Love Love Love Gardens

I just can’t say enough about how much I love beautiful flowers and fabulous landscaping! I have created several Boards on my Pinterest page with flowers, gardens and outdoor spaces that I am in love with. Flowers and gardens give me a sense of relaxation. I stay really busy with my life as a Realtor, so coming home to flowers and a lush garden just make me feel warm and fuzzy inside…content.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say beautiful gardens increase the value of your home, BUT, I would say it certainly makes a home look great and sell well. Think about what you look for in a home. A nice, well maintained yard, is most times on the list of “must haves”. Compare a home with absolutely no landscape to one that is lush, gorgeous and inviting.  Which would you choose?  I know which one I would choose!

FlowerGarden Gardens

I know you are most likely thinking that gardens take a lot of water to maintain the lush look. Not so much. Flowers adapt nicely to your watering schedule. I choose flowers though, that do not take much water. Roses are probably one of the best examples of low maintenance and low watering requirement. Think about the rose bushes you see in cemeteries. How much watering takes place in a cemetery? Virtually none!  Many new home developments around the Austin area are requiring that the homeowner only have 50% of their yard in sod, the rest in draught tolerant plantings. The subdivision, Rancho Sienna, is one of those.

….By the way…. It appears that the City of Austin is looking into the processing of gray water for our use here in Austin. More on that in another blog post.

All around Austin you will see Knock Out Rose bushes everywhere! That’s because they do not require much water; i.e.: draught tolerant. They give a huge burst of color into the landscape. More bang for the buck, so to speak. In fact, you may not know that many varieties of roses were created from grafting rose stems from rose bushes in cemeteries…thus the name antique roses.

Knock Out Double Rose Knock Out Roses

Now that I have given you something to think about in the landscape….. Which home would you choose? The yard with the beautiful landscaping or the one without?

Patti Simon ~ Austin Tx Realtor


What is a Homestead?

If you bought a home last year, then you have until April 30, to file for your Homestead Exemption!  Chop Chop! Times a wasting!  This is very important and not many new homeowners know to file for a homestead exemption. It is always discussed at the closing table but chances are, you were overwhelmed on closing day and inundated with info and paperwork, that you may have missed this tidbit.

What is this thing you speak of, you ask?

Well…….A homestead is the one primary residence of a person, and no other exemption can be claimed on any other property anywhere, even outside the boundaries of the jurisdiction where the exemption is claimed.

Not to get too technical but a Homestead exemption is a legal regime designed to protect the value of the homes of residents from property taxes, creditors, law suits, and circumstances arising from the death of the homeowner spouse. Laws are found in state statutes or constitutional provisions which exist in many states in the United States. The homestead exemption in certain southern states has its legal origins in colonial Spanish exemption laws. Exemption laws in other states were enacted in response to the effects of economic depressions in the nineteenth century.

So in Texas, a homestead exemption helps you save on taxes on your home. An exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your taxes. For example, if your home is valued at $100,000 and you qualify for a $20,000 exemption, you pay taxes on your home as if it was worth only $80,000. Nice huh?

Below are the links to download the necessary forms to claim your exemption.

Don’t delay, as the deadline for filing is April 30!

You should receive your preliminary tax assessment in May or June. If you need help protesting your assessed value, please contact me for assistance in determining current market values.

ENJOY YOUR NEW HOME!   Patti Simon Austin Tx Realtor

Panoramic Views for Miles

10917 Panoramic Vw is northwest of Austin, Tx and only 7 miles from Cedar Park, Tx, on the North side of Lake Travis, high on a hill.  Views View Views! It has 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths and sits on 3.2 acres.  Work from your shop and enjoy the views!

Watch my video and you will see how fabulous this home truly is!






Patio Dining in Austin

Austinites love to dine outdoors. Let’s face it, we have some pretty incredible weather in Austin, Tx! Even in the heat of the summer in Austin, the restaurants are great at adding outdoor misting systems and fans to their patio’s. Check out this great article from one of my fav local magazines, Austin Women’s Magazine. A great list of patios you need to venture out to!

Formula One Debut in Austin Tx

Mario Andretti was on hand Sunday for the debut of our new Formula One race track in Austin Texas.  Andretti drove the first official laps during an opening ceremony on Sunday and was the ribbon cutter at the official ribbon cutting ceremony. Andretti was the last American driver to win the Formula One World Championship in 1978. He is so excited that Formula One has come to Texas!

Many say that Formula One in Austin will be as large of an event as the Super Bowl.  That’s hard to believe, however, Formula One has quite a following of over a half billion people worldwide! The race is sold out, but you can still find tickets for sale online. The tickets are pricey though, as some start at $300 and most go for thousands of dollars.

