Austin’s Best Swimming Holes

Temperatures continue to rise in Austin, which means it’s time to seek out cool water, shade, and a much needed reprieve. Below are our top five picks for the best swimming holes in, and around Austin!

Barton Springs | Austin

Barton Springs, located in Zilker Park is fed from underground springs, keeping the water at a cool average temperature of 68-70 degrees. 
photo by nielp | More Information

Jacob’s Well | Wimberley

Jacob’s Well is a perennial karstic spring that attracts travelers from all over the US looking to take the plunge in this underwater cave.
photo by Amusing Planet | More Information

Krause Springs | Spicewood

You’ll find 32 springs on the privately owned 15 acre Krause property and there are many other things to do on this beautiful property including camping and a walk through the Butterfly Gardens.
photo by Weird and Wonderful Austin | More Information

Deep Eddy Pool | Austin

Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest swimming pool in Texas! You can find lap swimming, a wade pool, and even pool-side movies in the summertime. The water is cool, fresh, and non-chlorinated. 
photo by | More Information

Hamilton Pool | Dripping Springs

Hamilton Pool is located on the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, which consists of 232 acres of protected natural habitat. Here you will find refreshing clear water complete with a 50 ft. waterfall. In addition to this beautiful swimming hole, go for a hike, or take a guided nature tour.
photo by Dave Wilson | More Information




We love helping people sell their home. But more importantly, we love helping people save money and time while selling their home! One of the biggest transitions in your life doesn’t have to be painful or stressful – that’s why we created this company – to offer you a smarter way to sell your home!

Recently, we helped a Smart Seller save $20,000 in realtor fees, and avoid unnecessary hassle and stress. After enduring less than great experiences with two realtors, Colleen came to Smart Path. Below is her story.

“I want to refer the amazing realtor who finally sold my home, effortlessly and painlessly for top dollar with only an it’s coming soon sign – David Montalvo with Smart Path Realty! David saved me around $20,000 in Realtor Fees!!!!!! And, he effectively negotiated multiple offers on my home. Selling a home in Austin, I have learned, is a tricky process. If your Central Austin (especially) property ‘sits’ for any amount of time, it’s value can be rapidly diminished with each passing day. If you are selling your home – don’t take any chances!

My first Realtor told me that Austin is a “year round market.” False. My 2nd realtor lost 3 back to back contracts on my home and in addition to this, she was extremely difficult to work with and unprofessional. If I had taken her extremely poor advice and lowered the price of my home by an additional $20,000 as she suggested…after her 3rd contract fell through, I would have lost literally tens of thousands of dollars!

I was so grateful when I found David! He is a full-service professional realtor and he charges a small fraction of the fee you will pay to most realtors who charge 3%, as I mentioned, I personally saved $20,000 alone in realtor fees with him and in addition to this, I sold my home for it’s true value! David is familiar with all of Austin, as he grew up here and attended UT. He is a pleasure to work with and only accepts full commissions when he is helping you purchase a home (no cost to you as a buyer), use him to sell and buy, you won’t regret it! Thanks so much David Montalvo!” Colleen


Want to know more? Contact Us!


Happy Festivals!

Austin, Texas hosts numerous festivals all year round. Austin could also adapt the motto “Festival Capital of the World” along with the established motto, “Live Music Capital of the World.”

With SXSW and ACL being the biggest and most notorious festivals, they bring in crowds of people from all over the country. The attendance has been estimated to be around half a million people. Visitors leave Austin loving the city and wanting to come back to buy a home or just buy real estate for investments. About 110 people a day are moving to Austin, making the real estate market hot.

Aside from these popular events drawing in the masses, there are many more to attend. There is no shortage of festivals here in Austin. You are sure to find at least one each month of the year.

Here is a short list of some upcoming festivals:

ACL: October 3-5, October 10-12, 2014
Fun Fun Fun Fest: November 7-9, 2014
Carnaval Brasileiro: February 28, 2015
The Texas Rockfest: March 11-16, 2015
SXSW: March 13–22, 2015
Urban Music Festival: April 9, 2015
Old Settler’s Music Festival: April 16-19, 2015
Texas Wine and Food Festival: April 24-26, 2015
Eeyore’s Birthday Party: April 25, 2015
Art City Austin: April 25-26, 2015
Austin Psych Fest: May 2015
Pachanga Festival: May 2015
Blues on the Green: May 28 – August 6, 2015
Chaos in Tejas: June 2015
Republic of Texas Biker Rally: June 11-14, 2015
Keep Austin Weird Festival: June 27, 2015
Batfest: August 2015
Old Pecan Street Festival: September 27-28, 2015

Legitimate Expectations of a Seller from Their Realtor

expectationsPeople reasonably assume things to follow a certain script. For example it is assumed that coffee will be hot, beer cold and mexican food spicy. These are legitimate expectations and are reasonably expected by anyone; however if any of these expectations are not met then the consequences are trivial.

The impact of not meeting expectations increases as the value of the object increases. Therefore, careful thought is required before one makes a decision on matters of high importance such as marriage, children, choice of career, or buying or selling one’s home. A home is usually a person’s largest asset, and the seller of a home has his own legitimate expectations, such as selling at the prevailing market value and getting paid in a timely manner.

