April 13, 2013

The Book: Dream Home



ARE YOU IN THE MARKET TO BUY A NEW HOME? Are you a real estate agent or builder whose clients need help in buying their new home? Do you wish there was one simple guide that helps you through the process of buying a home and explains everything from the key players in the housing business to interior design choices and architectural styles? DREAM HOME is that guide. It provides home buyers with insightful commentary on the American housing industry and turns readers into more informed real estate consumers.

This book will help you:

  • learn about the process of making and marketing houses
  • understand how selecting options for your home is a major cost factor
  • consider the impact of styles and themes on the identity of your home
  • communicate what you want instead of automatically accepting what you are offered
January 27, 2015

Assignment 1 – Green Home Building


Jimmy Jacobs Homes subtly advertises a green initiative in the many neighborhoods it has developed. The site designates a specific page for “green” neighborhoods where the houses are considered to be LEED certified. Examples of the green neighborhoods are as follows:



Community: Avalon

Location: Pflugerville, Texas – nearly a 30 minute drive to downtown Austin

Amenities: Hike and bike trails, pool, park, playground, community center, and closely located near multiple schools


Screen shot 2015-01-27 at 10.02.39 PM

Caldwell Floorplan

Caldwell Floorplan

Sales Center Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday: 12 pm to 6 pm

From this neighborhood, there are 12 different units customers can choose from while also customizing interior finishes to their taste. The pricing ranges from $270,000 to $330,000 between the 12 customizable units.

Community: Pearson Place at Avery Ranch

Location: Round Rock

Amenities: Tennis and basketball courts, pool, playground, clubhouse, located in Round Rock ISD

1024_13158985 Screen shot 2015-01-27 at 10.58.36 PM

This site only offers 6 different units compared to the Avalon neighborhood. These 6 units are the same designs used in the previously mentioned project. The company recycles the same plans within the neighborhoods but offers customizable parts for the interiors. Even though they use the same designs, the prices are much higher in this neighborhood.

The images for both projects demonstrate the major pricing differences for the same unit type. The Rayburn, Connally, and Caldwell units are over $100,000 more in the Pearson Place at Avery Ranch location.

Screen shot 2015-01-27 at 11.02.53 PM

The left marker shows the Pearson Place at Avery Ranch location and the right marker shows the Avalon location. Even though these locations are not very far apart, the unit pricing changes dramatically.

January 27, 2015

Sweetwater Community

Sweetwater Community Map

Located in West Austin, Sweetwater prides itself on being “Close to everything. And just far enough away from it all.” The Hill Country community is just 5 miles from the Hill Country Galleria and 26 miles from ABIA. Easy to find at 5348 Pedernales Summit Parkway, Austin, Texas 78738, Sweetwater’s Welcome Center is open Monday-Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 12pm to 6pm.

Sweetwater has preserved half of its 1,400 acres as open space and greenbelts open to the public. The remaining 700 acres have been designated as more intimate gated villages and neighborhoods. Nearly 200 homes are already built in the Canyonwood, Creekside, Davenport Summit and Highland Lakes neighborhoods and Stonecreek and Hillcrest villages have sites ready for building.

Model Home Map 11-12-14

The Sweetwater community has 8 builders and 8 model homes available for viewing. The builders include Drees Custom Homes (from the $500s), River Oaks Homes by Centerra (from the $500s), Coventry Homes (from the $400s), M/I Homes (from the $400s), David Weekley Homes (from the $400s), Ashton Woods Homes (from the mid $300s), Ryland Homes (from the upper $200s), and Chesmar Homes (from the upper $200s). These builders are known for their hill country style and open floor plans.

