Cain Realty Group Austin Real Estate Blog

What Makes a Good Neighborhood [to move into]

A recent survey by Realtor® shows that a community needs to have the following "ingredients" for it to satisfy the residents in the area and make them feel that they are living in a good neighborhood. Aside from looking at the crime rates in the area, the quality of nearby schools, and the home maintenance habits of your would-be neighbors, you also have to look for the following things when choosing the next place you are going to live in:

1. Parks-- wide, open spaces provide an opportunity for fun, social bonding, exercise, and more without necessarily having to spend money for enjoyment.

2. Dog Parks-- a must-have in a neighborhood, especially if you are a pet lover or would love to have your own pet in the near future.

...

Attention Home Sellers: How to Choose the Right Realtor to Work With

People commonly choose a realtor according to the listing price they suggested. A general rule of thumb is that, "the higher the listing price, the better the realtor is". Realtor® explains that there is more to choosing an agent than just hearing the price that the seller likes. In fact, people who hire a realtor who gave them a high price that is way more than the prices suggested by others often end up selling their home at the lower price suggested by other realtors. Won't you feel ripped off that way? Here's how NOT to fall for a realtor who's "buying a listing":

1. Interview several candidates for the job. Ask them about their professional experience, the average days on market (ADOM) of their listings, recommendations given to them by people you know, AND their estimated value of your home.

2. Using the track record, days on market stats, AND the suggested list price for your home, make a table and compare. Did a realtor quote a price that is...

Hot New Listing in Austin TX! 1405 Chicon St. near UTAustin

1405 Chicon St Austin TX home for salePerfect opportunity in an incredible area! Expansive lot located minutes to Downtown, The University of Texas, Metro Rail and the Capitol. Walking distance to endless amenities and restaurants.

Are you looking for a home that is strategically located at the heart of East Austin, just a stone's throw away from UT-Austin? This is a very rare opportunity as homes in the area seldom open up, and when they do, they sell very high! Get in touch with us and we'd love to tell you more about this hot new gem. For more information about the home, you can also click...

Neighborhood Features that Drag Down Home Value

An interesting video released by Realtor® summarizes the community features that can drag your home's value down.

For buyers: Are you looking to buy a home? If you want to own property whose value appreciates over time, avoid looking at homes in communities where these features can be found.

For sellers: Are these community features found near your home? It might be a good idea to ask your agent to help you with coming up with a price that would coax buyers into buying the home. With a good price, it can't be all that bad, right?

Here are the neighborhood features that drag your home's value down:...

Renovation Works that Pay Off When You Sell Your Home

The most recent Cost vs. Value report of Remodeling Magazine for 2016 enumerates the types of renovation work that has the most return on investment. Are you thinking about doing upgrades on your home, thinking that this would add value to your home? Then you might want to work on THESE projects to make sure you're spending your time and effort on upgrades that do pay:

Garage Door Installation

Beautifying your garage's facade can cost you about $1652, but its resale value once you sell the home is estimated at about $1512-- around 91.5% of the original expense being recouped. The reason? Garage doors play an important part on your home curb's appeal. Make what your buyers see outside amazing and you will likely have several buyers all eager to check out your home.

Manufactured Stone Veneer

Stone veneer adds appeal to the home, and if we follow the saying that "first impressions last", having manufactured stone veneer...

Four Seller No-No's

Selling a home can be pretty exciting, as this is a phase in your life when you are getting ready to move on to bigger and better things. But don't let that excitement overwhelm you. Too much excitement and over-eagerness on your part can turn off prospective buyers. Here are four things you should never do as a seller to avoid turning off buyers who are looking at your home: 

Tip 1: Don't let your curb look unkempt

The first thing a buyer sees in a home is its facade or curb. Remember, first impressions last. If they don't look what they see on the outside, how can you even expect them to look inside? If you are intent on selling your home, you might have to invest on landscaping the front yard, touching up your home's facade, and generally make your home look dreamy and inviting as soon as the buyers step out of their car for a showing.

Tip 2: Don't overwhelm the buyer with your presence

You might not find any fault...

Things You Should Never Say When Buying a Home

When you're looking to buy a home, you encounter a myriad of emotions and a ton of things to do that you easily end up absent-mindedly saying things you'd later regret. While we accept that we are all human and are prone to commit mistakes, sometimes you just have to steel yourself from uttering certain things, ESPECIALLY when the listing agent is in the vicinity. Here are three things you need to keep yourself from saying when shopping for a home:

1. "This is my dream home!"

