Articles Tagged "Hutto"

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Area Information | 40 Posts
For Buyers | 5 Posts
For Sellers | 2 Posts
Homeownership | 7 Posts
June
6

Central Texas Hiking Trails for Beginners

Texas Hiking Trails

Round Rock is a great place to live if you love the outdoors. Located just north of Austin at the edge of the Hill Country region in Central Texas, Round Rock offers countless miles of great hiking.

Parks and trails in the area offer amazing hikes for all skill and fitness levels. Today, our real estate agents are very excited to share their favorite easy hikes for beginners in the Texas Hill Country!

  • Old Settlers Park Hike & Bike Trail - 3300 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Spanning 640 acres, Old Settlers Park is one of the largest and most popular parks in Round Rock. The park has several easy options for hikers, with 3.3 miles of trails that consist of several loops. The paved Hike & Bike Trail is popular among joggers and dog walkers as well as cyclists, and the 1.7-mile Meadow Loop Trail offers some lovely scenery and access to the park's disc golf course. Old Settlers Park is just minutes from many Round Rock homes for sale

  • Brushy Creek Trail East - 151 N A.W. Grimes Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78664
    The Brushy Creek Regional Trail is a greenway project that stretches across Williamson County, with numerous trailheads in several neighboring communities. The proposed trail will eventually span 20 miles, and several sections have already been completed, like the 3.06-mile stretch known as the Brushy Creek Trail East, which crosses through Play for All Park. It's an easy hike through a beautiful wooded area alongside the banks of the trail's namesake Brushy Creek. 

  • Meadow Lake Park - 2901 Settlement Dr, Round Rock, TX 78665
    Home to the 1.35-mile Meadow Lake Trail, Meadow Lake Park is a perfect place to enjoy an easy lakeside hike in Round Rock. The trail is flat and paved, mostly hugging the shoreline of the 55-acre lake. Texas Parks & Wildlife stocks Meadow Lake with bass and catfish every year, so bring a fishing pole!

  • Kensington Greenbelt & Park - 1891 Oxford Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78664
    A flat, easy 0.9-mile out-and-back trail southeast of Downtown Round Rock, the Kensington Greenbelt traverses a mixture of woods and meadows in Kensington Park. It's a great afternoon stroll within walking distance of several residential neighborhoods. Kensington Park was fully renovated in 2013, with brand new picnic facilities and playgrounds in addition to the Kensington Greenbelt. It's a great place for families to spend a day outdoors. 

  • Hutto Lake Park - 805 Estate Dr, Hutto, TX 78634
    Just a 15-minute drive from Round Rock, Hutto Lake Park is a lovely green space in the community of Hutto. The park features a small 10-acre lake, with a 1.1-mile loop trail that encircles its shoreline. The trail provides an easy hike with some surprisingly wild scenery, and the lake itself offers kayaking and fishing. The loop is popular for trail running, and bird watchers often see a variety of waterfowl and wading birds along the lakeshore. 

  • Southwest Williamson County Regional Park - 3005 Co Rd 175, Leander, TX 78641
    Few places in the Round Rock area offer more hiking options than Leander's Southwest Williamson County Regional Park. The park includes several linked trails that combine to offer 5.53 total miles of hiking in a wild, wooded setting. It's a fun place to spend a day exploring, and the additional amenities—which include ball fields, picnic areas, a disc golf course, and a miniature railway train—offer plenty of outdoor family fun. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Central Texas, and talk to our real estate agents about finding your dream home in the Round Rock area!

September
7

Inexpensive Home Security Upgrades

Home Security Upgrades

When you think of home security upgrades, you may think of expensive security systems. Many upgrades, however, are very affordable and will help your family and belongings stay safer. In many cases, you'll even be able to do the work yourself.

Our real estate agents share the following inexpensive home security upgrades that can make your home safer:  

  • Smart outdoor lighting
    Motion-activated LED lights for the exterior of your home can help shine a spotlight on any potential unwanted visitors. Use this feature for floodlights, step lights, and path lights, and consider buying ones that will send you an alert when motion is detected.

  • Upgraded door locks
    Upgrade the locks on the doors that lead to the outside of your home, and while you're at it, buy a better strike plate (the metal that's on the doorpost). Look for one that has holes for up to six screws, and when you attach it, use three-inch screws. These improvements will make it more difficult for a thief to kick your door in.

  • A safe for valuables
    If you have valuables that are small in size, such as expensive jewelry, a safe provides an extra level of security against thieves. You can get a basic one for around $100, with options such as fire protection raising the price. Bolt your safe to the floor using the holes provided inside in most models and hide it in the back of the closet. If you choose a wall safe, you can mount it inside a wall and cover it with a picture.