Drees Custom Homes’ Model Home | The Colinas | 5912 Osceola Trail

4,318 Square Feet, 2 stories, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3-car garage, $639,900

Drees Elevation


River Oaks Homes’ Model Home | The Antigua | 6000 Osceola Trail

4,131 Square Feet, 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3-car garage, $649,990

River Oaks Elevation

River Oaks Floor Plan River Oaks Upper Floor Plan

Coventry Homes’ Model Home | The Oak Creek | 5708 Tonkowa Draw Road

3,546 Square Feet, 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3-car garage, $500,990

Coventry Elevation Coventry Lower Floor plan Coventry Upper Floor plan

M/I Homes’ Model Home | The Travis | 6009 Empresa

3,369 Square Feet, 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths

MI Elevation

David Weekley Homes’ Model Home | The Darby | 5704 Cherokee Draw Road

3,544 Square Feet, 1 story, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths


Ashton Woods Homes’ Model Home | 5700 Cherokee Draw Road

3,059 Square Feet, 1 Story, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths

Ashton Woods Elevation

Ryland Homes’ Model Home | The Hastings | 5916 Gunnison Turn Cove

2,044 Square Feet, 1 Story, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths

Ryland B1

Ryland Homes’ Model Home | The Miami | 5916 Gunnison Turn Cove

3,074 Square Feet, 2 Stories, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths

Ryland A1

Chesmar Homes’ Model Home | The Jacquelyn | 5912 Gunnison Turn Cove

2,715 Square Feet, 1 Story, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths

Chesmar Elevation

January 27, 2015

Assignment 1 – Highland Homes

Belterra is a master-planned community located 20 minutes southwest of Austin, Texas near Dripping Springs, Texas. This 400 acre community houses parks, trails, gyms, a pool, sports court, playground, 5,000 square foot community center, and elementary school. Highland Homes has 21 plans available on two lot sizes, 60 feet and 70 feet. Of those 21 plans, two of them are model homes that are available for tours, and 9 of them are move in ready. The prices of the homes range between $330,000 and $440,000, and square footage ranges between 2,010 and 4,174.


Model Home – Plan 537

Model Home 537




First Floor

First Floor

Second Floor

Second Floor

Location: 121 Galloway Lane, Austin, TX 78737
Price: Unavailable
Sq. Ft.: 3,058
Stories: 2
Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Garage: 3 car

This particular model home comes with upgraded features such as the 3 car garage, upgraded master bath, stone elevation, and planning desk.


Model Home – Plan 232



First Floor

First Floor

Second Floor

Second Floor

Location: 111 Galloway Lane, Austin, TX 78737
Price: Unavailable
Sq. Ft.: 3,508
Stories: 2
Beds: 5
Baths: 4
Garage: 3 car

This model home features the upgraded upstairs addition consisting of game room, bedroom, bathroom, and media room. This home also has the upgraded 3 car garage, extended master suite, dry bar, extended outdoor living, stone elevation, planning desk, utility cabinets with sink, computer desk, and bookcase shelves.



Rough Hollow is a lake-front community located on Lake Travis, just 20 minutes away from downtown Austin. The community features wake-boarding, parasailing, scuba diving, fishing, hiking trails, fitness groups, a spa, yoga, wine tasting, cooking courses, 12 lake-front restaurants, 4 golf courses, and a number of tennis courts. Highland Homes has 12 plans to choose from, 1 model home to tour and 5 move-in ready homes. The prices of the homes range between $640,000 and $1.4 million, and square footage ranges between 3,200 and 5,100.


Model Home 617



First Floor

First Floor

Second Floor

Second Floor

Location: 105 Syrah Circle, Lakeway, TX 78738
Price: Unavailable
Sq. Ft.: 5,170
Stories: 2
Beds: 5
Baths: 5/2
Garage: 2 car

This model home has all of the added features available for this floor plan. On the second story there are 2 full baths instead of a jack and jill bathroom for bedroom three and four, an added fifth bedroom, accompanied by closet and full bath, and a media room. On the first story there is an added outdoor storage, pool bath and extended master bedroom.

