Category Archives: Austin Area Information

A Need for One-Story Homes in the Lake Travis and Austin Area

I have been showing one story homes to my clients for the past two weeks. The husband just turned eighty years old, and the wife is in her seventies and had knee surgery several years ago. While they can both manage stairs, they would prefer a one-story home with no stairs for obvious reasons.

One Story Home in Austin
One Story Home in Austin

Although we have found homes to consider, I’ve been struck by the limited selection of available homes. Once we saw everything in their price range, I began to ask around my office for upcoming listings.

I said: “Got any upcoming listings? I’ve got a buyer looking for a one-story.”

Guess what the response was!

“You and every other agent out there!”

It’s not just agents with older clients looking for these homes. Returning military often prefer not to navigate stairs either. Many have suffered various injuries from their service, and some can’t even consider going up and down stairs with frequency.

Guess who else doesn’t like stairs? All those active folks out there who have suffered sports injuries in the past. Just the memory of having to hobble up and down steps reminds athletic people that stairs in your home are not always your friend.

If you have a one-story home that you are considering selling, now is the time to list it for sale. The need is out there. Don’t wait until spring because your competition is currently low, but more sellers dump their homes on the market after the first of the year.

It’s a great time to get top dollar for your one-story home. Call me to find out what your house might sell for.


2012 Back to School Information for Central Texas

Untitled Document

  Click Next to Your School District for 2010 – 2011
ISD Ratings & for 2012 – 2013 Back to School Information

Note: Due to NEW STAAR testing replacing the TAKS, there will be no ISD ratings for the
2011 – 2012 school year. Ratings will resume in 2013 with new criteria.

* Some districts require you to enter your actual school website link to view specific school supply lists.

Lisa Altamirano
Sales Executive

Direct 826.6666

Partnerships Built on Trust


Lake Travis: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Leander: ISD Rating | Calendar | *Supplies
Liberty Hill: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Lockhart: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Luling: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Manor: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Marble Falls: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Pflugerville: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Round Rock: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
San Marcos: CISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Taylor: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Thrall: ISD Rating | Calendar | Supplies
Wimberley: ISD Rating | Calendar | *Supplies


How 2010 – 2011 ISD Ratings were determined: 2011 Accountability Manual

Learn about the NEW State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Test

Save the Date: August 17th – 19th: Back to School Sales Tax Weekend

Interested in Private School? See the Top 25 Private Schools in Central Texas

Check which school district you’re in: TEA school district boundaries by city / county / district name


Lake Travis Drought 2011

The Lake Travis Drought 2011 has now surpassed low lake levels of the 1960’s and threatens to rival the 10-year Texas drought of the 1950’s-60’s. ?This video shows a half mile stretch of land that is normally under water when the lake is at its average elevation for fall. ?This portion of Lake Travis is considered the “main body” of the lake, and although there is still plenty of lake left for recreation, the Texas drought has no doubt had a negative impact.

There are virtually NO boat ramps that extend into the water when the lake is this low, so the only access by boat is through marinas or private waterfront docks. ?In some instances, shorelines are smooth and sturdy enough for boat launching with a four-wheel drive vehicle, but much of the Lake Travis shoreline is either rocky or lined with unstable silt or sand. ?Launching from unimproved boat ramps is certainly a risky endeavor.

Lake Travis waterfront owners with boat docks must either allow their docks to beach and go dry, or they must chase the water out by adding cable lines and extending anchors to deeper water. ?Lakefront home owners can either maintain their own docks in this fashion or hire one of numerous dock companies to take care of this necessary maintenance during any Lake Travis drought.


Just as quickly, Lake Travis can certainly rise into the flood plain. ?This is a lake that has a history of rising as much as 50 feet in a few days. ?Often times of Texas drought are followed by floods, so waterfront residents along Lake Travis are used to adapting to whatever Mother Nature brings.

