New Year – New Home

As we ring in 2020, many buyers have a new house on their list of new year’s wishes. Historically, December 28th and New Year’s Day are two of the busiest days of the year for real estate searches. One of the benefits of looking at homes this time of year, is with school out of session – it’s much easier to get around town. Continue reading

Austin Real Estate Market Winter Homes for Sale

Zilker Park  Christmas Tree

‘Tis the season for shopping, baking, cleaning and sitting in Austin traffic. With all of the things to find time for during the holidays, selling or buying a home in Austin, or anywhere, is often taken off the to-do list. There are benefits to selling and buying during the holiday season which can make the prospect of doing so a little merrier.

Austin Winter Real Estate Market

The holiday season is also the start of colder weather. In other parts of the country snow can really impact winter home sales. Fortunately, for the Austin real estate market, snow days are few and far between. Home buyers in Austin can generally shop year round though it may be hard to find the time during the holidays.

Buying a Home, Selling a Home and Creating a Win-Win

The holiday season holds benefits for home buyers. Less buyers mean less competition. There are typically less multiple offers this time of year which can drive up prices along with stress levels. There is often more flexibility with a standard 30-day closing turnaround this time of year as well. Both buyers and sellers have a lot going on besides the thought of moving. In addition, banks and title companies are closed for the holidays which decreases the amount of business days. For some, a shorter closing timeline may be appealing and for others adding 10 days to the timeline to get past the holidays or doing a lease back so nobody has to move right away works nicely. The goal this time of year is to make it work and it usually can.

‘Tis the Season for Serious Buyers

Only the must-see homes on the hot list make the cut this time of year. There are fewer buyers this time of year and with little time, those coming out to see a house are serious shoppers. Sellers will get less traffic but those that come out want or need to buy — now.

Home Staging Made Simple

Decorations set the stage by making a house feel like a home. A seller’s biggest challenge, in any given month, is keeping the home constantly clean. We tend to clean more this time of year anyway for visiting friends and family, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to show it.

There are many sellers that will take their house off the market between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always encourage my sellers to keep their houses on the market. Serious buyers will miss a home if it is not for actively for sale, which is exactly the type of buyer they want.

Holiday Wish List

holiday pic As we say goodbye to November, the holiday season is officially upon us, though honestly it feels like it started right after Halloween this year. ‘Tis the season to make lists and there are lots of them. A list to tell you what needs to be done after work, on the weekend and even at lunch. On top of that, we manage a calendar this time of year probably more than any other, which could contain a list was well reminding us where we need to be and when.

Wish list when searching for homes

Some items on our list are mandatory, while others are considered luxury items. Certainly they would be nice to have, but you will certainly find a way to survive without them. When buying a home, your wish list is no different. Like any list, your must-have features need to be at the top. Add too many items and you are either custom building or not buying anything. In the beginning, I suggest my clients start with items like location, price, size range and number of bedrooms. From there, we look at the inventory and modify. Maybe excluding an item like a pool, for example, if that is a deal breaker. It is better to just add a few items and see how many homes meet the existing criteria before adding more.

Homes for Sale in Austin

The Austin Real Estate Market inventory is very low. The goal is to find enough properties to have choices. After consulting with a client, if I can find 15 or more properties that meet the must-have list, then I know we are in the realm of matching expectations and goals. If the search is only pulling 5 houses, it may be because the search location is small or it is not a common floor plan in that area and price point. Like any list, the smaller your must-have criteria list is – the greater your chance of getting through it will be.

Time to Deck the Halls

holiday decor

‘Tis the season for shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning and maybe a little pepper spray in your eye. With all of the added things to find time for during the holidays, selling a home can seem an additional job we may not have time for. There are benefits though to selling during the holiday season and certainly things to be mindful of.

Austin Winter Real Estate Market

The holiday season is also the start of colder weather. In other parts of the country snow can really impact winter home sales. Fortunately, for the Austin real estate market snow and ice days are little and far between. Buyers can generally shop year round though it may be hard to find the time.

Home for the Holidays

I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about why sellers should keep their homes on the market during the holiday season. There are advantages for buyers as well during the holidays for those who can find some extra few hours in their shopping schedule. One thing buyers have going for them is that there are less people shopping for homes.

Fewer buyers mean fewer offers to sellers. I’ve talked before about wants and needs. Some owners need to sell now, they don’t just want to sell. Many people make job changes this time of year which nowadays, may mean moving to a different state. Sellers are often more flexible this time of year with price because they don’t have the buyer traffic they would have other times of the year – there is simply less demand. Investors know this, which is why I work with more investors this time of year than any other.

Interest rates are also very low right now, which gives you more buying power. You can qualify to spend more on a house when interest rates are low, than you can when they start to go up. Why? Lenders look at debt to income ratio when deciding to approve a buyer for a loan. Debt includes existing data like student loans and car payments, but the principle and interest on your proposed home purchase will also be a factor. The more you spend on interest the lower your principle payment on the house will need to be to meet the criteria of debt to income.

Real Estate Traffic

Ironically, another advantage this time of year for buyers is time. People often take off a few days between Christmas and New Years. When shopping for presents has ended, people often find they have extra time to look for a house without the stress of spending the day at work. In fact the busiest day to search for a home on-line is December 26th, the day after Christmas.

Happy Holidays to You,


Selling between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Disaster Movies and Central Park

Sellers who have their homes on the market between Thanksgiving and Christmas typically need to move, which makes this a triple threat season to buy. Interest rates are low, for one.  In addition, sellers who need to move have their homes priced well.  Lastly, not only is there a first time home buyer credit, but now a second time buyer credit as well.

Hey, have you heard the world is supposed to end in 2012?  That gives us 2 years to go!  Here’s a list Austin is not on…of the worst places to live if you are in a disaster movie, click here.

Last week I went on a tour of a new subdivision being built in South Austin, called Central Park. Located off of Stassney Lane, this 42 unit subdivision offers 6 floor plans, of which one plan is a 1-story.  Base prices start at $188,999 and go to $236,999.  Here’s a peak