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February
24

RE/MAX Baby!

Today home Buyers and Sellers are faced with more complexities than ever before.  Soaring values not only make it difficult for competing Buyers, overbidding on homes can lead to unforeseen obstacles too, like short appraisals and a dearth of suitable homes as a replacement. As market conditions, ebb and flow and the power shift turns from Buyer to Seller and back and forth, it pays to have representation that has been through these market shifts before. I jokingly tell people I have been at it since I was a "baby" but with thirty-plus years of experience, it has been a long time! My team and I have developed the systems, knowledge, and connections you need to help you get the most out of your next real estate transaction. Call me today and let me show you how we can put our experience to work for you. Visit me on the web at www.easywitheric.com

June
30

NOT SO FAST!  According to data recently collected and published by Realtor.com the indicators are showing that Renting a home today in Austin and many other cities around the nation may actually be more affordable than purchasing! While this may look like a smart move for the short run it does not necessarily mean that things work out better for you in the long run.  While there may be some short-term advantages the long-term effect of this can be the exact opposite!  

The current "core inflation" rate reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has risen by more than 100% in 2021 and renting a property means that a tenant has little insulation from these increases while the homeowner in a fixed mortgage situation has the advantage of a growing asset and fixed living expenses outside of property tax increases. Therefore one of the best moves anyone can make in times of higher inflation is in fact to get invested in homeownership as opposed to renting. Of course, each scenario is different. Down payment money, interest rates, and initial purchase prices play a big role in making an accurate calculation and different neighborhoods within a metropolitan area can be considerably more affordable in the outlying suburban setting than those closer in. 

Considering that the average median sales price in our market is around $400,000.00 at the current "overall inflation" rate of 5.0% so far in 2021, in one year alone a homeowner would reap a value increase in a purchased home of $20,000.00. offsetting most of their monthly mortgage payments for the entire year.  The same renter will have spent about $24,000.00 in rent with no tax advantages or asset growth.  

The best advice we can give anyone is to take a close look at your personal situation before committing to a lease or purchase.  Your findings may be considerably different than what the chart above would like you to believe. Check the details using our handy RENT-vs-OWN Calculator

July
11

Over the past decade, home prices around the Austin metro area have nearly doubled and in some areas even more.  Still, people worry and want to know what happens now?

The proverbial and most often asked question  "How is the Real Estate Market"? is now supplemented with how is COVID-19 affecting the market?


The good news for most is that despite the current situation, the Real Estate market is staying very strong! Especially for residential single-family homes.  The Average Days on the market for home Sellers is less than a month in most cases and has only increased slightly in the last year.  Even though there have been fewer total sales, average sales prices continue to be on a rise.

Regardless of any slowing in total sales, there is still strong stability ahead for this segment of the market. I believe there are many reasons for this which are likely to continue for the next several months if not longer. 

Economic sectors hit hardest by lack of employment fall mostly in the category of those that would have been least likely to purchase a home and with interest rates at an all-time low and continued job growth, there is still a large supply of qualified Buyer and a low supply of homes. New Home Builders in our area have been following a demand-based building protocol for the last 10 or more years so there is no oversupply in New Homes like there has been in the past.

Coming into the Pandemic we were in the middle of the strongest economy in decades and as evidenced by a robust stock market, massive job growth, and lowest unemployment in history. Now, even in the face of recent unemployment spikes from the pandemic, the first waves of loosened restrictions have shown an immediate bounce back in new jobs and stock market recovery, which all happened very quickly.

What does this mean for the local housing market? The renewed focus on people staying at home more and moving out of multi-family settings makes the prospect of ownership in a single-family home look very bright!

Despite Agents and Clients having to adapt toward working more in the virtual space, using virtual home tours, better online promotion and marketing, limited physical showings, handling the paperwork on digital platforms, and having to follow heightened precautions whenever a person to person contact is required, we are experiencing rapid sales, price increases in most of the inventory, especially in suburban and rural areas and proportionately strong Buyer demand because of the lowest mortgage interest rates in history.

