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Don’t Sleep on Austin’s Suburbs

After a white-hot seller’s real estate market this summer, things are slowly cooling down to more of a ‘normal’ seller’s market in Austin. While home sales in the greater Austin area have, for the time being, somewhat stagnated, sales in the suburbs have soared. Take a look at some of the fastest-growing ‘burbs in Austin!

1. Round Rock

Round Rock is no stranger to national ‘best places to live’ lists. Year to date, pricing in Round Rock (78664 and 78665) has increased 44%, with a current average price of ~$450,000. Contributing factors include highly rated schools, easy I-35 access, and major employers like Dell, Kalahari, Round Rock Outlets, Baylor Scott & White, and Round Rock ISD.

2. Hutto

2020 was a great year for Hutto. What used to be widely considered as a ‘far east’ suburb is now a booming Austin ‘burb thanks to Highway 130 growth, new subdivisions, and new business developments. Year to date, Hutto home prices increased 42%. The average home price in Hutto today is ~$397,000.

3. Pflugerville

Five years ago, Pflugerville was an investor gold mine with the average single-family home costing $262,000. Since then, new residential neighborhoods and modern commercial shopping and dining centers like Stone Hill and Falcon Point have contributed to Pflugerville’s rapid growth. Year to date, Pflugerville has increased 39% with an average price today of ~$425,000.

Bonus: Keep an Eye on Kyle

While the north burbs are currently getting plenty of attention from homebuyers and investors alike, don’t sleep on the south suburb of Kyle, TX. Year to date, Kyle has shown a ~31% pricing increase, and that is not expected to slow anytime soon.

Current and upcoming major developments include Plum Creek (read more here and here) and employers like Seton Hospital, Amazon Distribution Center, HEB, and Lowes. With its proximity to both Austin and San Antonio, Kyle is well-poised to become a logistics hub for both cities which has a direct effect on property values as growth continues.

If you’re in the market to invest, buy a home, or sell a home in Austin, let’s talk! I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

October 22, 2021

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Austin, TX Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Temperatures in Austin are starting to show signs of fall. As the heat fades there’s no better time to check off some home maintenance items before Austin enters another unpredictable winter! Take a look below at a few must-do fall home maintenance tasks.

1. Add or Clean Out Gutters

Many homes in Austin do not add gutters at the time of building. Given the rain level we tend to see in the fall and winter months, adding gutters to your home is a smart upgrade. Gutters can route water away from your roofline to prevent seepage into your home, as well as protect against erosion near the foundation. If you already have gutters, fall is a great time to get them cleaned out and if needed, adjusted for proper drainage.

2. Change All Air Filters

Anyone who has bought a home with Homespace has heard that you need to make changing air filters a priority. HVAC systems are one of the most expensive components to replace in a home. The #1 thing homeowners can do to increase HVAC longevity is to regularly change the air filters. If you can’t remember the last time you changed your filters, it’s been too long! While you’re at it, schedule an HVAC tuneup to ensure your system is running smoothly and ready for winter.

Pro tip: Use a program like Second Nature to automatically receive correctly sized air filters for your home on a schedule of your choosing.

3. Inspect the Roof

There have been several bouts of hail over the last year which can negatively affect roofs. Damaged or old shingles can degrade and cause leaks when heavy rains hit. Many companies offer free roofing inspections, so this is an easy one to check off your maintenance list!

 

These are just a few tips that can help maintain your home. Regular maintenance will almost always save homeowners money in the long run, and at the very least can alert you to potential upcoming expenses. If anyone one this newsletter is ever in need of a specific contractor referral, please reach out!

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please  reach out any time!

September 27, 2021

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Pandemic Housing Trends to Watch

The pandemic has impacted real estate markets around the globe, and as time goes on we’re able to get a stronger grasp on how homeowner priorities have shifted. Here are a few trends to keep an eye on, and one consideration to keep in mind down the line.

