RESIDENT REALTY REAL ESTATE BLOG

Sept. 18, 2019

How Your Kitchen Can Attract Buyers

Resident Realty How Your Kitchen Can Attract Buyers Austin Real Estate Tips

Just as the kitchen is the hub for many families, it’s also one area of the home that prospective buyers are the most excited to see. If they can’t see themselves in the kitchen, preparing dinners, making coffee, and getting holiday dishes together for large feasts, you may have difficulty selling your home. So, what can you do to make your kitchen seem less like a diamond in the rough and more like a one of a kind gem? 

1. Get rid of trash and dirty dishes

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s smart to take out the kitchen trash before heading out of your home and before a showing happens in order to make sure no unpleasant smells linger. Give your guests a clear sink to inspect if they can imagine doing the dishes there.

2. No signs of pets

As much as you love your dogs, cats, birds, and all the other animals in the world, potential buyers may not share that same enthusiasm for them. It can be a major turn off to walk into a kitchen to see bird cages, dog bowls, or a litterbox. Don’t give your guests any reason to draw their attention away from the overall inviting atmosphere of your kitchen.

3. Create as much space as you can

Buyers will be seriously considering the amount of counter space, cabinet space, and pantries, so be sure to have those areas as clear as possible. Keep the necessities out, but get rid of the extra clutter.

4. Clean appliances

Having a clean kitchen equates to having a clean home that has been well taken care of throughout the years in a buyer’s mind. Expect people to open up your stove, microwave, refrigerator, etc. With that said, you can’t just do a surface cleaning. You’ll want to take it a step further to make sure everything sparkles and that your refrigerator and freezer are organized and don’t contain anything that will gross out buyers. 

5. Get rid of sign of pests

Bugs or rodents in the kitchen can be signs of major issues throughout the home and signal to potential buyers that they will face a lot of costs and time spent ridding the property of pests. Simply having rodent traps under the sink and bug spray laying around can make buyers turn away.

Simply taking a few extra steps to make your kitchen stand out can have a huge impact on the impression your home makes to buyers. You want to have guests craving to make breakfast for the family on Christmas morning in your kitchen. If you need any other tips on how to get your home sold, give our team a call! We’re always happy to give you some advice. 

 

Posted in Sellers
Sept. 5, 2019

National Snapshot: What's Ahead for Real Estate

National Snapshot: What’s Ahead for Real Estate

The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and consumer confidence remains high. In fact, the University of Michigan’s latest Surveys of Consumers found that Americans have their most positive personal finance outlook since 2003.1

However, if you follow national news, you’ve probably heard speculation that we could be headed toward a recession. Global trade tensions and a slow down in the GDP growth rate has sparked volatility in the stock market, leading to economic uncertainty.

Given these differing signals, you may be wondering: How has the U.S. housing market been impacted? Where is it headed? And more importantly … what does it mean for me?

 

MORTGAGE RATES ARE NEAR HISTORIC LOWS

In August, Freddie Mac reported that the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate hit its lowest level since November 2016, falling to 3.6%, down a full percentage point from a year earlier.Variable mortgage rates also fell when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates at the end of July for the first time since 2008.3

This was welcome news for many in the real estate industry. Freddie Mac predicts that low interest rates and a robust job market will help the housing market remain strong despite the threat of recession. 

“There is a tug of war in the financial markets between weaker business sentiment and consumer sentiment,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Business sentiment is declining on negative trade and manufacturing headlines, but consumer sentiment remains buoyed by a strong labor market and low rates that will continue to drive home sales into the fall.”2

 

What does it mean for you?

If you’re looking to buy a home, now is a great time to lock in a low mortgage rate. It will shrink your monthly payment and could save you a bundle over the long term. Or if you plan to stay in your current home for a while, consider whether it makes sense to refinance your mortgage at today’s lower rates.

 

PRICES CONTINUE TO RISE AT A MODEST PACE

According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, housing prices continue to rise. But the rate at which prices are rising is slowing down. For May 2019, the National Home Price Index rose by 3.4%, down from 3.5% the previous month.4

Of course, national averages often don’t present the whole picture. Some markets have seen modest declines, while other areas are witnessing double-digit increases. The key differentiating factor in most cases? Housing affordability.5

Since 2012, home prices have increased at about three times the pace of wages, according to National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun.6

“Housing unaffordability will hinder sales irrespective of the local job market conditions,” said Yun. “This is evident in the very expensive markets as home prices are either topping off or slightly falling.”5

But what about all this talk of a recession? Will we see housing values plummet like they did in 2008? Economists say no.

