Standing out in the Marketplace

home staging - Standing out in the Marketplace

This is a guest post by Angél Rodenbeck, Home Staging Expert, HSE
Psychological Staging Expert, PSE

This time of year, we are busy prepping houses for sale. My days are filled with home staging consultations, making Pinterest boards for clients, buying fixtures and other items to update client’s homes and staging listings. Once we have a signed listing agreement from a client, I immediately schedule an appointment for the staging consultation and my work begins. During this appointment, I’ll go over everything I recommend the client do to maximize the selling price and appeal of the home. This ranges from renovation recommendations to furniture placement and everything in between. As a Spyglass client, you will be in awe of the amount of prep work we put into a listing before it hits the market. We work with contractors, landscapers, etc. to make sure your property is the best it can be for the budget you have and that the professional pictures reflect it.

Use of Color

One of the most common updates I recommend is interior painting. Nothing freshens up a house faster than an on trend neutral paint. A lot of us who have lived in our homes for a while have colors up that we like and that go with our décor or reflect the personality of the people who live there. If you have a house with multiple colors that aren’t neutral, you really need to paint the space. Buyers who walk into a house with old paint that is dated in color, choppy among rooms, has smudges, chips or is otherwise just worn looking are going to view that home as an older, worn, lived-in house instead of a fresh and ready to move in home for their families. It’s all about perception.

Right now, hot colors are neutral greys, greiges (a mix between grey and beige) and beige. In the 78704 zip code however, I would say less beige. These should all be combined with a white or off white trim. Benjamin Moore’s Grey Owl, Revere Pewter and Edgecomb Grey combined with trim color Chantilly Lace or Decorator’s White are the most common ones I’m using right now.

Use of Lighting

Another really important and easy to implement update for homes going on the market is lighting. I typically recommend updating the exterior front entry, foyer, dining room and kitchen lights. These lights will give you the most impact as viewed by buyers. If the budget allows, bathroom vanity lights need to be updated too, especially if you have unattractive gold or brass fixtures. Ideally, all fans should have brushed nickel hardware on them.

Home Depot and Lowes have come a long way in their lighting options for clients on a tight budget. I recently discovered that the San Marcos outlet has a West Elm and Pottery Barn store located under the same roof! I was in heaven during a recent shopping trip where I was looking for lighting for a flip house I am working on. I picked up 3 amazing lights at a fraction of the retail cost. Not only were they discounted, but there was additional 25% off offered on one of them. Score!
These lights are going to look amazing in this house and give it that custom look that buyers are looking for today. These lights are for the exterior entry, foyer and above the kitchen island. The remainder of the lights in the common areas of the home are all recessed, which is such a popular, clean look in today’s homes. If you can afford to spend more and your house is in a higher price point, Fantastic Lighting off Burnet can’t be beat. They have such a beautiful showroom that is filled with amazing lighting. I like to go look around there for ideas and try to find them cheaper elsewhere.

There’s no sense in having stand out lighting if it’s not properly placed. You have to make sure lighting is placed directly above and centered in key areas. An off-centered kitchen island light or dining room light will be immediately noticed and talked about by buyers looking at a listing. This is an easy fix that should be taken care of prior to listing your home.

In Closing

Getting a house ready for the market can be very stressful for most people. This is a process that I thoroughly enjoy and feel lucky to be able to make a career out of. I hold two staging certifications and have helped over a hundred clients in the last 5 years. My service is complimentary for Spyglass clients, but I also am available for hire by individuals listing with another brokerage.
Please feel free to contact me for a staging consultation and I will help you bring your property to the next level for the sale.

March 2015 Real Estate Newsletter

March 2015 real estate Newsletter

It’s been a while since my last real estate newsletter and I apologize. The truth is, we’ve been a little busy since the start of the year. After an unusually quiet last quarter (compared to the preceding 24 months), things have finally started to kick into high gear again in Central Texas.

Since January, Austin has made a number of headlines in the national news scene.