1. Suburbs > Cities

For many, COVID-19 made lack of space unbearable. While a one-bedroom loft in the center of downtown was once a popular request, many homebuyers now prefer larger homes with more space and don’t mind being further from the city as commutes are less of a requirement.

2. Outdoor Space

Pre-COVID, outdoor space was a frequent nice-to-have amenity but would be the first item to compromise on if the rest of the house was perfect. Now, more buyers are placing a stronger emphasis on having privacy, spacious yards, and room to add patios, decks, and pools.

3. Home Office

Even before the pandemic hit, home offices were becoming more in demand with buyers and were often available as add-ons with home builders. COVID-19 sped up the popularity and necessity of home offices, and it’s now a must-have for many buyers.

Keep in Mind. . . 

If you’re contemplating a move outside the city, make sure you take a moment to consider multiple scenarios for the future. While work from home is currently a norm, no one knows for certain whether flexible policies will be here to stay in a post-pandemic world.

To avoid buyer’s remorse, weigh priorities like commute time and neighborhood convenience for both today’s reality and what your day-to-day might look like a few years from now.

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

August 25, 2021

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The Fastest Growing Suburbs in Austin

As home prices rise and work-from-home becomes normalized, many homebuyers are turning their eyes away from skyscrapers and towards the suburbs. Take a look at the list below for some of the fastest-growing suburbs in Austin!

Note: All YTD pricing as of June 2021

Round Rock/Georgetown

  • Ranked in the top #14 in the US to buy a house and #20 in the US for best public schools
  • Easy access to I-35
  • Median home price $422,500 (YTD)

Leander

  •  New development, Northline just began construction. Northline will have 115-acres of mixed-use development including apartments, offices, hotel space, retail, and parks
  • Highly rated schools
  • Median home price $480,000 (YTD)

Manor

  • Proximity to downtown, Domain, airport, and major employers Samsung and Tesla all 15-20 minutes
  • East Village project under development less than 10 minutes from Manor. Will include shopping, dining and retail once complete
  • Median home price $328,995 (YTD)

Buda/Kyle

  • Located right in between major cities San Antonio and Austin
  • Multiple new development projects in the works including industrial facilities, hospitals, and 138-acre multi-use project, Plum Creek
  • Median home price $311,758 (YTD)

Affordable housing is becoming scarce in Austin as the median home price continues to increase. If you’re thinking of buying or investing in the Austin area within the next few years, contact me to schedule a free consultation and discuss your options!

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time.

July 12, 2021

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How to Protest Property Taxes in Williamson County, Texas

Spring in Williamson County marks the start of property tax season. If you own property that has increased in market value by at least $1,000 in the last year, you should receive a Notice of Appraised Value from the Williamson County Appraisal District. Halfway down the notice are two numbers; assessed value for last year and proposed assessed value for the current year. Your annual property tax amount owed going forward is based on these numbers.

If you did not receive a Notice of Appraised Value via mail, you can look yours up online by using the official Williamson County Property Search tool

What’s the Difference Between Tax-Assessed Value and Market Value?

Tax-assessed value is what the county determines your property to be worth. Market value is how much an average buyer would pay for your home if it were for sale.

WCAD will attempt to match tax-assessed value as close to market value as they can, but will typically base their number off a general area and will not use neighborhood comps like a Realtor would when marketing your home for sale. All this to say; the values could be much too high or much too low given the non-specific data used.

If you believe that the assessed value shown on your notice does not accurately reflect the market value of your home, you have the right to protest it.

Why Protest My Property Valuation?

When people don’t appeal, WCAD interprets the lack of response as confirmation that their assessed value is correct. This affects all homeowners in a given neighborhood for future years to come. By appealing too-high assessed values, you can help keep property taxes reasonable in congruence with the market value of homes in your neighborhood.

How Do I Protest My Property Taxes?

There are two ways to protest your property tax values.

