Buying a Home in a Hot Austin Market

 

If you are a buyer and are actively looking and trying to make offers on a home–well then, read this! This is some advice I give to my buyers.

  • Home buying is a Team Effort!

While your Realtor is certainly going to try and keep up with the market, find you off-market deals, put in back up offers, and coach you on how to make aggressive offers, with the age of the internet, you should be searching too. You may be on a few websites, searching homes as you work at your desk, and when you do see something you like, you must let your Realtor know when you are free and what you want to see– like…ASAP. I usually explain to buyers that if you need to see something, taking off work for an hour or leaving work a bit early can be worth it. While the Austin market has very low inventory, it is pretty important to see a home that you are really interested in fairly quickly, especially if you are looking in an area where things go quick, and especially if this home is updated (no one wants to do any work these days–everyone likes pretty, it seems).

  1. Staying Educated

 

When I work with buyers I teach them (that at least on our website), they can see updates and sold pricing on their favorite homes and search for recently sold homes as well. You must verify a password because TX is a non-disclosure state, and that’s how websites get around sharing sold pricing-by having a password), but overall this is a great way to familiarize oneself in their favorite areas or areas they are heavily looking in. When it comes time to make an offer and you have to go $5k over list price, you’ll feel confident in your decision because the other three updated homes recently sold for something similar with similar updates/size.

 

Get Familiar with the Area

Besides searching online frequently and eyeing the market and what’s sold, I do recommend clients drive the area. Get familiar with commute times and attend open houses. If you don’t like the street of a particular area, there is no point in seeing the house. Often times one can rule out seeing homes in a particular area after driving around it by seeing the power plant or hearing the train tracks etc. Satellite maps help with this, but driving is encouraged.

 

My favorite advice is I tell my buyers to go to the local H-E-B in the community they are looking to buy in. You can tell a lot about who will be your neighbors from the people that are at that H-E-B. I have a story to tell pretty much everytime I go to one. At my local H-E-B, it never fails that I am stopped by someone asking me what type of fruit one is, or telling me to go ahead of them.

Also, Open Houses are a great way to see that sometimes photos online can be very deceiving…in a good way or in a bad way.

Questions I coach my clients to ask when at Open Houses:

-Why is the seller moving?

-How old is the: Roof, hot water heater, HVAC system?

-Any offers? Offer deadline set, if so?

-If a home is updated, ask when updates were done and were they done by seller, or a professional

{Full Disclosure: sometimes the agent working the open house does NOT know ANY of these answers. Many agents work open houses to pick up buyers, and are not the listing agent, therefore don’t have a full scope of details to share.}

In this Austin market it is not uncommon for homes to come on the market before the weekend with an open house the first weekend–in hopes of multiple offers to be reviewed the following weekend. Sometimes offer deadlines can be Saturday at 3, Sunday at 6, or Tuesday at 12–it really all varies.

  1. Financial Ducks In a Row

If you are already looking for a home, well, then you should already be fully pre-approved, know how much is needed when you close and feel confident you still have an emergency fund, money for inspections, appraisal, any fixes, some paint and furniture (because let’s face it, when you buy a home, you want to purchase a bunch of other “fun” things too and make your space your own). You do not ONLY need a down payment. But need to grasp what you will need when you make an offer the first week, in addition to what you need to close (and don’t forget pre-paids which is a few months of taxes and insurance).

Do NOT make any sudden purchases or open lines of credit prior to close. If a lender explained what you are approved for and how much you need, make sure you have that before you start looking at homes. It never fails that when you put your mind to something you often find it, but don’t put the cart before the horse (or the house before the savings!). It feels nice to be able to move into your home, buy a couch, and continue to live your life as you had before. I do NOT encourage being “house poor” or living beyond your means. You also have to account for possibly higher bills, HOA fees, in addition to property tax values increasing (as long as the market does) which equates to higher payments per year.

So there are my tips for buying a home.   If you ever want to chat, or ask more on this topic-feel free to reach out!

 

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