Archive Monthly Archives: September 2007

Austin Rental Market Update – August 2007

The Austin rental market saw rising rental rates again for August 2007, up 2.4% over last year to $1384 per month. Not a rise worth celebrating, but a gain nonetheless. The number of homes rented fell 5% though, from 806 last August to 765 this August. This may be due to fewer renters moving to new rentals in Austin (churn), but I thought some of the first time buyers who are now unable to obtain home loans would have helped create higher demand. It may be that the market already absorbed those buyers over the past 6 years and there are simply none remaining.

Below you’ll find a month by month chart, a year to date, and a history of rental rates in Austin going back to 1999. Next month I’ll provide a quarterly breakdown by area through September 2007. As usual, post any comments or questions and I’ll be happy to answer.

Austin Rental Market Stats August 2007
Previous Month and Year Comparison
All MLS Areas - Houses Only

 
July 2007

Aug 2007

Aug 2006

Yr % Change
# Leased
791
765
806
-5%
Avg List Price
$1385
$1394
$1364
2.2%
Median List Price
$1250
$1225
$1200
2.1%
Avg Leased Price
$1378
$1384
$1352
2.4%
Med Leased Price
$1225
$1225
$1200
2.1%
Avg Size SQFT
1848
1871
1882
-0.6%
Median SQFT
1761
1766
1751
0.9%
Avg $ per SQFT
$0.75
$0.74
$0.72
2.7%
Avg Days on Mkt
37
37
44
-16%
Median Days on Mkt
29
31
34
8.9%

Below is the Year to date breakdown.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Living in an immaculate Austin home for sale

Living RoomAfter many weeks of preparation, Sylvia and I finally have our own home officially on the market and entered into MLS.

Our new home will be ready for move in by December. Summer rain delays put us three months behind in construction, so now we’re stuck trying to sell our current home during the slower season.

This will be the second time we’ve actually lived in a home we are selling, but the first one doesn’t count. That was back in 1999 and we priced it well below market and had a cash offer in less than 12 hours. Our motivations were different that time as we had just stumbled onto a fantastic deal and needed to move very fast. This time, we really want top dollar and have more time.

Given the time of year and the general slowdown of the Austin real estate market, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that the home shows like a model. The preparation has included interior paint, exterior power washing, carpet cleaning, tile cleaning throughout, painting of all three porches, de-cluttering of possessions, cleaning up the yard and planting new plants where needed, minor repairs, preventative maintenance, re-grouting some tile, cleaning all windows inside and out – including screens, professional maid service (now scheduled for every Friday while on the market), professional lawn service every Friday. Total investment in these pre-sale preparation activities? – over $5,000.

Most important though, we hired a professional stager who brought in staging furniture to replace and/or complement our own. We’ve never cared much about decorating or spending money on furniture, so our furniture was several notches below the quality of our home. The staging is another $1,500 plus $500/mo furniture rental. Finally, the professional photographer came yesterday to take photos for the Virtual Tour.

So after all the work and preparation, we have a home on the market that’s as close to being in “model” condition as we can reasonably attain with a 4 year old home. Now the big question – can we keep it looking like this while living here?
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Why Every Realtor Should Consider Blogging

A couple of weeks ago, I was a guest panelist on a webinar/conference call for about 50 real estate agents from across the country. I was invited by the course instructor, along with two other real estate bloggers, as part of an online marketing course he was teaching for Keller Williams University (KWU). The three of us were interviewed by the moderator while everyone else listened in and sent questions through a web interface. It was my first time to participate in a web/voice conference like that and it was pretty cool.

We covered a lot of information, and I enjoyed hearing what the other two bloggers had to say, as they have somewhat different approaches to blogging than I do, but their approaches work well for them and mine works well for me.

But the main question was “Why should a Realtor spend time blogging?“, and I’m going to cover that topic in this post.

There two main reasons a Realtor should maintain a blog. First, by having dynamic content on your website, search engines have more content to index, more reasons to visit your website, and therefore your website becomes more visible and easier to find by the people you want to help. Second, it allows prospective clients to get to know you without having to pick up the phone or send an email.

Sylvia and I receive phone calls and emails regularly from prospective clients who have already decided to hire us before we’ve even spoken because they’ve spent time reading the blog and feel like they already know about us. That’s powerful. That’s very powerful. Here are a couple of recent examples.

I received the following email on September 7th.

My name is {Client’s name) and I am looking for a home. I found a link to one of your blog entries. Now, having read several entries and your About Us page, I would like you to be my agent(s)…

How great is that? I love those kind of emails and phone calls. This is why I spend time blogging. After receiving the above email, I contacted this prospect, had him get pre-qualified for a loan right away, started the home search process and found a home. He closed on the sale 2 days ago on September 25th, less than 20 days after I received the initial email contact, and is moving in this weekend. Without the blog, this client may never have found me and Sylvia.