  • Foot locks for patio doors 
    Standard patio door locks are easy for a burglar to pick. To make it more difficult for intruders to gain access to your home in this way, add a foot lock. They utilize a bolt that fits into a grommet that holds the door secure, and they're easy to install using a drill.

  • Window stops  
    Window stops prevent windows from being opened more than six inches. This makes it impossible for burglars to raise your windows and climb into your home. Since they open six inches, however, you'll still be able to raise your windows enough to get some fresh air and ventilation inside your home.

  • Tamper-proof shed hinges
    If you have a shed with a standard hinge and a door that swings outward, it's easy for thieves to pop the pins, remove the door, and steal valuable property like lawnmowers and tools. To prevent this buy and install a security hinge that comes with tamper-proof pins and a locking tab.

  • Home security system  
    Wireless security cameras can help monitor your home and provide an extra layer of protection. Consider buying a system that has built-in sensors that are triggered by motion and trigger an alarm. An alert is then sent to your smartphone, and a video clip of the incident is uploaded to the Cloud.

  • Wide-angle door viewer  
    Entry doors don't usually come equipped with peepholes, and if they do, they're usually quite small. This makes it easy for potential intruders to hide out of view and also distorts images, making it hard to identify exactly who's at your door. Install a wide-angle door viewer so the images will be clearer and a burglar won't be able to simply step to the side to remain undiscovered.

Contact us to find out more about home security upgrades and to visit Round Rock homes for sale. If finding a home with some of these features is a priority, we'll help you identify ones that meet your criteria.

July
5

Is it Time to Update Your Driveway?

Driveway Tips

An aging, cracking, or crumbling driveway is a problem that will gradually get worse the longer you wait to fix it. It's an eyesore that tanks your curb appeal and can also detract from your home's value. Sprucing up your driveway will protect your investment in your home, and you may be able to get the money back when you sell. Here are a few driveway improvement tips from our real estate agents.

  1. Add Lighting
    If your problem isn't a broken driveway but just a boring one, you can make the old seem new by adding some cool new features such as lighting. Round Rock homes for sale that offer lighting alongside the driveways offer instant class and curb appeal. Solar-powered lights are fairly inexpensive, or spring for an electrician and get the system wired up so that you can control the lights with a switch or put them on a motion sensor.

  2. Use Bricks or Pavers
    Another perfect upgrade for a boring driveway is a border. Use bricks or pavers to create an attractive border along the edges of your driveway. As an added bonus, the border creates a segway into your landscaping and may even serve to hold back dirt, mulch, and overly enthusiastic plants. Stepping stones and crushed rock set alongside your driveway can also boost curb appeal, not to mention provide a pathway for visitors to travel on the way to your front door.

  3. Repair Minor Damage
    Sometimes the damage to your driveway is minor, and you can get away with just doing a few repairs to preserve the original driveway. If you're unsure whether your driveway can be repaired, it's best to contact a driveway paving contractor and get an expert opinion. If you're planning on selling your home, you'll probably want to spend the least amount of money that will produce a return on your home's value, so sometimes repairs can be cost-effective.

  4. Cover with Stamped Texture
    If you don't like the look of a patched or repaired driveway, there are various ways to cover the imperfections and make your driveway look new again. One way is by covering it with a spray treatment and adding texture. The result can be attractive and classy and gives the driveway a newer, more upscale look without redoing the entire thing.

  5. Add a New Layer of Concrete or Asphalt
    If your driveway is damaged beyond repair, the easiest way to get a whole new driveway is by patching any cracks or breaks and adding a layer of concrete or asphalt on top of the original one. This is easier and less expensive than bulldozing everything and starting over. You can even add on to your driveway while you're at it, widening or adding a parking area or turnaround since the new pavement will match.

One of the first things someone sees when arriving at your home is your driveway, making it a crucial part of your curb appeal. An attractive driveway is as much a part of that first impression as your landscaping or your front door. For more ideas on how to improve curb appeal, contact us today.

June
28

Go Horseback Riding Around Central Texas

Horseback Riding Central Texas

Horseback riding is one of the best ways to connect with nature. Luckily, the Central Texas area offers a lot of opportunities for horseback riding. Whether you're looking to take riding lessons or plan to head off on a guided trail ride, our real estate agents have a few recommendations. 

  1. Spicewood Farms: 6607 Spicewood Spring Road, Austin, TX 78759
    If you'd like to start taking riding lessons, Spicewood Farms is a great choice. They offer both English and Western riding lessons for children and adults. Each lesson lasts an hour, and you pay by the month. They offer both private and group lessons.

    Spicewood Farms also offers horse boarding services. All breeds and disciplines are welcome, and the owners live on the premises. Their facility is exceptional, offering a jumping ring with sand footing, a 60-foot round pen, and marked trails. Also, it's roughly 13 miles south of Round Rock homes for sale

  2. Bella Luna Equestrian: 10804 East Hwy 29, Georgetown, TX 78626
    If you're an English rider looking at Georgetown homes for sale, and you'll need a place to board your horse nearby, Bella Luna Equestrian is a great barn to consider. They're an English facility offering lessons in the Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Eventing disciplines. They travel to a lot of shows in the area.

