Category Archives: Real Estate

Fireworks Safety Tips

Each county, city and neighborhoods can have different ordinances in regards to fireworks.  Their use, possession, and distribution depend on current burn bans, ETJ locations, Homeowner Association rules and general common sense. Please make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby.

Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.

Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.

Always have an adult supervise all fireworks activities. Children can suffer injuries even from sparklers, which parents often assume are safe. Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals.

Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

Never point or throw fireworks at another person.

Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.

Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.

To prevent a trash fire, douse spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding.

 

 

New Development Plans for Dripping Springs

There’s no question that Dripping Springs and the Southwest Austin area are growing. Whether you’re excited about the new homes and growth, or concerned about changes that seem almost certain to come to our community, new developments seem to be popping up around every corner lately.

If you’re like most people, you may be wondering what these new development plans hold for the future of Dripping Springs. What’s coming in? Where are these developments located? How many homes are these new developments going to offer?

Although we don’t have a crystal ball to answer the question about how these changes will impact Dripping Springs as a whole, we can help answer some of your questions. The city has just released a Potential Development Map (June 2015) that we’re excited about sharing with you here. 

Dripping Springs Residential Development Plan

As you can see, the plan includes some familiar developments that are already under construction (Caliterra, Belterra, Highpointe, RimRock, etc..) several larger development agreements that have recently been approved (Headwaters @Barton Creek – 1000 homes, Anarene – 8,000 homes), and even several Senior living apartments.

In addition to the residential developments, a new mixed-use/retail development is also being planned for the area between Nutty Brown Road and Belterra Drive along Highway 290. The developers, Crescent Communities & Endeavor Real Estate said they envision shopping, restaurants, urban living and more, promising a destination for people in Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs. Endeavor Real Estate was also responsible for the development of The Domain in Austin. 

While change and growth is not always easy, our team is excited about welcoming new residents to what we believe is one of the best places to live in the Texas Hill Country. Thinking about listing or buying a home in Dripping Springs? Thinking about buying in one of these new developments? Contact us! We’d love to partner with you to help make the home buying/selling process less stressful and more fun!

 

Tour Terra Scena this Weekend and Give Back to Your Community!

April 19 to April 26 is “Givin’ Where I’m Livin'” Fundraiser Week!

Givin Where I'm Livin - Dripping SpringsThis weekend *April 24th & 25th* from 12 noon-4pm Terra Scena will donate $5 to Hays Caldwell Women’s Center (HCWC) for every adult who comes for a tour of our community and, recently completed, all rainwater-sourced home!

TerraScena - Dripping Springs TX - A Resource Conscious Community

Terra Scena is one of Dripping Springs’ newest residential developments, and offers a unique community of 15 homesites for custom eco-friendly homes.

Click Here for Directions to Terra Scena

223 Terra Scena Trail Dripping Springs

HCWC – Hays Caldwell Woman’s Center

Last year, HCWC provided face-to-face services to 46 residents of Dripping Springs who were victims of family violence, child abuse or sexual assault at a cost of around $46,000. HCWC supplies temporary shelter, education and support services for those whose homes are not safe.

Go to “Givin’ Where I’m Livin’” at the dscommunityfoundation.org  to make direct donations to any of the qualifying organizations that deserve your consideration. The Dripping Springs Foundation will match donations this week up to $2500. See them at Founder’s Day on Mercer Street in Dripping Springs, TX this weekend.

For more Information about Terra Scena, please call

512-655-3024 or visit www.terrascena.com

Austin-area home prices reach all-time high, March 2015 Stats

Austin Area MLS Stats 2015

March 2015 Statistics

    • 2,440 – Single-family homes sold, 13 percent more than March 2014.
    • $255,000 – Median price for single-family homes, 10 percent more than March 2014.
    • $334,758 – Average price for single-family homes, 13 percent more than March 2014.
    • 55 – Average number of days single-family homes spent on the market, four days more than March 2014.
    • 3,402 – New single-family home listings on the market, six percent more than March 2014.
    • 5,274 – Active single-family home listings on the market, six percent more than March 2014.
    • 2,812 – Pending sales for single-family homes, five percent more than March 2014.
    • 2.2 – Months of inventory* of single-family homes, statistically unchanged from March 2014.
  • $816,809,520 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, 28 percent more than March 2014.

