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Get Ready For Your Next Move

by Rebecca Shahan

Congratulations on buying your new home! It;s time to get moving. Now what?

It's OK to feel overwhelmed. Most people do. So where do you begin?

This is a big change in your life. It's a chance to start new and live in a home that reflects who you are now. Now you can clear your life of the things that no longer matter. Plus, clearing out things you don't need makes packing much easier.

So how do you go about cleansing your life of the unnecessary things?

Go Big

One way to sort things out is to use bright sticky notes and color code the the largest items in your home. Go room by room and place the sticky notes according to a color scheme like this one:

  • Hot Pink: Donate or sell immediately
  • Neon Green: Keeping it
  • Bright Yellow: Maybe keep it. Consider offering it to family members, donating, or selling.

The Pink Items Have to Go

Take photos of these items and sell them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.  the move them to the garage or a room to get them out of the way.

You can also arrange with a charity to have them picked up. And if you can't move them or you can't find a charity to pick them up, put them up for free on Craigslist or Facebook. They will go fast this way.

Where to Put the Green Items

Make sure the items you want to keep fit in the new home. You can create a floorplan on grid paper, or use an app or program. Then measure the items and place them on the plan for their intended rooms to find the best arrangement. Then if it doesn't fit on the plan, you can do away with it.  Plus, you'll be able to know exactly where the furniture needs to be moved to in the new home, saving time and effort.

Yellow Items

Once you've dealt with the pink and green items, you can decide on the yellow items.  Use your floorplan and see where or if they fit in the new home. Don't crowd them in. Open spaces actually create a feeling of luxury.

Smaller Items

The smaller things come next. Go room by room, one room at a time. It's best to start with the things you love and want to keep. The you have the items left over that you can sell or donate.

Make sure to do all of this as far in advance of your move as possible. There's no time to waste. This is a great time to simplify and make way for the next chapter in your life.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

DIY Projects Your Dogs Will Love

by Rebecca Shahan

Are you looking for creative ways to make your furry friends more comfortable, as well as make your home more appealing? This can be a bit of a challenge, but with these clever DIY projects, you can do it. Plus you don;t have to spend a ton of money to make them. Check out these fun DIY projects.

The Kitchen

1. If you enjoy having your dogs eat in the kitchen with the family, then this custom eating station is an ideal kitchen feature. You can find instructions to make your own.

Built-In-Dog-Bowls

2. Dog crates can take up space, especially with large dogs.  Here's a great way to make cabinet space for you, and a space for your dog crates. Click here to see how to make your own.

Custom-Cabinets

The Mudroom

3. Here's a great way to make a safe and relaxing place for Fido. This "dog cave" is the perfect hideout for your dogs to plan their next adventure.  You can make one like this by Titus Built.

Custom-Built-In-Dog-Bed

4. Tired of dog bowls being kicked around or moved, or just getting in the way? You can make a csutom eating station to keep their bowls together and off the floor, as well as store food. You can build one like this one found on HGTV.com.

Pet-Feeding-Station

5. If you love to re-purpose old furniture, this project is perfect. You can convert an old dresser into this creative eating station, designed for those who have both cats and dogs. The dogs can get to their food, but they can't reach the cat food at the top. The DIY project to make one is here.

DIY-Pet-Feeding-Station

The Laundry Room

6. Taking your dog to get cleaned can be such a chore. Why not build your own dog washing station? When you're done, you can just throw the towels in the wash. Here's a DIY by A Concord Carpenter on how you can build your own dog washing station.

Dog-Wash-Station

7. Ditch that ugly dog food bag and make a nice drawer container. Follow these steps to make your own pull out drawer storage bin.

Dog-Food-Cabinet-Storage

 

Join us every week for more real estate tips and great reasons to buy your next home in Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Real Estate Myths Revealed

by Rebecca Shahan

Real Estate Myths RevealedReal estate is one of those professions where many people think they know all that's involved. Millions of people have bought or sold a home in their lifetime, and this may make them feel as if they're an expert. But no matter how much you know, times change, and so do the rules and the way things work in the industry. This can lead to inaccurate information being spread about how the real estate industry works.

What are some of the most common real estate myths?

Real Estate Agents are Paid a Salary

Many people don't know that all the money a real estate agent makes is based on the sale of a home.  There's no underlying salary being paid to them, except in rare cases.  People assume that since agents have the money to look nice and host events that they have a steady income.

The case is that agents pay for all of these things out of their own pocket. They will make about the same amount on the sale of a house no matter how much they spend on marketing and so forth. They may spend their time going through hundreds of messages and emails, doing research and giving advice, making many trips to the property for showings, and so on.

