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Life and

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Don’t Slam the Door

Austin, TX Edition

With the Spring real estate market in full bloom, now is the perfect time to talk about how to improve your odds of successfully closing the deal on your property. As a buyer or seller, regardless of market conditions, you’ll save yourself a lot of angst if you walk into every deal willing to negotiate. One wise agent puts it this way, “Be flexible on things that don’t matter to you, and stand firm where you have to. But don’t slam the door shut before it’s even had a chance to crack open.”

Published By Pablo Holdings LLC Publication Franchisor David P. Lisi Corporate Editor Kim Lisi Kim@LifeandHomes.com

Austin, TX Franchise

John Zavala , RMC It’s not uncommon for buyers and sellers to get caught up in 940-595-0184 the emotion of a deal. During the course of the negotiation john@lifeandhomes.com process, parts of the deal may change based on unforeseen factors such as inspection outcomes, contingencies, or financing. Such changes may appear insurmountable if you move solely on emotion. Employ the assistance of your agent or other third-part entities to help you see the deal from a different viewpoint. When possible, seek professional advice regarding options for overcoming obstacles, along with the pros/cons of continuing with the deal. The whole point of negotiating is compromise. Absolutely you have to look out for yourself, but you must also be willing to budge in order to satisfy both parties. If you come to the table with this mindset, you’ll have a much better chance of sealing the deal.

John Zavala

Pablo Holdings, LLC

940.595.0184

John@LifenadHomes.com Account Executive Jo h n Zavala

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Advertising Deadline June Issue May 4, 2012 940.595.0184 Corporate Office LifeandHomes Franchise, Inc. PO Box 18 Holland Patent, NY 13354

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Life and Homes is published monthly by Tack4 Solutions LLC. Every effort has been made to ensure that home listings, advertisements and information are free of errors or omissions. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy of the submitted information to Life and Homes Magazine and assumes no liability.

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This information has been compiled from public records and other sources we believe to be reliable, but we make no guarantee with respect to its accuracy or completeness or the absence of restrictions on use and are not responsible for any liability, loss, or risk that subscribers may incur, directly or indirectly, from using the contents of this site. Copyright © 2012 Pablo Holdings LLC.


Call 811 Before You Dig

There are more than 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the United States. Digging without knowing the approximate location of underground utilities increases the likelihood of an incident, which can cause serious injuries, service disruptions and repair costs. Everyone who calls 811 a few days before digging is connected to a local one call notification center that will take the caller's information and communicate it to local utility companies. A professional locator will then visit the dig site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with spray paint or flags. Once a site has been accurately marked, it is safe to begin digging around the marked areas. Take the following steps when planning a digging project this spring:

By Sameer S Panjwani - One of the most common causes for disputes occurring after the sale of a home arise from the buyer finding defects in the property, defects which were not disclosed to him by the owner before the sale of the property. If you are the owner of a home that you are looking to sell, please be aware that you may be held liable for not disclosing any known defects in your home. The statutes governing seller obligations vary with each state. Some states require a seller to complete a questionnaire about their property's condition; in other states, disclosures can be made verbally. In some states, seller disclosures are voluntary. The only sellers excluded from disclosure laws are banks and mortgage companies with foreclosure properties. In addition to the state laws, there are certain federal laws as well which govern what needs to be disclosed. For instance, federal law requires sellers of homes built before 1978 to disclose any known lead hazards. Some real estate companies may also ask you to disclose all known material facts about your home before they decide to take up your home listing.

For many families, summer vacation means children will spend more hours at home than they do during the school year. Extra time at home may expose children to unexpected risks from surprising sources - such as an unstable television. Between 2000 and 2010, 176 people died as a result of TVs tipping over on them, according to a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report. In 2010, the report estimated 20,000 emergency room visits were the result of tipping TVs - a 25 percent increase since 2006. To minimize the risk of a TV tipping or falling, always properly secure it to appropriate furniture or mount it on the wall. Choose stable furniture made for displaying a TV, and always secure the top edge of the TV to the back of the furniture. The furniture itself should be secured to the wall, following the manufacturer's guidelines. Even properly constructed, appropriate furniture will be top heavy with a TV on it, so correctly securing it is essential. Look for products like Sanus' Anti-Tip Strap that holds the flat screen in place by attaching the TV to the furniture and the wall behind it. Wall mounting a flat screen is another alternative, and one that not only places the TV out of reach for little hands, but looks good, too. Look for a product, like Sanus' VisionMount series, which incorporates a wall plate that secures into the studs behind the wall, and attaches to the TV with mounting brackets. Visit www.sanus.com to learn more. (ARA) Join the Conversation: Go to www.facebook.com/ pages/LifeandHomes-Austin to leave your thoughts on this and other articles.

