Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gratitude felt good today

I'm a referral based business. I don't make cold calls or sit in an office answering phones trying to drum up business. I rely on the referrals of past clients and friends. Thankfully it has worked well for me. And each referral I see as a 'thank you' from a previous client.

Today though I got a written thank you, not the first - but it has been a very busy stressful couple of days, navigating some challenging deals. So for some reason when it arrived it meant alot.

Thought I'd share:

August, 2009


Working with you was a pleasure and even though our search for a house was filled with disappointments and challenges your confidence and constant reassurances as well as hard work has left us in a house that I feel is truly a great investment for us to improve and make our own.

Thank you again!

A very cool client (name withheld)

That made me feel good today.

I have a stack of articles I want to share excerpts from for this/my real estate blog...maybe when the market slows down a bit I'll get to it. (Sorry for those of you in bad markets, but we are busy around here)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Texas Real Estate Will Sidestep a Deep Decline

From Houston business wire:
June 24, 2009 11:59 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Texas Real Estate Will Sidestep a Deep Decline, According to Lewis Realty Advisors
HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Real estate prices in Texas are generally stable and fears of major declines in property values, similar to what occurred in Texas in the 1980s, are unfounded, according to Lewis Realty Advisors, one of the nation's leading eminent domain consultants and real estate advisory firms.

A decline in the number of transactions and the scarcity of real estate loans have generated a strong belief in the community that values are down sharply, but that is not the case, says David Lewis, chief executive officer of Lewis Realty Advisors.

"National lenders have diminished their lending activity in Texas real estate markets and it is taking longer for buyers to close transactions and receive loans for the deals that do go to completion. However, real property values are not on a great downward slide in the Lone Star State,” said Lewis. “Demand for property in the Texas real estate market is generally good and overbuilding has not been widespread.”

Although there have been some declines in Texas commercial real estate, rental rates have not suffered significantly in most market segments.

While the Texas economy has reported some mild jobs losses, the employment picture in the state outshines the rest of the nation. The major cities of Texas – Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have been among the nation’s leaders in job creation over the last year. Furthermore, in the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Austin was the only large city in the nation to report an increase job growth over the last 12 months.

“Texas realty prices did not appreciate wildly like the Californian and East Coast properties did a few years ago. So there is no big decline or correction coming to Texas,” Lewis said.

“Texas real estate markets are definitely softer than they were a few years ago, but the declines are nowhere near the disastrous meltdown of the 1980s and a rebound could be coming as soon as 2010,” Lewis said.

Lewis is a founding board member of the Harris County Appraisal District, a former member of the City of Houston Planning Commission and a past president of the Houston Chapter of the Appraisal Institute. He holds the most distinguished professional designations for real estate consultants and appraisers as Senior Residential Appraiser (SRA) and Member Appraisal Institute (MAI).

Founded in 1961, Lewis Realty Advisors, as noted on www.LewisRealty.com, has handled a wide variety of appraisal and consulting assignments for private property owners and governmental entities. The Houston-based company provides eminent domain counseling, property tax consulting, estate and investment analysis, as well as other counseling and appraisal services.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More about the $8000 tax credit

I want to see all first time homebuyers take advangate of this!

Excerpt from Realtor Mag
The Basics: 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Bringing the Dream of Homeownership Within Reach
As part of its plan to stimulate the U.S. housing market and address the economic challenges facing our nation, Congress has passed legislation that grants a tax credit of up to $8,000 to first-time home buyers.

Here is more information about how the 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit can help prospective home buyers become part of the American dream.

Breaking news: HUD Secretary Donovan announces that the $8,000 tax credit may be used as a downpayment.

Who Qualifies?
First-time home buyers who purchase homes between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.

To qualify as a “first-time home buyer” the purchaser or his/her spouse may not have owned a residence during the three years prior to the purchase.

Which Properties Are Eligible?
The 2009 First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit may be applied to primary residences, including: single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and co-ops.

