garage on either side. Its located in the Round Rock Independent School District east of HWY 183 on a quiet duplex-lined, residential street .


FHA qualified owner-occupants can get a mortgage for a little as 3.5% (cash investment). An investor has to obtain conforming financing which requires at least 20% down and cash reserves. Still, with rents as strong as they are in the 78729 zip code this duplex makes sense for the investor.

Warranty is Security

These large, institutional owners have a strong motivation to sell and on this property Freddie Mac offers its 2-Year Home Protect Warranty which covers: HVAC, plumbing, electrical, water heater and the list goes on. Owners can even get up to 30% discounts on major appliances through the Home Protect Warranty!

Leases In The Neighborhood

Monthly lease rates in the area are solid with one-year leases on a 2-2 at $795 and on a 3-2 at $900. Since the first of the year, time on market for leases through MLS are short: less than a month across the board and tenants for this neighborhood should be well qualified.

Property Condition

It looks like ‘Freddie’ put a few bucks into this building cleaning it up for the market.  The property has three or four mature trees and the fences are in very good condition.  I think it may need a bit more attention to get the place into top rental form and I can cover those details with any interested buyer when we go see it.

For additional information contact me:


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Sellers: Prepare For a Hotter Market

Staying abreast of available inventory is a critical aspect of my work representing buyers and sellers. Sellers need to understand that I know the competition for their homes and buyers


rely on my market knowledge to assure them that they are looking only at those homes which fulfill their wants and needs. To familiarize myself with the inventory of homes for sale I’ll often go out and visit open houses and that’s what I did with a few spare hours Sunday.

Buyers were out in force…and that is exciting! The signs of a vibrant market-place is truly a beautiful sight to behold especially when you consider how difficult its been for people since the economic melt-down of 2008! Every home I visited had groups of interested buyers mulling alternatives and you could see the “wheels turning”. These were some serious shoppers!

For sellers considering putting their home on the market its vitally important to be able to put themselves into the shoes of a buyer looking for his or her “dream home”.  So much has been written on the how to’s…the mechanics of preparing your home for the market… that I really don’t think I could add to the ‘canon’  and bring much of  great significance to the art and science. That’s another blog for another day but I was reminded nevertheless that there is a deep psychology at work and sellers should understand that buyers need to feel that they are getting value. Sellers can command top dollar for their home in any market if they simply understand that a buyer really wants that next one” they see to be “The One” they love!

Nothing says, “I love this house”, more than a home that is properly readied for sale. First impressions are critical but perhaps more important is the un-spoken signal a seller sends by having that home “market-ready”. Buyers in any market are far less likely to make low offers on homes which display a high level of pride of ownership. It’s a subtle message to  prospective buyers and says, “…if you like this one then there is going to be competition for it from others who like it as much…”. That is the ideal position for a seller to be in because it eliminates uncertainty in the buyers’ mind and keeps both parties moving together toward an agreement on value…which is, after all, what everybody wants anyway!

For more information about how best to prepare your home for the market contact me.

“Put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

visit my website:

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New Condo Project in NW Austin: Colina Vista

Colina Vista Condominiums

Colina Vista Model

Austin home buyers looking to purchase a new, up-scale, luxury condo should look no further than Colina Vista, D.R. Horton home builder’s new 146 unit duplex-style, condominium community in NW Austin. Colina Vista  sits atop the highest point in Travis County (adjacent to 3M) on a 33 acre site just off FM2222  and affords dramatic distant (Austin urban skyline) and canyon views from select canyon-side units!

Take Advantage of DR Horton Buyer Incentives Now

Colina Vista Model

Current builder incentives can lower the price of an available

condominium unit from $25,000 to $35,000. There are twenty five spec units under construction: thirteen of those complete and twelve in either the slab or the frame stage. Prices start at $270,000 with the maximum builder incentive and run to $345,000 with those same incentives. Canyon side units of course are premium and the price reflects that fact. They start at $330,000.

