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MY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: My wife and I are expecting our fourth child!! - 09/30/08 05:13 PM
I have been waiting to write this post for some time now, and I mulled over the headline for a long time. Ultimately, I decided not to try to get too cute with the title. Instead, I thought the direct route made more sense for my friends and acquaintances who would be interested to hear this terrific Crouch family news. I have been anxious to announce this for awhile, but I wanted to wait until we were a bit further along with the pregnancy. Pam, my wife, had her second obstetrician appointment today, and the baby is growing normally and doing (124 comments)
Why You Need to Have a Working Understanding of the Olfactory Sense as a Home Seller - 09/29/08 10:30 AM
I remember doing a paper in college about the olfactory sense, which is the technical name for our sense of smell. The olfactory sense is generally believed to be the most closely linked to your memory, and it is some 10,000 times stronger than your sense of taste. Also, certain scents will produce a highly emotional reaction. You can probably think of at least one perfume or cologne that reminds you of someone in your past. Why is this important to real estate? Well, allow me to explain, if you will (and I guess even if you won't). I have probably shown several (37 comments)
An Open Letter to the Applicant Who Emailed Me Recently - 09/28/08 05:38 PM
Dear Potential Applicant, I was excited when I received your resume and email that day. You had the right kind of experience, although you were new to real estate. You had years of sales, great references (although I didn't get a chance to call them), and you offered something special that I was looking for on our team: you were bilingual. All in all, I was really looking forward to meeting with you. So what went wrong? It's simple really. I called you within minutes of reviewing your credentials. I followed my call with a quick and friendly email to make (50 comments)
I have loved the Stone Canyon neighborhood for years, having assisted many buyers and sellers in the area. We have some very good friends in this subdivision, and I always enjoy getting a chance to visit the area parks and trails with our kids. One of the agents who works for our company has lived there for eight years, and she knows the area inside and out. Located just off of Highway 620 next to the Round Rock Medical Center, it offers strong amenities, natural beauty, and high-quality homes. Currently, there are 27 homes available on the MLS in Stone Canyon, (0 comments)
First-Time Home Buyers - New Tax Credit Explained - Austin, Texas - 09/27/08 12:24 PM
As you may have heard, on July 30th, 2008 President Bush signed into law the Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008 in order to help stimulate the economy. Among other items in the bill, Congress created a new home buyer tax credit. The Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008 authorizes a $7,500 tax credit (which is better than a deduction!) for qualified buyers purchasing homes during the period from April 9, 2008 until June 30, 2009. If you recently closed on a home (i.e. on or after April 9th, 2008), this is also available retroactively for you. The tax credit (9 comments)
"Ahem...Excuse Me! Are you even listening to me?" One of your most important sales skills - 09/25/08 11:38 PM
Before you decide to skim this post which may appear at first glance to merely be a story about a local restaurant, please know that it has a valuable real estate message. I took my family to Red Lobster on Sunday after church. As always, the food was great, but the service was not exactly perfect. For some reason, I have noticed a disturbing trend these days with wait staff - they DON'T WRITE STUFF DOWN. Is this supposed to impress me somehow? "Wow, honey, did you notice that the guy didn't write down any of our complicated order? I mean, (49 comments)
How ActiveRain's Re-Blogging Can Help Us All! A basic SEO concept that I finally appreciate now - 09/24/08 07:57 PM
