If you’re trying to purchase a home in the Austin area right now, you know it’s nuts out there. It makes finding toilet paper in April of 2020 look like a piece of cake. Securing that coveted PS5 last month - a walk in the park compared to buying an Austin home. Needless to say, it’s a challenge. I like challenges and if you do too, keep reading to learn how you can buy a home in Austin right now.
Appease The Sellers
Sellers in Austin obviously have the upper hand right now, so you need to do everything you can to make sure they like you and your offer. Find out what makes them tick, what terms they will find most favorable, and how you can win them over. This may involve some deep cyber stalking. After you learn that seller Mary has been pinning recipes for banana bread you could deliver your offer with a loaf of MeMa’s famous bread and even include her secret recipe. Or, you may just be able to ask what the seller's plan is in order to craft an offer that is most appealing to their needs and timeline. If the home is vacant, they probably want to close as soon as possible. However, if the sellers still live in their home, they may favor a closing date that is farther out or a lease back for a few months so they have enough time to find a new home. Sellers know that the market is in their favor right now, so many have already outlined the terms they find most favorable before their home even hits the MLS. Make sure to inquire as to what these are so that you can draft an offer to match.
Cash offers always rank favorably among home sellers. When a purchaser is paying cash they can close quickly and there’s no potential for a contract falling apart due to issues with funding. In today’s omnipresent multiple offer situations, cash offers are becoming quite popular. If you can pay cash for a home, offer cash! You can always finance after you purchase the home. Don’t have a few hundred grand under your mattress? Just sell your first born child. Rob a bank or perhaps it’s time you start trying your luck with the Powerball. I hear there’s a jackpot of $970 million up for grabs tomorrow night. With that kind of payout you may be able to secure more than one house in the Austin market!
All jokes aside, there are ways you can leverage yourself to place an all cash offer on a home. You may be able to get a secured loan that uses your investments in stocks as collateral or perhaps you have a wealthy relative that will make you a personal loan. If you need to sell your current home before you can buy a new one, there are various companies such as homeward who will put a cash offer on your new home for you. They then lease your new home back to you until you sell your old home. Once your old home sells, you can get a traditional mortgage to buy the home back from them at the same price they paid for it in cash. Of course, they do charge a fee for this service. Ultimately, mortgage rates are at an all time low, but everyone knows it. If you can find a way to offer cash up-front, you will have the upper hand.
Waive Your Appraisal
If you didn’t win the lottery or scourge up enough capital to be able to offer cash for your dream home, you best consider waiving that appraisal to some extent. Austin homes are selling so quickly right now, they are outpacing the market data. People are paying more for homes than they are worth based on the published comparable home sales data. This means your home may not appraise at the purchase price.
Without an appraisal waiver addendum, the sale of the home is contingent upon the home appraising at the contract price. For sellers, this is a risk that the sale may not close. By adding the appraisal waiver addendum you are increasing the likelihood of your offer being accepted. But, if you couldn’t afford to pay cash for the house, you probably don’t want to waive the appraisal entirely. You may be able to do a partial waiver in that case. In this scenario, you would be agreeing up front that if the home appraises for less than the contract price you would be willing to bring additional cash to the table to make up the difference. And, you are capping the amount of cash you would bring making this a partial waiver.
Let’s say you put in an offer on a home for $500,000, and you are planning to put 20% down ($100,000). You do have $200,000 in cash. If the home appraised for $400,000 and the lender required you to put 20% down they would only loan you $320,000. Technically, you could still afford to make up the difference. So you may want to do a partial waiver of your appraisal contingency. This ensures that if the home appraises for less than $400k you don’t have to move forward with the offer and your earnest money will be returned, but if the home appraises for between $400-$500k you will still be on the hook to comply with the contract and purchase the home. You should definitely consult with your mortgage lender before agreeing to waive your appraisal contingency.
Forget about an Option Period
When you put in an offer on a home in Austin you usually pay a few hundred dollars to the seller for an option period. The amount of option money you pay and the length of the option period are both negotiable. The option period allows you the time to do all necessary inspections and you can back out for any reason during the option period and get your earnest money back. I used to say the typical amount for an option period is a few hundred dollars for a week long option period. Today, that’s not going to cut it.
