For many years I have heard horror stories from clients in regards to home owner’s associations. Most frequently, it comes from individuals who are simply perplexed by the excessive fees such associations can charge for merely delivering required paperwork. When you purchase a property that is located in a community with a home owner’s association (HOA) you need an official copy of the HOA documents and a resale certificate. These documents tell you the rules for the community, what the HOA fees cover, the HOA’s financials, and if the seller is delinquent on any HOA dues. Obviously, all of these things are important documents to look over if you are planning to purchase in the community. However, the fees associations demand for such documents are sometimes downright highway robbery.
Passed earlier this year, Senate Bill 1588 helps mitigate these concerns. Effective September 1st, HOAs are barred from charging inordinate fees for subdivision information statements and resale certificates. The bill placed a cap of $375 on the cost for subdivision information statements, and limited HOAs to charging a max of $75 for a resale certificate. This is a huge win, as I have seen HOAs charging thousands for these simple documents in the past.
In addition to setting caps on the amount HOAs can charge for these resale documents, the legislation also included a few other safeguards aimed at protecting Texans. The bill does the following:
While these changes are certainly appreciated among industry professionals and consumers, the new legislation has one major pitfall. This legislation is wonderful for those residing in or purchasing a home in a community with a property owner’s association, but it does not protect anyone who lives in a condo association. With the increasing costs of land in central Texas, more and more builders are creating single family homes that live and act like a house, but are technically condos. These homeowners as well as traditional condo owners are still susceptible to exorbitant charges from condo associations.
Do you have questions about buying or selling in an area with a home owner’s association in the greater Austin area? Contact me today.
When is the right time to sip on some wine and beer? The correct answer is ALL THE TIME! Hey, It’s 5:00 somewhere, right?
Austin is full of amazing and unique wineries and breweries. You can spend forever exploring the many options that we have in an around Austin. I’ve gathered some of my favorite spots to visit when I need a good sip. Hopefully you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying a few of these spots as well. If not, what are you waiting for?
Wimberley Valley Winery: Don't let the name fool you, this winery is located in Driftwood. Wimberley Valley Winery offers a diverse food and wine menu. For $18, you can experience their tasting which includes sampling five delicious selections. They also have a wine club that you can join which offers special perks for you to enjoy with your friends. The food menu offers everything from pizza to burgers and even tots. Yum! Get the girls together or bring your boys to this little slice of heaven.
Jester King Brewery: Just west of town on over 160 acres, this local favorite has plenty of space to offer more than just a refreshing beverage. In addition to serving up cold brews, they also have an inn where you can spend the night, an event center, a farm, and restaurant. Jester King prides itself on using mostly all of their own farm grown ingredients. If you visit and end up falling in love with this place, you’re in luck! Because they host many weddings and large events here. I told you, its a beautiful place. Don’t take my word for it though, go visit for yourself.
The Austin Winery: Located in an industrial section of South Austin, this urban winery offers an adorable atmosphere to sit and sip on some delicious wines. Maybe you’re a red drinker, or maybe you’re more of a white wine person. Whatever your choice, There is surely something for you here. The tasting room serves 3 half glass pours of your choice of wine, and the staff gives you a rundown of what you’ll be tasting. They also offer snack trays to feed your appetite.
St. Elmos Brewery: Adjacent to the Austin Winery, St. Elmos offers unique beer options from Pineapple Pale Ale to Hop Water and so much more. They have a large outdoor space where you will also find their delicious food truck, Spicy Boys. Here you can enjoy mouth watering chicken sandwiches, nugs, curry, and more. Drop by and get your drink on while you chow down!
Austin Beerworks: Located in North Austin, this brewery offers a large variety of delicious beers such as Bloodwork Orange and Megaflora. Locals know the “A” logo and the vibrant colored cans. Austin Beerworks has a very low gluten count in their beers also, which makes for a great option if you have a gluten intolerance. There is also some great food to be enjoyed while you chug down your beer. Head on over to this colorful brewery today. You won’t be sorry!
Dutchman Family Winery: Known for their saying “100% Texas grapes, 100% Texas wine”, Dutchman Family Winery is also located in Driftwood. Shaded by large beautiful trees and embellished with gorgeous chandeliers, the aesthetic alone is a great reason to take a visit to Dutchman. They regularly feature live music and host events such as painting and movie nights. You can also become a member of their wine club and try all of the exquisite wines that your body can handle.
