At the site of the old Cinemark movie theatre in Westlake Hills, across the street from the Barton Creek Mall, The Walsh community has recently sprouted. The Walsh, aptly named for its location off Walsh Tarlton Lane, is a new home community of 55 townhome style residences in Eanes ISD.
The modern style luxury residences start in the 600s, and all share a similar minimalistic Scandinavian inspired design with an emphasis on geometric details. Inside, you will find finish-outs in line with a luxury product: wide plank oak floors, stainless steel Bosh appliances, oak cabinets, marble, quartz, or honed stone countertops just to name a few.
There are eight different floorplans at The Walsh, with homes ranging from 1,961-2,881 square feet. All floorplans have a garage; the larger floor plans have two car garages while the smaller floorplans only have one. The smallest floor plan at The Walsh, The Nils, has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a one car garage, and a small patio. The first floor is an open floor plan with dining, living and kitchen (something you will find in all units at The Walsh). Upstairs you will find the master, two additional bedrooms and a second living room/bonus space dubbed “the landing”.
In comparison, the largest model, The Brit, has three levels, 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. On the bottom floor of The Brit, you will find the two car garage, one bedroom, a full bath, and storage space. The Brit also features an elevator that takes you to the second and third floors. The second floor has the master, kitchen, living and dining spaces, and a patio. On the top level, there are two additional bedrooms, another patio, and a large game room.
The Walsh is located in the acclaimed Eanes Independent School District. Residences at The Walsh feed to Cedar Creek Elementary, Hill Country Middle School, and Westlake High School. All three schools are less than a five-minute drive from The Walsh. As I mentioned earlier, The Walsh is also conveniently located across the street from the Barton Creek Mall. Here you will find all your big name department stores, including Nordstrom’s, a variety of dining options, and a movie theater.
If you’re looking for a new home in Austin, and like the idea of a low-maintenance new construction home in south west Austin, I encourage you to take a look at The Walsh for yourself. You can view more information on The Walsh website, or contact me today to see it in person.
Austin Real Estate Market Update: Central Texas housing market closes 2017 with record-breaking sales
Well, December home sale statistics from the Austin Board of Realtors were just released, and sales are steady! In the Austin-Round Rock MSA, single-family home sales increased 13% to 2,653 home sales in December 2017, while median price rose 7% to $310,000 over the same time frame.
Within the city limits of Austin, there were 802 home sales last month with a median home price of $359,150. Within the City of Austin, the Average Days on Market or ADOM went up slightly to 54 days which is not unusual as the market tends to slow slightly around the holidays. Compared to City of Austin home sales in December of 2016, the total dollar volume of residential home sales in December increased 15% to $352 million.
There are just under one million residents in the City of Austin, while more than two million people reside in the greater Austin area. In fact, the Austin-Round Rock MSA is the 31st largest metropolitan area in the United States. In the Austin- Round Rock MSA there were 2,653 home sales in December of 2017 bringing the annual home sales total for the MSA to 30,059 sales, an all-time high.
If you’re interested in learning more about what’s happening in your specific neighborhood, contact me. I can provide you with a custom Austin real estate market update for your specific area.
Between South Congress and I-35, a new community is beginning to come to life. PSW’s North Bluff community consists of 66 free-standing condos. The units range from 1,268-1,675 square feet and start at $295,000. There are seven different home types; however, they all share some great features.
All of the homes at North Bluff feature super high ceilings that amplify the open floor plan living, kitchen and dining spaces. Stainless steel appliances, gas ranges, and engineered quartz counters come standard in the homes, and there is no carpet in the entire community. First floors feature stained concrete, and upstairs there is laminate wood-look flooring.
These homes are cosmetically appealing, and they also feature a slew of green features. Low VOC paint and compact fluorescent lights are found throughout the home. High performance insulation is present at the roof and exterior walls. EPA watersense plumbing fixtures and dual flush toilets are installed in the baths, and each unit has a solar photovoltaic panel system. These are just a sample of all of the green features found in the North Bluff community.
The community features walking trails, and community green space as well. Keeping with the sustainable theme, the green space features native landscaping. HOA fees are reasonable for the area at $450/quarter. Plus, with all of the green features, your utility costs are likely to be minimal. North Bluff is being built in two phases, and Phase 1 homes are almost complete if you’re looking for an immediate move.
If you’re interested in learning more about South Austin’s North Bluff, contact me today. Alternatively, you can check out PSW’s website with up-to date info on pricing and availability.