If we look at history, the real estate crash experienced during the Great Recession isn’t typical.

The recent Housing and Mortgage Market Review report from Arch Mortgage Insurance provides data to support this. “What we found is that the next recession is likely to be far less severe on the housing market than the last one. It’s not that this time is different; it’s that last time was really different from historic norms.”6

“A large decline in national home prices is unlikely in the next recession,” Arch economists write. “A persistent housing shortage should help cushion home price declines.”6

 

What does it mean for you?

If you have the ability and desire to buy a home now, don’t let the threat of a recession hold you in limbo. The market is cyclical, and it will experience ups and downs. But over the long term, real estate has consistently proven to be a good investment.

 

 

STARTER INVENTORY REMAINS TIGHT WHILE LUXURY MARKET SOFTENS

As we’ve seen in the past, it’s become a tale of two sectors.

The low-end of the market remains highly competitive as buyers compete for affordable housing. A lack of new construction during the last recession led to an undersupply of starter homes. This trend continues—despite growing demand—due to a lack of skilled workers, rising land and material costs, and a slow permitting process in many areas.7

The result? There’s a shortage of homes for sale that Americans can actually afford to buy.

The luxury market, on the other hand, has softened. Economic uncertainty, changes to tax laws, and rising prices have slowed demand. Plus, to recoup their higher costs, builders flocked to this segment—causing an overabundance of supply in some areas.

“If you're selling an entry level home, you're probably still looking at a pretty competitive market in most places,” according to Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. “But if you're selling a more expensive home you probably have to adjust your expectations.”8

 

What does it mean for you?

Move-up buyers, you’re in luck! If you’re ready to trade in your starter home for something more luxurious, you may get the best of both sectors. We’re still witnessing strong demand for entry-level homes, giving sellers the upper hand. At the same time, buyers of high-end homes are finding a greater selection (and more negotiating power) than they’ve had in years.

 

INVESTORS ARE BUYING HOMES AT RECORD LEVELS

There’s one group that hasn’t been slowed down by lack of affordability or economic uncertainty: investors.

According to CoreLogic, investors are purchasing homes at a record pace. In 2018, the share of U.S. homes bought by investors reached 11.3%—the highest level since the company began tracking nearly 20 years ago.9

Notably, this increased activity wasn’t led by institutional investors, but instead by small and individual investors focused on the starter-home segment.Declining interest rates and an uncertain stock market has led investors to flock to real estate as they seek out greater stability and higher returns.

“With declining mortgage rates … they’re searching for a better return for their money,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.10

 

What does it mean for you?

If you’re looking for a way to “recession proof” your money, you might want to consider investing in real estate. People will always need a place to live, and (unlike the stock market) a rental property can provide a steady source of cash flow during uncertain economic times.

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, we can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood. 

If you have specific questions or would like more information about how market changes could affect you, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help you navigate this shifting real estate landscape.

 

Sources:

  1. University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers - http://www.sca.isr.umich.edu/
  2. Freddie Mac - https://freddiemac.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/mortgage-rates-drop-significantly?_ga=2.29332539.689041222.1565464527-928629548.1565464527
  3. CNN - https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/31/business/fed-rate-cut-july-meeting/index.html
  4. S&P Dow Jones Indices - https://us.spindices.com/documents/indexnews/announcements/20190730-965771/965771_cshomeprice-release-0730.pdf?force_download=true
  5. National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/metro-home-prices-increase-in-91-of-metro-areas-in-second-quarter-of-2019
  6. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/alyyale/2019/04/18/with-a-recession-looming-is-now-the-time-to-sell-your-home/#7d3a21665bce
  7. CNN - https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/09/economy/mortgages-home-buyers/index.html
  8. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinefeeney/2019/07/01/halfway-into-2019-how-is-the-housing-market-holding-up/#7e656e3ec5d8
  9. CoreLogic - https://www.corelogic.com/blog/2019/06/special-report-investor-home-buying.aspx
  10. Fox Business - https://www.foxbusiness.com/economy/investors-snapping-up-homes-at-record-levels
Aug. 28, 2019

Enjoy the City with a Pet of Your Own

Resident Realty Enjoy the City with a Pet of Your Own Austin TX

Austin is known to many as one of the cities that welcomes everyone with open arms, people and pets alike. In fact, it’s one of the no-kill cities, and it’s been that way since 2010. Everywhere you look, you’re bound to see people walking their dogs, taking them to bars, and including their pets in their weekend plans. 

