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March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin area home sales hold steady in March

Central Texas REALTORS® remain cautiously optimistic during COVID-19 pandemic

AUSTIN, Texas – Local shelter-in-place orders that went into effect on March 24 had little impact on March home sales, according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) latest Central Texas Housing Market Report.

In March, residential sales in the five-county Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) increased 2.2% year over year to 3,042 sales and median price jumped 11.7% year over year to $335,200. Monthly housing inventory declined 0.7 months year over year to 1.6 months of inventory, and average days on market decreased from 65 days to 54 days.

“For most of March, it was still ‘business as usual,’ and REALTORS® adapted early to continue serving homebuyers and sellers safely,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “Declines in listing activity and pending residential sales in March indicate that we won’t begin to see the true impact of COVID-19 on the housing market until our April report.”

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Last month, new listings decreased 12.7% to 3,770 listings; active listings dropped 26.6% to 4,908 listings; and pending sales decreased 19.2% to 2,852 pending sales.

Although COVID-19 has shifted the way real estate business is conducted, closings and home sales have not been negatively impacted thus far, Lea Holubec, senior vice president of education and training for Heritage Title of Austin, said.

“The approach to closing a home looks very different right now, but activity has not dipped,” Holubec said. “Homebuyers should be prepared for the closing process to take longer than usual due to COVID-19 safety precautions and be ready for additional employment verifications at closing, or even after closing, which many lenders are now requiring.”

“Like REALTORS®, sellers should remain cautiously optimistic during this time. Austin-area homebuyers are still looking to buy homes, and fewer homes on the market means stronger demand and increased visibility for your property,” Manzanilla said. “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we’re still in a seller’s market and sellers should be encouraged to list their homes.”

City of Austin

In March, the median price for residential homes in the city of Austin rose 14% year over year to $415,000, an all-time high for any month on record. Residential home sales remained flat at 985 sales, while total sales dollar volume experienced a double-digit increase of 11.2% year over year to $503,132,316 last month. During the same period, new listings decreased 7.5% to 1,299 listings; active listings dropped 27.8% to 1,237 listings; and pending sales dipped 18.3% to 922 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.2 months of inventory.

Travis County

At the county level, residential home sales slightly increased 0.4% to 1,545 sales and sales dollar volume increased 11.8% to $783,614,704. The median price for residential homes jumped 15.1% year over year to $397,250. During the same period, new listings decreased 12.6% to 2,004 listings; active listings decreased 30.5% to 2,277 listings; and pending sales decreased 22.6% to 1,393 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.7 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory.

Williamson County

In Williamson County, March residential home sales increased 0.4% to 1,007 sales and sales dollar volume increased 5.2% to $327,850,432. The median price for residential homes increased by 6.8% to $293,805. New listings declined 11% to 1,202 listings and active listings dropped 28.8% to 1,520 listings. Pending sales decreased 19.9% to 976 pending sales and housing inventory declined 0.8 months year over year to 1.5 months of inventory.

Hays County

In March, Hays County residential home sales increased 16.5% to 381 sales and sales dollar volume jumped 29% to $133,789,771. The median price for residential homes increased by 11.8% to $285,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 17.6% to 404 listings and active listings dropped 21.3% to 704 listings. Pending sales slightly decreased 6% to 359 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.8 months to 2.1 months of inventory.

Bastrop County

In Bastrop County, residential home sales remained flat at 77 home sales, while sales dollar volume increased 13.7% to $20,306,295. The median price for residential homes slightly increased 3.7% to $239,950. During the same period, new listings spiked 27.8% to 124 listings; active listings rose 16.1% to 324 listings; and pending sales jumped 20.7% to 105 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 3.3 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, March residential home sales remained flat at 29 sales, while sales dollar volume spiked 33.8% to $8,153,889. The median home price increased 18.7% year over year to $237,450. During the same period, new listings decreased 23.3% to 33 listings, while active listings increased 15.6% to 89 listings. Pending sales dropped 21.9% to 25 pending sales. Housing inventory rose 0.1 months to 3.4 months of inventory.

