Prosper Properties Blog

We are located in the heart of Hays County, right in downtown Buda, Texas. This blog offers tips, facts & solutions for homeowners as well as potential buyers and sellers.

Oct. 18, 2017

Cards 4 Kids Poker Tournament 2017

We had a great time at Cards 4 Kids Poker Tournament this year, benefiting the Hays Community YMCA. After many rounds of Texas Hold 'Em, we ended up with these winners: Mayor Todd Ruge, Will Borland (1st place!) and E. Scott Ross.

Thanks to our sponsors, HomePro Inspection, Independence Title Company, Modern Mortgage, Texas Custom Solutions, Milestone Community Builders and Endeavor Custom Homes!

Posted in News
Oct. 9, 2017

Meet Bruce King, Hays County Santa & REALTOR®

For the month of October, we sat down with our very own Hays County Santa and another one of our top producing Realtors, Bruce King! We're excited to have you get to know Bruce better and learn what he has to offer people who buy or sell their home with him.

Prosper Properties: Thanks for joining us Bruce. We know you're gearing up for the holiday season and things are starting to get busy. So first question, how long have you been in the business?

Bruce King: I started studying in 2007, so it looks like 10 years now! Wow, haven't really thought about it in a while. Time flies when you're having fun and love what you do!

PP: That's true! When work doesn't feel like a job you can really enjoy it. Here's a question that many people ask agents when they're interviewing them: 'What's your average List Price to Sales Price ratio?'

BK: I don't have an average. I focus on what you're comfort level is. I hear Realtors say they only work with [a certain type of] sellers and buyers. That's not me! I work with buyers and sellers of all types of properties and prices, (land, homes, mobile homes, lots, etc.), and there is nothing average in that. They are all very important to me!

PP: And really Bruce, that's what makes you a delight to work with. You make your clients feel important and like you have no other clients than them. Folks do what to know though, what is your best marketing plan or strategy for their needs?

BK: The most effective marketing is the obvious, MLS and other syndicated sites that profile properties and I belong to most of them. Social media is a big player these days and I have a ton of followers! If you've seen my ads and signs, then you've probably known me for years. I'm a local and love all my Peeps in this area! Now, my best strategy is I'm SANTA! And Santa loves and cares about you! 

PP: Also true, playing Santa Claus is a very unique aspect of your business. And it really works for you! Which by proxy works for your clients. Not very many Realtors can say they have the reach that you do based on being a Santa. What other things separate you from your competition?

BK: I'm a really fun person to work with! I answer my phone on nights and weekends! You won't hear the message from me that says I will return calls the next day if you call after 5pm. I'm bilingual. I speak fluent Spanish and I'm very connected with the Hispanic community. I started my career in the toughest of times during the crash of 2008 and I didn't give up! 

PP: Interesting! I didn't know you had started in such tough times. It's true, many people gave up or didn't even get started because of that crash. It's impressive that you stuck with it. Now you say you're very connected with your community. Is that how you would help folks find professionals they might need during the home buying or selling process?

BK: Yes, being connected with the community through years of city chambers and networking organizations has given me a wealth of affordable contacts that can help us tackle any issue we may encounter.

PP: Great! But do you offer any guarantees to your clients?

BK: That I will work my magic to help you feel comfortable! And to make this a smooth and educating journey! You will learn a lot! I learn new things with every transaction. The rest is up to the market, and I will walk right with you through the journey.

PP: That's a solid promise Bruce. Is there anything else we need to know about you?

BK: That I am the "Happiest Realtor" that you and I know personally! I practice positivity always, and believe that all our paths are on the right track no matter what! Our choices are the winding road to the destination and we'll kick it into 4 wheel drive when we hit the mud.

PP: The power of positivity is important for sure. Listen Bruce, we really appreciate your time. How can people get ahold of you when they're ready to buy or sell?

BK: They can give me a call or text at 512-667-4082 or shoot me an email bruceking.sells@gmail.com. 

PP: Excellent, thank you Bruce.

