As a buyer, there are some handy tricks to keep you high on the list of potential buyers. As a seller, you can boost your standing in the marketplace when you hit the market, improving the quality of bids and you’re your position against the competition.
Whether you are new to Austin, TX and looking to buy, or a homeowner here in Austin looking to sell, this article is for you.
Tips for Buying Real Estate
The most important thing to understand about the Austin home market is home sales go fast. You will need to be ready, especially if you’re moving to Austin, and the best first step to do that is at the top of our list.
Home Mortgage Pre-Approval
Being pre-approved by a lender prepares you and your lender for an immediate sale, but it is also valuable proof that your finances have been analyzed and approved, which can alleviate concerns a seller may have. This is particularly true if you own your own business. It also shows the seller you are a serious buyer and ready to make things happen.
The Home Appraisal
An appraisal is an integral part of gaining mortgage approval, and it benefits you in many ways. Still, you can also ensure it benefits the seller to improve your standings and increase your chances of a purchase.
An appraisal is the cleanest way to understand risks and prevent overpaying – an important factor here where Austin homes for sale are currently running $30 to $70k above appraisal. In many cases, issues may be covered by the seller. But Austin is unique in its high demand, and a traditional standard appraisal clause in a contract can make a seller waiver and choose another buyer who is willing to pay more. Still, there are ways around this, and knowing them is integral to staying ahead of your competition. To learn more, read our article discussing the world of appraisal waivers.
When buying, here are things to look for during an appraisal. For Austin homes, keep a close eye on issues like mold since humidity, flooding, and, in the case of 2021, heavy snow can damage Austin homes. Termites are also a big factor here.
Know Your Real Estate Budget
Resale is an important factor when buying a home. To make the most profit, put 20% down on your loan, and never go lower than 10%. When choosing between a 15 and 30-year mortgage, do 15 if you can. And always be prepared to own the home longer than you think. Though real estate in Austin is currently a safe investment, you never know what your financial situation will be. If you are already stretched thin, you are putting yourself at greater risk.
For the same reason, don’t go all-in with your savings. Remember that you may want to retire at some point. And you will also need to keep money on hand to address home repairs. Unlike while renting, you will be responsible for all the repairs and upkeep in your home, from appliances to plumbing, electrical, landscaping, and roof repairs.
There are also powerful savings methods such as FHA and VA loans. Learn more about these here.
When budgeting, keep property taxes in mind. A realtor can help with this. Here at Smart Austin Realty, our realtors and real estate agents often help with this work.
Enlist a Real Estate Agent or Broker
When you buy a home, you will be paying a broker’s fee anyway because the seller will most likely have one. You might as well make the most of it. Enlist the help of a real estate agent who works on your side to protect you from the seller and his or her realtor taking advantage of you. And a local realtor knows the area well and can help with your Austin home search, helping you find communities and schools that are best for your needs and even specific properties to avoid. You’ll also learn creative ways to renovate homes and get a better understanding of resale in the Austin home market.
At Smart Austin Realty, we offer local realtors in Austin that provide all of these services, helping you get the most for your money.
After You Buy
The benefits don’t stop at homeownership. Once you buy, you can save more money in Texas by using a Homestead Tax Exemption. See our recent article to learn more about it.
Tips for Selling Real Estate
In Austin, the majority of bids come in as soon as a house or condo hits the market. But entering the market doesn’t mean being fast. It’s about introducing your home right the first time. Step into this selling process with your best foot forward.
Some tricks to follow are to make sure your home is clean and has an interior design that both accentuates the benefits and shows the potential benefits new owners may want. At the same time, it should feel as close to move-in ready as possible. This means new, and even, trendy wall colors and furniture.
Consignment companies can help you when doing home staging, but in most cases, your realtor will know who to call and can organize it for you. Our realtors know the right home staging services in Austin for your needs.
This is a highly visual business, and buyers shouldn’t struggle to see your home’s benefits, so keep your home clean and attractive. And the more move-in ready it is, the more bids you will get.
Don’t Forget the Great Outdoors
Austinites love the outdoors. You’ll be hard-pressed not to find a barbecue underway in a neighbor’s yard, on top of all the outdoor hiking, swimming, and shopping the city has to offer. Show you know how to serve local interests by creating inviting outdoor environments, and be sure to photograph all outdoor areas for your online listing. If you don’t have an outdoor design worth highlighting, then have ideas in your back pocket to help buyers envision what’s possible.
Real Estate Lodging Benefits
Austin is a serious music destination, and more tech is moving in each year, making it even more critical for people to find temporary housing. With the high price of Austin homes, new homeowners may want to balance out the high purchase price by renting out certain areas of the home. You can touch on this benefit during a tour to help justify your price.
Keep Your Doors Open
Since Austin real estate sells fast, home showings also happen fast. Make the most of it by remaining fully flexible for immediate and ongoing open houses. The quicker and more often customers can tour it, the faster you will see bids.
Selling vs. Financing
As a seller, you stand to make some money in today’s market, but the taxman is right around the corner unless you quickly reinvest into another property. One solution is to do an “owner finance.” By offering the new owner financing for a portion of the sale, you can save on taxes. To learn more about this option, click here.
Use a Realtor or Real Estate Agent
A seller’s agent knows the Austin real estate market in real-time and has full knowledge of a home’s resale potential to ensure you get a good price. Combined with current understandings of what works well and what doesn’t when debuting homes for sale on the market, you also increase your chances for immediate bids. He or she will also know how to set up your contract term appropriately, so both the buyer and buyer’s agent have what they need for a fast purchase.