So the good news is that we have, and will likely continue to have, one of the healthiest economies in the country. The bad news is that the dream of owning real estate is getting further out of reach for many new residents. Affordability is one of the biggest problems we’re seeing right now in Austin and more than half the homes in Austin are too expensive for a significant portion of the workforce.

I want to talk about what I see happening over the next 12 months, because I think its really important for both home sellers and buyers. I recently attended an economic forecast breakfast given by Ted Jones, Ph.D., chief economist for Stewart Title. He painted a very good economic picture for the national economy and Austin in general. He believes we’re about to see one the largest retail booms our nation has ever seen. One thing that struck me in his speech was that he expects 30 year interest rates will rise to somewhere between 5.6 and 6% within the next 12 months. I don’t think people realize what this will do to a mortgage payment when interest rates on a 30 year note are even 1 point higher. Because of our great demand, job market and unemployment rate, our housing market will continue to do well, but the more expensive the home, the harder it is going to be to sell. To put it in perspective, a $600,000 home where the loan amount is $500,000 and the interest rate is 4% (round about what it is right now) will cost a consumer about $3,800 a month with taxes and insurance built in. At one point higher, that goes up to $4,000. At 5.6%, you’re at about $4,300 a month! So if Ted Jones is right (on the low side, mind you) then a $500,000 loan amount is going to cost a consumer an extra $6,000 a year. That amount is also going to push down the dollar amount that can be financed for a lot of people.

Knowing this information, what are our take-aways? If you’re a buyer, this could be the last chance to get these historic low rates (and we mean it this time!). If you’re a seller and your home is worth more than $500,000, the higher your property value is, the harder it will be to sell. Ted Jones says that the higher price point market will suffer the most. If you’re an investor, get off the fence. Higher interest means less cash flow!

Sellers, we’re in Austin and I don’t think anyone expects to see property values to go down anytime soon. But if you own a home thats worth $800,000 or more and you’re watching the news next year and you see “median home price in Austin up 10%”, just know that this 10% does not apply to you. It will be much less.

More good links for you:

Ted Jones’ Economic Forecast for 2015

January Austin Area Market Stats

Ted Jones’s Economic Forecast for 2015

Ted Jones's Economic Forecast for 2015

I spent the morning at Ted Jones’s economic forecast for 2015. Ted is an economist with Stewart Title.

The title of today’s forecast was – “No Place But Up”, meaning interest rates, rents, prices, real estate and the economy.

Current positives -

  • We have more jobs than any other time in history.
  • 58% of new jobs pay more than ever before.
  • Interest are currently highly affordable all while having significant demographic demand.

We are going to see the biggest retail boom this country has ever seen because the demographics from people still moving into the country is continuing to grow.

All of a sudden millennials are starting to get good jobs. Entry level home buyers are returning.

Inflation is going to occur, but typically real estate outperforms inflation.

We should have cheap oil for a while.

Election = change – Don’t count on it. Nothing is going to change with the election.

US Jobs – $257,000 jobs in January. We added more jobs than any other time since 1999.

  1.  If you looked at the average number of jobs per month, it was 246,000.  In 2006 we created 216,000 per month.

These headlines were largely ignored by the media.  Ted emphasizes that we are in a fantastic economy right now, especially here in Texas and in Austin.

Texas Jobs – The nation grew 2.15% and Texas grew 4.04%.  We added 457,900 new jobs.  This will go down some as we lose oil and gas jobs.  Most of the jobs we have already lost in the oil industry – or will lose – are lost on the rigs.

As far as states ranked with the most competitive tax systems, we rank #10 in the country currently. If we were to remove the self-employment franchise tax, we’d move to number 3.

Austin/Round Rock had 2.85% job growth in the past 12 months. One reason we do so well is that during the downturns, we don’t go down so much. It’s not a bad thing that we haven’t kept up with the state rate of 4.04% job growth.

Commercial real estate – we had a bigger bubble in commercial than we did in housing. Last year we were up 10%.

Retail had a 14% return, followed by 12.8% in industrial, apartments at 9.92%.

It is predicted that apartments may not be as profitable in the future due to the mass building of apartments coming up.

The appreciation moving forward is going to occur in the lower quartile of price ranges. In 2014 the lower quartile went up 10.2% compared to 3.2% of the higher quartile of home prices.