Many buyers are foregoing their option period all together or offering thousands of dollars for a very short (1-2 day) option period. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend giving up the opportunity for an option period all together, you may want to modify how you approach the option period. Make it as short as possible. If you can get in an inspector within 24 hours, you do not need a 7 day option period. If you are fairly confident there aren’t major issues with the home that would be deal-killers you may want to increase the amount for the option money. At the end of the day, option money is money that you may lose if you don’t go through with the deal. It’s kind of like gambling- only put in as much as you are comfortable possibly losing.
Pay for Everything
In normal times, the seller typically pays for the owner’s title policy in Texas. These are not normal times. Offer to pay for the title policy. If you need a new survey, pay for that too. A designer handbag for the seller- it could work. Were you thinking of asking for the seller to contribute towards your closing costs? Good luck with that. Perhaps you assumed getting the sellers to pay for a home warranty was standard practice- not anymore. These days, the buyer who pays for negotiable items is often the buyer who wins in a multiple-offer situation.
All in all, don’t lose hope if you want to buy a home in Austin in the near future. While this slightly satirical commentary on the state of the current Austin market has many truths there are still ways to buy a home in Austin without throwing your entire life’s savings into it. Take a look at my other post, How to Win in a Multiple Offer Situation for less risky tips for crafting an appealing offer.
Pay close attention to homes that have been on the market for a few weeks that others may have overlooked. You may not be able to buy your dream home right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a home your dream home. Homes that look beautiful and show wonderfully will go quickly and with many of the terms outlined above. Some home sellers mistakenly choose a poor listing agent who decides to market their home with inferior quality cell phone photos that make me cringe. This does not mean the home doesn’t look great in person.
Buying a home in Austin right now can be a challenge, but I know you are up for it! If you want help navigating this insane Austin market, contact me today.
Last year was a whirlwind for almost all aspects of our lives, and the real estate industry was no exception. In the midst of a world-wide pandemic we saw something unusual occur in the Austin real estate market, there was no slow down. Usually, the Austin market is fairly predictable. Spring is the busy season. This is when there are the most active buyers looking to purchase a home, and the largest percentage of home sellers choose to sell during the same time frame in order to capitalize on the highest sales price potential. This year was a bit different. Buyers didn’t stop at the end of July, and they are still out there buying anything they can get their hands on. However, that isn’t much since sellers are not deciding to list their homes at pace with buyer demand. At the time of writing this, there are only 71 active single-family home listings in Austin for under $500K!
A number of factors have contributed to the omni-present buyer demand in the Austin real estate market. Buyers are taking advantage of record low interest rates. People are looking for more space as the reality of working from home indefinitely sets in, and large corporations are moving here in droves. All of these factors have resulted in a shockingly low level of homes for sale in Austin. In December of 2019, there were 1,285 active single family home listings in Austin. In December of 2020, there were only 521. As with any case of supply and demand, this is driving prices through the roof. Multiple offer situations that push the sales price well above the asking price are common occurrences at almost every price point in the Austin market. If you are submitting an offer to purchase a home right now, it’s not unusual to provide an appraisal waiver addendum that declares you are willing to bring additional cash to the table if the home does not appraise.
What does this mean for you?
If you are considering buying a property in Austin right now, understand that the market is incredibly competitive. You may not be able to get your dream home, or you may have to place offers on multiple properties before finally going under-contract on one. There should be an increase in listings this spring that will alleviate the market to some extent, but I would also expect prices to rise throughout the typical spring selling season. The bottom line is that if you are prepared to deal with the harsh conditions that the Austin market presents right now, you are likely better off buying now than waiting.
If you are thinking about selling your home, there has never been a better time. You can expect to sell your home quickly and for an unprecedented price. That being said, if you hold off until the spring, you may make a bit more. Ultimately, it’s up to your unique situation to determine if now is the best time to sell for you.
If you have specific questions about what’s happening in the Austin market and your best course of action, feel free to contact me anytime!
Selling an investment property is quite different than selling your primary residence. When you are considering selling a property that is tenant-occupied you will need to think about how the tenants may impact the sale of the home. The lease terms and your selling timeline will dictate how you can sell the home. You could sell the home with leases in place or wait for the leases to terminate before listing the property. If you wait for the leases to terminate you will appeal to a larger buyer pool, and the selling process can be facilitated more easily. That being said, there are benefits to selling an investment property with tenants in place ( hello instant rental revenue!) If you determine that selling with tenants in place is the best option for you, following the advice below will help you sell your rental property with relative ease.
