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Upcoming Events: SEPTEMBER 18 WCR Sock Hop BHI Building Gym - 7 p.m. SEPTEMBER 23 WCR Golf Tournament Star Ranch Golf Club

Glenn King of RE/MAX Round Rock was “flocked.” You could be next—do your part and contribute to TREPAC TODAY!

OCTOBER 12 AMBA Fall Golf Tournament Great Hills Country Club - 10 a.m.

OCTOBER 14 Independence Title Chili Cookoff More details soon! OCTOBER 16 NAHREP Real Estate Olympics Zilker Park - Noon to 6 p.m.

OCTOBER 20 “Strike Against Hunger” Bowling tournament Showplace Lanes - 1 to 5 p.m.

—Associates In— PROGRESS SEPTEMBER 2009 • VOL. 14 • ISSUE 5

Enjoyable. Entertaining. It’s all About You.

2009 Realty Round Up: Growing A Greener Austin bies from the vendors that REALTORS® can use in their businesses. CONTRIBUTING WRITER How will this Realty Round Up be different from ® previous ones? The Austin Board of REALTORS will present We’ve lowered the admission price to $10 and Realty Round Up from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on increased the educational opportunities for our memWednesday, Oct. 7 at the Austin Convention Center. To find out what’s in store this year, Realty Line vis- bers. We are offering our Broker members a special ited with Committee Chair Leonard Guerrero of JB opportunity to meet, in a casual atmosphere, with Goodwin REALTORS®. His answers will surely get event speaker Dr. Jim Gaines from the Real Estate industry professionals primed for this highly antici- Center at Texas A&M University. Lastly, this years’ pated, annual event, which this year revolves around event will not have an official after event party and a lunch will not be included in the ticket price. the theme “Growing a Greener Austin.” How would you convince someone to attend if they What is the most commonly asked question about have been to Realty Round Up for years and may feel Realty Round Up? People want to know what it is. Realty Round Up is like they have been there, done that? Our industry is one of continuing education and the Austin Board of REALTORS®’ annual trade show, change. Realty Round Up offers the opportunity to see now in its 29th year that showcases educational trends and technology that might be just around the opportunities, industry information, new technology ® and networking with vendors and other REALTORS . corner. An attendee has a “hands on” opportunity What is the most compelling reason a person with vendors at our program to check many new offerings. One of our vendors, SUPRA, is using Realty should attend Realty Round Up? It’s the opportunity to take advantage of a pool of Round Up as an opportunity to have members resources as vendors showcase their products, new exchange their dKeys for the new ActiveKEY as part of industry trends are offered, timely educational sub- our system upgrades. What are the top three “must see” or “must do” jects are presented and there are lots and lots of freeitems at this year’s event? The first is this years’ Presorted Standard keynote speaker, Dr. Jim U.S. Postage PAID Gaines from the Real Austin, Texas Estate Center at Texas Paid Permit #715 A&M University, whose presentation is from 11 P.O. Box 81366 a.m. until noon. Second Austin, Texas 78708-1366 would be to take advantage of the many educational opportunities such as offerings on green construction, risk management, social technologies and green issues affecting Don’t forget: You can visit us online 24/7 at home ownership and the

By Linda McNabb

real estate industry. The third “must” is to take advantage of the chance to exchange current dKeys for the new ActiveKEY which equips agents with real-time alerts when iBoxes are opened without requiring REALTORS® to have cellular service. Who has been instrumental in putting together this event? Realty Round Up is the result of the combined efforts of ABoR’s education and marketing departments and the energies of dedicated REALTOR® and affiliate volunteers on the Realty Round Up committee. How long does it take to plan an event like this? Many months or better yet, almost a full year. The planning for next years’ event starts shortly after the current event is completed. How does ABoR come up with such great themes each year? The themes are usually the result of the combined efforts of ABoR’s education and marketing departments and the Realty Round Up committee. Often times, pertinent trends or subject matters influence the selection of our themes, for example, “green” equaled our “Growing A Greener Austin” title this year. What is the best tip to give someone who will be attending Realty Round Up for the first time? Plan to be there the whole day. The day is full of educational events and the exhibitors will have services and goods to help us be successful in our business. Be ready to meet people and expand your network. How does the number of exhibitors compare to years past? We won’t have a final count until day of the event, but our current exhibitor list is on par to have 175 or so booths which offers a rich environment for our attendees and compares favorably to past years. We can accommodate around 200 exhibitors and that is an ideal goal for our event. For more information, visit


JB Goodwin REALTORS Round Rock office was the site of a recent flocking. You can avoid being “flocked” if you do your part and make your TREPAC contribution TODAY!

Realty Line of Austin

September 2009


Realty Line of Austin is published monthly by ©Caxton Publications, Inc., as a non-subscription publication for the more than 8,000 members of the Austin Board of REALTORS (ABoR), the more than 1,100 members of the Williamson County Association of REALTORS (WCAoR) and the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin. © Caxton Publications, Inc. dba Realty Line of Austin is an active member of the Austin Board of REALTORS, the Williamson County Association of REALTORS and is a honorary member of the Women’s Council of REALTORS. Caxton Publications, Inc. dba Realty Line of Austin is not responsible for opinions or facts expressed by non-staff writers or for errors and any by-products in advertising or editorial copy. REALTOR® is a registered trademark. The word REALTOR® sometimes appears in this publication without the registered trademark symbol (®), for the purpose of saving space. Wherever the word REALTOR appears in this publication, the registered trademark should be assumed.

Been Flocked?

Doren L. Carver PUBLISHER Tawanna K. Carver MANAGING EDITOR

Gary Wakefield of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS has been flocked! Contribute to TREPAC today or you could be next!


