Real Estate Tips

Capital Gains Tax and the Sale of Your Home

Homeowners interested in selling a primary residence may want to know more about the capital gains tax and applicable exclusions to avoid handing over a chunk of the profits to Uncle Sam. Whether a seller is able to qualify for a full or partial exclusion, either translates to less money given to the IRS.

Learn more about capital gains tax and full and partial exemptions on the sale of a home today.

What is Capital Gains Tax?

This is a tax on the profit from the sale of a home or other major asset. If a homeowner has owned their home for over one year, any profit would be a “long term” capital gains and the rate of taxation would depend on the seller's tax bracket. Significant exemptions exist...

Eco-Friendly Strategies for a Green Home

Green energy is the way of the future: now more than ever, homeowners are becoming conscious of the environment and what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Here are different strategies homeowners can use to help make their home environmentally friendly and use less energy.

Use LED Lightbulbs

Light Emitting Diode (LED) lightbulbs have been around for a while now, but they are a tried and true method for making a home just a little bit greener. Not only do LED bulbs use less energy than their CFL counterparts, but they also have a smaller impact on the environment when they’ve been disposed of....

What are Home Inspectors Looking For?

Even brand new homes should undergo a home inspection. After all, a home is the one of the largest financial (and emotional) investments a person will make. Therefore, home inspections are necessary, and it's wise to have a professional home inspector do the job.

What Does a Home Inspection Include?

Generally, home inspections are included as part of the buyer's contingency requests to protect them from buying a home with hidden issues. Depending upon the agreement, sellers are responsible for having the requisite inspection completed in their...

Pros and Cons of the Probate Real Estate Market

Though they are no longer the largest generational population, the Boomers – who are heading into their sunset years – will continue to possess the most wealth. That is until they pass their assets onto either their Gen X children or Millennial and Gen Z grandchildren. According to a report by Deloitte, $24 trillion in bequests will be transferred over the next 15 years.

Enter the probate real estate market. Due to many factors that will be discussed below, probate real estate is a virtually untapped real estate space. Due to the conditions under which sellers are motivated to market the legacy property, navigating the emotional and tangible process has several definitive pros and cons.

What is Probate Real...

Are Tiny Homes a Wise Investment

tiny homes

It seems there are Tiny Homes popping up everywhere. Magazines, websites, and reality TV shows all praise the space-saving miniature houses that typically range between 180 and 400 square feet in size. Is it a practical lifestyle choice? Is it truly possible to live comfortably with another person in such a tiny space? Do people still enjoy living in tiny homes after the first year? How much do they cost? These are questions you need to ask before you consider purchasing a tiny home.


What Does A Tiny Home Cost?

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Counting Days in Real Estate Contract Contingencies

CalendarHow do we count the number of days for contingencies in home purchase & sale contracts? it's not too terribly complicated to answer, but misunderstandings regarding the "Computation of Time" in real estate contracts are unfortunately very common.

While all contract contingencies are important, arguably, the most critical contingency in any real estate purchase and sale contract is the Financing Contingency, which is typically 20-30 days. All parties, especially the home buyer and their real estate agent, need to accurately count the number of days - and to adhere to any related terms of the contract. The inspection contingency is just as important. Wait too long after the inspection to negotiate any...

Home Buyer Mistakes: 5 Tips to Winning Offers in a Seller's Market

Are you in the market to buy a home this spring? Join the crowd! In many areas, the market is red-hot; inventory is low and buyers are plenty. In these times, hopeful home buyers must quickly educate themselves regarding the buying process and current market conditions. How can you increase the odds of winning your dream home in a seller's market, especially when competing with multiple offers? Develop a winning strategy by follwing these tips, and avoiding common home buyer mistakes.

Image Courtesy of Online Training Academy

Be Clear About Your...

Holiday Home Buying: Shopping For Homes During the Holidays

Buying a home during the holidays - sounds crazy, right?