Leander Independent School District (LISD)

Colina Vista is served by the Leander ISD and is literally adjacent to LISD’s incredible new facilities: Four Points Middle School and Vandergrift High School . The elementary school serving Colina Vista is River Place Elementary in nearby River Place Subdivision.

Living Room

HOA/Taxes/Utilities/Emergency Services

HOA dues are estimated at this time to be $175.00 per month and projected property tax rates for Colina Vista  are 2.4267 (per $100). Electric, water, waste water and trash collection will be provided by City Of Austin, natural gas by Texas Gas Service, ATT&T (phone/internet) and Time Warner provides cable. Emergency fire and police services will be provided by City Of Austin.

Breakfast Area Model

Shopping and Recreation

Colina Vista is located only minutes from Four Points Shopping Center at  the intersection of FM2222 and FM620 where shoppers will find a large HEB supermarket, Starbucks Coffee, area bank branches and drug stores. Colina Vista lies between Lake Travis and Lake Austin and just minutes to the various public boat ramps, marinas and parks at both area lakes. Public and private golf courses at river Place and Steiner Ranch are just minutes away!

 Commuting To Work Or Play?





Game Room 2-Story Unit


Commute times to downtown Austin restaurants, hotels and live music venues is about 20 minutes (non-peak drive time). Peak commute times to major employers vary but traffic improvements and toll roads make Dell Computers in Round Rock very manageable or University Of Texas within the 20-25 minute range.

Interested in your personal tour of Colina Vista? Call me and I’ll show you how convenient and enjoyable living in this part of NW Austin can be!


“…put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

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Sparring is Optional!

Looking for a fun, safe and family friendly atmosphere to  learn a little self-defense or shed a few pounds before summer? Go to John’s Gym ATX located in the Shops At Volente just south of the intersection of Anderson Mill Road and FM 620 across from the HEB.

Johns Gym ATX which opened last November is the newest addition to Northwest Austin’s fitness community. Visit John’s Gym on a typical week-day evening after work and you’ll witness a swirl of healthy activities: kids in martial arts classes, women and girls learning how to throw a punch, a couple of guys in the ring sparring…all under the watchful eye of one of the gym’s professional trainers.

Pink Gloves Boxing

A women’s only, small group, training program based on the workouts of boxers is a sure way to learn some solid self-defense basics, sweat away the work-day stress or get into the best shape of your life!   

Sport-Specific Training

Teens can train off-season for their competitive sport. Boxing or one of the many “fighting disciplines” taught at Johns Gym ATX are all excellent for foot-work technique and core body strength and balance.

Want more information? Go here.


Visit my website at:

“…Put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

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Free Webtool: City Of Austin GIS Viewer

The City of Austin offers a free on-line webtool called a GIS viewer. GIS is an acronym  for Geographic Information System. Basically this is a really huge data base of real estate and


development related information. If you want to see it go here to the home page for the City of Austin. At the top right of the page is a drop down menu titled “select a map” and halfway down the list you’ll see GIS. When you click it a “disclaimer page” comes up and you’ll have to know at this point whether your computer can handle it. Scroll down the page and acknowledge.

When you do that another page will open and you’ll see a scaled map version of Austin and this is where the fun begins. Put your cursor on any point on the map (your neighborhood for instance) and the map will zoom in. Each subsequent click doubles the zoom-in rate. On the right side of the map page is a “layers” menu. Scroll down to see what over-lays you want to add. You can ask for: lot, flood plain, color images, zoning etc. On the left side of the page is an additional menu entitled “development tools”.  TCAD, for example, will show you ownership records.

The last item I’ll mention is the “pan” feature located on the  bottom left in the tools menu. Hint: do not move the (cross) off the page!

Austin Skyline

Since this is just a blog post I can’t go into much more detail but if you enjoy playing around with something like this until you learn it you are going to be amazed at the stuff you can find.  A valuable tip is that you have to learn to use the “refresh map” located at the top right. Here is an example of how the refresh is used: if you want to change any overlay for more data or less data you have to hit refresh map before any change in information is made by the GIS System.

