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This will probably be my sole "political" post, at least until 2012 - 10/31/08 11:30 PM
My wife and I decided to vote early again this year, and today was the final day for this in Travis County, where we live. We took all three kids with us, intending to just "knock it out" before lunch. However, when we arrived and saw the horrendous lines, we knew we would have to eat first, then return. When we came back, the lines were about the same, and we waited for exactly an hour to cast our votes, which was unprecedented, at least in my personal experience. While waiting, I struck up a 45-minute conversation with the guy behind (46 comments)
When I started on ActiveRain almost 16 months ago, I was surprised to find so many like-minded souls here. One of the first friends I made was Paul Slaybaugh, and although we never met in person before this past week, I had already come to consider him one of my best friends.
He's a good dad and dedicated husband, and he is one of the funniest people I know, with a crazy/wicked sense of humor. My conference calls with him and Adam Waldman often devolve into the type of laughter that I (75 comments)
This is Texas weather, right? - 10/29/08 09:43 PM
I have to admit that the fall came on a bit quicker than usual this year. In fact, we sometimes seem to skip fall altogether in this area. I have lived in Texas my entire life (born and raised in Dallas, lived in Austin for 20+ years now), and I've seen years that transition from late summer to winter with nothing in between. For those of you who prefer using the word "autumn" instead of "fall", I applaud this, because it shows a romantic/poetic side. In fact, maybe I should start trying to implement this into my everyday speech. I bet I could (30 comments)
Meeting Some ActiveRain Friends in Person for the First Time! - My Day at RE Barcamp (Houston) - 10/27/08 08:55 PM
As soon as I heard that RE Barcamp was coming to Houston, I was looking forward to attending. In case you haven't heard of Barcamp before (which I hadn't), it is essentially a real estate and social media conference. Actually, I heard it referred to as an "unconference", which is probably a better description. In essence, the agenda for the day is not set until everyone arrives. If you are attending and you want to lead a session, you can do this. What did I learn? First, I learned that Paul Chaney ("The Social Media Handyman") is clearly someone that I need to (96 comments)
Activerain Contest- How Are You Using Your Outside Blog to Create Business? - 10/27/08 11:48 AM
Jeremy Blanton, C Tann Starr, and I are serving as judges for a very cool new contest. Jeremy's post about it is below, in case you missed it: Via Jeremy Blanton Myrtle Beach Real Estate: It is Contest Time!!! A few months ago, Activerain launched the ability to have an outside domain name feed directly from your Activerain blog. Since then, many have set up their blog. So, with that in mind, here is the theme for the new contest: How are You Using Your Outside Domain for your Activerain Blog to Create Business? We want to know what you are doing with (7 comments)
I have been out of town for several days, having attended the RE Barcamp in Houston. Before I left, I wrote a post about leads that I have garnered from AR along with other social media sites: How I Managed to Receive Leads from ActiveRain, Twitter and Facebook! I told my wife jokingly that I need to travel more often, since that post gained me an additional 53 subscribers! I might need to go to Houston every month. :) At any rate, I promised the comments to write a post about how to automatically feed your AR blog to Facebook. (218 comments)
How I Managed to Receive Leads from ActiveRain, Twitter and Facebook! - 10/21/08 02:56 PM
I don't consider myself to be a social marketing guru (yet), but I do spend a little time each week on all of the top social media sites that I know about. Sometimes, it's just a few minutes per week. Obviously, I spend the majority of my online time right here on ActiveRain, but I have become more active on Twitter lately - both are highly addictive, in my humble opinion. Facebook also seems to have some interesting potential as a business tool, if used properly. I just wanted to take a minute to share some of my experiences with the (144 comments)
HousingPredictor.com names Austin #6 on its "Top 25 Markets" List - 10/20/08 10:58 PM
A good friend of mine in California emailed this story to me today. In yet another vote of confidence for the Austin, Texas real estate market, HousingPredictor.com has ranked Austin #6 on its list of Top 25 Appreciating Markets! I hadn't actually heard of this site before, but here's the description I found there for their service/research: "We examine more than 20 micro market characteristics in each market place, including income levels, employment trends and changes, school enrollment, business trends, regional political influences, real estate sales history and current housing market velocity. The factors are all considered to come up with (4 comments)
How to Syndicate Your Blog - Meet My Two Most Important Subscribers - 10/20/08 12:41 AM
A couple of weeks ago, I added Feedburner to the sidebar of my ActiveRain blog. If you aren't familiar with this service, it allows you to syndicate your blog via email without the requirement of a specific feed reader. In other words (simpler words), someone can sign up and receive all of your new "public" posts by email. My wife and mom were my first guinea pigs, and I signed up myself just to see the format, which I really like, since it seems to keep both the formatting and images intact. I have been watching the stats page at Feedburner, (79 comments)
Austin Home Buying - A Few Tips to Consider when Checking Neighborhoods - 10/19/08 11:06 PM