    If you don't have your own horse, Bella Luna Equestrian also offers lessons for adults and children ages 5 and older. Along with riding, beginner lessons include education on horse care, tacking up, tack cleaning, and grooming.

  3. Maverick Horseback Riding: 5766 Balcones Drive, Austin, TX 78731
    Maverick Horseback Riding
    is a good choice for beginners who want to go on a guided trail ride and enjoy the Texas landscape. They offer more leisurely rides that are open to everyone, along with trail rides that are better suited for more experienced riders. You can even book a group excursion that includes a trail ride and barbecue.

    If you have kids, Maverick Horseback Riding offers a great class called Children's Intro to Horsemanship. Participants learn all about caring for horses and taking care of the land.

  4. Cornerstone Farm​​​​​​​: 115 Woodland Trail, Leander, TX 78641
    Owner/trainer Jen Shaw has been training equestrians for over 25 years. At Cornerstone Farm she gives hands-on instructions for both beginners and advanced riders. The farm offers both private lessons and summer camps to help riders learn near Leander homes for sale.
     
  5. Texas Trail Rides: 8601 Bluff Springs Road, Austin, TX 78744
    Texas Trail Rides is a company that offers guided trail rides in cooperation with Lone Star Ranch, just outside of Austin. They have beginner-friendly horses and can accommodate riders up to 250 lb. 

    On a trail ride, you'll pass scenic creeks and sandy bluffs. Texas Trail Rides provides all of the necessary safety gear, but you will need to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. These trail rides are great for couples, small groups, and anyone who wants to get outside and enjoy nature for a few hours.

Whether you're an experienced equestrian or someone who has never ridden before, Central Texas is a great place to enjoy horses. Visit one of the stables or facilities above, and don't hesitate to contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent nearby.

June
21

Raised Bed Gardening: Tips to Get Started

Garden Bed Tips

There are few projects as satisfying as growing your own food, and raised garden beds allow everyone to do that, even in a minimal amount of space. Our real estate agents can show you some exciting Round Rock homes for sale to house the garden you have wanted. With a little patience and a few simple steps, you'll soon be enjoying your own fresh produce, and nothing tastes better than the vegetables that come fresh from your own garden.

  • Select the Container
    If you don't want to invest in expensive materials, consider materials you may already have or can easily acquire. Many people start with wooden pallets. Almost any container will do. A galvanized horse trough will work well, even if it has a few leaks and is no longer good for the purpose intended. If you want multiple beds that are all uniform, pre-made kits are easy to find at home and garden stores, some of which are on wheels so that you can optimize the sunlight. 
  • Chose the Location
    Select a spot with the proper amount of sun for the crop you are planting. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, and cucumbers thrive in full sun for the entire day. Root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, and beets, need about half a day of sunshine to thrive. For shadier spots, plant leafy greens, such as kale and spinach. Take the time to do a little sun mapping before planting for the best results. Choose carefully because once you fill the bed with soil, it will be difficult, if not impossible to move, unless it is on wheels. 
  • Determine Watering System
    You may enjoy watering with a hose the old-fashioned way, or you might want to consider an efficient drip irrigation system. You can run a line directly from your water tap or rain barrel to allow you to water quickly and easily by simply turning a spigot. 
  • Fill the Container with Soil
    One of the advantages of a raised garden bed is that you won't need to worry about digging, rocky ground, or nutrient-poor ground. You won't find an article on raised garden beds that doesn't emphasize the importance of using the highest quality of soil your budget will allow. When purchasing garden soil by the bag, select products that support organic vegetables, after you fill the container about three-fourths full, top it off with compost. If you don't already have a compost pile, you can buy it at garden centers. This combination is important to fill your garden with rich nutrients and to hold moisture. To determine the amount of soil you will need, several suppliers offer online calculators that are very helpful.
  • Plant Your Crops
    Of course, you'll have done your homework long before this point and decided what crops to plant and when to plant them. If you're planting from seeds, you may have already started germinating them inside and have seedlings ready to place in the garden. You'll have learned that Round Rock has a growing zone designation of 8. Many vegetables should be started indoors in mid-February to avoid frost. For later planting, consider transplanting seedling tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, fresh herbs, and more from your favorite garden center. The optimal growing season in this area runs from April 1st to December 1st. 

Are you ready to start looking for a place to plant your own raised vegetable garden? Contact us today to arrange a tour. 

