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Archive for February, 2010

What Home Buyers Want and How You Can Make it Happen

by awhittenberger | February 26th, 2010

In a recent study of home buyer preferences conducted by Avid Ratings Co., we learned a lot about what today’s new home buyer is looking for.  How does this relate to properly packaging, marketing and staging an existing home when going on the market? First of all, we can probably assume that these preferences would be applicable to those purchasing pre-owned homes as well.  Since the definition of staging includes “preparing a property to appeal to the most number of buyers as possible” and this study shows us what most buyers are looking for, BINGO…we’ve got the ingredients for our action plan right before our eyes. Thanks to this study, we know where focusing our attention will yield the best ROI when staging a home to sell. Ready to get started?

First let’s take a look at the Top Features Buyers Want in a New Home:

1. Large kitchens with an island.

2. Energy-efficient appliances and high-efficiency insulation and windows. (These were the most sought-after “green” features from buyers.)

3. Home office or study

4. Main-floor master suite

5. Outdoor living room

6. Ceiling fans

7. Master suite soaker tubs and oversize showers with seating areas

8. Stone and brick exteriors

9. Community landscaping with walking paths and playgrounds.

In this blog series, we’re going to dig a little deeper and see how we can take this helpful information, and use it to help us in staging a pre-owned home. After all, you’ve got to be able to compete with new homes and well as other pre-owned homes if you’re putting your home on the market. This is a beauty contest you won’t want to lose!

Stay tuned for our next blog entry where we’ll discuss Item #1: Buyers want to see large kitchens with an island…

In the meantime, do you have a staging or design dilemma? Log on to and Ask Dr. Dotty the Design Therapist. We’ll be sure to answer your question in an upcoming blog entry!

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Posted in: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Three Cheers for our Hometown!!!

by Michael Scheffe | February 25th, 2010

CNN reports that Austin’s economy is forecasted to lead the nation in recovery. 

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Posted in: Austin Businesses, Austin Texas Homes | No Comments »

The Backyard is back…almost

by Michael Scheffe | February 13th, 2010

After an almost two-year hiatus from the music scene, Austin’s most famous outdoor music venue, The Backyard is preparing to making it’s much-anticipated return in Bee Cave.

With most of the rest of us, I was heartbroken when it was announced in 2008 that The Backyard was closing its doors as a result of being squeezed out by the encroaching development that is the Shops at The Galleria.

But this may just be one of those rare instances where the newer version IS actually a better one.  The new location, just west and north of the old one (on the opposite side of Highway 71).  Is in a larger, more picturesque setting with…. wait for it… AMPLE PARKING.  That’s right, the owners are promising plenty of parking ON SITE!  No more parking a mile down 71 and trekking the oftentimes dangerous and dusty paths along a highway carrying cars speeding along at 60+ miles an hour. 

Looks like first up will be an “exclusive, First-Look” event on Saturday, May 1st, followed by the Gypsy Kings on May 6th and then Willie’s famous 4th of July picnic this mid-summer. 

Here is a link to a good video I found.   The Backyard is back…almost.

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Posted in: Austin Businesses, Austin Dining and Entertainment, Austin Outdoors | 1,731 Comments »

Value-priced Organic Grocer Opens in Bee Cave

by Michael Scheffe | February 11th, 2010

On Wednesday, Newflower Farmers Market officially opened its doors at its new Austin location in Bee Cave

Newflower is a part of the Sunflower Farmers Markets chain (,  a rapidly growing chain of full-service grocery stores offering consumers high quality natural and organic products at lower prices than traditional organic/health food stores.

Founded almost 10 years ago, Newflower’s niche is in providing a value option in the natural and organic foods industry. They have 27 retail stores located throughout Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Texas.  By keeping their overhead low — no frills stores, no big corporate offices — they aim to provide good, healthy “better than supermarket” grocery options at regular or “better than supermarket” prices. 

I tried them out today and love it.  Planning for a little “in home” Valentine’s Day supper, we bought 3 good-size, hormone-free New York Strip steaks for $3 a piece!  For a “surf and turf” option we were tempted to add some great-looking 5 oz lobster tails for $4 each. 

Check out this week’s sales flyer for some of the other awesome deals on HEALTHY food items!

Hey, if it costs LESS to eat BETTER, I’m IN!

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Posted in: Austin Businesses, Austin Dining and Entertainment, Austin Texas Neighborhoods | 1,034 Comments »

Lake Travis Selected for 2010 AquaPalooza Event

by Michael Scheffe | February 1st, 2010

It’s official. 

Austin’s Lake Travis has been selected as the site for this summer’s “AquaPalooza” in late July.

For lake enthusiasts, it’s a huge deal.  The annual event draws thousands of boats and people.  According to its promoters, last year’s event at Lake Martin in Alabama attracted over 80,000 people and 15,000 boats. (I can’t decide whether this makes me want to make immediate travel plans for that weekend or head out to the lake myself to see what that kind of humanity would look like in the water.) 

As its name implies, “Aquapalooza” is essentially the marriage of an on-the-water music festival and large scale boat show.   The event’s sponsor, Sea Ray Boats, promotes it as “The World’s Largest Boat Party”.  The huge gathering features live entertainment, water-related games, contests, and giveaways.  Previous events have hosted such big name entertainers as Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift, Everclear and Soul Asylum.   In picturesque fashion, flotillas of boats, tubes and all form of watercraft “raft up” with each other to watch performances broadcast over giant sound systems and video monitors.

The selection of Lake Travis couldn’t be at a better time for local area merchants.  Two years of exceptional drought and the accompanying low lake levels have been tough on business.  But, 80,000 people will spend lots of money on groceries, restaurants, gasoline, sun tan lotion and everything else under the sun.  Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce President Laura Mitchell said in the Lake Travis View recently, “it will probably create the most significant economic impact the local business community has ever seen.”   That’s certainly great news.

Three cheers for this year’s El Nino!  Keep filling that lake up; we’ve got a festival to put on.

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Posted in: Austin Dining and Entertainment, Austin Outdoors | 2,822 Comments »

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