Thinking about buying or selling a home in the Austin area? Let us help! Contact us for more information!

Great Subdivisions in Dripping Springs – Belterra

Belterra is a master planned community located in South West Austin just past the Y in Oakhill (Hwy 71 and Hwy 290 intersection) between Nutty Brown Road and Sawyer Ranch Road. Belterra is still within Austin city limits and consists of 2,000 home sites on over 1600 acres in the Texas Hill Country. Community amenities include walking/jogging trails, playground, community pool, exercise facilities, and welcome center. Belterra is also only about 10 minutes from Dripping Springs, a short commute to downtown Austin, and served by the highly rated Dripping Springs school district.

Check out some of the great homes the Mallett Integrity Team has listed in one of the most desirable subdivisions in the Dripping Springs area below, and search all homes for sale in Belterra here!

380 Harris36380 Harris23Front9Front2

Meet the Newest Additions toThe Mallett Integrity Team!

Have you had a chance to meet the newest additions to the Mallett Integrity Team? 2015 is bringing some exciting changes to the Mallett Integrity Team. We’re very excited to welcome two new Realtors to our team, John McKain & Jenna Moore. Read more about these talented agents, their background, and how they can help you with your real estate needs here!

John McKain with the Mallett Integrity Team & Keller Williams Realty John McKain has been a licensed Real Estate Agent since 2006 and holds a multi-state license in both California and Texas. At his previous firm he was consistently Ranked
in the Top 20% of all agents, and is experienced in representing Sellers & Buyers with Single Family Homes, Residential 1-4 units, Foreclosures, Short Sales, Probates, Investments, Leasing, Property Management, Finance, VA Loans. John is also a Certified Relocation Specialist and has represented several of the largest corporate relocation companies in the U.S. John holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management & Mass Communications and lives with his family in Dripping Springs. Contact John at 512-829-4805.

 

Jenna Moore - Mallett Integrity Team Real EstateJenna Marie Moore joined the Mallett Integrity Team in 2015. Graduating from Texas A&M University in 2008 with a degree in Animal Science, Jenna brings a unique combination of skills to our team. Using her strong background in sales, marketing and Ranch Management, she offers a large range of expertise to her clients. Jenna lives on a ranch outside Dripping Springs with her husband and son. She is an avid horsewoman and animal lover. In 2013 she qualified and competed at the Ram Texas Circuit Finals achieving a lifelong goal. Jenna approaches each endeavor with determination, business sense and an innovative mindset.

 

The Austin Housing Bubble – Myth vs. Fact

BUZZ VS. FACT
There’s been some buzz about what some are calling the “Austin housing bubble” lately. But is the Austin real estate market really a housing bubble? And, if so, is this bubble is poised for a crash? The economic experts say, “no,” and here’s why. Real estate bubbles are driven by speculation. Prices rise not because demand for housing is increasing, but because buyers believe prices will continue to rise in the near future, increasing the value of their investment and presenting the potential to “flip” properties quickly. That type of speculation is not Austin’s current housing demand.

POPULATION AND JOB GROWTH: KEYS TO A HEALTHY MARKET
In Austin today, housing demand is being driven by population growth. According to Austin City Demographer Ryan Robinson, there are 110 people moving to the Austin area everyday and our unemployment rate in August 2014 was 4.6 percent, which is 1.5 percent below the national average.

Austin Housing Bubble Myth or Fact?Our population is growing and new residents have jobs, which means demand for homes is increasing. And, as we know, prices rise with demand, especially when supply is low, like it is here. Population growth and job growth have always been the foundations of a healthy market and those two factors – not speculation – are driving price increases in Austin real estate.

LENDING STANDARDS HAVE CHANGED
Due to the housing crash last decade, lending standards for homeowners are some of the most stringent seen in recent years, so only those who can afford a home have access to the financing to buy it.

S Congress St Bridge AustinSO, IS AUSTIN OVERVALUED? NO!
Recent reports paint an incomplete picture of the Austin market. They use only ratios comparing income to rents or home prices, leaving out the two key variables of job growth and population growth. Without understanding how increased population and availability of jobs affects demand for real estate, a market can’t be properly valued.

