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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 real estate blog
Austin life
Austin Accolades: More reasons to love Austin

The praise keeps pouring in! Over the past few months, Austin has continued to appear in local and national publications, topping "Best Of" lists in a variety of categories. Below we've outlined some of the latest accolades Austin has received.

  • American City Business Journals ranked Austin the number one city for young adults to start a career, citing its young population, high job growth and low unemployment rate of recent graduates.

  • Forbes ranked Austin as the city with the most potential for growth during the next decade. Also called a "boom town," Austin was expected to add 6,000 residents to its population during the summer of 2011.

  • According to CNNMoney, Austin is one of the top cities for business in the world, due to its smart labor, solid infrastructure and potential customer base. The biggest and fastest growing industry in the city is computer technology, as it is home to such companies as Dell, Intel and Cisco.

  • The Austin American-Statesman mentioned that Austin has the best economy in the nation. The article cited Austin's strong housing market as one of the biggest factors in keeping the Texas Capital in good economic condition.

  • The Brookings Institution cited Austin as a green job generator. Green jobs include developers of solar panels, wind turbines and mass transit. As of July 2011, Austin had 14,554 green jobs with a median pay of $40,441.


You can expect Austin to receive more awards and praise as the year continues. To keep up with the latest Austin accolades, visit the Austin/Central Texas news section here at

Austin real estate blog
home improvement
Protect your roof from the elements

Your roof is arguably the most important part of your home. With the winter months quickly approaching, it's important to make sure your roof is in good condition. Cold weather can cause serious damage to your home if your roof isn't properly prepared. Below, we've provided a few tips for maximizing your roof's performance.

Inspect your roof for flaws or hire a professional
Perhaps the best way to keep your roof safe is to regularly check it for problems. Look for cracks or irregularities in shingles monthly, as these are common signs of a roof's natural wear and tear, as well as a possibility for needed repairs. Hiring a roof inspector is recommended because they can determine the exact condition of your roof.

Keep tree branches off your roof
Trees will probably present the biggest threat to your roof. While a tree falling on your roof would be a worst-case scenario, branches can be just as dangerous. The best way to prevent trees from damaging your roof is to plant them as far away from your home as possible. If this can't be done, make sure to prune any branches hanging above your roof, as they can scratch and damage your shingles over time.

Make sure your roof is insulated
Insulation helps your home in two ways. First, it prevents air leaks and helps to maintain a consistent temperature in your home. Secondly, it plays an important role in reinforcing your roof from winter weather. Proper insulation will ensure that warm air doesn't melt an iced-over roof, which can lead to ice dams.

Assess your roof for hail damage
Hail is a rare occurrence in Austin, but when it does happen, it can present a serious threat to your roof and home. While there is little you can do to stop hail from damaging your roof, it's important to check it after a hail storm for darkened spots or dimples on your shingles and aluminum siding. If you suspect hail damage, contact your insurance company.

By taking steps to prevent danger to your roof, you'll avoid making costly repairs or having to replace your roof altogether, which is an expensive endeavor. For more tips on keeping your roof in tact, visit

Austin real estate blog
home improvement
Saving money on cooling costs

Although fall is finally upon us, we still haven't left the sweltering summer Texas heat behind. Unless you're taking proper action, it's likely that your electric bill is also feeling the heat. Below are a few tips to keep cool while lowering your electric bill.

Program your thermostat
Make sure to program your thermostat so that it's not cooling an empty house. If you work during the day, set your AC at a warm temperature until you get home. If you're gone an hour or longer on the weekends, raise your thermostat a few degrees. You can always cool your home down when you return.

Look for leaks around windows and doors
Air leaks in your home could be drastically increasing your energy bills. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends checking for leaks by using a smoke pen and watching where the smoke travels. If the smoke moves horizontally near windows, doors or other areas around your home, you may have found a leak. Caulking is the most common way to seal these types of leaks.

Check your air filters
Are your air filters dusty or malfunctioning? A dirty air filter can make your AC unit work twice as hard, which means energy is wasted and more money is spent on cooling expenses each month. Make sure to check your filters at least twice a year or even better, once a month, to ensure they are clean and working properly.

Block the sun
If you have windows located in direct sunlight, make sure to cover them with blinds or shades. Experts suggest that shading your home from the sun can reduce cooling costs by as much as 30 percent. Spend a day determining which windows get the most sunlight and adjust your blinds accordingly.

Lower your usage of heat-producing appliances
If possible, try to only use heat-producing appliances, such as your oven, dishwasher and dryer, at night. These appliances can increase your home's temperature, and put more pressure on your AC. However, if you use these appliances at night when temperatures are cooler, your AC won't have to work as hard.

Run your ceiling fans
Ceiling fans can eliminate the need for regular air conditioning. On its standard setting, a ceiling fan pushes air downwards, making the room and its occupants feel cooler. Keep in mind that ceiling fans only make you feel cooler - they don't actually cool the room. Try increasing the temperature of your thermostat while running your ceiling fan to stay cool without paying top dollar.

These are just a few of the ways you can beat the heat without breaking the bank. For more great tips for saving energy and keeping cool, visit

Austin real estate blog
Austin life, home buying,
home selling, REALTORS®
Central Texas wildfires impact Austin area residents

Drawing national attention, Central Texas continues to battle a relentless outbreak of wildfires, including the Bastrop County fire, which has already consumed more homes than any single fire in Texas history. Residents living in Bastrop, Leander, the Steiner Ranch community and many other areas across Central Texas have been affected, with at least 34,000 acres of land lost to the fires and more than 4,000 residents being forced to evacuate their homes.

Residents facing evacuation
As fires continue to burn throughout Central Texas, containment efforts continue. If your neighborhood is ordered to evacuate due to the wildfires, be prepared to bring food, fresh water, extra clothes, phone chargers and other important items with you as you follow the evacuation route set by authorities.

Home buyers and sellers
This morning, Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, spoke with KVUE News about the wildfire outbreak. Bundschuh recommended that homeowners and potential buyers contact their lender and insurance provider to get a sense of how the disaster affects their situation. Bundschuh also mentioned that those in the home search process may face limited access to some neighborhoods.

Those looking to help
Your Central Texas REALTORS® have been lending a helping hand since the onset of this disaster, collecting donations to help those who have been displaced by the wildfires. For more information on donations and drop-off locations in the Austin area, visit the Disaster Relief page here at

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