For more information, and to download the March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit https://www.abor.com/statsmar20/. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors March 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

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Austin Counts – 2020 Census

Why the Census Matters

The census is a population count required by the U.S. Constitution once every 10 years, to count every resident – regardless of origin or legal status – in the United States. The census counts everyone living in the country in order to provide an accurate population count that is used as the basis for reapportioning congressional seats, redistricting at all governmental levels, and determining how to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funding annually among the states and communities for the next 10 years. These federal dollars support our local schools, healthcare services, transportation infrastructure and systems, and much more.

Data from the 2020 census will set the foundation for important federal, state, and local changes that will impact REALTORS® for the next decade.

What’s at Risk?

Being undercounted by even one percent in 2020 is estimated to cost Texas at least $300 million a year in lost federal funding. The United Way of Greater Austin estimates that in Central Texas, a one percent undercount of the population could translate to $25 million in lost revenue per year. That means Central Texas could lose at least $250 million in federal funding over the next 10 years.

“If you’re marketing your town as a great place to live with plenty of reliable services and amenities, the 2020 census should matter to you.” – National Association of REALTORS®

Here’s What You Need to Know

Three Ways to Respond

By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:

  • Online.
  • By phone.
  • By mail.

In mid-March, households will begin receiving official Census Bureau mail with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census. Taking the Census is easy, learn more about completing the 2020 Census.

What to Expect

🗓️ March 12–20: Invitations Mailed. An invitation to complete the 2020 Census online will be mailed to every household.

🗓️ March 16–24: Reminder Letters. A reminder letter will be mailed to complete the 2020 Census.

If you haven’t responded yet:

🗓️ March 26–April 3: Reminder Postcards. A reminder postcard will be mailed.

🗓️ April 8–16: Hard Copy Census Mailed. Another reminder letter and paper questionnaire will be mailed.

🗓️ April 20–27: Final Postcards Mailed. A final reminder postcard will be mailed before an in-person follow-up.

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Be the Source of the Source

Learn more about the 2020 U.S. Census by visiting 2020Census.gov. Get the facts, learn how to respond, understand why your response matters, take the pledge, and learn how you can help get a complete and accurate count.

Get involved locally through the Austin-Travis County Census 2020 efforts to achieve a full and complete count for Central Texas. Learn how the 2020 Census could impact your community and how you can get involved in your neighborhood to help get a complete count.

All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors 2020 Census Guide for the Austin area.

 

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February 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

February housing sales strong, REALTORS® adapt amid COVID-19

Historically low interest rates add another variable to housing market

AUSTIN, Texas – The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) February 2020 market analysis showed a 6.8% increase in residential home sales in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and a 12.8% increase in median sales price to $327,140. While sales increased from 2,363 homes in February 2019 to 2,524 homes last month, new listings decreased 11.8% year-over-year, and inventory dropped to 1.5 months of inventory, painting the picture of Austin’s historically competitive housing market and high demand. With the impact of COVID-19 beginning to take hold, it’s uncertain how social distancing will affect the way the market continues to operate.

“Historically low interest rates are a driver in the market response we saw in February and will continue to act as a driver despite our shared concerns over the impact of COVID-19 in our community,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said.

Manzanilla said there are a number of tools and best practices that ensure REALTORS® can continue to serve Central Texas home buyers and sellers safely as we all make changes to accommodate the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.

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“REALTORS® will work to provide a new homebuying and selling experience in these times. Expanded visual libraries, interactive floor plans and virtual tours are tools that matter more than ever in this climate. The housing market is absolutely still open for business, but the business of real estate is evolving like we all are through this experience,” Manzanilla concluded.

Austin’s economy and housing market could be well positioned to minimize the potentially negative impact of COVID-19, Mark Sprague, state director of information capital for Independence Title, said.

“Austin’s economy has diversified and strengthened over the past two decades. This leads me to be optimistic that our region is in a strong position to withstand economic downturns that may have a greater impact nationally,” Sprague said. “Effects will still be felt, especially by those who depend on each paycheck to pay their bills and provide for their families, and that cannot be discounted.”

