In many ways, listing a condo for sale is similar to listing a house for sale. You must determine an appropriate asking price, prepare the home to go on the market, and then advertise the home to prospective buyers. Digging up relevant home documents such as the ones listed in this post, are helpful when selling a home or a condo. However, there are a few additional items you will also want to research prior to listing a condo for sale.
First, you will want to find out what types of financing can be used to purchase a condo in your complex. Why should you care what types of loans a buyer could use to purchase your condo? Well, not all condo complexes qualify for all types of loans. Let’s imagine you receive an amazing offer on your condo. You accept the offer and begin preparing to move. A few weeks go by and then you are notified that the buyer can no longer purchase your condo because the condo project does not qualify for the loan product the buyer planned on using to purchase your condo. In this scenario, it’s possible they may not be able to qualify for a different type of loan, and you will be back at square one. To make matters work, your home will have been off the market for a few weeks - valuable time you could have used to identify a buyer that is truly qualified to purchase your condo.
You can see how it makes sense to understand what loans buyers can use to purchase your condo. This example sheds light on the greater issue of making sure a buyer is thoroughly vetted to ensure he or she can qualify for the purchase. Whether you are selling a house or a condo it’s important to verify with a buyer’s lender that the buyer is truly qualified and that the property is eligible for their specific loan product. When selling a condo specifically, I would check to see if the condo building qualifies for FHA financing. You can check to see if your condo project is FHA approved on the HUD website. Additionally, I recommend determining if the condo is warrantable. This one is a little trickier; however, this post outlines some of the factors that influence whether a condo is warrantable or not. You should also check with an experienced mortgage professional.
There are a few other things you will want to know about your condo before listing it for sale. Understanding what your HOA fee covers and how much it is monthly will help you better market your condo for sale. You also want to find out how much the resale certificate costs and what the HOA charges for transfer fees. And, you want to find out how long it usually takes the HOA to provide the resale certificate. All of these items are on the sales contract. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, how can you intelligently negotiate an offer you receive? Contact your HOA for detailed information on these items.
Researching all of these pieces before you list your condo for sale ensures a smooth closing. As an experienced listing agent with a plethora of condo sales under my belt, answering all of these questions is part of my listing checklist. If you are interested in selling your Austin area condo, contact me today.
Just ten years ago, buyers had many more options when looking to invest $200 K in the Austin real estate market. The median sales price of residential homes in 2008 was only $192,000. You could buy a cute little Bouldin cottage, pretty much anything east of I35, or a modest sized home in Lakeway.
Today, options are far more limited. In my opinion, with a $200,000 budget in Austin you have four options: a condo, a home in the suburbs, a fixer-upper in a less desirable area or land.
If you’re thinking about putting that $200K into a condo, you’re in luck. There are quite a few condos available for that price today. Unfortunately, the majority of them are 1 bedroom units, and they average around 600-700 square feet.
Need a little more space? You will likely need to go farther out to find the right home. New construction neighborhoods in Buda and Kyle have three plus bedroom homes starting at under 200K. You can also find move-in ready homes at this price point in northern suburbs such as Round Rock, Hutto, Pfluggerville, and Leander. East of Austin in Manor, you can also find homes at this price point.
Considering going the fixer upper route? If you want to be as close to downtown as possible. Your search will likely occur mostly in the East Austin neighborhood of Montopolis. Approximately five miles from Downtown, you can’t find another pocket with this many homes for sale under 200K so close to the city’s center.
If you want to follow the wisdom of Mark Twain and buy land, you have a few options with a $200K budget in the Austin area. You could buy a tiny, postage stamp lot in Crestview or close-in East Austin. Or, you could have your money go a little further and get almost half an acre in Oak Hill. Take your money up north, and you can likely find an acre or more in someplace like Hutto or Liberty Hill.
Many people will tell you that the best time to sell your Austin area home is in the spring. However, is now really the best time to think about listing your home for sale? Well, it may be and it may not be. For many Austin residents, spring likely is the best time to sell your home. However, depending on what type of home you have and where it is located, you may be better off waiting if you want to sell for the most money.
