US Military On The Move: By Debbie Stevenson, JB Goodwin Realtor

Service Members, earn CASH BACK when buying or selling your home through Military On The Move. Visit to learn more!

Boutique real estate and staging services serving Central Texas. We are part of the JB Goodwin REALTORS corporation headquartered in Austin and affiliated with the by-invitation-only Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, the top global relocation and luxury network.

As a Texas REALTOR® proud wife of an Army veteran and mom to an active-duty Marine and a Guardsman/Iraq War Veteran, I cannot think of a better way to dedicate my career than to helping our U.S. Military Service Members with their real estate needs. I am a U.S. Military on the Move Expert and VA Loan Benefits Expert. I am versed in veteran benefits nationwide and those extra benefits specific to Texas. What better experience to have than that of an Army wife with all those PCS moves and VA home purchases under my belt? That is why when I found out about the U.S. MILITARY ON THE MOVE program, I couldn't wait to sign on. I would have loved to have had this program when we were on the move. "MOM" is program that allows anyone who has served in our U.S. Armed Forces to (in states where allowed by law and Texas is one of those states!) receive a cash rebate at closing based on the price of your home. Please give me a call any time for more information. I am a REALTOR® in Texas, but this program is not limited to my state. If you are selling a home anywhere in the world, please call me and I will work to find an agent in your area who will honor the U.S. Military on The Move Program. Being a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World gives me access to thousands of agents trained to help our service members! Feel free to call for more details (512-468-8210) or Learn More Here: TREC CONSUMER NOTICE INFORMATION ABOUT BROKERAGE SVCS

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[05/23/19]   Boomers bucking previous trends
Great story from USA Today & NAR about Boomers staying put.

A growing number of baby boomers are choosing not to downsize in retirement. Instead, they’re opting to remain in the homes where they raised their children, USA Today reports. But their reluctance to move is contributing to low inventory across the country, says® Chief Economist Danielle Hale.

Baby boomers “have refused to follow what the traditional expectations were,” Barbara Risman, a sociology professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told USA Today. Baby boomers, mostly between the ages of 54 to 73, are working longer and, therefore, putting retirement off longer than previous generations. Their millennial children are also increasingly living at home with them and staying well into adulthood.

Baby boomers also may be struggling to find a smaller home to move into. Housing analysts have pointed to a dire housing shortage of less expensive entry-level homes—the type downsizing baby boomers could be seeking. The shortage has caused home prices to increase, and that may be erasing some of the incentive to downsize, housing analysts say.

Fifty-two percent of baby boomers say they’ll never move from their current home, according to a Chase Bank survey of 753 boomer homeowners conducted this year. Separately, 43% of 45- to 65-year-olds say they plan to remain in their current home through retirement, according to a 2017 Ipsos/USA Today poll.

About 20% of Americans 65 and older are working or looking for jobs, up from 12.1% in 1996, according to Labor Department data. “Baby boomers don’t want to become old in a way that has negative connotations,” Risman says. “Remaining in one’s old house is part of remaining in the prime of one’s life longer.”

And downsizing may be losing its appeal. For baby boomers who do plan to move, 43% say they want their next home to be the same size as their current one. Twenty-two percent say they want their next home to be even larger, according to a January survey of 50- and 60-year-olds by Del Webb

[04/17/19]   Market reality check
We are in to the 2019 selling season and it is proving tough to balance seller expectations with market facts and figures, especially against the daily dose of housing “affordability” headlines.
There are indeed many markets that are on fire, where you can sell a house after 2 years of occupancy and still walk away with some cash in hand.
But there are markets where you may not- even in the hot Texas I-35 corridor. This is especially the case if you are in an FHA or VA-dominated market, where you and/or your buyer are working with loans at 96.5-100% of the purchase price.
In this market, listen to your Realtor during listing appointments.
I know of no agent in real estate who does not want to get you the best possible price. But beware of the agents who promise the moon and deliver the ditch. That is because the inescapable rule remains: When a property is being offered as collateral, the neighborhood has to justify the price.
So, a good agent will perform a market analysis for you using the actual market figures that are based on the final SALES price AND seller concessions to get that closing price. This is what ultimately governs value, not the Zestimate, neighborhood rumor or MLS list prices.
You still may find a buyer who is willing to offer your higher list price - but you will encounter few who are willing to pay it once they are told by the appraisal that the house is not worth the negotiated price. Ask yourself - would you?
During your listing appointment, ask the agent to justify the pricing with sale figures. Make sure you get an estimated sellers net sheet to see where you will end up with that price. It will help avoid a nasty dose of reality in mid contract. It will help you assess if you can afford to sell.
And please, please, please. Do NOT buy a new house from a production builder without Realtor representation. I have had to fight more appraisal values this year due to incorrect builder - and even appraisal - square footage. And we have encountered several buyer repair requests of items that were not completed properly and not caught by the builders inspection at purchase.

