What’s all the Hype about Texas???

August 17, 2009

It’s been an amazing summer of 2009!  We’ve travelled, visited, had visitors, showed off the Texas Hill Country, and so much more.  The real estate market is unlike anything any of us have ever seen before.  There have been periods of endless phone calls, lots of showings, deals that have been written and closed, and plenty of homes and ranches that have been sold.  Then there were the periods where somebody must have shut the door, turned off the lights, and cut the phone lines. . .  It’s been a rollercoaster ride to say the least.  Business has held steady though, and there’s so much more to come!  I came across this video and thought it was worth sharing.  There is plenty of surprising information that I was unaware of.  Information that I believe is worth sharing with everybody.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Please don’t hesitate to call or email me if you ever have any questions about real estate in Texas.  It doesn’t matter if you’re buying or selling, I’m happy to help in any way possible.  I even promise to take good care of your friends and family when you send them to me for help!  As always, thanks for reading – Jem


Castles, Cowboys, Chili, and our Market Update

April 24, 2009

Our Castle is a repost from Feb. 08 – people are always asking:

The Texas Hill Country is one of the most amazingly beautiful places that God has created.  Around every bend (and there are plenty of Falkenstein Castlethem) there are new and wonderful places to see and explore.  We’re lucky enough to have it all . . . well almost all, and then some.  For example, we have the largest chain of lakes in the State of Texas, all here for your boating and fishing pleasures.  We have mind blowing caverns that are rich with history, the cowboys and Indians type that both young and old kids enjoy.  Wildflowers, wildlife, great places to eat, and most of all, we have wonderful people.  And then . . . There Is (dramatic pause. . . )  The Castle!

Roll through the hills as you cruise down Park Road 4, and out of nowhere, BAM!!!  There’s an honest to goodness castle that pops up Burnet County Texas - Falkenstein Castleright before your eyes!  Seriously, it’s the maiden in the tower type of place.  It sits atop one of the highest hills in Burnet County and has a magnificent 360 degree view that spans the hills and lakes as far as you can see. Built in the late 1990’s, Falkenstein Castle is home to Terry and Kim Young.  The castle footprint encompasses roughly four acres and is the place they call home.  The Young’s rent the “Palace” area of the grounds out for weddings throughout the year.  In fact, Falkenstein Castle is now rates as the #3 best wedding castle in the United States, only behind Belcort Castle and the Biltmore Estate!  Take a moment and check out their website, read their story about how the castle came to be, see some amazing pictures. . . it’s an absolutely beautiful place.  Best of all, it’s right here in Burnet County, in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country!

It’s Chili and BBQ Cook-Off time in Marble Falls!!!
It’s one of the qualifying events for the Terlingua International Chili Championship, it’s the 38th annual Howdy Roo Chili Cook-Off in Marble Falls, and the 15th annual BBQ competition.  Held in Johnson Park on the 1st weekend in May, this event is a true weekender!  Golf tourney for the cooks, chili, BBQ, vendors, and all types of family fun.  Come and join us on May 2nd and 3rd on the banks of Lake Marble Falls for all the fun.  I promise you won’t be disappointed! 

Castles, Cowboys, Chili, only 1 thing left; this is the perfect time to find a place to call your own and make it your “castle”.  The market is going strong, there are plenty of new homes on the market over the past week.  Our sales are up dramatically and pending properties have shot up as well.  If you have any questions about real estate anywhere in the Texas Hill Country, please feel free to drop me an email, give me a call, or just leave a comment here.  I promise to get back to you quickly.  As always. . . Thanks for reading – Jem

6 Reasons to Choose the Texas Hill County – Reacquaint Yourself!

April 7, 2009

I was asked not long ago, “why the Hill Country and not Dallas or Houston”?  Don’t get  me wrong, I grew up south of Houston, have a brother who lives in Dallas, and have been all over the Great State of Texas.  Our Motto is Friendship, and I don’t believe anybody who visits will deny that.  So why the Hill Country, here are 6 very good reasons:

1. Named by NY Times as the #1 travel destination in the U.S. – “The region is lush, colorful and, unlike much of the pancake-flat state, dotted with beautiful green hills that are evocative of Tuscany or the south of France.” - 

2.  Wine, Wine, and more Wine – Now the #2 wine destination in the nation, the Texas Hill Country has dozens of wineries to visit –

3.  Festivals, Weekend Trips, and One Day Adventures -  There is always so much to do.  Everything from one day trips to week long adventures.  Here is a great place to start your search - 

4.  Some of the BEST BBQ You’ve EVER Had – This is one place where BBQ is never hard to find.  Good BBQ is always close by, and Great BBQ isn’t very far.  BBQ in the Hill Country is like eating shrimp in Galveston, when done right, it’s always good - 

5.  Here lies the Largest Chain of Lakes in The State of Texas – Not only is it the largest chain of lakes in The State, it also is some of the clearest and cleanest water in all of Texas.  A person could spend weeks boating, fishing, skiing, canoeing, kayaking, or just playing on the many lakes that make up the Highland Lakes chain.  –

6.  Great Real Estate Value and an Even Better Place to Live! – I could write pages on this, but it’s already been done.  Take a look at these articles:





Your comments are always welcome, and feel free to add to the list.  I’d enjoy your thoughts on this post. 

