Category Archives: buda real estate

Caviar or Coffee??

I finally have had some free time to sit down and post something on my poor out dated blog.  Is it really the week before Thanksgiving?  I want to know who fast forwarded my calendar!  Sadly this has become a very familiar feeling.  I am fairly certain I was feeling this exact same way around this time last year.  How do the holidays manage to sneak up on me like this every year!  This weekend will be a time of insanity in our household, much to my husbands chagrin.  It’s a time of de-cluttering for the holidays.  Hopefully the dog and any small children will make it through the weekend unscathed and not end up at the Goodwill drop off by mistake.

But I wanted to take this opportunity to write about something that often gnaws at me.  I work for a great independent broker whose main emphasis personally is investment properties.  He has allowed me the freedom to pursue whatever types of clients I so choose.  Although my specialty is also investment properties, I am also well seasoned with individuals looking to buy their dream home or sell their personal residence.  Sadly, as of late, I’ve had more than a few short sale opportunities to work on.  But I’ve often lost out on listings or clients because I don’t work for one of the “name brand” agencies.

So often the question arises, “Should I go with a big-box real estate agency or with the mom-and-pop-husband-wife team to buy or sell a property?”  Or “Should I go with the agent from the  fancy schmancy office where they serve me caviar when I arrive or the independent that meets me at Starbucks and has to wipe baby cereal off of her card before she hands it to me?” Well let me ask you this; Will caviar help you sell your house??  Is the agent better because their office smells like new leather, Dolce & Gabbana, and shoe polish?  Will hiring an agent that looks like he just stepped out of a Banana Republic store and embodies the term “metro sexual” negotiate the deal any better for you then the guy who mows his own lawn on the weekend?  Sorry, but no!!  Now I realize everyone has their own style, their own niche market and that’s great.  Unfortunately however, the real estate agent field is home to some fierce competition.  Tony Romo would choke out in the first quarter of this game and spend the rest of it crying on the sidelines!   Oh wait!  He does that normally!

I am sure that some agent reading this will be offended but the fact of the matter is this; Does the agent have the knowledge and experience behind him or her?  Do you as a client connect with them on a personal level?  Do you trust them?  If the answer is yes to these questions, it probably doesn’t matter if your agent drives a minivan (yes I do) or a Mercedes (that would be fun though).  There will be those that say, “Well if an agent is making that much money they are closing some deals!”  Maybe…. or maybe they are heavily in debt!  Let me leave you with some hard facts that no one can dispute.  Meanwhile I am going to go read up on the 101 things to do with left over turkey!

~ Between 87% and 95% of homes sell through the MLS – No need to find a caviar eating agent.  Find a Realtor who is a member of your local board and is MLS proficient.  You will save yourself the stomach ache.

~ 90% of home buyers are looking on the web – Is your agent hip on the technology end or is he more concerned with the shape of his eyebrows?

~ “Open houses are a great way to attract buyers” <So they say> … who are probably not interested in your property but it’s a great tool for your agent to solicit said buyers as clients!  Now having said that, I believe they can work to attract an urgency to the property IF and only IF the house is priced well and shows well.

~ Those sexy looking and feeling flyers that the agent gave you from the office where you almost slid off the new leather couch?  Great way to attract a new client (hey it almost got you right?) But the savvy agent knows the internet is the place to promote.

Now let me just say I know some fabulous agents who work for some of these offices that probably wouldn’t let me in the door with my Payless shoes.  I am in awe of their knowledge and ethics and their Coach purses.  I guess my point is pick the agent that’s right for you, not because their shoes cost more than your kids education.


Where’s My Buyer?

Do  you have a house on the market for sale right now that is not selling?  It’s been sitting for 30, 60, 90 or more days without so much as a low ball offer?  It pretty much stinks doesn’t it?  Ah yes, the first two weeks of impressive numbers of showings.  Your agent sending you glowing reports and feed back about how well the house has shown and how many people just love it.  And then ……NOTHING!  You’ve gone from raving about your agent to mumbling curses upon his or her family and pets when you call for the 12th time that day for an update only to get the voicemail.  Chances are, whether or not you like to admit it, they probably are doing and have done everything possible to sell your house.  How do I know this?  Because I have 2 listings myself that are just sitting!!!!  One of them happens to be one for our family investment business so yes, I know personally what this is like. 