BK: You're most welcome!

Posted in News
Sept. 22, 2017

Meet Amanda Rickman, REALTOR®

This month we wanted to highlight one of our top producing agents here at Prosper Properties! Amanda Rickman is a born and raised Central Texan with rich family ties and history within our community. She was born in Austin and raised in Kyle and still resides within the Kyle community. We sat down with Amanda to find out a little more about how she has made her business successful and why she is such a fantastic asset to the Prosper Properties team.

Prosper Properties:     So Amanda, how long have you been in the business? 

Amanda Rickman:     In January, I have been in the business 4 years.  It's gone by so fast!

PP:     I'm sure! So a question that many people ask an agent when they are interviewing an agent is what is your average List Price to Sales Price ratio?

AR:     I won't lie, I really am not sure and that's because this isn't how I work my business.  My goal is to help people find homes or to help people sell their homes. I'm not really a numbers person and more so after the overall goal of helping someone get to where they need to be. If I'm working on the buyer side, I'm doing my best to get my client in a home for the best price depending on the market. Likewise, if I'm helping someone sell their home, I'm trying to get them the most they can for their home depending on the market.  

PP:     Sounds like a good way to work with people. Since your goal is helping someone get to where they need to be, what would you say is your best marketing plan or strategy for a clients’ needs? 

AR:     Besides advertising on MLS, Realtor.com, and all of those other platforms... you have probably seen how social media is a huge part of today's society. I take advantage of that and it helps that I'm from this area and am connected in this area to get your property more exposure. I would also have to say branding in general is my one of my biggest marketing strategies. If you interview an agent and they don't know their brand/purpose... that's a problem. Branding isn't all about the logo either, it's about the experience. You may not remember the colors of my logo, but even if it's a terrible market, my goal is for you to at least feel at ease, not stressed, and to have an overall great experience. That's my brand and what I want you to remember. Hold the vision, trust the process. 

PP: "Hold the vision, trust the process". What a good moto to follow in real estate! And you're right to say that agents that don't know their brand or purpose have a problem. What are some other things that separate you from your competition?

AR:     I would have to say the fact that I am a 4th generation area citizen and I have deep family roots here. I know the area well and have seen all its changes. True locals still do exist and I think that sets me apart from a lot of my competition.

PP:     Being local definitely helps! Sine you are local, how will you help your client’s find other professionals they might need during the process? 

AR:     Being from the area and part of the local networking groups and chambers, I have a list of almost every professional you could think of in my back pocket that I trust and would highly recommend.

PP:     What a great resource to have! Most people have to hunt through Yelp or Angie's List to find professionals to help them out. So another question many people ask a prospective agent is do you offer any kind of guarantee's? 

AR:     I don't and honestly, I don't know how people do make guarantee's. Nobody has a crystal ball to know what is going to happen and I think if you are told a guarantee when selling your home, the agent may be under-pricing your home. The only thing I can say about this is that I think honesty and communication weighs heavier than guarantee's... at least in my book!

PP:     That's great! Ok Amanda, what else do people need to know about you?

AR:     Overall, what you need to know about me is that I love what I do and will always try my very best. Honesty, communication, and your overall experience are key for me at the end of the day. One of my greatest strengths is being able to mold my way of working to fit different personality types and I have found that has vastly helped with people's experiences. I never tell people not to interview other agents, in fact, I encourage that. If you happen to roll back around to me as your agent of choice, I will give you my 110%.

PP:     Excellent! Thank you for your time Amanda! We enjoyed getting to know you a little bit more. Tell us how people can contact you?

AR:    Really anyway. They can call/text me at 512-557-2358 or email me at amandarickman08@gmail.com.

PP:     Perfect! Thank you again Amanda.

AR:     You're welcome!

 

Posted in News
Sept. 15, 2017

Do You Need an Agent When Looking at New Construction Homes?

