Category Archives: Blog Posts

Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Appeal

If you’re considering listing your home, remember, this is your chance to make the best first impression possible and charm buyers by creating a wonderful atmosphere as they compare your home to others available on the market. Here are some simple and significant ways to maximize your home’s appeal.

House Exterior 2Create Curb Appeal

  • Keep grass cut, trim trees and remove all toys and clutter from yard.
  • Weed and add mulch to flower beds along with a few seasonal flowers.
  • Power wash your home’s exterior; clean windows inside and out.
  • Ensure all gutters and downspouts are firmly attached and functioning.
  • Buy a new welcome mat and keep front porch swept.
  • Place potted flowers near the front door.
  • Make sure the door bell works.
  • Tighten and clean all door handles.

Welcome Buyers with a House they Can Picture as Their New Home

  • Ensure your home remains free of all pet, smoke and cooking smells.
  • Remove furniture that interrupts “the flow” or makes the room appear smaller.
  • Consider renting a storage unit to move items off-site.
  • Get the kitchen sparkling clean including stove, oven and fridge.
  • Remove excessive counter clutter.
  • Clean and organize cabinets, closets, drawers and bookshelves.
  • Clean all light fixtures, ceiling fans, mini blinds and window sills.
  • Remove excessive wall hangings and knick-knacks.
  • Shampoo carpets.
  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps.
  • Make minor repairs (torn screens, sticking doors, cracked caulking).
  • Fix or replace tub & shower grout and replace any broken tiles.

Doing that Little Bit Extra

  • Buy new towels for bathrooms and replace shower curtain
  • Buy new bedding for bedrooms and replace old lamps or lampshades.
  • Paint the front door; clean or paint walls and ceilings.
  • Replace worn cabinet doors, cabinet pulls and door knobs.
  • Replace worn countertops.

Formal Dining 04Tips for Showing Your Home at It’s Best

  • DO NOT fry anything while your home is for sale; cooking smells linger for days.
  • Vacate the property while it is being shown.
  • Open all drapes and shutters in the daytime; turn on all the lights.
  • Keep pets secured outdoors.
  • Play quiet background music.
  • Clean out fireplace ashes.
  • Infuse home with a comforting scent, such as apple spice or vanilla.
  • Set the dining room table for a fancy dinner party.

Quarterly Donations Recap (July-September 2013)

Thanks to our clients, we were able to donate a total of $23,585.01 this quarter, bringing our total donations since our founding to $280,114.31!

Here’s a look at all the donations we’ve made on behalf of our clients this quarter.

Quarterly Donation Collage 3

Raesz Donation Collage 2

Look for the next donation recap in December!

Dos & Don’ts Before You Close Your Loan

House.key.AWGGuest blog post from Josh Flores.

Today I’d like to share some dos and don’ts before closing on your real estate loan. Keep in mind that these are general guidelines and that you should always call your loan officer for guidance.

DO bring a cashier’s check made out to the title company for your closing costs. You can bring a personal check to closing for $500 or less.

DO notify us if your salary or other compensation has changed from what has been noted on your loan application.

DO inform us if your address changes from what appears on your original loan application. We will complete rental and mortgage verification for all of your residences within the last two years.

DO obtain homeowner’s insurance with minimum coverage equal to the amount of your total loan or the replacement value of the house. Call our office with your agent’s name and phone number at least 10 days before closing.

DO keep documentation (“paper trail”) on any large deposits into your account. A “paper trail” is copies of all paperwork necessary to prove financial transaction: copies of all checks, deposit slips, loan paperwork, forms to liquidate assets, etc.

DO notify us if you move funds from one account to another and provide a “paper trail” on any transactions.

DO make sure you have a clear termite report on the property. If the termite report is not clear, provide a receipt for treatment that shows the chemicals and the amount used for treatment (upon request).

DON’T acquire any additional credit lines or make any large purchases on existing credit without first consulting us. For example: purchasing a car or buying appliances for your new home will change your debt to income ratios.

DON’T change jobs without consulting us. A change in compensation may affect your ability to qualify. Borrowers must have a two year history of bonus and/or commissions to be counted as income. Lenders may verify employment on the day of closing as a quality control check.

 DON’T co-sign with anyone to obtain a line of credit or make a purchase. The payment will show up on your credit report as an additional debt.

 Following these dos and don’ts will help you to have a smooth, surprise free loan closing…

JoshFloresPhotoJosh Flores is a senior loan officer with Supreme Lending. He attributes his success as a loan officer not to marketing genius but rather to his practice of working with one client at a time. His philosophy is to do the best, most professional job for each of his clients, which has led to his history of repeated client referrals.

Josh believes that education and experience are the two most important assets he can share with each of his clients, whether that client is an experienced investor or a first-time home buyer.

Josh received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from St. Edward’s University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Josh and his wife have two children, a daughter and a son.

Yet Another Benefit of the Give Realty Business Model!

It’s been five years since Give Realty was started and I’m still learning of the great and fun benefits of the business model!

