Cain Realty Group Austin Real Estate Blog

4 Basic Preparations for a Home Showing

All homeowners need to prep up their home to be ready for viewing before it hits the market. While some owners go the extra mile and invest on remodels and home staging services, others can just stick to the basics and be as successful with selling their home. If you want to take the practical route, you have to make sure to cover these four key areas and prep them up right for a home showing:

Substantial lighting-- ALL rooms in a house need to have natural and artificial lighting. And for artificial lighting, you need "three opints of light". One arrangement is the provision of a table lamp, floor lamp, and a task light, or an overhead light fixture with two table lamps. Bright rooms entice home buyers, so prioritize setting this up before the next three key points.

Polished floors-- selling a home doesn't mean you have to spend on having the floorboards replaced or retiled. Unless the floors are severely damaged, a professional...

Higher Mortgage Rates are Making Buyers Hesitate

Experts have observed a decline in mortgage applications, thanks to rising mortgage rates and slower demand for refinancing from home buyers. A report by the Mortgage Bankers Association indicates a 7.3% decrease in total mortgage application volume compared to last week's data, which covers refinancings and home purchases. The most significant factor in the fall of rates is the refinancing aspect of home purchase, with applications dropping by 8%. As a result, refinance applications are at a new low compared to last June's data, but are still significantly higher by 26% from the same month last year.

“Mortgage rates increased to their highest level since June last week as comments by some Fed officials...

The Perfect Time for Real Estate Investment

MarketWatch recently reported that now is the best time to invest in real estate. Jeff Reeves, a MarketWatch columnist, dispels the rumor that  another housing crisis is looming overhead. He believes that home buyers are more responsible with their home loans, thereby preempting another housing crisis from taking place. 

Reeves, also an editor of InvestorPlace.com, writes, “...whether it’s stricter lending standards, a shift in attitudes among borrowers or simply the nation getting wiser about the risks of real estate, we’re hardly seeing irresponsible buying in 2016.” Reeves believes that the housing market is healthy and that it will continue to "steadily and organically appreciate."...

Botched Home DIY Projects that Can Affect Your Home Value

Are you an avid DIYer? There is nothing wrong with working on basic home projects-- as long as your hard work will not compromise your safety and home value. Here are the most common DIY project fails listed by Realtor.com that can hurt your home worth, especially when home inspectors are coming over while you are in the process of selling your home:

Unstable Decks- poorly attached railings and irregularly sized posts can lead to unstable decks. If your deck is moving, then there's something wrong. Adeck should be sturdy enough to support your weight without wobbling AND it should not be too reliant on your home for support. Fasteners need to be correctly installed and maintained, as they cause this problem in the long run. 

...

The Cain Team’s 6th Mega Agent Mixer Raises $40,000 for Flood Victims

2016 Mega Agent Mixer Raises $40,000The recently-concluded 6th Annual Mega Agent Mixer sponsored by Cain Realty Group has successfully raised $40,000 for KW Cares. The event held at Trinity Hall on August 10 entertained over 400 attendees, as real estate professionals gathered for a meaningful evening of fun, learning, and selfless giving. Ricky Cain and the rest of his Cain Team has consistently organized the said event for the last six years to help support various local causes and charities. This year, 100% of the event’s profits were donated to KW Cares, who will in turn use the funding to assist the West Virginia flood victims.

The event was kicked off by opening speaker Mo Anderson, the current Vice Chairman of Keller Williams, with heartwarming stories of...

How to Make Use of Home Buyer's Advantage

2016 is a very competitive year for home buyers as they struggle to find their perfect home at a time when there is less inventory and lenders are very stringent with qualifying loan applications. The new norm is to get preapproval prior to going house hunting, as this would make home purchase faster and closing easier for the buyers, thereby giving them competitive advantage over other buyers who are not as well prepared.

There are lesser active listings at this time compared to last year, but thanks to the shifting market conditions at the start of the school year, buyers can actually begin to relax and feel confident about finding a home that they can buy. Jonathan Smoke, chieve economist of Realtor.com®, explains that the market has entered a new, slower phase, and in spite of the lesser active listings, buyers can actually start house hunting with...

Cities Where You Can Buy Homes with Low Down Payments

Got not-so-good credit and insufficient bank savings to make a large down payment for your home purchase? An Urban Institute report compiled a list of metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) where down payments required for home purchases are significantly smaller than in other areas. 

Data from CoreLogic was used by the research firm to determine the mean origination FICO score for each MSA from May 1 to May 31, 2016. The report also considered the loan-to-value ratio of each MSA. Ultimately, the top 10 cities where the lowerst FICO scores and lowest down payments made are as follows:

Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, Michigan (FICO: 728, LTV: 90%)

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...

Austin Makes it to List of Best Cities for Prospecting

A University of Utah research team identified 10 cities in the U.S. where prospecting efforts may best pay off for business owners and professionals in need of investors, and Austin is one of them. Comparing the social interaction potential in 42 of the largest metropolitan centers in the United States, the study (which started in 2013) observed how strangers in cities interacted in public areas such as subways, coffee shops, and by meeting each other on the street. Factoring in the percentage of single adults, number of facilities such as libraries, number of individuals active in using "meet-up platforms", number of volunteer works, etc., the research team came up with the "10 U.S. cities that are best for making new friends":

  1. Austin, Texas
  2. Milwaukee, Wis.
  3. San Francisco
  4. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  5. Buffalo, N.Y.
  6. Portland, Ore.
  7. St. Louis, Mo.
  8. ...