New home sales – Several problems on this front

  • We ran out of lots and the new lots cost so much more to build.
  • It takes our municipalities too long to get permits approved.
  • Construction costs are have skyrocketed.

Austin housing market. We currently have 2.2% of inventory. 6% is considered “normal”.

We are now selling more homes than when we had the sub prime loans during the last boom, but this is not considered a bubble. This may be the “new normal”.

The median home price in Austin is up 8.6% in the last 12 years.

In 2010 the the population for MSA (the greater Austin area) was 1,716,289. 2015 is 1,990,437. By 2020 we will reach 2,306,857.

The median household income is $63,149 and the median home is $240,875, which is a slightly high ratio. If we gain popularity as the new tech center, this ratio is going to get worse.

We have more money sitting in bank accounts earning zero percent or in our pockets than anytime in history.

2.08% is the 10 year treasury rate currently. While the US is doing quite well, the rest of the world is not.  This is up from 1.68% from just a week ago, which brings us to the mortgage rates.

Expect 5.6 to 6% in the next 12 months on 30 year rate mortgage.

Consumers have cleaned up their balance sheet and are carrying less debt than ever before and they are about to start spending. Ted expects to have the biggest retail boom ever seen coming in the next 12 months.

We have the oldest fleet of cars on the road since WW2.

The forecast for oil is $60 by October.  We are going to see the biggest jump in tourism in a decade because it’s cheaper to travel.

The Eagleford shale is still going to do well because it’s set for making plastic. We will be the largest manufacturer of plastic in the world and will export it globally. We are now building more Caterpillars in Florida than Japan. We are seeing the same thing with Toyota, BMW and Mercedes Benz. There are several manufacturing plants of plastic being built throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Very positive outlook for Central Texas over the next 12 months.  The take-aways as I saw were:

  • Our traffic problem is not getting any better.
  • Affordable housing is getting scarce.
  • The $500,000 and up price range will start to appreciate at a slower rate, while the $300,000 and below will continue to appreciate at a steady rate.
  • Our income, by and large, will not keep up with the home prices, especially for first time buyers.
  • There will be some sort of saturation of apartment complexes, making the returns lower, though I believe that will happen more in the outer areas.

Spyglass Realty November 2014 Newsletter

I hope everyone had a great holiday yesterday and are continuing to take time out this weekend to be with loved ones. I know this is a little late in the month, but thought this could provide some reading material for the long holiday weekend.

So what’s the synopsis of the 2014 Austin real estate report? Its good. If you’ve been receiving my newsletter for a few months now, you’ve probably heard me say this a few times. Mid year, what we referred to as the “drunken sailer approach” to buying property, abruptly came to an end. Just to give an example of what happened before then was this: On any given street, property A came on the market and sold at a high price, sometimes $10,000 or more above list price. Multiple offers ensued and, given the right circumstances, buyers agreed to bring money to close over and above what the property appraised for (and bring additional money over and above their initial down payment). Property B (which is a close match to property A) sees the sales price and lists $10,000 above what property A sold for. And with buyers lining up to purchase property, this vicious cycle continued. Well, around June we started to see these buyers “sober” up.

Why did this happen? Not exactly sure, but I would say it’s a combination of things. The national real estate market started slipping and more rental units became available which gave buyers a viable alternative to buying. And there were probably some fears of what would happen after the November elections, in some cases. Whatever the cause, I don’t think it was a bad thing. Days on market for prime properties (desirable areas, in good condition and presented well to the marketplace) went from selling in days to selling in weeks. Inventory increased from two months, with some areas having 5 to 6 months worth of inventory, which is generally considered to be a “healthy market”.

So that brings us to the next question: what happens next? Well, the headlines below would indicate that things will continue and have continued since 2011. But the truth is (in my opinion) that we had a slight lull in 2014. And I believe that things will pick up in 2015, albeit at slightly slower pace. Property values in November are higher than ever but that is for the median home value. The struggles we’re seeing are in the over $500,000 category (And I say “struggle” using it comparatively to the months preceding June 2014).

