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Your Austin real estate blog

Thank you for visiting Homeowner Herald, the official blog of, providing valuable information for both home buyers and sellers. Follow us on Twitter or check in each week for new posts on topics ranging from holiday decorating to the economy to moving into your new home. This blog is maintained by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. If you’d like to suggest a blog topic, contact the ABoR Marketing Department.

Austin Life topics

Austin real estate blog
5 reasons we’re thankful to live in Austin, TX

There's no better time than the holiday season to remind ourselves of why we should be grateful. For Austinites, gratitude is easy to come by, as there are hundreds of reasons to love the Texas state capital. Below, we've narrowed down our list and chosen five reasons we're lucky to live in Austin, Texas.

This summer, Kiplinger ranked Austin No. 1 as the "Best City for the Next Decade." It's "best of" list sought to emphasize cities which "specialize in out-of-the-box thinking," having traits that encourage innovation in business, culture and technology. Kiplinger described Austin as "the country's best crucible for small business."

Economic Stability
Texas has fared much better than most states during these tough economic times. Newsweek noted that the "Texaplex"—Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston—is "the No 1. destination for job-seeking Americans." In addition, The Austin American-Statesman recently reported that the job market in the Austin area has remained strong throughout the past year, having added more than 18,000 jobs since November 2009. Austin also has a lower unemployment rate when compared to many other cities in and out of Texas.

Real Estate Strength
Historically, Austin's housing market has maintained its value quite well. For example, the average home purchased in December 2002 and sold six years later in December 2008 appreciated 20 percent. With some Austin mortgage payments requiring less than $800 a month, Austin was also voted No. 1 for affordable housing by U.S. News in 2010, and was named the second healthiest real estate market by Hanley Wood Market Intelligence in 2009.

Excellent Education
Austin is home to the University of Texas and seven other public and private universities, as well as 29 public school districts, 17 charter schools and 69 private schools. In September 2010, The American Institute for Economic Research placed Austin at No. 2 for best mid-sized college town in the country. The article highlighted a wide array of statistical data pertaining to Austin, including high degree attainment, student diversity and varied commuting options, as well as Austin's "ample arts, strong creative class and beating entrepreneurial heart."

Never-ending Fun
Last but not least, it's hard not to mention how much fun you can have in Austin! named Austin the No. 1 best city for young adults, citing the annual South by Southwest festival and its high population of 18–34 year olds (about 28 percent of the total population) as examples. However, the young–at–heart can find pleasure in Texas state capitol as well. ranked Austin as the 5th best place to retire, out–ranking 95 other cities.

Austin regularly receives praise from research groups and publications across the country, whether it be for our diverse music scene, our booming small business trade or our quirky culture and vibe. For more reasons to be thankful that we live in Austin, Texas, check out our Austin/Central Texas News section here at

We wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe holiday season!

Austin real estate blog
Food, drink and rock 'n' roll: Austin does it right

Need more reasons to love being an Austinite? Recently, Travel + Leisure magazine published their semi–annual America's Favorite Cities survey and the self–proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World" received very high marks.

Musical Merit
Not surprisingly, Travel + Leisure ranked Austin at No. 2 for having the best live music in the country. The city tied with Nashville, Tennessee and beat other musically–oriented cities such as New Orleans and Chicago.

Austin is known for having live music just about every night of the week, and there is a wide variety of options to choose from. If it's your first time in the city, Saxon Pub is a great place to start. Saxon has been voted the No. 1 Best Venue in Austin for two straight years by Austin 360. The venue proudly offers live music nightly, with acts ranging from legends like Willie Nelson to local favorites like Bob Schneider. If you love Rock n' Roll, Country or Blues, this bar should be at the top of your list.

No live music venue list would be complete without mentioning Stubb’s Bar–B–Q. A favorite among Austinites, Stubb’s serves excellent food and has been home to some of Texas’ best musical acts. The venue has expanded to accommodate all sorts of musical tastes, from newer rock outfits like G Love & Special Sauce, electronic acts like Chromeo and hip–hop groups like Little Brother. And, of course, there are always some Austin–born bands waiting to get their feet wet onstage. Whether you like big names or are eager to hear some new tunes, Stubb’s will definitely satisfy both your ears and your stomach.

Noteworthy Nightlife
Austin was also ranked number 2 for having the best bars in the U.S., falling just under New Orleans and right above Las Vegas.

For beer lovers, you can't go wrong with Austin's Draught House Pub & Brewery. The Draught House has served the Austin community for 42 years with more than 60 beers on tap, including familiar favorites and unique imports, as well as a variety of in–house brewed beers to try. Combine this with a patio that is dog–friendly and allows patrons to B.Y.O.C. (bring your own chair), plus the authentic Euro pub atmosphere, and you have one of the best drinking spots in the city.