Austin has also become a ‘McDreamy’ city!  For those of you that are fans of Greys Anatomy, you will be excited to know that McDreamy made it to Austin and to Formula One!  Just so you know, he won’t be just sitting around looking pretty or doing brain surgery.  He races!  Yep!  You read that right!  He did a test run of his car on Sunday as well. Patrick Dempsey is a sports car owner, road racer and sport team owner. He made comments that its a really good opportunity for F1 to come back to this country and start a new tradition.PatrickDempseyRaceCar

Many hotels, restaurants, and event centers are sold out on Formula One weekend in Austin, which is Nov. 16-18, 2012. I was recently dining at Perry’s Steakhouse and the General Manager told us that Perry’s is sold out the week of Formula One.  This event is going to be great for Austin.  It will generate millions of dollars for the community.  Is Austin ready for Formula One?  You bet we are!  Bring it on!

Formula One Comes to Austin!

Austin, Texas has been known through the years for hosting some fabulous events that has attracted people from all over the world. Austin is already known as being the “Live Music Capitol of the World”. We get this by hosting the annual SXSW Interactive Festival in March throughout numerous venues in & around downtown Austin into the south Congress/south Lamar locations close to Travis Heights & Zilker Park. There is also ACL or Austin City Limits typically held in September in Zilker Park. People from all over the world come here to see the latest in technology, but also the most popular current music groups or individuals or soon to be famous group or individual. There are also numerous concerts throughout the year at different venues attracting crowds.formulaonetrack
There is now an even bigger event coming to Austin that will draw people here from once again around the world! From November 16th through the 18th, our fabulous city will be hosting an event that no other U.S. city will have. Formula One Racing comes to Austin! On the world stage, this event rivals the Super Bowl, World Series, & even The World Cup! That is saying a mouth full! The racing venue is currently under construction located just south & east of the Austin Airport right off State Toll Road 130.
Outside of the racing events, there will be numerous activities around the city. The majority will be held in the downtown Austin area. I hope you visitors from not only foreign countries, but also those that live anywhere in the U.S. will devote some time to see Austin and the surrounding hill country and see why I love calling it my home. You will enjoy the beautiful areas such as Barton Creek, Steiner Ranch, Lakeway, Tarrytown, Hyde Park, Bee Cave, & Arboretum just to name a few.
You might like it so much, you may decide to buy a home here in this wonderful city of Austin Tx! It’s one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and has been for several years and is a great place to invest in real estate. When it comes time to buy that home, I can help you! In the meantime, enjoy the race and above all, enjoy Austin! Call me! 512-913-4124

Pay It Forward Hat!

My husband, Ralph, had to be in Dallas on business last week, so I tagged along. It’s always an adventure, as we are always looking for new places to discover. I suggested Italian for dinner, so we drove to the upper Greenville area, to a great place called Prego’s Pasta House. As it turns out, Prego’s seems to have quite a following. They’ve been around for years and the locals flock to this place. I can understand why. The food was some of the best I’ve had in some time.
A cute couple came in and they were obviously long time customers, as everyone greeted them cheerfully, welcoming them back. She was wearing a wonderful hat. I mentioned to Ralph that I really liked her hat a lot.
As we were getting ready to leave, we walked by this couples table and Ralph, who never meets a stranger  said, “my wife really loves your hat!”. She laughed and said, “oh really, it’s a Helen Kaminski hat. I got it at Neiman’s. You can get this hat at Saks Fifth Ave. too”. We continued to talk a bit and then she insisted that I try the hat on. Feeling a tad awkward, but she insisted… I tried it on and of course it fit perfectly. I handed it back to her and had some nice chit chat.
We left and as the valet was bringing our car around, Ralph ran back inside for something and the nice couple we had been talking to called Ralph over to their table again. The lady insisted upon Ralph taking her hat and giving it to me. Ralph brought it to me in the car. I was shocked! No way was I taking that hat from the sweet lady! That was just over the top!
I ran back inside to see the sweet lady and return her hat to her. She would not have it! She said when she realized we didn’t live in Dallas, she wanted me to have her hat.