DellChildrensMedCenterI just had the wonderful fortune of attending a fundraiser for The Dell Children’s Medical Center that was hosted at the home of Give Realty’s clients, Pierre and Shami Mulacek. I often call the Mulacek’s the clients who “saved” Give Realty. The company was literally running on fumes until they came along. Their purchase gave me some much needed breathing room.

The Mulacek’s know how to throw one heck of a party! I got to taste some new food trucks that I hadn’t tried before: Gordoughs, mmmpanada’s and The Peached Tortilla. Tom Kite emceed and Water and Rust provided an amazing musical performance. The event raised a tidy sum for Dell Children’s Medical Center Health Express as well.

DogsOutLoudLogoOn Saturday, September 28th, another client of Give Realty’s will be hosting a fund raiser at their home to benefit Dogs Out Loud. It will be wonderful to see Kim and Kane again and to visit their lovely home and property. The event is Tails Under the Stars, and if you are a dog lover like me, no doubt you will want to check out the event too.

So nice to know the wonderful clients we have the good fortune of finding homes for continue to do great things for the nonprofit community and are willing to open their homes and lives to strangers in an effort to build awareness about causes they are passionate about! Our community is doubly blessed because of them.

~ Laurie

Give Realty Takes Home a Win at the Greater Austin Business Awards

IMG_2074 (2)We are honored to be among the 23 winners recognized on September 4, at the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s 13th Annual Greater Austin Business Awards. A list of all winners and finalists can be viewed here.

“The Austin Chamber of Commerce seeks to honor the businesses in the Greater Austin area that lead the Central Texas economy towards a future of diversity, innovation, and responsibility,” said Austin Chamber Chairman Lew Little, Jr., CEO of Harden Healthcare. “The Greater Austin Business Awards is a key expression of the Austin Chamber’s dedication to recognizing Central Texas companies of all sizes for their successes and contributions to the community.”

IMG_1473Give Realty received the Cook Walden Funeral Homes Community Relations Award, in the small business category. The award recognizes any organization in any industry that demonstrates a successful approach to corporate social responsibility and can show a positive impact on the community.

This was a big surprise for us and the event was definitely packed with worthy businesses in every category. The energy in the room was amazing and it was great to run into many friends and supporters at the dinner. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – we couldn’t do it without you. It is your business that allows us to make an impact on the community and we are grateful for it every day. Thank you to all of our “Angel Investors”!

How to be the Most Effective Seller or Buyer in the Current Market

Family in front of houseIn case you haven’t heard, the real estate market in Austin is the strongest it has been. In fact, July sales were the highest EVER recorded. In just the past two weeks, I’ve dealt with multiple offers in Austin, Cedar Park and Round Rock – so even the burbs are heating up. I thought I would address the most common questions I have come across so far this year:

Q. When is the right time to put my house on the market?
A. Don’t think you missed the window since you didn’t list your home in the summer time. With inventory so low, availability is driving the housing market more than the time of year. In this market, a properly priced home in good condition will sell no matter what time of year it is.

Q. What advice can you give me for selling my home?
A. Don’t get greedy, price your home competitively, have professional photos taken and de-clutter – twice! A home still has to be in tip-top shape to sell for a tip-top price. Lately I’ve been appalled at the quality of listing photos in MLS. Presentation and pricing are everything. Don’t get lazy and don’t let your agent get lazy either. It will make a difference in the final sales price.

Q. If I’m a buyer, what should I consider?
A. Be realistic! It is a seller’s market so there isn’t a lot of negotiating going on with price, repairs or terms. Be pre-approved for a loan and look in a price range lower than your pre-approval amount so you have wiggle room if you need to offer more than asking price or if interest rates change. Be prepared to make decisions quickly. Look at new construction if it’s an option in your price range especially if you have a home to sell. Builders are more likely to consider a contingency.

Q. Just how hot is the Austin market?
A. HOT, HOT, HOT! According to the Austin Board of Realtors® a total of 3,135 homes were sold in July in the Austin area, making last month the highest-performing month on record since the board began tracking home sales in the 1960s. The previous monthly record was 2,993 sales in June 2006. July’s 3,135 home sales were also a 35% jump over the 2,328 sales in July 2012 and median prices are up 8%!

Give Realty Gives Back to Community

Article originally published in Community Impact Newspaper.

Johnson The Care Communities DonationWith Give Realty, owner Laurie Loew is running a real estate brokerage firm while giving back to the community.

Give Realty, which helps clients buy and sell residential properties, donates 25 percent of its brokerage commission to the nonprofit or faith-based organization of a client’s choice. The real estate firm celebrated its five-year anniversary in July. The firm has donated more than $259,000 to local and national nonprofits since opening.

“For a lot of clients, it’s been explained to me that there is the sense that they feel I have their best interests in my heart,” Loew said. “It’s not just about a paycheck and commission; it’s about doing something more.”

