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TO DO (To Get it Done!) Fall List: Protect Your Austin Home

13 Oct

Now that you don’t feel like your skin is going to melt off every time you step outside of your property in Austin, TX, this is the perfect time to tackle a few household projects.  (Don’t forget the Importance of Maintaining Your Property.)  Here are a couple starter projects to get you on your way:

1Caulk: You know, that sealant that keeps moisture on a rainy day out, also stops air leaks that lets your heating and cooling escape. When we have had a year like this, where extreme  dry conditions pervaded it is time to “touch up” around the home. Review areas around windows, doors, and any openings that are entry or exit areas for pipes etc. In most cases, you can touch up the caulk where it has opened up or lost some adhesion. In some cases, in might be better to take a screwdriver and carefully remove any real loose caulk, and then touch up.

2Do you ever bother to look at that outside Air Conditioning condenser? Hot dry climates pack dust in the fins, which causes loss of efficiency and could lead to failure. Get the garden hose out, make up a bottle of 50% water and Vinegar, spray the fins on the condenser and let sit for a moment, then carefully spray off the fins starting at the top and working downward.  Do NOT use pressure that bends the fins; you want good pressure, but not too much!  You will be surprised at the gunk that comes out!

Don’t forget your air filters on the inside: Hot dusty climates make change out every 30 days or so a must; other factors like pet dander, or fall cleaning can kick up a lot of debris in the home as well.

One trick that I have learned from the pros, is that most HVAC units have provisions for more than one air filter. You can buy the cheap fiberglass filters 5 at a time, and a couple of those nice pleated pollen filters too. Then, take the cheaper filter and put it first in the air flow, backed up by the pleated filter, this keeps the pleated filter from catching all the big stuff and choking up.  Change the cheap filter out in 30 days or so, and then change both out 30 days from that, as it helps the more expensive filters last longer and do their job with little waste.

3. Give your trees a ‘haircut:’ Walk around the home and look at any surrounding trees.  Remember to cut branches back 6 feet from the roof if possible to keep them from damaging your roof shingle.  (With the dry conditions and brush fires which have abounded in Austin, TX we should all take a hard look at our dead branches!)

4. Paint: If areas are looking thin or exposed, time to touch up now.  Water behind the paint causes many issues.  In general,  a good coat of paint reduces wood rot and deterioration of the exterior surfaces as well.

5. Do you know where your freeze protectors are for the outside hose bibs? They are cheap this time of year, but the price goes up as the cold front comes in (yes, think back really hard, and you’ll remember those frigid nights last year in Austin), have them on hand. You may be like me, and have to buy new ones each year as for some reason the dogs thing these are “chew toys” mounted on the outside walls.

 

Do you have a great home maintenance project idea or tip?  Please share in the comments below!  We’d all love to learn from you!

 

Now, STOP reading and start DOING!

*These Great Ideas Are Courtesy of Austin Pillar to Post!

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How To Remove Streaks and Marks from Your Floors

28 Sep

Scuff Marks on your Floor Shoes

As you know in Austin, TX and any real estate market really, first impressions matter to the Buyer!  Don’t let scuff marks on your floors distract Buyers and cost you money!   Instead try these cheap, quick fixes.

1. Fight Fire with Fire!  Black-soled shoes may have made streaks on your tile floor, but rubber-soled sneakers can remove them. Simply tie on your sneakers and buff the marks with the point of your sole.

…It’s OK if you can’t resist attempting the Moon Walk while you’re at it.

2. Aw Sheet!  Have hardwood floors? Lift scuff marks by using a dryer sheet (even a used one will do). Simply rub at the marks, making small, circular motions.

3. Alcohol (Rubbing not Drinking)! Vinyl floor looking streaky? Dab a little rubbing alcohol on a clean white cloth and wipe. The marks will disappear without damaging the floor’s finish.

I’m a professional Realtor, not a professional flooring cleaner, so if you’re unsure, please check with a flooring specialist before trying any of these tactics.

 

Green is Gorgeous!

22 Sep

I found this article that I thought you might find interesting, and I think they hit the nail on the head: While it wasn’t always the case with green design, green and gorgeous are no longer mutually exclusive events!

I love the 5 designs featured at the bottom of the article.  Living in Austin, TX, a city that bleeds orange…and green, I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of this housing in the near future!

Attention Longhorn Parents: Don’t Throw Away Money on Rent at UT Austin!

22 Aug

Everyone knows that rents are sky-high, particularly in the West Campus and North Campus areas of the University of Texas at Austin.

Instead of letting the rents get you down, why not turn it around and profit from it? 

Have you ever considered purchasing Austin Real Estate near the University of Texas at Austin Campus? 

How about this one?

Parents of Current or Future Longhorns:

If you have a child or multiple children who are going to live near campus and drain your bank account renting junky properties, why not buy and:

1. Invest the money that would have gone toward rent toward a hard asset to add to your portfolio.

2. Rent out any extra rooms your kids are not occupying to their friends and allow them to subsidize your note on the property or provide you with some cash flow.

