Adding Upgrades to Your Home

With the summer months approaching, it’s likely that your home could benefit from some additional TLC. Are you considering putting your house on the market soon? Looking to revamp the décor of your house? Wanting to update your outdated guest bathroom? There are so many options to add upgrades to your home without breaking the bank.

With a free weekend, some elbow grease, and a little bit of money, you’d be surprised at the results that you can achieve.

Updating Your Guest Bathroom Guest Bathroom Décor

Your guest bathroom is likely the second most visited room in your home when you have company over. Sometimes all your bathroom needs is some new towels or a new shower curtain. If you’re looking for a bigger project, consider updating the bathroom mirror. If you’re familiar with Pinterest, I’m sure you have seen all the how-to guides on how to frame a bathroom mirror. If you’d prefer to not do all the labor, you can always visit your local hardware store, neighborhood garage sales, or Craigslist for unique mirrors. If you choose to find a mirror from a garage sale or Craigslist, remember that you can always spray paint it to give it that unique look that you’re looking for.

Looking for options to make your bathroom brighter? Why not change the light fixture. Often bathrooms have builder grade lights installed. New fixtures can be purchased for less than $100 and can add the change you’ve been looking for. Looking for an even cheaper option? Spray paint your light fixtures and change out the light shades. Here’s a perfect example on how to update your vanity light fixture with spray paint.

If you’re looking for an even bigger project to tackle, staining your cabinets are an option. This project can take up to two weekends with the drying time in between coats of gel stain.

Adding Curb Appeal Front Yard Gardening

Haven’t had the chance to tend to your yard since the weather got warmer? No worries, all you’ll need is a few hours on a Saturday morning to make a difference. I recommend tending to the yard in the morning before it gets too hot AND so that you can knock it out and move on to the other items on your weekend to-do list.

With the change in weather, it’s likely that your trees and flower bed could benefit from being mulched (after pulling the weeds of course!) Residents of Austin, Cedar Park, Lago Vista, Hutto, Pflugerville, and Round Rock can obtain free mulch. You’ll need to bring your driver’s license and a current water/ electric bill as proof that you are a resident eligible for free mulch. It’s a great perk that is often underutilized, and can help keep money in your pocket.

Other options to add curb appeal include planting new flowers, updating your door mat, planting new trees, adding colorful planters to your porch, or simply updating your solar lights. If you are extra crafty, consider adding a wreath to your front door.

Updating Your Décor Inside

Living Room Décor with Turquoise Accents

If you are tired of the décor inside your home, and are looking for visually appealing options, consider updating the look of a room. By simply changing bed sheets or curtains, the vibe of a room can be drastically changed. Consider changing out the photos in the frames that are displayed throughout your home.

Looking for an even bigger update? Consider painting an accent wall in your living room, or an entire room in your home. Pinterest has great ideas and inspiration for all your painting needs.

Backyards Need Love Too Backyard Stone Firepit

When’s the last time you pressure washed your patio? It’s one of the fastest and cheapest ways to change the way your house looks. Purchasing new patio furniture, or at least changing out the cushions can also change the look of your backyard. If you’re looking for a more permanent option, consider adding a gazebo, pergola, or an awning. All three are great options for battling the Texas heat. The easiest of the three to construct on your own is the pergola. Though it can cost up to $1000 in supplies and require the help of some friends one weekend, you’ll be happy with the results. If you’d prefer more shade and want to leave the construction to professionals, consider calling Texas Sun and Shade for your awning needs.

Good luck with updating your home! If you need any additional inspiration, follow me on Pinterest.



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FREE Austin Family Activities

Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail

Austin, Texas is a great place to enjoy great events as a family; and even better, you can enjoy them for free! When going out as a family it’s important for everyone to have a good time and that’s why Austin is such a nice place to raise a family. There are so many options and choices of events that there is no way that someone could not be enjoying themselves.