1. By Mail

At the bottom of your appraisal notice, fill out the ‘Property Value – 2021 Notice of Protest’ form and mail it to the address below. Make sure you list facts and data as to why you believe the assessed value is incorrect.

Williamson Central Appraisal District
625 FM 1460
Georgetown, TX 78626-8050

2. Online

Visit the Williamson County Online Protest Filing page to file your protest online. To file online you will need your online protest passcode and a watermark indicating online eligibility, both of which can be found on your notice. If you have misplaced your notice or did not receive it, you can look it up online with the  Williamson County Property Search tool.

After you file, you should hear back from WCAD about an informal hearing date. The purpose of the hearing is to share your evidence as to why you think your home over-valued on your notice.

Keep in mind that it can take several weeks to several months to hear back about a hearing date after filing your protest. You can schedule your hearing yourself if you’d like to expedite the process. 

Please note that WCAD is in charge of assigning appraised values of homes; they have nothing to do with setting the tax rate itself.

Where Do I Get Evidence for the Market Value of My Home?

  1. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Contact your Realtor to see if they’ll send you an updated CMA with an estimated market value of your home, or conduct your own research.
  2. List and take pictures of any deficiencies in your house. Foundation issues, plumbing failures, etc. can all affect the tax assessed value.
  3. If your home was recently purchased and you paid less than the tax assessed value, bring a copy of your settlement statement to the hearing.

Make sure to review the Protest Procedures Overview for Williamson County before submitting. The deadline to protest property valuations in Williamson County for 2021 is May 17th.

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

April 13, 2021

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So You Want to Buy A House in 2021?

Right now is a crazy time to buy and sell in Austin, Texas. Due to a number of factors (COVID, lumber shortages, new employers moving to Austin, low interest rates, etc.) the Austin real estate market is extremely hot right now. On average, homes are selling 5 – 20% over list price with multiple offers. With this in mind, I’ve prepared a brief “Buyer’s Survival Guide” with some tips for those looking to buy a house in 2021.

  1. Start Early. If you have plans to buy in the next year, email me today. This market is competitive and it may take longer to present a winning offer on a home, even if you are well qualified to buy.
  2. Consider new construction. Almost all new construction is currently sold out in Austin. New phases and sections will open up this Spring, but will likely sell out in the first week or two due to extremely high interest. Many builders are currently taking waitlists and will call names from them on a first come, first serve basis. The earlier you can get on these lists the better as it will take a few months to wait and few more months to build. Contact me for more details; I have connections and direct cell numbers for many home builders in the area!
  3. Save, save, save. Lenders can only issue loans up to the appraised value of a property. When homes sell well over the asking price, cash is needed to cover the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price.  Anything you can do between now and when you’re ready to buy to be able to bring extra funds to the table will help immensely.
  4. Do not wait for prices to go down. The biggest thing I can stress right now is that pricing isn’t likely to slow down. Hopefully, we will soon have more inventory in Austin which will reduce some competition and multiple offer scenarios. However, with new companies relocating to Austin and current home sales driving prices up, a ‘dip’ in Austin’s market is very unlikely.

Current homeowners: If you are thinking of moving out of the Austin area, please contact me. I have several well-qualified buyers who would love to view your home, and now is a great time to pocket extra earnings while the inventory is low and demand is extremely high.

However, if you currently own your home and are planning to stay in Austin and are not yet under contract on a new home, contact me. In this market, I recommend waiting to sell until you are under contract for your new home or have a clear plan of where you’ll stay while you’re looking as we can likely sell your current home far faster than we can contract on a new one.

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

February 13, 2021

Buy | Invest | Resources | Sell

How to Protest Property Taxes in Travis County, Texas

Spring in Travis County marks the start of property tax season. If you own property that has increased in market value by at least $1,000 in the last year, you should receive a Notice of Appraised Value from the Travis County Appraisal District. At the top of the notice are two numbers; assessed value and market value. Your annual property tax amount owed is based on these numbers.