According to the “Home Buyers and Sellers Survey” more people are choosing to sell their homes with the help of a real estate agent.  The benefit of aligning yourself with a trusted real estate professional like a Smart Path Realtor is an increase in the likelihood of getting favorable terms from the sale contract.      

While you may have considered trying to decrease your costs by selling your home yourself (For Sale By Owner – FSBO), enlisting a Smart Path Realtor® is a much better choice.  You get our top-notch professional services and your home is marketed in places that you would not have access to on your own, while still saving thousands over the traditional real estate agent commission.      

Smart Path Realty encourages you to have legitimate expectations. You pay a one-time “Smart Fee” of $500 or $1000 for the sale side of transaction and you can expect to get the same services that you would have received had you hired a commission based Realtor®. We promise to work to the best of our abilities to help you sell your home. An agent can answer queries of the homeowner such as:

  1. How do I price my home correctly?
  2. How can my home make a better impression on prospective buyers?
  3. How do I negotiate to get the best deal?

The seller has legitimate expectations from the agent. These include hard work, honesty, and fair representation of the seller’s interests. Smart Path Realty strives to not only meet but exceed our clients’ expectations and offer exemplary service and expertise.

Cash Buyers Should Know These Answers

warning-cash-buyerIt would seem that cash buyers would be have a big advantage over getting a mortgage and having to deal with an appraisal. If you find yourself fortunate enough to be in this situation, then you should ask yourself if at any point you would need to get a mortgage on this property.

The main reason this is important is that if you pay cash for the home it could affect the ability to deduct the mortgage interest from your taxes.

Many homeowners’ understand that they can take a tax deduction on the interest on up to 1 Million Dollars of the debt on their main residence, but do they comprehend the limitations of the debt?

Acquisition debt is the dollars that are used to buy or build or improve a person’s main residence. The amount is very dynamic. When a loan is amortized the loan principal will reduce each time a payment is made, so that means the acquisition debt is lowered accordingly. If a person pays on the loan till the end of the mortgage then the acquisition debt would be zero.

Currently federal law will allow the homeowner to deduct interest paid on the acquisition debt, plus interest up to $100,000 in the home equity debt.

So if you pay cash for your home, the acquisition debt is nothing, therefore you get no tax deduction, which essentially can make your taxable income larger, so you pay more taxes. This can especially be true if it bumps you into a new tax bracket.

As always, we are Smart Path Realty advise you to discuss this over with your tax advisor. Obviously, if you decide to pay cash or finance your home we at Smart Path are here to serve.

A 1031 Exchange Means you can Invest More

A 1031 exchange for rental and investment real estate is a tool that allows investors to move  the gain from one property to another without immediate income tax consequences.

An instant benefit is to postpone the tax due which gives the investor a larger amount of proceeds to invest.  In the example shown, the investor has 21% more proceeds to invest and grow over time than if he had paid the taxes due instead of exchanging.

1031 Exchange Means You Can Invest MoreA legitimate long-term goal might be to make qualified exchanges from one property to another until the investor dies.  The heirs would then receive a stepped-up basis on the property based on the market value at the time of the decedent’s death and possibly avoiding taxes altogether.

There are specific requirements to be met in order for the exchange to qualify. For more information on exchanges, see IRS publication 544.  In addition to enlisting the services of a real estate professional familiar with investment property, seek the help of Qualified Intermediary to facilitate the intricacies of the exchange.  Your real estate agent can help you locate one.

One thing you should alway do is to discuss any  1031 Exchange with your Tax advisor.  If you need help with a 1031 Exchange then our team of awesome licensed agents are here to serve you.

A New Way to Look at Adjustable Rate Mortgages

Adjustable Rate Mortgages have been around for a while, but According to financial organizations over 94% of home purchasers choose to get a fixed rate home mortgage.  This is great since madjustable mortgage rates comparisonortgage rates are at the lowest in home buying history.  But, did you know that a few of them will pay more interest than they would normally, based on the time that they will own the home.

You must consider this if you only plan on staying in the home for a few years, that an adjustable rate mortgage may save you money.

The interest rate on an adjustable mortgage is usually lower than a fixed in the first few years.  If you look at amortization charts, then you may notice that the adjustable rate may actually amortize faster.

In the example shown below, a $200,000 mortgage for 30 years is compared using a 4.25% fixed-rate to a 3.25% 5/1 FHA adjustable rate. The first five years of the ARM generates a $113.47 a month savings which accumulates to $6,808.20. In addition, due to faster amortization on lower interest rate loans, the unpaid balance at the end of five years will be $3,001 lower on the ARM for a total savings of $9,801.

Assuming the adjustable-rate mortgage was to escalate the maximum allowed at each period, the breakeven would occur in 8 years and 6 months. If a person were to sell the home prior to this point, the ARM would provide a lower cost of housing for the homeowner.

For some people, the uncertainty of how the interest rate may change is not acceptable. On the other hand, for the risk tolerant individual who may be more confident in financial matters or who may know when they’ll be moving next, the ARM can be a smart choice.

Use this handy calculator to see the differenece: