March 19, 2018

9 Outdoor Home Maintenance Tips for Spring

Winter can take a toll on your home. How do you know if your home withstood the harsh winter weather? By completing some regular maintenance projects. The only problem is…where should you start? Inspecting and repairing the following areas of your home will help ensure your investment stays in good shape for years to come:


Examine Roof Shingles
Hire a professional to inspect the roof for any lost or damaged shingles. If they find any issues, consider starting a budget for replacement. 

Probe the Wood Trim
Take a screwdriver and probe the trim around windows, doors and decks. Repairs should be remedied now before the spring rains come. 

Check the Gutters
Are your gutters loose or leaky? If so, consider repairing immediately as improper drainage can lead to water damage. Also, check to ensure the downspouts drain away from the home's foundation. 

Use Compacted Soil
Fill low areas in your yard or near your foundation with compacted soil. This compacted soil can prevent rain damage to the foundation in the spring months. 

Examine the Chimney
If your home has a chimney, examine it for signs of exterior damage. Also, call a certified chimney sweep to clean and inspect the flue. 

Inspect the Concrete
Cracks and signs of movement in concrete slabs should be filled with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. 

Check Outdoor Faucets Inspect outdoor faucets for freeze damage by turning on the water and placing your thumb over the opening. A good rule of thumb: if you can stop the flow of water, your inside home pipes are likely damaged and need replacement.

Service the AC Unit
In Texas, air conditioning is oh-so-important – especially in the middle of summer! Hire a qualified heating and cooling contractor to clean and service your unit. Regular maintenance will ensure your air conditioner has a healthy and long life.

Check Power Equipment Check your lawnmower and other power equipment to make sure they are in working condition for the summer. 

Need help locating a maintenance professional? We can help. Give us a call today. 

Posted in Home Improvement
March 10, 2018

How to Sell A House To An Indecisive Millennial


Half of the current home buyers searching the market today are under the age of 36. Homebuyers in the millennial age group (18 – 34) make up 42% of all home buyers. Understanding this new generation of buyers is crucial for real estate agents to make connections and be successful at pairing clients up with the right property.

Rent Longer, Buy Higher

Zillow released a study of 13,000 homeowners, buyers, and sellers. Statistics show that millennials tend to wait longer than previous generations before making an investment in a home, and Zillow’s research confirms that with two-thirds of millennial house hunters consider sticking with renting at some point during the home buying process.

While Baby Boomers settled for the American Dream in a starter home, today’s 30-somethings shell out $217,000 as a median home price. The generation after that will spend even more, the study suggests, with those from Generation X spending 11% more than millennials on a home. The key take-a-way: today’s homebuyers aren’t getting any more house for the money, with the median millennial home sizing out to roughly 1,800 square feet.


The new generation of home buyers also shows greater diversity than all other homeowners.

  • 66% are white

  • 17% are Latino or Hispanic

  • 10% are black

  • 7% are Asian or Pacific Islander

There’s far less diversity among other (non-millennial) homeowners:

  • 77% are white

  • 9% are Latino or Hispanic

  • 9% are black

  • 5% are Asian or Pacific Islander

Community Amenities

About one-fourth of 30-something home buyers seek out large, urban regions, with more than half looking for desirable shared amenities. With 54% of the generation’s house hunters looking for communal conveniences, realtors may trend toward condominium communities with luxury amenities.

Savvy Digital Presence

Realtors have to have a strong digital marketing reach to attract house hunting millennials, as 90% of the group will utilize an online source during the home buying process. Zillow reports 25% of the home buyers will use at least five different digital platforms to find the right home, and two-thirds will evaluate their finances with affordability tools to judge mortgage options.

If you want to keep a steady stream of millennial clients, as a realtor you better have a good reputation online. Millennials aren’t afraid to shop around for the realtor that best fits their needs – contacting at least two agents when buying a home and three when selling. The best way to gain a 30-something client is to ask previous clients for good reviews. Six out of every 10 millennial homebuyers read online reviews about a realtor before agreeing to work with them. If you need to talk to your millennial client, most prefer to speak on the phone.

  • 30% of millennials prefer to talk to their agent on the phone

  • 24% of millennials prefer to talk to their agent in person

  • 18% of millennials prefer to talk to their agent via text


If all works out well for the sell or purchase of a property, you’re in luck – millennials are more likely than any other home buying group to stay in touch after the sell – recommending your services to friends and family members looking for a new home. With the cutting edge agent resources at Resident Realty, you’ll have all the tools you need to attract and retain this new market of millennial buyers.

Posted in Buyers
March 2, 2018

Why Rising Mortgage Rates Shouldn’t Scare Sellers

Mortgage rates have been on a continuous climb in 2018, which may seem frightening at first, especially to those who are preparing to put their home on the market, but the rising rates are nothing to fear. Rates show an inflation of about 2.1% year-over-year, which is actually a bit higher than financial experts predicted. Despite the current mortgage rates, homes are selling quick - 40 days on average, almost two weeks faster than a year ago – and inventory is tight.

The majority of house hunters (33%) are taking longer than three months to sign a deal on a new home. Most buyers say the lengthy search is credited to higher home prices, but homes continue to sell, often times for more than the asking price. Zillow reports that nearly one in four homes sold for more than the asking price last year. Judging from the current housing inventory, those numbers will likely increase.

A survey from the National Association of Home Builders found that 27% of home buyers had their search extended because they were outbid for the home they wanted. So, sellers, fear not! The lack of housing inventory is actually a bigger concern for buyers than the current mortgage rates.

The National Association of Realtors reports that home prices rose in 92% of America’s measures markets at the end of 2017. Of those, 15% experienced double-digit pricing increases.

Millennials, the largest group of homebuyers, are hitting the housing market with force. After waiting longer than previous generations to make the commitment to one home, the twenty and thirty-somethings are now scavenging the market for a home they can afford.

One of the difference makers noted by millennial house hunters is the ability to see the house for sale in a number of ways by including virtual reality. Roughly 95% of house hunters use the Internet to search for a home, so the use of virtual reality fits in nicely for potential buyers. One area of the real estate market that could benefit from the use of virtual reality is new construction.

Home builders have the ability to display what a finished home will look like to buyers who are eagerly waiting to make a purchase. Another factor in the housing market that benefits builders is the lack of homes for sale. As more buyers begin their search, builders have the ability to reach a wider audience. Mortgage applications to purchase a new construction home spiked 18% in January compared to last year, reports the Mortgage Bankers Association.


This year, the NAHB is predicting a 5% increase in new home construction as compared to 2017. So, while mortgage rates may continue to climb, sellers’ worries should be at ease. With a market ready to buy and homes for sale hard to come by, the market is making a shift to favor sellers.

Posted in Sellers
Feb. 21, 2018

Austin Area Real Estate Update – January 2018

Despite a lack of inventory, the Austin area real estate market has remained resilient with a steady increase in home sales – signaling a strong real estate market for 2018. What else did the first month of 2018 report? Here’s a look at statistics for the Austin-Round Rock MSA, City of Austin and Hays County – data courtesy of the Austin Board of REALTORS®:



Austin-Round Rock MSA

·      The median price of single-family homes increased to $290,000 – a 3.6 percent increase year-over-year.

·      Home sales increased to 1,655 sales - an 8.5 percent increase year-over-year.

·      Housing inventory of single-family homes stayed at 1.9 months of inventory, the same as last January.


According to Jim Gaines, chief economist, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M, the median home price may increase five percent if the demand for housing remains constant with little to no increase in supply. Inventory continues to remain the determining factor in how the real estate market will perform this year.


City of Austin

·      The median price for single-family homes increased to $347,000 - a 10.2 percent increase year-over-year.

·      Home sales increased to 482 sales - a 1.5 percent increase.

·      Housing inventory of single-family homes has slightly decreased to 1.3 months of inventory - compared to 1.4 months of inventory the previous January.


Inventory in Austin proper remains tighter than the rest of region. However, it looks as if the majority of the new home market is moving out to the suburbs. Take a look at the housing market growth in Hays County:


Hays County

·      The median price for single-family homes increased to $259,743 – a 13 percent increase year-over-year.

·      Home sales increased to 198 total sales – a 14.5 percent increase.

·      Housing inventory of single-family homes has slightly decreased to 2.3 months of inventory - compared to 2.4 months of inventory from January 2017.


The suburbs of Austin are becoming the go-to option for many homebuyers. If you live in Hays or Williamson County, NOW may be a great time to sell as inventory is extremely low and the Austin housing market is prime for sellers. 


Do you have any questions about buying and selling in Austin fast-moving real estate market? Give us a call. We would be honored to help you get more for your move!

Feb. 13, 2018

Save Money Selling Your Home With New Tax Deductions

If you’re planning to sell your home in the coming year, there is a new tax break designed specifically for you. Understanding the details of the tax deductions for selling a home - single-family house, condo or co-op – means you’ll save money and pay no taxes to the Internal Revenue Service up to a certain amount.

For married couples who file taxes jointly, the exclusion is capped at $500,000 and $250,000 for married couples filing separately and for singles. Here how to get the most out of your tax break when you sell your home.

Claim tax deductions for selling a home

In order to qualify for the new tax break when selling your home, the property must be the personal home that you have lived in for two of the past five years. Your time in the home doesn’t have to be consecutive, just two years total.

To determine how much of a tax break you’ll earn, begin with the cost basis - the original cost - of your property. Add the totals from any investments you’ve made through home improvement projects as well as costs incurred through the purchase or sell of your home, like real estate commissions.

Keep record of all the improvements and expenses incurred for your projects. New windows, sunroom, swimming pool or sprawling deck – there are a number of improvements that count toward your deduction. If you sell your home for more than the original cost plus home improvement investments, the profit you make would normally be taxed as a long-term capital gain tax and an additional state tax.

For a married couple filing jointly, the house selling tax break allows an exclusion of up to $500,000 of profit from any capital gains tax.

What home improvements are included in the tax break?

The IRS offers online worksheets to help guide you in tallying up the total cash you’ve spent in qualifying home improvement projects.

Home improvements that can be added to your cost basis:

·        Additions: Bedroom, bathroom, deck, garage, porch, patio

·        Exterior: Storm windows/doors, new roof, new siding, satellite dish

·        Interior: Built-in appliances, kitchen modernization, flooring, wall-to-wall carpeting, fireplace

·        Lawn and Grounds: Landscaping, driveway, walkway, fence, retaining wall, swimming pool

Home improvements that cannot be added to your cost basis:

·        Altered upgrades: Improvements you made and then later changed, like installing a swimming pool then having it removed and refilling the hole.

·        Temporary upgrades: Home repairs that have a life expectancy of less than one year.

·        Upkeep: Normal repairs and maintenance that keep your home in good working order. To include: fixing a leak, painting, filling a hole or crack.

Before you make the move to sell your home, itemize your improvement costs. Add the total home improvement investment into your cost basis prior to filing your tax returns.

Posted in Sellers
Feb. 8, 2018

The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

Warming temperatures, longer days and soon-to-be blooming flowers all signal one thing in the Central Texas region: spring is on the horizon! As spring is a time to refresh, it presents the ideal opportunity for some home improvement, organization and yearly maintenance projects! The ultimate spring cleaning checklist, provided below, is the perfect way to refresh your home for the upcoming season – especially if you are thinking of selling your home this spring or summer:



Entire Home 

  • Change air filters. 
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and replace batteries, as necessary. 
  • Steam clean carpets.
  • Polish wood floors.
  • Replace burned-out lightbulbs. 
  • Dust…light fixtures; ceiling/corners of the rooms; shelves and picture frames; decorative accents; blinds and window sills; baseboards; and doors and door frames. 
  • Sweet, mop and vacuum floors and rugs.
  • Wash windows. 