For homeowners in the City of Austin, spring probably is the best time to sell your home. Over the past three years, the median home sales price for single family homes in the city limits has been highest in the summer months. In 2015, the highest median sales price for these homes occurred in May at $360,000. In 2016, the highest monthly median sales price was $377,470 in June. Last year, we saw the highest median sales price occur in June again with the median sales price increasing to $407,500.
As you can see, single family homes in the City of Austin really do sell for the most money in the spring. It’s not all about the price though. If a quick sale is important to you, the spring market is great for that too. The last column in the chart above represents the number of days a home is on the market before it goes under contract. Over the past three years, the median days to sell in the spring months was almost always less than 2 weeks.
If you’re thinking you want to sell your Austin home for the most money in the least amount of time, now is the time to start preparing to sell your home. Keep in mind that there is usually about a month of time from the date the contract is accepted until the closing date. In order to close in June, you want to list your home in April or May.
Now, if you are thinking about selling your condo in the City of Austin, now may not be the best time to sell. City of Austin condos had the highest median sales price in December for both 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the highest median sales price for condos in the city limits occurred in October when the median sales price was just under $305K.
If you don’t live in the city limits of Austin, spring may not be the best time for you to sell either. While single family home sales in Travis and Hays County conformed to the spring is the time to sell trend, homes in Williamson County did not.
In Travis County, May was the month with the highest median sales price in 2015. In 2016 and 2017, June yielded the highest median sales price for single family homes in Travis County with sales prices of $350K and $370K respectively. Hays County single family home sales showed the highest median sales price for 2015 in June with a price of S250K. In 2016, the highest median sales price occurred in April. Last July yielded the highest median sales price for 2017 with a median sales price of $270K.
Conversely, winter seems to be the best time to sell single family homes in Williamson County. In 2015, the highest median sales price was $252,500 which occurred in December! A month usually not associated with peak selling season. In 2016, November yielded the highest monthly median sales price, and in 2017, December led again with a median sales price of $287K. I should note that in 2017, the June median sales price was a close second with a median sales price of $286,713 and a much shorter number of days on market, 15 days compared to 40 in December.
If you’re thinking about selling your home this year, you really need to look at the market activity in your specific neighborhood. I’d be happy to run individualized reports for you; just contact me. Alternatively, if you are mildly curious what your home is worth, click here for a quick home worth estimate.
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.
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.
Austin based developer, Capsa Ventures, is creating a buzz in Austin surrounding the group’s latest venture in Austin’s incredibly popular East side neighborhood. The development, coined Fourth &, by Capsa Venture’s CEO, Rance Clouse, is named after the idea of endless possibilities. Rightfully so, the project is full of green features, technical building advancements and resident amenities (resort-style pool, club room, conference room, a lobby, key fob access, movie lounge, a dog wash and more). Situated within walking distance to popular eateries and bars such as Counter Café, Whislers, Chicon, The Grackle, Yellow Jacket, and many others, the project is being built to complement its surroundings.
The mixed use development includes residential units ranging from 510 sqft. micro lofts (efficiencies) to 1464 sqft., 2 story town home style units called urban walk-ups. Additionally, the ground level includes 42,000 feet of commercial space (for sale) so local businesses can own the space they work from.
While these amenities are sure to entice, the coolest features of this development are not apparent from an initial glance. The exterior of the building is built with a Syntheon Accel-E thermal panel wall system made from recycled steel. The panel system boasts 4.5 inches of foam that creates a thermal envelope that is virtually unbroken on the entire exterior. The interior is framed with light gauge steel and there is virtually no wood throughout the project. Solar panels line the roofs, LED lights are omnipresent, and the building uses variable speed air conditioning systems so you don't waste energy in heating or cooling your unit.
They are currently on track for an estimated completion date of late summer 2017, and are accepting reservations now. For more information on pricing for individual units, and commercial spaces, email me.