If you're looking for a downtown venue with a retro–chic atmosphere, check out The Belmont, located on Austin's West Sixth Street. Recognized for its "Vegas–meets–Palm Springs" vibe, The Belmont has been rated one of the best clubs in Austin by Austin Chronicle critics and readers alike. Whether you enjoy cocktails in an indoor lounge area or catch some fresh air and live music on the Bamboo Court or Palm Terrace, you're sure to understand why this place is known for its ambience.

Beautiful Barbeque
Texas is known for having delicious barbeque, and many Texas cities appeared on the survey. Among the Texas towns ranked, Austin came out the highest, taking the No. 3 spot for best barbeque in the nation.

Aside from the aforementioned Stubbs Bar–B–Q, another great Central Texas barbeque joint is The Salt Lick, located a mere 30 minutes southwest of Austin in Driftwood, Texas. Founded in 1967, The Salt Lick features a hand–built barbeque pit that serves well over 2,000 customers every week. Widely considered as one of the best barbeque restaurants in the country, The Salt Lick has received critical acclaim from such publications as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Even celebrities such as Sandra Bullock, David Letterman and Lance Armstrong have showered praise upon this little slice of heaven. And if your mouth isn't already watering, just watch this clip from The Travel Channel's Man vs. Food episode giving you an inside look at The Salt Lick–that should do the trick.

If you'd prefer something deep in the heart of Austin, Iron Works BBQ is a wonderful choice. The building itself is a little piece of Texas history. It was constructed in 1935 by the Weigl family who migrated to America from Bavaria, Germany. The Weigl's were ironworkers (hence the name of the restaurant) and operated out of this building for almost 40 years. Upon the passing of Weigl Sr., and the subsequent retirement of his two sons, the building was left vacant. However, in 1978, the lot was purchased and turned into what is now known as Iron Works BBQ. Since the restaurant opened, the building has been registered as a historical site by the State Historical Commission. Iron Works BBQ remains popular, having received praise from Time Magazine, Southern Living and other publications. It is also a regular stop for Jay Leno, Leonardo DiCaprio and George W. Bush when they're in town.

Keep in mind that we're barely scratching the surface of Austin hot–spots. One of the great things about Austin is that there are hundreds of options to explore for live music, great food and trendy bars–too many to ever squeeze into just one post. For more great recommendations on the fun to be had in Texas' capital city, visit

Austin real estate blog
Austin enters next stage in building comprehensive plan

The City of Austin is seeking your input! Recently, the City announced the start of the next phase of the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, where public participation remains a strong focus.

City officials are asking for specific input about how Austin can grow most sustainably during the next 30 years in a series of community forums held throughout the City. The forums, which are being held September 20 through October 6, 2010, give participants an opportunity to voice concerns and preferences on a variety of future scenarios. At these workshops Austinites can see displays explaining the scenarios and maps, compare indicators for a sustainable future and talk with planners, City staff and community task force members.

Based on community feedback, a scenario will be developed to guide comprehensive plan developments. These forums are the last opportunity for broad public input in 2010. The next round of community forums will occur in the fall of 2011, when the public will have an opportunity to review sections of a draft plan. Austin City Council is expected to adopt a final plan in 2012.

For more information on how you can provide input, get involved and stay up-to-date on Imagine Austin, visit

Austin real estate blog
National Night Out: Coming to a neighborhood near you!

Mark your calendars and get ready to join your fellow Texans in celebrating National Night Out from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 5!

National Night Out is an annual event during which a block party or social gathering is held in participating neighborhoods across the country with the goal of promoting neighborhood safety. Local police and fire departments are often invited to these gatherings to show support for their community.

National Night Out is not limited to one location; home owner associations and residents are encouraged to host a National Night Out event in their own neighborhoods on October 5. You can register your event with the Austin Police Department (APD) to receive National Night Out promotional materials and invite emergency personnel to attend. Although APD asks to receive applications by September 15, those who register their event after this date could potentially receive National Night Out materials and a visit from APD if supplies and scheduling allow.

Of course you can always organize your own event without officially registering it. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is providing event planning guides and promotional materials that you can customize for your event---included are flyer templates, suggestions for themes and activities and more.

If you're unable to host or attend a National Night Out event in your neighborhood, bring your family and friends to the National Night Out Kick Off event, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 5, at The Grove at South Park Meadows, located at 9300-9900 IH 35 South. will have a booth set up at this location, so please stop by and say hello!

National Night Out is also a great opportunity talk to your neighbors about forming a Neighborhood Watch Program. Neighborhood watch groups help prevent residential crime and allow neighbors to quickly spread word during emergency situations. If you would like to learn more about starting your own neighborhood watch group, visit

However you choose to celebrate National Night Out, we hope you'll join the State of Texas in sending a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back. We look forward to seeing you on October 5!

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