June
7

What to Know When Buying Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture

These days, a home's outdoor spaces are just as important as its indoor spaces. Just look at all the Round Rock homes for sale with outdoor living spaces! Homeowners use their outdoor spaces for dining, entertaining, and relaxing, so patio furniture and decor require some planning. Here are a few things to know before you go shopping for new patio furniture.

  1. Think About Your Goals
    Do you plan to use the space for grilling, outdoor dining, and entertaining? You'll want to prioritize a table and chairs where you can eat. If your dream patio is one where you can enjoy a glass of wine, read a book, and relax, you'll want to look for furniture that is more appropriate for lounging.

  2. Consider the Size of the Space
    Choosing patio furniture based on the size of your patio is very similar to choosing indoor furniture based on the size of the room. Leave plenty of room for the flow of traffic around the furniture. Measure your patio before shopping so that you know how much space you have to work with. The "less is more" approach to staging a home applies to outdoor spaces as well, according to our real estate agents, so this is especially important if you're preparing your home to sell.

  3. Keep the Weather in Mind
    The sun, rain, and humidity in Texas are something to consider when shopping for patio furniture. Being exposed to these elements can weather some types of furniture, such as wood, faster than others. If your patio furniture isn't protected from the elements by a roof or overhang, opt for something sturdy such as metal. Cushions left outside will likely need to be replaced every few years, but this may be seen as a bonus since it gives you a chance to freshen your look!

  4. Storage Options
    If you can, storing your patio furniture (or at least your cushions) will keep it looking nicer, longer. A patio storage bench is perfect if you want a handy place to put your cushions when you're not using the space, or you could build a garden shed with room to store lightweight patio furniture when not in use. Well-planned outdoor storage can be a selling point when you go to list your house, too. 

  5. Remember That You Get What You Pay For
    Sure, you have a budget, but try not to buy the cheapest patio furniture you find, as you will surely get what you pay for. Inexpensive patio furniture tends to be made of materials that don't hold up to weather exposure, such as plastic that will degrade quickly in the sun or cheap metal that will rust quickly with exposure to rain. If you need to stick to a tight budget, check out resources for secondhand goods, and keep an eye out for higher quality patio furniture.

Ultimately, look for patio furniture that not only looks good but where you can also see yourself spending time. Your outdoor living spaces should be an extension of your home: the perfect place to hang with family and friends or kick back and relax after a long day. For more information on what homebuyers expect from an outdoor living space, contact us today.

April
5

Behind the Scenes: 5 Things Home Improvement Shows Don't Tell You

Home Improvement Tips

If you're thinking about selling your home, you might be considering some renovations to help you get the highest price possible. Some of the most popular DIY shows may have convinced you that in a matter of days and on a shoestring budget, you can transform your house and have it stand out among other Round Rock homes for sale. Before you jump into any home improvement project, our real estate agents want to make sure you have all the facts and know what home improvement shows don't tell you.

  1. Renovation timelines
    Television may create the illusion that major renovations can be completed in a day or two, but the truth is that most projects take time and leave you without the use of that space for the duration. New kitchen cabinets, for example, will probably take two or three days, but countertops will likely take at least two weeks. A full kitchen remodel will typically mean six to eight weeks with the kitchen out of commission. That also means workers in and out of your home for at least eight hours every day until the work is done.
     
  2. Realistic budgets
    Home improvement shows have sponsors that not only advertise but they also supply materials. Without their contributions, the upgrades featured would be much more expensive. Before embarking on any project, no matter how large or small, create a budget that includes every single item. Even protective materials such as plastic drop cloths should be included. Otherwise, your total cost will be grossly inaccurate. By the way, do you own all the necessary tools? You may be able to save money by renting them, but they are still not completely free. Cheap materials look just as bad as shoddy workmanship, so be careful you are actually adding value to the home.

  3. Skill sets required
    It may look easy on a screen, but if it was, everyone would do their own remodeling, and contractors would be out of business. Even the smallest jobs often require multiple skills. Going back to the kitchen, you may be looking at cabinet makers, tile setters, electricians, plumbers, and painters. Even a licensed contractor will likely subcontract some specialized labor. Don't forget that many home improvements require permits as well as inspections. 

  4. Availability of materials
    If you think you can walk into any big box store and buy all of the materials you need, you're in for a surprise. You may need to wait for weeks for special orders to arrive. You may also have to go to multiple merchants to find everything you need. Before you begin, you should gather everything you're going to need from beginning to end of the project. 

  5. Detailed plans
    It would be impossible to address the issues already described without a detailed plan. Without a clear path, you can easily find yourself in over your head. If you have to hire a contractor to undo mistakes you've made before they start the rest of the work, your costs are going to skyrocket. When you hire an expert, you'll spend a lot of time going over the details of your vision and discussing at length the actual costs as well as your options. 

Whether you are getting ready to buy or sell, our team is here to help you accomplish your real estate goals. Contact us today.

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