Archive Monthly Archives: February 2009

Never a Dull Moment in Austin Real Estate

squirrel in austin home for saleIf you are looking for an interesting, versatile, challenging and very rewarding career, where each day brings something new, then look no further. Real estate is the job for you!

I never fail to be amazed at how wonderful this job is and how there is never a dull moment! Every time I take someone out to look at houses I am filled with anticipation about what interesting thing or event might happen next!

Last week I was showing houses to a nice young couple, and as we walked up the stairs and turned down the hall into a bedroom, the husband noticed something sitting on the window sill. “Is it alive?” he asked.

The wife and I stepped closer to what looked like a statue of a small furry squirrel. Just as we did, it turned and started running straight toward us. We (the wife and I) screamed and jumped up and down in terror. I really came “unglued”, as Steve would say. The husband meanwhile had a good laugh.

After we left, I called the listing agent to let him know that there was a live squirrel running around in the house. I have run across many pets in over 22 years of showing houses in Austin, but somehow, I did not get the impression that this one was domesticated!
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Posted by Sylvia
7 years ago

Crossland Team Buyer and Investor Seminar March 4th

homebuyerseminarSylvia and I will be hosting our first ever Buyer and Investor seminar in Austin on Wednesday March 4th from 6PM till 8PM at our Keller Williams Office.

Why do I refer to it as a “Buyer and Investor” seminar? Well, we think even owner-occupant buyers should approach the home evaluation and purchase process with the mindset of an investor. We are experienced at helping both “regular” buyers and investors. The evaluation process followed by smart buyers is really no different than that of an investor.

We’ll have our entire team of expert vendors on hand to answer questions and talk about the various stages of the home buying process. You will leave this free 2 hour buyer workshop feeling empowered and knowledgeable about the entire home purchase process.

Our featured speakers will be:

Steve and Sylvia Crossland, of course.
We’ll provide an over view of the current real estate market in Austin and why it’s a “buyer’s market”, and why it’s a great time to buy if you are the right buyer. We’ll cover how to balance the often conflicting components of your decision – Location, Price and the Home itself.

We’ll tell you why picky buyers usually pay more for their homes than investors (hint: it’s got something to do with emotion). We’ll walk through the home purchase process from start to finish, with our vendors taking turns explaining what happens at each stage.

Meet our Vendors.

Bob Petersen from Precision Inspection
Bob is one of the very experienced inspectors we refer to our buyers. Precision inspection has inspected more than 20,000 homes in Austin since 1983. Bob has seen everything you can imagine and has a lot of valuable information to share with you. He will explain the inspection process and what it covers, and why a home inspection is a vital part of your purchase process.
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Posted by Steve
7 years ago

Austin Ranked Second Healthiest Housing Market by Builders

From the Texas A&M Real Estate Center Newsletter:

TEXAS (Builder) – Five Texas cities swept the top spots on Builder magazine’s list of “Healthiest Housing Markets for 2009.”
Houston ranked first, Austin second, Fort Worth third, San Antonio fourth and Dallas fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Raleigh, N.C., Seattle, Indianapolis, Ind., Fayetteville, Ark., and Washington D.C.
To compile the list, Builder analyzed the top 75 housing markets in the country, ranking them based on population trends and job growth, perennial drivers of housing demand. They also looked at home prices and the number of building permits.

It’s possible that without Hurricane Ike, Houston would have been below Austin and we’d be number one. However, what this ranking really means is that Austin and Texas are the “least worse” markets for builders. It’s all relative. Nevertheless, we’ll take it.

Posted by Steve
7 years ago

Austin Real Estate Networking Club

Tomorrow (Thusday Feb 19) I’ll be giving the stats presentation for the monthly Austin Real Estate Networking Club. Each month a different Realtor is invited to provide a real estate overview of the Austin market, and I’ll be up this month and March also.

But that’s not why I want to encourage and invite you to attend the meeting tomorrow. My friend Rick Villani, author of the book Book “Flip – How to Find, Fix and Sell Houses for Profit“, will be be presenting the topic for the night, “How To Make Smart Investment Decision”.