[04/10/19]   Had this interesting post from a home warranty company rep on my FB Page.
Home Warranty 101
You finally get to closing.. And a week later the buyer calls you saying the AC has gone out.. The home warranties technician has discovered there are huge holes in the coils that couldn't have happened in a weeks time frame.. 😳

Covered? The answer is no. If the technician says this was a “pre-existing” condition - or one that should have been caught by your buyers inspections - it will not be covered.
The rep urges that your buyers inspections include one by a licensed HVAC contractor who will catch items such as the ones in the example.
Better still, before you sell, have this big ticket item checked and serviced before listing.

[03/25/19]   Check out this latest report on mortgage rates from MarketWatch
Rates for home loans fell, with no bottom in sight as investors increasingly brace for slowing economic growth.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.28% in the March 21 week, mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac said Thursday. That was down 3 basis points during the week and a 13-month low for the popular product, which has managed a weekly gain only twice during 2019.


Looking for a gated community, 4 bedrooms, pool access, Belton schools, a 2 year old house? And all for less than $200k? Check out 7804 Painted Valley, Temple. It is awesome!

[03/06/19]   Plan your drives folks, it is going to get interesting again.
I-14/US 190 – Harker Heights – Bell County
WACO – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will begin transitioning westbound traffic to new pavement on the project modifying a portion of Interstate 14/US 190, in Harker Heights, the week of March 10, 2019.
Preparation for the traffic shift will begin with the closure of various westbound lanes, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday thru Friday, March 10 to March 15. The overnight temporary closures will allow the contractor to reposition traffic barriers and move westbound traffic onto newly completed pavement, within the project area.
The ongoing I-14 expansion project, which began in the Spring 2018, will provide additional roadway capacity by adding an inside travel lane in both the east and westbound directions from one-mile west of FM 2410 to FM 3423 (Indian Trail), as well as a concrete traffic barrier between opposing travel lanes. The project is scheduled for completion in the Summer of 2019, weather permitting.
Motorists are urged to observe all warning signs, work zone speed reductions and exercise caution when passing near construction personnel and equipment in the project area

[03/05/19]   Are you a licensed Realtor? Are PCS orders looming? I may have your solution. Seeking an independent, licensed agent who has great communication skills, who can network our listings and just sold homes and generate leads.
Email me at [email protected] or stop by our office at 600-A N Main St. Salado. Pass this along if you know of someone.

7804 Painted – $199,900

New to the market today. Belton schools. Gated community. MLS# 9178647 – Don't miss your chance to call home this beautiful and well-maintained 4-bedroom home by Kiella in a gated community. Finishes include oak accents the front gables and craftsman-styl...

1311 Marlee Circle, Copperas Cove, TX 76522 - ListReports

It doesn't get any better than this. 4 bedrooms on Cove's west side. Great access via the loop! House photos, info graphics, and listing agent details for 1311 Marlee Circle, Copperas Cove, TX 76522. This home is priced at $125,000, with 4 bed, 2 bath, and 1,442 sqft.

802 E Woodlawn, Harker Heights, TX 76548 - ListReports House photos, info graphics, and listing agent details for 802 E Woodlawn, Harker Heights, TX 76548. This home is priced at $188,500, with 4 bed, 2 bath, and 2,126 sqft.

141 Ammonite Lane, Jarrell, Tx 76537 - ListReports

This is a fabulous house with great access to Fort Hood, Temple-Belton and the Austin Metro House photos, info graphics, and listing agent details for 141 Ammonite Lane, Jarrell, Tx 76537. This home is priced at $216,500, with 5 bed, 3 bath, and 2,484 sqft.

[01/24/19]   Coming soon.
Built 2016. 5 Bedroom/3 bath home with gorgeous island kitchen in Jarrell.
3 Bedroom/2 bath 1 story home in Copperas Cove's Tonkawa Village.

On the market: 802 E Woodlawn, Harker Heights. Corner lot. 1970s ranch home with 4 bedrooms/2 baths/2 living areas.

Congratulations to Aurelio Rodriguez for closing Wednesday on his gorgeous 3 bedroom/2 bath charmer by Carothers in Killeen.

What can we do for you this week?
[email protected]

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Central Texas Homes winter edition is here. Click on the link to read and enjoy.

Top 10 Tips for Buying Your First Home

Planning on buying? The tips you need to know before you hunt Buying your very first house can seem like a daunting task. While thoughts of white picket fences and granite countertops might be dancing in your head, you don't want to be carried off by a dream and left holding a serious bill. But if you go into it with some research and a little help from others...


Our revamped website now includes the staging showroom and gallery.

