Your property is priced too high.
If I had to guess, I would say that 99% of homes that sit on the market do so because they are not priced properly. Even if your home has a crumbling foundation, Formica counters, and a hole in the roof- if its priced correctly, it will sell quickly. If you price your property too high, potential buyers will never even look at it, and if they aren’t looking they aren’t making offers. If you must sell your home at a price that is higher than its market value, consider making inexpensive improvements that will have significant returns prior to listing your property. Even if you can’t afford it, there are often pay at close companies that can replace flooring for example and you won’t pay for the work until the property sells.
Your photos are horrendous or you simply don’t have enough.
There is nothing that frustrates me more than seeing a listing with only one crappy cellphone pic. Except seeing a listing with zero photos. Everyone starts their search online these days. If your photos blow, the buyer is never even making it to the property to look in person. Images from google and disposable camera photos dated 10 years prior are equally horrendous. I found these photos on the MLS today (these listings have been on the market for 300+ days)
Your home smells.
You and your family may have grown immune to it, but my buyers and I notice Rover’s smell the moment we walk in the home. Make sure to steam clean carpets before you list your home. In addition to pet smells, over powering scents of any nature can turn off buyers. If your home smells like a Bath and Body Works, we are going to wonder what you’re covering up.
Your home isn’t staged.
Staged homes spend half as much time on the market as non-staged homes. The reality is we really aren’t that good at imagining things. A buyer has a hard time visually arranging furniture in a blank canvas. Similarly, any minor imperfections stick out like a sore thumb when there aren’t pretty floral arrangements to detract.
You weren’t coached on how to live in your home while it’s on the market.
Since a staged home sells better than a vacant one, I often advise my clients to stay in their home while it’s on the market if it fits with their schedule and lifestyle. That being said, they must comply with a few rules if they are to stay in the home while it’s on the market. I tell my clients to pretend like they are living in a hotel. Imagine what the room looks like when you first open the door. The counters are clean and clear, beds are made, and knickknacks are minimal. I recently showed a home and there were feminine products on the bed, clothes scattered all over the floor, and collection notices on the table- this is not the look we are going for.
Your home is not being marketed properly.
With most buyers starting their search on the internet, you want your home to be visible on as many sites as possible. You also want to make sure all the stats are correct and people can find your home easily. I recently showed a property that had been on the market for 104 days, that’s basically an eternity in the Austin market. I almost didn’t show this property. When I was mapping the showings through the MLS, it looked like this home was located in the middle of nowhere. I double checked and realized the agent had simply mis-mapped the property but this mistake likely cost them dozens of other showings.
No one can schedule a showing at your property.
We don’t want to disturb the tenants, showings only permitted with an accepted offer. Our child naps from 11-1 and 5-7 on weekdays, showings only permitted between 12-2 on weekends. Guess what? No one’s putting in an offer on your home because no one can see it! Also, if you or your agent isn’t easily reachable for scheduling showings, you’re missing out on potential offers.
It’s really not rocket science. However, it takes a unique combination of ingenuity, resourcefulness, attention to detail, common sense, and knowledge of the market to sell a home. When you price your home correctly, market it appropriately, and it shows impeccably- you receive great offers quickly.
Are you considering the best use for a piece of property you own, or wondering if you can build 100 condos on a lot you're considering purchasing? Well, there are a variety of considerations you will want to take when determining what you can do with a given parcel of land. Land characteristics, zoning, and deed restrictions all influence what one may do with a piece of property.
First, you want to consider the physical attributes of the land. Look at the lot’s size and geographic position. Are there any natural elements influencing the way you can use the land? Is there a river running through the property, or a pond in the middle? Is the land incredibly sloped or is it located in the floodplain? How will one access the land? Does it have frontage on multiple streets or only a narrow entry as seen on a “flag lot”. You also want to think about the size of the lot, existing roads, and access to utilities.
Next, you want to consider how the property is zoned. If the property is located within the City of Austin, I go to their zoning profile report tool to get a fairly good estimate of how the property is zoned. You can then cross reference this data with the City of Austin’s permitted use chart to determine what uses are allowed for that zoning. However, if you find that the subject property is not zoned in a way that allows you to do what you would like, you are not necessarily out of luck. Zoning can be changed, and is easier to change if the proposed zoning change conforms with the existing characteristics of the neighborhood.