January 27, 2015

Assignment 1 | Local Builders and Communities

Builder: Highland Homes
Community: Belterra



20 minutes southwest of downtown Austin
More than 400 acres of dedicated neighborhood parks and trails
Workout facilities, pool, playground, a 5000 sf community center

Sales Center Hours:
10am-7pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm to 7pm Sunday


Builder: Lennar Homes
Community: Bradshaw Crossing




10 miles from downtown Austin, adjacent to Onion Creek
Frontier Collection + Oak Knoll Collection
Jr. Olympic Pool and Amenity Center, with a series of parks and trails that will intersect throughout the community at completion

Sales Center Hours:
10am-6pm Tuesday through Saturday and 12pm to 6pm Sunday and Monday


Builder: Taylor Morrison
Community: Lakeview at Steiner Ranch




25 miles from downtown Austin, between Lake Austin and Lake Travis
4600 acres, 55 home sites
Price range: $250K to over $3 million

Sales Center Hours:
10am-6pm Monday through Thursday, and 12pm to 6pm Sunday and Friday

03 01 05

Builder: Standard Pacific Homes
Community: Mueller




3 miles from downtown Austin
Town Center with cafes, shops, plazas and live/work spaces; planned to include at least 30% locally owned businesses
Price range:
37S Yard Houses: from $530K
54S Yard Houses: from $610K

Sales Center Hours:
Monday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm
Sunday: Noon to 6pm

01 02 03 04


I never thought much about the relationship between master planned communities and the national companies who orchestrate them. Taylor Morrison, for instance, has a rather corporate looking website which gives basic information about the company but is not as useful for navigating to the master planned communities that it builds for. The other three companies had an online character that specifically markets to families who are browsing for home builders without having settled on an exact neighborhood yet. Testimonials from past clients are right on display for visitors to Highland Homes, and all of these sites have fairly streamlined processes for contacting representatives in desired areas to ease potential clients into the home buying process.

January 27, 2015

Assignment 1-PSW


Sweetbriar is a PSW Real Estate community located at 301 W. Stassney in South Austin. 35 houses ranging from 3-4 bedrooms, 1-2 garages, and 1600-2400 square feet are located in Sweetbriar with a prices from the upper $200,000. These homes have a modern feel, contemporary finishes, and even solar panels.

Floor plan E has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a 2 car garage and 2,430 square feet. It is an open plan downstairs, with a double height living space, a loft, covered patio and front porch. Also, all backyards are fenced and contain rain gardens. Floor plan E runs at about $313,000, middle range for the Sweetbriar community.


PSW has several housing communities throughout the Austin area, all with a contemporary nature. The Sweetbriar community, however, stands out more than some of the other locations because of the high contrast of the surrounding older neighborhoods.  Its location off of major roads, such as South Lamar, also means that Sweetbriar can offer houses very similar to other PSW locations at a fraction of the cost.


January 27, 2015

Assignment 1- Hill Country Dream Homes

In my search, I was particularly interested in sites that appeal to a desire for a “ranch”, “Hill Country”, or “Texan” aesthetic in order to begin to understand the implications of this aesthetic both in terms of formal design elements and lifestyle. I chose two sites to compare: the “Buckingham” model at Reunion Ranch (off of TX 45 West) and the “Parker” model at Crystal Falls (off of TX 183 North).

The Buckingham

572_emma_loop-print-001-exterior_front_001-3392x2322-300dpi 572_emma_loop-print-003-exterior_front_003-3697x2450-300dpi

$549,990 | 3,200 Sq. Ft. | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Baths | 3 Garage | 1 Story

“The distinctive Buckingham floor plan offers a fresh take on elegance with a lovely entry courtyard, a trend that can be seen in some the best of Austin new homes for sale. The courtyard is one of many special touches built into this stunning new house floor plan to set it apart from other Travis County homes. At more than three thousand square feet and four bedrooms, the home is open and spacious.

Unique Courtyard Entry
Guests will enter through the large gated courtyard. This is a wonderful promise of the great things to come in this home. The front door takes you into an exquisite rotunda foyer with designer tile flooring. One side opens to an expansive area that includes the formal dining room and then the family room with which it shares a gorgeous two-sided gas fireplace.

Designer Kitchen
The family room flows into the gourmet island kitchen and breakfast nook. Roomy and open, the inviting kitchen features long stretches of granite topped counters. The working island with a double compartment stainless steel sink looks out to the family room, creating an inclusive feel. The kitchen also includes a large pantry, quality GE appliances and plentiful, attractive cabinetry. The breakfast nook has a bay window.

