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November 2019

Whether you own a home or are looking to buy or sell one, here are some useful tips, ideas and advice. When you’re ready to make your move, give me a call or drop me a line.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Texas Realty
Nicki Turner



Good Reasons to Buy During the Holidays

Did you know that the holidays are among the best times of the year to buy a home? Put a giftwrapped set of housekeys under your Christmas tree and ring in the new year with a new abode you’ll love. Here are a few reasons why now is the time.

Home prices aren’t going down. The U.S. Economic Outlook from the National Association of REALTORS in September 2019 predicts that this year will end with a median national home price of $269,600, while home prices in 2020 will reach $278,500, a difference of $8,900 or 3%. In fact, home prices steadily rose for 89 months as of July 2019.

Mortgage interest rates are favorable. Advises, mortgage interest rates are at or near three-year lows and are expected to stay low, making it possible for fall homebuyers to lock in record-low interest rates. That’s something to give thanks over in November! Lower rates make homes more affordable than they were a year ago, when rates were higher.

Less competition for homes. Over 51% of homes were sold in less than a month in July 2019, as families were pressed to move into their new homes before the new school year that begins every August. Housing traffic historically slows down in cooler weather. Sellers may be more willing to negotiate if they know you’re serious about buying a home. Get prequalified for your loan and be willing to move during the holidays, and you could score a great deal.


A Better Alternative to Bagging Raked Leaves

With warmer weather across the country, it’s taking longer for trees to drop their leaves, so you may find yourself doing a lot of raking in late October and early November. But after the work is finished, you have to bag the leaves and let them sit on your curb for collection.

Or, you can put them to good use and save using plastic bags, too.  

Popular Mechanics suggests that mowing your leaf-covered lawn is a great way to create organic mulch. It mixes grass clippings with shredded leaves and reduces the leaves to one-tenth their volume. This nutrient-rich mixture, according to, helps soil retain moisture, improves fertility and reduces erosion. It also helps protect your lawn from winter damage.

Mow your leaves often to prevent rotting that harms your grass. You can use a regular lawnmower, but you may have to go over the leaves several times to turn them into mulch. You can also use a mulching lawnmower, with a blade designed to shred and return clippings to the lawn.

You can also shred leaves with a leaf mulcher. These tools are lightweight, portable and can make mulch from leaves, pine needles and other small organic materials, wet or dry. Leaf mulchers can be placed on top of large trashcan that makes clean up easier and faster and allows you to take the mulched leaves and distribute them as you like it. Mix in some cedar chips and sow the mulch around trees to protect the roots.

community events

Things To Do in the Austin Area

Looking for things to do in the Austin area? Click here for more information on events in or around Austin during the next few months.

Don't want to head into the city? Check out these events in Williamson county.  Click here for more information.

Looking for events geared towards younger children and families? Check out the 365thingsaustin website to see updated events and activities to help keep the little ones entertained.


How to Choose New Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets set the style for any kitchen, and with advances in functionality as well as beauty, your new cabinets should transform your food prep workspace. According to Consumer Reports, new cabinets account for about 40% of an overall kitchen remodel budget, so it’s important to get the look and features you want.

The most popular cabinet doors today are flat fronted or framed with hidden hardware for a modern esthetic. Look for “quiet closing” cabinets that close on their own to prevent slamming. Storage options that pull down, rotate or lift up can deliver equipment to you without bending over or getting a stepladder. Drawers that pull out under countertops are easier to use than shelves because you can see everything that’s stored. Cabinets that reach the ceiling can accommodate items you don’t use daily, like holiday dinnerware.

Many new kitchens have various wood grains and stains, factory-painted wood, and porcelain or laminate cabinet fronts. Island cabinets often feature a contrasting color to the wall  cabinets.  

All kitchens have trouble spots that can be fixed with the right design. Hire a certified kitchen designer, who’s adept at space planning, traffic control and up to date on the newest products. They troubleshoot difficult spaces with space-saving ideas such as shallower-than-standard cabinets for narrow galley kitchens.

Be open to new products that can save you valuable time, such as drink stations, refrigerated drawers and large trough sinks. Visit a few kitchen showrooms with your designer to get more ideas.


Staged Homes Sell Faster

In a survey released this year, the National Association of REALTORS found that 83% of buyers’ agents said that staging helps homebuyers visualize themselves living in the home and influences them enough to make higher offers.

Sellers’ agents report that homes sell faster and for more money. Over half said that staging sells a home faster, and about 22% say offers improve by 5%, while 17% reported improved offers of up to 10%. Two percent say offers increased by over 20 percent – over $50,000 for a median priced home, reports

These are just a few of the advantages to staging your home to sell, but there are other benefits for home sellers. 

Staging gives you a deadline. Getting your home ready to sell can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to list it until it’s complete. Online photos and agent showings should showcase your home at its best – decluttered, freshly painted and staged with new furniture and accessories.

Staging gives you great ideas. You’ll learn a lot about making rooms flow, creating focal points, improve lighting, and how to use color.

Staging helps you decide what to keep or discard. If your furnishings are hand-me-downs, out of date, or not your taste, why take it all to your next home? Staging can help you determine what you love so you’ll have far less stuff to move.

Ask your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network professional if staging is part of their service or to recommend a good stager.

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