In the past, I’ve discussed cosmetic strategies for preparing your home to sell for the most money. Articles such as 9 Tips to Increase Your Home’s Worth and Prioritizing Upgrades When Preparing to Sell Your Home provide an overview of strategies to increase your home’s curb appeal both outside and inside your home. Conversely, this article focuses on home maintenance and home repairs that you should address prior to listing your home for sale.
In an Austin home sale, the buyer has what is called an option period. The option period allows the buyer the right to access and do all necessary due-diligence on a home prior to being locked into the home sale. The buyer has the unrestricted right to terminate the contract during the option period, and the earnest money will be returned to the buyer. It’s strongly recommended that the buyer have a licensed home inspector inspect the property during the option period. Any aspects of the home identified by the inspector as areas of concern, are leverage for the buyer. The buyer can either request the homeowner fix the issue of request monetary concessions for the repairs. These requests are formally submitted to the seller in the form of an amendment to the contract.
Probably the most common item I see on such an amendment is the request for the air conditioner to be cleaned and serviced. If you’re preparing your Austin home for sale, you should consider having the AC cleaned and serviced prior to listing your home. Why give the buyer an opportunity to overcharge you for this service? If you tackle this before listing your home, you can take your time comparing quotes from different providers, rather than rushing to have the AC serviced when you’re in the middle of moving or risk conceding more than necessary to the buyer for the service. While you’re at it, you should also replace the air filters.
The other benefit to repairing or servicing your home prior to the repairs being mandated in an amendment is that you get to choose who does the work. Once a repair is required per an amendment, the repair must be made by a licensed contractor. If you are handy, you may be able to fix things yourself prior to listing your home or hire an unlicensed handyman who is still qualified for the job. An inspector will note every little thing that is wrong with a home. A door without a stopper will be noted, as will the lack of a smoke detector in a room. I’m not particularly handy, but I could easily install these items. Another item I regularly see on inspection reports is a lack of an anti-tip bracket on the oven. This five to ten-dollar part effectively anchors your stove to the wall so that a child cannot get in the oven and have it fall over leaving them trapped inside.
Another item you may consider DIYing is in regards to the exterior of the home. An inspector is going to note any plant growth that creeps up the home as an area of concern since it could lead to wood destroying insects entering the home. Pull off any vines or climbing plants that are making their way up your home. You should also clean out leaves and debris from gutters and make sure gutter spouts are properly diverting away from the home. If your home has flashing, check to see that its properly diverting water off the roof, and away from the home. Grading is also an area of interest for an inspector. Your yard should slope down from your home so that water moves away from the property.
If you have any known leaks in your home, it’s best to address these now. Even if you don’t, you may want to check under your sinks and around your toilets to make sure there is no water penetration. Leaks in faucets or sink pipes can usually be addressed quite easily. It may just be a matter of tightening a piece or replacing a washer. You should also address any running toilets. Sometimes it’s as easy as adjusting the flapper chain- an easy no tools required fix. If you have major plumbing issues, it’s best to consult a licensed professional.
Another common item on inspection reports is electrical issues. A lack of GFCI outlets is often noted as a potential safety risk. It’s my understanding that if the outlets are properly grounded this is not necessarily an area of concern. However, if you don’t want to be nickel and dimed during the option period, this is another item you may want to address. Any outlets or fans that are not functioning properly should be looked at by a professional, and while you are at it, make sure all your lights have functioning bulbs. An inspector may not be able to assess if a light doesn’t work or if it’s simply lacking a functioning bulb.
These are just a few of the most common repair requests I see. If you’re planning to sell your home, determining which projects are the most important is a complex evaluation. Your budget, and desired sale price will determine the most important projects. Not sure which projects you should tackle before selling your Austin home? Contact me today, and I’ll help you decide which projects will allow you to net the most money in your Austin home sale.
It’s that time of year again! If you purchased a primary residence in 2017, make sure to file your homestead exemption with the county to save some money on your property taxes! You must submit this paperwork by April 30th.
Your Homestead Exemption will be denied unless all of the required documents show the same homestead address. First, fill out the application specific to your county, then mail all of the documents to the county appraisal district. Williamson County even lets you file the paperwork online!
Download the residential homestead exemption application for your county by clicking the link below:
Mailing Address: P.O. BOX 149012, Austin, TX 78714-9012
Mailing Address: 625 FM 1460, Georgetown, TX 78626-8050
Mailing Address: 21001 IH 35 North, Kyle, Texas 78640
Bastrop County or Call 512-303-1930 ext. 22
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 578, Bastrop, TX 78602
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 908, Burnet, TX 78611-0908
Mailing Address: 103 E. Sandstone St., Llano, Texas 78643
Include a Copy of your Driver's License or Identification Card: Your driver's license needs to be from the Texas Department of Public Safety (TX DPS) and the address must match the homestead address.
