Date Archives: August 2021

August
23

Where to Go Fishing Around Central Texas

Round Rock Fishing

There are plenty of reasons our real estate agents love summertime in Central Texas, but we're especially fond of hitting the water for some fishing this time of year. If you happen to be in our neck of the woods, we highly recommend checking out these great fishing spots nearby! 

  • Meadow Lake - 2901 Settlement Dr, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Surrounded by the green spaces of Meadow Creek Park in the small city of Round Rock, Meadow Lake is a 50-acre reservoir known among locals for great bass fishing. Big largemouth bass up to 10 pounds have been pulled from the lake. Trails and picnic areas along the shore provide plenty of access, and boats are allowed as well, although outboard motors are prohibited. That makes Meadow Lake a great place to spend a morning casting from a canoe or kayak near these Round Rock homes for sale

  • Lake Travis - 502 Hurst Creek Rd, Lakeway, TX 78734
    Built in 1942, Lake Travis is an 18,000-acre reservoir along the Colorado River, not far outside Austin. It's one of the largest lakes in Central Texas and offers great fishing for largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill. Lake Travis is a long, meandering lake with an abundance of arms and coves that offer great fishing. City Park in the community of Lakeway is a great place to start exploring Lake Travis. Located a stone's throw from many Lakeway homes for sale, the park offers an abundance of open shorelines for fishing. 

  • Twin Lakes - 204 E Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park, TX 78613
    The two lakes of Twin Lakes Park in the Austin-adjacent city of Cedar Park offer a relaxed, laid-back fishing experience. Anglers have been known to catch bluegill, crappie, catfish, and bass from the lakes, which are accessible from shore and by a small fishing pier. Just minutes from some beautiful Cedar Park homes for sale, the lakes are also open to kayaks and other small non-powered craft.

  • Lady Bird Lake - 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St, Austin, TX 78702
    A beautiful, river-like reservoir in the heart of Austin near beautiful Austin homes for sale, Lady Bird Lake offers spectacular fishing and boating opportunities, as well as a splendid view of the city skyline. Catches of bass and sunfish are common, and some big catfish have been hauled out of the lake as well. There are a lot of overhanging trees and cattails along the shore that attract fish. Festival Beach Park in Austin is a great place to access the lake. It has a free public boat ramp and is part of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Paddling Trail. 

  • Onion Creek - 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy, Austin, TX 78744
    Accessible through McKinney Falls State Park, Onion Creek is a beautiful stream that tumbles through carved-out limestone and over numerous waterfalls. Many local anglers fly-fish for bluegill and crappie here, and the state park offers great creek access as well as overnight camping and a network of picturesque nature trails.

Contact us today to learn more about life in Central Texas and find out about all the adventures that await!

August
16

What First-Time Buyers Need to Know About Credit Scores

Round Rock Credit Score

Your credit score is an important piece of financial information that influences your ability to purchase a home. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. 

Our real estate agents know that lenders will use your credit score when determining whether to approve your mortgage application. Here are a few things you should know about your credit score and homeownership as you prepare to buy your first home. 

  1. There's a Wide Variation in Acceptable Credit Scores
    The required credit score to purchase a home depends on the mortgage that you intend to use. For example, if you're applying for a conventional home loan, you'll likely need a credit score of at least 620. However, if you're interested in a jumbo home loan (a mortgage that exceeds conforming loan limits), it's best to have a credit score of 700 or higher. Some loans are ideal for buyers with less than stellar credit. An FHA loan has a minimum credit score requirement of 500. You'll need to make a 10 percent down payment if your credit score is between 500 and 579. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher, FHA loans permit a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. USDA and VA mortgage programs don't have a specified minimum credit score. Instead, the lenders who issue these loans are permitted to set their own requirements. Generally, to qualify for a USDA or VA mortgage, you'll want a minimum credit score of 640. 
  1. Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate and Loan Costs
    Your lender will use your credit score (along with other financial information, like your debt to income ratio and employment status) to decide what interest rate to offer for your loan. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. A lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Many lenders also use your credit score when determining the costs associated with a mortgage. For example, buyers with higher credit scores are offered lower PMI (private mortgage insurance) rates. They may also qualify for mortgage programs with minimal mortgage points or lower loan costs. 
  1. There are Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit
    Before you start attending showings for Round Rock homes for sale, it's best to take steps to ensure your credit is at its best. Start by making all of your loan payments on time. If you've had late payments in the past, the effects of those late payments will decrease over time. Check the balances on your credit cards. If you're utilizing more than 30 percent of your available credit, pay them down, so your utilization is under the 30 percent mark. Ideally, do this for each card and for your credit card balance as a whole. For example, if you have a $4,000 balance on one card with a $10,000 limit, pay the balance down, so it's less than $3,000. If you have a card with a $2,000 balance and $10,000 credit limit and another with a $5,000 balance with a $10,000 limit, focus on paying the second card down, so it's less $3,000. Thoroughly review your credit reports and dispute any information that's incorrect. If you only have one type of debt on your credit report, consider opening another product to diversify your credit usage. For example, if you only have credit cards, take out an installment loan (and vice versa). 

Are you ready to buy your first home? Contact us today to start your search!

August
9

Explore Downtown Round Rock

Round Rock DowntownThinking about touring Round Rock homes for sale? If so, our real estate agents are here to help!