Enjoy some time outdoors with some free Austin family activities:

  • Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail
  • Barton Creek Greenbelt
  • Slaughter Creek Preserve Trail
  • Deep Eddy Pool
  • Congress Bridge Bats

You can also enjoy some time on the lake, rent a canoe or a paddle board for cheap and spend some great time on the water. There’s no better way to get some needed exercise than by doing a fun activity with the whole family.

If you’re family needs some not so active R&R you could try the following:

Thinkery Austin

  • Thinkery – Austin’s new children’s museum focuses learning – science, technology, engineering, art, and math – as well as healthy living. The fun-filled facility is a mix of a science and technology center with a children’s museum! Admission is free on Sundays from 5 – 6 p.m. and by donation (suggested $1) on Wednesdays from 5 – 8 p.m.

Graffiti Park Austin

  • Graffiti Park – Your family will enjoy hours of pictures and fun with great graffiti artwork. View some iconic Austin artwork while you and your family play and have fun in the park. Graffiti Park is an Austin staple and is a must go for any Austinite family or visiting family.

Cathedral of Junk Austin

  • Cathedral of Junk – If you want to take a walk on Austin’s weird side, this is one stop you don’t want to miss! Kids love walking through this backyard ode to discarded treasures. Housed in local yardist Vince Hannemann’s backyard, this is definitely a site you won’t want to miss out on.

Check out this FREE events list on a day-to-day basis from Free Fun in Austin. Great for every day family fun!


For parents that are trying to have some fun without the kids, you should definitely try out some of the following events:

  • Comedy Night at Banger’s Sausage House – Enjoy a night for two at Banger’s Comedy Show the first Wednesday of every month. If you enjoy sausage and beer, you’ll definitely love seeing a comedy show at Banger’s. Experience some of Austin’s funniest standup comedians from 9-11pm. There’s no predicting how inappropriate these comedians get so leave the children at home and go enjoy a night filled with hops and laughter.
  • Unplugged at the Grove – Every Thursday go out and enjoy great musicians perform at the award-winning restaurant Shady Grove. This year is KGSR’s 21st anniversary of Unplugged at the Grove and as one of Austin’s longest running free live music series you can expect to hear awesome artists like Bob Schneider, Shakey Graves, and more until September. Live music starts at 8pm!

Check out some more great events here.



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Texas Hill Country Wineries

Get the low down on all the best Texas Hill Country Wineries and Austin wine tours!

Texas Hill Country Wineries

It’s no mystery why the Texas Hill Country is one of the most coveted places to reside and visit; with its beautiful wildflowers and sunsets, to its quaint local eateries and pleasant hospitality. But there’s one thing in particular we love about this region (especially at this time of year): the wineries! Texas Hill Country wineries bring in around 5 million visitors each year and we completely understand why. They’re exceptionally beautiful, fun, and provide delicious accompaniments to taste! In fact, the Texas Hill Country AVA is the second-largest in the nation and Wine Enthusiast recently named the region a best wine travel destination for 2014. With over 40 wineries to choose from, it’s hard to pick one as they each have their own personality and unique flare. We’re here to highlight a few of our favorites and help you plan an award-winning wine experience you won’t forget (depending on how many wines you sample).

Duchman Family Winery

Duchman Family Winery

Located in Driftwood, TX, Duchman Family Winery is one of the top wine destinations here. The Duchmans are committed to creating “food-friendly fine wine”, sourcing the majority of their fruit from the Texas High Plains AVA where cooler temperatures reside. Constantly innovating and creating new flavors, you can expect to find lovely wines like Vermentino, Sangiovesse, and Dolcetto. These wines are accompanied by a well-mannered, knowledgeable staff that is wonderful at accommodating large parties. The gorgeous property and architecture only add to the enjoyable experience.

Lewis Wines

Lewis Wines

If you enjoy Mediterranean varieties, specifically Spanish and Portuguese blends, we highly recommend Lewis Wines. Located about an hour west of Austin, this 100 acre estate is filled with unique, delectable wines and a dedicated team that create an unforgettable tasting. The young members of this staff are super passionate about creating delicious wines from 100% Texas fruit. Best part, the small $10 tasting fee is refunded with a purchase of a bottle!