If you’re looking for homes for sale in Buda or Kyle, chances are that you’re encountering a lot of new construction. A newly constructed home has a multitude of advantages -- it’s untouched by years of wear and tear, you get to make certain customizations, everything is modern and up-to-date. However, the homebuying process can be tricky to navigate. Many people ask if they still need an agent when purchasing a freshly built home. Below, we’ve broken down a few reasons why having an agent is absolutely essential.

Someone On Your Side

Sure, the nice folks in the sales office will answer any questions you have about the community, show you all the options for paint colors and flooring, and share in your excitement over your new home. But at the end of the day, they work for the builder, not you. You want someone in your corner, making sure your needs are being prioritized and giving you the best (and unbiased) advice as you make one of the most important purchases of your life. From choosing a reputable builder who delivers the finished home on schedule to selecting a neighborhood that suits your lifestyle to helping negotiate certain perks or upgrades -- your agent is with you every step of the way, listening to what you want and helping make it a reality.

Home Inspection Hero

Many buyers mistakenly assume that buying a brand new home is easier than buying an existing home, as there are no worries about what previous owners might have done to the place. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of risk involved. In fact, the number of defects discovered during a new home inspection (and their severity) is on par with that of a resale home. However, often the builder will not offer a home inspection on a new home. This is where your agent steps in. She will make sure an independent third party does a full inspection of the home, noting any repairs that need to be made before you sign on the dotted line. This is especially important for spots you won’t see during the walk-through or issues that aren’t readily apparent to the average homebuyer. If your builder hasn’t used best practices or has done a shoddy job of fixing a mistake, the inspector will do their due diligence to uncover it, and your agent will demand a repair before you move forward with the purchase.

The Full Financial Picture

Your agent is also there to help you understand exactly what your new home is worth, both today and down the line. In the first year of new home ownership, you’re taxed on the unimproved lot, but the following year, you’ll be taxed on the full value of your home, which is vastly different. Many builder’s agents conveniently forget to mention this when they break down the financials for you. Your agent will make sure you understand how your house payment will change over time and ensure you’re making an investment you can continue to afford.

Around half of the homes for sale in Buda, Texas, are new construction and this rate isn’t that dissimilar for Kyle. It’s a safe bet your home search will include some new communities. Check out our video below for more details on why using an agent is always a wise choice when considering new construction.

Posted in News
Aug. 22, 2017

Woodbrook Subdivision in Buda TX Could Be Your Forever Home

Woodbrook is a quaint neighborhood, 18 miles south of Downtown Austin, located on the east side of Interstate 35, off of FM 2001. Located conveniently between Downtown Austin and San Marcos, you are nestled into the peace and quiet of rural surroundings, yet are still close to the hustle and bustle of Austin and the booming college town of San Marcos.  

The neighborhood was established in 2005, and all the home lots are at least ½ acre in size. The single-family homes that reside in this beautiful community range in size from 1,750 sq. feet, up to 3,947 sq. feet. The homes are all 3-4 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms. The current HOA fees are $200/year.

The public schools for the Woodbrook community are:

Homes for sale in Woodbrook range from the mid $300’s, all the way as high as the $500’s. They average 30 days on the market and homes are usually bought at 100% of their value. The property tax rate is currently at 2.29%. As you can see, if you secure a beautiful home in this highly desired neighborhood, it is likely to be your forever home because few people ever leave! When you put your roots down here, you are just close enough to the city, yet you can still can sit on your back porch and view the wide-open spaces on a cool summer evening. Woodbrook may just be the perfect neighborhood for you!

 

Posted in News
Aug. 8, 2017

All There is to Know and Love About Plum Creek in Kyle, TX

One of the most desirable, master planned neighborhoods within the City of Kyle, TX is Plum Creek. This 2,200 acre mixed-zoned community allows resident to live, work and play all within the neighborhood! Plum Creek subdivision has something to offer everyone, at every stage in life. 