Join the Conversation: Go to www.facebook.com/ pages/LifeandHomes-Austin to leave your thoughts on this and other articles.

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Some facts may affect one buyer while it may not affect the other. If you’re confused about what you need to disclose, then consult your real estate agent or property attorney. To keep it simple, as an owner you should put yourself in the shoes of the buyer and decide what you would need to know about the house before you decided to make the purchase. If you have to make the sale, make sure it goes through smoothly. There have been many instances of lawsuits arising from owners not disclosing important material facts about their home. (Source -ChoiceOfHomes.com)

Flat Screen Safety Risk

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Home Owners: Disclose the Facts!

May

* Always call 811 a few days before digging, regardless of the depth or familiarity with the property. * Plan ahead. Call on Monday or Tuesday for work planned for an upcoming weekend, providing ample time for the approximate location of lines to be marked. * Confirm with your local one call center that all lines have been marked. * Learn what the various colors of paint and flags represent at www.call811.com/faqs. * Consider moving the location of your project if it is near utility line markings. * If a contractor has been hired, confirm that a call to 811 has been made. Don't allow work to begin if the lines aren't marked.

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Old House? New House?

Weighing

Your Options

Maybe it has something to do with a childhood home we fondly remember. Many of us long for old homes built with solid construction, quality craftsmanship and beautiful details. We wax poetic and wistfully recall the hand carvings, plaster walls and eyebrow dormers of homes we’ve known. On the other hand, how do the old homes we admire compare with newly minted models—and what should we consider before deciding which to buy?

Location.

Austin, TX

Typically, old homes sit on generous plots of land in or near town. The neighborhoods are established and usually more central to schools and shopping. Mature trees and plantings provide shade and beautify the property and neighborhood streets. New homes are generally found in new developments outside of town and homeowners who buy into an early can expect to contend with dust and construction sights and sounds as the remaining phases are being built. Landscaping may be skimpy or nonexistent, but a buyer has the opportunity to design the décor from scratch.

L i f e and H o m e s

Layout. New homes tend to have a more spacious functional layout with higher ceilings, bigger windows, family kitchens, walk-in closets, and family rooms. Some even have media rooms and come pre-wired for cable and computers. On the other hand, older homes were designed for 4

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a more formal lifestyle, which is reflected in the formal dining and living areas and many cozy rooms, including small bedrooms, closets and bathrooms.

Energy efficiency. Those eight-over-eight single pane wood windows add character to an old home, but even with storm windows, they’re not nearly as energy efficient as modern dual-glazed or thermal windows. While most old homes lacked insulation in outside walls and attics, homes built today insulate against high heating and cooling costs. Although the bigger windows, higher ceilings and larger rooms, common in new homes, can also cause high utility bills.

Maintenance. With older homes, upkeep could be more expensive because of older appliances, plumbing and electrical systems—not to mention the roof— may need to be replaced. A turn of the century home may have outdated knob-and-tube wiring, and even a recently built home may have an inadequate fuse box-style panel that falls short of the energy demands of 21st century families. But new homes generally come with warranties that will cover the cost for most major problems.

Price. Older homes are usually less expensive per square foot. In addition the tax structure is more predictable because the neighborhood is already established with amenities that newer neighborhoods are still in the process of gaining, such as schools, police and fire services, and infrastructures (roads, sidewalks, etc.). However, with restoration costs a possibility for older homes, your dollars may very well be spent on the back-end rather than upfront. If the charm and beauty of an old home wins your heart, hire an inspector to evaluate the home for lead paint, insect and water damage, lead and/or galvanized pipes, outdated wiring, foundation problems and energy efficiency, including windows as well as heating/cooling systems and insulation. After you get the all-clear, you have one last consideration: Does the home fit your lifestyle or would the conveniences of a newer model suit you better? Only you and your family have the answer. Neda Dabestani-Ryba is a licensed Realtor in Maryland. She is a member of the President's Circle of Top Real Estate Professionals. She can be reached at (800) 536-3806 or visit her website for more information: http://neda.dabestani.pcragent.com/ Prudential Carruthers REALTORS is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential Financial company. (Source - choiceofhomes.com)


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Outdoor Trends:

Update Your Patio or Deck More homeowners want their outdoor space to truly be an extension of their house and are taking steps to create an inviting area to relax, play and host guests. If you want to update your deck or patio for warm weather entertaining, Consider these tips from the design experts at Lowe's to help transform your space into a welcoming outdoor oasis. With just a few easy outdoor home improvement changes, you'll have the best patio on the block.