  • Wash and put away dishes.
  • Wipe down and organize cabinets and drawers.
  • Throw out expired food in the pantry, fridge and freezer (and organize).
  • Empty trash and wash out the garbage can. 
  • Scrub inside the microwave.
  • Wipe down the backsplash, countertops and appliances.
  • Deep clean oven and stovetop.
  • Scrub and disinfect the sink.
  • Clean garbage disposal with ice and lemon slices.

Living Room

  • Dust…mantel, shelves and picture frames; tabletops; and electronics.
  • Organize media cabinet, coffee table and end tables.
  • Steam clean sofa and chairs or wash pillow covers.
  • Wash throw blankets and pillow covers.
  • Vacuum drapes.


  • Scrub shower walls, fixtures, bathtub, toilet, countertop and all faucets. 
  • Clean and wash shower curtain.
  • Empty trash and wash out the garbage can. 
  • Wipe down the mirrors and cabinets.
  • Wash rugs.
  • Clean out and organize cabinets and drawers. 


  • Dust dressers and headboard.
  • Vacuum drapes.
  • Wash pillows and bedding.
  • Flip and rotate mattress. 


  • File important documents.
  • Backup and/or delete old files on computer.
  • Organize cabinets and drawers.
  • Refill office supplies.
  • Dust desk, furniture and electronics. 


  • Sweep out floors and clean up any oil spills.
  • Clean out vehicles.
  • Organize tools, sporting equipment and toys.

Laundry Room

  • Run cleaning cycle in washing machine.
  • Clean out dryer vents and duct.
  • Wipe down exterior of washer and dryer.
  • Reorganize and discard old cleaning supplies.


Following this checklist every spring ensure your home remains organized and in great condition.

As we are in a seller’s market, NOW is the time to sell! Do you have any questions about selling your home this spring? Give us a call! We want to help you get more from your move!

Posted in Home Improvement
Feb. 5, 2018

6 Pieces Of Advice To Share With Your Seller Client

As a seller’s real estate agent, your clients trust you to get as much money in as little time as possible while avoiding any major headaches along the way. As one of the top realty teams in Austin, TX, Resident Realty understands that a Realtor’s obligation is to walk the seller through the process, do the heavy lifting, and make it look easy along the way. Most sellers you work with will know very little about the home selling process. Developing a smart sales process will not only please your client, but you’ll also build a reputation for great work, leading to more referrals. As you work with a home seller, there are pieces of advice you should share that will make their home more appealing, and help get it off the market faster.

Right Price

Be direct with your seller. Let them know where you stand with a reasonable asking price for the home. Use a comparative market analysis from the neighborhood to back your figure. Pricing a home properly is the most important thing you can do as a realtor to get a property sold quickly and at a fair price.

Explain Your Marketing

Sellers want to know that their home is in front of potential buyers. Communicate with your client to put their worries at ease and let them know the popular home websites where you’ve listed the house, show them direct mail flyers you’ve sent to the surrounding neighborhoods, and invite them to connect with you on social media, where you’ve featured their property listing. When the seller can see that you’re putting money and effort into selling their home, they’ll be less likely to make daily calls just to “check in” on any offers.

How You’ll Communicate

When you take on a client, explain to them how you communicate with sellers. If email is best for you, make that known. Be honest with how often you will call and how long it will take you to return a missed phone call. Setting that expectation up front lets the seller know how the process will work and what to expect from you.

Stage Your Home (or at least clean it)

Clients have pets, kids, dirty jobs, or just untidy habits. Let them know ahead of time when the home will be shown and set an expectation for the home to be clean. In some cases, that conversation may include removing photos, décor or clutter. Explain that de-personalizing the home allows a potential buyer to envision their own belongings and furniture in the house – making it more appealing to house hunters.

