Austin

Articles that we've written that are especially relevant to the Austin, TX area.

home improvements that add property value

When preparing to sell your home, or simply trying to give it a facelift, it’s common to wonder what updates will provide the most return on investment. Which improvements or additions will add to your home's property value and equity? After all, if you’re going to put in the money to improve your home, you will want to know that your efforts could provide a return in the long run.

It’s smart to be thinking about the future equity of your home, and these are questions our agents here at HomeCity get asked a lot. There is no one, go to upgrade that will work in every situation and with every budget. However, here are some of our top suggestions – straight from the experts themselves!

Upgrade the kitchen and bathrooms. Remodeling the kitchen and

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Written By: Katie Bassett

 homeowners association fees

Gated communities with sparkling swimming pools and band new gym equipment. Walking trails, playscapes, and community events. Amenities like these are desired by many and found in condominiums, townhomes or planned developments across the country. While services vary based on where you live, one thing will be forever present if you are looking for a community home – a homeowner association (HOA) fee. A monthly or annual payment in return for the upkeep of a property, the HOA fee might cover some of the finer things in life like an exotic landscaping, a clean pool or a new gym.

Conflicting opinions run rampant regarding HOA fees, but trends over the past decade indicate a steady incline, which is alarming to everyone

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how to make new mommy friends

Written By: Jen Glatz, Realtor®

Moving to a new area can be both overwhelming and intimidating. Throw in a kid…or four…and to some, the task might seem daunting.  If you’re a mom or dad who works outside the home, then you’re in an environment conducive to meeting like-minded people. However, it’s a whole different ballgame if you’re a work-from-home parent or stay-at-home parent. Outside of a work environment where you’re organically socializing with individuals who share a common interest, kids can be the best way to make new friends. Children are naturally friendly, curious creatures.  So, hitch your wagon to your child’s personality and get ready to meet some new friends!

That seems simple enough, and reading it might feel a little

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advice from a real estate tax expert

It’s tax time again, which means that most people are gathering their documentation and counting their deductions. However, many people, homeowners, and investment property owners especially, don’t realize that they could be saving much more money than they are currently. Property owners are afforded all sorts of tax breaks and incentives that can sometimes be overlooked by those who are not 'in the know.' In many cases, employing the help of a CPA rather than doing your taxes yourself can garner a much larger tax return. We caught up with Brandon Hall from The Real Estate CPA to learn a little bit more about homeowner tax advantages, investor tax incentives, and why employing a CPA is a smart move. 

 

Now, you might be wondering, why are there

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2016 was a roller coaster of a year, and 2017 is likely to have some surprises in store as well. There are already changes being felt since Donald Trump won the presidential election, and while this change is unlikely to alter the fundamentals of real estate in the US, we expect there will be more. 

There has already been a slight jump in mortgage rates, although many predictions don’t see them rising above five percent. Even so, that increase in percentage points could mean the difference between being able to afford a home and not – especially for millennials and first-time home buyers. Supreme Lending’s John McClellan, in his 2017 Mortgage Forecast, showed how even a couple mortgage points could add hundreds to a monthly payment.

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It’s that time of year again! Time for new homeowners to file for their homestead exemption! If you bought a home in Texas in 2016, you have until April 30th to file for a residential homestead exemption. A homestead exemption refers to exemptions from property tax that homeowners can claim. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value from taxation, so they lower your taxes. For example, if your home is appraised at $35,000, and you qualify for a $15,000 exemption, you will pay taxes on the home as if it was worth only $20,000.

As a homeowner, you may apply for a homestead exemption on your principal residence ONLY. This means the home's owner must live at the home as of January 1st of the tax year, and be an individual (not a corporation or

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As affordability becomes more of an issue in the Austin area, the city is working to make more affordable housing options. These homes are reserved for people at 80% or below the median income level and are usually just as beautiful as their fully priced counterparts. These housing and financial empowerment programs are designed to assist Austin’s moderate and low-income residents and families.

Affordable housing developments include all kinds of homes for people from all walks of life. This includes more than 1,400 new houses, condos, and apartments that are reserved specifically for those with lower incomes. The aim is to keep people's housing costs at no more than 30% of the household’s gross income. If the housing costs are kept at a

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Austenites definitely get into the holiday spirit, even though the weather can be warm and there is no snow on the ground. There are tons of new things to do each year, and there are many comprehensive lists online. However, there are some holiday traditions that are practically rites of passage for a new Austin resident. These are the events that have been happening for years, yet can't be missed. Some of them are quirky, and all of them are fun. Check out some of our favorite Austin holiday traditions!

1. Visit 37th street to look at the holiday Christmas lights. Seeing this street's spectacle is unique, awe-inspiring, and a required holiday activity. The tradition started over twenty years ago with one festive neighbor, and as the years have gone by

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Austin Housing Market Update November 2016

New home sales are up 38% in the City of Austin, providing some much-needed supply into our low-inventory housing market. Even so, demand remains high for already built homes inside Austin proper, despite much lower prices in the surrounding areas. Single-family home sales jumped 7.5 percent in October 2016, despite remaining relatively the same throughout much of early 2016. 

Median sales prices continue to increase in Austin, as is to be expected with such high demand, jumping 6.5 percent year over year to $332,250. However, the median price remains much lower in areas like Hays County at $249,945 and Williamson County at $255,000. In the entire Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), prices rose 9.3 percent to $279,000.

Despite

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Home prices continued to climb last quarter to levels not seen since late 2006. Throughout all of this, however, home sales are remaining level and affordability hasn’t suffered too much - thanks to lower mortgage rates. According to TheMortgageReports.com, “Last quarter, more than six in 10 U.S. homes were ‘affordable’ to households earning the national median income, assuming that household used a 30-year conventional mortgage to finance the home, made a modest down payment on the property, and carried good credit scores.”

However, some sources are warning that homes may become too expensive for many first time home buyers as time goes on. Due to unexpected election results, mortgage rates are rising to new 7-month highs, and economists fear they

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