Mix functional furniture The line between indoor and outdoor design is blurring. You can coordinate the style of adjacent indoor and outdoor rooms, since you and your guests will likely spend time in both. No matter if you have a large outdoor deck or a simple small patio, many affordable, stylish outdoor furniture options are available from allen + roth. Set up furniture with flow in mind, grouping pieces together to encourage comfort, conversation and a view of nature.

Add colorful accessories

Incorporate a fire pit

Light the night

An outdoor bonfire likely evokes pleasant memories of the past, so incorporate a fire pit into your patio space so your whole family can enjoy time together roasting marshmallows, telling stories and gazing at the stars. Today's modern fire pits are both stylish and useful, adding a cozy ambiance while warding off the chill on cooler nights. Plus when the seasons do change and fall brings with it lower temperatures, you can still enjoy the beautiful outdoor space you've created because you'll be comfortably warm. Remember to look for options that have a removable screen, so you can open when needed for cooking and then close to keep the fire safely contained.

Lighting can really make your outdoor space come alive once the sun goes down. Add depth and intrigue by "lightscaping" from different sources. Consider putting up string lights that provide a magical setting that is sure to dazzle guests long after darkness falls. Add an intimate wall lantern next to the patio door or eco-friendly LED garden and path lights to add a soft illumination to outdoor space.

Create privacy

To organize your ideas and keep track of outdoor projects, create a MyLowe's profile at www.lowes.com/MyLowes. Develop and store your wish list in MyLowe's to help transform your drab deck into a stylish patio that just begs for you to kick up your feet, enjoy a cold drink and converse with family and friends. (ARA) www.Life and Homes .com

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There's nothing that adds the flavors of summer to food like fresh herbs. One of today's top trends is to have a container garden so you always have your favorite herbs on hand to freshly pick. Popular herbs that are easy to grow include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel and mint. When planting, use containers that complement your outdoor design. Vintage styles that feature aged patinas are very popular this year.

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Just because you're outdoors doesn't mean that you don't want a bit of privacy from neighbors or passersby. The good news is it's easy to create boundaries to your space by using a pergola or outdoor curtains. These options tie in nicely with other outdoor design trends and can give just the right amount of privacy, creating your own outdoor "room" in which to enjoy the long, sunny days.

Grow an herb garden

May

Incorporating rugs, outdoor pillows, candles and other accessories in vivid colors or fun patterns can really make your outdoor space come alive. Pick three to four colors for your scheme and stick with those colors throughout your design choices. Some of the season's top hues include rich reds, vivid blues, soothing neutrals and garden-inspired greens. Metal accents are popular as well, so look for decor with gold or silver detailing for a design that's modern with a tropical flare.

you don't have to spend a lot of time or money. You can easily refresh the items you already have and add new stylish elements by keeping some top trends and design ideas in mind.


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Realtor • larryhatzfeld@yahoo.com

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Larry Hatzfeld


Protect Large Investments with

Small Home Fixes Today's consumers are under mounting financial pressure at every turn, and are forced to be much smarter in buying decisions, especially for major investments. One big investment every consumer needs protected is their house and property.

This is especially true as warmer weather arrives. From simple preparations like servicing your heating and cooling system units (HVAC), to protecting yourself against unexpected home emergency repairs, many homeowners often overlook simple measures that can end up having costly consequences. "One challenge of home ownership is that the potential for expensive repairs is always out there," says Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA, a provider of emergency repair service plans. "While unexpected problems can never be completely avoided, there are measures homeowners can take to protect their home now, and avoid costly repairs later." Here are five tips:

Service your air conditioner:

Ensure your home is properly ventilated:

Spring is the perfect time to make sure your furnace is in full working order before a winter emergency occurs. Consider heating system coverage for emergency repairs not generally covered by home insurance.

Excess moisture in homes can tarnish expensive fixtures, cause paint to peel and accumulate in wall cavities which can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. To avoid moisture build-up, make sure basements and crawl spaces are free of water infiltration. Check that dehumidifiers or kitchen and bath ventilation fans are working properly to remove excess moisture. If not, a small investment today could not only save you money in the long run, but also provide cleaner indoor living environment for you and your family.