Luxurious Master Suite
Your amazing master suite is situated for privacy. The large bedroom has a lovely bay window. The master bath is big and sumptuous. Dual sinks are integrated into separate vanities, so there’s always room for two. A deep garden tub tempts form the corner while a separate roomy shower encased in glass provides an elegant everyday option. The commode is set off behind a privacy door. Organizing your wardrobe is a joy in the huge walk-in closet, which features built-in shoe storage and shelving.
The remaining three bedrooms include large closets and nearby bathrooms. A handsome study, large utility room, and 3 car tandem garage complete the base plan.”

Source: http://www.taylormorrison.com/new-homes/texas/austin/austin/reunion-ranch-community/buckingham-domain/home-available-now-at-572-emma-loop-78737#sthash.chpXLF4b.dpuf

About Reunion Ranch

“If you are looking for new homes in South Austin, you must see Reunion Ranch. Approximately 500 families will enjoy all the amenities normally found in large master planned communities. This new Taylor Morrison community features oversized Hill Country home sites with gentle sloping hills, a running creek, open fields, and an amenity center. Part of the award winning Dripping Springs Independent School District, Reunion Ranch is conveniently located off FM 1826 and is 2 miles from Mopac, which provides an easy commute to major employment centers and convenience to downtown. Reunion Ranch is just minutes away from an array of local services including shopping, entertainment, major universities, recreational sites, and healthcare facilities. It is the best of both worlds… a unique hill country feel for residences while maintaining the convenience of easy accessibility to all that Austin has to offer. Nature lovers will enjoy strolling along miles of hike and bike trails and the beautiful parks that are surrounded by sweeping views of the Texas Hill Country. Relax by the outdoor pavilion or sit back and take in your children’s precious laughter as they romp in the pool designed for non-stop fun in the sun! Not to mention other amenities including multi-use sport fields and playgrounds. These well appointed amenities were designed with resort style living in mind for our busy home owners who want the most that life has to offer. There is something for everyone at Reunion Ranch!”

Source: http://www.taylormorrison.com/new-homes/texas/austin/austin/reunion-ranch-community


The Parker

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 12.53.17 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 12.52.07 PM

$529,000 2971 Square Feet, 3 Bedrooms, 2.5 Bathrooms, Flex Room, Study

“If you are looking for exclusive living combined with classic Hill Country terrain and plenty of elbowroom, look no farther than Grand Mesa. The Grand Mesa community encompasses all private and gated “acreage only” home sites ranging from 1-3 acres. Residents living in Grand Mesa enjoy true Hill Country living with world-class views, sprawling home sites and a menagerie of native wildlife – it truly is Austin’s best-kept secret. To preserve and protect the rare Hill Country setting, we have the most thoughtful deed restrictions and guidelines ever created for this type of community. So whether you dream of a creek front, golf course, canyon or ridgetop home site, you can rest assured that Grand Mesa will provide exclusive Hill Country living unlike anywhere else.”

Source: http://bellaheim.com/communities/crystal-falls

About Crystal Falls

“Welcome to 5,000 acres of Hill Country bliss. Crystal Falls is the last untouched landscape of true Hill Country living in Austin’s booming northwest corridor. A community where the stories of hard scrabbled cattlemen, homesteaders and Indians thrive and seep into every corner.From 2,000 pound, hand carved limestone street signs harvested from our old Whitestone quarry to dramatic stockade fences made of traditional cedar stays, when you come to Crystal Falls, you know you’ve discovered a master planned community that is wildly different from any other. This is a community that truly embraces the land and its history. Voted “Best Master Planned Community” by the Austin Business Journal, Crystal Falls has quickly become one of the most sought after addresses in the Austin metropolitan area. One reason? Your home choices are as vast as our vistas. Discover gated, pristine Hill Country acreage home sites and build your custom dream estate high atop a ridge in Grand Mesa. Or settle in on your front porch and watch your kids play in The Highlands – Crystal Falls’ traditionally scaled neighborhood providing offerings from elite national and Austin home builders. You can even observe a game of golf from your own backyard in The Fairwaysor Cap Rock communities, overlooking the stunning Golf Club at Crystal Falls. And, while Crystal Falls is complete with many modern amenities – golf, tennis, swimming, parks and access to top-notch education – the luxurious splendor of the Hill Country skies at sunset and the wonder of sleeping under a million stars remains from eras gone by.”

