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

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!

Austin Market Update – July 2016

Rather watch than read? Click the Image for the video!
Rather watch than read? Click the Image for the video!

The Austin Board of Realtors just released the official numbers for the month of July and in the City of Austin, the average sales price hit $345,000 in July 2016, a 4.6 percent increase from last year, while the number of homes sold in July declined by 7.3 percent. Housing inventory rose slightly from 2.1 months in July 2015 to 2.4 months in July 2016 and homes spent four more days on the market than the previous year.

What do those numbers mean? Well, home values in Central Texas continue to increase, which is great news for homeowners, but I believe those rising prices are starting to have cooling effect on the number of homes sold because of affordability. Home buyers, especially first time home buyers are being pushed further and further from Central Austin because they can’t afford the high prices. This will effect demand in Austin which should slow rising home values in Austin.
If you want to know more about the market in Williamson County, check out this post. If you have any questions about real estate or are thinking of buying a home, drop me a note or call me and I’d be happy to help!

What is the BEST Open House Question?

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Rather Watch Than Read? Click Image for Video!
  • Ask the WHY, not the WHAT
  • Get the Sellers’ Insight

Every weekend, thousands of people leave their air conditioned homes to visit open houses. If you are going to give up a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to look at houses, I’m sure you want it to be profitable – useful – and feel like your time was worth it (Are you thinking of a move? I can make it easier – Let’s Connect!). If you want your open house visits to be as valuable as possible, you need to ask the right questions. What is the most common question I get at an open house? I already answered that in this blog post. 

The best questions will always focus on information you can’t find in a flyer or MLS listing – they will focus on the hidden details. So, what is the best question to ask? I couldn’t narrow it down to only one so here are the top two:

What do the sellers like MOST about this home?

The answer to this question can be very valuable because it will often highlight something about the home of area that you would be very hard to convey or understand unless you are actually at the home. Maybe the sellers love the floor plan or the neighborhood. Maybe they like the schools or the back yard has an amazing sunset view that you could never truly appreciate unless you saw the backyard for yourself. The answer could be any number of things, but it is most likely something that you would never learn from a flyer, MLS listing or the information I have already shared in social media leading up to my open house (Follow me on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube!).

The second best question to ask is…

Why are the sellers moving?

If you read my other post, you know that this is also the most common question I get at an open house. It is also a very good question that I recommend you ask on a visit to an open house. This is information that probably only the agent knows and it can be super helpful. The reasons the seller is moving is moving might be the same reasons that the home wouldn’t be a good fit for you but you haven’t considered yet. Also, maybe the home is a great fit for your needs, but knowing the answer to that question can give you extra insight into the house, neighbors or neighborhood!

If you have any questions about real estate or are thinking of buying a home, drop me a note or call me and I’d be happy to help!

By Kyle PfaffeREALTOR® e: KPfaffe@cityscapepg.com

m: 512-636-9707 w: AustinHomes4You.com