Buy or Sell with Me, Get a Puppy for Free!

Puppy Promo (FINAL)I am excited to announce a new program, “Buy or Sell with Me, Get a Puppy for Free”! As both a pet lover (our family has two dogs – a lab and a German Shepherd) and someone with a passion for helping people Move Smart and find the right home, I saw this program as the perfect combination that fits right into my mission and helps pets find a new home!

This program is in partnership with the Williamson County Animal Shelter and will provide a FREE animal adoption for every person who buys or sells a home with me this summer! I am so happy to work with the Williamson County Animal Shelter to help save pets and work with them to help pets find a new home! If you would like to adopt a pet from the Williamson County Animal Shelter, you can use this program to adopt a pet for FREE! Are you allergic to pets or already have a family full of furry friends? Don’t worry as this program will provide a free adoption for someone else who wants to give a needy pet a home!

The Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is the only shelter solely devoted to the lost and abandoned animals of Round Rock, Cedar Park, Hutto, Leander, and Williamson County. You don’t have to buy or sell a home to help a pet! Visit Pets.Wilco.org for more information on how you can help today!

By your Siena Round Rock Neighborhood REALTOR, Kyle Pfaffe

512.636.9707   kpfaffe@cityscapepg.com

Avoid Buying a Bad House in Austin

You probably know someone who has been duped or tricked before. That’s why you probably have had this eerie feeling/thought in the back of your mind – something doesn’t seem right. Am I going to buy a “bad” house? What is the seller hiding? What is the listing agent hiding? What am I missing? Is there something wrong with this house that I can’t see? What am I missing that is going to cause a nightmare for me in the future?

I help people like you move smart. My job is to protect buyers like you, help them avoid the house they’ve seen(woke up in) in their nightmares and buy the house of their dreams. How can you know you’re not buying a bad house? I recommend three steps to help you avoid buying a lemon of a house.

  1. Visual Inspection. As you are walking through a house, maybe at an open house or showing, look for clues that can tip you off to bigger issues. Small cracks in the walls, ceiling or floor could indicate foundation problems. Spots on the ceiling or marks down a wall could be from water damage. Dirty intake vents could mean the AC system hasnt’ been properly taken care of and needs to be serviced. An overly dirty house could mean an owner hasn’t taken good care of the home in general. None of these automatically mean there are issues but they can point to hidden issues or things you should have checked out.
  2. Check with your Insurance Agent. When you are getting a quote for homeowners insurance, your agent can usually pull a report that shows most claims the current seller has made. For claims that show up, you should check with the seller to verify how the problems were addressed. For example, if a home had water damage from a broken toilet that flooded a bathroom, how did the seller clean up and fix that issue? Your insurance agent can be a huge help. In the notes below is the info for an agent I recommend.
  3. Home Inspection. After you make an offer on a house and the seller accepts, you have what’s called an “option period” to have the house inspected by professionals. General home inspections, termite inspections and foundation inspections are common. You can take their reports, go back to the seller and ask for them to fix certain things. If you can’t agree on repairs, you can walk away from the deal and save most of your money.

A healthy fear of buying a bad house is a good thing – it can make you careful and cautious. If you are thinking about making a move in the Austin area, contact me because I help people like you move smart and avoid the mountain of headaches and the black hole of expenses that can come with buying the wrong house. You can also submit your email address in the column to the right to make sure you get all the tips, tools and advice to help you MOVE SMART.

By Kyle PfaffeREALTOR® e: KPfaffe@cityscapepg.com

m: 512-636-9707 w: MoveSmartAustin.com

The Home Buyer’s Super Bowl – WIN BIG!

The Super Bowl is the grand finale of the NFL season and offers one team the ultimate reward for their meticulous preparation and monumental effort. Everything they have done for the past 6 months has been leading up to this. To the other teams watching, this is just another game. To them, this is the only game. Their focus is intense and their fervor is unmatched.

If you are hoping to buy a home this year, this is your Super Bowl. You are planning and preparing for your moment. In your mind, you are envisioning yourself living in your new home. Relaxing for the first time on your couch in your living room, and enjoying your home is just as rewarding or exhilarating as any player holding up that Lombardi Trophy. This is your Super Bowl, because nothing else matters. Like you, over about 30,000 other people will buy a home in the Austin area this year, but your new home is all that matters. You have worked very hard to get yourself financially ready to buy a home and put yourself in the perfect position to make that dream a reality.

