Why Buy In Austin?

Why Buy In Austin?

[ Sidenote from Joe: The fine folks at Trulia reached out to the Home Style Austin team to collaborate on a post that addressed the home buying climate in Austin. I provided them with three Austin neighborhoods most envied and sought-after by my clients. Enjoy the findings! ]

Post by Jennifer Riner, Trulia

After years of renting, you might be inclined to allocate your savings toward a home purchase. Current high rental prices across the U.S. combined with boosting homeownership aspirations amongst many Americans create a conversation hard to ignore.

In a Trulia survey conducted by Harris Poll last December, 75 percent of Americans said they dream of owning a home one day, with 80 percent of millennials sharing the same sentiment. Nonetheless, 22 percent of Americans are concerned of potential rising mortgage rates.

Austin: A market to watch for 2016

Along with the stats, Trulia provided predictions on the 2016 housing market to assist upcoming buyers. In that, economists pointed out Austin as the third hottest housing market to watch this year, based on five factors:

  • Employment growth last year
  • Low vacancy rates
  • Affordability
  • High inbound home searches and
  • A large share of millennials molded the top ten list.

Austin stole the third spot primarily due to two elements: a high number of young residents and job expansion.

With 80 percent of millennial Americans dreaming of owning a home – a third of whom plan to buy by 2018 – and Austin being an increasingly important city for young professionals, buying a home in Austin is a hot topic. Especially as the average home price in Austin is sitting in the affordable $250,000 to $300,000 range. In addition mortgages in Austin are 3.54 on a 30-year fixed rate, slightly lower than the national 3.56 rate. But, some economists forecast a rise in the near future, as Trulia’s survey respondents anticipated, so locking down a prime rate now is key.

Choosing Austin isn’t necessarily a difficult decision, but Austin is a diverse city and neighborhood prices reflect its variety. Consider the following enviable Austin areas and their median price points, demographics, crime rankings and schools to help scope the market.

803 Kinney Avenue, Austin, TX 78704  |  List Price: $824,900

803 Kinney Avenue, Austin, TX 78704  |  List Price: $824,900

ZILKER

Zilker is a neighborhood in south central Austin best known for the Zilker Metropolitan Park, a 351-acre haven with a spring-fed pool, Botanical Gardens, Nature and Science Center, Zilker Hillside Theatre and Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum. The average list price on homes for sale in Zilker is $862,671, a 9 percent week-over-week drop as of March 2016. Compared to the rest of Travis County, crime rates in Zilker are low. In Zilker, 59 percent of residents are single, with 55 percent homeowners and a median age of 35 years old. The median household income across all age groups is $78,403, and 73 percent of residents are college educated.

1516 Wildcat Hollow Austin Texas 78746 | List Price: $2,088,000

1516 Wildcat Hollow Austin Texas 78746 | List Price: $2,088,000

WEST LAKE HILLS

Also in Travis County, West Lake Hills homes are some of the most expensive in the greater Austin region. The average list price is $2,553,927 based on 25 homes for sale, and the median household income is $155,441 per year. Just 17 percent of residents are single and 89 percent are homeowners. The median age of residents in West Lake Hills is 45 years old. Schools in West Lake Hills are top-rated, with Eanes Elementary and Forest Trail Elementary scoring a 10 out of 10 on Trulia’s ranks. Valley View Elementary scored a 9 out of 10. There were 14 counts of theft, 13 counts of assault and 11 counts of burglary in West Lake Hills over the past year.

107 Laura Lane Austin TX 78746 | List Price: $1,980,000

107 Laura Lane Austin TX 78746 | List Price: $1,980,000

ROLLINGWOOD

Rollingwood is an affluent area just 15 minutes west of Downtown Austin. Home prices on real estate in Rollingwood are high with an average list price of $1,907,500 and a correspondingly elevated median household income of $155,441 per year. Just 17 percent of residents are single and 99 percent are homeowners, with a median age of 45 years old. Crime in Rollingwood is extremely low, with just two counts of arrest and one count of vandalism in the past year. Both Rollingwood and West Lake Hills overlook Red Bud Isle Park, a 13 acre recreational park flanked by the Colorado River that is popular with nature lovers who enjoy hiking, canoeing and kayaking. Red Bud Isle is also one of Austin’s 12 prized off-leash dog parks.

Red Bud Isle Park, Austin Texas

Choosing a neighborhood in Austin or the surrounding suburbs will largely depend on your budget and lifestyle, and contacting an established agent to help you in your search is part of being a smart buyer. To help find a home in Zilker, West Lake Hills, Rollingwood and beyond, contact Joe Paul Reider of Keller Williams Realty.