The Austin Beer Garden Brewery: Known as The ABGB to locals, this South Austin brewery offers a great mix of beers, wines, and ciders. You’ll find a drink to satisfy everyone of your friends. They also offer live music of all genres, and food that will make your taste buds so happy! Their food menu has pizza, sandwiches, salads, desserts, and more. Sip on some award winning beers while you dance to the live music and chow down on some food from their large menu.
Meanwhile Brewing: Located in South Austin, Meanwhile Brewing offers an experience for more than just your average beer drinker. You can also find coffees, wine, cocktails, and plenty of food trucks. This brewery often hosts live music to enjoy too. There is also a private event venue and soccer field. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, Get your ass over there and let your fun side come out to play!
Have you been to any of these fantastic places? What are some of your favorite spots?
Slowly but surely, the 2020 US Census data from 2020 is being released. Although these stats are not perfect, they were obtained during the pandemic after all, they do give us some insights as to what’s happening in the ATX. There weren’t too many surprises, spoiler alert: the greater Austin area is growing rapidly in case you hadn’t noticed. But, the official count for the City of Austin population did fall slightly shorter than expected with an estimated 961,855 people residing in the capital of the lone star state. Officially, this makes Austin the 11th most populous city in the United States.
While the population for residents within the city limits has increased slightly over 20% over the past ten years, many of you may be thinking “that’s it”. I know, that number feels low to me too, and the truth is, the population of Austin as we know it is about way more than just those living in the city limits. Residents of Sunset Valley, Westlake Hills, Pfluggerville, Leander and many other adjacent areas make up what we think of as Austinites. According to the latest census stats the Austin-Round Rock metro area is the fastest growing metro area in Texas.
At the county level, we saw significant increases in population levels throughout Central Texas. Hays County which encompasses Dripping Springs, Buda, Kyle, San Marcos and Kimberly was the fastest growing county in the state. Since 2010, Hays saw more than a 50% increase in residents over the past ten years with the population now nearly a quarter of a million people. In Travis County, the census showed a population of 1,290,188 people for 2020 and Williamson County is home to over 600,000 people. Together, these stats show what everyone who’s ever sat in traffic on I-35 knows is true - there are way more than one million Austinites.
For months on end, it's seemed as if there was no end in sight for the incredibly competitive Austin real estate market. In fact, just looking at the latest numbers it still appears that way. Last month, the greater Austin area saw an all-time high median sales price of $482,364; Simultaneously 4,369 homes were sold, a record number of home sales compared to any previous June numbers.
Yet, these numbers don't show the full picture. Real estate stats are always lagging indicators. In general, it usually takes at least 30 days for a home to go from hitting the market to sold. Thus, the sales data for June is based on homes that hit the market in May. In the past month, we have started to see an increase in listings. It's not crazy, but it is impactful. In the City of Austin, we saw 2,044 new residential listings in June compared to 1,724 in May.
An increase in supply is good news for prospective home buyers. This means more homes to choose from, and less competition. This subtle increase is exciting; yet we are still very far from a balanced market. You can still expect to see multiple offers. However, you may only be competing with a handful of other buyers compared to the double digit number of offers we frequently saw on homes over the past 6 months. As you might expect, the premium paid over ask price is simultaneously beginning to decrease.
All of these indicators show that pricing is starting to stabilize but that doesn't mean home prices are going down. Home prices are likely to continue to stay at these elevated levels. That being said, I do foresee a return to the normal cyclical pattern for real estate sales in the Austin metro area. Over the past year, there was no normal slow down for the winter. In fact, the median sales price in the MSA stayed the same or increased month after month. In the future, I see a return of spring being the peak selling season- when buyers can expect the most inventory and sellers can expect to sell for the highest price.
That being said, here are the latest Austin area market stats:
City of Austin:
Compared to June of 2020
Greater Austin Area (AKA Austin Round Rock MSA):
Compared to June of 2020
Curious to know what's happening in your specific neighborhood? Contact me with any questions you may have. I’d love to hear from you!