I am going to share with you three quick tips for making sure your Super Bowl is a WIN!

 1.  Preparation. Football teams spending a lot of time scouting out their opponent and practicing their game plan. Bill Belichick once said, “There are no shortcuts to building a team each season. You build the foundation brick by brick.” To buy a house and move smart, you need to build a good foundation and be prepared. Research the costs of buying a home or download my FREE Guide so have enough money. Talk to a lender to find out how much you qualify for and what your payments will be. Visit some open houses to figure out what types of homes and what features are important. Each of these things can save you time and money and can help you WIN in buying your home!

2.  Coaching. It’s been said that “Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their growth.” The teams that play in the Super Bowl all have coaches that have helped their players grow until they’ve reached the top. When you’re buying your home, you need great coaches who you can trust. Your family and friends are not your coaches – they’re your fans. You need a great lender who can do an amazing job and find just the right loan for your financial situation. You also need a real estate agent who can negotiate an awesome deal for you and make sure your interests are protected. The right coaches can help you win!

3.  Execution. Tony Dungy said, “You don’t win on emotion. You win on execution.” For football players, they can practice and have great coaching, but unless they make the play, they won’t win. My advice to you is this: You have a dream to buy a home. You have prepared for this moment. You selected some great coaches to help you win. Stick to the plan. Don’t let your emotion make you offer more than you can afford because you have to have THIS house. Don’t let your emotions make you settle for the wrong house. You have a plan! Follow the plan and you’ll win!

I help people like you find the right house and win. If you want to Move Smart and win, contact me with the information in the notes below and I’ll help you find that perfect house to call your own and enjoy the next Super Bowl in.

Be safe, enjoy the game and good luck in your Home Buying Super Bowl!

By Kyle PfaffeREALTOR® e: KPfaffe@cityscapepg.com

m: 512-636-9707 w: MoveSmartAustin.com

Top 3 SURPRISE Costs of Buying a Home

Some surprises are great! Going to a surprise birthday party. Getting a surprise bonus on your check. Hitting a blind shot onto an elevated green when you were playing golf this weekend and finding your ball 6″ from the hole for your first birdie of the day. THOSE surprises are GREAT! If you’re anything like me, when making a big financial decision, like buying a home, surprises are probably one of the LAST things you want. I want to help you move smart and not be surprised by the costs of buying your next home. Today I’m going to share with you the three expenses of buying a home that most often catch buyers like you by surprise and teach you how to be a step ahead and save when you’re buying your home.
The first surprise expense of buying a home is the cost of inspections. When you agree to a contract with a seller to buy your new home from them, you have a period of time to perform any inspections to make sure the house is in good condition and there are no hidden issues you should know about. Home inspections, termite inspections and foundation inspections are all common for buyers to have performed. The cost of those inspections usually amount to $400 – $500 and, as the buyer, you have to pay for those out of your own pocket. A lot of buyers that I have talked with who are thinking about buying a home don’t anticipate this cost and it can throw them off. To move smart, you need to be prepared for the cost of inspections and have an inspector lined up to perform the right tests on your new home.
A second common surprise cost for home buyers is paying for a survey. What is a survey? A survey is a map of your new home that shows the boundaries of your property, any structures on your land and any important utility lines or other things on your property. Your lender will usually require you to have a survey for the property you are purchasing. Most of the time, the seller you are buying your home from already has a survey from when he bought the home, but sometimes that survey has been lost or too much has changed to the property since the last survey was completed and a new one has to be ordered. You will pay about $450 for a new survey. If that expense comes as a surprise to you when you are buying a home, it can feel like a gut punch – $450 is a lot of money, especially when you feel like these “surprise” costs are adding up. To move smart, before you submit an offer, find out if the seller has a good survey for you to use. If he doesn’t, have your agent negotiate on your behalf to have the seller pay for a new one.
One other surprise expense you need to know about is closing costs. Most buyers I work with have heard of closing costs but know very little about what to expect. They don’t understand what closing costs are, how much they are and what they can do to reduce their closing costs. As a result, they are caught off guard by the estimates their lender gives them or, worst yet, they are floored by the final closing statement they get right before closing! The simplest explanation for closing costs is that they are the lender fees, title fees and pre-paid taxes and insurance you pay at closing, in addition to any down payment you pay. Closing costs usually amount to 2-3% of the price of the home you are purchasing. So if you are purchasing a $300,000 home, closing costs can be as much as $6000 – $9000! That is a HUGE expense if you didn’t plan and prepare for it! To move smart, talk to a lender who can tell you exactly what to expect for closing costs depending on what type of loan you apply for so you can plan and save for that. You can save some on closing costs by working with your agent to negotiating for the seller to pay for some of your closing costs. There are some costs the seller usually expects to pay for but you can end up paying yourself if you don’t negotiate your contract the right way.
These costs are the three biggest surprises for home buyers. For a list of the costs you should expect when buying a home, sign up to receive my FREE Guide: Move Smart by Knowing Your Expenses. I hope this can help you Move Smart! If you are considering buying a home in the Austin area and want to make sure you move smart, contact me and I would be happy to help.