What I mean by this (and again, this is just one real estate expert’s opinion), is that instead of 10-12% appreciation, we will probably see an appreciation level of closer to 7-10%.

So what can you do to take advantage of this market and when should you do it? If you are a buyer, think about getting into contract before March. That’s when the largest amount of pending listings have been seen in the past 6 years. And have a really thought out plan for submitting an offer on properties that are in multiple offer situations. If you are working with a Spyglass agent, we have a 7 point plan designed to combat the variables involved in the Texas purchase contract, all while still allowing you to conduct your due diligence. It’s super aggressive as far as terms go, and that allows us to work the sellers on price. We ask up front that we be told what we need to bring to make the deal work. This method is really productive and it’s not for every situation, but if you find that perfect home, then you are going to want to hear how we control most of the variables that sellers consider when in a multiple offer situation. If you are buying a property in Austin, you are going to want to have this tool in your home buying arsenal.

If you are a seller, try to get your property on the market either the second week of January or the third week of February through the end of March. The third week of February through the end of March are for obvious reasons mentioned above. Why we recommend the second week of January is a long story. Call or email for further explanation. Sellers, you are going to want to be tactful when selecting price this coming year. There is a real sweet spot for pricing your property that we have found produces multiple offers, combined with our home selling techniques. This is especially true in the $500,000 and up price range, which is where we have seen the greatest amount of inventory increases in the past 6 months.

From our lender partner Max Leaman at Prime Lending:

We expect mortgage interest rates to remain low yet with a slight upward (rising) bias. Reasons here are that the U.S domestic economy is picking up steam. Employment gains with upward movement on wages increasing is a key factor. Latest read on GDP is at 5.0% and showing signs of consumers spending once again. The fall in oil prices has saved American roughly 700 million a day, much of which is going back into the economy. Headwinds are China and Europe which are struggling and will help to keep key interest rates here at home low.

Here are the most recent attention grabbing headlines:

Austin Real Estate Market Statistics: November 2014.

Austin Median Home Price Sets a record for November. Please see below article for what I believe to be a better reporting of the current situation.

Everything’s Up in Austin: Home Prices, Sales and Listings. This paints a very accurate picture of what I’ve been saying for months, which is that we’re doing well and we’ve stabilized some from the previous 24 months.

Where Texas Home Values are Rising and Falling. Interactive map showing the areas of Austin that are falling and (more recently) rising in Texas.

Spyglass Realty November Newsletter

Spyglass Realty November Newsletter - Picture of people on bikes!

Welcome to the Spyglass Realty November Newsletter. The latest numbers from the Austin Board of Realtors are out for October. The median sold price in Austin is $237,500, up 10.6% from last year at this time. The average days on market were up from last year, increasing from 46 to 47 days on market. I was certainly expecting a larger number there based on the slowdown we’ve been seeing and the days on market that are higher in the areas where the price ranges are above $400,000 (mainly central Austin). So what this tells me is that even in this last quarter, the under $400,000 price is still very appealing.

In our office we’re seeing an uptick in online registration for people that are looking to buy in the next 120 days. I see this as a sign that the market will pick up in January. What’s the take-away? For buyers, its that the last 3 months are absolutely the best time to buy property and if you’re looking to sell a home, its time to start getting ready because we normally see a pop occur the second week in January.

Mortgage Rates

30 year rates dropped below 4% for the first time since last summer as worrisome economic news affected US markets. Currently, Freddie Mac reports the following figures: 30 year fixed rate 3.97%, 15 year rate 3.18%, 5/1 adjustable rate 2.92%

So what’s the new year going to look like? The economic indicators in Austin haven’t shown any signs of slowing down and the fact that the usual uptick in website activity is picking up for this time of year tells me that things are going to start ramping up again in January. I don’t think that we are going to see quite as much appreciation in 2015 as we did in 2013 and 2014 as buyers are starting to use caution when approaching overpriced listings.