If there’s any place that can only be made better with a four-legged friend, Austin would be it. So, if you’re thinking about bringing a new best friend into your home and your heart, we have a list of places you should check out!

Austin Dog Rescue has been around since 2006, and they are doing everything they can to not only keep dogs off the street but give them a comfortable and wonderful life while they find their forever home. By that, we mean that dogs of all sizes and breeds get to be a part of a foster home and get acclimated to what it’s like to be a part of a family before they get adopted. 

Austin Pets Alive! may be the most well-known no-kill shelter around Austin. Thousands of dogs and cats have been saved in the 10+ years since they’ve established themselves in the Central Texas area. 

Austin Humane Society has been the saving grace to many homeless dogs and cats and remains to be the largest nonprofit shelter and pet adoption center in the Central Texas area. This shelter is also dedicated to educating the people of Austin on animal care and the best way to adopt your new best friend. 

Forgotten Friends saves mixed breed dogs and allows their foster volunteers to take them home to work on their training and make sure they’re ready for their new home! 

Street Cat Rescue is the perfect spot to find the cat to complete your family. This cat sanctuary helps sick and injured cats, educates the community on the love and care cats need, and ultimately, helps adopters find the right cat to take home.

There are so many great animals that need forever homes and a variety of nonprofits and shelters doing everything they can to help. Be sure to check them out! If you’re looking for a forever home before you adopt a new pet, give our team a call. We’re here to make sure that you, your family, and your pets have a home that will make you all happy for years to come.

 

Posted in Austin
Aug. 21, 2019

South Austin Growth and the New Homes Coming Soon

Resident Realty South Austin Growth and the New Homes Coming Soon

 

Just 11 miles south of Downtown Austin is a large plot of land that's planned for a huge construction project. It's going to kick-off before the end of this year. The 468-acre plot of land known as Turner’s Crossing will soon be a sprawling community with more than 1,300 single-family homes. The community will also offer great amenities, including pools, playscapes, a splash pad, and a three-mile walking trail.

If you’re thinking that it sounds like a massive project, you’d be right. In fact, Meritage Homes Corp is constructing homes in phases. The first phase is likely to start construction soon and will be in the northern section of Turner’s Crossing, between FM 1327 and SH 45.

Meritage Homes isn’t the only business bringing developments to Turner’s Crossing. Trendmaker Homes Austin has also acquired land in the area, 324 single-family lots, to be exact. The company has set a target open date for June 2021. Taylor Morrison Home Corp. will also be helping out and constructing some new homes within Turner’s Crossing. 

With a large demand for affordable single-family homes in Austin, there’s no surprise that several companies are putting in their all to develop the south Austin area, but there’s still a chance for more development groups to get in on the action. Close to 40 acres of Turner’s Crossing will be dedicated to commercial and multifamily projects, but Meritage hasn’t begun negotiations to sell this property to developers.

It will be interesting to watch how this project unfolds and what kind of commercial and multifamily residences will join this massive community. The development of land in Austin solely dedicated to homes priced between $200,000 and $400,000 has been needed for some time, and we’re excited for what this means for families in the area. If you have any questions about the Turner’s Crossing neighborhood and the changes that the South Austin area has faced, don’t hesitate to reach out to your friends at Resident Realty. We’re always happy to give you a glimpse into the area and what the neighborhood is like.

 

Posted in Austin
Aug. 19, 2019

5 Step Strategy for Downsizing Your Home

5 Step Strategy to Downsizing Your Home

Posted in Sellers
July 26, 2019

Your Austin Music Guide

There’s good reason Austin, Texas is famously known as The Live Music Capital of the World®. Walkthrough any area of Austin and you’ll find lively music blaring the streets on any given night of the week. Music fills the air in every nook and cranny of Austin from Sixth Street to the Warehouse District. The classic venues aren’t the only places to find music and an incredible nightlife scene. A lot of districts have jumped on the musical coattails of Sixth Street.