According to Sprague, despite the current uncertainty, buyers are still eager to close sales in Austin.

 

“Current indicators are that Austin’s housing market remains strong and competitive. Any decrease in inventory would only increase competitiveness in our market. Overall, Austin’s economy and housing market look to be resilient during this uncertain time. Once COVID-19 subsides, there is a potential for even more investment by employers in the Austin market, and I would expect those looking for a more affordable cost of living compared to other major U.S. metropolitan areas will still look to move to and buy homes in Austin,” he concluded.

Austin-Round Rock MSA

In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, the median sales price for February 2020 was $327,140, an increase of 12.8% from February 2019. February residential home sales dollar volume increased 21% to $1,027,245,686. During the same period, new listings decreased 11.8% to 2,925 listings, and active listings decreased 29.4% to 4,534 listings. However, pending sales jumped 10.9% to 3,137 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory declined 0.7 months year over year to 1.5 months of inventory. Across the five-county MSA there were 2,524 closed sales.

 

City of Austin

High demand across the city and limited inventory pushed the median price for residential homes to $395,000, a 14% increase from February 2019. Residential home sales increased 3.3% to 857 sales and total sales dollar volume increased by 18.1% year over year to $417,071,623 last month. During the same period, new listings decreased 5.6% to 1,032 listings; active listings dropped 34% to 1,072 listings; however, pending sales rose 4.5% to 999 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.6 months year over year to 1.0 month of inventory.

Travis County

At the county level, residential home sales increased 8.8% to 1,301 sales and sales dollar volume increased by 22% to $613,634,673. The median price for residential homes increased 13.2% year over year to $376,500. During the same period, new listings decreased 13.6% to 1,550 listings, while active listings decreased 35% to 2,022 listings. However, pending sales increased 9.4% to 1,615 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.7 months year over year to 1.3 months of inventory.

 

Williamson County

In Williamson County, February residential home sales increased 4.7% to 851 sales; sales dollar volume experienced a double-digit increase of 13.3% to $277,257,487. The median price for residential homes increased by 6.8% to $293,600. New listings declined 16.9% to 863 listings, while active listings decreased 33.7% to 1,398 listings. Pending sales increased 7.1% to 991 pending sales and housing inventory declined 0.9 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory.

Hays County

In February, Hays County residential home sales increased 3.9% to 270 sales and sales dollar volume jumped 37.6% to $110,763,712. The median price for residential homes increased by 9.6% to $285,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 4.4% to 351 listings and active listings dropped 17.6% to 700 listings. Pending sales spiked 23.7% to 397 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.7 months to 2.1 months of inventory.

Bastrop County

 

In Bastrop County, residential home sales remained flat at 77 home sales, while sales dollar volume increased 13.7% to $20,306,295. The median price for residential homes slightly increased 3.7% to $239,950. During the same period, new listings spiked 27.8% to 124 listings; active listings rose 16.1% to 324 listings; and pending sales jumped 20.7% to 105 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 3.3 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, February residential home sales spiked 47.1% to 25 sales, and sales dollar volume jumped 40.4% to $5,379,315. The median home price decreased 9.6% year over year to $201,000. During the same period, new listings spiked 85% to 37 listings; active listings increased 18.4% to 90 listings; and pending sales rose by 38.1% to 29 pending sales. Housing inventory rose 0.3 months to 3.5 months of inventory.

For more information, and to download the February 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit www.abor.com/statsfeb2020.

The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) is a nonprofit organization that has been serving the needs of Austin REALTORS® and consumers for more than 90 years. ABoR provides technology, education, and advocacy for more than 13,000 members, as well as monthly housing market reports for Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop, and Caldwell counties. ABoR’s market reports include the most accurate multiple listing service (MLS) findings for the Austin area.

For more information, and to download the January 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit www.abor.com/statsjan2020. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors December & Year-End 2019 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

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January 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Steady gains in January home sales signal strong year ahead for Austin area

Housing inventory continues to decline

The first Central Texas Housing Market Report of the year shows steady gains in both home sales and prices across the five-county Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), according to the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR).