If you did not receive a Notice of Appraised Value via mail, you can look yours up online by using the official TCAD Property Search tool.

What’s the Difference Between Tax-Assessed Value and Market Value?

Tax-assessed value is what the county determines your property to be worth. Market value is how much an average buyer would pay for your home if it were for sale.

TCAD will attempt to match tax-assessed value as close to market value as they can, but will typically base their number off a general area and will not use neighborhood comps like a Realtor would when marketing your home for sale. All this to say; the values could be much too high or much too low given the non-specific data used.

If you believe that the assessed value shown on your notice does not accurately reflect the market value of your home, you have the right to protest it.

Why Protest My Property Valuation?

When people don’t appeal, TCAD interprets the lack of response as confirmation that their assessed value is correct. This affects all homeowners in a given neighborhood for future years to come. By appealing too-high assessed values, you can help keep property taxes reasonable in congruence with the market value of homes in your neighborhood.

How Do I Protest My Property Taxes?

There are two ways to protest your property tax values.

1. By Mail

Download this form, fill it out, and mail it to the address below. Make sure you list facts and data as to why you believe the assessed value is incorrect.

Travis Central Appraisal District
PO Box 149012
Austin TX 78714

2. Online

Visit the Travis County Protest Process page to file your protest online. To file online you will need to create an account using the Owner ID and PIN number found on your notice. If you have misplaced your notice or don’t know your owner ID and PIN, contact TCAD by phone (512-834-9317) or email (CSInfo@tcadcentral.org) to request that info.

After you file, you should hear back from TCAD about an informal hearing date. The purpose of the hearing is to share your evidence as to why you think your home over-valued on your notice.

Keep in mind that it can take several weeks to several months to hear back about a hearing date after filing your protest. Also, please note that TCAD is in charge of assigning appraised values of homes; they have nothing to do with setting the tax rate itself.

Where Do I Get Evidence for the Market Value of My Home?

  1. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). Contact your Realtor to see if they’ll send you an updated CMA with an estimated market value of your home, or conduct your own research.
  2. List and take pictures of any deficiencies in your house. Foundation issues, plumbing failures, etc. can all affect the tax assessed value.
  3. If your home was recently purchased and you paid less than the tax assessed value, bring a copy of your settlement statement to the hearing.

The deadline to protest property valuations in Travis County for 2021 is May 17th.

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

May 5, 2020

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New Real Estate Projects in Austin

If you’ve lived in Austin for a while, you’ll know that the city changes rapidly. From downtown towers to new suburban communities, Austin is growing more every year.

Here’s a spotlight on a couple of new projects in the works in central and east Austin.

A. Natiivo, Downtown

Natiivo is a 33-story tower currently under construction on Rainey Street. The twist with this building is that each unit will come with full amenities, furniture, and hotel licensing. This means that owners will be able to rent out their units short term, or on sites like Airbnb for personal profit. This is an extreme rarity for any condo building; contact me if you’re interested in more details and/or investment potential.

B. 6 X Guadalupe, Downtown

If you thought The Independent, also known as the “Jenga Building” downtown was going to remain the tallest building in Austin, think again! 6X is planned to be 66 stories tall – a full 7 stories taller than its predecessor. The space will be filled with offices, retail, and apartments.

C. Grove at Shoal Creek, Central Austin

The Grove at Shoal Creek is a master-planned community smack dab in the middle of the city. This new Rosedale/Hyde Park development will be 76 acres of housing, retail, green space, and offices.

D. Centro Complex, East Austin

Encompassing a full two blocks between E 5th and E 6th, this new development will be part of East Austin’s Plaza Saltillo district. A 3.25-acre, five-story office and retail space is planned for the space once permitting is completed.

These projects are just a fraction of all the new development happening throughout the Austin-metro area. If you’ve had thoughts of buying a home or planning to invest in Austin’s growing market, contact me and let’s grab a coffee to talk about your options!