There are quite a few different ways to determine a property’s value. As a real estate broker, I most often determine a fair asking price or listing price based on the relevant comparable sales. Other entities such as the county tax assessor may also use the sales comparison approach to determine a given home’s value; yet, our valuations may be vastly different. That’s because the different types of valuations are ultimately defined by the entity evaluating the property’s worth.
Appraised value is a term used to describe the lender’s valuation of a given property. When you buy a home with a loan, the lender needs to determine what the value of the home is in order to limit their risk. The lender orders an appraisal of the subject property once a buyer is under-contract on a property, but before the closing date. The appraiser then compiles a report known as an appraisal. The report is most commonly performed using the sales comparison approach in which the appraiser identifies three to six similar properties that have sold recently in the area, and then makes adjustments to these properties in order to determine the subject property’s appraised value. Occasionally, the appraiser may use a different approach such as the cost approach or the income approach to determine the appraised value. The cost approach uses current construction costs combined with depreciation to determine the appraised value while the income approach uses rental revenue to determine the appraised value. The sales comparison approach is most-commonly used in residential real estate, and if you are purchasing a new home or refinancing an existing one, the end result of this analysis is a determination of appraised value. Ultimately, the appraised value is what the lender determines your home is worth.
The assessed value of a home is what a county tax assessor determines a home is worth for the purpose of levying property taxes. Oftentimes, I will have buyers looking at a home’s assessed value as an indication of a fair asking price. However, the assessed value is rarely the same as the market value. The assessed value is determined annually by the county and market value can change weekly. Additionally, the assessed value is usually determined from a computer. Looking at similar size homes on the same street only tells half the picture. Just because your neighbor’s home is worth $600K doesn’t mean yours is too. What if your neighbor’s home has solid gold toilets and italian marble while you're still rocking lime green linoleum? The county tax assessor likely has no idea that your home isn’t worth as much as your neighbor’s. Unless you say something and step up to protest your assessed value, the county will continue to value your home at the rate they think is correct. Texas is also a non-disclosure state which means that home sale values are not public information. They do rely on information gathered from real estate syndication sites like Zillow to determine the asking price for a home. They also know when a home is sold, they just don’t necessarily know the exact sales price. Thus, the assessed value is the county tax assessor’s best guess as to what your home is worth.
The market value of a property is what a buyer is willing to pay for a property and a seller is willing to sell a property for in an open market. The market value of a property is oftentimes quite different from the assessed value, and may even be vastly different from the appraised value for a given property. Recently, in the Austin real estate market we have seen widespread waiving of appraisal contingencies by prospective buyers. When a buyer does this, they are saying that even if the lender determines the appraised value is lower than the contracted sales price they will proceed with the sale and bring additional cash to the table in order to close at the contracted price. Thus, the market value is higher than the appraised value. Alternatively, you could have a home that appraised for a value that is higher than what buyers are willing to pay. The market value is simply what a buyer is willing to pay for a given property.
When you are trying to determine an appropriate asking price to list your home for sale for or trying to figure out how much money you should offer on a home you need to think about all of these values. However, the market value is ultimately the value that will be the most important.
Thinking about buying a Short Term Rental in the Austin Area? Here's Your Complete Breakdown on the Rules and Regulations for Operating a Vacation Rental in Central Texas
Austin and the surrounding areas are booming right now and more and more people are coming to visit each day to get a little piece of this amazing city. Perhaps you are one of these people and you decided you like Austin so much you want to buy a home here that you can use from time to time and then rent out while you're not here. That's a great plan, but in order to make your dream a reality, you need a thorough understanding of the rules and regulations regarding short term rentals (STRs). They vary immensely throughout central Texas, and the success or legality of your investment property rests on understanding these various rules.
No matter where you are looking to purchase, it's important to understand that STRs are generally classified as rentals less than 30 days. If you are planning to rent your home out monthly or for even longer durations there are far less municipal rules. If you are planning to use your property as a vacation rental, this post is for you!
Within the city limits of Austin, the regulations regarding short term rentals are pretty strict. They have a comprehensive permitting process and caps on the number of short term rentals allowed. In fact, in the City of Austin, it's almost impossible to get a permit to operate a short term rental for a single family home if it's not your primary residence.