 

The New Keller Williams Real Estate Mobile AppFree Real Estate App: If you’re home hunting, download my free and powerful Keller Williams real estate app – it’s chock-full of features!

  • Text “KWCP11X” to 87778 to download (this is the easiest method)
  • Or visit this link with more details and to download http://bit.ly/kw-mobile-app

 

Please Note: All listing information for homes currently for sale in these neighborhoods is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Data and availability is accurate as of March 28, 2016 and subject to change.

Dallas Fort Worth Real Estate

One Of My Favorite Pictures Of The Margaret Hunt-Hill Bridge In Dallas
DFW Real Estate

As an Austin-based Realtor many of my friends are surprised to learn that I can also help them with their real estate needs in the DFW metro area as well. In fact, Dallas was my home for 20 years so my experience and connections are well-rooted throughout the Dallas area.

Joe Paul ReiderIf you or anyone you know needs assistance connecting to a reputable residential realtor in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex please let me know – I have a small, trusted handful of experts throughout the metroplex who will be delighted to help you with selling and or buying your home. And you won’t pay me a penny for the connection!

Simply call or send me an email and let me know a little more about your situation and I’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Have fun with your upcoming home adventure!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider





~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

How To Challenge Your Property Taxes

Austin Then ~
An old photo from Home Style Austin archives taken from the top of  UT’s Tower shortly after it was completed in 1937.

Greetings From Austin Circa 1937 © Home Style Austin

Austin Now ~ From home to drone – a pretty aerial view of the dramatic change in Austin’s skyline in about 80 years, visually speaking to Austin’s amazing growth. 

Boomtown, Texas

It should come as no surprise that the Austin area housing market is on fire with supply sorely struggling to keep up with demand. With 110-150 new people moving to the region per day – an average of over 40,000 people each year – in 2 years the Austin metro area is projected to top 2 million strong.

With the recent KVUE.com news release that Travis County property appraisals increased 15%, I’ve been fielding questions from my clients with concerns about rising taxes and what it means to their bottom line.

While most folks want their homes to appreciate in value, this can also impact their property taxes. Many area home owners are confronting sticker shock with recent property appraisal increases that can easily equate to thousands of dollars. Williamson County residents – your appraisal assessment has risen an average of 10%.

A Challenging Question

Did you know it’s your right to protest your property taxes?

Before you challenge your county, do your due diligence and double check the tax appraiser’s assessment. Check the facts and details about your home such as size, age and condition. Compare it to other homes in your neighborhood to determine its value position on the scale with others. One way you can do this is to research online appraisal information for homes around you. Tax appraisals are made available online – Travis County residents can find theirs here and Williamson County residents here.

Another way to “save” on your expenses is to make sure you’ve filed your homestead exemption, which is a big component of tax savings! If you’ve filed a Homestead exemption, the appraisal district can not increase your assessed or taxable value more than 10% of the taxable value from the prior year.

While I read the deadline for filing property tax protests in Williamson County is June 1st (online forms are here) and in Travis County it’s June 2nd (online forms are here) I noticed the county websites suggest having your protest form postmarked by May 31st.

I hope this information is helpful!

Austin Realtor Joe Paul Reider





~ Joe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

How To File Your Texas Homestead Exemption

How To File Your Homestead Exemption In TexasEach spring a real estate rite of passage occurs for new home owners with purchases from the prior year; the filing of their residential homestead exemption. Filing your exemption should save you money so let’s look at some great questions my Austin-area clients often ask:

Question 1: Joe, Do I file for my homestead exemption every year?

My Answer: No, but you do need to file the exemption between January 1 and April 30th of the year after your home purchase (e.g. if you purchased your home in the summer of 2015 you would be filing your homestead in the spring of 2016).

In addition, once you receive a homestead exemption you don’t have to apply again unless the chief appraiser asks you to apply again or unless your qualifications change. If you move to a new home, you will have to fill out a new application.

The same homestead application is used for filing exemptions for being 65 years old or older or being a disabled person. Use Williamson County’s free new online homestead filing process or Travis County’s homestead application which specifies more details.

Question 2: How much will I save?

My Answer: Your savings will depend on your property value and the exemption percentage. A homestead exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and lowers your tax bill. In addition to the state mandated exemption amounts for school taxes, each taxing unit decides whether to offer the optional exemption and at what percentage.