Who will benefit most from this? 

Investors capturing entry-level homes for investments (either to build their holdings portfolio or buy and rehab for future resale),

Sellers who are interested in making a move-up on their personal residence,

Sellers that are looking to Sell and relocate out of the area or,

Buyers exiting the rental market wanting to secure their own investment and take advantage of historically low-interest rates.

If you or anyone you know fits into these categories it is a great time to take action!

October
31

Now is your Chance - Leander ISD wants to hear from YOU! 

 

Voice your opinion about the future of LISD!

In the past 10 years, LISD has seen its student population nearly double, while funding for public education has been slashed. Today, the growth has slowed to a more manageable rate, but as a destination district, we know more families are choosing LISD and we will continue to grow. With all these things considered, we have some tough decisions to consider for the years ahead.

Help us plan for a future that best fits your priorities by voicing your opinion at one of our upcoming community meetings. The Growth Management Workshops are open to parents, staff and members of the community.

HOW SHOULD WE BEST MANAGE OUR GROWTH?

o Rezoning more often to balance capacity?

o Adding portables to campuses?

o Longer bus routes?

o Bonds for new schools & technology?

o Bring your ideas!

NOVEMBER 5, 6:30 P.M. @ CEDAR PARK HS

2150 Cypress Creek Rd., Cedar Park 78613

Or

NOVEMBER 17, 6:30 P.M. @ VISTA RIDGE HS

200 S. Vista Ridge Blvd., Cedar Park 78613

If you have any Comments Questions or Concerns please contact: 

Shannon Lombardo

Director, School/Community Relations

Leander ISD

Ph: 512-570-0029

shannon.lombardo@leanderisd.org

October
27

November 4, 2014 marks the first time Austin voters will vote for their city council representatives under the new "10-1" system, which calls for 10 single-member districts, with the Mayor being elected by the city at large. It is unique because all ten districts and the Mayor of the city will be elected at the same time. 

 
The Austin Board of Realtors legislative management team has interviewed and made it's endorsement records for each candidate that they felt best represent a willingness toward policy outcomes in the best interest of homeowners and the continuation of a healthy real estate and housing market in Central Texas. 
 
Their recommendations are attached for your consideration.  It is important to note their recommendations include statewide and other issues that effect other area besides Austin and Travis County.  
 
 

October
23

5 Reasons why this could be the BEST time to list your home for sale. Each year as fall approaches and families get into the new school year with the holiday season just around the corner, the real estate market tends to go into a "seasonal" slow down. 

However, this can really become an opportunity time for the market savvy home seller. Here are my top 5 reasons why NOW is a great time to sell.

1.) Holidays bring with them a time of decoration and "warmth" that may not be present in your home during any other time of the year. What better way to present your home?

2.) With many folks removing their homes from the market during this time period it usually means fewer homes for the Seller to have to compete with, lower supply means higher prices for Sellers.

3.) For several home Buyers end of year bonus checks may add to their ability to have enough money in their reserves to make a move.

4.) Buyer activities during this time of year may be a little slower, however, experience has shown that the level of seriousness goes up as well, there are definitely fewer "tire kickers" at this time of year which means showings are more likely to turn into offers.

5.) Your plans are your own, if you HAVE to sell for reasons beyond just wanting to make a change, then your timing is already set. In the meantime, getting a contract to sell on almost any property could take some time, if you begin early you have a better chance of beating the "Spring Rush" when many homeowners wait to list their properties so you do not end up lost in the shuffle. The other upside is that once your home is under contract with a Buyer, you are ready to find a replacement just as an increased supply of homes begins to hit the market.

October
7

Today's RE/MAX Capital City Sponsored Sales meeting and Agent Property tour showed off a home on the RESALE market in Crystal Falls that was a real gem!

This home, recently built by Saratoga Homes is located in the Highlands Subdivision at Crystal Falls.  It is situated on a beautiful corner cul-de-sac lot with a fabulous view and quality upgrades throughout, being offered at an attractive price

However, it is not uncommon for properties like this one to be overlooked or unnoticed by Buyers. Especially with the amount of interest in New Construction.  