TALK TO YOUR REALTOR®
In short, the price increases seen for Austin-area real estate in recent years are driven by increased demand among those who want to live in our great city, not unfounded speculation. That makes them part of a healthy real estate market. 

Our team of real estate experts would be happy to talk with you about your options and help you decide what’s best for you in your current housing situation given our current market. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or call 512-829-2062.

Download the full PDF version of this article from the Austin Board of Realtors® here.

ABOUT THE AUSTIN BOARD OF REALTORS®
The Austin Board of REALTORS® builds connections through the use of technology, education and advocacy to strengthen the careers of its 9,000+ members and improve the lives of Central Texas families.The Austin Board of REALTORS® empowers Austin REALTORS® to connect their clients to the region’s most complete, accurate and up-to-date listings data. For more, visit AustinHomeSearch.com.

How to Buy a Home in 6 Easy Steps

How to Buy a Home in 6 Easy Steps

1) Get Ready for Home Ownership

  • Build a good credit history
  • Get mortgage pre-approval
  • Find out what type of mortgages you quality for
  • Consider hiring an attorney to review all contracts and agreements associated with the home buying process
  • Save up for a down payment (typically 10-20% of property’s value; if FHA-qualified, then possibly less)
    • Consider closing costs which can include taxes, attorney’s fees, and transfer fees
    • Consider utilities and monthly bills, such as homeowner’s assessments

2) Find a Real Estate Professional

  • Get a referral from friends, family, and work colleagues, or search realtor.com® and look for real estate yard signs and advertisements
  • Ask the real estate professionals you interview about buyer’s representation contracts and agreements; make sure you understand the terms
  • Explain your needs and expectations to the real estate professional you choose to work with

3) Find the Right Property

  • Determine what is important to you, such as particular schools, neighborhood amenities, monthly mortgage payment, public transportation, walkability, etc.
  • Make sure you include home owner’s assessments, utilities, and taxes when calculating the monthly mortgage payment

4) Finance the Property

  • Contact your mortgage broker or lender
  • The lender or attorney will run a title search to ensure there are no clouds on the title
  • Make sure you understand the financing terms—ask the lender for clarification, if needed

5) Make an Offer

  • Ensure the property is inspected by a licensed home inspector
  • Acquire title insurance
  • Make sure the title is clear, or make your offer contingent upon title clearance
  • Read all contracts before signing—make sure you understand all of the terms, ask questions
  • Place a competitive bid and be prepared to make a counter-offer
  • Keep your credit score stable and in-check by waiting to purchase any big-ticket items until long after the closing
  • Only one offer will result in a sale, so be prepared to move on if your offer is not accepted

6) Closing and Life After the Big Purchase

  • Protect your new asset by obtaining insurance such as homeowner’s, flood, disaster, and fire
  • Weatherproof your new home
  • Maintain files—digital or print—for all warranties, insurance documents, contracts, etc.
  • Keep original closing documents in a safe place, preferably outside the home (such as a safety deposit box)
  • Set up utilities bills in your name, maintain files
  • Implement desired aesthetic changes such as painting, minor construction, and re-flooring
  • Set a move date and hire movers or plan a move party with your friends
  • Get to know your neighbors and explore your new neighborhood
  • If you’re happy with the work of your real estate professional, be sure to recommend her/him to friends and family

Ready to buy a home in the Dripping Springs or Southwest Austin area? The Mallett Integrity Team specializes in this area, is connected to the community, knows the market here, and we even live here ourselves! Don’t trust one of your biggest investments to just anyone – contact us and see how we can help you!

Mortgage Rates are Down – What does that mean for you?

The Facts: Mortgage Rates Are Down

Earlier this year, it was anticipated that rates would be higher now than they are.  However, despite a slight increase in rates over the summer, the current rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 4.19 percent according to Freddie Mac.