For example, Travis County offers a 20% exemption for the Homestead exemption. If your property were valued at $200,000 and you qualify for the 20% Homestead exemption from the county ($40,000), you would pay county taxes on your home as if it were worth only $160,000. The amount of savings depends on the exemption and the amount of exemption allowed by each taxing unit.

your home your homestead

Question 3: If I own more than one home, can I file a homestead exemption for each home?

My Answer: 
Sorry, no. A person may not receive a homestead exemption for more than one residence homestead in the same year. You can receive a homestead exemption only for your main or principal residence.

Question 4: What do I do if I have more questions? 

My Answer:
You can can visit the website for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to get started.

If you have even more questions please let me know! Thank you for taking a moment to make complete your homestead application and have it filed prior to April 30!

Happy savings!

~ Joe Paul ReiderJoe Paul Reider

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512-222-3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

Important Questions To Answer Before Buying Your Historic Home Or Fixer-Upper

Important Questions To Answer Before Buying Your Historic Home Or Fixer-Upper by Home Style Austin

There’s no doubt that renovating a home can be a lucrative way to customize, restore and potentially profit. Encountering a “fixer-upper” sometimes happens naturally when living in the same house for many years … but often you may be considering buying a home in need of some improvements.

How well do you really know your potential property? Answering a few of my own home-grown questions may help you with your decision to buy – or run – from your potential new home purchase!

1. Do I love the house “as is” or do I plan on making upgrades?

Ahhh … this is perhaps the most important question of all!

Historic homes sometimes come fully restored and ready for move in. Other times they are hanging on for dear life and in dire need of some TLC. Home upgrades may require “sweat equity” (the physical labor you give to improve the home) or more often enhancements are made possible via cash injections. Knowing what investments you plan to make is the best way to manage the expectation of your future happiness.

Address questions from the big to the small, but important ~ Do I love the “bones” of the house? How’s the plumbing? Is there a garage? Do I get strong cell reception inside this home? Is this home all-electric, gas, or a mix of both? What cable or satellite programming options would I have? 

2. What’s my total budget? 

Answering question #1 above will help you answer this question. Knowing if – and what – improvements you plan to make will guide you into a total budget for your new home. Don’t underestimate how your budget will drive your decisions. My personal rule? Add a 20% buffer to what you plan to invest – not just financially, but emotionally as well.

What’s my list of must-have and my nice-to-have changes? Do I have bids or recent financial experience for the planned work? How will I finance all the work – all at once, or in future stages?

3. If I’m making upgrades can I live in the house while they’re being done?

Sometimes your upgrades are confined to one part of the home, like a spare bath. Other times they could be completely disruptive to daily living, like a complete kitchen “gut and renovation.” Know where you plan to live before starting work – even if it’s several months in advance and you’re planning ahead.

Am I moving into the house before work begins? Can I realistically relocate my family and pets to a temporary place? Am I emotionally up for a move – and potentially two monthly payments while the work is underway? How long will the renovation take to complete

4. Do I have an inspector skilled with older home inspections?

Partnering with a good inspector is as vital as having a good doctor. You probably don’t know this house very well so a third-party expert opinion can save you from making the biggest mistake of your life or helping you find your greatest house love. If you’re really concerned about the home, get two inspections from two different inspectors – compare the results and go into things eyes wide open.

Does this home have asbestos? What about lead based paint? Are there active termites or signs of prior termite damage? Does the sprinkler system work? How’s the foundation? Any signs of shoddy repairs?

5. What type of foundation does the home have?

Knowing the home’s foundation will guide future restoration decisions and help you know if your potential home is sound and sturdy. There are inspectors that specialize in foundation assessments and your Realtor® can help connect you with Austin’s reputable foundation repair companies.

Pier and beam foundations vs. slab foundations – which is better? What type of foundation does this home have? Does this home have a crawl space? Where is it? Are there any signs of prior foundation repair or existing foundation issues? 

6. Have I specifically addressed the age and condition of the home’s key systems?

What’s the home’s 30-second story regarding the condition of its roof, HVAC, insulation, windows and energy types (electric, gas, solar)? If you don’t know you owe it to yourself to find out. An appraiser can help you fill in the blanks.

How old is this home’s roof? How much longer might the water heater last? Does this home have an attic fan? Can I replace the electric range with a gas range? Would this home be a good candidate for a tankless water heater?

7. What’s the “effective age” of this home?

There’s actually a difference between the true age of a home and its effective age.

True age is the physical age of a home – kinda like it’s “human age” in years.

The “effective age” is how old the property “appears to be” compared to other properties. Because of updating and good maintenance, a house may appear to be younger than it actually is; it’s remaining life may be longer than other properties built about the same time, and the property may be worth more than properties built about the same time.

