Buying a Home? Make a List and Check it Twice

Santa's Workshop at the Zilker Trail of LightsThe holiday season is officially upon us, though honestly, it feels like it started in September. ‘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. Continue reading

Make a New Home List and Check it Twice

The holiday season is all about lists. We make them, check them twice, and then because it is 2020, we throw them away and start new ones. Austin made Santa proud this year by making Wallethub’s Best Cities for Christmas list. If we have learned anything this year, it is to be more adaptable. We all think we are flexible and able to bend, but that was challenged this year (and I don’t mean with yoga). Life truly can change at any moment. For introverts and fans of dystopian drama, like me, adapting to staying indoors away from the social scene has been relatively easy. I think I was more prepared for zombies, but I feel like we leaned a little closer to the Hunger Games. Continue reading

A holiday season like never before

Like most of the world, Austin is preparing to celebrate the holidays like never before. For some, that means drive-thru events and virtual get-togethers. For others, it is beginning to look a lot like an early Christmas as trees are already coming out of storage and being decorated, It’s “Festivus for the rest of us”, as the late great Jerry Stiller gifted us in that memorable Seinfeld episode. That grievance pole is certainly coming out this year for sure, as everyone has a bone to pick with the year 2020. Continue reading

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.

The Spirit of 37th Street

Last night, I took a stroll down W 37th Street in Central Austin, to take in the holiday light display this street has been entertaining crowds with, for over 20 years.  Every year, homeowners on this tiny block, light up and decorate their homes, trees and everything else in their yards, in the spirit of the season.  The efforts here are purely voluntary – there is no organized committee or neighborhood association driving this.  Holiday spirit alone motivates and inspires 37th street neighbors to welcome the rest of Austin to pay a visit. 

W 37th Street Holiday Lights

West 37th Street can be accessed from Guadalupe Street. It is located north of the University of Texas.  The tree lined street is already filled with the character and charm of 1930’s style bungalows. You can drive down the street, but bare in mind, you will be going the pace of the car in front of you, which may be very slow.  The way to take in the holiday display is to find a parking spot and walk.  There are sidewalks on both side of the street and a Starbucks is steps away, for those looking for a nice hot drink for the walk.  One of the houses typically has a band, to provide some additional holiday cheer.

Tis the Season to Sell

When I teach my Selling a Home class, I ask my students to explain to the difference between a ‘house’ and a ‘home’.  Most of them don’t consider the difference in those terms before I ask the question, but once posed, I start seeing light bulbs going on, and the tone becomes set to teach the class.

Sometimes, its easier for people to list a home during the holiday season.  People tend to shy away from it because they don’t want to move, but forget they are only marketing the house for sale.  Nobody said anything about moving.  There are lots of ways I can keep someone home for the holidays – not to mention, most buyers need a loan, which takes time.

People often find it easier is keeping their house cleaner in the holiday season.   This is a social time of year and with friends and family visiting, so you tend to keep up with the household choirs.  The house also tends to be naturally staged, from holiday decorations, to baking treats. Even the yard becomes low maintenance.

Those four walls generate the feeling of home this time of year, more than any other.  So, its not a bad time to market your property, after all it’s a home people are looking for, not a house.