Congratulations! You have found the home you want to live in for the rest of your life. But don't blurt it out just yet! Proceed with the home showing, let your agent handle the negotiations for you, and stay rational! Admitting that you love the home makes you lose bargaining leverage and you will likely end up paying more than you should (simply because the sellers know you...

Hot New Listing in Buda TX! 191 Kings Ridge Dr

191 Kings Ridge Home for SaleGorgeous home in ideal location. This home has soaring ceilings, endless natural light, an open floor plan and an expansive master suite. The stunning kitchen and incredible backyard are perfect for entertaining. Grand entry with an excellent upstairs flex space. Within walking distance to award winning schools and the neighborhood features incredible amenities such as hiking and biking trails and a community pool. For more details about this listing, please click here.

191 Kings Ridge Home for Sale 191 Kings Ridge Home for Sale...

Hot New Listing in Pflugerville TX! 20304 Treyburn Ln

20304 Treburn Ln Homes for Sale

Incredible well maintained home in ideal location. This home has soaring ceilings and endless natural light. Enjoy the grand entry, dedicated office, and spacious backyard. Master retreat has double vanity, garden tub, separate shower and walk in closet. Media room provides a true theater experience and community has endless amenities including pools, basketball courts, volleyball pit, hiking and biking trails, and a public golf course. Prime location that feeds to award winning schools! For more details about this listing, please click here.

20304 Treburn Ln Homes for Sale...

Tonight's a Great Idea to Enjoy Your Deck or Patio... with a Meteor Shower Show!

Why Thursday night’s Perseids meteor shower is extra special photoThe Perseid meteor shower will give us its most spectacular night show as of yet, thanks to a power boost from Jupiter. Expect up to 200 meteors per hour as the Perseids light up the sky from the constellation Perseus (see image ABOVE). The astronomical lights show will start early Thursday evening and reach its peak through early Friday morning. 

Now is a good time to enjoy your home's patio, deck, or even your lawn (just set up some blankets and you're good to go) and see the meteor shower with family and friends, since astronomers are not expecting such a bright meteor shower until the Perseids of 2027. Thanks to Jupiter's positioning...

What to Do When Your Mortgage Gets Declined

Of all rejections a person has to face in life, a declined mortgage is probably one of the rejections that will set you back the most. Not only will your dreams of owning a home get quashed-- you will also find yourself wondering what went wrong that led lenders to conclude you are not worth the risk.

But here's some consolation for you: one rejection doesn't mean you will no longer be able to own your home. In fact, there are three common reasons why your mortgage got rejected, and you can actually remedy the situation with the right strategy. Here are the three most common issues that lead to a denied mortgage application, and some tips on what you can do to address the problem:

Rejected because of... low credit score

A low credit score is the most likely reason why your mortgage got declined. But don't worry, you're not alone; studies show that the average American household has $15,762 in debt. Credit scores are rated out of a perfect score of 850, but only...

How Good Schools Can Add Value to Your Property

The latest 2016 Schools and Housing Report by ATTOM Data Solutions recently concluded that home values always get a boost whenever a school located nearby receives high ratings. The conclusion came from the report's observation that homes in ZIP codes where there are high-ranking elementary schools in the area are valued by 77% more as compared to homes in ZIP codes that do not have a high-ranking school nearby.

The premise of the report is simple: researchers looked for "good schools" that had an overall test score of at least 1/3 higher than the state average from last year's data.  And out of 19,000 elementary schools across 4,435 ZIP codes, the research team found that there were 1,661 ZIP codes that satisfy the team's requirement for a "good school". In these ZIP codes, the average estimated home value is $427,402--- a value that is 77% higher than the average estimated home value of...

Online Searches for Homes are Becoming a Consumer Pastime-- Google

Recent research by Google reveals that Americans spend 55 minutes per online visit with real estate apps on their phones, on average. John Thornton, Google's partner in real estate business, esteems that "customers roll over in the morning and start looking at real estate listings [on their phone]."

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Google's respondents in the study call this new habit "shopping for real estate fun". The study also reveals that around 64% of respondents keep browsing through listings long after they purchase a home. Another important finding of the study is that home buyers browse through real estate sites for three years, on average, before they buy. And among people currently browsing through listings either through websites or mobile apps, about one in five are...