COLUMNISTS Jay Gohil - ABoR Chairman Wes Peoples - HBA President Barbara Wigginton - WCAoR President David Tandy - Gracy Title

All photos, press releases or article submissions can be sent to

P. O. Box 81366, Austin, Texas 78708 Office: (512) 821-1900

September 2009

Realty Line of Austin



from you! In addition to our members’ only learning communities, ABoR has also made the leap to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We invite you to join us by visiting the Twitter and Facebook links found on

Switch to ActiveKEYS Set for October 5-9 By Jay Gohil • Jay Gohil Realty

2009 Chairman • Austin Board of REALTORS

Dkey users will soon be celebrating a new technology that allows MLS subscribers to receive real-time alerts each time an iBox is opened. From Monday, Oct. 5 through Friday, Oct. 9, REALTORS® will exchange dKeys for Supra’s ActiveKEY at ABoR offices located at 10900 Stonelake Blvd., Austin, TX 78759. ActiveKEYS are expected to satisfy requests by dKey users to have a more technologically-advanced key system. The ActiveKEY’s cellular connection to the Supra network requires neither a cellular plan nor cellular service to open iBoxes. MLS subscribers who use eKeys will not be affected. For more information on alternative exchange locations, contact or visit

TAMU’s Jim Gaines Delivers Market Update at Realty Round Up on October 7 Included with your $10 ticket to Realty Round Up—the most popular real estate industry trade show in Central Texas—is one of the most significant real estate market updates of the year. Dr. Jim Gaines, research economist at Texas A&M Real Estate Center, will deliver an economic overview and forecast from 10 to 11 a.m. that is sure to help you navigate through the coming year. In addition to the market update and vendor showcase, you can hear industry experts discuss topics that include: best practices for reducing risk, time management, alternative homes, LEED reconstruction and promoting a greener community. The event will be held at the Austin Convention Center, located at 500 East Cesar Chavez. Purchase tickets or booth space at or contact Gina Willemsen at 454-7636, ext 1601 or

ABoR Extends Social Media Presence As a REALTOR®, you are likely using social networking services to communicate more than ever before. To better support our members, ABoR has developed an online learning community that enables members to hold discussions and assist each other with businessrelated issues. Join a discussion today by visiting We want to hear

Nine-Hour MCE Technology Package for $60 To learn how current technologies can help advance your business, be sure to sign-up for Technology 101, 102 and 103 to be held from October 21-23 at the ABoR Auditorium located at 10900 Stonelake Blvd. Instructor and REALTOR® Chad Cardani will provide a comprehensive overview of technologies pertinent to real estate professionals and dive into how agents can incorporate social media into their business plans. Class participants will receive hands-on experience during the Technology 103 course. For details and to register, visit or contact ABoR’s Education Department at 454-7636 or MCE provider #0127.

TREC Announces Changes to Real Estate Exams Beginning October 1, the national portion of the TREC-issued Real Estate Broker and Salesperson exams will be updated to include an increased emphasis on questions that require application of knowledge rather than simple recollection. Brokers can also expect a greater number of scenario-based questions on the exam. A revise Candidate Information Brochure (CIB) is available at

Stephanie Powell of Champions School of Real Estate invites you to one of the many classes now being held at its campus in Round Rock. Stephanie was a model at the WCR Style Show.

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Sherry Stark and Malinda Matthews, both of One Percent Realty, come together for a Private Label Realty meeting at the C o m m o n s Conference Center on the J.J. Jake Pickle Research Campus in north Austin.

Kathy Kelly, second from left, joins Diana Mitchell, Krista Patrick and Barbara Preston, all of Keller Williams Realty, for a tour of the 50s style home on Lake Travis that is listed by Peg’s Team.

Randy Molinare, Bill Bradshaw and Donna Simmons, all of Gracy Title, enjoy the service awards celebration of their company with other real estate professionals at County Line on the Hill.

Attorney Russ Hamm brings his guitar to the First American Title picnic, where Amber Klam, Ashlea Klam and Jason Klam of First American Title, enjoyed a day of fun games and good food at the Common’s Ford Ranch House.

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September 2009

Realty Line of Austin



Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Frank Perdichizzi of Private Label Realty gathers with Diane Walters of Land Mortgage at the Commons Conference Center, where Private Label Realty held a business meeting.

Lionel Laday, Joe Moreno and Fran Weller, all of Keller Williams Realty, find there is still plenty of water to see on this lakefront listing at 14732 Hornsby Hill Road during the Lake Travis property tour.

Danette Tidwell of Time Warner Cable was on hand at her booth during the WCAoR Tech Tune Up. Danette provided REALTORS with information on how teaming up with TWC could be advantageous to REALTORS.

September 2009

Realty Line of Austin



The Perfect Storm With housing prices as low as they are likely going to get here in the greater Austin area, interest rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages at just above 5%, and the Fed’s $8,000 firsttime home buyer tax credit, no other time has proven better for home buying. Let’s take a look at recent history. The market crash of the 1980s created all-time lows for housing prices. At the same time, interest rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgage loans were at all time highs of near 18%. So while the price was right, many families still could not afford to buy a home since the interest rates pushed monthly payments through the proverbial roof. We found ourselves in a very different situation earlier this decade. Folks were rushing out to buy homes because interest rates were at all time lows (between 5% and 6% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage) yet demand was so high that it pushed home prices up. Once again, many people found their home buying dreams remained elusive. As we approach the end of the first decade of the new millennium, the perfect storm has now brewed. While we find our country is facing the most challenging economic decline in recent memory, the situation has opened doors and created opportunity for potential home buyers. Now buyers can get a great price on a new home and buy into historically low interest rates on the largest purchase most people will ever undertake.