[01/05/19]   Government shutdown and housing. How will it impact you?
Veterans and military homebuyers purchasing via the VA will not experience program issues. The Department of Veterans Affairs is not part of the shutdown. Also, VA staff who approve VA loans are paid through borrowing fees (your VA loan’s funding fee) and not appropriated funds, which require congressional approval.
Where VA loans will experience the shutdown effect is at the IRS, which has furloughed 90% of its staff, if your loan is not already underway. As part of the mortgage process, lenders usually verify your tax returns with the IRS. Lenders generally want confirmation of a receipted tax return - especially at this time of the year. There may be some after-closing options to avoid this closing delay. Check with your Realtor and lender. The next hurdle for loans started since the shutdown will be at the Social Security Administration.
To process an application, lenders verify that your Social Security number is valid. As the shutdown continues, again there may be alternate options to avoid delays. Bankrate is reporting that government-sponsored agencies have relaxed their rules to allow lenders to submit these reports before loan delivery rather than earlier in the loan process. But, if your Social Security number cannot be validated before this time, your loan could be denied.
Agencies are reporting that FHA loans, which are backed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will experience significant delays. USDA direct or guaranteed loans will not happen during the shutdown. These loans fall under the Department of Agriculture, which is closed.
If your loan requires flood insurance, you are ok through May 31. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was funded through that time in 2018.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two pseudo government agencies that essentially keep the primary loan market funded and funds flowing to your closing, do not rely on government funding.
Best advice: Stay in close touch with your lender. I also would highly recommend using a mortgage broker - an independent or local banker - who will be with you for the entire loan process and can shop around.

[01/03/19]   Beware of the fake!
CBS had an interesting story this morning about a "fake" real estate agent ripping off high-end houses and homes to some of the Hollywood stars. Somehow the man, who was always dressed for the role of high-end buyer, managed to blend in at open houses and hoodwink licensed agents and celebrity sellers into letting him view the properties.
In Texas that should not - or I must say, is not likely to happen.
First. A licensed Texas Realtor has to use an electronic access lockbox that is tamper proof and records the entry/exit times and the licenses and IDs of the agents using it. You also have to be a licensed, active agent to have that lockbox service and to gain access through it.
So, if someone "cases" the home during an open house, they cannot give the listing agent a fake business card to gain unaccompanied access later to the house.
Furthermore, Realtors working in the Austin and Central Texas MLS areas, that include the large cities and most communities between San Antonio and Waco, have to belong to the area MLS to gain access through our Supra lockboxes. Simply put, if a nonmember licensed agent, say from Dallas or even Waco, tries to gain access, he or she will come up short without an area member present to work the box.
Second. A licensed agent in Texas cannot place a combination lock on a property that is occupied. If there is one on the home you are occupying, question it. Yes. A secure lockbox will cost about $125 or more out of the agent's pocket, but isn't it worth knowing your agent cannot be "conned" into giving up the code to an impostor. While the CBS story did not go into how the thief was able to gain unaccompanied access, I suspect that is how he did it.
And finally. If you have your home listed for sale. Never, ever, let someone in off the street. No matter their appearance. No matter how compelling the story. Aside from the celebrity fake agent experience, here's why:
1. A licensed agent does not need to reach out to you. That agent has access to the MLS appointment system or your agent's direct contact number to gain access. A real buyers agent also will NOT want the homeowner present. This way, the buyer can be relaxed during the tour and able to imagine themselves as the new homeowner.
2. Anyone identifying themselves as a possible buyer should be referred to your listing agent, if they do not have their own representation. Real buyers usually are represented and pre-qualified with a lender. If they pass by your home, they will call their agent to arrange access, if it falls within their budget.
3. Making sure access is only granted to qualified buyers is very important. You don't want to show your $350k home to a buyer who is only qualified up to $250k. That is a waste of your time - and their time, for that matter.

[12/24/18]   Wishing you safe travels and joyful family gatherings during the holidays.
Thank you to you and your families for your service and sacrifice.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Search for homes right from my page! Please feel free to contact me or schedule a showing.

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[12/14/18]   Getting ready to ETS at Fort Hood? The Williamson County jobs market just grew - and grew big!!
How does a big jobs announcement in Williamson County benefit YOU? Round Rock is easily accessible from Bell County, either via I-35 if you live in Temple, Salado, Belton, Harker Heights or Nolanville. If you are in Killeen or Cove, head south on 195 using the Florence by-pass. It puts you out on I-35 at Georgetown, Round Rock's northern neighbor.
So about those jobs:

Story from Joe Warner, Community Impact Newspaper:
Apple Inc.’s new $1 billion investment in Williamson County will add 5,000 jobs and could bring almost $20 million annually to the Williamson County taxing entities of the Northwest Austin development.

The project, announced early in the morning Dec. 13,will make Apple the largest employer in the Austin metro area.

On the heels of the failed attempt to get Amazon's second headquarters, the announcement of Apple and the Army Futures Command will be game changers for the city of Austin, and Travis and Williamson counties, according to newly elected Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell, who takes office in January.

“For Williamson County, this takes a piece of property with an (agricultural) exemption that we get $78 annually for and will give us $4.5 million with two different taxes,” Gravell said in an interview Thursday morning.

Williamson County commissioners will vote on a proposed incentive package at its Dec. 18 meeting.

Gravell said he could not speak to the incentives being offered, but he said even with a hypothetical 60 percent waiver for 20 years, the county would still receive $1.8 million annually during the waiver time, compared to $78 now.

“It is a win for everybody,” Gravell said. “This is significant for Williamson County. A lot of credit goes to [Texas] Gov. [Greg] Abbott and his staff, the city of Austin and their economic development staff and [Cedar Park Economic Development Director] Ben White. He gets credit for this deal. It didn’t come to his city, but he made sure it landed in Williamson County. This is great for our economy.”
Kirby Killough contributed to this report.

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