Saturday, October 27, 2012

Size Does Matter in Austin Real Estate

The House is HOW Big??!!???   ---Size Does Matter in Austin Real Estate

512-740-6486 – – Austin, TX Real Estate and Investment Specialists.

As Realtors, Rodney Campbell and I have lots of experience in meeting the housing needs of growing families in Austin, TX. 
As parents/step-parents of 5 kids, a mastiff and a yellow lab, we personally have always sought out the largest house possible within our price range and school boundaries. 
In fact, we often giggle that we don’t understand why someone would shy away from extra square footage.  A separate bedroom for each child?  A game room for the incessant video game playing? A bathroom set aside just for company?  Oh, we know the benefits of extra space for a family with 5 kids!
Well…as becomes evident when showing large homes to people with small families or very young children, large homes can have a multitude of drawbacks in the eyes of a potential buyer.  Among them: high heating and air conditioning bills, constant stair climbing, cleaning and furnishing all that space, and maintaining the large yards that generally accompany the large houses.
Here is some advice for sellers of houses with a lot of square footage in order to make them more appealing to a larger audience:
1.      Make sure the home is impeccably clean, including the light fixtures and windows.   If your home has interesting features like vaulted ceilings or art niches, make sure these are dust free.  You don’t want the home to seem overwhelming for a potential buyer.
2.      Ditto for the yard.  Trim the trees and hedges and make sure the grass is maintained.  Make it seem easy to care for, even if it isn’t.
3.      Decorate with a warm color palette.  Many large homes, like mine, have been inhabited by large families with many children and pets.  Often, a seller’s first instinct is to put a fresh (cheap) coat of paint on the walls and new (cheap) carpet on the floors.  This usually ends up being a combination of beige on beige, and just adds to the cavernous feel.
4.      Don’t sell the house vacant!  Hire a professional stager and rent furniture if you must.  Large houses seem insurmountable huge to ‘average’ size families when they are vacant. 
5.      Post signs on each thermostat mentioning that there is a separate A/C unit for each story, and that each thermostat can be programmed separately (assuming this is true).  You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t realize this is standard for large homes.
6.      Place past copies of your electricity/yard care/cleaning service/pool cleaner bills in a binder for potential buyers to review.  They almost certainly are anticipating these expenses will be more than they really are.
If you are thinking about selling a house in Austin that is larger than the average in your neighborhood, contact us for a complimentary consultation.  We would love to share these and several other strategies we have used successfully in the past to find buyers for extremely large homes.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Love The Home! Now About That Loan...

At Keep Austin Weird Homes, we receive many calls from people who are interested in buying a home, but who have no idea whether they qualify for a loan.  In fact, we have fielded calls from 5 different people just this last week on one of our homes for sale in Austin, and out of the 5 people, none of them could qualify for a mortgage loan right now. 

The lesson is not to give up on your dreams of homeownership, it’s to start thinking about your credit score and you credit worthiness long before you fall in love with any one particular property.
According to a recent article in Inman News, the average FICO score for mortgages approved in September was 750.  Borrowers’ down payments on loans that were approved averaged 22%.  People whose applications for mortgages were denied had an average FICO score of 704, with borrowers willing to make down payments averaging 12 percent.

Currently, payment history has the biggest impact on how FICO score is calculated. So if you want to improve your FICO score, it’s important to show you can handle credit responsibly. This includes paying at least the minimum amount on all credit cards every month and not using all the credit that is available to you.

If you are curious about whether you are qualified for a mortgage to buy a home in Austin, we can connect you to one of the lenders that we work with.  After a brief phone consultation, you’ll have an idea of where you stand.  If you’re not quite ready for that mortgage yet, you’ll learn what steps you can take to increase your credit score.  The website also offers tools to help you learn about your credit.

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Theresa Bastian Named an Ambassador for Inman News

AUSTIN, TX October 15, 2012 -- Inman News, the real estate industry's most authoritative source of market conditions, business trends, technology, real estate and financial news, has named Theresa Bastian, Broker / Owner of Keep Austin Weird Homes to its Ambassador Program.

Ambassadors are chosen for their enthusiasm, online presence, and willingness to share their knowledge and expertise with others. These are the people who are big fans of Inman and understand the value of education in real estate.

“When selecting ambassadors, we look for professionals with a commitment to raising the bar in the industry, as well as those engaged in social technologies”, states Laura Monroe, director of the Ambassador Program at Inman News.

Socially savvy Ambassadors help Inman News get the word out about Inman events in their local market areas such as Agent Reboot, which will be held October 17th at Austin’s Palmer Events Center. 

“I am excited to be part of the Inman Ambassador Program.  Inman News has been a part of my real estate career since 1998 and it’s nice to be recognized as someone who shares the same values that Inman News does.  I enjoy staying current on the intersection of real estate and technology, and Agent Reboot will definitely cover the latest in that topic for Austin Realtors ®,” Bastian explained.

About Theresa Bastian

Theresa Bastian is the broker and founding partner of Keep Austin Weird Homes. Bastian’s real estate career dates back to 1998 and reaches from a real estate technology startup to owning 2 large franchises with over 200 agents. She formed Keep Austin Weird Homes to help people buy, sell and invest in real estate skillfully while keeping it local and fun.

 Theresa Bastian
Keep Austin Weird Homes