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November 2020

Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or invest, I offer the highest levels in real estate expertise and professionalism. I specialize in representing buyers (both local in the ATX-RRTX area and in-bound out of towners) and sellers in residential and farm & ranch properties, as well as waterfront and the lake life. Don’t hesitate to contact me and allow me to help guide you through the process. High on service, low on pressure. Looking out. For you. Every step of the way.

Chuck Farr
Broker Associate, REALTOR®, ABR®

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Texas Realty
512.415.6840 (call/txt) | 512.270.9092 (call/txt)
cfarr@chuckfarr.com | www.ChuckFarr.com/

 

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CENTRAL TEXAS HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES STRONG SALES GROWTH

Market Stability Crucial Heading Into 2021

The Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) posted another strong month of sales growth, according to the October 2020 Central Texas Housing Market Report released by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR). The MSA experienced a 29.4% increase to 3,780 in October home sales year over year, while homes continued to sell faster and at higher price points than ever before.

In addition to a third-consecutive month of double-digit home sales growth, median sales price increased 13.2% to $365,000, an all-time record, and sales dollar volume skyrocketed 55.3% to $1,778,706,460. Pending sales jumped 28.8% to 3,829; new listings increased 10.2% to 3,747; while active listings fell 50.3% to 3,501 sales. Homes spent an average of 35 days on market, 19 fewer days than in October 2019, and inventory fell 1.2 months to 1.1 months across the five-county area.

“The continued stability and strength of our market will be crucial heading into 2021. As we come to the end of a challenging year, I’m proud of the work that Austin REALTORS® have done to stabilize and grow our market,” Romeo Manzanilla, 2020 ABoR president, said. “While the full impact remains to be seen, the passage of Propositions A & B in Austin will increase the property tax bill homeowners receive over the next few weeks. Combined with rising home values, increasing demand and limited inventory, homeowners should be prepared for their property taxes to continue to increase regardless of tax rates.”

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce expressed a positive outlook for the local economy and job market for 2021 but echoed concerns around housing affordability and accessibility.

“Austin’s rank as one of the best places to live, work, and thrive in the country is evident by not only the growth of our housing market, but also by the growth of our local economy,” Laura Huffman, president and CEO of the Austin Chamber of Commerce, said. “Our region has a lower year-over-year job loss than any other major metro, and despite the pandemic, a record number of businesses have chosen to relocate to or expand in the region this year. We expect this growth—attributed to Texas’ business-friendly environment paired with Austin’s deep talent pool—will continue through 2021. Despite this, in 2021 the region needs to address housing affordability to help people from being priced out of the market, even as salary and job growth continues.”

“With a major transportation solution for our region now in place, we expect Austin City Council will turn their attention to the housing affordability crisis, which has only worsened during the pandemic,” added Manzanilla. “The Austin Board of REALTORS® looks forward to collaborating with both new and returning Council Members on ways to address this important issue.”

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Choosing a Housemate

To make your mortgage more affordable, consider temporarily renting out an extra bedroom or garage apartment to a tenant. Having a housemate can be a wonderful experience or a frustrating one, depending on how well you vet candidates, communicate your expectations and protect yourself with a written legal leasing agreement.   

Begin your search for a housemate by asking friends, family, coworkers, and church or professional organization members for referrals or visiting online roommate-seeking sites. Set the terms of the lease and screen potential tenants by credit-worthiness, personal references, pets, smoking and other criteria, but you must follow Fair Housing laws to avoid illegal discrimination and to protect the tenant’s rights.  As you interview potential tenants, discuss key issues such as schedules, habits, and other living preferences.

According to Lawyers.com, you can minimize disputes with a detailed rental agreement that covers rent, deposits, responsibilities, house rules, and which items can be shared, such as food and living spaces. You should also include a dispute resolution method agreeable to both you and the tenant.

Should you need to evict your tenant for not paying the rent, damaging your home, making too much noise or other violations of their lease, you’ll have to take the tenant to court where an eviction can be approved by a judge. Hopefully, it won’t come to that if you diligently check your tenant’s credit report and references and confirm their employment in advance. In the best case, you’ll make a new friend instead.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

What’s the Difference Between Modern and Contemporary?

