• General Real Estate Information

General Real Estate Information

Texas Still No.1 destination for those moving within U.S

As Texas continues to reign as America's No. 1 growth state, 2017 proved to be a big year for those making the move to the Lone Star State.

According to U-Haul, year-over-year arrivals of one-way trucks in Texas rose 1% in the last year while departures grew 3% compared to 2016. Despite a larger year-over-year increase in departures, arriving trucks still accounted for 50.3 percent of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Texas, allowing it to maintain its status as the top net-gain state.

In order to conduct this annual study, U-Haul calculates the net gain of one-way U-Haul truck rentals entering a state versus leaving a state in a calendar year. Data is then compiled from more than 1.7 million one-way annual U-Haul truck rentals. While migration trends do not correlate directly to population or economic...

5 Myths Sellers Believe When Pricing Their Home

Many sellers believe myths about home pricing that in reality don't match the housing market. Last week Realtor.com highlighted several of those common pricing myths, and here they are!

1. You won't always make money on the sale of a home: Home sellers shouldn't always assume they will receive profit from the sale of a home. The National Association of REALTORS reports that sellers return greatly depends on their location and how much they paid for the home when purchased prior. 

2. A high home price will net you more in the end: When selling it may be tempting to set a higher price to see if you can actually get it, in the end, you may be costing yourself the best marketing time in exchange for the remote possibility that...

Amazon’s 'Alexa' Adds More Real Estate Skills

Integrating voice assistance to everyday technology is on the rise, and Amazon's 'Alexa' is no exception. Voice assistance has become increasingly popular in the real estate industry as it gives agents the ability access information with ease.

A recent consumer survey found that 72 percent of Americans with smart home products want voice control.  Voice Labs estimates there will be 24.5 million voice-activated devices shipped in 2017, which amounts to 33 million in circulation by the end of this year. 

Coldwell Banker, the leader so far in digital voice assistance devices, released new information on the second skill for Alexa. In addition to utilizing Alexa to look at the brand's most exclusive listings via an audio recording, users can now command...

The ‘Flintstone House’ has finally found a Buyer after Two Years on the Market

The ‘Flintstone House’ was first put on the market in September 2015 for $4.2 million. The house was listed by San Francisco Realtor Just Meuschke of Alain Pinel Realtors. Located in Hillsborough California, an upscale suburb in the area, the home has been updated to a “sale pending” status. The property is in one of the wealthiest communities in America, right off of Highway 280. According to Trulia, the median sales price for homes in Hillsborough is about $4.37 million.

With a kitchen designed by architect Eugene Tsui, the house is enriched with lighted niches and appliance enclosures, glass countertops encased with diagonal metal spines, swinging wood cut out doors, drawers, and cabinets. The door was created by famed Burning Man artist, Dan Das Mann, and the living room was built with a sunk-in conversation pit with circular seating. The home overlooks the Crystal Springs Reservoir.

Check out some photos of the...

Even Ivanka Trump Gets into Parking Feuds: Learn to Win this All-Too-Common Word Battle Here

Even the daughter of the nation's president encounters problems with neighborhood parking! A recent article published by Realtor.com narrates how Ivanka Trump has caused tensions among neighbors in the high-end suburb of Kalorama which she shares with fellow VIPs former President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Reports indicate the neighbors' dissatisfaction about how security detail for the presidential daughter has cordoned off sections of the sidewalk (forcing pedestrians to dangerously walk on the street) and how "No Parking" signs appeared in front of neighbors homes adjacen to the Trump-Kushner residence.

After a ton of complaints and emails sent to city officials, the Secret Service has since backed off, but the issue as old as the invention...

Real Estate Council of Austin Hires McCombs School of Business Exec as its New CEO

The Real Estate Council of Austin has hired an executive with the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas to lead the professional membership organization into the future. In hiring its first CEO from outside real estate circles, RECA said it wanted a fresh vision to lead the organization.

Who is she?

Their new CEO, Dianne Bangle, is the former executive director of development of the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds degrees in law and sociology, and has served in several middle and upper-management positions in various companies and organizations. 

About RECA

According to their official LinkedIn account, The Real Estate Council of Austin, Inc. (RECA) is a member-oriented organization committed to economic development and real estate-related issues in...

A New Year's Guide to Travis County Property Taxes: What First Time Buyers Should Know

With the arrival of the New Year comes the need to pay for taxes. If you're a new home buyer or first-time homeowner of a Travis County home, it might be good to take note of the following dates to avoid paying extra for your dues. The following information and downloadable files have been taken from the Official Travis County Tax Office. More details below:

Date that taxable values and qualification for certain exemptions are determined for the tax year (except for inventories appraised Sept. 1) (Secs. ...

Homestead Exemption FAQs: What You Need to Know

Here comes another year and another round of paying our taxes! But did you know that there is a legal workaround to reducing the taxes you are required to pay, especially in real estate? Homestead exemptions exist, and you can make use of them to help you potentially save thousands of dollars annually.

Homestead exemptions work by removing a certain value of your home from taxation, leading you to pay lesser taxes as compared to paying your dues without one. However, homestead exemptions require you to meet certain qualifications before you can actually become eligible for the said deductions. Here are some quick facts you need to know about Homestead Exemption:

What are Homestead Exemptions?

A homestead is an individual structure, condominium, or manufactured home situated on owned or leased land which is currently occupied by the owner. Homestead properties can be as large as 20 acres, so long as the land is legally owned by the current occupant...

Will You Buy Real Estate on Mars?

A recent article featured at Realtor.com features the possibility of humans inhabiting the planet Mars. Nope, we are not featuring a science documentary for a TV show, people. This article is actually about a fact that is about to take place in our lifetimes. At least, that's how Tesla's Elon Musk wants to describe it as he pieces together a team who will pioneer human settlement in Mars.