Curb unanticipated financial responsibilities with extra protection: Homeowners insure their homes to protect it from unanticipated home emergencies - such as broken water service lines - as well as for peace of mind. However, homeowners often don't know where their utility company's responsibility ends and theirs begins. Many are surprised to find out they are typically responsible for repairs to the pipes and wires in and around their home (as the local utility is usually not responsible for these emergency repairs).

As you start slathering on sunscreen this season, think about not only protecting your skin, but protecting your home with simple fixes that can keep it as healthy as can be. (ARA) www.Life and Homes .com

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Random air infiltration through gaps and cracks is a leading cause of energy loss in homes, accounting for 25 to 40 percent of energy loss in most residential structures, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Air sealing and insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to get the highest return on investment for the home, since the monthly amount saved on heating and cooling bills often exceeds the cost for these improvements. Home improvement retailers offer a variety of inexpensive (less than $15) insulating foam sealants that homeowners can apply to gaps and cracks around the home to literally "seal" against unwanted airflow to reduce energy bills.

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Look closely at your home insurance policy and check if your utility offers an emergency service contract. If not, consider signing up for an emergency repair service plan that covers gaps in your home insurance policy, which can range from exterior water and gas lines to plumbing and drainage systems to complete electrical and heating/cooling configurations. HomeServe USA offers affordable emergency repair service plans, starting around $5 a month, to cover plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems not typically covered by homeowner's insurance, and will dispatch a local, licensed and insured contractor to make the necessary repairs.

Prevent excessive energy bills:

May

Spring is the perfect time to get your air conditioner into shape before the hot summer months. To ensure your system runs as efficiently as possible, replace your air filters at the beginning of the season, and ideally every 90 days. This will keep your air cleaner, reduce energy consumption and extend the overall life of your HVAC system. Another simple step is to clear away any debris from your outdoor AC unit, which will improve airflow around the unit. Also, make sure your vents are open and not blocked by furniture or any other items.

Check out your heating system:


What's the Difference Between Short Sales, Foreclosures and Traditional Real Estate

L i f e and H o m e s

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Austin, TX

Residential real estate has been turned upside-down in the last 4 years. Purchasing a home was a fairly simple process. A buyer could find a home they like, make an offer directly to the owner, negotiate price and terms, then close within thirty days. Today real estate is a completely different world and the market is dominated by short sales and foreclosures (up to 50% of all sales in some areas). However, there's a lot of confusion concerning expectations and values between these types of sales. The largest differences between the three types of sales are price, timing, terms, and condition.

can take between two & six months before receiving a counter offer from the seller's mortgage company. Most cases the seller will likely not make repairs to defects in the home. The typical discount when purchasing a short sale is 13%30%. If you have time to wait and don't mind making a few repairs this can be a great option.

A traditional real estate sale will usually reflect the top price of the market. In most cases the owner has maintained the home and will quickly negotiate reasonable offers. In addition they will be open to fixing problems that come up during an inspection. This situation is ideal for a purchaser that wants to quickly.

Foreclosures are usually the deepest discount, but there are many unknowns. The home has been vacant for some time and an empty home in the winter has a high probability of frozen water pipes which then break. Repairs can be extensive and a buyer will need cash or a rehab loan. If the repairs needed are extreme, the home may not qualify for financing. A very thorough home inspection is needed to determine what type of repairs are necessary and how they will cost. Responses from the bank are usually quick

Short sales are a type of distress sale where the owner can not keep up with mortgage payments or property maintenance. This type of purchase 12

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and very from 24-72 hours. Closings can also happen quickly and in 30 days or less. This is definitely a "buyer beware situation." If not planned properly a foreclosure could turn into a money pit. When purchasing a home you must consider which option best fits your situation. Before falling in love with a home find out what type of sale it is and can it be financed. Realistic expectations are critical. Jeff Donnellan is a Chicago Realtor servicing the city and surrounding suburbs. He specializes in helping home owners avoid foreclosure through short sale. Find more about short sales and foreclosure prevention at www.webhomesearcher.com (Source: EzineArticles.com)


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lawncare, boarding and securing, janitorial services, and repair and

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applicable paperwork.