Plum Creek was formally known as Mountain City Ranch, and was assembled in the early 1900’s by Richard Van Wyck Negley and his wife Laura Burleson Negley. It was used for grazing goats, cattle, cotton production and recreation. Laura Burleson Negley was the great-granddaughter of General Edward Burleson, the second vice president of the Republic of Texas, and the man who helped found the cities of Austin and San Marcos. The rich heritage and progressive role this family has played has been an integral part of making Hays County better for past, present and future generations. Even the streets of Plum Creek are named after figures in our Central Texas history as a nod of respect to the people that built it so many years ago. In 2006, Hays CISD dedicated Laura B. Negley Elementary School to the district and it resides in the heart of Plum Creek. It is the school for all Plum Creek residents plus several surrounding neighborhoods. 

Plum Creek has so much to offer; parks, playgrounds, Plum Creek golf course, a dog park, two community pools and a huge, beautiful fishing lake with walking/hiking trails. There are neighborhood-wide events throughout the year as well, from Hootenany on the Hill, to Front Porch Days, to the 4th of July Popsicle Run and parade! The homes for sale in Plum Creek seem to create an ambiance like a movie from the 1950’s: the manicured lawns, white picket fences, tree lined streets, and kids outside playing until the sun goes down. The schools are also top notch; Negley Elementary, Barton Middle and Hays High.

Let’s talk about the new home builders that reside in Plum Creek: Bigelow Homes, Centerra Homes and Avi Homes. 

Centerra’s newest offering is called The Peninsula and is nestled in between the 4th and 6th hole of the Plum Creek Golf Course. The living is green and natural and every home is within 500 feet of a greenbelt of trail that connects to the larger trail around the lakes. The community is gated and will have 172 homes once completed. There are three different home site sizes to choose from with energy efficient products to reduce your eco-footprint.

Bigelow Homes offers three unique settings within the neighborhood; The Parks, Live Oak Park and the just released, Promontory. The Promontory is on a bluff of land overlooking Hole 4 on the golf course. The Parks is filled with live oaks, and instead of facing the public streets, all homes face inward with views of the beautifully landscaped park space, where neighbors can congregate and children play. There are nearby Pickle Ball and Bocce Ball courts and the entire area is adjacent to Hole 7 of the golf course. Live Oak Park faces a heavily wooded private park with shady park benches and 100 year old trees.

As you can see, houses for sale in Plum Creek are more than just a “neighborhood”; it is truly a community of its own, where you never have to go far for entertainment, nature and friendly neighborhood activities. 

 

Posted in News
Aug. 1, 2017

Whispering Hollow is a Top Pick Subdivision in Buda TX

Scouting homes for sale in Buda? Looking for the perfect family-friendly neighborhood with a playground, pool, maybe some bike trails? Want to be walking distance to a top-rated school and an easy drive from great shopping? Whispering Hollow might be the perfect match for you! Located just west of IH-35, off FM1626, Whispering Hollow offers everything an active family could want. Beautiful homes with spacious floorplans. Plenty of amenities to support a healthy lifestyle. A convenient location offering the best of both worlds. These are just a few things that make this neighborhood a top pick.

Whispering Hollow lies 13 miles south of Austin in the quiet enclave of Buda, recently named the “Outdoor Capital of Texas” by the State Legislature. Buda’s high percentage of parkland makes it a nature lover’s dream. It’s packed with small town charm, hosting annual events like the Buda Lions County Fair and Wiener Dog Races in April, Red, White n’ Buda in July, and Boo-da Halloween in October. Buda has adopted many of Austin’s great traditions, including its own version of First Thursday, as well as a stunning Trail of Lights holiday display. You get all the fun of Austin on a scale that encourages more community interaction and family focus. Buda is also in a prime location for shoppers. Whether you’re visiting the 185,000 square foot Cabela’s (an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise), checking out all your favorites in Southpark Meadows, or bargain hunting at the San Marcos outlets, everything you want is just minutes away.