Source: http://www.mycrystalfalls.com/




January 27, 2015

Assignment 1 – Peripheral versus central Austin

Assignment 1 – Peripheral versus central Austin

The Eastwood at Riverside

Riverside Map

The Eastwood at Riverside is a part of Milestone Community Builders which boasts 17 housing communities around the Austin area. The Eastwood at Riverside location I chose because it’s the most central of their communities, whereas the other 2 choices for this assignment are far north and south to compare pricing brackets. There are five different options for layout within the Eastwood community, the Benson ($350’s), the Franklin (the $308’s), the Garriot (the $318’s), the Lambert (the $338’s), and the Seaholm (the 288’s). My example comes from the Benson, the highest of the range. I found it interesting that the site provides a series of tutorials and brochures for home buying in general, not necessarily their communities specifically.

The Benson Layout | 2,185 square feet | 2 Stories | 4 Bedrooms | 2.5 Bathrooms | Starting from the $350’s


Reunion Ranch

Reunion Map
The Reunion Ranch is the south-most location that I looked at and is affiliated with Taylor Morrison Builders which has 4 housing communities throughout Austin. The Reunion Ranch is on the cheapest end with houses starting in the $300’s. I chose to look at the “Preston” option for floor plans, other options were the Brighton, the Ellington, the Buckingham, the Meridien, and the Nottingham. The Preston was on the cheapest end. I find it interesting and curious as to how these building companies come up with their names for both the communities and the specific unit options. The Preston also comes with the option to add on additional spaces.
From $376,990 | 2,509 Sq. Ft. | 4 Bedrooms | 3 Baths | 3 Garage | 1 Story
taylor photo 1
preston fp 1preston fp 2
preston fp options  preston fp 2 options

Falcon Pointe Southbend – Oak Knoll Collection

Falcon Pointe Map

Falcon Pointe is the north-most housing community that I looked at, all the way past Pflugerville. Falcon Pointe is a part of Newland Communities. This website was probably the most confusing to navigate and offered the least amount of information for buyers. I looked at the Southbend unit which is a part of the Oak Knoll Collection through the Lennar company. The Southbend comes with an optional second floor: includes either a game room, loft, and bedroom #4 with bathroom, or bedroom #4 and loft with bathroom.

Square Feet:1,580 | Bedrooms:3 | Bathrooms:2 | Garages:2 | Stories:1

falcon pointe fp falcon pointe fp2 falcon pointe fp3 falcon pointe2 falcon pointe3

January 27, 2015

Assignment 1 Austin Home Hunting

I have found three home models from high to low prices in different neighborhoods.

american home_Page_1

4501 Westlake Drive | Austin
Scott Felder Homes

4501 Westlake Drive, Austin TX 78746

The Villas at Davenport is a luxury gated-community located on Westlake Drive, which ensures very convenient access to the city’s best shopping, dining, entertainment, also city’s best education resouces. Scott Felder homes has two availabe home and 6 floor plan options for now.

Pricing: $913,990
Square Feet: 2956
Stories: 2
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.5
Living Space:
Family Room
Game Room
Dining Room
Garage: Two Car

Contact: 512-940-4585


american home_Page_3

Gehan Homes

21004 Rhiannon Lane, Pflugerville, TX 78660

Avalon is the neighborhood located at pflugerville. Gehan Homes provides 16 floor plan for this model.This one-story home is ideal for a growing family or empty-nester. The master bedroom and bath present a comfortable, relaxing oasis from the cares of the day, while two secondary bedrooms offer plenty of room to grow.

Price: $265,732
Stories: 1
Square feet: 1,850
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Garage: 2 Car

Contact: 512.330.9366


american home_Page_2

Pacesetter Homes

809 Yabers CT
Austin, TX 78725

It is located at Austin’s Colony Comunity, where Pacesetter Homes has 6 available homes. The neighborhood is less than 12 miles from downtown Austin via 969 (MLK) and features acres of parkland/hiking trails along the banks of the Colorado River and several parks with pool, playscapes, baskeball and much more. The model is a low-end 3-bedroom 2-story home with study.