Contact me if you have any questions!
If you’ve been renting for a while, I’m sure you’ve at one time considered the idea of buying a home. Yearning for a place where I could rip the carpet out, paint the walls whatever color I wanted, and replace the completely unpredictable electric oven was enough to propel me towards making my homeownership dreams a reality. For many people, thinking about buying your first home can seem like a daunting process. In fact, I talk to tons of people who never even considered a home purchase within reach due to the many misconceptions about the home buying process.
Maybe you are one of those people who is absolutely sick of paying your landlord’s mortgage. You believe in the fallacy that you have to put 20% down on a home, and have succumb to the idea that you will be a renter for life. Luckily, I’m here to show you just how easy it is to buy a home. There are many options for purchasing a home with less than 20% down. There are even USDA home loans that you can obtain for rural homes for 0% down, and a number of local and state programs aid first-time home buyers with various initiatives including down-payment assistance programs.
Your first step towards buying your first home in Austin, is to talk to a lender to determine your home budget. In fact, I recommend you talk to a few. Check to make sure you are getting the best rate possible, and find someone you enjoy working with. Feel free to reach out to me for specific lender recommendations for your needs. Before you start talking to lenders, it is important to gather at least some of the documents your lender will need. Preliminary documents include: w2s, past two years’ tax returns, pay stubs, past two months’ bank statements. A list of ongoing monthly debts such as student loans, car payments, and minimum balances for credit cards is also helpful. Your lender many need additional documents based on your unique situation; however, having these items handy will give you a good head start.
Once you submit those documents to the lender of your choice, you will be given a pre-approval letter that notes the maximum loan amount or the maximum amount you can spend on a home. Now, it’s time for the fun part! You will probably have given a little bit of thought into what you want in a home before this stage. Now, you will refine your needs, determine your must-haves, and start house-hunting. Your dedicated REALTOR, yours truly, will help you locate homes that match your criteria, and tirelessly point out the pros and cons of each home. Eventually, we will find the one!
When we finally locate the perfect place, the one that is destined to be your future abode, and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I go into energizer bunny mode. We will determine the best price to offer, discuss if you’d like the washer and dryer to stay with the home, determine if you’d like a home warranty to be included with the purchase, and assess all the other details of the contract. I’ll write up the contract as discussed, shoot it over to you for signatures and then we will submit the offer. If it’s a hot home with lots of interest, we may even craft up sweet letter about how this home is just perfect for you and your golden retriever puppy, Bo. Usually, within less than an hour after deciding you wanted that perfect home with the white picket fence, your offer is in the hands of the listing agent.
Once the listing agent receives the offer, she will present it to her clients. They may decide to make some adjustments in which case, we would go back and forth negotiating for what’s best for you but also agreeable to the seller. Or, they may simply accept the contract as is. Regardless, once the contract is agreed upon by both parties, your option period starts. The option period is a set amount of days that you, the buyer, has to do your due diligence on the home and back out if you find anything too scary. We will discuss the exact length of the option period when writing up the contract but usually it’s around 5-10 days. I’ll send you recommendations for inspectors, and we will schedule one to come out and thoroughly evaluate the home. I’ll meet with him after to discuss the findings, and if possible I highly encourage you, my clients, to come too.
After the inspection, we will discuss the results. If there are repairs that need to made to the home, we can either request that the repairs are made prior to the closing date, or request that the sellers give money for the repairs at closing. Ultimately, this becomes another back and forth situation which cumulates in an official amendment to the contract.
Along the same time, that we are reviewing the results of the inspection, the lender is working to order an appraisal on the home. For the home buyer, this is not really a hands on part of the process. The lender will notify you that the appraisal has been ordered and will let us know when it comes back, hopefully at or above the offered value.
At this stage, there is a slight lull in the process. At the beginning, your moving quickly looking at homes, writing offers, negotiating. Now, you’re mostly waiting. Waiting for the appraisal to come back, and you may be submitting additional documents to your lender. Once your lender has the appraisal and all outstanding documents, your file is submitted to underwriting. At this point, you will choose a home insurance policy, a home warranty if you’d like one, and eventually you will hear the sweetest words you’ve been granted “clear to close”.
The day before closing, or the morning of, it’s always prudent to do a final walk-through. You will want to see with your own eyes that the home is in the agreed upon condition, and that any repairs negotiated during the option period have been completed to your satisfaction. The next stop is the title company where will you sign your life away, and become a proud first time homeowner. Unfortunately, you don’t usually get the keys right away.
