Austin Real Estate Blog - Austin Housing Market Blog

How to Prepare When Buying a Vacation Home

How to Finance a Vacation HomeA vacation home can be a practical purchase for a home buyer who spends a lot of time vacationing in one favorite area. Some vacation home owners even rent out their cabin or vacation home while they're not there, in order to pay for the second mortgage. However, buying a vacation home and buying a primary home are very different, and the financing for a second mortgage loan is different as well. This is what home buyers need to know.

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How to Read Your Home Warranty

How Home Warranties WorkHome warranties come in all shapes and sizes, and home buyers need to understand theirs prior to closing if they want to be successful owners. From the HVAC system to the wiring, warranties keep new home buyers from having to pay for costly repairs out of pocket. Unlike home insurance, a warranty will cover parts of the property from wear and tear.

Warranties are excellent for homeowners who want to give themselves peace of mind, but warranties can be difficult to understand which can cause confusion when something actually happens....

Buying New Construction? Tips to Get Started

What You Need to Know About Buying New ConstructionBuying a new construction home can be an incredible thrill, but it can also be a time consuming, intimidating process. Many people who decide to buy a new construction home know little about the home-buying process and are unsure of where to begin. These tips can help buyers decide

For informational purposes only. Always...

When to DIY a Project and When to Leave Repairs to a Professional

When to Leave Home Maintenance Repairs to a ProfessionalMany homeowners want to handle home maintenance repairs themselves. After all, there are instances when doing so can save the average homeowner money and some repairs call for relatively easy fixes. However, the budget-minded homeowner does need to realize when it is best to call a licensed professional to address the problem.

Learn more about when to perform repairs yourself and when to seek professional help today.

Be Objective About the Project Requirements

There are plenty of projects which may be addressed by the average homeowner with rudimentary...

Buying a Home? Red Flags to Watch Out For

Home Buying Red FlagsWhen searching for a new home to buy, many home buyers look for a good layout, nice lighting and lots of storage space. However, in all of the excitement of finding a new home, some people forget to watch for signs of a problem. Knowing the most common red flags can help a home buyer to avoid serious problems when purchasing a home.

Water Damage

Water damage can be indicative of many things, depending on where it's located and where it originates. Water damage on or near the...

How to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent When Buying or Selling a HomeWhether buying a new home or selling the current one, all prospective buyers should work with an experienced real estate agent. Having an agent is the best way for a buyer or seller to help themselves get the best deal regarding their home as well as make sure the process runs as smoothly as possible. However, it can be difficult for buyers and sellers to know what to look for in an agent, especially if they’ve never bought or sold a home before, so here are some of the different things to know when considering...

Why More Homeowners Are Going with Solar

Real Benefits of Residential Solar Power for Homeowners and CommunitiesThe majority of homeowners will face increasing energy bills from traditional utility companies in the years to come. The additional costs may not be offset by steps to improve a home's envelope, address drafts or reduce energy consumption. Rather, many have made the decision to find alternative sources of clean energy to supplement and even replace traditional sources, with more than 1.4 million homeowners who have decided to lease or buy residential solar panels....

5 Essential Strategies For Selling a Fixer-Upper Home

5 Ways To Help Your Fixer-Upper SellSelling a home can be difficult, and when it comes to selling a fixer-upper, it can feel impossible. Fortunately, selling fixer-uppers is completely possible when the homeowner knows what they’re doing. For homeowners trying to get a leg up on the competition and help their fixer-upper home find a buyer, here are 5 essential tips and strategies to keep in mind. 

1. Set a Lower Price

One of the big draws of fixer-upper homes is that ...

5 Essential Packing Tips For Moving To a New Home

5 Essential Packing Tips For Moving To a New HomeMoving is a big job that takes a lot of effort, and it can easily seem overwhelming to homeowners who aren’t ready for it. But just how does someone get all of their possessions ready to move to a new home without getting stressed out? Having a plan of attack can be extremely helpful to have in mind when getting ready to move, so here are five essential steps all homeowners should use when packing up for the big move.

1. Start Packing Before the Home is Sold

While it might seem a little premature to start packing before...

8 Tips for Designing the Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Designing The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen

Image Courtesy of Flickr

Designing an outdoor kitchen will not only provide homeowners with a lovely area to spend their time, but it will also enrich their overall home experience. Furthermore, owing to its popularity in the world of design, a stunning outdoor kitchen may even increase the value of a home at the time of sale. If a homeowner has decided to create their own cooking area for al fresco dining and entertainment, here are top eight tips...

Five Ways Buying a Condo Can Change the Way You Live

Five Perks of the Condominium LifestyleWhile some may call condominiums ‘overpriced apartments' or not consider them to be as ‘good' as a single-family dwelling, there are actually quite a few perks of condo living. In fact, there are a number of solid reasons to buy a condo, ranging from the quality of community life and amenities to their convenient location and potential as investments. Here are five condominium pros to think about before eliminating these types of homes as a potential option.

