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The Pros and Cons of a Short Sale



There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin Real Estate Market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here.

A short sale is a complicated process. It's not always the ideal outcome for homeowners, but sometimes it's the best option you have. There are 2 sides to every decision, however, so we will be examining the pros and cons of short sales and why, sometimes it may be your best option, but in other cases, it isn't. 

The first thing we need to talk about is: What is a short sale? Well, let's put it this way. Say you bought a house for $150,000 and took a loan out for that house for $125,000. Now, let's fast forward a few years. You need to sell the house, but now it is only worth $100,000. What happens to that extra $25,000 you have from the loan?

 Well, in  a short sale, you get the bank to sell your property and release your liability for the loan. They sell it for less than the home  balance. Now with this type of sale, there are positives and negatives. First, lets look at the pros. 

Pros
  • The financial implications of a short sale is a significantly better alternative than going through the foreclosure process. If you foreclosed, you could have to wait 7 years to buy another home. With a short sale, you are put on credit probation for 2 years and through certain loan programs, can qualify immediately for another home loan. 
  • It also gives you a little more time to stay in your home and more time to sell it. 
Cons
  • Your credit score will drop, by at least 100 points.
  • If the bank takes a loss on your short sale, they could potentially file a judgement against you and require you to pay it in the future. 
If you are thinking about going through with a short sale, consult with a real estate attorney first. We know some great ones we can refer you to. After that, it's important to sit down with a real estate expert to figure out what your goals are and how you can accomplish them. 

This city council candidate has some big plans for our city!



There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin Real Estate Market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here.

The Watters International Realty office is located in the heart of Austin at Mowpack and 2222, in District 10. If you're thinking of buying or selling a home in Austin, it's really important to understand the hot button topics and know about the leaders in the community who are making decisions. Since we feel it's our duty to keep you informed, we've interviewed Robert Thomas, who's running for city council of District 10. We were lucky enough to hear him talk about his plans to improve our city:

Q: What sparked your interest in city council?

Robert: I've been active in the community for over 20 years. I moved here to go to law school and later got my MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. I got super engaged in the entrepreneurial community, spent some time at a high-tech start up, started investing in local businesses, creating my own businesses, as well as buying and selling businesses. Through all of this experience, I started to gain an appreciation for the impact of regulation on business people who are trying to build good jobs for folks. I also started serving on the Austin Child Guidance Center Board and Safe Place Board to try to give back to the community in a meaningful way. As my children got older, I got involved in the school district and people have encouraged me to continue contributing.

Q: What's your action plan for the city? What should we do about the traffic problems?

Robert: People were saying the same thing 10, 15, 20 years ago. There are no new ideas, there has just been a failure of leadership to implement them. We have to have a multimodal, strategic transportation plan that includes all of Austin, but also all of the surrounding region because there are many commuters from around the area. We need to have a strategic plan that talks about how we're going to develop our roadways, and prioritize those where the greatest need is and then expand out. I'm also looking at bringing real affordable public transportation to all of Austin, not just parts of it. If Proposition 1 doesn't pass, we need to sit down with the community and come up with a real plan.

Q: A big problem we're dealing with here in Austin is affordability. Property tax rates are through the roof, forcing many people to move outside of Austin. What do you suggest we do to keep Austin affordable for the people who live here?

Robert: The problem is not property evaluation. The real problem is the tax rate that's set. It matters how much local governments want to raise taxes to fund inefficient government, to fund wants and luxuries as opposed to core municipal services. I propose we do a top to bottom audit of all city departments and the city budget - both a performance review of the departments and an audit of the finances - to find out whether we need to tax the people of Austin at such a high rate, which is really what creates an affordability issue.


Well, there you have it - Robert Thomas on what he plans to do if he is elected to the District 10 City Council. It's important to stay informed so you can vote for the leaders who will make our city a better place. We want to give a big THANKS to Mr. Thomas for granting us this interview and helping us keep our great readers in the loop on an important topic.

Thanks for stopping by the blog. If you have any questions about Austin real estate, or are interested in buying or selling in the area, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to hear from you! 

Q & A with Steve Adler



There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin Real Estate Market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here.

Today we have something very exciting to share with you. We had the opportunity to interview Austin mayoral candidate Steve Adler about what he would do if he was elected mayor. We asked him a few questions about some hot-button topics. Here are his answers:

Q: A lot of homeowners in Austin are saying their taxes are going up, and they are having issues getting permits in order to build. What steps would you take to improve affordability in Austin?

A: It's tough, because we absolutely have an affordability crisis in Austin. A $250,000 home in Austin is a $140,000 home in Houston. This happens in part because of supply and demand, but is also determined by utility prices determined by the city council. That's where we have to start.

Q: How do we fix the traffic problem in Austin?