Listing Price: $183,914
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Partial Baths: 1

Contact: 512.323.6420

January 26, 2015

Assignment 1 – Single Family Homes in Cimarron Hills

Cimarron Hills is a planned community//golf course and is located about 30 minutes north of UT Austin in Georgetown, Texas. This community features more upscale amenities, such as tennis courts, hike & bike trails, a spa, and more.


Cimarron Hills features 4 home builders: Opus Homes, GH Reserve Luxury Homes, Luxury Collection by Sitterle Homes, and Drees Custom Homes.  Cimarron Hills home prices range from the $300s to $1.5million+ according to their website, and square footages range from 1647 – 4408.

Opus Homes has 4 move-in ready homes available and 6 different floor plans to choose from. The model home is located at: 221 Indigo Lane, Georgetown, TX 78627

The Carmen – features two possible elevations as well as a an option for a casita or extended utility room.

Price:  $380,952
Square Footage: 1889
Stories: 1
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Garage: 2 car

thumb-carmen   2B-thumb


GH Reserve Luxury Homes currently has 4 move in ready homes available, and 9 plans to choose from. The model home is located at: 109 Blue Heron Lane, Georgetown, TX 78628

The 6203 Floor plan features several options for the second floor, including a fourth bedroom or media room.

Price:  $533,990
Square Footage: 2865
Stories: 2
Bedrooms: 3 (possible upgrade to 4)
Bathrooms: 2.5
Garage: 3 car

hommain_10048645    hommain_10048647flplarge_10048648 flplarge_10048649 flplarge_10048650 flplarge_10048651 flplarge_10048652

Drees Custom Homes currently has 10 floor plans to choose from. The model home is located at: 308 Flint Ridge, Georgetown, TX 78628.

The Lynmar – features two different elevation styles, as well as several options including a 5th bedroom on the second floor.

Price:  $712,900 – $807,900
Square Footage: 4408
Stories: 2
Bedrooms: 4 (possible upgrade to 5)
Bathrooms: 4.5
Garage: 3 car


Lynmar_0FLR1        Lynmar_1FLR2

January 24, 2015

Assignment 1 – Single Family Homes in Falcon Pointe

Falcon Pointe is a neighborhood located in Pflugerville, Texas about 20 miles north of Austin. This master planned community offers many amenities the American family looks for when buying a home. Falcon Pointe offers community parks, 11 miles of trails, a pond for fishing, disc golf, and multiple courts for tennis, basketball, and volleyball as well as being within walking distance of three K-12 schools.

.Austin MapArea Map

Falcon Pointe is a growing neighborhood with four primary home builders: Lennar, Ryland Homes, Chesmar Homes, and Centerra Homes. Each home builder allows for custom upgrading and energy-efficient appliances. The prices range from $247K – $400K and the sizes are from 1,500 sqft to 3,700 sqft.

Lennar Homes currently has available 11 quick move in homes and 17 floor plans available for the Pflugerville area.

Travis Lennar Home

Lennar First StoryLennar Second Story

The Travis Floor plan is a part of the Lakeside collection.

Price:  $328,900
Square Footage: 2,700
Stories: 2
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3.5
Garage: 2

Ryland Homes offers 6 floor plans with 5 quick move in homes available in Falcon Pointe.

Ryland HomesRyland First Floor Ryland Backyard Ryland Kitchen Ryland Living

Ryland’s Covington C floor plan.

Price:  $309,990
Square Footage: 2,417
Stories: 1
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2.5
Garage: 3

2705 Standing Juniper Court
Pflugerville, Tx 78660

Chesmar Homes has 9 quick move in’s available in Falcon Pointe

Chesmar Front    Chessmar First FloorChesmar second floorChesmar Kitchen Chesmar Kitchen2Chesmar bonus Chesmar Kitchen2

Chesmar’s Julia floor plan.

Price:  $295,990
Square Footage: 2,449
Stories: 1.5
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Garage: 2


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