Travel + Leisure Ranks Austin as 9th Best City in the U.S.

Austin Ranked as 9th Best City in the U.S.Austin did it again! The latest accolade for Texas' capital is its ranking from Travel + Leisure as the "9th best city in the U.S." for T+L's World's Best Awards Readers Survey. The beloved Southern metro beat Portland (a newcomer in the list), Boston, and San Antonio in the magazine's Best Cities in the United States list.

T+L explained that majority of poll particiants for this year's awards were impressed with the progress and beauty of cities in the American South, leading to the inclusion of Austin and San Antonio in the 2016 list. Poll participants rated the cities according to culture, food, shopping, friendliness, sights and...

Colors That Make the Room Look Bigger

The end goal of every home owner is to settle in a spacious, comfortable home. However, not everyone can afford a large home at once, so we have to be smart about managing the space that we have and stay comfortable as can be. Did you know that painting your walls the right color can give you an air of spaciousness without necessarily tearing down walls  for expensive expansion work? Here are the colors that work best in making a room look bigger. Happy DIY painting!

White- the color "white" reflects light, which makes any white surface appear brighter and more open. The main advantage of a white-colored room is this: you get to decorate with any accent color you want!

Yellow- yellow works in the same way that white does. Yellow, however is a natural and softer alternative to white. The technique in choosing the right yellow hue is to "think citrus" and avoid too bright shades that would "burn" the eyes. Creamy and soft shades like in banana and dandelion should be considered. Neon yellow, on the...

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 are...

Home Search to-do's for Veteran Buyers

If you are qualified for a VA loan, there is absolutely no reason why you should not make use of the opportunity to buy a home for your family or invest in a property that can help you generate additional income for your family's needs. After all, a VA loan is very promising: home purchase with a VA loan requires no down payment, there is no need to pay mortgage insurance, the interest rates are low, and there are minimal documentary requirements.

If you would like to find a home to buy using this privilege, it might be a good idea to keep these tips in mind:

1. Work with an agent who has experience handling VA loan-backed home purchases. In this way, your agent would know what your needs are and you will be guided through a smooth transaction process.

2. Short list properties that are ready for occupancy with little to no need for home repair or renovation. Since the DVA has established guidelines on which kinds of homes qualify for a VA loan, it's best to stick with units ready for...

Labor Day Fun Facts

Cheers to your well-earned holiday! All of us look forward to that long weekend every September when we get the chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy our well-earned break as hard workers. Aside from getting the chance to spend time with family and friends, we also tend to pack this weekend with barbecues, picnics, road trips, and other kinds of activities to celebrate the end of the summer season. But what do you know about Labor Day aside from being a heaven-sent opportunity to play hard after working hard? Forbes lists down 10 facts about this federal holiday we are all celebrating today:

1. The Labor Day movement originated from Toronto, Canada in 1872 and made its way south to the U.S.; it was a demonstration meant to demand rights for workers.

2. New York City celebrated the U.S.' first Labor Day in September 5, 1882. Ten thousand workers went on unpaid leave to join the march from the...

Labor Day Weekend Events for the Family

The Labor Day weekend is one of the few holidays in the U.S. that most families look forward to celebrating. The day that trade unions and labor movements once pushed for the celebration of hard work has slowly evolved into the weekend preceding the first Monday of September that is filled with fun, parties, and parades for the entire family to enjoy. Nothing is better than being able to celebrate all your hard work with the people you love!

In Austin, a string of Labor Day weekend celebrations is ready to entertain the entire family. Film showings, food parties, perhaps a concert?  You can access Everbrite's list of Austin's...

AUSTIN: Road Safety Preparations Underway for Labor Day Weekend

In an effort to keep motorists safe from the onslaught of traffic coming into the city for Labor Day weekend celebrations, Department of Public Safety Troopers will join local law enforcement in looking for drivers who disregard traffic laws. From September 2 to September 5, patrol efforts will be doubled to ensure that motorists will abide by traffic laws to ensure public safety and to keep reckless and impaired drivers off the road.

“During the Labor Day weekend, troopers will be on the lookout for impaired and dangerous drivers, and we are urging drivers to do their part by strictly obeying traffic laws and finding alternative transportation if they plan to drink.”

--Steven McCraw, DPS Director

Last year's data shows that Labor Day holiday enformencent period troopers arrested 488 intoxicated violators, 8,515 speeding citations, 1,091 seat belt citations, and 1,062 citations for driving without insurance. 278 fugitive arrests and 224...

SELLER Tip: How to Get Ready for an Unscheduled Home Showing

How to Get Ready for an Unscheduled Home ShowingMost realtors acknowledge that home showings should ideally be scheduled and well-planned to give sellers ample time to prepare their home and set their schedules accordingly. Ample preparation can help sellers make the right impression in order to please buyers and help them decide in favor of purchasing their home. But what if you have to impress the buyer who is coming over in 10 minutes instead of the scheduled appointment next week?

Don't fret, since you can still make use of those 10 minutes to showcase your home in its best light, even if you haven't cleaned the house yet, the dogs haven't taken a bath (and they're supposed to be at your mom's for the showing!), and you have a date tonight! All you have to do is follow...