Once you’ve signed everything, the documents are sent back to the lender and as soon as the loan funds, you get the keys. This usually takes a few hours, so if you’re so inclined, I’d highly recommend a spontaneous mid-day happy hour to celebrate your new status as a proud first time home buyer. After a few margaritas, or maybe a bottle of champagne, the time flies by. Suddenly a consistent vibration or an ascending chime disrupts the chatter; upon answering you find an upbeat title employee telling you the time has finally arrived. Now, you can pick up the keys to the place you will call home.
If you’re sick of renting, and ready to take the plunge into home ownership, contact me today, I’ll show you just how easy it is to buy your first home in Austin, Texas.
If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing a house in Austin, now is the time to take the plunge and start looking at homes. According to data from the Austin Board of REALTORS, the lowest median sales price for Austin area homes occurs in January. This trend has remained consistent for at least the past 5 years. For a home sale to close in January, that usually means the home is going under contract in December.
Thus far in 2017, the highest median monthly home price in the greater Austin area for single family homes occurred in June when the median sales price was $311,000. Compare that to this year’s January median sales price of $277,099, and it’s obvious why closing on a home in January is when you get the best deal.
If January historically yields the lowest median sales price on Austin area homes, you may be wondering why I’m suggesting you should be looking at homes now. Well first of all, finding the right home may take some time. Rarely, do buyers I work with fall in love with the first home I show them. Side note: this has occurred before and if you have a clearly defined sense of what you are looking for in a home and can articulate this thoroughly, it can vastly shorten the shopping time. In general, though, it usually takes time to find the perfect property. The second reason you should be looking now, is that the majority of home purchasers are obtaining a home loan. These take time, and most lenders need 21 days from the date the contract is agreed upon by all parties to the closing date.
You may be wondering why January continually yields the lowest median home sales price. Well, this is for a variety of reasons; however, this is primarily a matter of supply and demand. There is far less demand for homes in January as opposed to June. Most people are not thinking of purchasing a home around the holidays; conversely, many families time moves around the school year. Thus, home sales volume, and home sales prices skyrocket in June.
There is one disadvantage to looking for a home in December. There is less inventory in December than any other month. Last December, there were 7,714 single family homes active on the MLS in the greater Austin area. In May of 2016, there were 11,267 active homes.
The numbers don’t lie. Now is the time to get the best deal on an Austin area home. If you’re ready to start looking, you can view all Austin area homes for sale here, or contact me today, and I can simplify the process for you.
Are you the type of person that thinks if you own your property you should be able to do whatever you please with it? If you want to build a fence, paint your door pink, or park an RV on your land, you should be able to do as you please. If so, you may be feeling constricted by all of the regulations so prevalent in most Austin communities. Well, you’re in luck. There are some areas in Austin that are a bit more liberal when it comes to building use and regulations. Consider one of these two west Austin neighborhoods where just about anything goes.
Both of these communities are located in the City of Austin ETJ, border Lake Austin and feed to exemplary schools. Cuernavaca is located off Bee Cave Rd. in EANES ISD, and Apache Shores is located off FM 620 in Lake Travis ISD. In each of these communities you will find immaculate million dollar homes as well as mobile homes.
Apache Shores actually has a POA that oversees the approved uses for any given lot. Even with these restraints, Apache Shore’s regulations are some of the most lenient in the area. The section of Apache Shores your property is located in determines what you can and cannot do on your lot. Reviewing the POA’s governing docs and deed restrictions for a particular lot is a prudent move if you are planning to purchase in Apache Shores.
Cuernavaca has a voluntary HOA. Membership in Cuernavaca’s Lake Hills Community Association grants members access to the community pool and lakeside park. However, the HOA has no governance over residential land use within Cuernavaca. There are some communities within Cuernavaca with extensive deed restrictions, but overall the community has minimal deed restrictions on most tracts. If you’re looking for a great place to put your tiny home that’s close to the lake and the city, there are lots in Cuernavaca that permit you to do so.
While both of these communities have some of the most lenient residential land use regulations; ultimately, you will need to inspect the individual deed restrictions associated with the lot in order to assess if you can do what you want on the lot. Additionally, with less regulation generally comes less public services. While both of these communities have electricity, they do not have city water service. A septic system is required for properties in both of these communities, and a MUD provides potable water services for both Cuernavaca and Apache Shores.
