Monthly Archives: January 2013

21 Examples of Austin’s Economic Might

21 examples of Austin’s economic might 

by Colin Pope  Editor- Austin Business Journal – Link to ABJ Article

Magazines, think tanks and list makers have ranked Austin high on some high-profile lists and reports during the past few months.

Here they are — most of them calculated upon hard economic data so we put stock in them.

  1. Austin took the top spot for the third year in a row on Forbes’ list of “America’s 20 Fastest Growing Cities.”
  2. The number crunchers at personal finance website NerdWallet.com populated its list of the “Best Cities for Job Seekers” with many Lone Star locations, but guess who topped them all?
  3. Austin ranked second behind San Jose, Calif., on the Milken Institute’s annual index of best-performing large cities.
  4. When it comes to job gains as a percentage during the past five years, Austin is tops.
  5. This is a good thing, but Austin was named one of the “most surprising” real estate markets recently.
  6. That backs up Trulia’s prediction that Austin will be one of the healthiest housing markets in 2013.
  7. Austin is one of only five metropolitan areas in all of North America to rank in the top 70 of the 300 fastest-growing metropolitan economies worldwide, according to this report.
  8. We are indeed growing fast, so Austin ranked No. 5 on a list of cities with the youngest housing stock.
  9. Forbes has ranked Austin No. 8 on a list of cities where a paycheck stretches the furthest.
  10. Austin has been named the No. 1 destination on the rise in the United States by TripAdvisor Inc.
  11. This is a top U.S. city for clean technology, says Clean Edge Inc.’s Clean Tech Index.
  12. Austin is one of only seven markets to experience a more than 5 percent growth in employees’ paychecks during the past 12 months.
  13. It wasn’t on the football field, but we beat those Oklahoma City folks at something last year — this recent economic ranking.
  14. Austin ranks fifth in the nation for the number of technology startups per capita, according to an analysis by San Francisco-based SizeUp.com.
  15. And Austin’s economic might has done wonders for our neighbors to the north. Williamson County is among the three most prosperously expanding counties in the nation.

16 – 21:   Oh, and Austin is home to some of the best events for entrepreneurs, it hosts some of the best bars in America for beer seekers, has one of the best schools for entrepreneurs, is hitched to some of the best food trucks, is home to one of the coolest co-working joints, and the University of Texas stood strong on a list of the nation’s best colleges for the dollar.

Finally, in the interest of balanced journalism and to prove these list makers aren’t on the take, here are the rare occasions where Austin took a list beating during the past three months.

Austin ranked near the bottom on Forbes magazine’s “Best Cities for Working Mothers” list.

And Austin comes in at No. 21 on a ranking of 25 major U.S. cities’ public transit systems.

I know plenty of happy, working moms so I’ll take issue with Forbes on that one. The public transit issue? No comment.

Should I Hire A Home Inspector?

Qbrick-house-yard: I am planning on making an offer on a home that looks like it would be perfect for me & my family. I’ve toured the home several times and everything looks great and there are no major issues noted in the Seller’s Disclosure. My real estate agent still suggested that I hire a home inspector to inspect the home prior to closing. Is this really necessary?

A: In a word, YES. Even though you’ve looked the home over yourself and there are no major issues stated in the Seller’s Disclosure, it’s always a good idea to hire a licensed home inspector to inspect the home you are considering purchasing prior to closing. Home inspectors are trained to identify many potential issues within a home including, electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling, and structural problems. These are things that you, as the home buyer, may not notice upon just walking through the home on your own, and issues that the current homeowner may not be aware of.

Once the inspection is complete, the inspector will provide you with a comprehensive report regarding the issues that were found. In reviewing this report, it’s important to remember:TETRRF-00026632-001

  • No home is perfect. Most reports will identify a number of issues, however, it’s important to look over these issues to determine whether or not you are willing to purchase the property “as is” or negotiate with the seller to fix (some or all) of the problems, or lower the asking price.
  • A home inspection does not guarantee that no other issues will arise after you close on the home. Just because the air conditioning goes out a month after closing, doesn’t mean that something was missed on the home inspection. This is typically just an un-forseen repair and part of being a homeowner. For this reason, it’s also a good idea to include a home warranty in the contract as well.

moving-couple-homeHome inspection fees vary, but most are well under $1000, and as any home buyer who has a avoided potential disaster by getting a home inspection will tell you, it is money well spent!

