Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9

Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home in Lake Travis

by Rebecca Shahan

Reasons to buy a homenow in Austin and Lake travisAre you thinking about whether Spring is the right time to buy a new home in Lake Travis, Austin, or the surrounding areas? If so, here's some great reasons why now is a good time to buy a home instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports, home prices have continued to increase by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices in Austin has come to pass. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting to buy a home in Texas just doesn't make sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. And according to experts, that rate will continue to rise. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors all agree that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

Higher mortgage rates means higher mortgage payments. You likely want to avoid that from happening.

Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

Many renters are afraid to take on a mortgage. The thing to remember is that you are paying a mortgage when you rent, it's just someone else's.  

Having a mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. when you rent, it's your landlord is the person with that equity.

It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

There are two things that determine the cost of a home: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. Both of those factors are rising. Would you still wait if they weren't?

Examine the real reasons you want to wait. Are you doing fine where you are living now?  Or do you need to have a better place for your children? Maybe safety is a concern.  Maybe now is the right time to buy.

Rebecca Shahan has been helping people buy their homes in Lake Travis and Austin for years. She can help you make the right choice in a home if you do decide it's time to move. Call today at 512-657-4467. Or search for a home online with our convenient home search tool.

11 Steps to Owning Your First Home

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you getting ready to buy your first home in Austin or Lake Travis?  If so, it’s certainly an exciting time for you. It’s easy to get lost in all the emotions and happenings. The trick is to not let yourself get swept away in the process.  But don’t worry, if you keep on track, you can successfully buy your first home in Austin and come out on top.  What are the steps involved, and how can you successfully complete them all so that you find the house of your dreams in Austin and the surrounding communities?

Here are the 11 steps that you need to follow.

  1. Do Your Homework
    Buying a home is without a doubt the biggest financial decision you’ll likely make in your life. You’ll need to consider factors such as price, housing type, neighborhood, school districts, and more. You can complete this worksheet to help you figure all these items out. Make sure to fill it out with everyone who’s involved in the process so that everyone has the same goals in mind.
  2. Start Shopping for Homes in Austin
    Now that you know what you're looking for, start looking for listings online.  Here's a great tool for finding the ideal home in Austin and surrounding communities.
  3. Find a Great Agent
    Rebecca Shahan is ready to help you find the perfect first home and help you through the process of finding the perfect home in Austin and Lake Travis.
  4. Choose a Lender
    Now it’s time to find the right mortgage lender. Your lender will be working closely with you throughout the process, so it’s important to find one that understands your goals and needs.
  5. Pick a Loan
    Your lender will work with you to determine the right mortgage to fit your financial needs.  You'll need to provide proof of income, employment, and other details.
  6. Look at Homes
    Here comes the fun part of the process! Rebecca Shahan can help you find homes in in Austin and the surrounding areas in Texas that fit your budget and the needs you determined in step 1.
  7. Make an Offer
    Now that you’ve located the home you want in Austin, then you make the offer.  Rebecca can help you decide how much you want to pay, along with contingencies that both parties can agree on.
  8. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
    This is where you work out the deal for your new home.  But watch out that you don’t get carried away by emotions because you want the house. Some sellers may just accept your offer, but some may make a counter-offer.  Your agent will work with you to decide what to do.
  9. Inspect the Home
    When an offer is accepted, then you'll sign a contract that will no doubt include a home inspection contingency.  At this point you'll hire a licensed home inspector to look for needed repairs. If major repairs are needed, then the seller will be asked to make those repairs.
  10. Appraisal
    Your lender needs to determine if the home is worth enough to cover the mortgage.
  11. Close the Deal
    You’re almost there! You just need to sign the final paperwork to finish the deal.  Now it’s time to get moved into your first home!

Rebecca Shahan has been helping people buy their first home in in Austin for years. She can help you through all of these steps to guide you to owning your first home in in Austin. Call her today at 512-657-4467.

Millenials - Take Advice From a Millionaire: Buy, Don't Rent

by Rebecca Shahan

Millenial Home BuyersAre you a millennial and currently renting a home? Why not take some solid advice from a self-made millionaire? David Bach is just such a person and has written nine consecutive New York Times best-selling books. For 31 weeks his book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” was on the New York Times bestseller list.  He is also one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes. 

In a recent CNBC article, Bach says that: “The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” Then he said that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.”

Here's his reason why buying a home is so important:

“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”

 “Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early, do a 15-year mortgage. What happens if you do a 15-year mortgage? Well, one, you pay the mortgage off 15-years sooner, that means you’ll be able to retire in your fifties. Number two, you’ll save a fortune (on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments).”

What will it cost to pay your mortgage in fifteen years?

“For fifteen years, you got to brownbag your lunch. Think about that! Brownbag your lunch literally for fifteen years. You can retire ten years sooner than your friends. You’ll have real wealth, because you bought a home – you’re not a renter. And you’ll be financially secure for life.”

When a well-respected millionaire gives you advice, it’s usually a good idea to follow it.  But this is hardly the first time that experts have given advice on the wisdom of buying a home. Many successful individuals have found that over time, buying a home is the most advisable course toward financial security.

As an additional note on David Bach’s experience, he has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. Not a bad resume!

If you are currently renting a home in Austin or Lake Travis and are looking to take this advise, give us a call at 512-657-4467 to see how this dream can become a reality.

What Questions Should You Ask When Buying a Home?

by Rebecca Shahan

Now that you've decided to buy a home, there's much excitement in the air. Maybe you've found the perfect home you've been looking for.  It has everything you want and more. But not everything is what it seems on the surface, especially when buying a home.  Don't let your emotions take over and not ask the important questions that need to be asked. Not asking the right questions can lead to a great deal of buyer remorse.