What is the mystery behind these historically low rates and what does this mean if you’re looking to buy or sell now?

mortgage-rates-v2

The aha: Don’t Wait to Buy or Sell. Rates Are Expected to Rise

Mortgage rates are more than just the interest rate on a homeowner’s mortgage. Understanding how they are determined and what affects them can help your clients make more informed real estate decisions. Many people think mortgage rates are controlled by the Federal Reserve and can be arbitrarily turned up or down at any given time. While the Fed affects the rates, it does not act alone. Here are the five main factors that affect mortgage rates:

1. Federal Reserve Policy.  There are two actions the Fed can take that affect interest rates.  First, the Federal Reserve can change the Federal Funds Rate by altering short-term treasury securities investment levels. When the Fed purchases more bonds, mortgage rates tend to go down and vice versa.  When the Fed talks about raising interest rates, they are talking about the Federal Funds Rate, which is the rate banks charge each other to borrow money (known more commonly as interbank lending). Currently the Federal Funds Rate is practically at zero percent and has been there for a while. The Fed has stated that this rate is likely to rise within the next year.

The second action the Fed takes that affects interest rates is the purchasing of assets, such as long-term treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities, which historically has not been part of monetary policy. However, the Fed has been slowly reducing its purchases of these types of assets and has stated it will cease all purchase activities next month.

2. Bond and Treasury Investments. Bond purchases are not exclusive to the Federal Reserve. Private investors can also purchase bonds. When more bonds are purchased, prices rise and the yield (the amount of return an investor will realize on a bond) goes down. This matters because mortgages are essentially bonds and their rates compete with the rates of other investments. If the interest rate on bonds decreases, that downward pressure is applied to mortgage rates and they fall as well. Recent increased purchases of these short-term investments are likely due in part to the volatility in foreign markets, which is driving funds into U.S. treasuries, thus lowering the yield. As global affairs stabilize, money is likely to move out of U.S. markets and drive interest rates up.

3. Mortgage-Backed Securities. A mortgage-backed security is an investment tied to mortgages. Private banks sell mortgages to Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), which then bundle multiple loans and sell them to investors as mortgage-backed securities. These long-term investments affect the market because as demand increases, banks have incentive to create more supply, which puts downward pressure on interest rates.

4. Housing Market Activity. When the housing market is strong, there is more demand for home loans and banks can charge higher rates. This is a classic example of supply and demand. The current housing market is balanced and healthy with indicators pointing toward more development in the future.

5. Current U.S. Economic Climate. When the economy is strong, people have more money to spend. Slow economic activity at the beginning of 2014 coupled with the fact that inflation levels remain below the target of 2 percent, have likely had some downward effect on mortgage rates by boosting the real return of given nominal rates. The economy is expected to continue a steady pace for the remainder of 2014.

Although it may be tempting to wait for rates to fall, there is no guarantee they will. Historically, rates have been much higher and most indicators suggest they will rise soon. Compared with the average 30-year rate from 1990-2004 of 6.7 percent, 4.1 percent doesn’t look bad. Although there are no guarantees, evaluating and understanding the five factors above will allow you to provide an informed prediction as to which way interest rates will shift.

Taken from http://blog.kw.com/2014/10/06/mortgage-rates-are-down-what-does-that-means-for-your-clients-q3-2014/ View the full article here. 

A Dry Foundation is a Happy Foundation – 4 Tips

4 Tips to Keep Your Foundation Dry & Happy

With how the recent droughts & how dry it typically is in Texas, one of the last things you may be thinking about is how to keep your foundation dry to protect it during the Fall/Winter months. However, keeping water away from your home’s foundation is an important part of maintaining your home’s structural integrity. Water can cause soils to expand and contract as well as do damage to the interior of the home should it flood. With all the wonderful rain we’ve been getting lately (and typically get during the Fall/Winter) we thought we’d share a few tips with you to be sure your home & foundation stays dry and happy. 4 Tips to Keep Your Foundation Dry and Happy

  1. Keep your gutters clean and make sure downspouts will divert water to a place where it can drain away.
  2. If your home is equipped with a sump pit you may want to install a pump, or if you have a pump make sure it is operating properly.
  3. If you have a basement and it has a drain, be sure it is clear in the event that you have an interior water leak, such as a broken pipe.
  4. Try to determine how rainwater from landscaping will drain. If you have landscape borders next to the concrete, they will act as dams holding the runoff water in the soil. There should be openings in the borders to allow any accumulated water to drain.

These are just a few places to start getting your home ready for the cooler/rainier months ahead. For more suggestions for your specific situation be sure to contact a licensed, local professional.