If you like these posts, subscribe via RSS or email.  The option is yours.  As always, thanks for reading. . . Jem

26th Annual Bluebonnet Festival – April 10th – 12th in Burnet, TX (and market update)

April 3, 2009

It’s that time of year around here, Spring has arrived in the Texas Hill Country!  Beauty abounds this time of year, the skies are high blue, the temperature is in the 70’s during the day and 40’s at night, the birds are singing their hearts out, and the wildflowers are in bloom.  I’d give you some insight into what types, but to me there are: Red ones, Yellow ones, Purple ones, and BLUEBONNETS!


Burnet is THE Bluebonnet Capitol of Texas, a title that was bestowed by the Great State of Texas many years ago.  A typical small Texas town; people are very friendly, the food is great, and the town square comes alive when it’s time for the annual Bluebonnet Festival.   This event brings the  entire community out to have fun with their neighbors and visitors alike.  There is so much to do, parades, air show, non-stop live music, street dances, a bike ride, a run, and lots more.  A complete schedule of events can be found by clicking HERE

While in town, take some time and explore the area.  Burnet County offers much more than most people realize.  Explore Longhorn Caverns, go sit by, or play on one of the many lakes,  take a trip to the Canyon of the Eagles and see the Bald Eagles, Inks Lake State Park is another idea, and that’s just a start!


Spring Break is typically the kick off to our market shift from winter time strolling to summer time chaos.  We’re off and running, people are putting their homes on the market for that summertime move, while others are looking for  those much desired weekend lake houses.  It’s a perfect time to start looking while prices are still lower than normal.  If you’re interested in possibly moving this way, or finding that lake house, or maybe just have a questions about the area or market, please feel free to give me a call or email me.

As always, thanks for reading.  IF you like these posts, you can always subscribe via email or RSS. – Jem

Donuts for Dad – Lessons Learned (and Real Estate Update)

March 27, 2009

My daughters came to me earlier this week and asked me to grace them with my presence at Donuts for Dad at school on Thursday.  Of course it meant that I’d have to get out of bed a few minutes earlier and then brave the halls of Colt Elementary, but why not, it’s donut day with my little angels.  Truth be told, I’ve been to this function every year and know that I’m about to be suckered into buying books and promising to attend “Science Night”.  Not a problem!

The donuts were wonderful and the time I spent with the girls was even better.  I’m blessed to be able to take them to school every morning and pick them up in the afternoon.  Simply put:  Life IS Good!!!  I walked my girls to their classrooms and made my way back to the front door, saying my goodbyes along the way.  Stopping at the front desk, I noticed one little boy standing at the front door of the school, barely as tall as the push bar on the door, staring out the door.  He was obviously nervous. . . maybe down trodden would be a better term, but his desperation was overwhelming and could not be overlooked by anybody within 30 feet of him.  He held to the door, would occasionally turn and look around him, and then his eyes would return to the parking area outside.  “He’ll be here in a minute”. . . HUH???  What’d he say. . . “He’s always later”. . . I turned towards one of the teachers who was standing on the other side of the office counter, her eyes were full of tears. . . The AP mumbled “this isn’t the first time, somebody really needs to talk to his father”.    I approached the boy, not knowing what to say, maybe to just make that connection, maybe to ease my mind, maybe. . . who knows, but I did.  He turned his back to me and I heard him cry “he’s coming, he’ll be here in a minute, he’s just running late”.  I glanced back at the office staff, the teachers, and the AP.  The tardy bell rang. . . it was over.  Donuts for Dad was over.  He clutched the push bar, swinging his drooping head from side to side, mumbling now, much softer. . . incomprehensible.  Again, I turned to the staff and AP, they were blurry from the tears in my eyes. . . “Y’all get this boy a donut”. 

Most of us that live in Small Town America do so because we believe we’re safer here, that things will always be the way they were when we were growing up.  Our neighbors are friends, not just “the guy who lives down the street”, our kids play together and go to church together, and our lives as individuals are intertwined with the community we live in.  We know each other, we watch out for each other, and we take care of each other.  On days like this, we cry together too. 