However, a plethora of nearby Austin suburbs have no STR rules at all, and there are unincorporated areas that aren't subject to any municipal oversight! Dive into the list below to know what the regulations are like throughout central Texas.
To obtain a permit to operate a bed & breakfast or vacation rental, an applicant must go through the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process and receive an approved permit.
The CUP process includes:
Interested in finding out more information about purchasing a home to use as a short term rental in the Austin area? Contact me for details
Happy 4th of July weekend! Need some fun and exciting ideas to celebrate this year in the ATX? We've rounded up a view great options to check out if you don't already have plans for this holiday weekend.
Live Fireworks and a Movie at Doc’s Drive in Theater:
With FIREWORKS before the movie, live music, as well as a wide variety of food and drinks, Doc's Drive in is a great option for anyone looking to have a good time! They will have two simultaneous showings on both the 3rd and the 4th. You can catch The Sandlot on Screen 1 or Independence Day on Screen 2.
July 3rd and 4th
Live Music 7-9PM
Live Fireworks Show 9pm
1540 Satterwhite Road
Buda, TX 78610
Get more information and buy your tickets HERE
4th of July Blues, Brews, & BBQ with The Larry Harris Band:
No cover, all ages are welcome, and dog friendly. Celebrate the 4th of July with live music, BBQ food, and some refreshing draft beers at Oakwood BBQ & Beer Garden.
July 4th from 11AM-8PM
307 E. Braker Lane
Austin, TX 78753
Get more information HERE.
HEB Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks:
Enjoy spectacular fireworks and some live music from the Austin Symphony at this free event.
Sunday, July 4th at 8:00 pm
900 W Riverside Drive
Austin, TX 78704
More information HERE.
Red, White, and Boom 4th of July Festival:
Visit Typhoon Texas for wild water rides, live music, contests, fireworks, and a hot air balloon ride.
July 2nd, 3rd and 4th 10:30 am - 7:00 pm
18500 Texas 130 Service Road
Pflugerville, TX 78660
Purchase tickets HERE.
The greater Austin area continues to break records in the month of May. Austin saw an all time high for median home prices for any month on record. The recorded median single family home value for the entire greater Austin area last month topped the charts at a whopping $465,000.
We are at a challenging time currently. There is simply not enough land in Austin to meet buyer demand. As businesses come in, so do residents and this is causing single family home prices to sky rocket. Austin is now experiencing a critical shortage of inventory and we must think about new ways to expand and creative policies to increase our housing supply over the long run.
Residential home sales in the Austin Round-Rock MSA aka the entire greater Austin area have seen an increase of 48% year over year to 3,976 sales for the month of May. As you may imagine, the median sales price also jumped 42.2% year over year. That is a full $100k higher than in January of this year. Monthly housing inventory decreased 1.5 months to 0.5 months of inventory. This is critically low; a balanced market has 6 months of inventory.
In May, active listings dropped 70.9% year over year to 1,739 listings, this shows how quickly homes are going under contract. Homes spent an average of 16 days on market last month across the MSA. However, keep in mind this is an average. A lot of homes spent far fewer days on market.
Increases in Median Home Sales Price per County:
City of Austin - 34.9% year over year to $566,500
Travis County - 41% year over year to $550,000
Williamson County - 50% year over year to $435,000
Hays County - 42.5% year over year to $380,000
Bastrop County - 24% year over year to $321,250
Caldwell County - 26.9% year over year to $239,900
Curious to know what’s happening in your zip code? Contact me for more information!
With summer approaching, who wouldn't want to be out there by the water and enjoying life? Texas summers are no joke! Maybe you want to get out in the kayak, go paddle boarding, or take the boat out for a spin. Those all sound like a perfect summer day to me. however, it can be somewhat tricky finding a spot to get that boat unloaded and into the water.
I've mapped out some public boat ramps and a few homes for sale near the lakes. Let us know how we can help you find your perfect property to get you out there and living your best life.
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Austin real estate market lately, you’ve surely heard that the ATX has become one of, if not the most, competitive markets for home buyers in 2021. You’ve probably heard about homes flying off the market at record speeds, selling for hundred of thousands of dollars over asking price, and new builders only being able to sign 1 or 2 contracts a month for homes that won’t even be completed until 2022. However, something you may not have heard about yet is the subtle shift in the Austin real estate market over the past two weeks. I’ve seen homes sell for asking price, homes that only had a few offers, and the return of due diligence periods.