When you’re considering selling your rental property, the first step is to locate your lease or leases if you have multiple tenants. Look at when the lease term ends and the monthly rent. Does the lease terminate at a time of year that is favorable for selling for the highest dollar? Does the monthly rent match the market rate? If you’re not sure, you should contact a real estate professional to find out! If your rental revenue is below market rate, and the tenants have a considerable amount of time left on the lease it may be better to wait until closer to the lease termination date to sell.
Next, you will want to look at the fine print in the lease that dictates how the property can be marketed. Identify what rights you as a landlord have to market and show the property. Some leases will allow for showings within a certain amount of days prior to the lease ending. Other leases may state that the tenant can pay a fee to waive the landlord’s right to allow showings during that time period. If you determine that listing your home for sale with tenants in place is the best strategy, you MUST adhere to the showing terms dictated by the lease. Furthermore, you will want the tenants to be cooperative in the process.
Communicate your intentions to sell early on; you will want to ensure they understand that the lease terms will stay the same when the property is sold. The only difference will be the landlord is changing hands. At closing, the security deposit will be transferred to the new owner, and the new owner will deliver instructions for paying rent to the tenants. You also need to make sure to have a plan for how showings will be allowed and how much notice the tenants need prior to showings. Will you communicate showing requests by a text or phone call? Do you need to inform all tenants or is their one point person with whom you can communicate? Are there certain times or days that will never work for showings? How much notice does the tenant need to allow a showing?
In addition to clearly communicating showing notice protocols, it’s also important to set expectations for how you would like the home to be presented fo showings (free of clutter, clean counters, beds made, etc). Ultimately, you can’t force the tenant to ensure your property appeals to buyers. However, you may be able to incentivize tenants with a discount on rent, a gift or you could offer a free home cleaning prior to an open house. In the end, this small expense is well worth it to ensure the home shows well and thus yields a higher sales price.
Selling your rental property with tenants in place means you are selling your property to an investor! Investors have one primary goal - to purchase a property that will provide a return on investment. In order to determine how profitable the property may be, investors will want to know all the figures. Make sure that the monthly rents are marketed. If you have detailed records of expenses and improvements to the property you should provide these. If you installed a new roof last year, or your property has a 10% cap rate, these are facts the investor will want to know! Make it as easy as possible for an investor to see the financial benefits of your property.
Do you have questions about selling your Austin area rental property? Give me a call, and I’ll be able to help you determine the best strategy for your unique situation.
One great benefit veterans who have previously served or are currently serving our country are eligible for is the Veterans Administration home loan aka a VA loan. The VA loan allows for a zero down home loan for qualified veterans. However, just because you served the country does not automatically qualify you for a home loan. Although the VA does not have specific credit requirements for buyers looking to utilize the VA loan, private lenders facilitating these loans often do. In addition, you will also have to show that you have the financial means to pay the mortgage and home insurance moving forward. That being said, if you have a decent credit score and a debt to income ratio of 41% or less, you will likely be able to qualify for a VA home loan.
There are many benefits of the VA home loan. The most well-known of which is the ability to purchase a home with zero money down. However, veterans who purchase a home with a VA loan also have the benefit of no mortgage insurance (a requirement for home buyers putting less than 20% down with a conventional of FHA loan). Additional protections for home buyers using a VA home loan include limitations on closing costs and prohibiting early payment penalties.
The VA home loan is designed to protect the veteran, and thus there are a variety of property specific requirements for buyers looking to purchase a home with a VA loan. If you are shopping for a home in the Austin area, and are planning to use your VA loan it’s important to understand these requirements so you don’t waste your time looking at properties that may not be eligible to purchase with a VA loan.
Purchasing a New Construction Home with a VA Loan in Austin
If you are thinking of purchasing a new construction home with a VA loan, the builder must be registered with the VA. If the builder is not registered with the VA, that does not necessarily mean that home is off the table. The VA builder registration process is relatively simple, and a VA builder ID can be procured within a week in most cases. However, the builder must be willing to go through this process.
Purchasing an Austin Condo with a VA Loan
If you would like to purchase a condo in Austin using a VA loan, you will need to make sure the condo complex is on the VA’s approved condo list. For a condo to be approved it must meet the following criteria:
Just because a property meets the criteria above does not automatically mean it is eligible for a VA loan. A condo must be listed on the VA’s approved condo list. You can view and search for VA approved Austin condo buildings on the VA’s website.
