May the Chi be with You

Take a look at the dining room table you never use, the toys on the floor or maybe the pile of dishes in the sink. Clutter, for many people, can induce stress and is often the source when you can’t quite put a finger on what is bothering you. Understanding some basic principles of Feng Shui can help bring you and your home back into balance. A stress free home is not only important for every homeowner, but it is important to a potential buyer as well. A happy home is easier to sell.

Feng Shui Principles when Selling a Home

Chi is energy. Star Wars fans may identify more with the idea of The Force. The energy that binds the galaxy together is the chi that flows through us and our homes. When our chi is blocked, energy is zapped and we feel sad. Houses are no different than living beings when it comes to chi. When chi is constantly flowing through our homes – we feel good. That is why we often feel better after cleaning them. Clutter blocks chi, which is why we feel suffocated when it starts to build up. Continue reading

Austin Real Estate Market Sizzles

Recently Sold Home In Kyle

The summer home selling season is sizzling in Austin real estate news. Market activity set an all-time sales volume in May reaching $1.2 billion, according to the May 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS®.  By the numbers, May 2017 single-family housing market statistics in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area showed 3,170 Single-family homes sold, which was 9% more than May 2016.  The median price for single-family homes was $310,000, an 8% increase over May 2016.  The average time on the market was 43 days homes, which was one day less than May 2016.

Austin is Weird

The key to this market for a buyer is flexibility in terms of location and a solid understanding of budget. Austin is weird and the beauty of that is having a wide variety of home styles to choose from, in a unique mix of neighborhoods.

With low inventory, Buyers are searching for a home in a larger area then they once were.

The key to this Austin real estate market for sellers is also understanding that their home is also unique right now. In some neighborhoods, there may be only one house for sale in a particular price point. This creates a sellers’ market and an opportunity.  The Austin housing market has buyers searching within a larger map area these days because of the lack of inventory and will keep looking elsewhere if the home does not show well.

Sellers are representing the neighborhood.

Keeping the house clean and cool in the summer are two of the easiest ways to welcome a buyer, show pride of ownership, and now-a-days represent the neighborhood.

Interest Rates Impact Housing Market Trends

Austin Texas Home Sales February 2017

 Austin, TX … The water cooler topic these days is all about mortgage interest rates. Everyone is anticipating rates to go up, but it is not clear when that change will happen or even by how much. Interest rates factor into real estate because they help determine buying power. Lower interest rates increase buying power. Lenders look at the 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 mortgage 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 qualifying debt to income ratio.

People always ask me if selling next year means selling for more than this year. I can’t predict the future. When I list a house, and even when I represent a buyer, I look at trends in the market. Market trends vary about every 3 months based on how fast inventory is moving, what houses have sold for and what houses entering the market are being listed for. Austin housing prices are a reflection of both national and global economic factors that affect interest rates, the stock market, the bond market and employment rates to name a few. The volatility of market conditions makes it impossible to predict what your house will sell for a year from now. Sometimes I review sales over the past year, but it’s not to price a house – it’s to look at the trend.

Austin Texas Real Estate Markets are Local

Markets are local which can be scaled down to a particular subdivision or specific condo community. Markets can be defined as a school district, zip code, etc. Looking back in time longer than 3 months helps me see the trend of that particular market because – although the list price can’t be predicted a year from now, how hot a specific market is generally can. Price, on the other hand, is a moment in time.

Price is a Moment in Time

Interest rates go up and down constantly.  A consistent steady decline or rise in interest rates does ultimately affect home values. Time will tell what this year will bring in Austin. Sales seem to have flattened a bit, but Spring is in the air.  

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.

The Best Time to Sell a Home in Austin

Cottages at NorthwoodsIt’s that time of year again when homeowners start to question whether to sell now or wait. The answer lies in the advantage for each individual seller.  If the goal is to sell for the highest price, that number is determined by what the market will bare.  Remember the real estate market when you are selling is centered around the price, condition and location of the home in question. 

Where Homes are Selling in the Austin

The only thing that matters is how the market specific to that home is moving.  If there are a lot of similiar homes currently on the market (competition), then it may best to wait.  If there is hardly any inventory out there, you are in a good position to sell now.  Waiting for more competition to hit the market doesn’t make much sense when you ideally want scarcity.

The Holiday Season has Ready, Willing and Able Buyers in Austin for Ready and Willing Sellers

The holiday season is upon us and if that means to a potential seller that friends and family are coming every weekend making it hard to show the house – wait until January.  After all, it is hard to sell a home that can’t be shown. If a seller is not ready and willing to sell a home, it is best not to introduce potential buyers to it prematurely.

The Best Time to Sell a Home in Austin

We don’t have magic potion to predict the future.  What a specific real estate market is going to look like for any particular seller in January or even April is dependent on what the competition looks like at that particular time.  The market now, combined with the owner’s willingness to show it during the holidays, will help determine whether it is the right time to sell.

May the Chi be with You

zenTake a look at the dining room table you never use, the toys on the floor or maybe the pile of dishes in the sink. Clutter, for many people, can induce stress and is often the source when you can’t quite put a finger on what is bothering you. Understanding some basic principles of Feng Shui can help bring you and your home back into balance. A stress free home is not only important for every homeowner, but it is important to a potential buyer as well. A happy home is easier to sell.

Feng Shui Principles when Selling a Home

Chi is energy. Star Wars fans may identify more with the idea of The Force. The energy that binds the galaxy together is the chi that flows through us and our homes. When our chi is blocked, energy is zapped and we feel sad. Houses are no different than living beings when it comes to chi. When chi is constantly flowing through our homes – we feel good. That is why we often feel better after cleaning them. Clutter blocks chi, which is why we feel suffocated when it starts to build up.

Buyers pick up on positive and negative chi very quickly. When the energy is good, they immediately light up even if the house is not exactly a match. On the flip side, when the energy is bad, buyers either can’t wait to leave or start picking the house apart.

Home Selling Tips

If you are just trying to feel more at harmony with your home, sometimes a good cleaning is all you need. That cleaning also includes a certain level of decluttering. Everything on that dining room table needs to go to its proper home, papers need to be filed and everything lining the stairs needs to go to the second floor. If you are selling a home, it is time to take things to the next level. You have all seen the TV shows – it’s time to keep it, sell it, toss it or donate it. Don’t move things you don’t want and don’t shove them in the closet either.

Good Chi in Homes

When selling, living space needs to have good chi and closets do as well. Buyers want to open closets and feel like there is room. When a closet is disorganized and stuffed to the max – the buyer’s brain says “there is no room in here for my things.” Garages and cabinets need to be organized too. If you want to keep things, but know your house is overstuffed, renting self-storage space may help. You can often rent climate controlled space for just a few months until closing on a new home. You may not need a very large space and can cram things in to your heart’s content.

Giving a home space to breathe will help you do so as well. The positive chi will flow, which will not only make you feel good, but feel good to be home.