Back to School Bash TODAY

Back to School Bash Austin ISDThe Austin Independent School District held its annual Back to School Bash Saturday this morning at the Palmer Events Center. A large crowd of parents and children lined up to participate in the event, thanks to the school district's generous offer of free backpacks, school supplies, and immunizations for kids who come along with their parents.

The annual event is sponsored by the said district and volunteers to help children get ready to go back to school, which starts in around two weeks' time. Children whose shot records were brought by their parents were given free immunizations courtesy of the Austin/Central Texas Care Van.

Aside from free shots, children who attended the event were also given free backpacks and school supplies.

Preparations for the said event...

This Weekend is Sales Tax Holiday!

School is just around the corner and parents are now prepping up to get what their children need. But did you know that the best time to shop for school supplies in Texas is on a Sales Tax Holiday? Scheduled this weekend from August 5 to 7, the Sales Tax Holiday allows back-to-school shoppers to save 8 cents on every dollar on selected items such as clothes, backpacks, and school supplies.

Each item purchased should not have a price tag over $100, as these items wouldn't qualify for the exemption. As explained in the Texas Comptroller of Public Account's office's website, a single item priced $160 wouldn't be tax exempt, but two items at $80 each will be exempted. The upcoming weekend is truly a great way to save and stock up on some necessities at a discount. Here is a list of tax-exempt items you can purchase during the weekend:

Tax-exempt items include:

How to Use Delayed Financing to Buy a Home

Sellers are more inclined to accept offers from cash buyers than financing-backed buyers because cash transactions are easier and faster. Without any need to do paperwork, a seller can close on his home without worrying about finalizing the mortgage of the buyer. While this is a perfectly understandable preference on the part of the home seller, more and more financing-backed buyers are finding it difficult to compete in the market and find a home they could purchase through financing. Experts now recommend a solution that can end this war between cash buyers and financed buyers: delayed financing.

The idea of delayed financing requires a home buyer to be creative in thinking of ways on coming up with the cash to buy the home upfront. While this may be a very difficult, if not impossible, task, some buyers manage to push through and eventually buy the home of their choice via delayed financing. Some people use their savings and retirement funds; others make personal loans from family and friends. When the cash needed...

Dissecting Austin's Proposed $3.7 Billion Budget

The Austin City Council will discuss the city's proposed $3.7 billion budget over the coming weeks. The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2016-2017 was presented by City Manager Mark Ott and city staff last July 27 as the council convened for the first budget work sessions of the month. They aim to finalize and adopt the financial document by September.

Nine-hundred sixty-nine million dollars out of the $3.7 billion is proposed to come from the city's general fund. The proposed amount for the general fund increased by $58.05 million-- around 6.37% higher from last year's general fund. Here are some highlights of the proposed budget:

  • Additional tax exemptions (such as the recently increased homestead exemption)
  • City's contribution increase to offset employee health insurance costs
  • $40 Million capital improvement spending plan for public works
  • ...

Tuesday Tip: Home Maintenance Skills You SHOULD KNOW

The moment you decide to buy a home is somewhat similar to the moment when you decide to get married-- a commitment to "be there no matter what" is required. Home maintenance is an essential part of home ownership; if you don't want to drain your savings by frequently calling the plumber or your contractor for home repairs, it might be useful for you to master these most common home maintenance tasks:

1. Hanging Pictures

You have to "nail it" [hanging pictures] by successfully doing three things: installing the hooks you need securely, making sure that whatever you are hanging will appear balanced, and keeping your painting/picture/whatever display you have securely on the wall to prevent hazards. A traditional level or a level app on your smartphone can help you achieve task number 2; installing the hooks where the hidden wood frames are instead on just plain dry wall is essential for number 1, and; to secure whatever you plan on displaying on the wall, you have to use the right-sized...

3% Down Mortgage, Anyone?

The mortgage option that allows home buyers to qualify with income from non-borrower household members just got a service boost, and it was confirmed by government-sponsored Fannie Mae last Tuesday, July 26. HomeReady is Ready to present you with a better and more exciting service, and many home buyers should feel excited-- among the changes implemented are:

  • Occupant borrowers on a HomeReady loan can purchase other residential properties
  • Homeownership education is no longer a requirement for limited cash-out refinance transactions

Fannie Mae is helping with the beautiful change by making it easier for lenders to determine a borrower's eligibility: it recently increased income limits to "100% of area median income in all areas, except low-income market tracts that have no limit." The recent change also cancels out the need for landlord education for HomeReady loans secured by two-, three-, or four-unit properties.

Another bonus is an alternative...