If you are an Austin real estate investor, you must attend this and hear what Rick has to say. I’ve attended several of his workshops and cannot say enough about how much I admire and respect the evaluation processes and approach that Rick brings to the business of flipping real estate.  

His company Home Fixers has flipped over 1,000 homes as well as performing rehabs for other investors. They did a beautiful remodel for one of our buyers last year. He knows how to evaluate a deal, which rehab items to focus on, and most importantly, he’ll share some of the most common mistakes and pitfalls he sees investors make, and his 5 step process for making smart offers.

Topics will include:

Why do so many people lose money investing in real estate?
What are the biggest mistakes others make and how can I avoid them?
How do you determine the risk of a particular improvement project? How do you compensate for risk?
When should I manage improvements myself verses hiring a general contractor?

The Austin real investors networking club meets the third Thursday of each month from 7PM till 9PM at Ventana Del Sol, 1834 E Oltorf St. A map is below. Guests are invited for a $10 cover charge. The $10 is credited toward your annual membership fee if you join. See you there.

View Larger Map

Posted by Steve
7 years ago

Austin Real Estate Market Update and Stats – Jan 2009


Average sales values for single family homes in Austin fell 5.43% for January 2009 compared to Jan 2008. Median values fell as well, by 4.80%. Number of sales fell 40% and the number of Not Solds (expired/withdrawn) for Jan was 61% of all listings that departed the MLS. And yet, despite this, finding a “smokin’ hot deal” in Austin just ain’t that easy. Sellers are hanging tight for the most part, and simply pulkling listings from the market if they can’t get their price. Combine that with buyer reticence and we have what I’d call a “stalled” market.

It’s definately a Buyer’s market, but only for buyers willing to work hard. And sellers can sell, but many sales attempts will fail. 

Austin Real Estate Sales Market Update for January 2009
Homes only (condos, duplexes, etc. not included) compiled from Austin MLS data

Dec 2008 Jan 2009 Jan 2008 Yr % Change
# Sold 1236 770 1280 -39.84%
Avg List $265,180 $249,790 $261,155 -4.35%
Med List $189,900 $189,900 $198,250 -4.21%
Avg Sold $249,718 $235,623 $249,164 -5.43%
Med Sold $184,000 $180,875 $190,000 -4.80%
Sold/List % 94.17% 94.33% 95.41% -1.13%
Avg SQFT 2202 2168 2160 0.37%
Med SQFT 1981 1942 1956 -0.72%
Avg $ SQFT $113.41 $108.68 $115.35 -5.78%
Avg DOM 79 82 73 12.33%
Median DOM 56 66 56 17.86%
# Expired 849 532 577 -7.80%
# Withdrawn 836 688 621 10.79%
Not Sold 1685 1220 1198 1.84%
Not Sold % 57.69% 61.31% 48.35% 26.81%


One thing to note on the Not Solds data, though not shown in the chart above, is that I ran the stats for homes that listed for $200K and less, and the not solds were at 54% instead of 61%. For properties listed for more than $200K, the not solds were 68% of all listings, meaning 68% of all listings that departed the MLS in January we failed sales attempts. That’s simply a super high ratio, and something serious sellers would be dumb to ignore when deciding on preperation and pricing strategy.

Let’s look now at the breakout of what is selling by price range, and current months inventory. This will show number of sold for the different price ranges, Days on Market (DOM), number of currently active listings, and the number of months it would take to absorb the current inventory based on the trailing 3 month sales rate.

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Posted by Steve
7 years ago

Austin Price Drop Predictions

The sour real estate market hit Austin later than the rest of the country. There is widespread agreement that our slowdown with be shorter and much milder than that experienced in the harder hit areas of the U.S. My personal prediction for Austin is that we will see an overall slide of 3% to 5% in average values, but that more than half of our MLS areas will see zero decrease or a small increase in values. I think the market will pick up by mid summer, or end of year at the latest.

My guess is not based on a formula or any formal calculation or spreadsheet analysis. It’s simply a gut feeling, or an educated guess, based on what I see and hear in the field, and on how our own business is doing. So take it for what it’s worth.

Moody’s has a prediction of it’s own though, based I’m sure on a more formal analytical process. This below is from the Real Estate Center at Texas a&M newsletter.
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Posted by Steve
7 years ago