Terms Every Homebuyer Should Know

If you’re thinking about buying a home, it’s important that you understand your contract and understand the terms used in the real estate world. If you don’t understand some of these commonly used terms, it may seem like everyone is speaking a foreign language. So take a minute and learn a few of the most common terms used in a real estate transaction.home-owners-handshake

1) Contingency – This is a condition set forth in the contract that, if not met, can void the contract and the deposit returned to the buyer. The most common contingencies are for financing or home inspection, but they may also be for other things outlined in the contract.

2) Disclosure/disclaimer – In most states, home sellers are required to provide a disclosure to the buyer to inform them about what they know about the property. The disclosure includes information about what is/is not located on the property or in the home, the condition of the property/home, defects, recent repairs, and more.house-yard

3) Earnest-money deposit – Upon completing a contract, buyers usually attach a check for their earnest-money deposit to their offer. The check is put into escrow once the contract has been approved by all parties and is used as part of the down payment at settlement.

4) Escrow – Escrow is handled by a title company, an escrow company, an attorney or a real-estate broker, depending on local practices. Once an escrow account is set up, the buyer’s financial portions are deposited into this account before, during and after the settlement. The term escrow also refers to prepaid amounts for homeowners insurance and property taxes that you pay with your mortgage bill each month. Your lender will keep these funds in an escrow account until the bills are due.

Now that you know some basic terms, it’s time to start searching for your dream home! Click here to get started!

 

Why Some Houses Sit, While Other Houses Sell

Jay Papasan, Vice President of Publishing & Executive Editor at Keller Williams, serves as Gary Keller’s co-author and executive editor on best-selling titles that include: The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, and SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times. He also co-authored SHIFT Commercial.

In this video, Jay shares with us why some houses sit on the market, while other houses sell. If you’re thinking about listing your home, don’t let your home just sit on the market! Contact us today and we’ll crunch the numbers & help you determine the what the right price-point to list your home is in our current market.

New Years Resolutions for Sellers

Well, it’s that time of year again…time to resolve to keep our New Years resolutions once again. If increasing home sale prices and low inventory has caused you to think about selling your home in 2013, these New Years Resolutions for Sellers may be just the thing to help you get started!

Resolution #1: Get Your House In Order – A great place to start when thinking about selling your home, is to reduce clutter. Go through each room of the house and remove any clutter & personal items (family pictures, etc…) that might distract a buyer from really seeing Imagethemselves in your home. It’s important to give buyers “room to dream” about what it would be like to live in your home. “Staging is preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in” says, Barb Schwarz, President of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. And, because homes that are staged typically sell more quickly than those that are not staged, we’ll help you by hiring a professional home stager as part of our listing services.

Resolution #2: Price Your Home Right – While this may sound like a no-brainer, sellers have a hard time acknowledging what their home is truly worth given the current market conditions.  When considering a price point for your home, remember, it DOESN’T MATTER:

  • What You Paid
  • What You Need
  • What You Want
  • What Your Neighbor Says
  • What it Would Cost to Rebuild Today

What DOES matter is what a buyer is willing to pay and what a seller is willing to accept in today‘s market. If you’re thinking about selling, contact us for a free Comparative Market Analysis that will show you what similar homes in your area are selling for right now.

Resolution #3 – Complete Necessary Home Improvements – The reasoning is simple, the better condition your home is in, the more likely it is to sell. That said, be careful not to go overboard and spend time and money on improvements that yield little or no return on your investment. Generally, it’s best to aim for about an 80% or more return on your investment. Although every situation is different, typically, sellers see the most return by investing in the kitchen, bathroom, or energy efficiency improvements. Again, it’s best to talk with your real estate sales professional first to determine whether or not your home needs repairs or improvements to help it sell more quickly. He/She can often-times let you know what buyers are currently looking for and may be able to help you come up with the most cost-effective approaches.

2013 looks like it’s going to be a great year in real estate, so sellers, make your resolutions, and get started today! And, whether you’ve been thinking about buying or selling, please contact us. We would love to talk with you about your options and help you figure out what’s best for you in the coming year.