Record Low Interest Rates and Home Prices Create Perfect Storm for Home Buying By Wes Peoples • WP Investments

2008-2009 President • Home Builders Association of Greater Austin

The constant media buzz of job layoffs, foreclosures and decreased consumer confidence are keeping many American’s home buying urges at bay. We’ve all heard the heart-wrenching stories of families who have felt the brunt of the country’s recession woes. But it’s important to remember that a large majority of Americans, and especially central Texans, still have jobs, continue to pay their bills on time and are even increasing their savings. In fact, the Austin American-Statesman reported just last month that the Austin region’s unemployment rate was 7.3%. While that seems like a high number compared to years past, the optimist in me sees this glass more than half full—almost 93% of the area’s workforce still has jobs. So why are so many people sitting on the fence? Perhaps they believe that somehow the housing market in the greater Austin region has yet to hit bottom. Everyone seems to be waiting in the hopes of perfectly timing the market to get the best deal possible. I can certainly understand the desire to get the best deal, but the facts just don’t support the idea that prices will drop. Recent reports even show that in August the median price of an existing home in the area was unchanged from last year and is still $191,000. But how can that be? According to many real estate reports from national media outlets, home values continue to fall at double-digit percentage points, right? While that may be true in places like California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida, the truth is that the Greater Austin real estate market has remained healthy with a balance between supply and demand. Currently, the Austin region has roughly seven months supply of existing home inventory and six months supply of new homes. These levels are well below the average of approximately 10 months supply nationally. Couple that with the Travis County demographer’s estimate that the County will add 30,000 new residents this year alone and it’s easy to see that soon demand will surpass supply and prices will inevitably go up.

Now is the time to buy a new home Economists are predicting an end to the recession as early as the end of 2009. With the region’s low unemployment rate and continued job growth, Austin (and Texas for that matter) is poised to bounce back faster than a large majority of other cities nationwide. Relocations to the state and our beautiful city continue to grow at a rapid pace. No doubt many are moving here to find jobs they’ve lost in their home towns. These factors coupled with the fact that the Federal Reserve will eventually lift its artificial hold on interest rates when the economy begins to turn around, homes will soon be more expensive. The bottom is here and the bottom is now. Don’t miss your chance to invest in your family’s future. It’s time to jump on the home buying train before it leaves the station. To learn more about how to choose a builder or buy a new home, visit the Home Builder’s Association of Greater Austin’s Web site at; then click on consumer resources.



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Realty Line of Austin

Dance into the WCR Sock Hop on Friday, Sept. 18

September 2009

On Friday, Sept. 18, the Women’s Council of REALTORS will open the doors of Builder’s Homesite in the BHI Building (formerly the Full Court Building) and take you back to the 1950’s! The Sock Hop, which will be from 7 to 10 pm and will be held in the gymnasium at 11900 RR620, offers FREE admission to all. Attendees can expect to find a variety of food and throwback snacks such as Cracker Jacks, Cotton Candy, Popcorn, Moon Pies, Hot Dogs, and more all provided by 14 builders in the Austin area. The first 100 people dancing through the door will receive a free drink ticket (compliments of Mitch Wilhite of CapitalOne Bank), and there will be a cash bar available throughout the night serving wine, beer, soft drinks and water. One of the best DJ’s in Austin will provide the music. Take part in the dance contest, costume contest and hula hoop contest for a chance to win one of many door prizes. Doren Carver of Realty Line will display his 1957 Chevy! Poodle skirts, Elvis or Fonzi Costumes are optional, but boots and heels will be traded in for socks provided by Main Event to protect the gym floor. Drawings will be throughout the evening for numerous other door prizes, so bring your business cards! Committee members are Chairman Becky Hopkins of Austin Title, Ali Valentine with New Home Source Professional, Amy Kobza of Austin Title, Alfred Engstrand of Alfred's Catering, Chris Rodriguez of Realty Executives, Meredith Cain of Supreme Lending and Susan Spence of HWA Home Warranty. Come out dancing on the 18th and mix and mingle with the builders—Happy Days are here again! RSVP to and we’ll see you there!

John Horton of John Horton Realty, Socar Chatmon Thomas of Elegant Estates by Auction and Frank Perdichizzi of Pirvate Label Realty and Drew Tate of Tate Property come together for a business meeting.

Victoria Reviel and Shannon Powers, both of ZIP Realty, help WCAoR president-elect J. Rene Ward of Best Agents in Texas sign up new members at the AYREP happy hour at Cover 3 on Anderson Lane.

Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Wyndham Boulter, second from left, of Drees Custom Homes welcomes Diana Mitchell, Barbara Preston, Frank West and Krista Patrick, all of Keller Williams Realty, to the model home during a REALTOR open house at Steiner Ranch.

Pictured with the State Farm Bear is Rebecca Panacci, and Jessica Bullock, both of ATX Property Management. The company recently sponsored a “Back to School Bash� and gave out free school supplies to all children as well as provided free eye screenings.

Christy Weeks and her son Jet enjoy snow cones at the First American Title company picnic near Lake Austin.

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September 2009

Realty Line of Austin



Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Traci Smith, Kim Johnson and Krista Spring, all of Keller Williams Realty, have a great time at recent lunch at the model home by Drees Custom Homes in Steiner Ranch.

Aaron Page of Land Mortgage moves around the room and spoke to many including Richie Rodriguez, Steve Builta and Rick Baron, all of H o m e t r u s t Mortgage, at the AYREP happy hour at Cover 3. Hometrust Mortgage was a sponsor of the event.

