Good morning! Yesterday, I received the news that I was a nominee for a top real estate agent in Austin by the Austin Business Journal. The top 25 will be announced at a luncheon at the end of February. Real Estate is a great business. It’s part mathematician, therapist, driver, organizer, finder of the hidden gem, friend and wealth manager. Five years into the business I have been blessed with some of the nicest clients both on the list side and the buy side. I have met new people moving here to Austin and have worked with friends who I get to know on such a different level. Someone’s largest investment can bring out the best in people and I really get to see how their minds work on such a different level.
Thank you to all my clients and friends who have trusted in me to sell their home, find them a home or both. Thank you!
Here is something fun to do. The Harry Ransom Center, in Austin, is having an exhibit coming soon. The Four Season’s Hotel will hot a tea:
Four Seasons hosts Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed tea parties
The Four Seasons Hotel Austin is offering a special Alice-themed afternoon tea in conjunction with the Ransom Center’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland exhibition. The Mad Hatter Tea Parties occur February 22, March 29, April 26, May 31, June 28, and July 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. and feature creative treats, special decor, a photobooth, and the classic movie playing on the big screen. The Mad Hatter Teas are $42 per adult and $30 per child. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 512-478-4500.
In Texas we have an option period (or as some like to refer to them as a due diligence period) where our buyer’s may choose to have the home inspected. and can negotiate repairs upon receiving the findings of the report. I recommend an inspector that knows the area you are purchasing in and remember they are working for you – meaning they are available to talk on the phone and answer any questions you may have once the report hits your in box.
A couple of common questions many buyers have are:
Who pays for it?
As the buyer, you choose the inspector, pay him/her directly for the inspection, and the inspection report they generates is yours.
What does an inspector do?
An inspector will conduct an “objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation,” according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The inspector will go through the entire house and make note of any damage, need for repairs, or maintenance issues, and then give you a copy of the completed report based on the findings. It’s important to know that there could be defects a home inspector will not find and would not be expected to find if the defects are in areas with limited or no access. For example: they are not able to see how much insulation is behind the walls or if there is any insulation in the walls at all.
When should I get an inspection?
This happens during your option period. The number of days is negotiable. between the seller and the buyer. I typically see anywhere from 7 days to 15 days. I find that 10 is the average number of days and you can get your due diligence done during that time. You have to work smart and fast.
Where should I be during the inspection?
You don’t have to be at the property during the inspection, but it’s in your best interest to be there. Your inspector may not mind if you accompany him and ask questions as he checks everything out, but be sure to ask first. Many inspectors like to discuss their findings with you at the end of the inspection. I have found that there are less mistakes made on the part of the inspector if you don’t interrupt him/her and wait until the end to go over everything and ask questions. Again, it’s your report so do what makes you comfortable.
Why should I have this done?
Buying a home is probably the largest investment you will ever make, so you want to know as much as you can up front. A home inspector will point out items that need regular maintenance and identify any problems. I always talk with my seller & buyer about the safety & big ticket items from the report. Big ticket items can be roof, HVAC, foundation, drainage just to name a few. If the report comes back with deficiencies in areas that are of concern to you then my advice is always to have an expert in that field come out to the property and give a second opinion. This is the same advice I give my seller’s too. If you hear from the buyer’s agent the roof is in need of repair then have a roofer come out and look. Always good to have more than one opinion during negotiations.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year and here is to a great 2015!
I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season. Usually, this time of the year the market slows as sellers don’t want to put their home on the market due to the hassle of showings around Christmas and the stress that may accompany a showing. I have noticed that this year Austin isn’t following our normal trend. I had an experience where my buyer’s wanted a house that apparently others did too. This is not rare for Austin but this home was a complete remodel and many heritage trees that would prevent most buyer’s from being able to build the home they wanted to on that type of lot. There were 5 offers on this property, in December, and right around the time I heard on the CBS morning show that Texas home prices would decline by 12% this year (my professional opinion of this statement is for another post). I prayed the out of state buyer would decide to terminate due to the Austin’s McMansion and tree ordinances we have but that contract did go hard and heads to close this week. In the same week another buyer of mine was the winning offer on a home that has been on the market longer than 60 days. Real estate talk is that there were 4 offers on this home, in December, as well. Isn’t this the slow time of the year? If December is any indication of 2015 then Austin will continue to fare well. To those reports of 12% down and Austin is overvalued http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2014/12/22/report-states-austin-homes-are-overvalued-by-20-percent/20791629/ it will be interesting to see what lays ahead. I will keep you up to date on what I am seeing with seller’s and buyer’s in Austin as the year begins.
SELLING YOUR HOME IN THE WINTER MONTHS?
Winter months typically bring a lull in real estate sales, but this can be an ideal time for homebuyers. In fact, there are several benefits to being an off-season homebuyer.
Less competition. Even hot markets see a decline in buyers during the winter. This can mean fewer multiple-offer situations and more time to present your strongest offer.
Motivated sellers. Sellers who list during winter months are often highly driven to sell. And fewer buyers means fewer offers, so sellers may be willing to make extra concessions to close the deal.
Potentially faster closings. Mortgage brokers, inspectors, and other professionals involved in the deal may help you get to the closing table sooner since they’ll be dealing with fewer transactions this time of year.
A chance to see how the home performs. Systems such as the heater, insulation, and plumbing are put to the test when the temperature drops, and you’ll be able to witness how they handle winter stress.
Here is a sampling of 5 different apps for goal tracking, task management, cultivating new habits and more!
- Nozbe (nozbe.com) Task management app inspired by the Get Things Done method
- Rescue Time (rescuetime.com) Understand your daily habits and focus on becoming more productive
- Irunurun (irunurun.com) Performance app and acountability app that focuses on recurring behavior
- GoalsOnTrack (goalsontrack.com) Tools for goal achievement and personal development
- DropTask (droptask.com) A visually engaging task managment system
Austin Then and Now from An Austinite
Having been born somehwere around 1967 at the original Seton Hospital to parents who dated and met at Austin High (once located where Austin Community College is now) I am asked by many clients and friends what I think of the new Austin. The first thing that comes to mind is MoPac and traffic. Yes, people complan about it, as they should, but what is amazing to me is how in the early 1980’s you could maybe find 10 other cars traveling on MoPac at 10:00pm and now as you cross the 35th Street bridge at 3:30pm all I see, both North and South, are the red tailights of cars that seem not to br moving. The other thought is the amount of exercisers on the Ann and Roy Butler Trail or the Hike and Bike Trail or what was once simply known as “the trail” or “the loop.” When I ran track for Austin High we ran the “loop” many times throughout the week. Rarely would you see anyone else on the trail besides your fellow Austin High runners and today you sometimes can barely run the trail without getting runover by a fast moving bike rider or manuvering around 3-4 people who decided to stop and say hello in the middle of the trail. However, what these people have brought with them is a whole set of new experiences and great conversations, I say welcome to Austin and please wave when someone let’s you in on MoPac and to not get injured you might want to move to the left or the right on the trail instread of standing in the middle.