When Is the Best Time to Sell?

Selling your home at the right time could mean you’re moving with an extra $20,000 in your pocket. You know you’re going to sell this year, but knowing when to do that is crucial! Today I’m going to share with you when is the best time to sell your home, but first I’m going to tell you how one family sold smart, timed it right and won big! I was really excited to be working with a family who had outgrown their home and needed to find a bigger place to raise their children. When we met at their home, I knew we could list and sell their home right away, but they would be leaving money on the table. If we waited just a little bit and fixed up a few things in their house, they could sell their home and make the move with a lot more money than they expected. So we developed a plan to make their home more valuable and appealing buyers and determined the ideal time to sell their home to get them the best price. In the end, our plan was a huge success and together we sold their home for $20,000 more than they believed they could! Being able to see this all work out for them and seeing how happy they were is why I love my work! What would you do with an extra $20,000 you could make by selling your home at the right time?

To know when is the best time to sell, we need to look at three trends. We need to understand trends for the number of other homes available and sold each month (SUPPLY & DEMAND), how fast homes sell (VELOCITY) and how much homes sell for compared to the list price (VALUE).

SUPPLY & DEMAND – Number of Homes Available & Sold

Over time, we can see a trend where the number of homes for sale is greatest in June and July and fewest in December and January. This means that if you are selling your home, you have the most competition for buyers in the summer and the least competition in the middle of the winter. The number of homes sold each month will show us demand – more homes sold means more buyers buying. This trend is similar to supply – it usually peaks in June or July and is the lowest in January. Since it usually takes 30-45 days to close, we can assume that the number of buyers actively looking for a home like yours is a little ahead of this curve. The greatest demand is in May and June and the lowest demand is in November and December.

VELOCITY – How Fast Homes Sell

Knowing that supply and demand go up and down at the same time, you might expect the rate at which homes sell to be pretty consistent – WRONG! Homes are on the market for the least amount of time in April and May and that number gradually increases through the Summer and Fall, peaking during the holiday months. Remember the length of time it takes to close a home – 30-45 days – that means that homes that sell the fastest are probably listed for sale in March or April and close in April or May. I’m guessing you can start to see all the information coming together, but let’s look at one last thing.

VALUE – How Much Homes Sell For Versus List Price

The ratio of a home’s sale price to the price the owners listed it for is in some ways a combination of all the numbers we already looked at – supply, demand and velocity. Over the past few years, sellers are accepting the lowest offers compared to their listing price in January. That ratio climbs sharply to peak in April, declines slightly through the summer and then drops off in the fall.

I’m sure you’re a smart seller and can see the answer for yourself. They seem to indicate that the best time to sell your home to get the most amount of money is in March or April. The number of homes for sale is starting to grow but the number buyers looking at homes like yours is growing much faster – many people want to beat the summer rush. As a result, homes are selling faster and closer to their list price.

If you are thinking about selling, you really need to know how these trends are reflected in just your neighborhood. I made a FREE GUIDE for figuring out the best time for your neighborhood and included a few extra warnings about things to avoid. You can receive that for free by clicking HERE.

If you are at all thinking about selling your home and want to do this the smart way and make sure you get the most money you can, give me a call and I can show you how you could make that extra $20,000 on the sale of your home. Even if you have no choice about when you sell your home, there are other things you can do to make sure you get the most value.

Anyways, I hope this REAL ANSWER can make you a smarter homeowner. Enter your email in the column to the right to sign up to receive more REAL ANSWERS because the right answer can help you no matter when you decide to sell your home. You can also submit your own questions for me to answer. This is Real Estate and that’s the REAL ANSWER!