Suzanne Jacobs of Gracy Title reroutes her computer cables during an MCE class at the company’s office. Kevin Bierwirth of Realtron and Aletha Bierwirth check out the refrigerator options at the KB Home design studio during the homebuilder’s luau style REALTOR appreciation party that featured Hawaiian food and decorations.

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009


Appraising Appraisals By Barbara Wigginton • Realty Executives Excellence

2009 President • Williamson County Association of REALTORS

A home appraisal is a vital part of a real estate transaction. Appraisals help sellers list their homes appropriately and assure lenders and buyers of a home’s worth. Unfortunately, REALTORS® across the country are reporting unusually low home appraisals, including some homes estimated to be worth less than replacement construction costs. Many have even experienced delayed and lost sales due to poor appraisals conducted by inexperienced appraisers not familiar with the area. These reports seemed to intensify after the new Home Valuation Code of Conduct was implemented on May 1. The HVCC establishes standards for solicitation, selection, compensation, conflicts of interest and appraiser independence. In many cases however, the HVCC has slowed the appraisal process and increased the use of out-of-area appraisers who may not be familiar with the local real estate market. According to Williamson County Association of REALTORS®, determining correct property value is a difficult task in today’s market. “Buyers are purchasing more foreclosed homes and short sales that typically sell for 20 percent less than traditional homes in the same area,” Barbara Wigginton, president of WCAoR Board of Directors said. “This makes it challenging for appraisers to identify comparable homes and make appropriate value adjustments.” Appraisers are also concerned about the issue. According to a recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS®, 70 percent of appraisers have noticed an increase in the amount of fees paid by consumers. It doesn’t stop there. A reported 36 percent saw a severe decrease in appraisal quality. Although the reason for this decrease has yet to be identified, it is essential that appraisers are fully qualified and experienced with the areas in which they work. They must also be independent of

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any outside influences that would improperly influence the appraisal procedure. Wigginton says there are certain measures that can strengthen the process. “Allowing other parties involved in the transaction to ask the appraiser to consider additional property information and provide further detail can help isolate the appraiser from improper influence,” Wigginton said. “In addition, buyers and sellers should discuss the unique conditions of a home and its neighborhood with the appraiser if he or she is not familiar with the area.” The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently took a step forward in dealing with the issue when mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac clarified two important guidelines. The government-sponsored enterprises stated that lenders should use appraisers with clear experience in the geographic area they are appraising and explained that appraisers are not prohibited from talking to real estate agents. “REALTORS share unparalleled knowledge of local markets,” Wigginton said, “They are a trusted and valuable resource for consumers and are ready to help appraisers determine accurate property values.” While pleased with this first step, Wigginton believes Congress and the FHFA need to do more. “The Williamson County Association of REALTORS® supports the implementation of an 18-month moratorium on the new HVCC rules for further inspection for unintended consequences,” Wigginton said. “We don’t want the appraisal process preventing families from the achieving the dream of homeownership.” Cheeseburgers in Paradise Join WCAoR from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Rabb House in Round Rock for plenty of food, games and old fashioned camaraderie. Organized by WCAoR, and benefitting TREPAC, tickets are on sale now for $35. Contact WCAoR at 255-6211 or online at for more information.

20th Annual WCAoR Golf Tournament On Monday, Oct. 12, WCAoR will host its 20th Annual Golf Tournament at Twin Creeks Golf Club in Cedar Park, TX. Event information and team registration is available online at

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

AYREP president Sumina Bhatti, center, is pleased to see familiar faces. David Burton, left, of Home Team of America and Tex Meazell of Keller Williams Realty at the organization’s happy hour at Cover 3.

Susan Spence of HWA Home Warranty, Corrine Costabile of Keller Williams Realty, Chris Rodriguez of Realty Executives, Marie DangSchwartz of Realty Executives and Becky Hopkins of Austin Title enjoy themselves and the model home shower at the latest WCR BUNCO night.

Jay Miller and Kristy Miller of First American Title pick a spot in the shade to enjoy the company picnic at the Common’s Ford Ranch House.



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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009


Ernie Hatton and Joanne Hatton, both of RE/MAX About Austin, tell Neal Barnes of Realty World, Neal Barnes & Associates about some acreage they have listed. They were attending a luau at KB Home’s design studio in appreciation of REALTORS who have sold one of the company’s homes this year.

WCAoR Tech Tune Up committee member Suzanne Gantner prepares to reap the rewards of her hard work at one of the event seminars. She was telling Beverly Hanson about the dangers of owning a cat. Both are with Sky Realty.

Jack Stapleton of Sky Realty shares the top 20 free or almost free real estate tools with attendees at a seminar at the Williamson County Association of REALTORS Tech Tune Up.

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Winifred Harrison of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS and Linda McNabb of Realty Line inspect the selection of entry doors at the KB Home design studio during the homebuilder’s REALTOR appreciation party.

Jason Klam, far right, balancing an egg on a spoon in his mouth, races against his children and staff members at the First American Title family picnic. The day featured lots of fun activities and food at the Common’s Ford Ranch House.

Matthew Bowman and Seth Thompson, both of ZIP Realty, share information about their latest listings with Gena Hammonds of Highland Lakes Real Estate at the Austin Young Real Estate Professionals happy hour at Cover 3.

Gaye Pierce, Gracy Title’s senior vice president and chief operating officer, welcomes longtime friend Kim Minks of DHI Title to County Line on the Hill, where the company celebrated an anniversary milestone.

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September 2009

Realty Line of Austin

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Realty Line of Austin

July 2009

Congressman Michael McCaul addresses some of ABoR’s TREPAC trustees Sheri Brummett, Richard Ryon, and Leonard Guerrero after a check presentation that was presented to his upcoming campaign.

