The Difference Between a House and a Home

The difference between a house and a home is you.  The memories, the pictures, the furniture, even the paint color combine to create a unique blend that reflects your own personality and style.  Improvements and accessories personalize, improve and/or allow for added functionality that a house may not have had before.  Consider them enhancements when it is time to sell an Austin home because they add appeal whether monetary or simply enhance the functionality of a room. Continue reading

Navigating Downtown Austin

Central Library

Last week I spent a bit of time downtown for work and play. For work, I showed some condos in the Posada Del Rey condominium community at 505 W 7th Street. If you haven’t heard of this community, that is partially due to its small size and has units available for lease more frequently than for purchase. While searching for parking, I circumnavigated the old Extended Stay Hotel, which will be the home of the new 6 X Guadalupe tower at 400 W 6th Street. This will be a mixed-use tower comprised of office spaces, 349 residences and ground floor retail. After driving around in a circle for a bit, realizing my parking karma wasn’t with me that day – I settled on a parking garage. Continue reading

Pool Time in Austin

Akoya AustinSwimming pools are an instant source for entertainment, relaxation and exercise. They provide a backyard retreat, a tranquil view and a luxury marker some buyers dream about having. For those Austin home buyers who want a pool, houses with them are much easier to sell. Forget the condition of the house– that oasis in the backyard, especially on a hot day kind of sells itself, doesn’t it?

Pools can often be a hindrance more than a help when selling. Not everyone wants a pool. In fact, I would say 70% of people don’t. Pools cost money and time to maintain. In addition, there are safety concerns for people with small children and pets. They can also take up a lot of yard space.

Swimming Pool Tips for both Buyers and Sellers:

Swimming Pool Owners and Future Sellers

•Maintain and update your pool. Nobody wants to buy a money pit (literally).
•If you can afford to switch to saline – it is a selling feature.
•If you own in a subdivision where most homes have a private pool…buyers will be comparing your ‘pool’ appeal.
•Make sure the pool area looks clean, maintained and inviting.

Buying a Home with a Pool

•A general inspector will not inspect a pool, but many pool companies do. Have a pool inspection – they can be costly to fix.
•If you want to know how much it costs to maintain a pool including chemicals, electric and water, the answer is: you don’t want a pool! They can be costly, and if you are already watching your budget — a pool is going to blow it.
•Remember, pools limit your potential number of buyers, so they can take longer to sell when the time comes.

Community Pools in Austin

Austin Texas has a variety of options for people who want to enjoy a pool, but don’t want to maintain one. Many planned single family home communities in Austin have pools that are included with HOA fees or may require a nominal additional fee. Condominium communities in Austin often have a private pool as well for residents. An automated home search can be customized to only include properties with pools and/or community pools.

Public Pools and Swimming Holes in Austin

There are many public pools in Austin as well. There are 29 neighborhood pools and 6 municipal pools in total. The most well known pool is Barton Springs, located in Zilker Park. Centrally located in the neighborhood of Barton Hills, Barton Springs Pool is spring fed, just over 900 feet long and maintains a consistent temperature of 68 degrees year round. Hamilton Pool Preserve is a unique, historic swimming hole located just outside of Austin in Dripping Springs. The canyon, grotto and waterfall provide a picturesque and popular summer attraction within the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.

Moving to Austin Texas

austonianMoving to Austin Texas? Pay Austin a visit even if you are moving back or have vacationed here in the past, especially if the plan is to buy a home. Buying a house in Austin Texas,  requires a bit of a refresher course. Austin has changed greatly over the last decade and is continuing to evolve. The skyline alone has expanded quite a bit with skyscrapers now eclipsing the Frost Bank.

The landscape, population and job growth in Austin Texas are taking turns outpacing one another for the last five years. Growth lends itself to convenience in some ways, adding greater variety in local eateries, retail stores and entertainment venues. The inconvenience comes with the reality that it is going to take you longer to get from point A to point B. Yes, Austin is experiencing growing pains, and its residents along with it.

Tips on Moving to Austin Texas

The new Austin has small town charm with an urban twist. The mindset of thinking local used to just apply to Austin based businesses, but now it is also about neighborhood convenience. The Austin Real Estate market is seeing an increase in both residential and commercial development to meet local needs.  The mixed-use concept has paved the way for neighborhoods to be self-contained. Neighborhood amenities have become a more desirable and more of a necessity. In a way, the bigger Austin gets, the more intimate it has become. Residents are interacting more within their community not only through local websites like Nextdoor, but also by shopping closer to home because traffic has increased.  Residents are opting for smaller flight paths when and where they can.