An innovative community is breaking ground in central Texas. Located about thirty minutes from Austin, a little less than one mile away from Elgin’s Main Street, a group of individuals is working to create Elgin Agrarian. The Elgin Agrarian community is designed to be just that, a community. The property will feature housing, an elaborate farm, a farm to glass brewery, and a wellness center among other unique elements.
Elgin Agrarian includes eighty cottage style homes that will be built in a series of stages, with some units expected to be completed later this year. The cottages range from one to three bedrooms, and the entire community will be structured as a co-housing community. This structure allows owners to finance homes using traditional lending methods while maintaining the structure of an intentional living environment with shared community spaces. Owners will pay a monthly HOA fee that will cover front yard care, common area maintenance and insurance, a weekly veggie bundle (and the wages for the farmworkers that grow the veggies), and a monthly share of fresh tilapia.
The community also includes solar on the rooftops, a large common house, trails, and dog parks. For an additional fee, owners can become members of the for-profit spa and fitness center. Since the homes tend to be a tad on the smaller side, there will also be guest suites that owners can reserve for guests.
The farm includes a one acre fruit orchard and a three and a half acre community-supported farm with aquaponics. As I hinted to earlier, there will be workers to maintain the farm, and owners would have the opportunity to help if they so desired. The brewery will be the first female owned and operated brewery in the Austin area. It will be a farm to glass brewery delivering thirst quenchers utilizing crops produced on-site at the farm. A beer garden is also rumored to be present.
All in all, Elgin Agrarian, seeks to create a purposeful community of like-minded people. They have worked diligently to listen to the needs of early joiners and to mold the community with the input of the future members. As we increasingly see consumers moving towards a preference for smaller homes and larger community spaces, I think we will see more and more intentionally designed communities sprouting up all across the greater Austin area and across the country. For more information on the Elgin Agrarian community, located about thirty minutes away from Austin, visit their website. If you are interested in learning more about purchasing a home in the Elgin Agrarian community, give me a call today!
Oftentimes, I’m working with one of my Austin clients, and we are discussing the various options that are best for their needs. I’ll be speaking quickly, excited to share my real estate knowledge with them, and I will throw out some industry specific term. They interrupt, “what the hell does that mean” or “CMA, what does that stand for”? A CMA is a comparative market analysis, used to illustrate a property’s relative value in comparison to other recently sold properties. Another such term that often is received with a furrowed brow or an inquisitive glance is "warrantable condo".
Condominium buildings are either warrantable or non-warrantable. It is important to know the difference between the two types when you are purchasing a condo, and imperative to know the difference when you require financing to purchase the condo. A condo is warrantable when a loan used to purchase a condo can be sold to Freddie Mae/Freddie Mac. Conversely, a non-warrantable condo is one in which the loan used to purchase the unit cannot be sold to Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.
If you are considering purchasing a non-warrantable condo, that does not mean that you cannot use a loan to do so. However, you will want to make sure your lender is able to provide a loan for a non-warrantable condo. Also, in most cases, lenders require a larger down payment when purchasing a non-warrantable condo. A lender can help walk you through these intricacies when you are financing a condo.
However, first, I’m sure you want to know what exactly makes a condo non-warrantable. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) determines the guidelines that define which loans can and cannot be sold to Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. The FHFA is a regulatory agency; therefore, loans that are non-warrantable are considered riskier by the FHFA. However, these guidelines are not black and white. Sometimes, a condo project has an element that makes it non-warrantable. However, purchasing that condo is not necessarily a risky investment. In fact, both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac occasionally make exceptions to the eligibility requirements based on specific property attributes or economic conditions.
Generally speaking, the following factors determine the warrantability of a condominium complex:
If a condominium development is involved in any kind of lawsuit, it is unlikely that the condo units will be warrantable. There are a number of additional variables that determine if a condo is warrantable. For more specific information on Freddie Mac’s requirements, click here. For more information of Fannie Mae’s requirements, click here. If you are looking for a condo in Austin, give me a call today. I’d love to help you navigate the Austin real estate market!
Erika Rae Albert
Sharing my Austin real estate updates, home owner tips, & more.