I’d encourage you to read Jan’s reporting at Austin Economic Forecast from the Austin Business Journal below. It paints a really nice picture for Austin, especially compared to the rest of the country. I think this is why we saw what is normally a fourth quarter slowdown, occur in the middle of the third quarter. The rest of the country isn’t doing nearly as well as we are and its hard to realize that if you are caught up in what the local economy is doing.

December

A buyer’s delight! Oh the joy of the holidays….I know you are busy and so is everyone else. That’s precisely why, if you are looking for housing, this is the perfect time to do so. The demand is down and its a great time to catch sellers off-guard. Some of the best deals I have ever seen occur have been in the month of December.

The October Real Estate Stats are out: http://www.spyglassrealty.com/austin-real-estate-market-statistics-october-2014/

In The Headlines –

Austin’s Economic Outlook is still the brightest in the nation – Reports the Austin Business Journal – http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/news/2014/09/25/austin-still-ranks-among-fast-growing-u-s-cities.html

Formula One’s Economic Impact on Austin – http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/27054527/formula-one-race-could-add-fuel-to-austin-economy

Image, courtesy of rmommaerts

Google Fiber in Austin

fiber optics

Last night I went to my quarterly neighborhood association meeting and heard a Google Fiber rep give us the status of Google Fiber in Austin. Southwest Austin and Southeast Austin have been chosen, for logistic purposes only, to become the first areas in Austin to receive Google Fiber.

The impact of Google Fiber in Austin is going to be profound. They will bring internet speeds up to 100 GB per second. This speed is faster than the transition from dial-up to broadband. Mark Strama was the representative for Google and he said that fiber optic cable is already all over the nation that allows those speeds to occur from city to city; however, when the cables go into neighborhoods, they split off into slower connections. He said it’s like traveling at high speeds in a car from city to city, but when you enter a neighborhood, the speed slows down. Once the network is complete, customers will experience that speed all the way to their homes.

When will this occur? He was hesitant to speak to this because they don’t want to let anyone down, and as they learned in Kansas City, delays are inevitable. He did say that their sign ups for Southwest Austin will occur in December and their goal (and he stresses the word goal) is to have service initiated in about 2 months from sign up. So that means that Barton Hills, Zilker and other Southwest neighborhoods could experience the amazement of Google Fiber by the end of February. Incredibly exciting.

I asked him to explain the potential impact on Austin’s economy, having Google Fiber here. He said that it’s not known how much impact it could truly have. In Kansas City, the first neighborhoods that have it have a few homes that are hosting entrepreneurial “hubs” where amazing things are happening with start ups in the actual homes. I’ve already heard that some companies are eyeing Austin just for the potential of Fiber Optic high speed and because of our stature as a tech city already, it can only be a further catalyst for positive economic impact.

End of Summer Newsletter

End of Summer Newsletter

Well, the July stats are out (see link below) from the Board of Realtors and its a mixed bag all across the board. Overall, through the entire MLS, the median home price is up, year over year. This is because the under $300,000 price range continues to flourish. Its the most sought after price range in the city.

 

If you look at the sales numbers throughout Austin, central Austin shows a substantial decrease in sales over last July. Some areas, including Westlake, the Southwest Parkway corridor and 78704 show an actual decrease in property values. Before you look too deep into these numbers, know that much of this is due to a small sampling of data. Area 6 is the part of 78704 east of Lamar. This is an interesting area because there is SO much of a difference in price ranges between the northern part and southern part, that if more properties sold in the southern part, the data can be skewed. So much so, that I think this should be divided into two new MLS sections that I would label 6N and 6S, with the dividing  border being Oltorf. The average sold price in this section decreased by .5% for properties that were in the same square footage range. I think if we narrowed this down, you would see that many more properties sold in the southern part of area 6 than the northern part and the northern part, which led to a data report that is hard to interpret.

 

Looking at area 7 (the part of 78704 west of Lamar) you see a substantial decrease in value. The median home price shows to be down 22.8% over July of 2013. Now in this section, not only is the data sampling small (only 11 homes sold in July of 2014) but the size range of the homes is dramatically different. In 2013 the average square footage was 1581. In 2014 its 1062, a staggering 32% reduction in the size of the homes sold. The average price per square foot is actually up 11% from $323 in 2013 to $359 a foot in 2014.