I left the school yesterday, proud of the fact that I had donuts with my daughters and that I’m involved in their day to day lives.  I’m proud to live in the Texas Hill Country, where the AP of the elementary school will take the time out of his morning, after the tardy bell has tolled, and take 1 small child down to the cafeteria and spend a few minutes with him, eating a donut, and letting him know that there are men in his life who care.  To be associated with people who don’t just stand there and talk about helping, they just do it.  We don’t just live in the same community, WE are the community and we live together as one.  Bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean that good things don’t come out of it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. . .  And the real estate market in Marble Falls and the surrounding Hill Country is good. . . but truth be told, I don’t feel like going into that right now. . .  Peace – Jem

Hill Country Videos and News, and MY Real Estate Update

March 20, 2009

MBH_Site_Logo_02 My Blu Horizon is the brainchild of my good friend Rasty Goodwin. His company motto of “Escape Your Reality” actually has a dual meaning that is worth sharing.  Initially his idea was to provide High Def videos to individuals and companies to use for screen savers on computers and HD TV’s.  Your TV or computer goes into a “screensaver” mode and instead of watching the normal irritating mind mush that -shows up compliments of Microsoft, or the company logo of the maker of your TV, you can treat yourself to a momentary “escape” into one of dozens of natural settings that are as realistic and relaxing as “the real thing”.  Or at least close! 

Enter the blind pig, the acorn, and the new found medical uses for such videos.

There has been a substantial amount of research in the medical community regarding the use of nature scenes as a part of patient treatment, and how it relates to the short and long term outcome, and the time period from point of entry into the hospital until release.  Too much to expand upon, but the results are quite amazing.  Well over 90% of the research was done using projection screens and still photos of nature.  Rasty is now in talks with several large hospitals in the Austin and Houston area about using his videos in the patient care areas of cancer treatment centers, child birthing facilities, and children specific hospitals.  The ineffable mental relief these videos must bring to people – “Escape your reality” if only for a short time. . .  Or continue to stare at the brick walls.  Props to you my friend, your work is amazing!

It’s Spring Break in the Texas Hill Country – this is the Texas Hill Country official kick off of our prime sales season.  The skies are blue, it’s warm outside, people are back on the water, fishing and skiing, and everything is turning green again (thanks to all the rain last week).  Spring is in the air and Summer is just around the corner.  Home sales are up over the past several weeks, and new listings are coming on the market in all sizes and price ranges.  I’ve seen some impressive waterfront homes come on the market recently at surprisingly good prices.  The overinflated prices of years past are mostly gone.  Waterfront homes are now more affordable than ever.  (I”m actually looking out of my office window and watching the boats on Lake Marble Falls, and boats being pulled down the road on their way into town).

Mortgage money is getting loosening up and there are several changes that are making it easier to get funding now, more so than it has been in recent months. Rates are now hovering at or below 5%.  

If you have any questions, please give me a call or drop me an email.  I’m always happy to help, it’s what I do best. 

Now I’m out the door to spend some time with family and friends.  There’s Marble Falls High School baseball and softball games tonight, side by side. . . life is good in the Texas Hill Country!!!  Thanks for reading – Jem

Marble Falls – Bluebonnets, Bike Rides, and Real Estate

March 6, 2009

The word came out today that this years Bluebonnet Music and Fine Arts Festival will be headlined by Pure Prairie League on March 28th.  Marble Falls’ own John Martinez will open for them on Main Street.  The evening will wind up with a street dance with Cornell Hurd’s Big Ol’ Band closing things out.  The festival starts on March 27th and runs through the 29th.  Another one of our great family oriented gatherings that takes place annually here in Marble Falls.

It’s time to get the bikes out and start riding the hills again.  April 4th is the kickoff of my season.  The Pedal Power Wild Flower Ride is that day, leaving from LBJ State Park in Stonewall.  Several routes are available to ride, ranging from 12 to 63 miles.  The longer ride includes a lap around the Willow City Loop and is absolutely gorgeous this time of year.  ALL proceeds from this ride go the the Hill Country Children’s Advocacy Center, it’s a great cause!  I don’t know what the entry fee is, but it’s inexpensive and well worth every penny.  Register online at www.hccac.org and click on “10th Annual Pedal Power Wildflower Ride”.

Staying loose is the key now, because the Hill Country Ride for Aids is the next ride on April 25th.  With rides from 10 to 100 miles (and a couple in between), this ride has gotten rave reviews from previous participants.  All the information you’d ever want can be found HERE.  If you’ve never taken your bike on one of these rides, do yourself a favor and give it a try.  Combine the thrill of completing one of these rides with the knowledge that you’re helping people in need, and the result is often times overwhelming.  And you sleep good that night too!

Real estate in the Highland Lakes area of Texas is still alive and well.  We’ve seen a slowdown over the past several months, BUT  the phone is ringing and properties are selling.  Prices have had some minor adjustments, but all in all it hasn’t been that unpleasant.  Our market normally cycles with the year (no pun intended), as much of the Texas Hill Country has become a prime vacation destination for people from throughout the country.  With interest rates down and property values holding steady, it’s a prime time to purchase the vacation or retirement property you’ve been looking for.  If you’d like to take a look at the properties that we have available, you can Search the Highland Lakes MLS LIVE here.  I’m always available for questions about the area or real estate, just give me a call at 830.385.3760 or Email Me.  Current mortgage rates are available if you just Click Here.

Thanks for reading. . . Jem