Moving Back to Austin Texas

The advice I give clients who have left Austin and plan to move back is to explore it like you have never lived here before. Moving back is more like moving to Austin for the first time. The old watering hole may have moved locations or you may discover a new favorite. Influences moving to Austin Texas from both coasts like Shake Shack and In-N-Out Burger offer a taste home for some. Others may discover a location that was once not on the short list, has now become trendy, sought after, part of town. The joy of moving to Austin is in the discovery just like it was the first time.

 

Austin Home Sales Predictions for 2016

New yearsThe market is on the move with no signs of slowing down as we settle into 2016 and look at Austin home sales. The Fed did raise interest rates as expected. With the economy well on the mend, additional upticks are on the horizon as interest rates slowly drift to normal levels. The interest rate always affects the housing market because it taps into buying power. Interest is part of the monthly mortgage payment. Higher rates mean a higher payment, which affects debt-to-income ratio.

Austin Home Sales Predictions 2016 and Housing Demand

Historically, rising interest rates generally decrease home prices because buyers can afford less; but it can also create an immediate demand. Buyers want to lock into mortgages when they know rates will be increasing.

In Austin, the demand for housing was already high without the rate increase. I expect increasing rates will only create more motivation to buy a home.

Realtor.com says Austin-Round Rock will be the fifth most sought out city for 25- to 34-year-olds looking to purchase a home.

As long as the demand is high and inventory is low, housing prices in Austin will continue to rise.  There is currently about 2.6 months of single-family home inventory in Austin for sale.

It’s Always Spring In Austin

photo by S. Nascimento

photo by
S. Nascimento

The notion that spring is the prime real estate season to buy and sell a home in Austin has not proven itself to be true in the last few years. There is so little inventory in the greater Austin area that fall buyers are becoming winter buyers, winter buyers are being pushed into the spring season and so-on. New buyers are entering the market all of the time and because existing buyers have not purchased a house yet, they don’t leave the market. In a balanced market buyers and sellers are flowing in and out of the market as inventory constantly turns over. The inventory of buyers right now, largely outweighs the inventory of homes.

Multiple Offers in Austin

When a house for sale receives multiple offers, there can only be one buyer. That buyer is not only relieved that the search is over, but truly feels like a winner. The rest of the buyers go back into the market pool and wait for the next home to try again. The lack of inventory has created an influx of buyers that stay in the market while new buyers are entering it. I get emailed lists of buyer needs daily from agents looking for homes for active buyers. They have seen everything available and are waiting for new choices.

Moving to Austin

There are some areas of Austin that will get an even bigger boost of buyers this spring and summer along with a little more inventory, because some buyers and sellers are driven to move based on the school year calendar.  Additional inventory would have to radically outweigh the number of buyers, which most likely will not happen. The seller’s market in Austin will continue to be a year round event until a change in economic conditions forces a shift.

Austin is a Global Market for Buyers

In real estate, we talk about the perfect marriage of price, condition and location to sell a home. When all 3 factors are in line with one another, buyers will come and a home will sell. Buyers are coming from all over the world to Austin because it offers the perfect marriage of price, condition and location for those who wish to call it home. When it comes to real estate, it is always spring in Austin.

Austin is Growing Up and Growing Out

construction picAustin is experiencing growing pains. It is hard to turn a corner right now and not experience a construction zone, road closure or at best, a wall of traffic. Texas overall has had a net gain in new residents for several years now and within it, Austin is one of the top cities showing the fastest growth.

Austin by the Numbers

Reports show that the number for increased residents in Austin for 2014 nets at 110 per day. The growth for Austin started surging years ago, but the infrastructure never had a chance to keep pace and is now playing catch up. As residents, we have experienced this in commuting times and all the way down to line for groceries.

With all of this change in the air, Austinites are forced to face a new normal. Austin is literally growing up. Mixed-use office, hotels and apartments buildings are under construction or in the planning stages throughout Austin. Over 17,000 apartment units alone were under construction or planned as of April 2014.

Austin Real Estate Trending Now

One real estate market trend has been in the greater Austin area, which is very hot right now and where I am seeing most of the growth. Now buyers are looking and buying in Cedar Park, Georgetown and Leander because the core of Austin has become less affordable for many.

Another trend is in new construction. New communities are popping up or expanding. People are out with the old and in with the new.

The largest real estate trend I see in Austin is in market area searches. As the Austin area inventory is low, buyers are expanding their search area. It used to be that I had a search set up for someone just in one subdivision like Travis Heights. That buyer today, would be looking in the greater Central Austin area just to have the same selection of homes.