I use this a lot and since I had to figure it all out myself and I am not a technical writer this is the best I can do. I will however, make myself available to you any time to assist in helping to find something of interest or importance… a new development being started in your area, say, or a who-is-doing-what kind of question. If you are active in your neighborhood association you’ll find this a tremendous help in your research and preparation for meetings and…your friends will be amazed at the kind of stuff you know! Remember though: information is power.  So be nice!!!

“…Put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

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My Professional Work Philosophy

Negotiating your real estate transaction

Buying or selling real estate is a complex matter and most often


requires intense negotiating between participating parties. Ask yourself: who would I rather have in my corner, a mature, seasoned, experienced and tough negotiator or a novice agent working on his or her first real estate transactions? Someone with as much experience in the many aspects of the real estate business as me can often judge motivations simply by looking at how a purchase offer or counter offer is formulated. How buyer’s or seller’s respond to the  various contractual exigencies in the purchase contract, for example, can “tell” a lot about motivations. I subscribe to the win-win school of negotiating. I represent my clients’ best interests because those are always sacrosanct. However I do not practice law and buying or selling a property is not a “case” to be won or lost at any cost. People involved in purchasing or selling a property need the services of a real estate professional who understands what consumers of our services want most: simply to buy or sell a property. There are no losers. Everybody wins!

Hire Experience

Whether you are thinking about buying or selling your first property or your last property the best advice I could give you is to hire experience. Often, people aren’t comfortable establishing new relationships so they hire a friend or relative. That’s not always a bad thing, to be sure, but just as often it can lead to strained relationships since friends don’t always make for the best, professional, client/broker relationships. The primary advantage in working with me is my experience…I think of this as a historical perspective on the Austin market and a solid foundation as a result of doing many millions of dollars in transactions for my clients over the years. Experience can make the difference between winning and losing in the real estate buying and selling process. 

Real Estate is serious business. Work with a licensed Texas Real Estate Broker

You should also strongly consider working directly with a licensed broker when you are buying or selling. Having the Texas Broker designation requires more professional dedication, personal sacrifice and education. In my opinion, all real estate agents should strive for the Broker designation. You’re not going to hear that often enough in our business because of the many, large, corporate “players” who tend to dominate the world and they rely on economies of scale. I’m an individual, small office Broker and I answer first to my client and not some corporate higher authority.

Contact me: (512) 335-6100 or visit my website at:

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and traditionally Spring has been the beginning of the real estate buying season which generally runs through summer and the start of the new school year.

nowadays the vast majority of home-buyers start their home searches on-line where they can search available homes for sale and get all sorts of advice about the home buying process.  Searching online for your dream home or first home can be rewarding and enjoyable but it’s the “business end” of the process that is, arguably, most important. The single best piece of advice a prospective home-buyer can heed, especially in this day and age, is to get your mortgage together first. Find a good loan officer and get pre-approved for a mortgage.


Like the credit card ad goes, “…don’t leave home without it… !” So it’s ok to have fun shopping on-line but pre-approval for a mortgage is absolutely critical and should be the first step you take in what will be one of the more fun and rewarding experiences of your life. Do not over-look this in your excitement to get out there and physically visit homes for sale. The lending process today is far tougher on people than ever and home-buyers who are un-prepared face bitter disappointment when the home of their “dreams” slips through their fingers after they’ve paid earnest money, option fees, inspection fees, etc. 

Seasoned home-buyers know the importance of mortgage pre-approval, first time buyers may not. So whether you are looking to purchase your first home or your third, keep in mind that the mortgage process has radically changed and your mortgage provider is going to need far more information about your personal financial history before the process ends and you’re sitting at the closing table signing documents. If you need help finding a good loan officer I can point you in the right direction.

“…put my 22 years experience to work for you…”

Buying, selling or leasing? contact me at: (512) 335-6100 or visit my website at               

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Bookmark My New Website

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please visit my website at:

I can be reached via email at or at my office phone: 512-335-6100

Any positive feedback is welcome. If there is something you’d like to see there let me know in the comments section.


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