Today, about 30% of all home purchases that take place fall into the category of NEW Construction and if you are already convinced that NEW is for You, be sure to stop by and check out my What's New News for the Cedar Park Leander Housing Market.

With this much interest in New Construction, Builders and Consumers alike are always on the look out for the next best thing and it comes in many forms.  Some like the idea of a brand new home simply because everything in the home is NEW and the chances of an appliance failure or major issue with the home itself are greatly reduced.

Let's face it, there are a lot of great things that new homes have to offer and there may be many valid reasons to make an investment in a new home.  Some newer communities offer unique floor plans, stylish newer design elements, advancements in energy efficiency, quality of building materials, finish out, state of the art appliances and furnishings not found in an older home.

The cost of a new home may be as much as 20-30% higher than a comparable home on the resale market.

Notwithstanding affordability, location preferences, and other interests may also limit New Home options for a Buyer, making a RESALE home purchase preferable.  Because a small percentage of all new homes are turned back to the market sooner than the original owners may have planned, there often seems to be an opportunity in the resale market for something close to new, at attractive prices.

Buyers may Find some Gems in the Resale Market 

Usually these are the same homes that may be in a community nearing close out or still under construction, where there is increased competition between Resale Properties and New Home Builders to bring in a Buyer.  A scenario such as this often gives the Buyer an advantage in negotiations. 

In my opinion, this can lead to some of the best deals in the marketplace for a Buyer!  Especially for homes, like the one we saw today, that have been improved by the owner, well maintained, and only occupied for a few years after being new.  Homes like this usually become available on the resale market for one of these reasons:

A.) Seller has been promoted and/or Employment requires Relocation

B.) Changes in Relationships or Marital Status forcing a Sale

C.) Economic Hardships and Loss of Employment

Situations like this may mean great savings for the Buyer!  Now, not all circumstances are the same for Sellers and some may be more motivated than others, so this doesn't always mean they have to sell at a loss.  Still, it is not uncommon for homes on the resale market to have several thousand dollars of improvements and upgrades made to them, not part of a new home package, that the Seller will have difficulty recovering the money for when selling.

Premium Lots - Landscaping - Premium Upgrades  and Views can add Tremendous Value



Lot Premiums, Exterior Landscaping, Window Treatments, Upgraded Fixtures and Appliances can add several thousand dollars to the purchase of a new home for the Buyer.

For owners who have invested in these areas and not allowed enough time in the market place for these improvements to mature, in can be very difficult for them to sell the home and recover the expense of these upgrades quickly.

This is especially true in any market where the Builder is still active in the same community or location and willing to offer similar upgrades to a Buyer at a lower cost if they include them in the purchase.

The home we visited today for example, is located in a great community with a great view.  The Buyer will not have to deal with any of the hassles of new construction while he is living in the home because the construction phase for the neighborhood, is complete for this section and almost complete in the surrounding sections.

Sometimes Buying Resale Can Have Advantages over New


The prior owner has already made a plethora of upgrades to the home, adding landscaping, upgraded finish materials, a finished walk-out basement, and some very nice choices in fixture and appliance upgrades.  Comparing this home to new at the current offer price, it really is a tremendous value. The home is in impeccable condition and very tastefully decorated.

Since the home is "almost" new there are still some builder warranties in place for the big stuff like the foundation but the home shares all the amenities of the newer community that is continuing to be built around it.

Children would go to the same schools and the location is virtually the same, with close proximity to all the same amenities, highway access points, employment centers, schools, shopping, churches and medical facilities.

When you find homes like this, especially gently used homes, you may just be looking at a "Gem" in the Resale Market.

September
26

Firefly Space Systems currently has locations in Leander, TX and Hawthorne, CA.



According to the Community Impact News (Aerospace technology company earns initial OK...:

Current Firefly staff would relocate from California to Cedar Park, King said, and by 2019, 200 employees, including avionics, structural and propulsion engineers as well as administrative and operations staff, would headquarter in the city and receive a total annual payroll of about $12 million.