ABoR staff members Sylvia Medrano and Leslie Van Burkleo are eager to greet and help members as they arrive for the monthly broker network meeting.

Dave Matthys of RE/MAX Capital City gives WCAoR executive officer Marjorie Phillips, left, and Jacci Anders of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS a tour of the new building on Sam Bass Road.

September 2009

Realty Line of Austin



Realty Line of Austin

September 2009


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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009


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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

The Gracy Title sales team celebrates the company’s service awards at County Line on the Hill. From left: Audrey Gavin, Amy Triesch, Lisa Altamirano, Tom Berry, Denise Moody, Bob Roberts, Michelle Piperi, Holly Schuler, Allison Craig and Tracy Blair.

Fred Ormand of Fred Ormand Realty asks Wyndham Boulter of Drees Custom Homes about some of the special features in the company’s model home at Steiner Ranch.

Donna Yoste of RE/MAX Austin Associates, Ann Banos of Real Living Lifestyles Realty and Sheila Hawkins-Bucklew of Hawkins Bucklew International REALTORS attend the broker network meeting at the ABoR auditorium.

Carol Mangum and Barbara Preston, both of Keller Williams Realty, enjoy the benefits of being among the REALTORS to recently sell a KB Home, as they were invited to the homebuilder’s luau at the design studio, where there was plenty of tasty tropical food.



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September 2009

Realty Line of Austin



Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Christy Weeks tosses a water balloon to her son Jet at the First American Title family picnic. The staff also celebrated Christy’s birthday at the event.

Custom home builder Randy Rollo and HBA executive officer Harry Savio ponder the industry’s direction before hearing the midyear housing forecast presentation by Mark Sprague of R e s i d e n t i a l Strategies.

Vicki Crouch of Allstate, Cynthia Reeder of RE/MAX Capital City and Jenny Newman of Austin Title help raise funds for Any Baby Can at the quarterly meeting of Certified Residential Specialists at the Westwood Country Club.

Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

You’ve Got Your Client Half Way.

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About Land Mortgage We are a local mortgage bank with competitive loan programs, reasonable closing cost, and a full range of in-house services. There are no surprises here. We communicate every step of the way to ensure everyone is up-to-date on where financing stands for your transaction. As your preferred lender, we allow you to confidently do what you do best - Sell more homes.

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

TREC commissioner Avis Wukasch of Keller Williams Realty learns from Brandon Alderette of the Texas Association of REALTORS about the many ways to twitter at the WCAoR Tech Tune Up.

Keller Williams Realty agents check out the Peg’s Team listing on Hornsby Hill Road during the Lake Travis property tour. The waterfront acreage is currently deeded to allow a four-slip boat dock.

Debbie Horridge of the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin thanks Ryan Rogers of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS for selling the HBA benefit home last year. They were attending the mid-year housing forecast.

ABoR Chairman Jay Gohil, right, of Jay Gohil Realty talks with Congressman Michael McCaul before a check presentation.

We W e see lots of GREEN in your FU FUTURE FUT TU URE RE Drees Announces a

NEW PHASE Now w Open in CRYSTAL CRYST YSTAL AL FALLS. FALLS. Lots with trees, lots with views, cul de sacs and lots of green! Crystal FFalls, alls, located in Austin’s Austin’s booming northwest corridor, corridor, is surrounded by by everything everything you you need… Lake Travis, Travis, shopping, major employers employers and acclaimed schools schools within minutes of the community. community. Now,, Drees offers a new phase with spectacular Hill Country views and heavily heavily treed homesites plus new home incenti incentives ves and the DreeSmart Green Program. Program. Homeowners Homeowners can see green and save save green at Crystal FFalls. alls. See a Drees Market Manager today today for details... it’s it’s in your your future!

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September 2009

Realty Line of Austin






Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

2009 Realty Round Up

Growing a Greener Austin Doris Stouts of Drees Custom Homes tells Sam Mehra, REALTOR, about all the amenities in the builder’s model home at Steiner Ranch.

Turn over a new, energy-efficient leaf at Realty Round Up 2009: Growing a Greener Austin. The Austin Board of REALTORS® will showcase ways to conserve energy and preserve resources in style. Hop in your hybrid, grab a few friends and get ready to go green!

For more information and to purchase tickets visit,

Laurie Nunnallee and Melinda Carroll of First American Title sit by the pool with Jason Easter at the First American Title family picnic at Common’s Ford Ranch House in West Austin.

Faye Davidson of Davison Properties, Sandy Bednar of Distinct Austin Properties and Van Davison of Davison Properties share the latest on their families as they wait for the CRS meeting to begin.

September 2009


By Linda McNabb


Austin Title is known for its products, services, education and marketing support and for puting a premium on hiring, training and retaining the most qualified professionals to work with real estate professionals since entering the title business in 1953. Company president Mickey Blissit shared with Realty Line many of the reasons his staff is committed to providing superior customer service so that REALTORS will continue having confidence in placing their transactions in Austin Title’s hands. Austin Title has a strong history of delivering high value and satisfaction to its clientele during challenging and changing marketplace conditions. Our philosophy has been to let highly experienced professionals handle transactions efficiently and effectively, with customer service in mind and with best practice standards. Like many in the real estate industry, Austin Title serves an increasingly sophisticated and technologically savvy user base. On the one hand are consumers who have begun taking more proactive roles in managing their personal information. On the other hand are real estate industry professionals who leverage the power of the Internet and wish to know more about transactions, more easily, during the process. One solution to both of these scenarios is Austin Title's DocStop—a simple and passive communication platform that notifies transaction parties when documents become available throughout the settlement process. Along with the document, consumers will receive links that explain transaction details, so they can learn more about their own home sales and purchases. For added value, Austin Title allows consumers to order Just Moved cards. To help agents better leverage their own technology tools, Austin Title provides anniversary reminders. Also for our real estate agent customers, we provide other tools, such as Red Carpet Member Services, where agents can keep up with current statistical information using our reports and graphs that detail marketwide