For informational purposes...

Are You Ready to Buy a Home? Here's What You Need to Know

Are You Ready to Buy? A Renter's GuideA lot of renters set their sights on homeownership. In fact, it's said that 80% of millennial renters in the United States plan to own a home someday. People who have always rented often have a hard time judging when it's time to buy. Purchasing property takes time, commitment and most of all, money. Knowing what's needed can help renters determine when they're ready to buy a house.

You'll Need Money Up Front

Renters who...

Landscaping Ideas for the Modern Home

Popular Ways to Rethink Home LandscapingSavvy homeowners oftentimes look for ways of increasing a home's value, earning them a greater return upon sale. Improving a home's landscaping is one way to increase its value by helping to boost overall curb appeal, as well as improve homeowner enjoyment of the property. The trick is to create a practical balance that works for the people who live in the home. These ideas help homeowners maximize space and use of their yards.

Contrasting Landscaping and Hardscaping

Although...

How to Apply for a USDA Home Loan

How to Apply for A USDA Home LoanUSDA loans are special loans offered by the government for people who want to move out of the city and into the more rural towns and communities across the US. They're notorious for providing extreme financial incentives for families who may be struggling. Ultimately, the government wants to revitalize communities by tempting people to live in the great wide open. For those who don't mind living outside the city limits, it may be time to find out what it takes to secure one of these loans.

Minimum Requirements

There is no down payment required when it comes to a USDA loan because the government is backing the loan in case of...

How to Design a Home Showing for a Better Offer

How to Design a Home Showing for a Better OfferA home showing doesn't have to have shock value to be memorable but that doesn't mean a seller shouldn't consider the ways in which they can make their home stand out. No matter how cookie-cutter a home may seem to the seller, there are ways to highlight its best features to encourage enthusiasm (and ultimately, better offers for the home.)

A Fresh Perspective

No matter what season the seller puts their home on the market, they'll need to make their home look as fresh as possible—starting with the outside. Flowerbeds, walkways, fences, yards, door stoops, and windows all need to be given the royal...

5 Best Budget-Friendly Flooring Options

“Cost

When it comes time to replace a home’s flooring, there are a multitude of different options that can suit all needs and preferences. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by high prices. For those who are working with a budget or just want to be budget-conscious, here are five affordable flooring options to spruce up any home to renovate or sell.

Installing Linoleum Flooring

For homeowners who want a floor that isn’t going to require special cleaning to keep it looking it best, linoleum may be a good choice. It’s sturdy and low maintenance, and it can even come in just about any style so it can look...

Definitive Guide to Private Mortgage Insurance

PMI Guide for HomebuyersHomebuyers who make down payments less than 20 percent on a home often must purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI) before lenders will approve a home mortgage loan. PMI protects lenders from losing thousands of dollars if borrowers fail to make house payments and foreclose on their homes. Private Mortgage Insurance is also required if borrowers refinance mortgages that have less the 20 percent equity.

How Much Does Private Mortgage Insurance Cost?

Annual fees vary for PMIs from 0.3 percent to 1.5 percent of original loans. PMI costs also depend...

5 Devices To Make Your Home Smart

5 Devices That Can Make Any Home SmartThese days, it’s impossible to walk into any sort of store that sells electronics without seeing some sort of smart device for the home. From thermostats to refrigerators, if there’s a way to connect it to a smart phone, it can be found and purchased. For those who have trouble keeping up with technology as it moves forward at the speed of life, here are five essential smart devices for homeowners who may be looking to add value to their home or even improve their home's energy efficiency not know where to start.

Smart Thermostats

Everyone has been in a...

How to Use the 203k Loan to Your Advantage

Understanding the 203k FHA LoanA 203k loan is a way for home buyers to both buy a home and fix it up without being subjected to outrageous interest rates. This is a specific type of FHA loan created to stimulate homeownership rates and bring attention to some of the nation's more decrepit neighborhoods. It takes a lot of gumption to buy a home in need of repairs, and the government would like to see more of that go-getter attitude. See how to use the 203k loan to your advantage, so you can end up in the home (and the block) of your dreams.

How 203k Loans Work

A 203k loan isn't the same as a typical FHA loan, although they are granted through the same department. A...

What You Need to Know About Making a Down Payment on a Home

Learn the Basics of Making a Down Payment on a HomeA down payment on a home is money given to a mortgage or other lending company by someone wanting to purchase a Buda home. The purpose of a down payment is to reduce the amount borrowed by the home buyer from the lending company and to potentially decrease monthly mortgage payments. Down payments are always expressed as a percentage of what needs to be borrowed to buy a home.

Down Payments Explained

For example, if a couple wants to buy a home costing $100,000 and they have $3000 available to use as down payment, they will need to borrow $97,000 from a mortgage company, bank or other...

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