Has this home had any recent updates? Which ones? What things might need to be replaced next? Will this house likely be standing long after I plan to leave it?

8. Do I know the home’s typical utility consumption? 

This may seem like a minor question to ask. But if you’ve received $400+ monthly electric bills (I have), you’ll want to make sure you consider what your monthly utilities will cost on top of your mortgage payment. Your Realtor® can help you obtain this useful information.

How is this home heated? Do I know how much I may be spending for utilities in addition to my monthly mortgage payment? Can I comfortably afford this home’s utilities? How much might I be paying for air conditioning in the height of Austin’s summer or heating in the winter?

9. Is my home located in a historic district?

While the skyline of “Boomtown Austin” may make the city look relatively young, Austin actually boasts three historic districts, the most popular being Hyde Park. Living in a historic district has many advantages but also comes with a responsibility to educate yourself so you’re savvy and compliant with Austin’s older communities. You can learn more about Austin’s local historic districts at the City Of Austin’s Official Website … it’s loaded with useful information!

Is my home located in a historic district? Do I need a permit for my home improvement project? What might I “save” with Austin’s tax abatement program?

10. Will this home come with a home warranty?

In many cases home purchases can include a home warranty for the buyer. Knowing if you will receive a warranty can be helpful in the event things go wrong with the normal wear and tear of plumbing, electrical or appliances. Familiarize yourself with what the warranty covers – and more importantly what it does not cover.

Is the pool covered by the home warranty? Is there a trip fee for service calls? After my first year how much will the home warranty cost me each month if I decide to renew the plan?

I’ve owned and restored a 1920s Tudor home (shown above) and while it wasn’t always easy, it taught me many valuable life lessons about living in – and loving – an older home. Because of this I truly enjoy the energy I receive when helping my clients determine if a particular home is right for them.

Finding your next home is an adventurous journey that requires careful navigation. Reach out to me when you’re ready to pursue finding your next Austin home … and until then “live the great life” here in Central Texas!

~ Joe Paul ReiderJoe Paul Reider, Austin Keller Williams Realtor

Home Style Austin Founder
Austin Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty, Inc.

Email: JoePaul@KW.com
Mobile: 512.222.3302
Web: JoePaul.KWRealty.com

July 2013 Austin Housing Stats

It's So Hot In Texas - Batman and Robin CartoonWhen you hear it’s a hot real estate market in Austin, here are some useful statistics that back that up.

Check out the handy infographic below from the Austin Board Of Realtors (ABOR) that shows what a difference a year can make. For July 2013:

  • The median home price is up 8%
  • 35% more single family homes were sold (that’s huge)
  • There are fewer homes on the market and their average days on market is down

To successfully navigate a hot market like ours you need a great Realtor who’s your savvy partner. Home Style Austin founder Joe Paul Reider is a Keller-Williams Realtor® who’s ready to help you list or find your next home.

If you’re ready to make a successful move, give Joe a call at (512) 222-3302 or visit him online.

Austin July 2013 Housing Stats

New Real Estate Mobile App

The New Keller Williams Real Estate Mobile App

Real Estate leader Keller Williams has just launched an enhanced version of its free real estate mobile app that gives tech savvy homebuyers a quick and easy way to find and connect to their next home.

While the app gives users access to over 4 million homes, the true power of the app is found in its many features that allows local Austinites to narrow and perform targeted queries including:

      • PERFORM CUSTOM SEARCHES for real estate while you’re on the go. You can save your searches for later.
      • DRAW A PERIMETER to easily view nearby homes for sale, open houses, or rental properties.
      • VIEW LOCAL schools and other nearby points of interest.
      • EASILY CALCULATE home loan and mortgage payments.
      • SHARE homes through text, email, Facebook or Twitter.

A View Of The Local Search Feature For The Keller Williams Mobile AppAccess to Home Style Austin founder and Realtor® Joe Paul Reider has never been easier!

  • Text “KWCP11X” to 87778 to download the free and powerful KW mobile app (this is the easiest method).
  • Or, download the app from the iTunes Store or Google Play.

Just enter Joe’s agent code “KWCP11X” after installing the app and you can reach him in a tap with your questions about specific properties or to quickly schedule a visit to your potential new home.

Available for Android, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch we think this will be one great app for happy home hunters. Austin’s real estate market is literally “Hot! Hot! Hot!” so having the ability to find and move on an offer quickly will give local real estate seekers a competitive advantage.

Get started and download your app here. Share it with friends … and thanks for passing Joe’s information along – he’s ready to help and find your next home sweet home.

The New Keller Williams Mobile App For Joe Paul Reider, Realtor