Flat Creek Estate

Flat Creek Estate

Are you ready to devote your entire afternoon to tastings? Visit Flat Creek Estate for sure! This winery, located in the Lake Travis area, is gorgeous and has so much to offer. The drive up boasts a scenic route with hills and a beautiful countryside view. Once there, you’ll enjoy a stunning tasting room and even separate Bistro with awesome food. The dedicated owners utilize their expertise, growing delicious fruits to craft exceptional wines. Make sure you meet Trooper, the winery’s friendly dog!

There are numerous other wineries in the Texas Hill Country region perfect for planning wine tours, tastings, and enjoying a wonderful day outdoors with a bit of southern hospitality and charm. Overwhelmed by which to choose? Book a wine tour in Austin and let someone else do the driving and picking for you! Heart of Texas Wine Tours, Wine Tours of Texas, and BlueBonnet Wine Tours all offer intimate tours, corporate events, or group outings customized to your trip requirements. Book a half day, full day, or whatever you desire. We highly recommend making a visit to the Texas Hill Country Wineries a priority!

See a complete list of all the wonderful wineries here.

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Austin City Limits & ATX


If you’re coming to ACL early this year and want some tips for what you can do in Austin while you’re in town you should definitely check out this list of places and activities that you can enjoy! Austin is a town full of great history, great parks, great food, and much more. You will never be bored in the capitol of the lone star state.

Austin City Limits can be a hectic time filled with music, people, and just festival craziness; but you should definitely take advantage of the other things going on outside of the festival grounds. Unwind with some outdoor relaxation, or detox with some great activities and great food to get your body back from a weekend of boundless fun. Get the full Austin experience instead of just the ACL experience. Don’t regret not experiencing more of this great town when you had the chance!

While you are here and you have some time to spare you can check out some of the following things that Austin has to offer a visitor:

Local Landmarks

  • The Texas Capitol
  • The University of Texas Tower
  • Famous Murals
  • The Driskill—Austin Ghost Tours

Art Crawl

  • Graffiti Park
  • Okay Mountain
  • Canopy Studios

Family Friendly Activities

  • Austin Nature and Science Center
  • The Thinkery
  • Deep Eddy Pool
  • Mueller Pond
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum

Active Opportunities

  • Lady Bird Lake
  • The Greenbelt
  • Barton Springs Pool
  • Paddle Zen
  • Black Swan Yoga

More Music Fun

  • End of an Ear
  • Friends of Sound
  • Waterloo
  • Elephant Room

When you buy a pass to Austin City Limits, you don’t only get to enjoy the festival, you get to enjoy all that Austin has to offer. Take advantage of all the different places when you’re in town! You will not be disappointed you did. Your festival experience and the Austin ambiance will leave you wanting more out of this great Texas town.

Check out the official ACL Austin experience guide here!


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Things To Consider When Buying A House


Buying a house is a serious matter. There are many factors one has to consider when they are planning to buy a house. Due to the massive responsibilities that come with owning a home, it’s a good idea to know what you are getting yourself into. This is definitely a life decision you want to sit down for and list out all the things and factors that come with owning a home. This way you know if you are ready for this grand responsibility.

Here are some things that you should go over before buying a house:

1. Understand the responsibilities of owning a house

This mainly applies to people who are buying a house for the first time. Buying a new house is not always white and black. There are many different things that come into play and there is a lot to be considered. Research is the most important part and it plays a major role into the purchase of a new home. Once the research has been done and you have a better understanding of the process, it is strongly recommended that you speak with a HUD counselor, lawyer or Realtor. As a homeowner you should know exactly what your rights are.

2. Talk with a mortgage expert to get pre-approved for a loan

The loan pre-approval step is a more thorough eligibility process than the pre-qualification.  A pre-qualification just tells a Realtor that you are very determined about buying a house. It’s not a very detailed process at all. But the pre-approval step tells everyone involved that you are financially ready to purchase a new home.

By doing this pre-approval step it will give you more purchase power because the seller will be confident that you are financially stable and fit to make such a large purchase. This process means that the bank or mortgage lender will be granted access to all your finances, your assets, as well as your liabilities and debt. This step will also help you by informing you to the financing options that are available to you in today’s market.

