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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
Housing considerations for pet owners

For some owners a house just isn't a home without a cat or dog. Regardless of the pet you have, it's helpful to decorate and design with your pet in mind, as you'll want to make sure you can provide a safe and suitable environment for your animal companion.

Animal accommodations
When looking into a new house (or new pet), you'll want to make sure your home will suit your pet's needs. For instance, will your backyard be big enough for your dog to play and get exercise? The age of your pet may also factor into your housing decision. A home with a steep staircase, for example, may not be ideal for an older or arthritic pet who's not as nimble as he used to be.

You should also take into account the neighborhood in which you're looking to live. Would you and your pet be safe if you were to take her for a walk? Would your pet be in danger of heavy traffic if he got loose from your home? If you're worried that your pet may not be safe in a particular neighborhood, reconsider living in that area. If you cannot change your environment, you may need to take additional steps to help ensure your pet's well-being.

Cosmetic conservation
If your pet spends the majority of its time indoors, there are a number of things you can do to help protect your home from damage. To prevent your floor from scratches or stains, install pet-friendly flooring such as hardwood or linoleum. If you still want a softer feel under your feet, consider using inexpensive area throw rugs, particularly those that are machine washable. An expendable rug comes in handy in the event that your pet has an "accident."

Most pet owners are familiar with the seemingly never ending amount of pet hair on their clothes and furniture. Some experts suggest matching the color of your furniture with that of your pet's fur to hide the hair that accumulates. Additionally, you might use slipcovers made out of the fabric that you can wash on a regular basis. Some pet owners find that furniture covered in leather is easy to wipe and doesn't absorb stains or smells like other materials (just remember that leather is not immune to scratches from pet's claws!).

By taking proper precautionary measures, you can make your home both safe and enjoyable for you and your pet. For more tips about making your home accommodating for your pet, visit

Austin real estate blog
Moving with children: Tips to help ease their transition

You're probably excited about moving into a new Austin home, but how do your children feel? The moving process can add stress into a young child's life, so it's important to sit down with your children and discuss the move with them. An in-depth discussion about the event can help turn an anxious child into a diligent moving assistant!

Perhaps the biggest concern on your children's mind is the idea that their life is about to be changed dramatically. They may feel that they're losing their friends or losing the comfort of their home. Addressing these concerns early on is crucial. Allow your children to voice their opinions and be prepared to answer them. Reassure them that they'll still be able to talk to their friends via e-mail or phone, as well as meet with each other in person if you haven't moved too far away.

One great way to alleviate your children's stress is by getting them involved in the process. For example: when you arrive in the new home, have your children decide how their bedroom will look. Let them choose where furniture will go and where posters or pictures will be hung. Even before you arrive, have them sort out their things and help pack them away into boxes. The more involved your children feel, the more excited they'll become about the move.

For younger children, seeing their favorite toys or stuffed animals being packed away can create a sense of unease. Be sure to explain to your children that these items are coming with you and that they'll be kept safe during the move. If possible, try to unpack these items immediately upon arriving at your new home. This way, your children will feel more comfortable in their new surroundings.

After all the boxes are inside, it's a good idea to hook up familiar items such as your television or musical devices (radios, iPod players, etc.) and have these things running while you unpack the rest of the boxes. These familiar items will help create a sense of security and comfort for your family as you continue unpacking the rest of your belongings.

Moving doesn't have to be stressful. With the right attitude, your whole family can contribute to the process and finish the event quickly and efficiently. For more information about moving with children, visit

Austin real estate blog
2011 Austin real estate market: Second quarter review

Home prices in Austin remained stable during the second quarter of 2011. Compared to the previous year, the median price of Austin homes rose three percent in April and four percent in May, finishing with a median price of $205,000 by the end of June. In addition, June saw an increase of Austin home sales, nine percent more than June of 2010.

During the first half of the year, a total of 9,299 homes were sold in Austin, five percent fewer than the same period in 2010. However, pending sales, which indicate the number of sales likely to close in the next month, were higher in the second quarter when compared to 2010, with a 53 percent increase in May and a 31 percent increase in June.

Austin homes spent an average of 88 days on market (DOM) in April, 81 days in May and 75 days in June, marking the shortest DOM figures since the Fall of 2010. While these numbers indicate that Austin real estate spent more time on market than during the same period one year ago, they were the lowest DOM figures seen in Austin since September 2010.

"Looking at the results, it's encouraging to see that the demand for homes is strong and that Austin-area homes continue to hold their value," said Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. "The increase in pending sales…coupled with stable prices and stronger sales [in June], are encouraging signs that the market is returning to a pre-recession seasonal cycle."

For more information about the Austin real estate market and how it may affect you, contact your Central Texas REALTOR®.

Austin real estate blog
Home field advantage: Five benefits of owning a home

There's more to being a homeowner than just providing shelter to you and your family. Compared to renting, owning a home has proven to have many social, financial and psychological rewards. Below, we have outlined five great benefits strongly tied to homeownership.

1. Higher success rate in school
While renters tend to relocate more frequently, roughly half of homeowners in the U.S. stay in their homes for at least 10 years. This kind of stability allows young students a better chance for high academic achievement. In fact, students living in a home are 25 percent more likely to graduate from high school, according to statistics compiled by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

2. Stronger communities
Homeowners care about the community and neighborhood in which they are living. Many tend to join or create neighborhood watch programs to keep their families safe and become members of neighborhood associations to organize family-friendly events. Because of this close connection with their community, homeowners are 15 percent more likely to vote and 11 percent more likely to know who represents them in Congress, based on a study by NAR.

3. Better connected families
Statistically, homeowners are more involved with their family than renters. They're 16 percent more likely to volunteer to coach their children's soccer or football games, become scout leaders and attend parent-teacher conferences. In addition, homeowners are less likely to have alcohol or substance abuse problems.

4. Healthier, happier lives
The step from renter to homeowner has proven to have psychological and physiological rewards. Homeowners report that they feel more satisfied with their lives, have higher self-esteem and more motivation to exercise and improve their diet. These mental and physical benefits are passed down to homeowners' children, as well. According to the NAR, children of homeowners are 20 percent less likely to become teenage mothers.

5. Improved economy
Being a homeowner provides big benefits to the economy. By purchasing a home, you're creating jobs for remodeling, plumbing, landscaping, pool-cleaning and real estate services, among others. reports that one purchase of a home puts about $60,000 into the nation's economy. In addition, a homeowner's net worth has shown to be approximately 46 times that of a renter.

These are just a handful of the social, economic and communal benefits that homeownership can provide to you. For more information about homeownership, talk to your Central Texas REALTOR®.

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