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Your Austin real estate blog

Thank you for visiting Homeowner Herald, the official blog of, providing valuable information for both home buyers and sellers. Follow us on Twitter or check in each week for new posts on topics ranging from holiday decorating to the economy to moving into your new home. This blog is maintained by the Austin Board of REALTORS®. If you’d like to suggest a blog topic, contact the ABoR Marketing Department.

Home buying topics

Austin real estate blog
Building wealth through Austin real estate

Looking for a sound financial investment?

Consider Austin real estate. The average Central Texas home purchased 6 years ago has appreciated 20 percent—that’s an amazing return!

To capitalize on your real estate investment, keep in mind that your home is not just your living environment—it’s your largest asset. From the moment you begin looking for a home to the moment you sell it, make conscious decisions to help maximize its worth.

During your home search, look past aesthetics and notice the neighborhood. Homes within good school districts and in close proximity to businesses, major roadways, and developing areas will be worth more to potential buyers when it’s your turn to sell.

Once you’ve purchased a home, be an active investor. Work to improve the appearance of your property and the neighborhood at large. Participate in local business, support local schools, and encourage home maintenance among your neighbors.

Taking care of your home and neighborhood does take some effort but can reap thousands of dollars in reward. Why not begin building wealth through Austin real estate today?

For more information about home investing, see the Consumer Tools section of or consult with your REALTOR® today.

Austin real estate blog
Real estate disclosure: Safeguarding your best interests

If you’re looking to buy a home in Austin, Texas, we have good news for you: The state of Texas’ disclosure laws help safeguard your best interests in the real estate transaction.

It wasn’t always this way.

In the early 1960s real estate agents were required by law to represent the seller's interests, leaving no need to disclose a property’s defects to potential buyers. Today, however, real estate disclosure is codified into national and state laws as an extension of consumer rights. Home sellers now have specific duties to buyers in real estate transactions.

A good example of a nationally codified disclosure law is the 1992 Estate Disclosure and Notification Rule, which requires sellers of homes built before 1978 to disclose potential or known lead-based paint hazards and provide available written reports to buyers or renters.

Texas law now requires that sellers provide buyers with a completed Seller's Disclosure of Property Condition Notice on or before the effective date of a contract. The notice must disclose all potential or known structural defects, as well as information concerning issues with any of the following:

  • Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Mechanical and electrical systems
  • Easements
  • Environmental hazards
  • Landfills
  • Flooding
  • Zoning violations or noise problems
  • Termite and pest infestations; or
  • Treatments or damage

Though all real estate agents are required to adhere to disclosure laws, REALTORS® go a step further to ensure that clients are treated fairly not only by legal standards but by strict ethical standards as well. In following a strict Code of Ethics, REALTORS® disclose any and all relevant information to their clients to avoid misrepresentation of themselves or the property at any time during the transaction.

Working with a REALTOR® can help you avoid legal issues common in real estate transaction. For more information about your real estate rights, visit the Consumer Tools section of

Austin real estate blog
Winter holidays can help break the ice between neighbors

Finding time to meet your neighbors can be difficult, especially after a recent move. If you’re not sure how to make the first move, try these ideas:

1. Introduce yourself with cookies. Bring a small plate of cookies to your neighbors’ door with a personalized note attached; this will help them remember your name once you’ve left. If your neighbors aren’t home, come back later — simply leaving the cookies on their front porch could make them feel as if they have to leave a gift on yours...and you still will never have met.

2. Spend time outside. Working in the yard or sipping cocoa on the front porch makes you visible to neighbors walking their dogs or checking their mail. Smiling and waving to passersby will let neighbors know you’re genial and may spur some friendly conversation.

3. Get involved in community activities. Everyone is busy, but be sure to take time out of your schedule to attend whatever holiday carnivals, school shows or community gatherings you feel comfortable with. People are often in a jolly mood at these events and discussing the special occasion can be a conversational icebreaker.

4. Host a holiday get-together. Just moved in? Throw a housewarming party and invite the neighbors! Just be sure to have enough food and drink (including non-alcoholic beverages), schedule the party for a reasonable day and time, and remember to write "No Presents" on the invitation. Neighbors may not come if they think you expect gifts.

Austin real estate blog
5 real estate market myths exposed!

Fact or fiction? Find out which statements are complete myths when it comes to Austin’s real estate market.

1. Home prices have decreased dramatically. Wrong! Data from the Austin Board of Realtors® shows that median price levels have remained stable while gradually increasing—for example, a median price of $175,500 seen at the start of this year (January 2009) had become $185,250 by the end of the third quarter (September 2009). In addition, median prices seen throughout 2009 have fluctuated only slightly compared to 2008 while remaining above those seen in 2007.

2. It’s the wrong time to buy real estate. False! Thanks to its job market, stable home prices and affordability, Austin has the second healthiest housing market in the nation. There are plenty of homes available, and those ready to buy can take advantage of homebuyer tax credits, housing grants, low interest rates and renewable energy incentives.

3. It’s the right time for everybody to buy real estate. Nope! Whether it’s a good time to buy depends not only on the local housing market, but on the goals and unique situation of each person. Someone who is neither emotionally nor financially ready to handle homeownership should not enter into a real estate transaction—even when the market presents good opportunities. Talk to your REALTOR® to make the decision that’s right for you.

4. It’s a terrible time to sell. Wrong again! Austin real estate is sold every day to first-time and seasoned homebuyers looking to take advantage of amazing homeownership opportunities and incentives. In addition, sellers who work with a REALTOR® can usually sell their homes more quickly…in any market.

5. More homes are being sold by owners, making REALTORS® obsolete. No way! In the Austin area area, the percentage of people who planned to use a REALTOR® rose to 82 percent in 2008. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) the majority of For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) sellers are located in rural areas and small towns where the seller knows the buyer. It’s important to recognize that the value of REALTORS® goes beyond their access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)—it lies in the many other resources and services they bring to the table.

Central Texas real estate is different. Get the facts from your REALTOR® today or Find a REALTOR® on

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