3. It is all about location

If you know where you want to live and where you want to be, you should definitely think about what your lifestyle is like and how you want it to be. Will you need to commute to a nearby larger city? Do you have or will you have children that will need to get to school? Would you want to live in a suburb or in the city? Would you prefer to have a smaller home in a more expensive town or a larger home a bit further away?

These are all important things that you may want to take into consideration. If you are new to a town maybe the best thing would be to rent for 6 months to a year in order to accustom yourself with your new location and your new surroundings before making such a concrete decision like buying a house. You don’t want to end up with buyers remorse after buying a house in a town where your life there was not what you were expecting. You should really take the time to get to know the place that you’re living in before making a big purchase that you may end up regretting.

4. The kind of house you want

Once you have thought about where you want to live and are happy about that location, you need to figure out what it is exactly that you want to have in your house. Do you want a newer house with all the modern conveniences or an older house with some character that you can work on and renovate over the years? Do you want a large yard for children and pets that you know you can keep up with, or would you prefer something requiring less maintenance so you won’t have to spend your weekends mowing and keeping up with grass?

There are many things you have to consider when it comes to what you want in a house. Do you want a fireplace? Is the house kid friendly? Is it large enough to entertain and have parties? You should definitely make a list of all your home “must-haves”. You probably won’t find all the things you want in one house, but as you look at all the potential homes you can start to prioritize which of these must-haves are truly necessary and which ones you can do without. Be open to suggestions from your Realtor.

5. Hit the road

Once you have done all your research on the internet and found some houses that meet your criteria it’s time to get off that computer and go see these houses in person. It’s important to always go out and see these houses for yourself because pictures don’t always capture everything. An agent may have taken photos of the house that just don’t do it justice. So the only way to know for sure if a house is right for you is to go out and see it for yourself.

Have your agent to show you houses that meet your standards and must-haves as well as those that may be almost there. Often agents will have suggestions that you might not have picked or even thought of but now may be worth considering.  Public open houses are another wonderful resource that you should definitely take advantage of. If you do attend an open house, it’s very important to let the host know that you are already working with an agent.



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The Hot Austin Housing Market


Austin is hot hot hot! Life in Austin is good, and everyone is starting to get the message. Austin has been named fastest growing city, had been near the top of most economic polls and surveys in 2013. 2014 just started and there is already high praise for this marvelous city and the Austin housing market is already off to a great start.

This month, Forbes ranked Austin as the fastest growing city in the country for the fourth year in a row. That growth has driven demand for housing in Austin and contributes the decrease in housing inventory. In January 2014, the Austin market featured 2.0 months of inventory, compared to 2.5 months of inventory in January 2013.

The Austin real estate market had a solid start to 2014. According to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS, in January 2014 there were 1,449 single-family homes sold in the Austin area, which is 4% more than January 2013, and the median price for Austin-area homes was $211,800, which is 7% more than it was in the same month in 2013.

January 2014 Statistics

  • 1,449 – Single-family homes sold, four percent more than January 2013.
  • $211,800 – Median price for single-family homes, seven percent more than January 2013.
  • 63 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, nine days fewer than January 2013.
  • 2,337 – New single-family home listings on the market, four percent more than January 2013.
  • 4,591 – Active single-family home listings on the market, seven percent fewer than January 2013.
  • 1,946 – Pending sales for single-family homes, five percent fewer than January 2013.
  • 2.0 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, 0.5 months less than January 2013.
  • $393,536,808 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, eight percent more than January 2013.

Austin homes continue to sell faster than in past years, spending an average of 63 days on the market in January 2014, which is a decrease of 9 days from last year. The market also featured 4% increase in new listings, 7% fewer active listings, and 5% fewer pending sales in January 2014 compared to last year.


Info-graphic & stats from Austin Board of REALTORS®

There’s no better time to move to Austin. This city has so much to offer and there’s no better time than now. Let Keller Williams help you find the right place for you. KW has a long reputation for being the best and we will make sure your housing experience is a good one.