In addition to its prime location that mixes big city access with small town intimacy, Whispering Hollow boasts tremendous value for homebuyers. At the same price point that Austinites would associate with a cramped two-bedroom bungalow badly in need of some upgrades, this neighborhood offers homes with twice the square footage, modern amenities, and excellent architectural and design details. Bonus rooms, insulated garages, tiled decks, and box-out windows are among the many possible features. The first homes in the area were completed in 2007, and construction is ongoing, so newly built homes continue to be added to the neighborhood. Builders in this subdivision include Standard Pacific, Gehan Homes, Centex Homes, Ryland Homes, and CalAtlantic.

What sets Whispering Hollow apart from similar Buda neighborhoods? First, many homes are located on oversized lots and surrounded by large, mature trees. The community includes access to a gorgeous pool, picnic pavilion, playground, and miles of hiking and biking trails. Elm Grove Elementary, known for its excellent teachers, caring principal, and highly involved parents, is located in the subdivision. Current residents refer to the neighborhood as a big family that looks out for each other. They host their own version of Austin’s South By Southwest (in this case SXWH) with live music and a crawfish boil, as well as Easter and Memorial Day celebrations. The active HOA is extremely dedicated to planning events the entire community will enjoy.

A lengthy list of amenities, great schools, and neighbors that treat you like family? With everything Austin has to offer just up the road? If you’re looking for a high-quality home for sale in Buda, Whispering Hollow is definitely a neighborhood you’ll want to explore. 

 

Posted in News
July 22, 2017

New Trend of High-End Housing in San Marcos and Kyle

Hays County is seeing several new "trends" in the housing market, one of which is the building of higher-end communities. Kyle and San Marcos have always been known for their affordability, especially for those that work in Austin but choose not to live there because of the expense. According to Zillow, the current average price of a single-family home for sale in San Marcos is $259,400. The Kyle average is slightly lower, coming in at $223,861. Compare this to the average price of a home in Austin ($409,000), and you can see just how attractive this makes Hays County prices.

Now these two small towns in Hays are taking aim at high-end homes/clientele in two distinctly different communities, giving Austin a run for their money. Builders are targeting professionals and retirees with attractive developments that offer a wealth of amenities and geared towards those that want a fun and active lifestyle within their neighborhood. 

The high-end housing option located in San Marcos, Kissing Tree, is "an active adult 55+ community that is custom built with Texas attitude". Homes start in the mid $200’s and range all the way to the $500’s. There is a plethora of choices in home styles and upgrades offered by the builder Brookfield, enough to satisfy even the pickiest of buyers. The amenities and lifestyle that are offered here will tickle your every fancy. Here just a few of what Kissing Tree has to offer: 18 hole putting course, pickle ball and tennis courts, indoor/outdoor pool, biergarten, fitness center, fire pits, community kitchen, coffee bar, dog park, amphitheater, and MORE. If you desire to live an active, social lifestyle in your retirement years, THIS is the place you can call home!

The other high-end community that has put down roots in Hays County is found on the west side of Kyle. Cypress Forest, where you can "Live your best life!", has homes that range from the $260’s up to the $450’s with varying sized lots. Future plans for this community include a swimming pool, sprayscape for the kids, and a pavilion for gatherings. You’ll love being "rooted in nature" in this neighborhood that features mature trees (saved during the building process) that provide that genuine Hill Country feel.

If you have been considering a "move up" home, or it’s getting close to time you think about retirement, give these two communities consideration. You surely won’t be disappointed! Hays County is on the move!

Posted in News
July 18, 2017

Tips On Helping Your Parents Buy A Home

It is quite common for people in their later years to buy a new-to-them home. Many people want to downsize once their children have moved out and have purchased homes of their own. The house may feel too large, and regular upkeep becomes problematic. The yard may be too difficult to maintain. Mobility is often an issue, as stairs and narrow halls present new challenges to the homeowners. There are many fantastic homes for sale in Kyle and Buda that can meet their needs. Here are a few ways you can help your parents buy a home:

Simplify

While looking at all the options available, it can be tempting to get overexcited and forget the problems you are trying to leave behind you. Help steer your parents’ search to smaller homes with smaller yards. Reduce time spent cleaning by having a home with fewer rooms. A small yard, a yard that has been xeriscaped, or any yard with a landscape design that requires very little watering and maintenance is ideal to the homeowner looking to simplify their lifestyle. 