Here’s another on, received September 4:
Read more …

Posted by Steve
9 years ago

Report: Austin Home sales dip 10 percent

Today’s Austin Business Journal reports more of what’s been happening this year – the number of sales are falling COMPARED TO LAST YEAR, but the prices keep rising and days on market look good. In other words, the Austin real estate market is sending conflicting signals. What gives?

Let’s take a look at the article.

Austin Business Journal – 3:01 PM CDT Monday, September 24, 2007
Home sales in Austin continue to fall.

A total of 2,501 single-family homes were sold in August, down 10 percent from a year ago, according to the latest Multiple Listing Service report released Monday by the Austin Board of Realtors. The August sales figure is also down 5 percent from July, further proof of a market in decline.

Still, other factors are tempering the sales downturn. The median price for single-family homes rose 6 percent year-over-year to $192,000 as the number of days homes sit on the market fell 3 percent to 58 days.

Pending sales dropped to 2,196, down 24 percent compared with last year as the number of new listings ticked up 16 percent.

No doubt the market is shifting, but we’ve had less than 2 years of an up market following 4 years (2002-2005) of a flat market. This isn’t the normal real estate cycle. What’s up?… The national down market is washing into Austin’s fundamentally good market. Let’s look at some quotes from area agents below.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
9 years ago

Austin Buyers – Top 10 Causes of Closing Delays

This is a handy list of things for all borrows to observe during your loan process, after you have your offer accepted on a home. This list is courtesy of Tommy Nelms and the Nelms Team at Land Mortgage here in Austin.

Top Ten Causes of Closing Delays

1) Not providing information requested in a timely manner as requested by your Processor or Transaction Coordinator.

2) Waiting until the last minute to choose your homeowner’s insurance company.

3) Notifying us when we can proceed with ordering the appraisal to your property. This is usually done once your option period has expired or the inspection has been done.

4) Changing terms, conditions or sales price on the contract without notifying us immediately.

5) Having late payments after the initial pre-qualification credit report or putting off paying bills in an effort to accumulate a down payment. Recent late payments may cause a loan to be declined.

6) Unclear verification of funds to close, changing the source of down payment, and using a personal check, rather than a cashier’s check to transfer “gift” funds.

7) Being out of town on the day of the closing and/or significant amounts of time during the process.

8 ) Changing jobs or employers without inquiring about the impact this change would have on your loan approval. Employment is verbally verified prior to closing.

9) Making major purchases prior to closing as this may impact your qualification ratios. Please confer with your loan officer to have him calculate what your ratios would be with any additional debts before applying for additional credit (i.e. new car, furniture, appliances, electronics, etc.). Credit reports are often updated just before closing.

10) Not bringing requested items to closing, such as a cashier’s check, photo ID, closing conditions.

Posted by Steve
9 years ago

Would a one dollar price drop motivate you to buy a home?

one dollarThere is an active listing that pops up almost every day as a “Price Change” update in one of the neighborhoods I like to keep an eye on. At first I thought maybe this was a glitch, as the price seemed to be the same each time (or so I thought). This morning it was there again so I decided to investigate further.

I ran an Archive Report on the home, which shows the entire MLS history of a property, and sure enough, the agent has been lowering the price by $1 almost daily for the past couple of weeks. This, in my opinion, is an ineffective and counterproductive pricing tactic.

The home started out grossly overpriced in the mid $200’s in June 2007. It was never going to sell for that much. I remember the day it came on the market and I saw it. At 64 days on the market the price was dropped $19,900 (now that’s a price drop, but it was still over priced). At 75 days on the market, the price was dropped another $100, then another $100 the next day. Then the price was dropped ten times over the next 15 day, $1 each time, until the listing expired.

The same day it expired, the listing was entered again as a new listing by the same agent, at a list price about $700 below the expired list price. Since then, the list price has been dropped $1 per day 8 out of the last 9 days. It’s now been on the market for more than 100 days, and it’s still over priced. At this rate, in about 30,000 days (82 years) the price will be right. But of course appreciation may shorten that time frame to about 4 years.

The reason the agent is doing this $1 price dropping every day, I presume, is to force the still overpriced listing to remain at the top of buyer search portals as a “Price Changed” listing, and to force the overpriced listing to show up on other agent’s the daily Hotsheets as a “Price Changed” listing. This, theoretically I suppose, causes potential buyers and agents to regularly see the listing and eventually become interested. That’s the only rationale I can think of.

Well it worked, sort of. I was so baffled by the recurring appearance of the listing in my watch list that I checked it out further because I thought something might be wrong with the MLS functionality. I was not interested in the listing, just the anomaly of it’s persistence in the watch list and wondering how that could be.

So, what is the result of the agent’s price dropping tactic? Speaking only for myself, my conclusion is:
a) The seller is poorly represented.
b) The seller doesn’t know how to hire a good Realtor.

News flash to the goofy listing agent: Reminding buyers and agents of your overpriced listing almost daily doesn’t change the fact that it’s over priced. It’s been on the market over 100 days now, and dropping the price $1 each day isn’t going to get it sold quicker.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
9 years ago