Loew started selling real estate in 2005. Following a divorce in 2007, Loew said she started thinking of ways to better the world and stop feeling sorry for herself. She came up with the idea of Give Realty, and the firm has since grown to employ three agents.

Loew said she enjoys how Give Realty connects clients with the nonprofits they help. Give Realty sets up a formal check presentation between the clients and the nonprofit. The clients can then tour the nonprofit if they want and see in person the work the organization is doing.

“It’s all about getting the client engaged in something that they are passionate about,” she said.

Clients have donated checks to nonprofits such as SafePlace, Emancipet and CASA of Travis County.

“The first donation I made was so life-changing, and every one since then has also been life-changing,” Loew said. “It reprioritized what was really important to me.”

Home Improvements on a Budget: Painting

Guest blog by Reflections Remodeling.

Most home improvements start with one simple desire: to see something different. Aside from our workspaces, we spend the majority of our time in our homes and, inevitably, we want to shake things up once in a while. With that in mind, we don’t like to shake things up so much that we lose track of our fiscal responsibilities. So what can a budget conscious homeowner do to put a little sparkle back into a home?

paint_rollerOne of the most effective, least expensive improvements is painting. Applying a new coat of paint to a room instantly transforms it from “walls you see every day” to “walls with something to say!” Aside from picking out paint colors, you have a few other decisions to make. Will this be a whole house repaint, or just one room? Will every wall get a fresh coat, or will a single accent wall be sufficient? Do you want different colors in each room? On each wall of a room? Do you plan on making this a DIY, or should you hire a painter? It seems like a lot, but fear not; let us walk you through the steps.

First, decide whether you’re going to do this yourself. A good question to ask yourself: knowing your schedule and your dedication to finishing the project, will you likely complete it over a weekend? This is a good rule of thumb for any project. Most homeowners tend to consider themselves in over their heads if they aren’t able to finish a remodel in a couple of days. If you plan on undertaking this project yourself, the only real cost is the paint, brushes and rollers, and a weekend dedicated to moving furniture, laying plastic, taping edges and getting yourself a little paint-splattered. If you decide to hire a company, make sure you have the colors picked out and the furniture moved before they’re scheduled to begin. This saves them time, which in turn saves you money. Also, see if they can include the cost of paint in the estimate. Most remodelers or professional painters have accounts with the major paint stores and can use their discount to your benefit.

Next, pick out which rooms are getting the new paint. A common desire is to start by repainting bedrooms, but unless you have a well-used home office in there, the rooms we spend the most time occupying tend to be the living room (or wherever you keep a television) and the kitchen. If you’ve chosen bold colors for your rooms, try painting one wall first, in its entirety. An accent wall can often effectively change the tone of a room without overpowering it. During the estimate with a professional, ask if multiple colors in multiple rooms will cost extra. When painting each room in a house, the least expensive option is to have the contractor buy 5-gallon buckets of one color. If you want different colors in each room, this requires them to purchase 1-gallon buckets, and might raise your estimate.

Last, and most importantly, enjoy the experience! The process of beautifying your home can often be stressful, but visualizing the end result can keep you focused on pressing forward. Have you decided to make this a weekend project? Great! Start with one room and one room only. There are always more weekends for the other rooms. Will a painter fit your needs better? No problem! Nearly every contractor will come out and give you a free estimate. Just make sure you know exactly what you want and that *they* know it too. The finished project will reinvigorate your home, and in turn, reinvigorate you.

Thinking of painting? Reflections Remodeling will be happy to provide a free estimate and quality service.

RR-logo-webReflections Remodeling is a woman-owned construction company serving Austin and the surrounding areas. Since 2010, we have been providing beautiful, professional remodels, renovations and repairs. Whether implementing a whole-house makeover, or installing a light fixture, Reflections takes pride in competent, budget-minded craftsmanship.

Owners Joy and Charlie Groves are the  ladies behind Reflections’ quality standard. Joy can be found at job sites, where she gets her hands dirty as the General Contractor and Manager of On-Site operations. Charlie keeps jobs running smoothly behind-the-scenes, as Office Manager. Together, these women are changing the face of home remodeling, looking to reflect your vision, one project at a time.

Pinterest for Inspiration

Did you know that Give Realty is on Pinterest? Pinterest is a photo sharing mecca for things that inspire us, especially when it comes to home and landscaping tips and design ideas. We find nuggets of greatness, from DIY remodel instructions, to moving lists that keep life organized as you transition into your new home. View our most recent pins here.

Today we thought we would give you a glimpse into the kinds of home tips, landscaping inspiration, decor ideas, and DIY projects you can find on our boards. You can still view our pins even if you aren’t ready to hop on the Pinterest bandwagon with your own account. Just click the links or images below.

Home Tips:


Landscape & Backyard Ideas:


Decor Ideas:


DIY Projects:


We invite you to follow us on Pinterest for more home inspiration.

How it Works

When you buy or sell a home, 25% of Give Realty’s commission is donated to the 501(c)3 nonprofit of the client’s choice. That’s right – YOU choose the recipient. Learn More

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