Not too long ago, ActiveRain launched the "Re-Blog" feature, which allows members to designate posts that they will allow others to post on their own blogs. I have been fortunate enough to have had about 8-10 of my posts re-blogged since this was launched. Each time this happens, I get an additional 25 points, which is great, but there is a much larger benefit at play here. At first, I found this to be flattering, but I didn't really consider all of the SEO benefits, even though I have been studying SEO and optimizing my own site for the search engines since (53 comments)
Sonoma is a terrific neighborhood located in east Round Rock, just off Gattis School Road. With two theme pools, two lakes, and a playground area, Sonoma is also located adjacent to the Round Rock hike-and-bike trail system. It was awarded the prestigious MAX Award for "Best Overall Community" a few years ago. Currently, there are 36 homes available on the MLS in Sonoma, with an average asking price of $250,730. The average square footage for these homes is 2,791, for an average price per square foot of $90.54. This is a drop of about $2/square foot from the previous quarter, and (0 comments)
Austin Texas Listing Agents - We Can Handle It! - 09/24/08 03:44 PM
I am often asked about which areas our company covers with regard to listing properties. The short answer is that we handle the entire Austin metro area and beyond in about 30 minutes in each direction. The long answer is that we are able to assist you in any of the following areas (not broken down into neighborhoods - if your neighborhood is in one of these towns, we can likely help): Austin Round Rock Pflugerville Cedar Park Leander Georgetown Liberty Hill Rollingwood Westlake Hills Spicewood Lakeway Volente Lago Vista Jonestown Manchaca Dripping Springs Driftwood Wimberley Bastrop Buda Kyle Manor Elgin (7 comments)
Please say a prayer for Elizabeth Ramsey Cooper-Golden's Mother Tonight - 09/23/08 11:44 PM
I saw this post in the Family Ties group from Elizabeth Ramsey Cooper-Golden, and I wanted to help her to spread the word. This is my first attempt at re-blogging. I was reminded of my grandparents when I read Elizabeth's description of her mom and dad. Please take a minute to read Elizabeth's post, and pray for her and her mom, who (as you will see below) is undergoing a high-risk intestinal surgery in the morning. Thanks for your time!
Via Huntsville, Alabama Real Estate Agent Elizabeth Ramsey Cooper-Golden: Here I sit, in Nashville with my Mother. She was brought to (13 comments)
In a report that was just released via MSN's Real Estate portal, Austin ranked #10 on the list of "66 Cities Where Buying Makes Sense". Not surprisingly, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and McAllen, Texas also made the top ten! The study was conducted to determine whether it is a better financial move today to rent a two-bedroom apartment or to purchase a low-priced home. According to the published estimates, if you purchase an affordable home in the Austin-Round Rock area, you will have substantial equity in four years' time. The article alludes to the fact that home ownership is (15 comments)
ActiveRain 101 - A Wealth of Tips for Newbies and Veterans Alike - 09/22/08 11:52 AM
This may not be new ground for most veteran members, but if you are new to the site, you will probably find this information very helpful. I first started blogging back in 2004 on another website, although it was not for business at all. Rather, it was just an assortment of personal stories and opinions. I guess not all that much has changed since then - I still write plenty of personal posts here on ActiveRain. I rarely wrote anything over there, but I have made a habit/hobby out of writing since joining AR.
JUST TO CLARIFY... BLOG vs. POST - (201 comments)
Our Family Trip to the Houston Zoo (with photos) - 09/20/08 04:56 PM
This is the final "installment" of my family trip photos from our recent visit to Houston (pre-hurricane). We spent our last day at the Houston Zoo, which was a lot of fun for the whole family. Unfortunately, the last time I went there, my cell phone was stolen from my van, so if you visit, I would encourage you to lock your doors. The zoo is located on the southern edge of downtown, across from Rice University, in Hermann Park. Here's their website if you are interested in checking it out for yourself: http://www.houstonzoo.org/.