You have about a million tasks on your to-do list and none of them checked off. You have relatives coming into town, the local bake sale needs more holiday cookies, and the cat just crawled-up the tree - again. In the midst of all this holiday chaos you may think the last thing you really want to do is search for your new home. However, you might be missing out. The holiday season can be a fantastic time to buy real estate!

Sellers Want to Sell - Especially at Holiday Time

Listing inventories tend to drop during the late fall and winter in the Austin market - not only due to the holidays, but also due to the weather. Often, the darker and rainy...

Home Selling: How Often Should Your Real Estate Agent Call?

When selling a home, the number one complaint of homeowners is the lack of communication & follow-up from their real estate agent - after the agent has listed the home for sale. In fact, a quick scan of popular websites reveals the most common grievances such as "My agent never returns my calls," or "My agent went on vacation and didn't tell me." it's a very common problem for sellers, and a source of great frustration.

We call this the "List & Leave Syndrome" - a phrase I personally coined after experiencing a similar circumstance several years ago, which ultimately promted me to fire my agent.

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What is an Inspection Contingency?

Definition: An Inspection Contingency is a clause in a home purchase & sale contract which provides the buyer an opportunity to conduct a home inspection, with the right to either terminate the contract, or attempt to negotiate repairs and/or terms of the contract, based upon the results of an inspection report.

What is an Inspection Contingency


Contingencies for home inspections vary from state to state, and the methods of negotiating issues can also vary by "local custom" depending on the market area. For example, in Texas, inspections are handled during the "Option Period" - typically a 10-day period in which the buyer pays a nominal fee in exchange for this option....

Hiring an Agent When Buying or Selling a Home: Working With Friends and Family

Fact: Choosing a real estate agent will be among the most critical decisions you make during your next home purchase or sale! Think real estate agents simply open doors, show houses, and fill-in generic real estate forms? Think again.... This is the first a series of posts on hiring a real estate agent to serve your interests.

Part One: Hiring Friends & Family When Buying or Selling a Home - We all love to work with friends & family (okay... well, maybe not "all" of us). According to a survey by the National Association of real estate agents, it's not surprising that over 50% of home buyers & sellers choose a real estate agent either based upon referral from friend or family member...

Buying a Home? 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid Before Your Next Home Purchase

Home buying mistakesHappy New Year! What is on your list of resolutions this year? Lose weight? Get in shape? Go back to school? Take up ice fishing?

If you've been thinking about a real estate purchase, consider these New Year's resolutions for home buyers, which could potentially save you a lot of time, frustration and heartache.

Avoid making these common mistakes, and be fully prepared before going on the house hunt.

#1 Decide What You Want in a Home Before Seriously Looking

Browsing, while often enjoyable, is never the most efficient way to shop. While you may not consider it time wasted to browse a shoe store or your favorite Seattle boutique, looking at homes without having a firm grasp on what you actually want in a home is a certain path to frustration...

Home Buying: What is a Greenbelt? Buffer-Zone, Vacant Land Or...

asking questions when buying a houseWhat is a greenbelt? We get this question a lot - and it can have a different meaning depending on the circumstances and location of the home. More importantly, too many buyers become enamoured with the view & privacy - assuming it will always be that way. Home buyers coming to Texas from other parts of the country understandably may have preconceived notions as to what a "greenbelt" actually is... but they may be mistaken.

In Texas, a greenbelt or buffer-zone is generally considered by most homeowners and buyers alike, to be a vacant patch or parcel of forested land, behind, or to the side of a home. Typically, depending on the location, greenbelts can be partially forested with trees, but the landscape can vary - some may contain large open spaces, public parks or grassland....

Full Service at 1 Percent - Comparing Real Estate Agents Commission

Hiring the right real estate agent can be challenging enough as it is - but it's more so, when the cost of commissions becomes the primary focus in the decision-making process, and without considering other factors. Especially in a "seller's market" when home inventory is in short supply, for obvious reasons, the services provided by brokerages and agents offering "Full Service" for significantly reduced listing fees can become more appealing. And indeed, some "experienced" buyers & sellers may not need the full-scope of professional services provided by a "traditional" real estate brokerage. Regardless, when choosing a brokerage & an agent, it's important to look beyond the advertising claims and compare "apples to apples." Thus, we present to you Six (more) Things to Consider When Comparing...