I had to run some errands earlier this evening and I went by to see a friend of mine briefly. He lives in a neighborhood that inspired this post, truth be known. When you are looking to buy a home, there are a few items which may not come to mind immediately, so I thought a short list of reminders might be helpful: STREET LIGHTS Does the area where you are purchasing have streetlights at all? How many? Are there any near the home you are specifically considering? My friend's house is in a neighborhood with ZERO streetlights, which makes evening (3 comments)
WANTED: One Sad and Bored-Looking Worker - 10/18/08 09:57 PM
Not that it matters, but this post has pretty much nothing to do with real estate. It's just something that bugs me, and I thought it warranted mentioning. Today, I was out with my family for awhile - we had lunch at a new Mexican restaurant, then went to Fry's Electronics to return a couple of items and buy better versions. "You get what you pay for" appears to still be alive and well with regard to electronics. Note to self: a $20 webcam may seem like a stellar and wise purchase, UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY USE IT. At any rate, when we were approaching (33 comments)
Rich Jacobson strongly recommended that I take my wife to see "Fireproof" a week or two ago. I think his actual words might have been, "I will slap you around when I see you in Houston later this month if you don't go." Fair enough - he thought it was worth seeing, so I took Pam to see it about a week ago. This film is about firefighters on the surface and in a couple of previews that I saw, but it is essentially a movie about faith, marriage, and relationships. Kirk Cameron stars as Caleb Holt, a firefighter (23 comments)
If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I lost one of my close friends, David Wilder, to throat and neck cancer at age 49 back in late March. I can't believe it's already been over six months since he died. As with most grief, it takes on a different feel after the passage of some time. In the interim, I have had some weeks when I could think of David and not feel the pain as sharply, but I don't think I have had many days pass without thinking of him at all. Yesterday, I (35 comments)
Austin, Texas Named #1 on List of Cities with "Best Bang for the Buck" in the U.S. - 10/16/08 04:05 PM
According to an article released on Forbes.com yesterday, Austin, Texas was named #1 on its list of cities around the U.S. with "Best Bang for the Buck". Not surprisingly, Texas managed to capture three of the top four spots, with San Antonio and Houston placing third and fourth, respectively. Dallas was 7th on the list. The picture to the right shows one of the least affordable areas of town, frankly, but it's a cool shot, and it gives some idea of the natural beauty that we have here. So what did they use to determine this list? Job Growth Projections Inflation (17 comments)
ActiveRain is Amazing! - Local Networking Pays Dividends - 10/15/08 10:22 PM
When I first started here on ActiveRain last August, I was hoping to become well-known enough to garner referrals from agents and brokers in other markets around the state and across the country. What I never bargained on was the chance that I could get referrals from other brokers right here in Austin. That changed for me recently. Back in early August, I met Russell Lewis in person for the first time. He called me to ask if I would have 15 minutes to spend with him at my office to answer some questions he had about ActiveRain. Two or three (54 comments)
East Austin Named #2 among Hottest Areas to Buy a Home in the U.S. - 10/15/08 09:46 PM
According to Business Week magazine, East Austin is one of the very best possible places to purchase a home in the United States. This one even managed to surprise me, and I have been selling homes in the Austin area since 1997. In the article they published a couple of weeks ago, Business Week made an interesting point: home prices tend to skyrocket in areas where artists buy and rent first. In other words, when artists flock to an area, it is generally because the prices are affordable (hence the term "starving artist", right?). After they have been there awhile, cool (10 comments)
Frugal Media - Cool New Used Book Store in Austin! (LOCALISM FEATURED) - 10/15/08 08:11 PM
I want to thank my friend Robin Scott for writing a post about Frugal Media yesterday. I even asked if I could steal her photos for this post, and she agreed. She is friends with the owners of this terrific new store, and since I am an admitted book addict, I was compelled to go check it out since I was in the area. Yes, I really was in the area, so it didn't even require a special trip. I don't have many vices, but books are something difficult for me to resist. I had to run an errand, and I (43 comments)
"How IS the Austin Real Estate Market these days?" - 10/14/08 12:07 AM
I get asked this question quite a bit. It comes from friends, acquaintances, clients, potential buyers, sellers, random strangers (well, maybe those those as much). Everyone wants to know how the market is doing. Last night, while I was at church, I was speaking to three people who seemed enthralled with my response to the following: "Jason, how's business for you? Is it pretty tough right now?" First, let me explain that I can't bring myself to use an easy canned response with the current economic climate. When things were truly great, I said so. Now that things are....well, less great, (27 comments)
Via Debra A. Brooks Lake Livingston Waterfront Specialist: Prayer vigil. Please pray for Melissa's daughter, Graycelyn. I just spoke to Melissa Grant and she is rushing her daughter, Gracelyn, to the hospital with 105.5 degree fever. I was speaking to Melissa about the economy and the future of Real Estate when her daughter came up to her and said, "mommy, I don't feel good". Melissa said we would talk again later . She (24 comments)
Another Gem in the Rain Returns ~ Julie Neerings - 10/12/08 10:33 PM
I saw this post from Gary Woltal earlier, and I thought it was definitely worthy of re-blogging. Julie is one of my favorite people, not just on ActiveRain, but in general. I highly recommend checking out her blog and saying "hi" or "welcome back!" if you have a chance. She is special indeed.