Finalization of the lease agreement at an undisclosed 20,000-square-foot Cedar Park office site is contingent upon approval of the incentive agreement by City Council, King said. If approved, Firefly will initially receive $250,000 for facilities relocation and can earn additional employment grants when the company reaches hiring benchmarks, said Larry Holt, Cedar Park assistant economic development director.

"Two hundred jobs is a very significant project for us. These jobs average out—and the company has committed—to $60,000 [annual salary per] job. That's above the [Williamson] County median wage, and that is the number we typically focus on [when considering] are the jobs high-paying," Holt said. "The interesting thing ... is the companies that offer the highest payoff to the community are in the aerospace industry. Aerospace manufacturing has the highest multiplier of any manufacturing."



This is exciting news for our area!  How many of you out there commute long distances into Central or South Austin?  Tired of sitting in traffic?  Any news of employers moving in our area is good news for those tired of the long commute.


Firefly Space Systems website is currently showing several available job openings in our area.  

Check out current openings here:  http://www.fireflyspace.com/careers

Good luck to those with the necessary technical background to apply.  Up... UP... and AWAY!!!

September
5

The Phoenix-based grocer announced the opening of it newest Sprouts Farmers Market store here in Cedar Park TX on August 27, 2014.

 

According to company spokesman, what makes the store unique is the focus on fresh natural and healthy products. The new store which is now the 4th store located in the Austin Area is about 27,000 Square Feet in size and it will supply about 100 new full and part time jobs for the local economy. 

 

For those not  familiar with Sprouts, they offer a wider variety of Organics than other local stores, including Bulk Foods, Produce, Vitamin and Herbal Supplements, Natural Remedies, and Fresh Baked Goods. Of course they will also have a wide selection of select offerings in the deli, meat, and dairy products as well.

 

The location of the new store is 1530 Cypress Creek Road, is close to the Cedar Park Middle School, ACC and the intersection of Lakeline Blvd. and Cypress Creek Rd.  For cedar park residents  and nearby neighborhoods like Lakeline Oaks, Anderson Mill, Cypress Creek, Cypress Mill, Twin Creeks, and Buttercup Creek this is a very convenient location.  

 

The store is one of about 170 stores like it operated by the grocer in nine states.  According to the company they are also planning to open at least three other stores in Texas this year including two others this month in Hurst and Spring Texas and one coming very soon the the Arlington area scheduled for September 10th, 2014.

August
7

Get Ready... Get Set ... Go!  August 8th - 10th is the Sales Tax Holiday for back to school shopping for the school year starting Fall 2014!

The kids are groaning and the parents are smiling.  Get ready to navigate the store aisles and elbow through the crowds.  To make it more fun and less painful, get your lists ready.

To find out what items qualify for this Sales Tax free weekend, go to the State's website here:
http://www.window.state.tx.us/taxinfo/taxpubs/taxholiday/m/

Get your school supply lists in order.  For those with children attending schools in Leander ISD you can find your lists here:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Bagdad
Block House Creek
Cox
Cypress
Deer Creek
Faubion
Giddens
Grandview Hills
Knowles
Laura Bush
Mason
Naumann
Parkside
Plain
Pleasant Hill
Reagan
Reed
River Place
River Ridge
Rutledge
Steiner Ranch
Westside
Whitestone
Winkley

MIDDLE SCHOOLS
Canyon Ridge
Cedar Park
Four Points
Henry
Leander
Running Brushy
Stiles
Wiley

If you can't find or print out the lists at these links, many local stores (Walmart, Target, etc.) have a printed copy of your school's supply list posted near their back to school supplies area.

You can comparison shop for the items on your school's official list or you can often find a pre-assembled box or package of supplies.  It isn't necessarily cost efficient and may not match your list exactly but it is quick and easy for those pressed for time.

Good luck bargain shopping and have fun saving money for your back to school shopping!

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