Part of the Greater Austin area, Round Rock is a city of about 100,000 people. Named one of the Best Places to Live by Money in 2019, it's well known as the headquarters of Dell Technologies. Plus, Round Rock's historic downtown is one of the most attractive and interesting among cities in the region. 

Let's look at some of the attractions and amenities that make Downtown Round Rock special:

  • Woodbine Mansion – 405 East Main Street, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Woodbine Mansion is a historic architectural feat and an event venue rolled into one. Family-owned, with a breathtaking outdoor space perfect for weddings, the Woodbine's story reaches back to 1895. Corporate and social events can also be set in these lavish surroundings, complete with elegant courtyards and gazebo.

  • Slapbox Pizzicheria – 201 East Main Street, Round Rock, TX 78664
    One of the longest-running local pizza restaurants in Round Rock, Slapbox Pizzicheria is a satisfying choice for true artisan pizza pies. The signature "Giant Pizza" is a full 24" and comes with dozens of topping selections, including gourmet picks like lamb, chorizo, sun-dried tomato, and ricotta, goat, and feta cheeses.

  • Round Rock Amphitheater at Centennial Plaza – 301 West Baghdad Avenue, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Round Rock Amphitheater features a performance stage with tiered grass seating available for concerts and community theater. Nestled among eye-catching public art, you'll find it tucked away between some of the best dining and shopping in town. 

  • Rockey's Piano Bar – 111 West Main Street, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Rockey's Piano Bar is a beloved way to spend New Year's Eve and other special occasions, but it's a fun place to visit any time. With a full events calendar plus the interactive, all-request sing-along extravaganza every night from Thursday through Saturday, it's a terrific place to have fun with friends.

  • Home Run Dugout – 3400 East Palm Valley Boulevard, Round Rock, TX 78665
    While you're visiting the Dell Diamond, why not step into the shoes of the greats and become part of the action yourself? Family-friendly Home Run Dugout is just steps from center field and offers a unique batting cage for all skill levels. Plus, there's a delectable grill to stop by after you test your batting swing.

  • Round Rock Donuts – 106 West Liberty Avenue, Round Rock, TX 78664
    Round Rock Donuts is a big name in a place that takes breakfast seriously. Round Rock locals are often ready for their morning brew at 4 a.m., and nothing goes better with a hot cup of Joe than one of the famous yellow donuts. Round Rock Donuts has been around since 1926 and is still hailed as a local tradition.

  • Old Settlers Park – 3300 East Palm Valley Boulevard, Round Rock, TX 78665
    A centerpiece of local athletic amenities, Old Settlers Park, is an astonishing 640 acres. Home away from home for the area's youth and amateur sports teams, it comes complete with multiple picnic areas, playgrounds, and courts for cricket, disc golf, football, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.

When it comes to the Central Texas area, Round Rock has so much to offer. Contact us to discover Round Rock real estate with help from our team of dedicated agents.

August
2

What to Know When Building a Home in 2021

Building a Home 2021

If you're looking for a new home in 2021, you're certainly not alone. A housing shortage means that demand exceeds supply and that there are more buyers than sellers in the market. As a result, some potential buyers are choosing to build their own homes. This allows them to fully customize their homes.

Our real estate agents explain what you need to know when building a home in 2021:

  • It may cost more than you think.  
    Building a home may cost more in 2021 than in previous years. That's because builders are experiencing shortages of essential materials. More than 90% of builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders say they've experienced shortages of plywood, with almost that many reporting a shortage of windows and doors. This drives up the price for these materials as well as the cost of building a home.

  • Interest rates are still quite low.
    If you need to obtain financing for your new home, the news is good. Interest rates have been around 3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the summer of 2021, which is historically very low. Although rates can sometimes be difficult to precisely predict, experts expect them to stay steady or rise only slightly by the end of the year, which makes financing a home build (or buying an existing home) easier financially.

  • Factor in the cost of land.
    Don't forget to factor in the cost of land if you're planning to build a home. Even if you already own the plot of land you'll be building on, you'll probably want to budget for some improvements. These can include a driveway, landscaping, and outdoor structures.

  • Consider healthy home features.  
    Homeowners have placed a higher priority on healthy home features in the past few years, and this trend has grown even more since the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider faucets controlled by motion sensors and smart home devices that minimize the number of times you'll touch surfaces like light switches and door locks. Features like low-VOC paint and an efficient HVAC system and insulation that helps improve indoor air quality are also important healthy home features.

  • Look beyond the open floor plan.  
    Open floor plans remain popular, but many homeowners now prefer a more formal layout. Think about what your family likes to do before deciding on a layout. If you like to entertain, for example, an open floor plan may better suit your needs. But if you have a family member who works at home or would like your home to have more private space, a more formal layout is probably the way to go in your new home.

  • Patience and flexibility are key.  
    You'll usually run into some unexpected delays and issues when you're building a home, so you'll need to be patient as well as flexible. This is particularly true in 2021 since shipping delays and material shortages are common. If you approach the project expecting some delays and are flexible about some of your decisions, you'll have a much better experience and be under less stress. 

Contact us to find out more about the local housing market and Cedar Park homes for sale. If you decide to build your own home, we can help you find the land that meets your needs and share information about specific neighborhoods and other areas. 

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