 

Still, its a mixed bag of information. As you will see in the below article link, July showed to be the first month of increase inventory in years. So people keep asking “whats going on here?” The amount of people moving to Austin does not seem to decrease and the headlines for companies moving to Austin and hiring haven’t slowed down. My theory is that people moving to Austin have heard about the crazy market we’ve had here in the 24 months preceding June and they are being very cautious as to how they enter this market, if at all. Many would-be buyers are electing to rent instead of buy.

 

You see in the past 24 months, many sellers would look at a comparative market analysis and decide to price their property some 3% to 5%, and in some cases even 10% above the highest comparable home that sold. And shockingly, it did sell. Buyers were willing to make up the difference between appraised price and contract price. With this recent slowdown, such tactics aren’t going to be successful. Can you sell your home in 2014? Of course, but you have to be reasonable.

 

If you are buying or were in the process of buying, this gives you a unique opportunity (compared to the previous 24 months) to enter into a market without the insane competition that we saw in 2013 or the early half of 2014. I believe that we have seen most (if not all) of the appreciation we are going to see in 2014 already.

 

I recently evaluated some properties in 78704. A property there sold for $449,000 in March in just 6 days. There are currently two actives on the same exact street and they are almost identical models. They have 51 and 73 days on the market, respectively. They are priced between $440,000 and $450,000 and sitting. But they were originally priced in the 470,000 range. I personally believe that had these sellers priced their homes in the range between $445,000 and $449,000, they would have sold within the first two weeks at, or close to, list price. But now they have a stale listing, and a savvy buyer will take advantage of this to get a price some $10,000 below what it should have been priced at.

 

 

The take-away: if you’re a buyer, this is good time to get a decent deal compared to the 24 months preceding June. If you are seller, you can still sell, you just have to be reasonable with your list price. Don’t let greed lure you into selling your home lower than you should ultimately be getting. The DYI pricing program is over. Now more than ever do you need a qualified and service oriented agent. And, if you are reading this, well guess what? You’re on the right track :)

 

We have some great articles below.

 

Texas inventory is up for the first time in years.  – http://austin.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/08-05-14-texas-austin-housing-market-inventory-up/

 

If you have lived in Austin for a while, you probably have heard people at some point saying that Austin is losing its identity with its growth. Well, thats song has been played for nearly 30 years now. Check out this article showing that people have been worrying about that since 1983. 30 years later and we still love it! http://www.texasmonthly.com/daily-post/1983-new-york-times-profile-austin-showcases-fact-austinites-have-always-complained-about

 

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and the Highball are finally reopening, and what a reopening it is! http://io9.com/this-is-the-greatest-karaoke-bar-in-the-world-the-end-1620794748

 

 

And, finally, here are the Austin real estate statics for July, 2014.

 

 

Real Estate Newsletter September 2014

Summer’s over and Fall is here. School is back in session and this red hot real estate market we have enjoyed the last couple of years has officially cooled into what most would call a “normal” market.

 

The Board of Realtors official numbers are out and, for the second straight month, sales are down while median home price is up.  Once again, this is normal for this time of year.  Here’s the link to the Market Stats page on our site.

 

So what do great agents tell their audience at this time of the year?

 

If you are a buyer, carpe diem. This is your time to take advantage of the slowdown.  If this market truly is normal, there will be a big pop in January.  But what’s better is that there are a group of sellers out there that still have their home on the market. Reality is hitting them smack dab in the face.  They listed too high because they weren’t informed from their agent that the slowdown occurred or they just outright ignored their agent’s advice and now they are suffering the consequences.  These properties are ALL over MLS, especially in the $500K and up price range.

 

If you are a seller, hurry up and put your home on the market soon or wait until January.  And please be reasonable with your property.  This is NOT a bad market, any way you look at it, but buyers have come to their senses and they aren’t going to put up with any shenanigans.  Inventory and days on market are up so price accordingly and present your property to the market in the best possible light.  That’s where we come in.  We offer complimentary staging services from our experienced and double certified in-house staging experts.