Via Gary Woltal - REALTOR® Dallas Ft. Worth : I may not know everything about Active Rain, having written and read blogs here for about a year now, but I do know people. Another gem in our midst who has a heart of gold who stepped away in (14 comments)
That's funny - I don't feel that organized! Showing homes requires preparation - 10/12/08 05:31 PM
We work with both home buyers and sellers throughout the Austin area. For many years now, the majority of our business has come from working with buyers, since much of our new business comes from the internet. Typically, I have found that those clients searching online are looking to buy, not looking for a listing agent. Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but this is my anecdotal experience. Often, while I am engaged in the showing process, I hear something along these lines from my clients: "Jason, I'm impressed. You are really organized. Thanks for preparing so thoroughly for our day (23 comments)
Don't you think that would be a good idea to include in the MLS remarks? - 10/12/08 04:32 PM
I showed four homes this afternoon in the Round Rock area. Thankfully, the buyers really liked the last one, so they may end up writing an offer very soon. We had just increased the price range about $20,000 in order to open it up a bit so that they would have more choices, since the initial round of properties were...less than desirable. One of the properties today was pretty exciting at first glance: Good price Great curb appeal Solid location Then, we started to notice some cracks in the otherwise perfect veneer. In this case, unfortunately, they were literal cracks - drywall (31 comments)
My Kids Still Rock! - 10/11/08 07:26 PM
This was a fun week around our house, although I guess most weeks here are pretty fun, come to think of it. My kids continue to amaze me. They make me laugh, they make me cry, and sometimes, they just make me think. Brandon remains one of the most naturally funny kids that I have ever met. Sometimes, it's a little like having a young Bill Murray around the house. In other words, he doesn't have to try very hard to make you crack up.
We were riding our bikes the other day as part of our regimen, and Brandon delivered (39 comments)
Round Rock Restaurant Review - Mimi's Cafe (near Premium Outlets) - 10/11/08 05:59 PM
Last weekend, my mom was in town, and we decided to head out for lunch. Since my wife is pregnant, it is sometimes hard to find places that sound appealing to her, but I suggested Mimi's, since she was in a salad and/or sandwich mood. We had been to the one in Austin a couple of times, and the kids seemed to enjoy the food. We arrived after "real" lunch time on a Saturday afternoon, probably around 2pm. My mom went in with our two older kids while I stayed with my wife and helped her unload our sleeping two year (5 comments)
What an interesting question to hear from a first-time buyer! - 10/11/08 09:46 AM
This afternoon, I was showing a handful of places to a couple who are looking to buy their first home. This was our first meeting, and things were going smoothly, although the homes themselves were in less-than-desirable condition because of the price range and the fact that all of them are either short sales or foreclosures. He turned to me as we were leaving the third house, and asked, "So, Jason, how long do you usually work with a client before giving up on them?" I have had this question posed to me in the past, but usually it comes from (76 comments)
Austin, Texas Home Prices Very Unlikely to Drop, Study Finds - 10/08/08 06:16 PM
According to an in-depth study conducted by PMI Mortgage Insurance Company and released this past week, the Austin-Round Rock metro area is very unlikely to see a drop in home prices over the next two years. Austin was ranked as one of about 14 metropolitan areas around the country with a less than 1% chance of prices dropping between now and 2010. In fact, Texas fared well statewide, with Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio also making this short, exclusive list of low-risk cities. With the continued barrage of negative national economic news, including the intense focus on the economy (17 comments)
Lower property tax rates are coming for Pflugerville! - 10/08/08 04:48 PM
Thanks to the rapid commercial growth occurring in the Pflugerville, Texas area, residents (me included) will continue to see property tax rates decreasing over the next 4-7 years. The Community Impact newspaper featured a story on this in their monthly printed edition, which is generally packed with valuable local information. I wrote a couple of recent posts about the largest developments, and the construction progress: Stone Hill Town Center - Pflugerville, Texas Shopping - UPDATE! Pflugerville, Texas is Getting Two New Shopping Centers! For years, Pflugerville has had one of the highest tax rates in the general Austin area, although they (5 comments)