Compared to January 2019, residential home sales in the Austin area increased 8.5% to 1,947 sales, and the median price increased 4.8% to $308,000, setting a record for the month of January. Housing inventory––which fell to 1.6 months––was driven to critically low levels across the MSA due to drops in both new and active listings. At the same time, increases in pending sales activity in January could signal further declines in inventory in the year ahead amidst strong housing demand.

“While this January showed significant gains compared to January 2019, the beginning of the year is a traditionally slower time for new and active listings,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “We expect to see a significant increase in activity in the spring when market activity should climb naturally.”

The January 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report also marks a transition to reporting on all residential properties (single-family homes, condos, and townhomes), rather than previous reports reflecting only single-family homes.

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“Austin’s competitive housing market is changing the landscape of traditional homeownership. We’re seeing more homebuyers purchase condos and townhomes in an effort to live closer to the urban core or stay within their budget,” Manzanilla added. “Focusing only on single-family housing leaves out half of the story, especially in the city of Austin where multi-family housing options are not only desired but greatly needed.”

Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of REALTORS®, commented on the Austin area’s continued growth.

“Austin’s engine of job and population growth is not projected to slow down anytime soon,” Yun said. “Looking at other metro areas across the U.S. that have faced similar circumstances, this level of rapid, positive growth will not be sustainable without a continued influx of a variety of housing types and careful transportation planning.”

Manzanilla concluded: “The discussion in Austin at the local level has been around addressing these very issues––diversifying our housing stock so families of all different backgrounds and income levels can afford a place of their own in Austin.”

Austin-Round Rock MSA

In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, residential home sales in January rose 8.5% to 1,947 home sales, with a 9.6% sales dollar volume increase to $726,157,216. During the same period, new listings decreased 14.3% to 2,723 listings, and active listings decreased 24.1% to 4,889 listings. However, pending sales jumped 13.1% to 2,956 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory declined 0.6 months year over year to 1.6 months of inventory.

City of Austin

In the city of Austin, the median price for residential homes experienced a double-digit percent increase of 13.5% year over year to $384,750. Residential home sales increased 0.6% to 638 sales and sales dollar volume increased by 8.2% to $290,628,094. During the same period, new listings decreased 10.6% to 960 listings; active listings dropped 32.5% to 1,099 listings; however, pending sales rose 8.6% to 956 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.5 months year over year to 1.1 months of inventory.

 

Travis County

At the county level, residential home sales slightly increased 2.9% to 1,001 sales and sales dollar volume increased by 3.5% to $431,960,522. The median price for residential homes increased 7.8% year over year to $351,000. During the same period, new listings decreased 14.4% to 1,435 listings, while active listings decreased 28.8% to 2,178 listings. However, pending sales increased 9.1% to 1,481 pending sales. Monthly housing inventory decreased 0.6 months year over year to 1.4 months of inventory.

Williamson County

In Williamson County, January residential home sales increased 11.6% to 654 sales; sales dollar volume had a double-digit percent jump of 15.3% to $202,314,400. The median price for residential homes slightly increased 2% to $279,990. New listings declined 15.1% to 838 listings, while active listings decreased 27.1% to 1,557 listings. Pending sales increased 11.4% to 990 pending sales. Housing inventory declined 0.8 months year over year to 1.5 months of inventory.

Hays County

 

In January, Hays County residential home sales spiked 22.8% to 205 sales and sales dollar volume jumped 22.2% to $67,627,774. The median price for residential homes declined by 2.6% to $255,000. During the same period, new listings dropped 19% to 298 listings, while active listings decreased 15% to 745 listings. Pending sales spiked 29.2% to 354 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.6 months to 2.3 months of inventory.