Another important component to consider are the deed restrictions for the property. Title can usually pull these records if you don’t have them already. If your property is located in an unincorporated area that is not subject to any municipal zoning regulations, you will want to start by analyzing the deed restrictions. Oftentimes, you will find deed restrictions that dictate the type of building materials that can be used on a property, the size of buildings, as well as the permitted uses for a given piece of land.
If you are considering buying a property and wondering if you can do what you want with it, give me a call today - I’d love to help you navigate this process. Similarly, if you are thinking of selling your property, it’s a good idea to know what development potential the property has. This will influence the asking price for the property and how one should best market the property.
The Austin area boasts literally dozens of options for day camps to keep your little ones entertained during their summer break. Below are just a few of the options that caught my eye for this summer!
Austin Nature & Science Center Summer Camp
(Ages 4-17) - Young nature enthusiasts explore the outdoor world. (The caving camp was my favorite as a kid)
(512) 974-3888 austintexas.gov
YMCA of Austin
(Ages 4-14) - Weekly themes, sports and outdoor activities at various
locations across the Austin area.
(512) 236-9622 austinymca.org
Young Peoples Workshops
(Ages 4-12) - Various Programs with an emphasis on education and the Spanish language.
(512) 329-5611 ypwkids.com
Bits, Bytes and Bots
(Ages 6-14) - Includes computer coding, game design and robotics.
(512) 415-9622 bbbcomputer.com
Marmalade Skies Magical Mystery Tour
(Grades K-5) - An opportunity to learn about famous artists, musicians, and other people and inventions throughout culture.
(512) 695-1694 marmaladeskiesaustin.com
Dougherty Art School Camps
(Ages 5-12) - Various art classes hosted by Dougherty Arts School.
(512) 974-4040 austintexas.gov
UT Film and Media Youth Camps
(Ages 6-18) - Film Production, screenwriting, animation and more.
(512) 470-4505 rtf.utexas.edu
Central Market Cooking School
(Ages 13 & Up)- Cooking classes about food preparation, kitchen safety and multiple cooking techniques. Great for adults too!
(512) 236-9622 centralmarket.com
Moolah U Camp
(Ages 7-15) - Fun hands-on experience with money by starting a real
(512) 443-8851 moolahu.com
Bee Cave Riding Center
(Ages 6-16) - English and Western Riding lessons with a fine arts program.
(512) 632-7433 ridinghorses.com
Camp on the Move
(Ages 8-14) - A variety of summer field trips.
(512) 658-9285 camponthemove.com
Bricks for Kidz Summer Camps
(Ages 3-13) - Themed weeks are centered around LEGO® crafts, LEGO® games and plenty of time for creative building.
(512) 270-9003 bricks4kidz.com
Dance Xplosion Summer Classes & Camps
(Ages 2-18) - Half-day and all-day workshops.
(512) 301-9222 dancexplosionaustin.com
Concordia University Camps
(Ages 5-18) - Multiple sports camps are offered.
(512) 301-9222 athletics.concordia.edu
This year marks Zilker Park’s 100th anniversary. If you’ve never been to Zilker, Austin’s 351 acre park, you are missing out. Zilker is home to a number of festivals throughout the year, and offers ample space for sports, recreation and enjoying the beautiful Austin weather. As we all know, summer is fast approaching. Thus I wanted to highlight two ongoing opportunities for Austinites to enjoy Zilker Park this summer.
The Zilker Hillside Theatre is located on the south side of the park, just north of Barton Springs. Every summer, Zilker Theatre Productions puts on a free play in the park. I clearly remember attending Guys and Dolls over a decade ago, last year they brought Shrek to Zilker Park, and this year’s musical, The Wizard of Oz, is not to be missed.
The play runs July 7th-August 12th. In order to have a great experience, I highly recommend you bring blankets and a picnic. You can bring chairs as well but if they are too tall you will have to sit farther back. They do have concessions and swag available for purchase at the park, and in the past they have also offered chair rentals. For more information on this year’s play in the park, visit Zilker Theatre Productions website.
Another great way to experience Zilker Park is by attending Blues on the Green. The summer concert series includes 4 free shows at Zilker Park. What was once a laid back environment filled with blankets and blues has evolved to a full on festival environment. This year's concerts will be held on May 24th, June 14th, July 12th, & Aug 2nd. Again, I highly recommend bringing a blanket and or chairs. For more information visit KGSR’s site.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.