Here's a self-portrait of sorts with (33 comments)
Falcon Pointe is a 700-acre master-planned community in the fast-growing Pflugerville area. As the largest master-planned community in Pflugerville, Falcon Pointe offers homes priced from the $170,000s to $300,000s by leading builders, along with a popular Residents' Club, parks and greenbelt trails. Falcon Pointe is home to three on-site schools, all part of the highly acclaimed Pflugerville Independent School District. Currently, there are 35 new and resale homes available in the Austin MLS in the Falcon Pointe area, with an average asking price of $257,481. The average square footage for these homes is 2,967, for an average price per square foot of $88.01. Presently, (1 comments)
Reading and writing - A couple of tips and random thoughts - 09/19/08 06:07 PM
One of my favorite hangouts with my wife is Half Price Books, or basically any used bookstore with a good selection. I have enjoyed reading for my entire life, and I have (thankfully) instilled this love of learning and reading in my own children, who are homeschooled. I actually learned to read at age two (true story). My mom took me to see my grandmother in Corpus Christi for a visit around Christmas 1972. I was two and several months old. My mom said, "Jason can read now." Of course, my grandmother scoffed at the notion: "He has probably memorized the (32 comments)
Some People Just Have a Knack for Making Lemons out of Lemonade (not a typo) - 09/18/08 06:35 PM
I have a friend who, for the sake of this post, I am going to call Ted. I don't actually know any Teds, so we should be safe using this name. I am sure you know someone like Ted. He's the kind of guy who manages to focus on the negative, no matter how well things are going for him. Also, he is certain to point out how badly YOUR business must be going, with the current economy: ME: Hey, Ted. How's it going today? TED: Pretty good. I guess you must be just about broke, what with the real estate market (108 comments)
Fairways of Blackhawk - Pflugerville Texas - Brief Market Analysis - Summer 2008 - 09/18/08 12:50 PM
As a six-year resident of the Blackhawk area and a 13-year resident of Pflugerville, I like to keep an eye on the market values here in the area. When the toll roads opened about a year ago, the prices started trending upward and they have continued to appreciate overall, although more slowly right now, with some tough economic factors at play. As a fellow homeowner in Blackhawk, this stuff is important to me, too!
Currently, there are 17 resale homes available on the MLS in the Fairways, with an average asking price of $256,210. The average square footage for these homes is (2 comments)
Meadows of Blackhawk - Pflugerville, Texas - Home Sales Report - Summer 2008 (June - August) - 09/18/08 12:12 PM
As a resident of Meadows of Blackhawk for almost six years now, I like to keep an eye on the market values here in our neighborhood. When the toll roads opened about a couple of years ago, the prices started trending upward and they have continued to appreciate for the most part, although things are selling more slowly at the moment. As a fellow homeowner, this stuff is important to me, too!
Currently, there are 19 homes available in the Meadows, with an average asking price of $223,851. The average square footage for these homes is 2,634, for an (0 comments)
Networking 101 - How to be the Most Popular Person in the Room - 09/17/08 02:08 AM
When I first started in real estate, I used to spend crazy amounts of money on print advertising. We tried it all, and then some! Newspapers, local magazines, national magazines, mailouts, and more. I felt like much of what I did in that initial year or two provided a quick education on which marketing truly works. If you want the most "bang for your buck", face-to-face networking is, in my opinion, the most effective single strategy that you can implement. The good news is that it doesn't have to cost you a cent. One small step that you can take is (120 comments)
Austin Texas New Homes - "Do you guys deal with brand-new homes, too?" - 09/16/08 04:23 PM
One of the more frequent battles that I encounter as a real estate broker is the fact that many members of the general public think that we are only licensed to sell resale homes, or that builders don't work with agents at all. It may surprise you to realize that a significant percentage of our sales are brand-new homes (at least 30-40% these days). If you are considering a new home purchase in Austin, you owe it to yourself to get an agent to represent you during this transaction. "But why? Can't I just do it myself?" The quick answer is (10 comments)
I am happy to report that the Austin/Round Rock metro area ranked #4 in the country on the Milken Institute's new list of the Best Performing Cities in the U.S. This is not really a big surprise to those of us who call Austin home. We appear to have weathered the tough times better than many other markets. This index rates cities using about 10 variables to determine the top metro areas for creating jobs and sustaining economic growth. Clearly, this is very good news for those of us who have made a career out of selling Austin real estate. (7 comments)
Sorry to seem a little bit uptight - My grammar rant - 09/13/08 11:14 PM
I was thinking about some phrases that I hear regularly from friends, acquaintances, and family members of mine, and I wanted to share a few observations. These are sort of pet peeves of mine, if you will. After you read this, you may think of me as a sort of grammar disciplinarian. I guess I'm okay with that. I was a raised by a former English teacher, and I was spelling bee champion in sixth grade. Sue me. If there is a chance that I can help someone who reads this to do a better job of communicating via the written (117 comments)
Our Family Trip to the Houston Downtown Aquarium (with photos) - 09/13/08 05:42 PM
I am finally getting around to posting more of the pictures from our recent trip to Houston. This was our day at the city aquarium downtown. Following last night's hurricane which blasted the area there, I sincerely hope that this facility was unharmed, and I hope the staff and animals are safe, too. Now, on to the fun stuff! I wouldn't honestly be surprised if at least one of my kids ends up being a marine biologist. They ALWAYS ask to go to the city aquarium when we travel out of Austin, and this recent trip was no different.