Bastrop County

In January, Bastrop County residential home sales increased 22.2% to 66 home sales and sales dollar volume sharply increased 42.2% to $18,081,527. The median price for residential homes increased 12.6% to $241,000. During the same period, new listings increased 3.6% to 116 listings; active listings rose 8.6% to 317 listings; and pending sales spiked 28.8% to 94 pending sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.1 months to 3.4 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

In Caldwell County, January residential home sales spiked 50% to 21 sales and sales dollar volume skyrocketed 188.8% to $5,924,220. The median home

 

price sharply increased 62.1% year over year to $232,807. During the same period, new listings increased 9.1% to 36 listings; active listings increased 15% to 92 listings; and pending sales rose by 94.7% to 37 pending sales. Housing inventory rose 0.3 months to 3.7 months of inventory.

For more information, and to download the January 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit www.abor.com/statsjan2020. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors December & Year-End 2019 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

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December & Year-End 2019 Central Texas Housing Market Report

Austin area closes decade with record-breaking $13B in home sales

Single-family home sales increased by 84% since 2010

AUSTIN, TX – While Austin continued to rank high on “Best of U.S.” lists, Central Texas REALTORS® sold more homes in 2019 than any year on record, according to the latest Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) analysis. The December and Year-End 2019 Central Texas Housing Market Report reflects a record-breaking 33,084 home sales and $13,158,737,333 in sales volume.

“Austin’s unprecedented population growth during the past decade has heavily impacted the real estate market. Compared to 2010, home sales in 2019 increased by 84%,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president said. “That type of exponential growth has put enormous pressure on the market, raising the median home price from $193,520 in 2010 to $318,000 in 2019. As we look forward to this year, the market is not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon.”

Austin is one of only eight U.S. metro areas to have fully recovered in the last 10 years to prerecession values, Mark Sprague, state director of information capital at Independence Title, said.

“Austin’s GDP, which grew 117% over the last 20 years, helped the real estate market recover from the recession,” he said. “The closest metro out of the top 50 in the U.S. to see this type of growth was Silicon Valley, which grew its GDP by 99% during the same period.”

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Austin-Round Rock MSA

In the Austin-Round Rock MSA—now the 30th largest U.S. metropolitan area—the median price for single-family homes increased by 2.6% to $318,000 in 2019. During the same period, sales increased by 7.2% to 33,084 sales. New listings for the five-county MSA increased year over year by 1.4% to 39,309 listings in 2019. Active listings decreased 4.3% to 6,216 listings, but pending sales increased 10.5% to 33,976 pending sales.

Sprague said every real estate channel in the Austin metro—from homes to warehouses—is doing well, even though not enough inventory is available.

In December 2019, sales volume in the Greater Austin area increased by 9.2% to 2,608 sales, while inventory decreased by 0.5 months to 1.7 months of inventory. Growing demand pushed the median price of a single-family home to $323,000, a 7.1% increase from December 2018.

“If we don’t take action to increase housing supply in Austin, we will continue to see exponential increases in home values,” said Manzanilla. “ABoR continues to advocate for an updated land development code in Austin for exactly this reason—so that folks who want to purchase a home in the area can afford to do so.”

City of Austin

In 2019, Austin’s median home price increased by 5.3% to $395,000 compared to the previous year. During the same period, sales rose by 1.8% to 9,572 homes and sales dollar volume grew 6.9% to $4,678,400,967. In December, the median home price increased 8% year over year to $405,093 and sales increased 8.9% year over year to 738 home sales. Austin’s monthly housing inventory decreased in December from 0.5 months to 0.9 months of inventory.

Travis County

 

In Travis County, the median price for single-family homes grew by 3.6% to $372,000 for 2019 vs. 2018 and sales grew similarly—4.7% to 16,042 sales. The December median home price rose 6.3% year over year to $369,000 and sales increased 8.8% year over year to 1,257 sales. The monthly housing inventory for December dropped by 0.5 months to 1.4 months of inventory.

Williamson County

 

While Williamson County’s median home price increased in 2019 to $287,774, it remains significantly lower than the median in both Travis County and the city of Austin. Single-family home sales in Williamson County increased by 10.5% to 11,797 sales in 2019 compared to 2018. In December, the median home price rose 4.3% year over year to $290,280; sales increased 14.1% to 970 sales. Housing inventory declined 0.5 months year over year to 1.8 months of inventory.