 

So what’s going on in ATX these days?

 

Companies are still moving here:

 

Sanyo moving headquarters to Austin

 

Rocket company eyes Austin for headquarters, test facility

 

As a result, our commercial space is in high demand: unprecedented demand in Austin commercial space 

 

And of course, ACL is right around the corner, bringing its own set of demands.

Spyglass Realty 2nd Quarter Austin Real Estate Newsletter

Well, the July market stats are out (see link below) from the board of realtors and its a mixed bag all across the board. Overall, through the entire MLS, the median home price is up, year over year. This is because the under $300,000 price range continues to flourish. Its the most sought after price range in the city.

If you look at the sales numbers throughout Austin, central Austin shows a substantial decrease in sales over last July. Some areas, including Westlake, the Southwest Parkway corridor and 78704 show an actual decrease in property values. Before you look too deep into these numbers, know that much of this is due to a small sampling of data. Area 6 is the part of 78704 east of Lamar. This is an interesting area because there is SO much of a difference in price ranges between the northern part and southern part, that if more properties sold in the southern part, the data can be skewed. So much so, that I think this should be divided into two new MLS sections that I would label 6N and 6S, with the dividing boarder being Oltorf. The average sold price in this section decreased by .5% for properties that were in the same square footage range. I think if we narrowed this down, you would see that many more properties sold in the southern part of area 6 than the northern part and the norther part, which led to a data report that is hard to interpret.

Looking at area 7 (the part of 78704 west of Lamar) you see a substantial decrease in value. The median home price shows to be down 22.8% over July of 2013. Now in this section, not only is the data sampling small (only 11 homes sold in July of 2014) but the size range of the homes is dramatically different. In 2013 the average square footage was 1581. In 2014 its 1062, a staggering 32% reduction in the size of the homes sold. The average price per square foot is actually up 11% from $323 in 2013 to $359 a foot in 2014.

Still, its a mixed bag of information. As you will see in the below article link, July showed to be the first month of increase inventory in years. So people keep asking “whats going on here?” The amount of people moving to Austin does not seem to decrease and the headlines for companies moving to Austin and hiring hasn’t slowed down. My theory is that people moving to Austin have heard about the crazy market we’ve had here in the 24 months preceding June and they are being very cautious as to how they enter this market, if at all. Many would-be buyers are electing to rent instead of buy.

You see in the past 24 months, many sellers would look at a comparative market analysis and decide to price their property some 3 to 5, and in some cases even 10 percent above the highest comparable home that sold. And shockingly, it did sell. Buyers were willing to make up the difference between appraised price and contract price. Well with this recent slowdown, such tactics aren’t going to be successful. Can you sell your home in 2014? Of course, but you have to be reasonable.

If you are buying or were in the process of buying, this gives you a unique opportunity (compared to the previous 24 months) to enter into a market without the insane competition that we saw in 2013 or the early half of 2014. I believe that we have seen most (if not all) of the appreciation we are going to see in 2014 already.

I recently evaluated some properties in 78704. A property there sold for $449,000 in March in just 6 days. There are currently two actives on the same exact street and they are almost identical models. They have 51 and 73 days on the market, respectively. They are priced between $440,000 and $450,000 and sitting. But they were originally priced in the 470,000 range. I personally believe that had these sellers priced their homes in the range between $445,000 and $449,000, they would have sold within the first two weeks at, or close to, list price. But now they have a stale listing, and a savvy buyer will take advantage of this to get a price some $10,000 below what it should have been priced at.

I can tell you that I have lost out on a couple of listings recently to other agents that agreed to price listing at rates that were way too high. When I see them hit MLS, I breath a sigh of relief that I did not get that listing. Slow and steady wins the race, folks.

The take-away: if you’re a buyer, this is good time to get a decent deal compared to the 24 months preceding June. If you are seller, you can still sell, you just have to be reasonable with your list price. Don’t let greed lure you into selling your home lower than you should ultimately be getting. The DYI pricing program is over. Now more than ever do you need a qualified and service oriented agent. And, if you are reading this, well guess what? You’re on the right track :)

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