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate and am always happy to answer questions.

February 21, 2020

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Austin Investment Hotspots (Fall 2019)

Austin, Texas has been an investor haven for the last two decades or so, with next to endless opportunities to purchase investment properties and rent them out for a profit. With the amount the city has grown in the last few years however, the number of cash flowing properties from the time of purchase has dwindled significantly.

For those willing or able to put a higher down payment (over 20-30%), opportunities are more accessible throughout the city. But for the average investor, the norm is losing a few hundred dollars per month in exchange for having most of the mortgage payment covered as well as anticipating a larger profit margin from home equity when they eventually sell.

The above is a solid strategy for the Austin area, and the most realistic for most homebuyers and investors. For those who really want to buy with 10-20% down and have the entire mortgage payment covered from day one however, there are a few remaining pockets in the Austin area to consider.

1. Round Rock – Multiple Pockets

Of the three on this list, Round Rock currently has the most areas available with potential to yield a positive return. A 3-bedroom, one-story home rents for around $1,575. With a 15% down payment and target purchase price of $220,000, you could earn roughly $100 per month and have your mortgage payment completely covered.

2. Leander – Crystal Falls

Though tax rates are high, Leander has grown rapidly over the last few years with no signs of slowing down. The Crystal Falls area is still heavily under construction from new home builders, and the monthly payment after purchasing many of those homes can be roughly even when marketed for rent. A 3-bedroom, one-story home in this area rents for around $1,750. With a 15% down payment and a target purchase price of $245,000 or less, you’d break just about even and have your mortgage payment completely covered.

3. Bluff Springs – Southpark Meadows

Last on the list is Southpark Meadows, a growing employment hotspot in South Austin. Though opportunities for instant cashflow are incredibly slim, there are still a few homes that pop up from time to time that fit the bill. A 3-bedroom, one-story home in this area rents for around $1,750. With a 15% down payment and target purchase price of $260,000 or less, you could earn roughly $35 per month and have your mortgage payment completely covered.

Please note that the above examples are purely estimates based on today’s mortgage rates and market and are each hypothetical scenarios. If you’re considering purchasing a property in Austin, please contact me! I’m always happy to talk numbers and work with your budget to find an investment strategy that makes sense for you.

I’d love to be your resource for all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

September 25, 2019

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‘Hacking’ Home Equity in Austin, TX

The Austin real estate market isn’t slowing down. Both home prices and rent hikes are on the continual rise, incentivizing more and more renters to buy their first place. Buying into a real estate market while prices are rising opens the opportunity to gain equity in a home relatively quickly. This means a higher profit for you when you eventually sell.

In addition to rising prices, Austin is also in an inventory shortage. This means that the demand for new homes is very high, which is bringing more home builders into the city. The inventory shortage and influx of builders has created a unique opportunity to ‘hack’ some extra home equity.

Six #homespacehomebuyers are currently under contract doing just this, and I’d love to help more of you do the same!

Here’s how it works:

Instead of buying an existing home, talk to me about purchasing a brand new house in one of the new home communities currently going up in Austin. The big advantage of this is that a new home takes 6-8 months to build.

Why is this a good thing? Because the purchase price for the home is locked in at the time of contract. This means that for 6-8 months you can be ‘collecting equity’ as the market appreciates, yet you don’t pay anything other than earnest money on the home until you close on it.

The reality for several of my clients is that by the time closing date rolls around, they’re moving into a brand new home with a few thousand dollars of equity already in their pocket.

Of course, this isn’t the right move for everyone. If you’re locked in on a certain location that doesn’t have much new construction or want to live in a non-HOA neighborhood, traditional home sales are still the way to go. But for those who have some flexibility on location, it’s definitely worth looking into.

I’d love to be your resource on all things real estate, so please reach out any time!

July 24, 2019