How Much Will the Credit Be?
The maximum allowable credit for home buyers is $8,000. Each home buyer’s tax credit is determined by two factors:

The price of the home—the credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of the home, up to $8,000.

The buyer's income—single buyers with incomes up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes up to $150,000—may receive the maximum tax credit.

If the Buyer(s)’ Income Exceeds These Limits, Can He/She Still Get a Credit?
Yes, some buyers may still be eligible for the credit.

The credit decreases for buyers who earn between $75,000 and $95,000 for single buyers and between $150,000 and $170,000 for home buyers filing jointly. The amount of the tax credit decreases as his/her income approaches the maximum limit. Home buyers earning more than the maximum qualifying income—over $95,000 for singles and over $170,000 for couples are not eligible for the credit.

Will the Tax Credit Need to Be Repaid?
No. The buyer does not need to repay the tax credit, if he/she occupies the home for three years or more. However, if the property is sold during the three-year period, the credit will be recouped on the sale.

Monday, April 27, 2009

First time home buyers credit, wow!

There are always first time home buyer credits that the govt has but this one is the best I've seen. An attempt to stimulate the economy, an $8000 tax credit. Thats a credit not a deduction. Website below.

Here is information about the govt first time home buyers program. Its awesome!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Austin’s housing decline not as severe as others

Friday, January 30, 2009, 12:33pm CST | Modified: Friday, January 30, 2009, 12:57pm
Austin’s housing decline not as severe as others
reprinted from : Austin Business Journal
While Austin has seen a drop in housing starts, its decline from the market’s peak has been relatively gentle compared to other cities, according to research from Houston-based Metrostudy.

A study released Jan. 29 from the housing industry research firm said Austin has experienced a 66 percent decline in housing starts from its peak in the third quarter of 2006 to the end of 2008. That’s the smallest decline out of the 81 markets Metrostudy researched.

“South Florida’s quarterly starts declined 96.5 percent from their peak, and Naples-Fort Myers’ quarterly starts dropped 92.9 percent from their peak, as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2008,” said Brad Hunter, national director of consulting for Metrostudy.

The report also said the U.S. Department of Commerce’s latest reading on new home sales, which show that sales have fallen to the lowest level on record, understate the nationwide problem.

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s numbers showed 331,000 new homes sold at an annualized rate.

“The government’s new-home sales numbers ignore cancellations of contracts by reluctant home buyers,” said Hunter. “Buyers who have signed contracts to purchase homes are either unwilling or unable to close on those homes, and this trend is worsening in some markets because of the economy.”

According to Metrostudy’s research, the pace of new-home absorption has slowed sharply in almost every housing market in the country.

“Even markets that didn’t experience a price bubble, such as Texas and North Carolina, are getting hit by consumer panic, and homebuilders are suffering,” Hunter said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Top ten sellers' markets; we made the list ya'll

Top Sellers' Markets
1. Raleigh, NC
2. San Francisco, CA
3. Austin, TX
4. San Antonio, TX
5. St. Louis, MO
6. Houston, TX
7. Portland, OR
8. Dallas, TX
9. Denver, CO
10. Baltimore, MD

This came from Yahoo Real Estate which sited Business Week 1/6/2009

I've heard from many clients; "If only I would have sold last year..." Yes the market is a bit softer, but on the other hand... it is also a bit of a perfect storm, if you will. Let me explain.

If you're looking to upgrade homes, perhaps you'll have to sell for a little less then you would have last year but look at the trade offs from last year

1. Builder's incentives are amazing. Builders are dropping their prices as much as 20% in some cases. So you lower your price 5 %, but get a much better deal on the other side. I have seen $500,000 inventory homes drop $120,000. These builders need to liquidate their inventory.

2. Interest rates are incredibly low, even lower then a few years back when everyone was refinancing. What you give up in sales price on your house, you could easily make up in an incredible interest rate.

3. More homes on the market to choose from, especially foreclosures and sellers needing to sell quick.

Most realtors, including yours truly, will cut their commission on the sale of your home if you are buying another home from them.

Just some things to consider....