During a Lake Travis drought, waterfront residents enjoy a time to clean up trash and hunt for shells, rocks, artifacts and other treasures. ?When the floods come, it’s a chance to enjoy a replenished lake that typically ensures an enjoyable summer of cooler temperatures, beautiful views & easy lake access.

When Lake Travis is full & beautiful, everyone wants to live here. ?With the lake low and a continuing Texas drought, some waterfront owners are discouraged and prefer to sell. ?That makes a Lake Travis drought the perfect time to purchase a waterfront property.

Don’t wait until the water comes back up, buy now while you can see exactly what you get. ?Some properties on dry coves are selling for hundreds of thousands less. ?You could buy one of these Lake Travis homes now and know exactly how deep your cove will be when the water returns. ?The water will return – as evidenced by the photo above, taken just 4 years ago. ?I’ve witnessed the long drought during the 1980’s on Lake Travis, as well as the years of abundant water levels & flooding during the 1990’s. ?For over 25 years, I’ve enjoyed Lake Travis, whether low, full or flooded. ?I think you would, too. ?Call me if you’d like to work with an Austin Realtor who knows & sells Lake Travis properties.

See all Lake Travis waterfront homes for sale. ?Contact me or call 512-266-2606.

Fire in Austin


Fire in Austin continued on Monday as part of Lake Travis was closed to allow planes to scoop water to help put out the flames. ?We had seen the helicopters with water buckets but not airplanes.

As I arrived home from an appointment, there was a loud rumbling noise as two planes flew over our house and down toward the water. ?My son had just gotten off the lake from jet skiing and returned to the house. ?He told us that the Travis County lake patrol deputy had pulled him over and asked him to return to the dock and that they were clearing all boats from the main basin to allow the planes to “land” on the water so that they could help fight the fire in Austin.

My son grabbed the video camera, and we all hopped in the truck to head down to the lake. ?By the time we got to our dock, the planes were already headed down to the water. ?The video is a bit shaky but interesting to see such large planes down on the surface of Lake Travis. ?Of course, we were glad anything was being done to help put out all the fire in Austin.

After the planes left, we thought they would return, so my son walked out of the farthest point of land in order to get a good video. ?But, the planes never came back. ?We figured they headed to Bastrop or to other places further away that needed the water to put out the fires. ?So many fires are burning all around the State of Texas.

As we sat and waited, we could see the smoke from Steiner Ranch. ?Suddenly, there was a tall burst of flames and black smoke. ?My son also caught this on video, as you’ll see above. ?Steiner Ranch lies south of our house. ?We could see the billowing smoke clouds to the east and figured that must be the large Bastrop fires. ?And then, to our north, a sudden large billow of smoke! ?As we turned to go back to our house to the west, we saw yet another large, billow of smoke! ?Another fire in Austin! ?Leander! ?Spicewood!

By the time I went to pick up our dinner, white ashes were dropping in our neighborhood. ?Thankfully, no fires popped up, but the smoky smell became intense. ?At 5 am this morning, the smoke alarm went off in our bedroom. ?The house wasn’t on fire. ?We thought that coincidentally the battery had gone dead, but no, a dense cloud of smoke had settled all around our house outside and was evidently enough to penetrate that one end of the house.

We are hopeful that the calm winds have helped assist firefighters to get all fire in Austin contained!

Lake Travis Water Levels

Values of homes on and near Lake Travis are tied to the water levels of the lake. With Central Texas dealing with a dry period, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), has been studying water use and its impact on lake levels. Austin is known for its water?conservation?strategies, and now we have good news for home owners.

The LCRA is working to change the access of rice farmers to the lake water. Agricultural water use accounted for 72% of all water use tracked by the LCRA in 2009. Rice is a very water-intensive crop and the LCRA believes retaining more of the water in the lake may be a better use for the City of Austin and the surrounding areas. The proposed plan?would?cap rice water access at 600,000 AF rather than at 200,000 AF. In short, the new plan proposes Lake Travis?would?be three times higher when rice farmers will lose access.