Realty Line of Austin


conditions, as well as information for individual MLS areas. We also have numerous calculators, from calculating taxes and premiums to property investments. Most recently, we began offering a suite of calculators for mobile devices, called Austin Title Agent. Austin Title Agent is a downloadable application suite that is available for many 3G network device platforms, including Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and now, iPhone. Austin Title is also a leader in real estate education, bringing in top instructors and MCE classes and in excess of 20 classMickey Blissit es per month to the various President Austin Title locations. To further develop our educational programs, we began offering a service called "Ask an Expert," which allows interested parties to request additional information about the real estate industry from our panel of experts. We then remove any personal information and post the answers to our website to help visitors who later have the same questions. We believe that both "Ask an Expert" and our educational offerings help us better understand how to deliver value to the people with whom we sit at the transaction table. Today's marketplace demands that companies deliver an increasing amount of value to customers. At Austin Title, we respond to this by leveraging technology and education to better engage real estate agents and consumers directly, because we succeed when agents and consumers have the best tools to make the best decisions. That, and, of course, our people. We are thankful to our staff for making us a force in the marketplace and for the skills and hard work of our support people who keep us moving forward. We are also thankful to central Texans who continue to entrust their business to us.



Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Mary Torres and Richard Torres of Gold Realty, center, get some ideas for their own home while attending the KB Home REALTOR appreciation party at the Design Studio. REALTOR liaison Colette Fitzgerald, left, and Nayeli Garza, right, both of KB Home, show them some of the latest trends.

HBA president Wes Peoples gets a preview from guest speaker Mark Sprague of R e s i d e n t i a l Strategies, who delivered the midyear housing forecast to members of the home builders’ organization.

Larry Shumake of Shumake Group Properties tells Denise Moody of Gracy Title that he has branched out on his own. They were attending the downtown property tour.

September 2009

Realty Line of Austin

Get your clients to move here.


New Homes from the $170s Buffington Signature Homes CastleRock Communities Centex Homes D.R. Horton Lennar Homes Meritage Homes Ryland Homes Spicewood Communities Wilshire Homes

New friends will make them stay. When you show clients the real Teravista, helping them to move here becomes less of a decision and more of a foregone conclusion. Round Rock has become a vital part of the cultural capital of Texas. And Teravista’s Golf Club, with the breathtaking homes, make it impossible not to love. This makes your next sell a lot easier. Because the feeling your clients have is something they’ll share with all of their friends, especially the ones who don’t live here. Yet.

Visit Newland Communities is a privately owned company that creates residential and urban mixed-use communities in 14 states from coast-to-coast. We believe it is our responsibility to create enduring, healthier communities for people to live life in ways that matter most to them. Newland Communities is a privately owned company that creates residential and urban mixed-use communities in 14 states from coast-to-coast. We believe it is our responsibility to create enduring, healthier communities for people to live life in ways that matter most to them.

This is not intended to be an offer to sell nor a solicitation of offers to buy real estate in Teravista or to residents of Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon, or in any other jurisdiction where prohibited by law. Homes within the Teravista community are constructed and sold by builders not affiliated with Newland Communities or Newland Communities’ affiliated companies. Prices, specifications and details are subject to change without notice. © 2009 Newland Communities. All rights reserved.


Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Gloria Ward and Mark Griffiths, both of Best Agents in Texas, relax at Ranch 616 before participating in the downtown property tour.

WCAoR president Barbara Wigginton, Edmond McEnany of Realty Executives Cedar Park and Greg Hodge of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS get ready to learn about the mentoring program at the organization’s third quarterly luncheon at the San Gabriel Center.

TREPAC Flockers get ready to “flock” another house. Don’t forget to contribute to TREPAC today and protect your profession!

Diane Franks cools off with her daughter Madison at the First American Title summer picnic at the Common’s Ford Ranch House.

Welcome to Keller Williams Realty Robert Robert and and Kathleen Kathleen made made the the change. change.

Find Find out out why. why.


2008: $21 million in sales


2008: $20 million in sales

“You Owe It To Yourself!”

Call Eric Copper 794-6694 SOUTHWEST Eric Copper - 448-4111

NORTHWEST Linda Bartlett - 346-3550

LAKE TRAVIS Mary Lynne Gibbs - 263-9090

WILLIAMSON COUNTY Avis Wukasch - 255-5050

September 2009

Realty Line of Austin


The Surprising Facts About Lead Generation Last month, Gracy Title surveyed over 2,500 agents in Austin to discover what tools agents use most for lead generation. The survey was prompted by interviews with top producers about the impact of social media and smart phone devices. The survey not only covered emerging trends such as iPhones and social media, but also traditional lead generation methods such as direct mail and cold calling. The results and trends were interesting and, to some degree, surprising. About 70% of agents currently use smartphones (a phone with e-mail and internet access) and, of those using smartphones, the iPhone is the most popular with 29%. Over the next 12 months, agents will be turning in their Treos and Palms for an iPhone with 36% saying they will be on an iPhone within the year. With the growth of iPhone applications for social media including Facebook, LinkedIn and others, it is reasonable to project an even higher increase in agents using the iPhone. A whopping 42% of agents are currently using some form of social media to generate sales leads. Of those agents using social media, 50% are using Facebook, followed by 13% using a personal blog to generate leads. For those agents not using social media, the reason given was not that they believe it to be ineffective but that they do not yet know enough about how to use social media for lead generation. Some agents who do not use social media cite wanting to have a distinction between their professional and personal lives. When asked about what database tools agents use to track contacts, agents were three times more likely to use Outlook than Top Producer or some other type of tool. The biggest surprise was the lack of correlation between the type of lead generation and the agent’s gross commission income. Of those agents responding to the survey, use of social media or smart phones did not result in more income than use