Single Story Living

Two story homes are wonderful, until you are struggling to carry things up and down staircases. Single story, ranch style homes are the perfect choice for people who have begun to experience mobility issues, or in anticipation of issues in the near future. Choose a home that has as few stairs and trip hazards as possible. Similarly, if the home has hallways, make sure they are wide enough to accommodate mobility aids such as canes, crutches and wheelchairs. A Texas ranch home is an attractive option in general, but especially for those looking for functionality and safety in a house.

Request A Home Warranty

Unexpected expenses can be a nightmare, but especially so for people living on a fixed income. During the purchase process, request a home warranty that covers major systems such as your electrical and plumbing, your air conditioning unit, as well as your appliances. Everything may seem fine and might pass inspection when you are looking at a property- but there is no way to know when something is going to break down until it does. If anything major were to fail, a home warranty pays for itself quite quickly. 

New Homes

Wary of potentially buying someone else’s problems? There are many new, beautiful homes for sale in Buda and Kyle. With a new home, you don’t have to worry about the age of the pipes, the wear and tear on the roof and the condition of the foundation. What you see is what you get, and you might not have to worry about maintenance and financial surprises for years. 

Financial Assistance

There are various ways you can help your parents during the buying process, and after, that would make life easier for them. Look into the pros and cons of cosigning on a property with them, or covering the down payment. After the home is bought, you can purchase a subscription for regular lawn service or even invest in HVAC maintenance for their system. 

Helping your parents buy a home can be challenging, but these tips should make the process less stressful. One of the most important things you can do is to team up with an excellent Realtor to guide you and your parents through the process. There are many things to consider, and having a professional by your side makes a world of difference. It is the best way to ensure that the property they choose to invest in is the right one for them today, and well into the future.

 

 

Posted in News
July 10, 2017

Helpful Tips on Leasing a Home or Apartment in Austin

If you are considering venturing into the world of leasing a home or apartment here in the Austin area, here are some facts and also some tips/tricks to getting you into that home you want!

MYTH: You shouldn’t use a real estate agent to assist you because they will cost you extra money.

THIS IS FALSE! Using a Realtor is 100% free to you! You never pay any Realtor’s fees: the owner of the home does. Use an agent for all their knowledge to help guide you through the often tedious and time consuming application process. They have the best access to time-sensitive listings and can quickly set up showings for you to see the home. Oftentimes people research for lease listings online, but by the time they want to see the home, it’s already gone. Using a real estate agent who has access to the up-to-date MLS system is a much more quick and efficient way to see a home sooner which increase your chances that it will be yours!

FACT: Know your credit. There are many free websites to check your score if you’re not quite sure where you land on the scale. Most landlords will require a score above 540. If your score is below this marker, you may want to consider taking some time to work on your credit before potentially wasting deposit fees on homes that you are just not qualified for. In addition to the credit check, a background check will also be run on you. 

FACT: Be prepared with at LEAST 2 months of paystubs or bank statements (if you are self-employed). These will need to be submitted, along with your application and application fees that are collected. Please note that you are required to make at least 2.5 to 3 times the rent, in income, per month. 

FACT: Pet breeds MATTER! If you have pets, please know the weight and breeds. "Mixed breed" will not count, as you must be specific. Many homeowners have breed and size limitations, so know what you have. Be prepared to provide vet paperwork, if necessary.  Properties will generally also require a separate pet deposit, in addition to the regular security deposit.  Rules and deposits are specific to each listing and the deposit amounts vary.

We hope that this information is of value to you. Prosper Properties believes in equal housing opportunities for everyone, and understands that every situation is unique. Each application process is different and will be evaluated by each of the criteria above, and possibly more. If you need a reliable Realtor to help assist you, or to clarify any of the information above, please call!

Image courtesy of Mark Moz

Posted in News