Two words widely used in interior design are modern and contemporary, which sound like interchangeable synonyms, but really have different meanings. What’s confusing is that they have some traits in common along with others that set them apart.

Thespruce.com defines modern design as representing an era that’s passed, while contemporary design is all about the present and the future. Both styles share common characteristics – clean lines, simple uncluttered spaces and artistic flair. But they differ in the following ways:

Modern design began in the early to mid-1900s, when society was excited by inventions such as the skyscraper, jet aircraft, the space program, the cross-country highway system and major scientific advances, such as antibiotics and polio vaccine. The most popular modern concept is mid-century modern, when post-World War II housing was revolutionized by the low-slung ranch-style suburban home. Modernism departed from traditional comfy elements like ruffled curtains and overstuffed chintz chairs and embraced space age simplicity, sleek furniture with exposed legs, geometric lines, and wood accents. Colorful abstract art was juxtaposed against warm earth-bound colors. It’s a great motif for anyone who wants a recognizable design scheme. 

Contemporary design began in the 1970s as postmodernism rose in popularity. It is not tied to a specific era but borrows from past movements such as art deco and modernism as well as adopts new ideas, building materials, and technology, resulting in an eclectic living space. It’s an ideal choice for the homeowner who enjoys change and likes to stay ahead of new trends.

FINANCIAL ADVICE

Is It Wise to Refinance Now?

Over the summer of 2020, refinances of existing mortgages rose over 200 percent, according to Realtor.com. Driven by the lowest interest rates and the highest home prices in recent history, many homeowners are opting to skip the frustrations of moving in favor of lowering their current monthly mortgage payments.

Investopedia.com warns that refinancing could be a bad idea if it’s done for the wrong reasons, such as taking cash out of your home to invest or consolidating credit card debt. Refinancing comes with considerable costs and fees - typically three to six percent of your loan amount, which can take as long as three years or more to pay back. If you decide to move sooner than three years into the new loan, you’ll lose money. You must also avoid the temptation to “reload” your paid-off credit cards with new balances.

Trading your 30-year mortgage in for a new 30-year loan also doesn’t make sense, as you’ll be adding more years of interest to the term of your loan.  But it can work if you have an FHA loan with private mortgage insurance (PMI) that can’t be canceled and you go for a shorter term than your current mortgage. If you have more than 20 percent equity, you can refinance into a conforming loan with no PMI due.

The best outcome is a healthy break-even point where the costs of refinancing are covered by the monthly savings provided by your new loan.  Explore the numbers with your lender before deciding.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Sell Your Home Using All Five Senses

One of the best ways to get your home ready to sell is to remember to use the appeal of all five senses in your marketing. You want your home to look great and you want homebuyers to feel welcomed by attractive aromas, soothing music and other hospitable ideas so they appreciate the home’s environment on every level.

Sight – Focus on the first things homebuyers will see from the curbside to the living space inside. Make sure the yard is trimmed, flowers are planted, paint is refreshed, and the walk is freshly swept. Polish the front door hardware and sweep cobwebs from the entry lights. Provide plenty of light by opening curtains and blinds and turning on light fixtures. Neutral paint and décor help homebuyers visualize themselves in the home and removes the focus from the homeowner’s preferences.  

Sound – Put on some relaxing music to invite homebuyers to take their time and see the property thoroughly. Check built-ins, doors and floors for squeaks and creaks and get noisy fixtures repaired or oiled.  Remove and kennel raucous pets during showings. 

Touch – Homebuyers will open and close doors, open taps, and run their hands across countertops. Make sure doors, drawers and windows open smoothly and that all surfaces are sparkling clean.

Smell and Taste –Treat homebuyers to fresh-baked seasonal cookies and herbal teas in paper cups. Place a stack of flyers touting the home’s features beside the snacks. Carpets, curtains and fabric furniture should be steam-cleaned and all linens freshly laundered. 

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3303 Northland Dr. Ste. 100 Austin, TX 78731

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