2012 ended with a great 10-year anniversary celebration for my wife and I on our first real vacation to Hawaii. Personally, we felt refreshed and blessed that we could get away and celebrate what God has been doing in our lives since moving to Texas and starting our family back in 2003 when I was stationed at Ft. Hood as an Army MI Officer. So much has changed since then.
Getting the Call
As we were making preparations for our vacation, we also received a call from a long-time friend of ours from college, Pastor Tom. Over 10 years ago, we felt led to help Pastor Tom start a church when he was ready to transition away from leading Agape Christian Fellowship (ACF), a Christian student group at the University of Rochester in New York. This is the same group that Autumn and I attended in college and how we first met. ACF and Pastor Tom both have a very special place in our hearts. Pastor Tom essentially told us that he was ready to plant a church and it would be located in Northern Virginia. Specifically in Ashburn, VA, a town in Loudoun County.
Over the next few weeks, Autumn and I had to do some self-reflection and praying to make sure this is still something we felt led to participate in. And if so, timing was also another consideration.
Making a Decision
To help us with our decision, we looked back over the years to see how God has been preparing us for this eventual move. Over recent years, we have been developing goals in various areas of our lives to help us confirm the timing of this move and almost every one of those prayers have been answered!
248 Whitney Woods Circle - The Preserve at Lake Georgetown
There are lots of homes in the $500k - $1 Million price range on the west side of Georgetown, Texas. However, every once in awhile, a home comes on the market that offers something truly unique. If you were to put together a wish list of features for a home of this caliber, it could look something like this:
Lot location - Professionally landscaped; Guaranteed to be no neighbors behind you; A premium view that can't be duplicated.
This Tuscan-styled estate home was personally designed by the builder, Steve Klein. He hand-picked the best lot in the neighborhood to capture this coveted view of Lake Georgetown and the Texas Hill Country. If you have a teenager, keep them away from the sunset views, the views are liable to make them fall in love. If you're married, it will be like therapy. These views convey with the home.
Just read a great article that summarizes all of the "Best of" lists for Austin, Texas! If you're considering a relocation to the area, be sure to do your research:
Austin Business Journal, Sarah Drake - "Best-of" Austin 2011
Austin is one of the best cities for working mothers, to take a weekend vacation, to find a job, for dating, and small-business vitality, among many others — at least that’s what many ‘best-of’ lists said this year.
Below is a wrap up of the 'best-of' and 'top city' lists that ranked Austin in 2011.
Thanks to all of our clients and referral partners who helped make 2011 a great year! This was the first full year that my brother, Edwin, and I partnered together so that we could bring more buyer/seller specialization to our new clients and still provide value to our existing clients through our Homeowner's Club.
This year, we tripled the properties that we manage through Mars Hill Property Management and we welcomed Wanda Poe to the Mars Hill family as our full-time Assistant Property Manager.
Janet Mangan also has been beating the streets as our full time leasing specialist, helping more renters find a home this year than our previous years combined!
Together, the Mars Hill team wants to serve not just our current clients, but continue to provide lifetime value to our existing clients through the whole range of real estate services we offer. We are excited for 2012 and thank you for all of the referrals and business that you send our way! We service Georgetown Texas real estate, Round Rock Texas real estate and the greater Austin area.
There's no question that Central Texas is a top consideration for people to live in if they love barbecue, plenty of sunshine and a thriving economy with a stable housing market. There are areas in Central Texas that people will move to just for retirement like Georgetown, Texas. Or some will come here because of the employment opportunity that greater Austin has to offer or the great University of Texas school system. However, recently I've been noticing a trend that has been growing: Some people are not moving here to retire, or go to school, or even because of a job transfer. They are moving here because they have heard over and over again that people love to call Austin "Home."
So if you're coming here by choice; and you don't have to live within a 30 mile radius of work (if you're employed), or hospitals (if you're retired), or school (if you're a student), then the Greater Austin metro is a large area and it's time to narrow it down (your real estate agent will thank you for this). Here's a brief overview of the different major geographic areas of Central Texas for you to start your research and discover the best fit for your future home:
Ok, let's start with the coolest part of town: Downtown Austin
This area is generally bordered by MOPAC on the west and I35 on the east. The northern boundary is Hwy 183 and Hwy 290 is on the South.
