In an effort to increase the current housing stock, the City of Austin has passed a number of initiatives in recent years to ease the process of adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to your lot. These separate stand-alone residences essentially allow for two independent fully livable buildings that can be legally separated as well. Traditionally, if you wanted to build two homes on one lot and sell them to different purchasers you would need to have the lot subdivided. Now, owners and developers can do a simple condo regime to account for the two units.
Originally, the ordinance only allowed for the development of such secondary units on lots of at least 7,000 square feet. However, amendments in recent years have reduced the lot square footage requirements. Additional regulation changes included removing cumbersome parking requirements, increasing the maximum size of the accessory dwelling unit, and decreasing required setbacks between the two buildings.
If you are considering building a secondary dwelling unit on your lot, the best place to start is by looking at the exact requirements as outlined in the city code. A few highlights from the code in relation to ADUs are as follows:
These secondary units represent a great opportunity for Austin to expand the affordable housing stock available, increase density while limiting urban sprawl, and allow residents to make a profit on their existing investments. If you're worried about the hassle of red tape involved, feel free to give me a call. I'm happy to walk you through the process.
As you might expect, April is already off to a good start for the Austin real estate market. Thus far, the median sales price for residential homes in the City of Austin is $390,000. Another good indicator of the market is how long a property was listed before it went under contract; these properties were on the market for an average of 35 days. Keep in mind, this number is an average. Oftentimes, these properties are going under contract way more quickly; the median days to sell was 7. This means a number of properties are going under contract in the first day or two of being listed. These stats are based on approximately 2,700 April residential sales in the City of Austin.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you are considering selling your home, now is likely the time! Historically, residential homes in Austin sell for the most money in May or June. I looked at data for residential sales from the past 5 years for Austin homes and found that every year Austin properties sold for the most money in the least amount of time in either May or June. If these properties are selling in May or June, that means the properties are going on the market this time of year. Lenders usually need at least 21 days from the time a property goes under contract until the closing day.
If you are thinking of buying, you should know this may be a more competitive time to purchase. Depending on where you are looking, and what your price range is, you may encounter multiple offer situations. This is when a number of people are interested in the same property and they all submit offers creating a bidding war. However, this doesn’t happen everywhere or with every type of property.
If you are considering buying or selling, give me a call today so that we can discuss the pros and cons for your unique situation.
When I’m preparing to list a property, I always take the time to chat with my seller and determine a few things upfront that will make the selling process easier once the property is actually on the market. If the listing is a house, I ask what attracted the seller to this area. If I am listing a ranch, I ask about utilities. If I’m listing a condo, I ask about HOA fees. I also always ask about showing instructions.
It’s important for sellers to know the pros and cons for different options. In Austin, listing agents have to select what type of showing instructions a particular listing requires. Whatever choice the listing agent inputs is what buyer’s agent see in the MLS, and thus, how they show the property. The easiest type of showing for a buyer’s agent is a “GO”. This means that the agent can show the home anytime they want. This is most commonly seen on vacant properties, and is also used when the sellers are out of town for a specified amount of time.
From a seller’s perspective having a listing that is a “GO” is also good. It means that you are more likely to have the highest amount of showings. However, it is also oftentimes concerning for sellers because they worry about what could go wrong, and there is no way to prep the home prior to a showing. Additionally, when a property is owner occupied, it simply isn’t an option.
The best option when you are listing an occupied property is to use the “call first, go” selection. This selection allows agents to call the owner or the listing agent first to schedule a showing. I find out how much time my client will need in advance of showings prior to the listing going live so that I can schedule showings accordingly when a buyer’s agent calls me. That way, when I inform my client of a showing, he or she can make sure the lights are on, clutter is put away, the dogs are in the backyard, and most importantly he or she is out of the house!
The third option is “Appointment with Agent”. This is commonly seen on high price point homes. Unfortunately, many agents will choose to bypass showing these types of properties simply because scheduling showings is challenging. Sometimes, clients are only in town for a short amount of time or the buyer’s agent cannot reach the listing agent, and showings are impossible to coordinate.
When you are considering listing your property, it is important to take these types of showings into consideration. There are other options as well, that may or may not be appropriate given your situation. It’s a good idea to have a conversation about the pros and cons for each type of showing instruction. Ultimately, you must consider that more showings are often a good thing, but you also want quality showings to buyers who have the means to purchase your property.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.