This decision is based on many factors that will likely lead to an understanding that there is significant long term value in higher water levels at the lake. Some of these factors include:

  • The Texas?Governor’s?office of Economic Development and Tourism 2008 and 2009 showing a 7.1 billion dollar fiscal impact of tourism in Travis County.
  • Travis and Burnet Counties reflected 846,448?people?in the 2000 census. In 2009 the census showed 1,071,307, indicating a 29.25% growth rate.
  • Lake Travis waterfront property was appraised at $45 MM. In 2010 the waterfront property was appraised at $97.5 MM.
  • Waterfront property now represents 22% of the entire Burnet County market value.
Dock on Lake Travis
Water Levels in Lake Travis

These factors show the significant value invested in the properties in and around Lake Travis and it’s value to the entire region. Recent re-evaluations, such as the access of rice farmers discussed here, will likely take this value into account and may lead to higher lake levels. Higher water levels = higher property values to you.

I also live on Lake Travis myself and am very?familiar?with the water level issue. As agricultural water use comes under more extensive review across Texas, the value of higher water levels to tourism, property values, and environmental conservation has already begun to gain importance and will likely lead to more?consistent, higher water levels at the lake.

Austin Dog Parks

Austin dog parks offer pet owners a place to take your canine friend to enjoy the outdoors.? Austin is a dog friendly town, even though there is a “leash law.”? In most cases, the leash law means that owners must keep their dogs under immediate control, whether that is by leash or verbal command.? Still, there are leash-free areas within many of these area-wide Austin dog parks.

A small back yard may no longer be a problem for dog owners.? Austin dog parks offer a place where owners can take their furry friends on long hikes, play games of catch, take a swim or enjoy roaming free.? Even if you have a large yard, you’ll appreciate having a place to let your canine really get some exercise.? To see the locations and descriptions of these dog-friendly areas, follow this link to Austin dog parks.

This information is courtesy of Independence Title Company.

Austin Texas is a Burnt Orange Town!

UT tower austin texas

Don’t say I didn’t warn you… Austin Texas is a Burnt Orange Town!? I guess it would be like living in Dallas and not liking the Cowboys.? If you want to live in Austin it really helps to be a Longhorn Fan.? Especially on a day like today.? Oh, you didn’t know?? The Red River Rivalry occurs today.? Still don’t know what I’m talking about?? The University of Texas Longhorns play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Cotton Bowl at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.? The game starts in under an hour, and I’m typing as fast as I can!

Austin doesn’t have any professional sports teams, so most residents have adopted the Longhorns and joined their fan club even if they didn’t attend THE university.? I had the privilege of attending UT twice in my life – once as an undergrad, and later as a graduate student.? Yes, my blood is burnt orange.

In the mid 1980’s, Freddie Akers led the Longhorns, and the games were kind of boring.? Three yards and a cloud of dust, three yards and a cloud of dust, three yards and a cloud of dust.? Uh oh, fourth down and 1 yard to go.? Will we make it?? Yes!? We had some winning seasons but no real spectacular standout games.? But, I’m just a girl and was only a teenager at the time.? What do I know about football?

Burnt orange sunrise austin texasAll I really know is that it’s exciting to be a fan!? Especially on a gorgeous day like today.? The sunrise was burnt orange and I know it will be an exciting game.? The mild 1980’s are long gone, and Mack Brown football reigns in Austin.? It’s all excitement all the time.? Every year, we have stand-out players, Heisman nominees, fired up coaches and supportive fans.? The stadium is expanded, the turf renewed, and Austin‘s population grows even in an economic downturn.? That means…more Longhorn fans every year.

Do we have mixed households?? You bet!? My neighbors are an Aggie-Longhorn couple.? My friend from college married an Aggie.? I’ve sold houses to OU-UT families.? Many of the local high school kids didn’t make it in to UT even though their parents went there.? That means a lot of parents here are forced to cheer for Texas Tech instead of their alum.? Most of take it all in good stride… Because, when you live in Austin, you have to know that it’s a Burnt Orange Town!