Believe me, I’ve done everything.  Open houses, flyers, follow ups from showings.  I have not tried tap dancing in the driveway yet but that idea is sounding better and better.  I can hear you now saying, “but I did EVERYTHING that pushy agent told me to do!  I took great-aunt what’s her name’s picture down off the wall, I painted over the rose wall paper, I took down my collection of Barry Manilow LP’s that were hanging from the ceiling….” yes, yes…I am sure you did.  But sometimes, depending on your area you may just have to play the waiting game.  I know how much you did not want to hear that.  But it’s the truth. 

I have talked to many an individual that just wants to “check” and make sure their agent really is doing a good job.  Usually they are.  Believe it or not, no matter how fabulous they are, they can not manifest a buyer for you.  And if your agent can do that I need their number!  Be patient.  Listen to their advice.  It may be time for that dreaded price reduction.  <gasp!> If they really are a good agent and they’ve done their job your buyer may be right around the corner!

Now, go repent of all the mean thoughts you had about their hair falling out prematurely and send them a text to set up a meeting to see what the next step should be.  Before you know it your property will be sold and you’ll be moving on with your Barry Manilow collection!  I’ll be tap dancing in a driveway somewhere.  Be sure to honk when you drive by.

What Recession??

Free Real Estate Directory
People are funny about money and never so much as during a depression…er I meant recession!  Times are a little unsettling, I will admit it.  I find myself tightening up my purse strings more now than ever before.  Turning on the news or logging on to Yahoo does nothing to ease my confidence as I am blasted with bad news from everywhere!  But…there is good news for us folks in real estate here in central Texas.  Ask just about any Realtor, economist, or Austin politician and they’ll tell you that Austin survived the crisis that many other communities around our nation were subject to.  We’ve been in a cozy little bubble here and thankfully according to new stats released by ABOR it looks like we will survive the slide.

So homeowners, cheer up! I know depending on where your house is located your property value might have dropped faster than a Tiger Woods sponsor…Hang in there.  These stats are encouraging for all.  Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, Judith Bundschuh is quoted as saying, “”Though some aspects of the real estate market have fluctuated in the last few years, one thing has remained steady for Austin and that’s price appreciation.”  Great news for those of you regarding your long-term investment right now as nothing more than an albatross around your neck!  Before you start pondering the amount of your homeowners insurance policy, take heart.  Chairman Bundschuh goes on to say, “”This degree of price stability, despite fluctuations in sales volume, indicates long-term strength in Austin’s real estate market.”

If you are one of those who found themselves outside of the bubble and without job security, there is hope for you as well.  There are many hungry investors out there who might just be able to get you what you need financially and keep you out of foreclosure.  Do your homework though!  Ask questions and get everything in writing!  Do not let anyone pressure you or use high pressure sales tactics.  Honest and ethical investors will be open with you as to what they hope to get on their return for your investment.  Our family business has done well because we’ve tried to ensure that both parties of the transaction comes away with the best possible outcome.  Be wary, there are many snake  oil salesmen (and women)  in the real estate investment business!

Protect your investment and hang in there!  I will leave you with some other interesting stats that should encourage us. Although at first look we may think otherwise, the Austin market has been able to hold its own.  Even better is that April is looking even stronger!



March 2011 Statistics

    • $396,389,773 – Total dollar volume of single–family properties sold, five percent less than March 2010.
    • $185,260 – Median price for single–family homes, two percent more than March 2010.
    • 1,597 – Single–family homes sold, 10 percent less than March 2010.
    • 96 – Days on market, 32 percent longer than March 2010.
    • 3,480– New single–family home listings on the market, 17 percent less than March 2010.
    • 9,156 – Active single–family home listings on the market, 11 percent less than March 2010.
    • 2,012 – Pending sales for single–family homes, 17 percent less than March 2010.

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