While the main article (see link above) discusses technicalities such as the first settlements being underground, with the pioneers having been trained to farm, build, and basically do tasks taken care of by 20 different professions here on earth, this article focuses on one interesting aspect discussed in the post. Are you willing to invest on your plot of land in Mars?

After all, looking back, the people who hold much of valuable real estate now are the descendants of individuals who have been awarded homesteads, or who have...

Americans are Getting Richer; More Invest in Real Estate

recent Census Burea report indicates that incomes of Americans rose by 5.2% percen

t in 2015-- the first hike in earnings since the last one that took place in 2007. After seven years of declining or stagnant earnings, the median household income grew by $2,798 or $56,516 annually (adjusted for inflation). However, the income of the average American has yet to recover to its pre-recession times, as incomes are still 1.6% less than in 2007.

Regardless, if the income growth sustains its pace, the median American household income could surpass...

The Truth About Second Mortgages

A second mortgage is a loan option that home owners can look into if they find themselves suddenly in need of a large amount of cash. Second mortgages allow home owners to access the equity of their home (which is usually the difference between the balance of the original mortgage and the current value of the home). Mortgage lenders commonly allow home owners interested to take a second mortgage to borrow up to 80% of the home's equity.

Thanks to the strong housing market in the U.S., more and more buyers are confident with taking a second mortgage. And with median home prices rising steadily by nearly 5% annually, can you actually blame the home owners for considering this "free cash" option? If you would like to use a second mortgage to give your wallet and bank account a boost, here are some second mortgage facts you should know:

1. Flexibility on usage of cash- the money received from a second mortgage can be used by the home owner in any way they please. Mortgage lenders...

QUIRKY WEEKEND READ: Neighbors Complain About Frontyard Zombie

HOAs vs Property OwnersIt’s understandable to believe that you can do anything you want with your property; after all, it’s YOURS. However, neighbors can still get in the way of you enjoying creative freedom in your home, especially if you are doing something that they believe MAY affect the value of their home. Don’t believe me? Here’s the story of a Nashville, TN family whose quirky frontyard décor riled up the neighbors and caused a stir in the local HOA:

The Bayview Homeowners Association wrote a letter to the Grinstead family, asking them to remove their zombie sculpture named “Clawed” which was positioned like, um, a zombie clawing his way out of the ground. While the sculpture has been in the family’s property for the last five years, it only drew criticism when it was relocated...

Signs of a Bad Moving Company

Moving companies are a thriving business in the United States, where it is estimated that 16.5 million households (approximately 38.7 million Americans) move homes every year. So, it is not a surprise that many enterprising individuals are putting up moving companies to keep up with the ever-increasing demand. However, because of a lack of control on the standard of service moving companies provide, many horror stories about moving companies can be found online.

So, how will you know if you should NOT work with a moving company? Here are 3 tell-tale signs that you need to run the opposite direction FAST:

Significantly Low Price= Significantly Poor Service

It’s a bad idea to choose a provider just because they gave you the cheapest quote. Everyone wants a good deal, but a price lower by 20-30% compared to quotes given by other providers is a flashing sign that something is wrong. “While finding an affordable mover doesn’t...

2 Top Colors for 2016 -Pantone

The Pantone Color Institute has chosen two shades as the “Top Colors of 2016”. This is the first time that two shades were simultaneously chosen as Color of the Year. Say hello to Rose Quartz and Serenity:

While the muted pastel shades seem to look like the kind used for baby nurseries, the institute explains that the two colors were chosen because they are "a harmonious pairing of inviting shades that embody a mind-set of tranquility and inner peace."

“With the whole greater than its individual parts, joined together Serenity and Rose Quartz demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”

-Leatrice Eiseman, Executiv Dirrector Pantone Color Institute.

The annual Color of the Year forecast by the color institute is heavily anticipated by the interior design, housewares, graphic design, and fashion...

Homes Sales Up in the Second Quarter of 2015, Thanks to First-Time Buyers

The market favors buying over renting a home. Real estate is hitting its strongest pace this year, with homes sales up 3.2 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million. According to a recent blog post by the real estate titan Keller Williams Realty, the market performance in the second quarter of 2015 shows the promise of a healthy market that is recovering at a comfortable steady pace. One major contributor to the strong real estate numbers is the rise of first-time home buyers, who were relatively inactive in the years following the Great Recession.

Before the Great Recession changed the real estate...

Majority of Americans Consider Real Estate a Good Investment

Austin real estate is a sound investment. According to a new Bankrate survey, a majority of Americans say they would put their hard-earned income in real estate. Conducted by Bankrate, the Web's leading aggregator of financial rate information and other information to help consumers make informed financial decisions, the survey asks Americans what kind of investments made the most sense. The results showed that  27 percent of Americans said they'd invest in property if they had a pool of spare cash.

In years past, CDs and other cash investments were preferred over all else. In the new survey, those investments came in second at 23 percent. The remainder of respondents were divided as follows: 17 percent of survey respondents...

Rents Rise as Single Family Home Prices Slip

Rents continue to rise as home prices slip.RealtorMag.com, the online news site provided by the National board of Realtors, published a post detailing the increasing cost of renting a home in the United States. Landlords have been taking advantage of the hot rental market, causing rents to continue to rise another 3.6% in the second quarter of 2015 compared to a year earlier, the report read. “Rent growth has bloomed at a fast pace since 2012, hovering around a 4 percent annual growth since then.” This news contrasts with recent data from the Austin Board of Realtors that revealed the average listing price for single family homes slipped over $14,000 from May to June.

A continued inadequate supply of rentals is the main cause of the increasing cost to rent. Ryan...