3. Continue to hold onto the asset even after your kids are gone.  Hire out a management company if you chose, but let that property sit and appreciate.  You can’t get a much better location than the University of Texas campus area!

4. Sell one day, go to Fiji, and retire…ahh that sounds nice.

My real estate career started in the University of Texas at Austin Campus Real Estate Market, and I am a UT TexasEX.  Please let me help you navigate your campus investment search!

Price Your Lakeway, TX Home Right, and Get it Sold!

19 Aug

Lakeway, TX Home Priced to SellPrice is KING…period. 

Even though Austin, TX real estate and its surrounding real estate markets have stayed quite strong compared to the national averages, it is still overall a buyer’s market.  Now there are pockets, where that is not the case, so you need to ask your Realtor to be certain; however, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of pricing your home to sell!

Let’s take a look at this recent Lakeway listing of mine:

 

This home is pristine, clean, staged well, and ready to sell, right?!  And believe me, it knocks its competition out of the water in the looks department!

So that should mean we can put an over-inflated price tag on the house since it so special, right?

Wrong…Big Mistake!

Instead of tickling the Seller’s ears and telling him what he ‘wants’ to hear,  a good Realtor helps the Seller analyze recent sales of comparable homes as well as the market trends for that specific area, and then price the home according to where it will SELL not just get SHOWN…see the difference?

We want offers, not people messing up our carpet!

Instead of having a few showings, eventually lowering the price, and leaving even more money on the table once a listing is stale, a better strategy is to look great and price right day 1.

In doing so,  a mini-market is created, and I don’t mean Wag-A-Bag.  That is, you have so many showings that everyone is in a frenzy and puts forth their best offer the second week its on the market.

Let’s just say we’re set to close early September on this home, and I have seen this strategy work time and time again!

Using Zillow to Price Your Home or Develop an Offer Price

10 Aug

The internet is a great tool and provides folks in the real estate market with a myriad of resources which were not available even just a decade ago.

As a Realtor in Austin, TX, my clients regularly share with me, ‘So I was looking on Zillow….’

While  I find that Zillow is a useful tool that Buyers and Sellers may use when they are early in the process or researching and getting a ‘ballpark’ feel for pricing in neighborhoods, it is not a good substitute for a good Real Estate Agent and a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).

Why is a Realtor with a CMA Better than Relying on Zillow?

The main reason that you need a Real Estate Professional when determining the sales price of your home or developing an offer price on a particular home as opposed to relying solely on Zillow is because Zillow and the Real Estate Market use two different sets of data.

That is, using Zillow to develop your list price or offer price is like studying from your Geometry Book to prepare for your Calculus Final; while there might be some mathematical overlap, it’s just not going to give you the most efficient and accurate way to prepare for your sale or purchase.

So How Do Zillow and Market Data Differ?

Zillow uses public information, like tax records, while Realtors use Market Data.  Public information can be quite different from Market Data, and I’ll explain more  later.

For now, know that using Market Data allows your Realtor to see exactly the prices at which homes have been selling similar to the one you’re considering selling or purchasing, which gives you the best chance of marketing your home properly and getting it sold or offering a price that is going to get you that home!

Can You Help Me Price or Develop an Offer Price on My Austin, TX Property?

Yes!…And just like Carl’s Jr. touts their chicken is made by people and not robots, all of my Comparative Market Analysis work is performed by me and not a system. Pricing homes is largely science and part art, and you need a human to process the information, take into consideration unique aspects of the home and current market trends, as well as interpret the market’s response to the home.

If you would like me to work a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) for your home in the Austin Real Estate Market and surrounding areas, please contact me, today!

LOW BALL Offers

8 Aug

So, here is a trend that I’m seeing:  Because of all the doom and gloom news regarding the economy, many Buyers are making the mistake of presenting  LOW BALL offers to Sellers.

If you’re in Texas and particularly in Austin, I have news: the Austin Real Estate Market is about as strong as they come!  As such, I’ll tell you the biggest issue I see with Low Ball Offers:

SELLERS GET TICKED OFF!!!

No seriously!  You have to remember real estate is EXTREMELY emotionally charged, and when you have a Seller who feels that you don’t appreciate his property and are insulting it with your offer, guess what, his willingness to negotiate significantly declines.

CAN I EVER THROW OUT A LOW BALL OFFER?

If the property is over-priced and/or has been SITTING ON THE MARKET FOREVER, then yes there might be more room for negotiation.  If, however, the property is listed near the price at which similar homes have been selling, then there is less room.

HOW DO I KNOW IF A PROPERTY IS OVER PRICED OR IS SITTING?

Bottom line, please be sure that you consult your real estate agent who can perform a comparative market analysis on the property in question, in order to enable you to place an offer that will ultimately get you that home!

I’d love to be that person!  Please contact me!