Minimum Property Requirements to look out for when shopping for an austin home to purchase using a Va Loan
Whether you are buying a new construction home, a condo or an existing home with a VA loan you will need to make sure the property meets the VA’s minimum property requirements. These requirements are designed to protect the veteran from safety related issues as well as future economic burdens. Here are some of the minimum property requirements to look out for while shopping for an Austin home:
This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you are looking to purchase a home in Austin using a VA loan, it should give you a basic idea of what to look out for when considering your options. If you want to utilize your VA loan to purchase an Austin home, I’d be happy to help you navigate the process. Contact me today so we can start working to find the perfect home to meet your needs.
An accessory dwelling unit, aka an ADU, may be the perfect solution to all of your 2020 problems. The idea of a back house is nothing new to the Austin real estate market. They’ve been becoming more and more popular over the past decade as property values have increased throughout central Texas. They are great for buy and hold investors looking to capitalize on their investment by creating more opportunities for rental revenue. Similarly, more and more developers are building two units on one lot and then selling both units separately as detached condos. However, this year, more than ever, the benefits of an ADU as more than just an investment strategy are clearer than ever before.
Our houses have become places for much more than resting our heads at night and gathering for family dinners. Our homes now are someplace we spend the majority of our time. We work from home, workout from home and so much more. With all of the time you are now spending at home, you may have started to feel a bit confined by the four walls and space available. If you’re feeling a bit claustrophobic in your current home, an ADU could help. This accessory dwelling unit could be used as a home office, a class room, a home gym and so much more.
If you’re thinking about building an ADU on your property, you will first want to do your due diligence on if your zoning allows for a secondary dwelling unit. The rules will vary from one municipality to the next. In the City of Austin, they have very clear rules on building an accessory dwelling unit. The rules are based on lot size ( in order to build an ADU you must have a lot size of at least 5,750 sqft ), the property’s zoning, and impervious cover requirements. You can view the complete requirements in the City of Austin’s Land Development Code.
If you determine that you can physically build an accessory dwelling unit on your property, the next step would be to speak to a builder to determine what the costs would be. At this point, it would also be wise to speak with a trusted real estate professional to see if the costs to build an ADU would be recouped when you eventually sell your home. You may determine that building an ADU is not the best economic move, or that the construction timeline is too long to stay sane while doing everything in your current home.
If you still have your dreams set on the idea of a secondary dwelling unit, you could purchase a new home with an existing ADU on the property. There are some properties with secondary dwelling units for sale in the Austin market. There are also other properties, that have a secondary structure that could be remodeled to serve your unique needs.
Here’s a list of Austin area homes with ADU potential currently for sale:
If you’re looking for a home with an accessory dwelling unit in Austin or have questions about building an ADU at your Austin home, feel free to contact me today.
If you are considering selling your Austin area home, you are likely wondering what fees are involved in the sale. In order to determine if selling your home is in your best financial interest you need to understand all of the costs associated with selling, and have a good idea of the price at which you can sell your Austin area home. Many of the costs associated with selling your home are negotiable items in the standard Texas real estate contract; however, there are items that are typically seller expenses and other fees that you are certain to pay when you sell your Austin house. Below is a break down of the various fees you can expect when selling your home in Austin, Texas.
Real Estate Broker Commissions
If you are going to be listing your home for sale with a real estate agent, you are going to have to pay commissions. Although there are no set commissions in Austin, the vast majority of homes listed for sale in the Austin Board of Realtors MLS will show a 3% buyer’s agent commission. Real estate broker commissions are negotiated when you sign a listing agreement with a broker. In the Austin real estate market, it’s quite typical to pay 6% of the sales price as a commission fee when you sell your home. 3% of this fee usually goes to the buyer’s broker and 3% will go to the listing broker. However, as I mentioned earlier these fees are negotiable, and many brokers such as myself will offer a discount to the commission fee when you are buying and selling a home at the same time. For example, if you are selling your Austin house and buying a new home in the Austin area, I will reduce the listing broker fee to 2%. These fees may seem like a lot to you, but they cover all of the expenses and work involved with selling your home. The listing broker will pay for all photos, videography, and marketing. In addition they will respond to all inquiries about your home, show the home, negotiate on your behalf and much more. If you’re thinking of doing this on your own, you can learn more about listing your home FSBO here. Spoiler Alert: It’s a lot more work than you think and usually ends up costing you more!