House Hunting? Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know

Seattle-Real-Estate-termsWhen looking to buy (or sell) a home, some of the terminology can get confusing.
While it's of course your real estate agent's job to know the ins and outs of all things real estate, it's also very helpful to the Austin home buyer during the search. With all the different terms and acronyms, property listings and real estate jargon, it's hard to focus on what's important. Below is a list of a few important terms you are likely to hear during your house hunt.

Sale-to-List Ratio

More commonly used by sellers, this is potentially an important number for home buyers too, as it may help them quickly decipher the pace of the current market when deciding what price to offer on a home.

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10 Ways to Guarantee a Miserable Home Buying Experience

Anthony GilbertUpdated Introduction: A few agents have already commented in various places that this post may not be "a good idea." IMO, that's likely because they think an agent's Number One Priority is "lead generation" - and some believe it's "aggressive" lead generation. I completely disagree - I feel our Number One priority is "client service."

It is my belief the reason an increasing number of buyers are behaving in the ways I describe in this post, is because real estate (as an industry) has forced them to. Particularly due to internet marketing, buyers have been forced to lurk anonymously in the shadows, because they fear that the moment they give an agent their information, they won't be able to get rid of the agent - like an irritating skin rash.

And can I blame the home...

Buying a Home Next To Vacant Land

asking questions when buying a houseLooking at homes which are adjacent to vacant or nearby undeveloped land? Avoid potentially nasty surprises! Investigate and verify the ownership, zoning and approved use of that land - before you buy.

Case in point... Several years ago I almost purchased a home in Bee Cave, TX (a west Austin suburb) which backed to private land. I appreciated the privacy, and the view was great. Coming from a typical suburban neighborhood, it was VERY tempting to write an offer, and be done with it. I asked my buyer's agent if she knew who owned that land, or what it was going to be used for - she said she didn't know. I later decided against that house. One of the primary reasons I decided against that home, was the uncertainty concerning the status...

Do Not Stay Home During Home Buyer Showings - Big Mistake!

We're all human - we all make mistakes.  Selling a home can be one of the most stressful events in our lives - we're most often dealing with people we don't know, while complete strangers are touring and judging our home, and they're often arriving on short notice. Trust me... we get it. We really do.

Part of our job as real estate agents is to mitigate our client's stress level while their home is on the market. In this stage of the home selling process, we're more often 40% agent, 60% psychologist. As you can imagine though, this is easier said than done. With emotions often running high, it's understandable that home sellers can make a few mistakes along the way.

So... this blog post begins our Seller Series - "Big Mistakes - What Not to Do When Selling Your Home."

Big Mistake #1 - Staying...

Make Small Repairs To Raise Your Home Sales Price

home repairs t raise sales priceIf you're preparing to list your Leander home for sale, please resist the temptation to make major home improvements. Major home improvements can end up costing you more than double your original budget. Additionally, you will be dealing with the mess yourself, and more importantly, delaying how soon your home is shown to potential home buyers in Leander. Rather, for a better return on your time and money, focus on minorprojects instead - especially your "honey-do list." It's the smaller projects that tend to have a bigger, long-term payoff.

Start Thinking Like a Home Buyer!

So, how do you determine which projects are the "smaller ones"? It's obvious when you think back to being a home...

Be Smart When Buying a Foreclosed Home

Hot DealsA Foreclosure Does Not Equal a "Good Deal" By Default

With the events of the past few years, it's understandable that the home-buying public equates a "foreclosure" to a "good deal". But the fact is, that a foreclosed home deserves a much higher level of scrutiny - not only in terms of the market value, but also the property's condition.

You should never approach the possible purchase of a foreclosed home as though you are getting a "good deal" - that is unless the numbers truly indicate it is in fact a sound investment, compared to other homes. Always, be smart when buying a foreclosed home!
 

Old School Sales Tactics - Do You Have the Patience?

The companies...

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