Pflugerville Pfamily Pfestival & Expo - October 18, 2008 - 10/08/08 03:51 PM
If you want to know where to find me in the mid-day hours next Saturday, I will be attending the Pflugerville Pfamily Pfestival with my own "pfamily". It starts at 9am and runs until 3pm on the 18th, and it will be held on the grounds of Hill Country Bible Church at 303 E. Pflugerville Parkway. According to the press/ads that I have seen so far, it looks like fun. Here are some of the features I noted: Childrens' activities Classic car displays Door prizes Fire safety house - not sure what this entails exactly, but sounds interesting enough Food - always a (4 comments)
Sometimes I Miss the Old TV Commercials! - 10/04/08 12:37 PM
Let me preface this post by stating unequivocally I have watched entirely too much television in the course of my life. I have watched enough for me, and probably for you as well. I don't watch very much these days, although there are a few shows I don't miss, and I like watching NFL football. In today's age of Tivo (or your DVR of choice), Netflix, Roku, "on demand" cable and satellite services, it is very easy to avoid TV commercials. As a result, advertisers have found ways to make commercials more interesting, or funny, or eye-catching, so that you might actually take (30 comments)
One Small Way to Stand Out in a Sea of Agents - My Business Card - 10/04/08 01:21 AM
I was like a kid on Christmas morning today: my new business cards arrived! (Who am I kidding here? I still act and feel excited on Christmas day.) Since we had moved our office recently, I thought it might be a good idea to have the correct address on there just in case, right? Every time I get new cards or see new ads of mine, I feel like Steve Martin in "The Jerk": "This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now." (65 comments)
Avery Ranch Home for Sale - NEW LISTING! Just $189,990 - 10/03/08 11:21 PM
One of our agents just listed a home in Avery Ranch West today. This is one of the most popular neighborhoods in the Round Rock/Cedar Park areas. For more information on the community and its awesome golf course, visit: http://averyranch.com/. This home has some terrific features, including:
Built in 2005 3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths Greenbelt view Unique plan with Master Suite on first floor! Spacious & Flowing floorplan Limestone Exterior Front Porch Upgraded light fixtures & plumbing fixtures Laminate Wood Floors Covered Back Patio Neutral Colors Convenient Location to Parmer, Toll Roads, Hwy 183 and Retail and Restaraunts Galore! (7 comments)
Travis Heights - Downtown Austin Texas Neighborhood - Home Sales Trends - 2008 - 10/03/08 10:56 PM
Travis Heights is an eclectic and beautiful neighborhood nestled on the southern edge of downtown Austin, just across scenic Lady Bird Lake south of Riverside Drive. Located very near I-35, Barton Springs, Zilker Park (which is much like Austin's version of Central Park), and much more, this area offers unique homes, convenience, and a sense of community. The tree-lined streets have always reminded me of something straight out of a movie set. For the purposes of this post, I compiled data from the Austin MLS system to give you some idea of how briskly homes are selling in Travis Heights, and (1 comments)
Marathon Kids Kicks Off in Austin Tomorrow! - 10/03/08 10:31 PM
I have written before about Marathon Kids, which is a kids' fitness incentive program that my son (and by extension, my wife and I) participated in this past year. The second annual Crouch household participation has already begun, but the official kickoff event is tomorrow morning at 9am for the Austin school district, then at 11am for non-AISD kids, including private schools and homeschools. They are wise to schedule it this way, since homeschoolers (including our family) are notorious night owls and like to sleep a little later.
Here are the details about tomorrow's event: http://www.marathonkids.org/austin2008.asp Last year, my son (2 comments)
What is your personal "red lollipop"? Take a sincere look at the service you provide - 10/03/08 01:46 PM
I took my two older kids (9 and 7) to run errands with me the other day, and we went to the bank drive-through to deposit a couple of checks. Frankly, the fact that I had some checks was a blessing in and of itself. The kids knew that the bank teller always has lollipops to give out, so they both made a quick request for the cherry-flavored ones. Of course, the teller was more than happy to oblige, and we all left happy. This small item stuck with me that day, as I thought about what "hooks" I offer with (60 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.