The next time you are in the city on business or leisure, check out one of the many Austin venues for live music but start with classics; the ones that have been around since the beginning of the music rave in the city. These places started it all and they aren’t giving up their reign any time soon. The locals won’t let them go!

Austin City Limits Moody Theatre is the most popular venue in the city for the most famous acts. You’ll find the walls laced with photos of all the celebrity acts that have performed on this stage. Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, Dream Theater and many, many more.

Perhaps the most famous street in Austin for live music and more events than you can count; Austin Sixth Street is world-renowned. Millions are attracted to the area every year for events like SXSW, ACL and New Year’s Eve but it’s Sixth Street that they come all year long for.

Austin Warehouse District seems like an overnight sensation but has actually been up and coming for many years. It appears to have come to maturity with the number of bars for live music, dining at upscale restaurants and shopping in the boutiques that line the streets.

Austin isn’t just about rock-n-roll and being the hippest city in the state. You’ll find culture in Austin as well. From Austin Symphony for classical music to Ballet Austin for a performance of The Nutcracker; you’ll find it all here.

Kick up your boots at any one of the many country western dance halls for a little two-stepping, country line dancing or just to hang out with friends. It’s a rootin-tootin good time for everyone. Experience a true Texas tradition with the rest of the cowboys and cowgirls.

 

When you’re done kicking up dust and decide Austin is the place you must live so you can always enjoy the live music scene, give us a call. We’ll meet you for happy hour somewhere.

Posted in Austin News
July 26, 2019

Did You Inherit Unwanted Property?

 

At first appearance, inheriting a property can seem like winning the lottery. But just like winning the lottery, there are many unrealized steps to take in collecting your “winnings”. Ultimately you have three options when you inherit a property. To live in it, sell it, or rent it out. Regardless of what you choose to do with the inherited property, there are steps to take leading up to your final decision.

 

First things first, have us do a market analysis or you right away.  Regardless of whether you decide to keep the property or sell it, having an idea of the market value will be helpful as you move forward.

 

You'll need to have the property legally transferred to you.  If you need a recommendation for a real estate attorney, we have some great connections.  You'll also want to know what taxes you might be required to pay moving forward. If you need a recommendation for a CPA, we have great connections there too!

 

After all, avenues are explored, you may find that the best decision after inheriting property is to sell.  Give us a call! We have been selling property for almost 20 years and will help protect your interest in the process, help you navigate your best course and make sure you know all of your options along the way to a smooth closing.

"This article shouldn't be considered tax advice, and for all questions or concerns of that nature, please contact your trusted CPA."

Posted in homeowners
June 28, 2019

Luxury Restaurants in Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin may be the city’s bustling hub of live music, Sixth Street nightlife, and more events than the locals know what to do with but believe it or not there are still many quiet restaurants in downtown Austin.

You will feel right at home in this cozy restaurant in Downtown Austin, despite the lively streets outside. Eddie V’s is a prime seafood restaurant complete wine bar and ideal location, perfectly situated in the heart of downtown on 5th Street. This innovative cuisine will satisfy your hearty appetite.

For a quiet conversation in a downtown Austin restaurant, Chez Nous is the ideal French bistro to visit. The authentic menu is coupled with an intimate atmosphere that will provide for luxury dining in peace and quiet. Enjoy this traditional bistro in a classically decorated venue that is reminiscent of old Paris. Sample the soup of the day, taste appetizers with a glass of wine, or sink your teeth into scrumptious entrees of sautéed and roasted delights.

For a premiere Pacific Asian dining experience complete with sushi, maki, and temaki then She’s Not Here is one the top restaurants in downtown Austin to consider when seeking a quiet place for dinner. Culinary genius is really the only way to delectable menus laid out here. Whether you’re looking for quiet restaurants in Downtown Austin to entertain clients, celebrate occasions with friends or you simply want to dine on the best of the best; She’s Not Here is the place to be.