New Luxury Homes Steps to Acquiring

Your Dream Home New luxury homes for sale may not be for everyone, but many people continue to strive for more spacious and more lavish homes. Not even the economic recession stopped homebuyers from wanting to go big. This is why there are many new luxury home builders offering roomy custom-built homes for competitive prices.

New luxury homes for sale are perfect for those who can afford it because you will be getting only the highest quality. Most luxury home builders have their own in-house architect that design energy-efficient yet still comfortable houses. They also offer extensive warranty for each property they build. They will conduct repairs for free during the first year, fix mechanical systems such as electrical wiring and plumbing the next, and offer warranty for structural elements by the tenth year.

L i f e and H o m e s

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Austin, TX

The definition of luxury real estate is changing. Back in the day, a luxury home or real estate is a property priced at the upper 5-10% of the real estate market. This may be true today, as not everyone can afford deluxe cottages and extravagant mansions that new luxury home builders create. These builders simply extended their services to accommodate the growing demand for bigger homes. Today, they offer to build quality custom single-family homes and townhomes as well.

New luxury home builders follow a strict process when offering their services to homebuyers. Familiarize yourself with some of the basic steps to acquiring your own lavish property. Selection and Financing. The first step to finding any home is shopping around for builders and 14

We b r i n g p e o p l e a n d h o m e s t o g e t h e r .

their designs. You will choose your own site and floor plan at the beginning. Their in-house architects will then ask about the customizations you want. You will then discuss financing options. Many builders offer their own in-house mortgage, making their company a one-stop shop for homebuyers. Pre-construction Planning. Your builder will assign a project manager who will guide you through the entire process. Together, you will create a schedule and set different milestones. You will use these milestones later on to gauge whether or not the construction is going on time. They will ask you to review your selections one final time before beginning the building process. Part of the pre-construction planning is taking you to the site. They will explain your layout and give you an initial idea of how big your luxury house will be. Pre-Drywall Inspection. You will not have to be there for the inspections the law requires, but builders will ask you to inspect the framing before they install the drywall and any mechanical systems. You will see the quality of construction and get

a feel of your home for the first time. Visiting the site at this stage of construction lets you adjust the design and make changes easily. Pre-Settlement Walkthrough and Delivery. The next time you will see your home is when it is complete. Your project manager will familiarize you on the features of your new home, as well as address any questions and issues you may raise. You can move into your new home after the closing process with your contractors. Post-settlement reviews. Respected home builders will not stop their service after they finish building your new abode. They will visit after a specific period of time has passed and check how you are settling in. You can ask them any questions regarding your home's construction and features, which they will address promptly. Patrica Archer, nvhomes.com, browses new luxury homes for sale and search for respectable new luxury home builders. (SourceEzineArticles.com)


“The attorneys of Hay Compere

HAY COMPERE PLLC is an Austin-based law firm offering a full range of legal

PLLC assisted in the detailed

services and counseling in the areas of business, general litigation, mergers

formation of our company and preparation of complex investor agreements. The Firm far

exceeded our expectations in both the services they provided and the manner in which they operate, and we look forward to a long

and acquisitions, outside counsel, entity formation, real estate, construction, development, property tax, banking, mortgage lending, mortgage document preparation, title insurance, trademark, copyright, administrative, probate, estate planning, family, and regulatory compliance. The Firm also operates as a Fee Attorney Office for the First American Title Company, the largest title insurer in the nation. The Firm employs a full-time team of experienced escrow and marketing professionals ready to meet the needs of all aspects of both residential and commercial real estate closings. By offering these legal and title services under one roof, HAY COMPERE PLLC

relationship with

simplifies the legal and closing process for our clients, potentially saving valuable

Hay Compere PLLC as our

time and money.

outside counsel for all of our legal needs.” Brett Appolito & Aaron Jistel May

Managers Applied Real Estate

Technologies, LLC

W W W

. H

A Y

C

O M P E R E

.

C O M www.Life and Homes .com

15

L i f e and H o m e s

Austin, Texas


L O YA LT Y IS STILL

WORTH SOMETHING.

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L i f e and H o m e s

Austin, TX

*Discounts apply to selected coverages, perils, and policy types. Eligibility and actual percentage of discounts may vary.

Lynn-Marie Bonds

www.farmersagent.com/lbonds 16

We b r i n g p e o p l e a n d h o m e s t o g e t h e r .

8700 Manchaca Rd #203 Austin, TX 78748-5373 www.farmers.com

512-891-9105

Life and Homes Austin Texas  

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