Mars Hill Realty Group is not your traditional real estate brokerage. I want to revolutionize the industry by providing our real estate agents the skills and expertise to accomplish 3 simple things:
1. Build a Business
The challenge isn't learning how to write contracts, open doors for buyers or sticking a sign in the yard. Any monkey with a license can do that. The real challenge is creating a relational-based business model that can one day be sellable. I will help you to create a personalized business plan, set goals and provide accountability so that you can succeed.
(Georgetown Business Partners left to right: Back Row - Rodney Morales, Andrew Cao, Rodney Burke, Danny Reyna, Lynn Paris, Mary Virginia, Alan Byers, Greg Henry; Front Row - Jesse Bryant, Tracey Day, Edward Lui, Jacque Smith, Maria Dorian; Not pictured - Chris Barrick, Woody Smith, James Wood, Mark Stavis, Terry Paris, Vick Kennedy)
On May 15th, Mars Hill Realty Group, in collaboration with our networking group Georgetown Business Partners, successfully planned a wonderful festival that brought in almost 100 families and raised over $1000 for Lone Star Circle of Care. The mission for Lone Star Circle of Care is to pursue community-wide access to a behaviorally-enhanced, patient-centered health home that provides accountable care for all patients, focusing on the underserved.
We planned this event because we wanted to do something fun for our clients and at the same time benefit a great cause. There were two huge bounce houses, cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and balloons for the kids....also plenty of local food vendors, hot dogs, live music, an art show, give-aways and a silent auction to keep the family busy. Wow, what didn't we have?!
Mars Hill Realty takes a revolutionary approach to real estate by taking four core competencies and making these customer-centric skills the foundation for high performance in this industry. Every so often, I run across other revolutionary ideas and will be sharing them on this blog.
Revolution in World Missions
Over the past few months, God has really been impressing on my heart the idea of discipleship and during the course of my studies a book, Revolution in World Missions, was referenced. This book is an autobiography of a man named K.P. Yohannan (see picture on right), who started his life as a missionary in India at the ripe old age of 16. K.P. spent the next 7 years preaching from village to village, spending most nights in roadside ditches to avoid the stonings and beatings his team would face at many non-Christian villages. One of his most important lessons he learned was that the Gospel in the form of evangelistic crusades, the preaching and Christian literature would not take root in a person's life without the "staying power" of discipleship. Somebody had to stay behind and nurture the new believers into maturity.
That "somebody" he argues, used to be the the Western Missionary, but the revolutionary idea is that the most effective way now to win the World for Christ is through prayer and financial support for the indigenous missionary force. These are individuals who are native to the area that you are trying to reach. Here are his five reasons:
I'm lying awake in bed thinking about a piece of furniture I had delivered for the office. The floors weren't complete so it had to go to the back patio...which is covered, but leaks a little. Outside, the rain is pouring down and I'm wondering how wet this $500 piece of furniture is.
Almost 3 months after demolition, the building is still not complete. I expected to be completely finished by May 1st! My brokerage is having an open house for select agents just five days from now, on May 20th, and I was just notified last week that the materials for sealing the floors will be delayed until Monday night. Which means nobody and nothing can be on the floors until Wednesday, the day before the event! I had an "emergency meeting" with my contractors on Friday and was scrambling to just get as much done as possible.
As I lay awake in my bed, I had to remind myself that my expectations will not always line up with reality. God is in control and knows everything from beginning to the end (Rev. 22:13). Ultimately, how I respond to unmet expectations reveal my true character and what I really value. This was a literal wake-up call for me and I had to re-align myself with the fact that this is just a building. A building that may be a little dirtier and incomplete than I had hoped...but at least it has electricity (and hopefully plumbing!) by May 20th.
Wayne put the finishing touches on the bathroom floor which was a mix of concrete, tile, glue and laminate. What a nasty mess that was! The picture you see below isn't because of the dirty lens, it's all of the debris that the flash is reflecting off of!
All the floors are now concrete and ready for the micro-top and staining. Also, I took down most of the lights that needed to be down. Really, the only thing left is the big kitchen island that the business I am renting to, Purfect Pets, wants to use.
Good thing Brett dropped by again as I was taking down the lights, he probably prevented me from getting electrocuted a couple times.
I had to break the momentum of the work I was doing because I had a lunch appointment with a client. Looks like a busy weekend is ahead of me and I'm glad I was able to get it all done and had plenty of friends pitching in at just the right times.