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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
2010 homebuilding trends: Efficiency is in

Did you know the U.S. population is becoming increasingly older and diverse? What's more, our nation's population is expected to increase by 100 million people in the next 30 years!

A report released by the National Association of Home Builders in January 2010 indicates that homebuilding trends are shifting to meet the new demands of present and future homebuyers. Specifically, homes built in 2010 will likely be smaller and lower-priced models that offer more energy-efficient features.

The following items are reported as most likely to be found in new homes in 2010:

  • Walk-in closet in master bedroom
  • Laundry room
  • Insulated front door
  • Great room
  • Low-emittance (Low-E) windows
  • Linen closet
  • Programmable thermostat
  • Energy-efficient appliances and lighting
  • Separate shower and tub in master bathroom
  • Nine-foot ceilings on first floor

These features will likely replace those that are less essential or more costly, such as outdoor kitchens, two-story foyers and multiple shower heads in master bathrooms. Homes that are easier to maintain are in, and energy inefficiency is becoming a trend of the past. For more information regarding homebuilding trends and homebuyer preferences visit

Austin real estate blog
Are you ready to buy your first home?

With the first-time homebuyer tax credit extended to April 31, many Central Texans are jumping at the chance to take advantage of this opportunity before time runs out. If you're ready to buy an Austin home, now may be a great time to do so. But how do you know if you're ready?

The most important factor to consider when it comes to buying a home is the state of your personal finances. Do you have sufficient savings to cover downpayment and closing costs?

Downpayment requirements can range from zero to 20 percent, depending on which type of downpayment assistance and mortgage loan you receive (FHA loans are often popular with many first-time home buyers). In addition, it is possible to negotiate an offer for a home that requires the owner to pay some or all of your closing costs. But don't count on having all of these costs covered, and be aware that less money down usually means higher mortgage payments.

Having a good credit report increases your chances for getting the best loans. Make sure your credit report is up-to-date and correct by getting a report from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Also be aware that having made a big purchase (i.e., new vehicle) in the recent past could hurt your chances for getting the best loan.

Don't forget to consider your career goals and job security. Homeownership comes with monthly mortgage payments, so it's important to have steady and consistent income.

Once your financial house is in order, it's time to talk with mortgage lenders to determine what you can afford and begin taking the appropriate steps with your REALTOR®. For more information, visit the Consumer Tools section of Happy house hunting!

Austin real estate blog
Austin real estate market offers encouraging outlook for 2010

What began as a year with double-digit decreases in year-over-year home sales concluded with 2009 year-end totals falling only six percent short of the year prior. This comeback was made possible by the surge in home sales seen in the fourth quarter of 2009—a 38 percent increase in October and a 58 percent increase in November—possibly attributed to the original deadline for the first-time homebuyer tax credit.

Local economic conditions, housing trends and extended homeowner incentives lead most experts believe that the Austin housing market reached its bottom in 2009 and is now on the path of stabilization and recovery, though significant gains are not expected until the later part of 2010.

For further information on market conditions, contact your Central Texas REALTOR®.

Austin real estate blog
Change of home address: Who needs to know

If you've recently purchased or are about to purchase a new home, congratulations! Becoming a property owner is the first step to building wealth through Austin real estate. As you prepare for the process of moving your belongings into your new home, don’t forget several other important "to-do's" that come with a change of address.

The U.S. Postal Service recommends submitting a Change of Address (COA) request at least two weeks before you move. Request forms can be filled out at the post office or filled out online and then printed and delivered to the post office.

Though you'll begin receiving your usual mail at your new address after your COA has been processed, it's still important to notify the following entities and persons of your address change to help prevent any miscommunication, interruption of service or missed payments:

  • Banks
  • Schools
  • Employers
  • Internet providers
  • Family and friends
  • Insurance companies
  • Telephone companies
  • Credit card companies
  • Loan collection agencies
  • Gas, electric and water utility providers
  • Medical offices (doctors, dentists, veterinarians, etc.)

In addition, don't forget to update your vehicle registration and driver's license, as well as your voter registration information. If you’re moving within the same county, you can update your voter registration online; however, if you're moving to another county, you must completely re-register to vote by mailing or hand-delivering an application to the Voter Registrar of your new county.

Remember: Even though your "to-do" list might appear overwhelming, it doesn't have to be completed overnight. Tackle a few items on your list each day in order of importance and this phase of the moving process will be over before you know it.

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