candy Buzan 797-5580


of traditional methods. At about the same time that the survey was being conducted, several of us had an opportunity to attend a panel discussion of top producers from around the nation sponsored by a large national real estate company. The topic discussed by each speaker was how they generated leads. The answers ranged from calling on expired listings and FSBOS to writing a blog for three hours a day. By the end of the discussion, it was obvious that once again, it did not matter what type of lead genDavid Tandy eration efforts the agent uses but how much time each CEO day those efforts are pursued. The one correlation or common theme of all agents on the panel was blocking Gracy Title Company their time to perform their lead generation efforts for three to four hours per day, four to five days per week. In the survey, we failed to ask how much time was spent on lead generation, whether using Facebook or working leads from a Web site or blog or calling on expired listings. Based on the panel discussion (and the lack of correlation within our survey to income), this is the one question that would probably have shown what results in the most gross commission income.

Ryan McGahey and Greg Petrosewicz, both of RE/MAX Capital City, check out the company’s new, upscale office on Sam Bass Road.

Max Leaman 293-1239

Kim Nielsen 825-2347

Melissa driskell 964-1864

Mary Kennedy 750-7834

Brian patschke 565-5852

trudy Savage 965-5017

rhonda Neeley 560-3429

Mark Hoffman Shannon Smith 785-3279 560-4590 Not pictured: Michael ray, 784-8488 • terry Weber, 554-4013


Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Richard Chesebro and Judy Moss, both of Prudential Texas Realty, team up to preview the listings on the downtown property tour.

Jacque Smith of Independence Title attends the third quarterly luncheon of the Williamson County Association of REALTORS at the San Gabriel Center with Rita Snyder and Lisa Bonnett, both of Keller Williams Realty. They learned about area economic development from a panel of city leaders from Round Rock, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Taylor and Hutto.

Ronda Reagan of Ronda Reagan Properties studies one of the useful handouts at the Tech Tune Up at the Wingate Center that the Williamson County Association of REALTORS hosted.

September 2009

Lorena strutted her stuff on the runway at WCR’s annual style show. Lorena is the alter ego of Mary Mealy of Realty Executives.

Realty Line of Austin


BUY OUR HOME, WE’LL HELP YOU SELL YOURS Introducing the Wilshire Homes Contingency Partnership Plan ... Because We’re In This Together At Wilshire Homes, Built Around You also means that when you have a home to sell, we have a home to sell. When you enter into a contingency contract with Wilshire Homes, we’ll soon give you and your realtor a call and our team of experienced real estate professionals will come to your home, provide a “quick sale� analysis, and help you WOW shoppers from the moment they lay eyes on your home.

Emma Polk of Coldwell Banker S.G. Billings and Sherri Teepen, CRS regional director, go over the meeting agenda prior to the Austin chapter’s quarterly meeting.

Let us free you up to concentrate on your new home. Here’s just a few of the ways we can help you out: CURB APPEAL TRANSFORMATION FOR THE EXTERIOR







Robert Isaacson of Round Rock Remodel shares a beverage with Robin Gulledge and Janet Snow, both of RE/MAX Capital City, at the grand opening of the RE/MAX and Gracy Title offices on Sam Bass Road.


Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

ABoR TREPAC t r u s t e e s Congressman (District 10) Michael McCaul, center, with a $1,000 check toward his upcoming campaign.

Jennifer Emken and Julie Javorsky, both of KB Home, present REALTORS with a colorful lei at the homebuilder’s luau style appreciation party at the design studio.

Jeff Osborne of RE/MAX Capital City gets a little help from Gracy Title as the companies jointly open their new offices in Round Rock. Jon Kasner of Kasner and Associates REALTORS and Robert Wright of RL Wright REALTORS confer at the broker network meeting in the auditorium at the Austin Board of REALTORS.

Champions School of Real Estate – Austin/Round Rock Campus! Over 26 years providing award-winning education across Texas and now conveniently located in the Austin/Round Rock Area! Providing Classroom, Correspondence and Online Courses for Brokers License, SAE, MCE and Designations.

Upcoming MCE Classes: 15 hours (includes Legal and Ethics) - $99! Prospering with Trends and Strategies - Taught by Allan Hancock! Sept 22 & 23 Oct 12-13 Nov 2-3 Nov 19-20 Dec 1-2 Dec 28-29

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Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Oct 1-2 Nov 19-20

