Taxes & Affordability
Monday, May 01, 2017
Written By: Suzanne Gantner

It’s every REALTOR’s favorite time of the year. Pre-summer business is starting to pick up momentum, potential sellers are scheduling appointments to find out how much they can sell their home for, and buyers are wanting to start window shopping for homes. Then you get a call from a past client, “Help, my property value just went up $40,000 –that can’t be right, is it?” You stop in your tracks and know that you just got way busier.  When it comes to property taxes, there are three things affecting the annual tax bill: homestead exemption, rising property values, and how the CAD is valuing properties.

About 6 weeks ago property “valuations” were sent to owners from their Central Appraisal District. Hopefully, you reminded your clients who purchased a homestead this year to file their exemptions with the Appraisal District before April 30th.

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Is Millennial a Dirty Word?
Saturday, April 01, 2017
Written By: Suzanne Gantner

As a baby boomer, I really enjoy working with younger clients, it keeps me on my toes and keeps me young-thinking. I have researched and read a lot of interesting articles about this group called Millennials. I have also worked with many as they are the same ages as my youngest son.

We hear this word all the time, and unfortunately, not always in a good light. Millennials are people born between 1980 and 2000, give or take a year. And currently, they are the movers and shakers of the US Economy; in fact, there are an estimated 66 million millennials affecting the US economy. Contrary to popular belief, they are very well educated and know what they want when buying a home when they are able. According to a 2016 study by the National Association of REALTORS, a lot of Millennials are still saddled with school loans. They want to buy soon and they have certain requirements for when they are ready.

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Politics & the Busy REALTOR®
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Written By: Suzanne Gantner

Just the thought of politics can make some folks sick to their stomachs, especially since we just ended the most media-heavy and overwhelming presidential campaigns of all time. With social media, it seems that politics are always in your face, even if you try to avoid them.  It all makes me reminisce of the days when it was impolite to discuss money, religion, and politics.

No matter what side of the political arena you place yourself, it’s important to remember that as a REALTOR®, you have many voices advocating for YOU! At the federal level, NAR has lobbyists working in the best interest of homeowners and REALTORS®. If you attended the TAR Winter Meeting, hopefully you heard from Jamie Gregory, the Deputy Chief Lobbyist from NAR who explained the issues NAR is watching in D.C., including tax reform. NAR is working diligently to make sure that 1031 Exchanges and the mortgage interest deduction stay for a long time.

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Giving Back to the Community - February 2017
Friday, February 17, 2017
Written By: Suzanne Gantner

We have all heard that saying “New Year, New You.”  And as hopeful business people, we begin setting plans and goals on how to be the best version of ourselves.  Do we want more new business, bigger budgets, more money in our savings accounts, do we want more referrals, more travel time, etc. Just the idea that we can start with a clean slate for the new year is refreshing.

Along with meeting personal goals and getting our business plan in effect, try to add helping your community.  Find what is needed, find your niche, find your voice and jump in with vigor.  Why not consider helping a local organization, charity, join the Chamber, show up to help serve pancakes for the Sertoma or Rotary clubs, and get involved with the City Councils planning and zoning departments?  Have you considered helping Habitat for Humanity build affordable housing?  Have you considered volunteering at the Food Pantries?

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Ring in the Sparkle
Sunday, January 08, 2017
Written By: Suzanne Gantner

As a very optimistic person, I plan on accomplishing many positive things in the coming year. I want to shine; but, if you know me, then you know that I always want to sparkle and shine. I want each of you to make 2017 the year you sparkle and shine with me!

“How do you sparkle?” you might ask. There are many different terms for the phrase “sparkle and shine.” Some examples are “pay it forward,” “be kind to one another,” “do the right thing,” “do unto others,” “embrace life and people,” “involve yourself with the community,” etc. I am sure by now you are getting the jest of my statement & mission.

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The Power of Thank You
Friday, October 28, 2016
Written By: Shavonne Martin

“Thank You” is such a simple phrase, but it goes such a long way because we do not hear it as often as we should.  Thank you is good for your clients, your business partners, your fellow REALTORS® and your business partners. As licensed agents, we are busy, running from one appointment to other, working with multiple buyers and sellers; hosting open houses; family life; writing offers, sometimes even late into the night; etc.

The phrase comes in many different forms. Some say “thank you” with gift cards, over meals, or even a box of freshly baked cookies. Some say it aloud to show their appreciation; others prefer the old-fashioned form of a thank you note. I always keep a stack of thank you notes in my desk for when someone wows me! I have found that a hand-written thank you note goes much further than any other way of saying “thanks”.

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Is blogging a worthy promotion tool?
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Written By: Shavonne Martin

We all dream of having that one blog that goes viral. And let’s be honest that is probably what motivates us to start a blog or keep a blog going.

The question though, is blogging really a worthy promotional tool? Are consumers really reading our blogs? Do blogs help us get business?

As a REALTOR®, there are three key aspects of blogging that help us and our business. The first key is that blogging allows us to become the expert. By writing and sharing your thoughts, ideas, tips, experience, you can position yourself and your company as the leader of your business.

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WCREALTORS is Now Offering a New Service to Members
Monday, August 29, 2016
Written By: Shavonne Martin

The Williamson County Association of REALTORS® is PROUD TO ANNOUNCE its partnership with Four Rivers Association of REALTORS® and Temple-Belton Board of REALTORS® in the creation of Central Texas’s first Regional Shareholder Multiple Listing Service covering Bell, Caldwell, Comal, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, and Williamson Counties.  After many Town Hall Meetings and surveys of the membership the Williamson County Association is now a shareholder in the…

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Growing Pains - August 2016
Monday, August 08, 2016
Written By: Shavonne Martin

A few weeks ago, WCREALTORS held a mid-year economic update. One of the guest speakers was Dr. Jim Gaines of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M who talked at length during the presentation about the growing pains associated with the unparalleled growth Williamson County has been experiencing and will continue to experience over the next 40 years.

The biggest “housing issue” facing Williamson County is affordability. According to Dr. Gaines, households making between 80 – 120% of the median household income ($71,200 – $106,800) are being priced out of home ownership. The median home price in Williamson County is $265,000.  That is far from obtainable for the average resident of the Austin-Round Rock MSA who is only making $63,600 annually. The Association’s Affordable Housing Task Force is currently researching various affordable housing opportunities. Visit www.wcrealtors.org for more information about the affordable housing push in Williamson County.

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Williamson County is the Place to Be
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Written By: Shavonne Martin

The weather is not the only thing hot in Williamson County right now. We’ve seen such explosive growth in both the real estate and commercial industries, we’re living in a hot bed of growth, and I am so excited that my job is to help folks move here and see why I love calling Williamson County my home!

Over the past eighteen months, we have seen the population surpass half-a-million residents, and the county is making the necessary changes to help all the new residents move across the county!

The city of Round Rock is making a huge change to their business residents. In case you missed the memo, Kalahari Resorts has chosen Round Rock as the location of its fourth family resort and convention center. This new resort is scheduled to open in 2020, and will offer over 1,000 guest rooms, a convention center, and an indoor/outdoor water park! Keep your eyes open for the construction to begin in the next nine to twelve months, across from the Dell Diamond! In addition to Kalahari, the Downtown area is currently undergoing some major changes; take a stroll down the New Main Street and experience the numerous restaurants, bars, and even a candy shop; not to mention an exciting and upbeat nightlife.

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