The title policy protects against any unknown claims of ownership to the property. The cost of the title policy is negotiable in the Texas real estate purchase contract. However, it is very common for the seller to pay the cost of the owner’s title policy in the Austin real estate market. Occasionally, in competitive multiple offer situations, you will see the buyer offer to pay the owner’s title policy. This is vary rare, and not something to count on when estimating the fees associated with selling your Austin home. The owner’s title policy cost is regulated in the state of Texas. No matter what title company you use, you will pay the same amount for the owner’s title policy. These rates are based on the sales price of your home. You can view the full rate chart here. As an example on a $400,000 home sale you can expect to pay $2,413 for the owner’s title policy in Texas. If the person purchasing your home is financing the home purchase a lender’s title policy will also be required. This is typically a buyer expense.
Another negotiable item in the Texas real estate contract is the home warranty. In the contract it is referred to as a residential service contract, and the contract is worded in such a way as to presume the seller will pay up to a certain amount towards a home warranty coverage program. This is a negotiable amount, and the buyer may or may not request the seller contribute towards this expense. Home warranty fees vary but you can expect to see a buyer request a seller contribution of $400-$600 towards the buyer’s home warranty.
There will also be fees charged by the title company to facilitate the transaction. These are known as escrow fees. These fees vary from one title company to the next, and are usually split between the buyer and seller. However, if you are simply looking for a rough guess as to what to expect, you can estimate $500 for the seller’s portion of the escrow fees. You may also have to pay attorney document fees, recording fees, or notary fees. These should total less than a few hundred dollars.
Property taxes are paid in arrears in Austin. Thus, you will need to pay your portion of the property taxes for the time you lived in the home at the closing. These will be calculated based on the number of days you occupied the home and the most recent property tax bill available. Your pro-rated share of the property taxes will appear as a debit to you (the seller) and a credit to the buyer on your final settlement statement at closing. You can look up your property taxes on the county tax appraisal district’s website by simply searching for your address; here’s a link if you live in Travis County. Find the annual tax bill amount, divide by 365 and then multiply by the number of days you expect to have lived in the home for the year.
You may encounter other fees when selling your Austin home. If you live in an area where there is a home owner’s association, you may need to pay for a portion or all of the HOA document and transfer fees. You may also be asked to contribute towards a buyer’s closing costs. You could need to make repairs or make monetary concessions for repairs found during the buyer’s inspection. Again, all of these items are negotiable and that’s why it’s important to have a strong real estate broker by your side to guide you through the process and negotiate on your behalf.
If you’re thinking about selling your Austin area home, contact me today. I can give you an in-depth evaluation of what your home is worth and provide a highly specific estimate of all of the fees involved in the sale of your Austin home. Don’t worry, if you’re not ready to sell I’m not going to pester you with consistent calls or e-mails either!
Purchasing a home is a big deal! It’s a huge move (literally and figuratively) for you and your family that will have significant consequences. If you don’t prepare and use caution in your home buying journey, you could end up in quite a pickle. That being said, if you recognize the following common mistakes, you will be primed for success when buying your Austin home.
Not Being Financially PrepareD
There’s no point in looking for homes until you know what you can afford. One of the biggest mistakes a home buyer can make is looking at homes before you have spoken with a lender. After all, how do you even know if you can afford to buy a home or what your budget for a home is. Unless you are paying cash, your first step in the home buying journey should always be to speak with a mortgage professional. Another common pitfall many prospective home buyers make is to only speak with one home lender. Do yourself a favor and don’t fall victim to this common mishap. When you speak with a number of different lenders, you increase your odds of finding the best rate and the best personality fit. If you need recommendations for Austin lenders, I’m happy to provide recommendations. Just make sure to compare lenders within a two week time period so that your credit only received one hard inquiry.
Wanting it AlL
Before you begin your Austin home search, think carefully about what you must have and what you want it a new home. Make sure to bring in anyone else who will have a say in the home purchase, and compare your lists. Once you are on the same page, it’s important to take a good long look at your list and really narrow down those must-have features. A common mistake I see among Austin home buyers is that they are looking for the perfect house. The perfect house may not exist! Although buying a home is often an emotional decision, it’s also a financial one and you may need to be flexible in your criteria.