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September 2009


By Linda McNabb

CONTRIBUTING WRITER In its 50 year history, KB Home has earned a reputation for building quality homes, providing superior value and offering homebuyers an abundance of choices. In recent years, the company has built innovative communities, expanded into new markets, earned countless industry awards and built a reputation as the most recognized national brand in homebuilding. But perhaps most importantly to those in the industry may be the value the company places on its partnership with local real estate professionals. “We’re committed to helping you find the ideal home for your clients,” says Matt Duesing, director of sales for KB Austin. “From a variety floor plans, home site choices and amenities to personal design options that create the perfect home, your clients will find everything they want in a wonderful KB Home neighborhood.” KB Home is able to offer great selections through its Built to Order business model by using extensive market research to identify buyers’ wants and needs and then building communities with the right product, in the right location, with the right price. “We are the only homebuilder offering first time homebuyers a level of choice that allows them to truly personalize their home without paying custom home prices,” Duesing says. “Homebuyers select their homesite, floorplan – including flex room features, as well as interior and exterior design features. We support the purchase with a commitment to Quality, Choice, and Service. We are also an Energy Star Builder.” As part of the company’s My Home, My Earth energy efficiency campaign, builder included items feature Low-E windows, electronic thermostats, and Energy Star Whirlpool appliances. Homebuyers can also choose radiant barrier roofing, low flow toilets, and HVAC packages to increase their home’s energy efficiency. “KB Home’s goal is to be a leading environmentally friendly national homebuilder,” Duesing says. “We are committed to sustainability and decreasing our carbon

Realty Line of Austin


footprint.” Plum Creek is the company’s newest community, however; Duesing encourages REALTORS to revisit all of the company’s neighborhoods, which range in price from $100,000 to $500,000 with square footage ranging from 974 to 5,368. “Based on market research we have gone into several of our existing communities Colette Fitzgerald and given them a facelift Real Estate Agent/ with new product that Broker Liaison you ordinarily wouldn’t see in an entry-level price point,” he says. “We offer a wide variety of floorplans and price points throughout the Central market—stop by and see.” KB Home is the fifth largest homebuilder and is consistently ranked in the top three in Austin based on new home deliveries. The Central Texas Division has two offices—one located in Austin and one in San Antonio. To stay on top of the latest of what KB Home has to offer, REALTORS are encouraged to log onto and sign up for exclusive e-mail updates. “You’ll get the latest news including community sneak previews, VIP parties, grand opening dates, pricing and more,” Duesing says. REALTORS can also are encouraged to take the time to find out why partnering with KB Home makes good sense. Colette Fitzgerald is the dedicated Real Estate Agent/Broker Liaison and is available to meet with REALTORS at their convenience. She can be reached at 294-1781 or by email: “We strongly rely on our real estate agents to continue to bring us business as well as our other marketing efforts,” Duesing says. “We are on track to increase our business over last year and look forward to an even more successful 2010 with the help of our real estate professionals.”


Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

Barbara Preston, Krista Spring and Frank West, all of Keller Williams Realty, get a chance to hear from the owner of this 50s style lake house who was on hand at the Lake Travis property tour.

Tara Kessler of DR Horton America’s Builder tells Les Sherman of RE/MAX Austin Associates that Parmer Village is a great place to take a family. They were attending the quarterly meeting of Certified Residential Specialists.

Michele Gonzalez and Phyllis Avery, both of First American Title, enjoy a casual outing at the Common’s Ford Ranch House during the First American Title’s summer picnic.

Begin your Path to Distinction in Commercial Real Estate Become a Certified Commercial Investment Member!

“Introduction to Commercial Investment Real Estate Analysis”

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November 18-19, 2009 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Located at Quarry Oaks (Same building as Austin Board of REALTORS) Visit CCIM Central Texas Chapter for more info! or call 512-828-7455

September 2009

Realty Line of Austin


CRS treasurer Kay DaSilva of Avalar Austin tells Jon Kasner of Kasner and Associates REALTORS and Edie Finch of Edie Finch Properties about what is in store at the organization’s quarterly luncheon.

Radio personality David McMillan of United Lending gives a thumbs up to Gracy Title’s CEO David Tandy at the grand opening of the new Gracy Title and RE/MAX Capital City offices in Round Rock.

Jacque Smith of Independence Title shows Mary Miner of M.E. “Gene” Johnson REALTORS one of the publications about area schools at the Williamson County Association of REALTORS Tech Tune Up.

Why Do Suc Why Successful cessful Agents A gents L Love ove W Working or king att G a Goldwasser oldwasser Real Estate? Estate? Their st stories ories speak speak for themsel themselves! ves! Stop working Stop working alone. alone. Plug Plug in into to the TTotal otal A Agent gent Business Solution, Solution, a turnkey turnkey organization organization of support support staff and systems systems that that will take the lid off your your production. production. Call ttoday Call oday to to learn learn why why real real estate estate professionals prof ofessionals essionals at at Goldwasser G oldwasser Real Real Estate Estate acheive acheive five five tto o six times mor more e pr production oduction than tr traditional aditional agen agents. ts.

For F or a cconfidential onfidential no no-obligation -obligation meeting meeting,, contact contact R Ryan yan M Matthews atthews at at 512-420-0300.

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Realty Line of Austin

September 2009

How precious is this baby boy? Congratulations to Tiesa Carroll Hollaway of North American Title and her husband, Michael, on the recent birth of son Cristian Elliott who arrived on July 7. Cristian weighed 9 lbs. 6 oz.

David Durham of Keller Williams Realty and Holly Schuler of Gracy Title have fun getting their caricatures made at the grand opening of the RE/MAX Capital City and Gracy Title offices on Sam Bass Road.

Real estate super duo Lynda Conway and Bettye Turner, both of JB Goodwin REALTORS, are a familiar sight at the quarterly Certified Residential Specialists meetings at Westwood Country Club.

Chi Dinh, left, of Avignon Realty and Karen Buerkle, right, of Keller Williams Realty, kick back at happy hour at Cover 3 after taking an MCE Course offered by Mark Hairston and Janis Arteaga, both of Mortgage IQ.

Carrie Rendon, Sal Silva and Katrina McCormick, all of Wilshire Homes, get ready to present information on the builder’s new communities to associates attending a sales meeting for Avalar Realty at Waterloo 360.