Hays County

In Hays County, the median home price increased by 1.8% to $268,000 in 2019. Sales increased by 6.9% to 3,829 sales. The median home price in December grew 1.5% year over year to $269,000; December sales increased 2.2% to 279 sales. Housing inventory decreased 0.2 months to 2.6 months of inventory.

 

Bastrop County

In 2019, Bastrop County’s median home price increased by 5% to $239,450 in 2019 and sales increased by 12.2% to 1,120 sales. In December, the median home price grew by 2% to $234,500, but sales dropped 3.4% to 86 sales. December’s monthly housing inventory increased by 0.1 months to 3.3 months of inventory.

Caldwell County

Caldwell County’s median home price increased by 11.1% to $199,900 in 2019 and sales increased by 3.9% to 296 sales. In December, the median home price rose 17.1% to $205,000, but sales dropped 23.8% to 16 sales. Monthly housing inventory grew by 0.5 months in December to 3.8 months of inventory.

For more information and to download the December and Year-End 2019 Central Texas Housing Market Report, visit www.abor.com/statsdec19. All information taken from the Austin Board of Realtors December & Year-End 2019 Central Texas Housing Market Report,

 

 

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

Homestead Exemptions: What You Need to Know

Taxes. Nobody likes them; everybody pays them. I’m sure when you considered buying a home you heard about the potential tax savings. Now you own a home and pay your own property taxes. You want to pay as little as you have to, because who would want to pay more? The good news is that you can reduce your property taxes by claiming a homestead exemption!

What is a homestead exemption?

A homestead exemption (HS) removes a slice of your home’s value from being taxed. A homestead is a separate structure, condominium or manufactured home on owned or leased land up to 20 acres. To qualify for a homestead exemption, you must:
  • Own the property
  • Use it as your primary residence as of January 1 of the year in which you are applying
  • The address on your drivers license must match the address you are claiming the HS exemption on.

How much is my homestead exemption?

Texas law requires school districts provide a $25,000 exemption for property tax. So if your home is appraised at $100,000 and you qualify for a homestead exemption, you pay school taxes as if your home was worth $75,000. Taxing units also have the option to offer a separate exemption, which will vary based on where you live. Travis County offers a 20% exemption and Williamson County offers a $3000 exemption for the special tax collected to farm-to-market roads. With your HS exemption, your county cannot raise the appraised value of your home by more than 10% each year, even if the actual value is greater. With the current rate of appreciation for many homeowners, this has saved many people a lot of money over the past few years!

What other exemptions are available?

The most common other exemptions claimed are the Senior Exemption (Over 65), Disabled Exemption and Veteran’s Exemption. Both the Senior Exemption and Disabled Exemption requires school districts to offer an additional $10,000 HS but one cannot qualify for both. When you turn 65, you may also qualify for a “tax ceiling” on your school taxes; that is, the school taxes on your home cannot increase as long as you own and live in that home. The Veteran’s Exemption is available to disable veterans and the surviving dependents and entitles a disabled vet an exemption equal to his service-connected disability, up to 100%. Here is a list of most of HS exemptions.

How do I apply for my homestead exemption?

You can apply for FREE for your HS exemption by completing and turning in the correct form to your local county tax office. For Williamson County, you can also apply online. When you purchase a home, you will likely receive many official looking pieces in the mail offering services to file your HS exemption for you for a fee. THIS IS A SCAM. Please save yourself some money by filing out and mailing in the form yourself! You can apply for your HS exemption from January 1 – April 30 in the year after you purchased your home.

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Homestead Exemption Form for Travis County (FORM)
Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012
Homestead Exemption Form for Williamson County (FORM) or (Fill it out ONLINE)
Mailing Address: 625 FM 1460, Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
Homestead Exemption Form for Hayes County (FORM)
Mailing Address: 21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, Texas 78640
Homestead Exemption Form for Bastrop County (FORM)
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 578, Bastrop, TX 78602