Of course, this is all part of being a real estate agent.  The more time and effort an agent puts into helping clients, the more chance they have of selling a home.  But they only make that money IF the home sells.

A Home Can Pass or Fail Inspection

A home inspection is meant to ascertain the condition of a home. It's not some test that you pass or fail. The inspection reveals if there are problems that need to be addressed when the home is purchased, along with a summary of the age of key systems.

Zillow and Trulia Know Everything

Zillow and Trulia certainly have their place in looking for a new home. These websites are useful for getting a good idea of the lay of the home and neighborhood.  But they don't know everything.  That's why talking to a local agent is important.

For example, a Zillow Zestimate does not give the exat value of your home, just an estimate. In fact, even the CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff, sold his home for 40 percent less than the Zestimate showed in 2016.

It's Better to Price High

Overpricing does not help you get the price you want. Sellers want to protect their asking price, so they try to price it higher thinking that it will protect them from selling too low.

What really happens is that the home doesn't sell at all, or takes much longer to sell. You end up chasing away prospective buyers, as they may not even want to look at the house at all. Remember that many people look for homes using a maximum price range on the internet, so your home may not show up in their search at all if you price it too high.

Of course there's many other myths about real estate that can be clarified. Join us every week to learn more about how the real estate industry works. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

The Pros and Cons of Using a Storage Unit When Moving

by Rebecca Shahan

Let's face it, moving is never easy. Not only do you have to move, but make the home ready for showing. But you can make the process go more smoothly with careful planning.  Part of that planning is to decide if using storage can help. This is something many people do to help with this process. But is using a storage unit always the solution?

There's no better time to clean out your clutter when you move. You can dispense of your items in a variety of ways - selling, donating, disposing, or recycling. But doing this takes time.

Do you have enough time to go through everything?  Sometimes you just need to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Here's a few things to consider when moving to help you decide if storage is the right choice for you.

Advantages of Using Storage

  1. Pack up all the things you don't need now.
  2. Staging your home will be more easy.
  3. Will give your home more room.
  4. Keep personal items out of sight.
  5. Out of sight, out of mind.
  6. You can take care of sorting items later after you move.
  7. You can decide what furniture works best in your new home after you move.

Disadvantages of Using Storage

  1. Another expense. If you miss a payment, you can lose all of your items.
  2. More work handling everything twice.
  3. Not all units guarantee your items will be safe, so you may need additional insurance.
  4. Storing items can lead to delayed decisions about what stays and what goes.
  5. You may end up storing things you don't need, and paying monthly fees for those items.
  6. It's hard to reach items in the back of a full unit.

Portable Storage Units

Potable storage is a great alternative that offers convenient benefits. PODS is the first and best known portable storage company., but other companies have caught on.

The main advantage of portable storage units is the ability to keep them at your house and pack them as you go.  Then the unit is delivered to your new house. Some units are also designed to be long-term storage at a warehouse or at your home.

Another great advantage of portable storage is that you can pack and unpack everything in one go, eliminating the need to haul your things to a storage facility, then back again to the new home.

Yes, moving is a tough process. But with careful planning and good use of storage, you can make the process go more smoothly.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Buying Is 23% Cheaper Than Renting in Austin

by Rebecca Shahan

According to the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia, owning a home continues to be cheaper than renting in the largest metro areas in the US, based on a 30 year mortgage. Austin stood out as one of the top cities in this report, with owning a home being 23.5% cheaper than buying.

Only two cities in the study turned out to be cheaper to rent than buy - San Jose and San Francisco CA. Median home prices in those cities rose to over $1 million this year. This is the first time in the six years that Trulia has being doing this study that this happened. Home values rose by 29% last year, while rent remained the same.  But not in Austin!

For the 98 metro areas where owning a home is cheaper than renting, 97 of them are in the double digits in advantage when buying. Austin was one of those metro areas that stood out at 23.5%.

Trulia arrived at these figures by taking into account all renting costs, including deposits, and compared them with the monthly costs of owning a home. Those costs included insurance, mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance, along with one-time costs such as down payments, closing costs, and sale proceeds. The study also assumes that most homeowners stay in their home for seven years, put 20% down, and have a 30 year fixed mortgage.

In 2016, when buying was 41.3% less expensive than renting, the average mortgage rate was the driving force behind the difference. Rates this year are the highest they have been in six years which has narrowed the gap, all while home price appreciation has also been driven up by a lack of homes for sale.