Make Viewing Easy

If buyers can’t see the house, they won’t make an offer. If your client lives in the property for sale, encourage them to make it as easy as possible for other agents to be able to show the home. Limiting hours, refusing to leave while potential buyers visit the home, or questioning the buyer’s seriousness in the purchase can quickly cause agents to overlook your listing knowing how difficult the home is to get into for a viewing.

Prepare For Feedback

Often realtors or potential buyers will voice feedback on a home for sale on why they’re not making an offer. Reasons can vary from bedroom size to the condition of the roof, but prepare your client that the feedback is coming and it can be very helpful. You’ll get direct insight into how potential buyers view the home, which may give your client the opportunity to make some small changes to better meet the needs of buyers.


Resident Realty works with each of our agents to ensure their understanding of the Austin real estate market translates into positive results for every client. Check out more about our team and let’s talk about any questions you have about joining one of Austin’s best team of Realtors.

Posted in Sellers
Jan. 16, 2018

Local Shops and Restaurants for a Perfect Valentine’s Day in Austin

Valentine’s Day, which falls on a Wednesday this year, is a time to show the one you love just how much they mean to you. Flowers, chocolates, a night out for exceptional food, or all three, are just the way to show your adoration and appreciation. For a local and special gift for your Valentine, stop by one of these local flower shops or bakeries or make a reservation at one of these eateries around Austin – they’ll have just what you’re looking for! 


Local Florist Shops

Ben White Florist
3200 S Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed on Sundays. 

Bloom & Bud
1505 Grayford Dr., Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ali Bleu Flowers & Gifts
6800 West Gate Blvd. #146, Austin, TX 78745
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on Sundays.

Mercedes Flowers 
6705 West Highway 290, Austin, TX 78735
Hours: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Westbank Flower Market
5320 Bee Caves Rd., West Lake Hills, TX 78746
Hours: Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed on Sundays. 


Fine Dining Restaurants 

1807 S 1st Street, Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Odd Duck
1201 S Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch) and 5 to 10 p.m. (dinner). 

Hill Country Dining Room
8212 Barton Club Dr., Austin, TX 78735

As longtime residents of the area, we know where you should go for a night out! Click here to view a list of some of the top-rated restaurants in South Austin. 


Sweet Treats

Crema Bakery & Café
9001 Brodie Lane B3, Austin, TX 78748
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Moonlight Bakery
2300 S Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Monday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Closed on Sundays.

Tiny Pies
2032 S Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704
Hours: Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Mondays.


Happy Valentine’s Day from Resident Realty to you and your loved ones!

Are you searching for other suggestions? Give our team a call! We would be honored to share our knowledge of the local area with you. 

Posted in Austin
Jan. 9, 2018

How the New Tax Reform Will Impact Homeowners

As you know, Congress passed a new tax reform bill shortly before the end of 2017. As this is the most significant set of changes to the tax code since 1986, many are wondering how this new law will affect the housing market. Here’s a brief look at some of the changes that in tax reform that will impact homeowners, buyers and sellers alike:


Mortgage Interest: With the deductible amount lowered to $750,000, from a previous $1 million, the new tax reform, while not affecting current homeowners, will impact homes purchased in the future. Second homes are also subject to the $750,000 limit.  

State and Local Tax Deductions: The maximum deductible combined property and income tax is now $10,000, both for those filing individually or jointly. Previously, there was no cap on this deduction.

Capital Gains: You can rest easy here as the new bill retains the current capital gains law of $250,000 on an individual’s sale and $500,000 for married couples – as long as the homeowner has lived in the residence for two of the last five years before the sale. 

Standard Deduction: The new tax reform doubled the standard deduction - the amount you can subtract from your income before calculating taxes if you are not itemizing your return - $12,000 for single filers; $24,000 for joint filers. For many, given this new law, it will no longer make sense to itemize. 

Moving Expenses: According to the new tax reform, moving expenses are no longer excludable or deductible in any circumstance – except for members of the military.  