If you’re looking to do something a little outside of the ordinary on your next property, you may want to consider Austin’s wild west communities of Apache Shores or Cuernavaca. Depending on your specific needs, these communities may not be the best fit. An educated real estate professional such as myself can guide you through the intricacies of zoning, deed restrictions, and municipal regulations. Contact me today to simplify the process.
If you’re looking to embrace the holiday spirit in Austin, there are a plethora of events and attractions sure to get you in the mood. Take a look at this list of Austin area holiday events and attractions, and let me know if you have a favorite holiday happening to add to the list!
A Christmas Affair
The Junior League of Austin hosts its annual shopping extravaganza. Proceeds from the event fund various charitable endeavors of the Junior League of Austin. A Christmas Affair hosts around 200 vendors selling unique gifts for the entire family. Santa will be there, and a variety of special events enhance the shopping scene. For tickets and more information visit their website.
Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is another Austin holiday tradition. The eleven-day event features live music, fine art, and an assortment of other unique gift retailers. The event is complete with a bar and food from Southside Flying Pizza. The Bazaar is open daily from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on their website or at the door.
Trail of Lights and the Zilker Tree
Trail of Lights: Decmber 8th-23rd 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m
Zilker Tree: November 26th-December 31st 6 p.m.- Midnight
In my opinion the Trail of Lights and the Zilker Tree are the most quintessential Austin holiday events around. Zilker Park transforms into an unbelievable display of hundreds of thousands of lights, that to me, are the essence of the holiday season in Austin. If you’re not up for the entire Trail of Lights, you must spin under the Zilker tree. Twirling under the 3,309 light bulbs that create the Zilker Tree till you get dizzy and fall over is an Austin rite of passage. Once you’ve had enough you can grab a cup of hot cocoa and meander through the full trail of lights if you’re up for it. The tree is free, and the Trail of Lights offers many free nights. Check their site for the full schedule.
Mozart’s Light Show
November 17th through January 1st (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day)
Mozart’s Coffee is a beautiful place to enjoy a cup of coffee or cocoa any time of year with the gorgeous Lake Austin backdrop. However, around the holidays, Mozart’s sets up an elaborate light show display with thousands of LEDs creating a holiday wonderland atmosphere. This year, various children’s choirs will be adding to the ambiance. The light shows lasts about 15 minutes, and starts nightly at 6 p.m. running every hour on the hour until 11 p.m.
Ice Skating at Whole Foods
November 24th through January 15th (closed Christmas Day, limited hours Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve/Day)
The flagship Whole Foods in downtown Austin turns their rooftop into an ice-skating rink for the holiday season. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the $10 admission fee includes skate rental. Check the Whole Food’s website before attending as they are closed for some private events during the week.
Blue Genie Art Bazaar
November 24th-December 24th (closes early Christmas Eve)
The Blue Genie Art Bazaar has been an Austin attraction for over fifteen years. The Bazaar features work from over 200 artists. If you’re looking for something truly unique for someone special in your life, this is a great place to shop! Blue Genie is open daily from 10 a.m.- 10 p.m. Visit their site for more information.
Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker
December 8th- 23rd
This iconic holiday ballet returns to Austin for its 55th year. Ballet Austin’s production of The Nutcracker features beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes, and hundreds of graceful dancers with the musical notes of the Austin Symphony Orchestra. Gather your friends and family, and head to the Long Center for a show not to be missed this holiday season. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m.; matinees begin at 2 p.m. Visit their site for tickets and more information.
Have favorite holiday pastimes of your own you would like to share? Email your recommendations.
If you’re like me, a steady marathon of Chip and Jo’s Fixer Upper, leaves me yearning for a flip of my own. Tear down some walls, add some shiplap and large beams, tear out the ugly carpet, and you have a dream home anyone would want to live in. If you’re planning to personally live in the home, a fixer upper offers the opportunity to customize the house to your unique design specifications. By putting in the work, you will spend less money and have a nicer home than if you were to buy a home that someone else already took the time to remodel. Whether you are looking for a fixer upper for a quick flip or a permanent home, Austin has a wide variety of fixer uppers ripe for renovations. Take a look at these 5 Austin area homes that with a little TLC could be true show stoppers.
1. Large East Austin Home with Guest Unit
2. Great North Austin Home on Private Lot, Easy Access to Mopac
3. Westlake Estate on Nearly 2.5 Acres with Sprawling Views of Barton Creek
4. Conveniently Located South Austin Home
5. Central Austin Fixer Upper, Walking Distance From South Congress Strip
Please Note: Texas law requires licensed agents to provide this Information About Brokerage Services
Licensed agents are also required to provide: Texas Real Estate Commission Consumer Protection Notice