Here's Pam (18 comments)
Austin Texas Luxury Homes - There are lots of options! - 09/13/08 05:05 PM
Whether you are looking for a classic estate in the heart of the city, or a Texas-sized ranch, Austin has it all! The central Texas area has much to offer if you are looking for a luxury property. Granted, if you are looking for a beachfront bungalow or a mountain cabin, we don't have those here. However, we do have some prime waterfront homes and some pretty big hills to the west of town! This article really just skims the surface. For more information, feel free to call me anytime. So, what are the most popular homes selling in the $1 (7 comments)
Hurricane Ike Had no Discernible Impact Here in Austin - 09/13/08 02:04 PM
First of all, I would like to thank everyone here in the ActiveRain community who emailed, called, and commented about your concerns with regard to Hurricane Ike. For those of you who are out-of-state, Austin is located inland by several hours, although they were predicting thunderstorms and heavy rains here. Instead, we got a small amount of rain and some moderate gusts of wind, but nothing enough to cause any damage. We were more worried about my in-laws in Pearland (located south and east of Houston - about 15 miles or so from Galveston Bay). They decided to stay and ride it out (21 comments)
Georgetown, Texas Church - Come Visit Christ Church PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) - 09/12/08 12:19 AM
I am excited to announce that there is a new church that we have formed in Georgetown, Texas. Not long ago, we decided to become involved in a new church plant with the associate pastor from our previous church. I knew that he would eventually have his own congregation, and I feel blessed that it ended up being close enough to our home that we could participate. Whit Anderson is a terrific teacher, and having spent the past year in a great discipleship group with him, he is a loyal friend as well. I look forward to watching the church blossom and (16 comments)
Real Estate 101 - Consistent Marketing Will Equal Results - 09/11/08 05:24 PM
Almost since the onset of my real estate career, I have focused most of my efforts toward online marketing. We launched our Austin real estate website in 1998, and it has undergone a number of re-designs since then, including a completely new look in May of this year. When I am speaking with agents who work for our company, I hear a wide variety of marketing and advertising ideas and questions from them. One of the most common questions that I get when I hear a new idea is, "Do you think it will work?" My response is almost always the (85 comments)
Inspired by Heroes - My Grandpa - 09/10/08 09:54 PM
This month, for our Inspired by Song! group contest, the theme is "Inspired by Heroes". It is appropriate in light of the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks tomorrow. For me, September 10th has a very special significance as well. You see, today was my grandfather's birthday. He passed away over nine years ago, but he would have been 103 years old today. I wrote a post about him almost one year ago called "What Makes a Man a Real Man? Lessons from my Grandpa" that I would like to share again here, in its entirety. After that, I wrote about the (27 comments)
Time Capsules - Are You Making One, Too? - 09/09/08 10:23 PM
When I was a kid, I used to visit my grandmother in Corpus Christi pretty much every summer. I would spend a couple of weeks at her house, and I got to meet all of her church and bridge-playing friends. You know, pretty much every kid's dream, right? Actually, her friends were always so intently interested in me that it was fun for the most part. One of them, Leon Braskamp, used to take me swimming at the pool at Del Mar College. Even then, he struck me as very serious, but he treated me like a king. Once, when I (36 comments)
A Couple of Reasons I Enjoy Being a Dad - 09/08/08 10:37 AM
I have written a good number of posts about my kids and their sense of humor and unique wisdom. Over the past couple of weeks, each of them has had a memorable quote or two that I wanted to share with you.