A: Well, it begins with the government becoming more pro-active. In 20 years, our population will double. We can't build our way out of this, but we can pick better places and practices to grow our city. Staggered work hours and more telecommuting could help a lot in solving our traffic problem. 

Q: Why did you decide to run for mayor?

A: I was concerned for Austin. I want to hold on to the spirit of our great city and I want our local government to do things differently in the future. Our government needs to grow up and right now, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the culture. 

Thanks for joining us today. To see our full interview with Steve, watch the video above. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call. 

What Buying a Newly Built Home Means



There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin Real Estate Market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here.

 If you are thinking about buying a new home in the Austin area, we have some helpful information for you about new construction. In Austin, new construction starts are up by double digits in terms of percentage and home builders are having a hard time keeping up with demand. A lot of buyers we have talked to are wondering if they should go the route of new construction as well. 

There are numerous benefits to buying a newly built home. You can pick out all the features you do or do not want in your home. You also don't have to worry about replacing appliances down the road because they are brand new. 

The key when buying a new home is getting connected with the right builder and right piece of land. You want to be in an area with a healthy market,  with probably less than 3 months of inventory on hand so prices are on the rise.

Working with a real estate agent on your side can really make this process a whole lot easier. An agent can not only connect you with a builder, but a contractor and mortgage lender as well. A real estate agent will be able to help you make a smarter investment in the land you decide to buy. 

If you have any questions about new construction or about real estate in general, reach out to us via phone or email. We would love to talk with you. 

Where is the Best Place for Real Estate Information?



There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin Real Estate Market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here.

  Most of you have probably heard of Trulia and Zillow. They are 2 of the most popular online home search sites and 98% of home buyers start their searches online. Our opinion on these sites is that while they are great places to begin your home search, they have a lot of downsides that many people aren't aware of. We'd just like to take a moment to educate you on the subject so you can make a better decision for your next home. 

For starters, these sites use algorithms to determine home values that don't take into account all the necessary components. They don't include location, neighborhood characteristics like parks, schools, and nearby businesses. Without taking these things into account, the property valuation may be way off. If there were 2 identical houses, one in a nice neighborhood and one on a cliff, these sites would value them the same, although we all know that selling a home perched on top of a cliff is going to be a lot more difficult. 


Another thing that these sites don't take into account with their valuations is home improvements. All the remodels, upgrades, and improvements you have made to your house are not taken to account in any "Zestimate." 

It's important, if you are thinking of buying or selling in the Austin market, to get connected with a local real estate professional. A professional agent can take into account all of the local characteristics to get a true value for your home. Zillow, and Tulia get their information from agents, so by contacting an agent directly, you are going to the source with the most accurate and up-to-date info available.

Is Having an Open House the Right Strategy for You?

There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin real estate market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here. 


When selling your Austin home, there are a handful of things you have to take into consideration before deciding whether you should have an open house. We put together this list so you can make the decision that's right for you:
  1. The good: An open house will get people in the door that might not have otherwise seen your home. Many people are too busy, or simply forget, to schedule an appointment to view a home. When you have an open house, the door is open to any potential buyer who happens to have a free afternoon. Another positive is that you control the timing and can set the scene for your open house.
  2. The bad: According to the National Association of Realtors, an open house will only get your home sold 7% of the time. Your location has a lot to do with whether your open house will be successful. You also run the risk of having nosy neighbors come by who aren't motivated buyers; inadvertently letting a burglar in your home is another potential risk.
  3. Making the decision: What you make of the pros and cons comes down to your particular preferences. Are you comfortable letting strangers in your home? Are you in a location that would draw a decent crowd? Do you want more control over the home selling process?
As you can see, there is a lot to take into account when deciding whether to market your open in this way. In the end, we feel that having an open house can help drive demand, which, theoretically, could get you a higher price for your home. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you're comfortable with. If you would like to discuss what strategies might be best for your specific situation, give us a call or shoot us an email. We would love to help you get your home sold for top value.

Austin Real Estate Market Update Summer 2014



There are a variety of opportunities in the Austin real estate market for both buyers and sellers. If you're a prospective buyer click here for a full home search, or if you're considering placing your home on the market, get a free home value report, right here. 

We want to keep you informed on everything that is going on in the Austin real estate market. It's important to us that we let you know exactly going on at this moment so you can use this information to your advantage. So, what's going on in Austin?

  • First off, if you are in the heart of Austin, the market is on fire. There is currently less than 2 months of inventory, which is extremely low.
  • In some suburbs of Austin, however, the market varies quite a bit. Depending on your price range and suburb, your market could be completely different. We are seeing both buyer's and seller's markets.
  • Interest rates continue to be historically low. The interest rate on a typical 30 year mortgage is right around 4.5% right now. 
  • If you are contemplating purchasing a new home, know that rates are predicted to rise over the next year. Locking down a mortgage now instead of waiting could save you tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your loan.

If you are thinking about buying or selling a property in Austin, please give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you soon!