Caring More About Features Than LocatioN
Although most Austin area home buyers I work with often have an idea of the location they would like to live in, they sometimes fail to recognize the importance of location over property attributes. Time and time again, I find myself re-iterating that you can change the carpet, you can paint the walls, you can add a double oven BUT you can’t change the home’s location or lot size. Think carefully about the neighborhood, the school district and the attributes of the lot itself.
Have questions about buying a home in the Austin Area? Contact me today.
In the course of my day to day to activities, I oftentimes get asked about the appreciation rate in the Austin market, and my thoughts on the future of the Austin housing market. When responding to these inquiries, it’s important that I explain the different methodologies in calculating the appreciation rate. When you analyze the appreciation rate of anything you are simply comparing the current value to a previous value and reporting the percentage in change. However, the observations derived from these figures can vary drastically by what metrics you are using.
If you look at the appreciation rate based on the average sales price, your results will be skewed by high and low outliers. For this reason, I prefer to use the median sales price when assessing the appreciation rate for Austin area homes. However, simply utilizing the median sales price has its own flaws. What if the homes sold in 2020 were all much larger than the homes sold in 2019? Your results would be skewed. Thus, when looking at the appreciation rate, I prefer to compare the median price per square foot. Even using this metric, results can still be unreliable. If there were far fewer sales in one year than the other, the appreciation rate derived may not reflect the true nature of the market.
That being said, everyone wants to know what the appreciation rate is for homes in the greater Austin area. I myself was curious after looking over the year over year growth for Austin homes from July 2019 to July 2020. I knew that by only comparing these two months of data, the statistics were not illustrating the true picture for certain neighborhoods. Thus, I got to work and combed through the data to try to form a more clear picture.
Before I illustrate my findings, I would like to point out a few factors in regards to the data utilized. All of the information I pulled was from the Austin Board of Realtors MLS. I limited my search to the most central Austin area zip codes, and I analyzed sales data for all single family homes. This included new and existing condo, townhome, and traditional home sales. I compared the sales thus far in 2020 with all sales in 2019. Inherently, there are some flaws to this approach as there is a complete year of data for 2019 and only partial data for 2020. That being said, here is what I found.
If you look at the median sales price per square foot, the 78701 zip code had the highest appreciation rate among central Austin zip codes. 78701 had an appreciation rate of 13.84% with the median sales price per square foot in 2020 at $658. This data was pulled from approximately 160 sales in 2020 compared to around 300 sales in 2019. It will be interesting to review these stats once a full year of data for 2020 is available. However, this downtown zip code has a strong track record of appreciation with an increase of about 10% for the median sales price per square foot between 2018 to 2019.
The 78742 zip code showed the lowest level of appreciation in the Austin area. In fact, it was the only zip code I analyzed that actually depreciated between 2019 to 2020. In 2020, the median sales price per square foot was $228 compared to $248 in 2019. However, there were only two sales in 2020 and five in 2019, and thus this data set is too small to draw meaningful conclusions.
Although, I think the results are less significant, I also analyzed the appreciation rate among the same Austin area zip codes based on the median sales price. Based on this methodology, the zip code in Austin with the highest appreciation rate between 2019 to 2020 is 78746. Homes in 78746 appreciated 19.76% between 2019 to 2020. This data was pulled from 426 sales in 2019 and 232 sales in 2020. The 78742 zip code similarly showed the lowest level of depreciation when analyzing the change based on the median sales price; however, as previously mentioned, the limited number of total sales in this zip code obscures the validity of this figure.
All in all, it is important to assess appreciation rates in the Austin real estate market. When you own a home and its value appreciates over time, you make money when you sell! And, when you leverage your home purchase with a mortgage, that appreciation benefit is compounded based on the fact that you’re profiting off the appreciation value of the entire home, when only paying a portion of the home’s value in your down payment. For example, if you bought a home for $300,000 and put 20% down ($60,000) and that home appreciated 10% you would make a $30,000 gain on a $60,000 investment. It’s a bit more complicated when you throw mortgage payments into the mix, but you can easily see why understanding a given area’s appreciation rate is important. That being said, make sure to take a comprehensive look at the data and recognize its potential limitations when evaluating a market based on the appreciation rate.