Info-graphics from Keller Williams

Austin is a great city and the capitol of Texas, but still has an amazing small town feel. Get your move to Austin going and let Keller Williams get you there.

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Springtime Austin Festivals


We all know that Austin is the city of festivals and there is always a fun and exciting festival waiting to spring up on us at any moment. There are so many different events going on and 2014 just started! Having a good time in this town is so easy when so many great Austin festivals come to town. There is always something for anyone to enjoy. Here are some of the festivals and big events coming up soon:


Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo

Travis County Exposition Center
Austin goes cowboy as PCRA competitors hit the arena and area-students exhibit prize livestock. Headline entertainers perform in concert

This is perfect for any country lover residing in Austin. This rodeo has a long history dating back to 1938 and it still continues to entertain people every year. The rodeo has a little bit of everything, including a carnival fairground, concerts, and of course the rodeo’s competition events. Catch big names in country such as Josh Abbot, Eli Young Band, and Willie Nelson perform during this big event. Get the full Texas country experience by enjoying all that this Texas fair and rodeo has to offer.


Zilker Park Kite Festival

Zilker Park
The nation’s oldest kite festival features hundreds of kites in the air and is free to attend for people of all ages; complete with kite flying contests, food, games and more.

This is something that is perfect for the whole family. Cross your fingers for perfect weather. This festival has so much to offer and anyone can enjoy a good kite. Have some fun with carefree flying contests and competitions alongside some great food, games, and much more. Contests include: 50 yard dash, highest angle kite, smallest kite, largest kite, steadiest kite, and much more! You and your family will have so much fun at this event, you’ll make it a family tradition. Click on the site’s link for more info and contest rules!


SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive Conference and Festivals


Austin Convention Center, Various Locations
Over 300,000 attendees, filmmakers, musicians and multimedia artists from around the world converge to showcase music, film and interactive media during this internationally-recognized event.

SXSW is the big daddy of spring festivals. It is one of the three biggest festivals in Austin, which also include Fun Fun Fun Fest and Austin City Limits. South by Southwest is the festival of all festivals combining music, movies, and tech. People from all over the world come to this festival and be ready for celebrity sightings left and right. Take advantage of the free events and parties that go on during the festival. You can also get an all access pass or a pass for just music, or just movies, or just tech. There is so much to see and do in this 10 day festival. You will enjoy all different kinds of events and fun all over Austin when this conference and festival rolls into town.

Austin is just one of those places where you cannot NOT find something to do. This city is filled with fun and outstanding activities for any person to enjoy. Austin deserves the attention and the praise for all it has to offer. Big festivals are held here because Austin is just one of the best cities in the country. If you live here, are planning to move here, or are just coming for a visit, make sure to take advantage of any of these great festivals coming to our great town soon!


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Austin Nightlife


Austin, Texas is a metropolis for fun and adventure. If you are having a boring nightlife in Austin, it must be a personal decision because the one thing that Austin isn’t lacking is nightlife…and like food trucks. There is so much to do in this great town, that you should never have to stay at home bored! There are so many different things you can do in this great city, but there are two main things that make up an Austinite’s night life: shows and bars.

Music Venues
First up in Austin nightlife is shows. You already know that Austin is the live music capital of the world and if you didn’t know, now you know… So there are about a bazillion shows to catch on a nightly basis not just the weekends. You can catch new and fresh local bands as well as well-known bands from across the nation and the world. If you’re a music lover and want to stay away from the bar crowd this is the perfect alternative to your boring night at home. There are several music venues across Austin, some of the major ones where you are sure to have a good time are:

801 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 480-8341

912 Red River St, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 666-0877

2015 E Riverside Dr, Austin, TX 78741
(512) 800-4628

Red 7
611 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78701

Sixth Street may not be New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, but it’s as close as Texas is going to get. There are a great variety of bars for everyone and they are all on one long strip of road. You can also find great bars and club off of sixth street downtown.