Sophistication and luxury dining come together effortlessly in the Hotel Ella, formerly the Mansion at Judge’s Hill, located in Downtown Austin off Rio Grande. Indoor and outdoor seating is available or get comfortable in the lounge area. Make a weekend of it by reserving a luxury room or suite and enjoy the business services also available.

 

With so many choices for quiet restaurants in Downtown Austin, you’ll never have to leave the area. And if you’re in the market to buy or sell in Austin, we’d be happy to meet for cocktails at one of these fabulous places. Just give us a call.

Posted in Austin News
June 27, 2019

Tips to Beat the Texas Heat

In Texas, the weather changes at the drop of a cowboy hat (excuse the pun) but especially during the summer. With triple digit temperatures in the Lone Star State a person learns quickly how to avoid heat stroke and dehydration. You can't stop having fun just because it is hot outside. There's just too much to do. Here are a few tips for surviving the heat in Texas if you must be outside:

Drink Lots of Water. It's said you should drink 8 glasses of water per day but especially in the summer heat, when you sweat more, you may want to increase your intake. Don't overdo it though.

Carry an Umbrella. No longer used just for protecting you from the rain, a dark umbrella can also help you deflect those nasty sunrays. You will not be alone. Texans have learned to carry an umbrella with them to any outdoor sporting events, outdoor festival, or anywhere else the sun beams down on them.

Wear a Hat. Believe it or not this simple step can help you to avoid sunburn and headache. Whether it be a cowboy hat, a baseball hat, a sombrero, a fisher’s hat, whatever, wear one if you can. It’ll help alleviate the heat headache at the end of the day.

Use Sunscreen. If you are going to lounge by the pool all day, hiking in the great Austin outdoors, or simply sitting at the park, it is recommended that you use some sort of sunscreen on a daily basis in Texas. You'll find SPF protection in everything from sunscreen to make-up to lip balm these days.

Use the Ice Pack for More Than Lunch. Those nifty little square boxes you throw in the freezer the night before you pack your lunch can also be used to cool you down during your daily walk/run. By securing one against your lower back, you may (or may not) notice how much cooler it keeps you.

 

Enjoy Texas! Life doesn't end because it's getting hot outside, not in Texas anyway, just make sure you're making your life easier by using techniques that help you avoid the heat. Looking for a little A/C, come visit us at the office! We’ll have bottled water and up-to-date real estate listings too!

Posted in Austin
May 13, 2019

Essential Austin Ice Cream Shops to Indulge in a Sweet Treat

No matter how you churn it, ice cream is the perfect sweet treat to indulge in during a HOT Texas summer! Where are the essential ice cream shops in Austin? We’ve got the details on everything from gelato to boozy ice cream:

 

Holla Mode | Food truck serving roll up ice cream with fun Thai flavors (mango, sticky rice, Thai coffee, etc.)

1800 Barton Springs Rd.

 

Amy’s Ice Creams | A longtime Austin staple with more than 350 premium flavors

Multiple locations around Austin

 

Lick Honest Ice Creams | Authentic Austin creamery churning out quirky flavors from natural ingredients

2032 S. Lamar Blvd.

 

Teo Espresso, Gelato & Bella Vita | Artisanal Italian coffeehouse and gelato bar

1206 W. 38th Street

 

Sweet Ritual | Everything vegan at this mural-clad ice cream shop

4500 Duval Street

 

Gemelli | A mod gelateria serving unique flavors, coffee and Italian cocktails

1009 E. 6th Street

 

Prohibition Creamery | Eastside hangout offering a boozy spin to the cold treat

1407 E. 7th Street

 

Spun Ice Cream | Liquid nitrogen ice cream shop that uses local milk, cream and seasonal ingredients

1912 E. 7th Street

 

Dolce Neve | Seasonal flavors sourced from local fruit, nuts and dairy in a cozy South First atmosphere

1713 S. First Street

 

Cow Tipping Creamery | Creative soft-serve sundaes, shakes and floats

4715 S. Lamar Blvd.

 

Cold Cookie Company | Creamy ice cream sandwiched between freshly-baked cookies

2512 Rio Grande Street

 

 

While this list is not comprehensive; it is an excellent start to an ice cream foodie tour of Austin!

 

Do you have any questions about the greater Austin-area? We are here to be your guide. Contact us today!

 

Posted in Austin