If you have questions about the appreciation rate in your Austin neighborhood, contact me today. I’d be happy to do the research and provide you with the data you need to make an informed decision.
After a lull in real estate sales during the typically peak spring selling season, the Austin real estate market is showing a rebound in full force this summer.
In the City of Austin, the median sales price rose to $423,000; this figure is up 11% compared to last July. The total number of home sales within the city limits also increased 21% from July 2019. There were 1,470 closed residential home sales in the City of Austin last month. Inventory remains critically low, and we are seeing homes spend less time on the market too. Within the city limits, homes spent an average of 29 days on the market in July.
Within the greater Austin area, we saw similar trends. The median sales price for single family homes in the Austin-Round Rock MSA increased 10% from July of 2019, and the number of total homes sales for July increased at the same year over year rate as within the city limits, 21%. Homes in the greater Austin area spent a little more time on the market last month compared to homes within the city limits. The average days on market within the Austin-Round Rock MSA was 44 days last month - still 3 days less than July of 2019.
Unprecedentedly low interest rates are fueling buyer demand, and despite Covid-19 concerns the Austin economy is still managing to create new jobs that spur an influx of new residents. Combined these factors resulted in the second strong month of consecutive home sales within the greater Austin area. Now, the real question is do we have enough housing supply to keep up with buyer demand?
Want to know what’s happening in your hyper-local Austin market? Contact me today and I’ll give you the run down!
Your monthly housing payment consists of more than just your mortgage payment. When you are looking at purchasing a new home, it’s important to consider everything that goes into your total payment so that you can identify homes that fit in your budget. Although looking at a home’s price is a good starting point, two homes that are the same price can have very different monthly payment amounts.
Principal and InteresT
The majority of your monthly housing payment will likely consist of principal and interest payments for your home loan. This will vary based on the amount you put down on the purchase of the home, and the terms of the loan. However; if you putting 20% down or less on a 30 year conventional loan, the principal and interest portion will be the bulk of your payment. Initially, you will pay more in interest than you are paying down on principal. Over time, you will gradually see more of this total payment going towards principal than interest.
If you put less than 20% down on the purchase of your home you will also have some form of mortgage insurance in your total monthly housing payment. Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is required for conventional loans with less than 20% down and Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) is an insurance policy required on Federal Housing Authority (FHA) loans. Both PMI and MIP are protection for the lender in the event of default. A borrower may request that PMI be removed when the loan to value ratio reaches 80% either through payments to the principal, appreciation of the home, or a combination of both. MIP also may be able to be removed, but it will vary based on the loan terms and could even require a re-finance.
If you’re purchasing a home, you are going to want to insure it, and a lender will require that the property is insured. Insurance rates can vary by company, policy details, and the property. An older home will likely have a higher insurance rate. If there were many claims on the property over the years, the rate may be higher. The rate will also vary based on the location. The safety of a neighborhood and the likelihood of natural disasters is also going to influence your monthly home insurance rate.
Here in Texas, it’s especially important to pay attention to property tax rates. After your principal and interest payment, this will likely be the second largest portion of your total monthly housing payment. Property tax rates in Central Texas can vary from under two percent to over four percent. On a $400,000 home with a two percent property tax rate, you will pay around $667 per month towards property taxes. For another $400,000 home with a four percent tax rate that amount doubles to $1,334 per month. It’s easy to see how even a small change in the property tax rate can have a significant impact in your monthly housing payment. Make sure to pay attention to property tax rates when looking for a new home that’s in your budget!
Although they are not traditionally included in your monthly mortgage payment, Home Owner’s Association (HOA) fees are something that should be included when thinking about your monthly housing expenses. HOA fees for some Austin area homes exceed $1,000 per month! Even though these figures are not paid in conjunction with your monthly mortgage payment, they are factored in when determining loan eligibility. Other factors to consider include utility costs. An older home may have higher utility bills compared to a newer home that has more energy efficient upgrades. A home located in a Municipal Utility District (MUD) may have a higher tax rate because of that MUD payment. Homeowners in a Public Improvement District (PID) will have to pay a fee, usually annually, to cover the costs of the infrastructure.
As you can see, your monthly hosing payment is made up of many different factors. It’s important to consider all of these items when looking for a home you can afford. Make sure to look into all of the details before you fall in love with your next home. If you have questions about the home buying process, or want a dedicated broker to help you navigate the Austin real estate market, contact me today.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.