6th St. is divided into three sections. You have east 6th, which is on the east side of I35 and considered the more chill “hipster” bar scene. Then you have dirty 6th, which is where you will find a large amount of people partying and getting crazy. And then finally there’s west 6th, which is the newer bar scene on 6th; this section is where you will find the “older” crowd and by that I mean like late 20s, 30 year olds.

Some of the best bars are:
1016 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-4291

Rio Rita
1308 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702
(512) 524-0384

Ibiza After Dark
422 Congress Ave. – Suite B, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 373-3702

121 E 5th St, Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 344-9571

The Ranch
710 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 694-2469

There are so many more bars and venues that you can enjoy. You just really have to walk around and just enter wherever you’ll feel like you’ll have some fun. So make sure to get off that couch and go enjoy the great nightlife that Austin has to offer.

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New Lago Vista HS, New Lago Vista


The City of Lago Vista is a great little place right outside of Austin on the North Shore of Lake Travis. It has a population of about 7,000 and encompasses nearly 15 miles of the gorgeous lake’s shoreline. Originally developed in the 1960’s as a lake resort it was incorporated in the early 1980’s as a mayor-city council government.

Popular annual area events held in Lago Vista include the Chamber Challenge Golf Tournament, La Primavera Bicycle Race, Balones Canyonlands Songbird Festival, North Shore Musicfest and the Lago Vista 4th of July Celebration with grand fireworks over the lake. Dining options include everything from bbq, to tex-mex, country comfort, cajun, bistro style and more.

For residents the Lago Vista Property Owners Association offers 5 private lakeside parks, swimming pool, activity center with fitness area, a 250 person capacity clubhouse and marina. The City of Lago Vista operates both golf courses and Sports Complex that features a family style pool with changing rooms, lanes for laps and kiddie area with water slide and other water features. Lago Vista is also home to the exemplary Lago Vista ISD which will now be opening a brand new state-of-the-art high school in 2014.

This new addition to our area is very exciting for LVISD and the City of Lago Vista. So what does this new school mean for Lago vista? Here are just some of the perks of building a new high school:

  • A larger high school means a growing community
  • Lago Vista will be getting new sporting facilities, like a new baseball field and a new track for sporting events.
  • The middle school will be moving to the old high school grounds
  • Lago Vista High School will be going from a 2A to a 3A school–making our athletics teams even more competitive.

Lago Vista ISD athletics is a big part of the community. The LV athletes are disciplined and are definitely one of a kind. Lago Vista offers football, baseball, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, softball, tennis, track, and even power lifting! This community is proud of their athletes and has a great booster club that stands behind its athletes. The LV Viking Booster Club fundraises year around and provides student athletes with great perks and awards such as:

  • Scholarships for Senior Athletes
  • Equipment needed for all athletes in all sports
  • Extra Equipment needed for sport fields and gyms

 Lago Vista residents are happy to see not just athletics but all of LVISD growing and becoming even more amazing. Seeing growth in the schools can only mean growth and strength in the community. 2014 will be a great year for the Lago Vista area.

Check out this aerial view of the new high school’s construction progression shot in November. Construction is hoped to be finished by this summer. Go Vikings!

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$50,000 Keller Williams Closer to Home Sweepstakes


Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation and housing is booming in Central Texas. But unfortunately with such a great demand, housing goes off the market as soon as they come on. Increase your chances of getting the place of your dreams in Austin by being prepared and knowing what is available.

Check out the new Keller Williams app for FREE and you can also enter the Closer to Home Sweepstakes for a chance to win $50,000. APP: Keller Williams Realty

Make your house hunting easier with a smartphone app that is sure to guide your way to your next new home right here in Austin, TX. With the Keller Williams Realty app you can:

  • identify houses for sale in your area using your location services
  • identify nearby rentals in your area using your location services
  • search for homes by price, size, number of rooms, bathrooms, and more
  • save your searches quickly and easily
  • connect with your local Keller Williams realtor through the app with email and calls

This app is completely free and the best part of it all is once you’ve downloaded it you can enter the Keller Williams $50,000 sweepstakes right on the app.

Watch this video for an all you need to know recap:

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