This shift is subtle, and if you are not actively working in it everyday, you may not even notice it. But I feel it, and if it continues, it will have implications. You may be wondering why this may be. All of the signs point towards continued demand and thus higher prices. And, that is still true, but the market is behaving slightly differently. I hypothesize this subtle shift is due to a few different variables.
Many individuals looking to purchase in the Austin market are quite simply beginning to feel defeated. I have a few buyers who have been trying to buy a home for the past few months, and are still empty handed. They’ve offered well over asking price, waived their appraisal contingencies, and offered 5 digit earnest money deposits yet they still haven’t been able to get an accepted contract. After the 4th or 5th time of this, some buyers begin to feel like they simply cannot win in this ultra-competitive market. Some of these buyers decide to stop trying altogether, or opt to purchase in another city altogether. Others are still observing from afar, but are less motivated to make offers on available homes.
Sold Home Data is Starting to Show the Truth of the Market
In order to determine an appropriate asking price for a home, you need to look at the sold prices for comparable homes. Since the home sale cycle from list date to close date is usually around 30 days, sold stats are constantly lagging behind the market. Over the past few months, most homes have been appropriately listed at prices determined by the sold comparable homes. However, the majority of those homes went under-contract at a price far higher than the asking price. We are now beginning to see those homes close, and new listings are being priced using those sold stats.
For single-family homes listed in the Austin MLS, the median list price/sqft increased from $197/sqft in February to $213/sqft in March. As listing prices are increasing, I foresee this leveling out the difference between asking price and contract price. This is not to say that the majority of homes will not continue to sell for above asking price. I think that trend will continue, but I think we will see the difference between asking price and sold price decrease. Earlier this year we saw some homes selling for hundred of thousands of dollars over asking price; I foresee the ratio of list price to close price decreasing in the coming months.
Increase in Inventory
The February storms caused a serious strain on an already tight supply of inventory in the Austin market. Some homeowners that planned to list in February were forced to wait to list due to unexpected repairs as a result of storm damage. Others simply decided to wait to list, since the city was essentially shut own for an entire week. In February, we had 2,360 new single-family residential home listings in the Austin MLS. In March, we had 3,745 new single-family homes hit the market. Historically, we see the largest inventory increases in the Austin real estate market between March through July. So far, the number of new listings in 2021 has been lower than what we saw last year (even with the pandemic). However, it looks like the trend for increased listings in the spring to summer months will continue for 2021.
What This Subtle Shift Means for Austin Buyers and Sellers
This subtle shift should benefit those looking to purchase in the Austin market. Home prices likely will continue to be the highest they have ever been, BUT as sold comps catch up to the true market it will be easier for buyers to purchase homes. Appraisal waivers (essentially agreeing to purchase the home no matter what it appraises for and agreeing to bring the difference between the appraised value and the offer price in cash to closing) were almost mandatory over the past few months. This made it nearly impossible for someone without a ton of extra liquidity to compete in multiple offer situations. It was particularly detrimental to those buyers looking to purchase a home using a VA or FHA loan as these loan programs expressly prohibit the use of the Appraisal Waiver Addendum. Now that we are beginning to see the new market sales data, homes are more likely to appraise at or closer to offer prices. This has huge implications for any buyer using a loan to purchase a home.
For someone considering selling their home in Austin in the near future, you can still expect your home to sell for top dollar. In fact, you will likely get more for your home in the coming months than if you had listed your home for sale in the first quarter of 2021. However, you may not get all of the other offer terms that many home sellers received earlier this year. We saw home sellers receiving offers where the buyer incentivized the seller with a complimentary lease back. Sometimes, the buyer offered for the seller to stay in their home for an entire year for free after the buyers purchased the home. These will likely become more conservative or dissipate entirely. You also may see the re-emergence of typical seller expenses such as the title policy, and buyers may begin requesting a seller paid for home warranty again. All in all, these nominal expenses will not adversely affect your bottom line. You can expect to still sell your home for the highest price, but you may arrive there with fewer offers and more buyer preference in regards to offer terms.
If you have questions about the Austin real estate market, or need advice when contemplating your next move, contact me.
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.