As we were talking, another lady, Sabrina, from Miami Beach, FL., approached us. She said, “I’ve been watching you all and listening to your conversation. Do you all know one another?” We said, “no, we just met.” Sabrina looked at me and said, “I can’t believe she just gave you her hat! I love this. I love paying it forward. That is what my company is all about.” As it turns out, Sabrina is a former Super Model and has been seen on the cover of magazines like Sports Illustrated! She also is a singer/songwriter and actress. The list goes on and on of her accomplishments. Sabrina gave me a card with her t-shirt business promo on it. I had no idea who she was until I went to her website much later. She was a very nice, un-assuming type of person, with a super sweet heart. Sabrina and her business partner Christopher, own a t-shirt company. See their tees at and learn more about what a great lady Sabrina is! Their t-shirt company prints bejeweled uplifting messages on their stylish tee’s that impower women. Christopher came over and said he was mailing Mimi, (the hat lady) a t-shirt for being such a wonderful “pay it forward” kind of gal.
I still cannot believe a perfect stranger gave me her expensive hat!

The American Dream!

Home Ownership is still the American Dream!

Many things come to mind when the words The American Dream are uttered. For me, I immediately think of owning a home as the ultimate American Dream. After all, our family and our home is the center of our lives in America. We work hard at having a comfortable, beautiful home that’s full of love and life to share with our family and friends. Home is where we enjoy creating something that is all ours. We own it. It’s a place that reflects our personality, where we create our family traditions that will long be remembered and passed down through generations. It’s a place where we form our family values and is an expression of who we are.

Does it matter if we own a home or not? Over the past few months, our country has gone through some turmoil as it continues to work through a sad financial upheaval of sorts. The question of home ownership has been debated where some critics have said that too much emphasis has been put on the virtues of home ownership. Really? Who are these people? Have they forgotten that for hundreds of years the people in the United States have believed that property or home ownership is a core value of this county? We must remember who we are as a nation, what our core values are and where our families begin.

Home ownership still remains the dream of an American and will always make a difference in family relationships, values and our connectedness to the communities in which we live. In a recent poll, when asked if homeownership is a better financial decision than renting, 96 percent of homeowners said it was and 71 percent of renters agreed. Even in times where this country has been in a financial crisis, the vast majority of Americans still see home ownership as a smart decision…financial stability. Homeownership is a great way to increase your net worth…a slow wealth builder. With every payment, equity builds.

Be proud of your accomplishment if you are a home owner and if you are not, continue to work toward owning a home. Live THE AMERICAN DREAM!

First Time Home Buyers

People over 35 are not the only ones that want to live The American Dream of home ownership. Young Adults everywhere, see the importance of home ownership too. They are just as committed to having the American Dream of home ownership, as the generations before them. Young adults see home ownership as a wonderful environment within which to raise their families and create memories. They also believe that owning a home contributes to their financial goals where as renting is the same as throwing money away with nothing to show for it. However, everyone has to start somewhere and we all know you have to have a place to live while you are working and striving toward owning a home! Saving toward a down payment and incidentals needed to purchase their home is at the top of the things young adults are striving towards.
I love working with first time home buyers. It’s a lot of fun to be part of their excitement and guide them down the path to home ownership. The first thing I want to see a couple do is get with a mortgage loan professional and get pre-qualified for their home. Once a dollar amount has been established, I know what price range we need to focus in on. After mortgage pre-approval, I like the couple to sit down together and make a wish list of the things they feel are important to them in a home. I like to think of the list in two categories….a “must have” and a “would like to have” wish list. Once they get an idea of what’s important to them, we can get busy selecting homes they think might be a good fit to go check out.

So many young couples are on top of things in today’s world and know, for the most part, what they are looking for and really have their act together. That was the case with my sweet young professional clients that allowed me to assist them in finding their first home in 2009. Jade and Marc were ready to go when they contacted me about a beautiful home I had listed in Avery Ranch. They did not have a Realtor®, representing them at that time. I started working with them and learned what saavy home buyers they were! They knew what they could spend on a home, had the money saved and had narrowed down the areas that they would and would not live in. They also had an idea of what they needed in the way of their wish list. After looking at homes on several occasions, we narrowed down what the most important items were for them. I found a home that hit the market in the area they wanted to live in, the price they wanted to pay and fit the criteria they were wanting. If fit the parameters and I put together the offer and in a short time we were at the closing table. Things could not have been more perfect.


Watching the Grammies tonight and seeing Miranda Lambert sing “The House that Built Me” reminded me of an article I read recently that allowed Miranda to express what the song is about. In the article, Miranda talked about growing up in a house the she loved and wanting to go back to it again. Homes are the touchstone of our lives she says. That’s so true! The song came about when her co-writer came across an article about how houses shape us into the people we are and how that they play a role in our personal development. The house I grew up in has special memories and everytime I go back to the town I grew up in, I always have to drive by and look at it and wonder what the people are like that live there now. My thoughts go back to “the good ol’ days” where memories were made and my value system was instilled in me.