Cheryl Young, Trulia’s Chief Economist, had this to say,

“One point deserves emphasizing: The ultra-costly San Francisco Bay Area is not a harbinger for the nation as a whole. While renting may outweigh buying in San Jose and San Francisco, it is unlikely that renting will tip the scales nationally anytime soon.”

There's many benefits of owning a home beyond just the money. If you're renting a home and would like to explore the possibility of owning a home, we would be happy to help you analyze the costs and benefits.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Is a Recession Fueled Housing Crisis Coming?

by Rebecca Shahan

Over the past decade or so, our nation has been benefiting from economic growth.  Yet, after all this growth, economists and analysts agree that a recession is looming. Zillow Research recently highlighted a Pulsenomics survey that analyzed the housing market by surveying market analysts and experts.  The report also revealed the possible timing of the next recession.

Experts largely expect the next recession to begin in 2020.”

This analysis agrees with a recent survey of economists by the Wall Street Journal:

“The economic expansion that began in mid-2009 and already ranks as the second-longest in American history most likely will end in 2020 as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to cool off an overheating economy, according to forecasters surveyed.”

But there's no need to panic.  A recession doesn't mean that there will be a housing crisis.

Here's how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a recession:

“A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”

A recession means that the economy is slowing down. But just because the economy slows down, it doesn't mean the housing market will. Sure, a housing crash cause the recession of 2008. But notice that the recession did not cause the housing crisis. In fact, during the previous five recessions home values appreciated.

According to the experts surveyed by Pulsenomics, the top three probable triggers for the next recession are:

  • Monetary policy
  • Trade policy
  • A stock market correction

A housing market correction was ranked ninth in probability. Those same experts also projected that home values would continue to appreciate in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.  

There are other experts who agree that the housing market won't be affected by a recession:

Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economistexplained:

“If a recession is to occur, it is unlikely to be caused by housing-related activity, and therefore the housing sector should be one of the leading sources to come out of the recession.”

And U.S. News and World Report agreed:

“Fortunately – and hopefully – the history of recessions and current issues that could harm the economy don’t lead many to believe the housing market crash will repeat itself in an upcoming decline.”

To sum it up, a recession may be in our future, but it doesn't mean that there will be a housing crisis.

What to Expect With a Home Inspection

by Rebecca Shahan

A home inspection is a must when selling or buying a home. It brings peace of mind to both buyers and sellers knowing that the home is structurally sound. Here is the whole process outlined, along with how to get the best out of your home inspection.

Why Have Your Home Inspected?

Having your home inspected as a seller is beneficial because it allows you to list the home for a higher value after you make all the needed repairs. A with fewer problems is easier and faster to sell because the buyer won’t have to make those repairs.

Make sure your home inspector has a good track record. You can do this by researching home inspectors in your area and looking up what people say about them or by hiring a home inspector trusted by someone you know.

During the Home Inspection

Make sure to be there during the home inspection so that the inspector can point out possible problems in person and explain the options you have to fix those issues. You can have the opportunity to ask questions, take notes, and take photos. This will also help you learn about what things to check for when buying a home. Make sure to check each possible home issue to protect yourself from bigger problems down the road.

Recheck and Take Notes

After the home inspection, go over the identified problems and take a closer look at what is found. This will help you with negotiation whether or buying or selling. You can add or deduct from the sale or buying price depending on what needs to be repaired.

Discuss and Negotiate Repairs

If you’re selling the home, either you can do the repairs needed and then list the home for a higher price or not make the repairs, then offer the home for a slightly lowered price.

If you’re the buyer, you can ask for an asking price deduction that is equal to the estimated cost of repairs if you’re buying the home as-is. Another option is to suggest that the current owner get repairs done and then you buy it after a re-inspection following the repairs. This would be best for very expensive repairs such as for changing the entire roof or re-plumbing the entire home.

A good home inspection can make the difference between a smooth transaction and a disaster.  Make sure you find the right inspector and be involved in the process.

Check back on our blog twice a week for more real estate news, ideas, and local events in Austin and Lake Travis. You can search for the perfect home on our website using our powerful home search tools. You can also get free listing alerts of homes as they hit the market at WelcomeToLakeTravis.com. And you can always feel free to call us at 512-657-4467​ to talk to an experienced agent today.  

Displaying blog entries 1-7 of 7

Contact Information

Photo of Rebecca Shahan Real Estate
Rebecca Shahan
Keller Williams Realty, Austin
1921 Lohmans Crossing, #100
Austin TX 78734
512-657-4467
Fax: (512) 263-0109