Casualty Loss Deduction: You can only deduct losses attributed to a presidentially declared disaster. 

Estate Tax: The estate tax exemption has doubled under the new law - $11.2 million. 

Historic Tax Credit: Used to fund renovations to landmark structures, the historic tax credit law continues to provide a 20 percent credit when a certified historic property is placed into service. However, the new law spreads the deduction over a span of five years.  

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit: As Austin residents are still experiencing a seller’s market, affordable housing options are becoming increasingly more important to potential homebuyers. With this in mind, the new bill retains the four percent low-income housing tax credit, which helps to fund a third of all affordable housing options across the country. 

Despite all of these changes, homeownership remains beneficial. Reach out if you have questions about buying or selling a home in the Austin area. The Resident Realty team is here to help you get more from your move!



Posted in homeowners
Dec. 7, 2017

A Texas Hill Country Holiday: Lights, Crafts & Performances

The Texas Hill Country pulls out all the stops for the holiday season! Whether you are searching for local, handmade gifts for your loved ones, a classic holiday performance or the lights of the season, the Central Texas area has the event for you and your family. Check out these Texas Hill Country holiday events for a merry and bright season:



Holiday Lights

Santa’s Ranch

November 3 – December 31
New Braunfels, TX
Take in the lights of the season from the comfort of your car at Santa’s Ranch. The one-mile trail of twinkling lights and Christmas displays won’t disappoint, we promise! For an even better holiday experience, stop by the concession stand for hot cocoa, kettle corn and other holiday snacks to enjoy on your drive-thru light tour. 

Mozart's Christmas Light Show

November 17 – January 1 (except Christmas Day)
Open through January 1 – 6 to 11 p.m. nightly
A light display set to holiday music is what you'll find on Mozart’s outdoor deck! Enjoy a cup of coffee or hot cocoa while watching this FREE to the public light display.  


December 7 – 10 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center goes all out during the holiday season. Stop by to view the gorgeous gardens illuminated with enchanting lights. The event also features complimentary maple taffy and hot chocolate, and other items you can purchase from the on-site vendor. Cost to attend is as follows: non-members (ages 5 and up) is $15, members (ages 5 and up) is $10, and children under the age of four are FREE.

Winter Wonderland at The Circuit

December 8 – 30
Circuit of The Americas
Truly a winter wonderland (except for the snow), this holiday festival features everything you want during the holidays: a .8-mile circuit of lights, skating rink, Santa's Village, petting zoo, human snow globe, carnival rides, trips to the top of the North Pole and more!  

Austin Trail of Lights

December 9 – 23 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Zilker Park
With more than two million lights, Austin’s Trail of Lights is the most popular holiday event in the city! Stroll through the dazzling light displays with downtown Austin as a backdrop, while enjoying time with your loved ones and a taste of the season at one of the many food trucks located along the trail. Skip the lines by buying a $3 general admission ticket ahead of time!

Holiday Performances

ZACH Theatre Presents: "A Christmas Carol”

November 22 – December 31
ZACH Theatre
A modern twist on a classic tale, "A Christmas Carol" is the most popular show among Austinites over the holiday season. Buy tickets here.

Ballet Austin's "The Nutcracker"

December 8 - 23
Long Center for the Performing Arts
A long-standing tradition, Ballet Austin's "The Nutcracker" is hosting its 55th season. To get tickets to this popular Austin holiday event, click here

Holiday Craft Events

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

November 24 – December 24
Blue Genie Art Bazaar - 6100 Airport Blvd.
Featuring handmade artwork and gifts from local Austin vendors, the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is the ideal destination to buy all of your holiday gifts.

Please note, this list is not comprehensive. Austin and its surrounding areas have many more events you can enjoy this holiday season.

Resident Realty wishes you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year!  

The New Year is nearly here! Are you searching for a new beginning in the New Year? Perhaps a new house? Give our team a call! We would be honored to help you find a new home in the greater Austin area!

Posted in Austin