What are the most important questions to ask when buying a home? Here’s a few to consider.

Are There Any Major Issues?

Don't let your eyes fool you. There can be issues that you don't know about with any home. Not knowing those little things can add up to big problems down the road.  Make sure you get an unbiased inspection of the home before making any decisions. This one step can save a lot of heartache in the future.

What Is the Home’s Market Value?

Finding out the home's market value is a critical step in determining how much of an offer to make.  Even though there’s no magic formula for making an offer, the market value is certainly the biggest factor in making a decision.

How Much Did the Seller Pay For the Home?

Sometimes people will buy homes to flip them and make more money.  Even if they made improvements , it doesn’t mean that will increase the value. Knowing how much the previous owner paid will give insight into whether or not the home is overpriced.

How Long Has the Home Been on the Market?

The motivation level of a seller can sometimes be determined by how long the home has been listed. Sure, the agent can affect this factor.  But you can have your agent can look to see how many times the home has been relisted and the pricing history.

Click here to find more important questions to ask when buying a home.  And always feel free to call me for expert advice.

Protecting Yourself From the Equifax Breech

by Rebecca Shahan

Other than natural disasters, the big news this week is about the disaster of the massive data theft of 143 million consumer’s personal data from national credit bureau Equifax.  This is a situation that is expected to affect a lot of lives, especially home buyers and mortgage applicants. Why?

Most American with a credit history could have addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license and credit card numbers stolen.  These could be made available to the highest bidders on the Dark Web. 

Since there is a significant amount of information on file at the credit bureaus for home buyers and mortgage applicants, this group is especially at risk. This could cause serious problems down the road, especially during the buying process.

But don’t worry, as you can take steps to protect your identity and credit.  You can lock down your credit files with fraud alerts or credit file freezes, which will prevent people from opening accounts in your name and will prevent them from getting credit reports.

The FTC has helpful information on identify-theft countermeasures at And if you’re thinking of doing a freeze, a good site is You can also get free, three-bureau credit monitoring service being offered by Equifax at The most important first step is to check your three credit reports for free at and see whether anyone has compromised your accounts.

Tips For First Time Buyers

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you ready to buy your first home?  It's certainly an exciting, yet sometimes terrifying, time. It's one of the biggest decisions you can make, and the process can intimidating. But there are a number of things you can do to make the process more pleasant, and as the same time save money.

Here's a few tips for those who are just starting out on the journey of buying their first home.

  1. Start saving early.  You can put down as little as 3% on a loan, but that may mean you pay more for private mortgage insurance.  Keep in mind that even a small down payment can be hefty. Try this mortgage calculator to find out how much a down payment might be based on the price range of home you're looking for.
  2. How much can you afford? Of course you need to know what price range is within reach.  You can use a home affordability calculator to find out.
  3. Check your credit. Your credit score means a lot when getting a mortgage and how much you can borrow.  Make sure your credit record is clean of any problems or incorrect items that may affect it.

These are just a few tips to get you started.  If you're seriously thinking about buying your first home, please feel free to give us a call.  We'll be happy to help you start your journey to home-ownership.

Home Buying Myths Slayed

by Rebecca Shahan

There are plenty of myths when it comes to buying a home.  Here's a graphic that shows how these myths don't hold water. It's important to keep up with the housing market to make sure you're informed so that you can make the best decision when buying a home.

Some things to take away from this graphic:

  • Interest rates are still below historic numbers.
  • 88% of property managers raised their rent in the last 12 months!
  • The credit score requirements for mortgage approval continue to fall.

Worried About another Housing Bubble?

by Rebecca Shahan

House prices are reaching beyond historic norms, and some fear that we’re headed for another housing bubble.  But that really is not what’s happening, and to prove it, we just need to look at what caused the last housing bubble ten years ago.

As you probably recall, mortgage lending standards became far too lenient.  People who weren’t qualified under normal circumstances were able to get a mortgage anyways.  Home prices skyrocketed.  The increase in demand caused homebuilders to overbuild.  All those new homes and foreclosures flooded the market, and down it crashed. It was the perfect recipe for disaster and a recession.

Thankfully that’s not the way things are headed today. Even though lending standards have become more reasonable over the last few years, they’re nowhere near the levels they were in the early 2000s.

Also we can look at new construction and see that builders are not overbuilding. Average annual housing starts in the first quarter of this year were not just below numbers recorded in 2002-2006, they are below starts going all the way back to 1980!

And lastly, home prices are nowhere near what they were in 2007.  So the bottom line here is that any fears that we’re headed for another bubble are completely unfounded. Hopefully everyone learned their lessons from the last housing bubble.

How Are You Spending Your Tax Return?

by Rebecca Shahan

‚ÄčAre you waiting for a big tax return this year? If so, what do you plan on doing with it?  GO Banking Rates recently asked that very question during a survey. What they found was interesting. Here’s what people said they planned for their return:

  • 41% - Put it into savings
  • 38% - Pay off debt
  • 11% - Go on a vacation
  • 5% - Make a major purchase (car, home, etc.)
  • 5% - Splurge on a purchase

The National Association of Realtors wonders if this could help with the biggest challenge people have when buying a home, which is saving for the down payment. A recent post in NAR’s Economists’ Outlook Blog noted that “With a sizable tax refund, the average American would have a decent down payment depending on which region or market you live in.”

Even though only 5% said they were making a major purchase, 41% said they were saving it. If you’re part of that group, then you could save that money toward purchasing a home, if owning a home is your goal.

So how are you spending your tax return?


Displaying blog entries 1-9 of 9