We were watching the 1982 musical "Annie" with the kids the other night. We have this new device that Netflix sells that allows us to select movies online and stream them directly to the TV in our media room. I was browsing for something that we could all watch, and my wife spotted it and thought the kids (32 comments)
Lake Pflugerville is Getting a New Park and Pavillion - 09/07/08 10:41 PM
By the summer of 2009, Lake Pflugerville is set to receive a number of improvements, to the tune of $800,000. Included in the project will be a park on the north shore, gravel beach, pavilion, two covered and lighted picnic tables, a boat ramp, boat rentals and additional parking. Yes, that is an actual picture of the lake to the right. Thankfully for those of us who pay taxes in this area, this money will not be coming from the city itself. Instead, the funds will come from a number of sources, including the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority), the Pflugerville (12 comments)
Is YOUR name synonymous with anything in particular? Can you change that? - 09/06/08 12:38 AM
We have a LOT of gadgets around our house: DVRs, multiple video game systems, PDAs, digital cameras, five computers (two desktops, three notebooks), three flat-panel LCD TV's, and so on. I was just looking at my Netflix list a few minutes ago, and I realized that there are a litany of new words in our national lexicon that didn't even exist ten years ago: Let's Google it! Tivo that show! Netflix that movie! I realized how funny it would seem to my children that these words weren't around when I was a kid. Brand names becoming verbs. Much like Kleenex and (45 comments)
Southwest Austin Zip Code is #2 for "Places Where Homes are Selling the Fastest" in the Country! - 09/05/08 11:23 PM
According to a report from Business Week magazine which was released today, Austin real estate has not suffered the same ill effects that have plagued many markets around the U.S. The zip code 78749 placed SECOND (behind Sunnyvale, CA) for the lowest number of days on the market, at 68 days. The article contains the following statement: Austin has the University of Texas, plenty of high-tech jobs, and one of the most vibrant rock music scenes in the world. The real estate market is one of the nation's real estate bright spots. As a 20-year resident of Austin and a 12-year veteran (9 comments)
Stone Hill Town Center - Pflugerville, Texas Shopping - UPDATE! - 09/04/08 09:46 PM
I noticed a few days ago that they began vertical construction (i.e. walls) for what appears to be the new Super Target within Stone Hill Town Center in Pflugerville. Since I live about 1.5 miles from this soon-to-be shopping center, my wife and I are anxiously awaiting its grand opening. I found the rendering on the left on the website for the developer, New Quest Properties. Currently, the only store completed and open is Home Depot, but it looks like that will probably change in the near future. There is a free-standing retail building on the eastern edge of the (giant) parking (24 comments)
Transported by Song - My Freshman Year of College - 09/02/08 11:54 AM
I realized a few days ago how long it had been since I wrote a post strictly for fun, much like this one that I was challenged to write by Paul Slaybaugh back in November: He Just Smiled and Gave Me a Vegemite Sandwich This one is along the lines of the post I wrote about meeting my wife: Songs from the Night I Met My Wife - A Tribute And this one about the summer of that same year: 1988 - Memories and Music I realize this post is long, but these are memories, people! I attended Southwestern (44 comments)
Wii Fit - A Good Trainer? - 09/01/08 07:13 PM
We have been the proud owners of a Nintendo Wii for the past year and a half or so. It was actually given to me by a friend of mine who thought we would get more use out of it, since we have three kids. He was right, of course. All of our video game systems get a pretty good workout, since I like using them sometimes, too! The Wii is cool in and of itself, and I mastered many of the original Wii Sports games, including tennis, golf, and baseball. The boxing game provided a pretty decent workout, which is (28 comments)
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.