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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 selling topics

Austin real estate blog
Home selling in winter: Extra effort may be required

Selling a home can be more challenging during winter months — the lawn is brown, you have fewer daylight hours to show the home and the weather is often cold and rainy. Consider the following tips to help spark buyer interest:

1. Warm the room. Before potential buyers arrive, adjust the thermostat to a slightly warmer temperature. If you have a fireplace, turn it on to add ambience and additional light and warmth. Be sure, though, to never leave the house while the fireplace is still in use — you don’t want to risk a fire!

2. Make guests feel welcome. Setting the table with good china, silver and linens makes guests feel as if they’ve been invited to a party. Displaying warm holiday cookies or cider is another wonderful way to say "welcome".

3. Wash the windows. During winter you might not think of washing windows, but this can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. Make sure you can proudly showcase sparkling window panes when opening the curtains.

4. Add a hint of home-cooking. The scent of chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, freshly baked bread, apple pie and vanilla is popular among homebuyers. Just remember: Unless you’re actually baking these goodies, keep the fragrance subtle — overusing candles and sprays can have a negative effect.

5. Keep the holiday spirit alive. When religious holidays end and most decorations come down, you can still use winter wreaths and arrangements to add color and maintain a festive flair.

REALTORS® know the best ways to effectively market homes, so be sure to contact a REALTOR® for all your home selling needs. Find a REALTOR® today on

Austin real estate blog
Moving? Don’t stress!

So it’s time to move. Instead of reaching for the panic button, form a plan of attack. The following tips can help:

1. Call the mover. If planning to use a moving company, call for estimates about six weeks in advance. This will give you time to review transportation costs and insurance plans and help ensure movers will be available.

2. Get rid of the junk. Why spend time, energy and money moving items that you’ll only throw away once you move in to your new home? Hold a garage sale to get rid of unwanted items or donate them to charity before you start packing.

3. Contact service providers. Alert gas, electric and water utility providers of your upcoming move so that you’ll have service upon arriving in your new home. Also make sure bills and any publications you receive will be forwarded to your new address.

4. Pack deliberately. Pack items of similar nature or from the same room in the same box—this will make unpacking much easier. Clearly label the contents of each box and indicate the room to which the box should be delivered.

5. Protect your goods. Keep dirt, dust and scratches off your furniture by covering it with old fitted sheets. Individually wrap breakables in paper before placing them in a box. Newspaper will work fine, although it can leave a film on your dishes that you’ll need to wash off, so you may want to consider purchasing white packing paper. Be sure to line your box and stuff open pockets with plenty of crumpled paper, towels or other linens. If you can hear a “clinking” noise as you pack or move items, you’ll need to add more padding.

6. Separate essentials. Prepare a “carry-on” box or bag containing items you’ll need access to during the trip or upon arrival. This may include toiletries, disposable plates and utensils, important papers, cell phone chargers, and so forth.

Remember: By planning ahead, staying organized and finding a way for the whole family to get involved, you can avoid some of the frustration and anxiety that often comes with such events and focus instead on the excitement of moving into your new home!

Austin real estate blog
Understanding Austin’s energy efficiency ordinance

If you’re in the market to buy or sell Austin real estate, you may have heard of Austin’s energy efficiency ordinance, officially known as the Energy Conservation Audit and Disclosure (ECAD) Ordinance.

Under the ECAD Ordinance, some Austin homeowners are required to have an energy audit performed on their home prior to selling it and share that audit report with potential buyers. In most cases, an audit is required for homes lying within the Austin city limits that are older than 10 years and serviced by Austin Energy. (Exceptions apply, so talk to your REALTOR® about whether the ordinance will affect you.)

Though the ECAD ordinance took effect June 1, 2009, the city’s effort to “go green” and stop manufacturing excess carbon dioxide (CO2) dates back much further.

In 2007, 70% of the city’s electricity was being used by homes and commercial buildings, with the average home generating twice the greenhouse-gas emissions as the average car (roughly 11,450 pounds of CO2 yearly, according to the Environmental Protection Agency).

With this in mind, the Austin City Council established the Austin Climate Protection Plan (ACPP) with the goal of making Austin “the most livable city in the country” and a carbon-neutral city by 2020.

As the ACPP consists of five components, each with their own specific initiatives, the ECAD Ordinance was created to address but a single part of the puzzle: how to pursue energy efficient upgrades for existing buildings. The ECAD Ordinance seeks to educate homeowners on potential for energy savings within their home in hopes that they will voluntarily opt for cost-effective upgrades.

Energy audits are good for 10 years, so consider having an audit performed on your home now to prevent a last-minute scramble and begin benefiting from the audit findings today. For more information on the ECAD Ordinance, talk to your Central Texas REALTOR®.

Austin real estate blog
Good news about Austin’s housing market

Thinking of buying or selling real estate in Austin, Texas? That’s fantastic!

As history has proven, Texas survives. That’s why we are ranked as the top state for business and jobs in the current economy, the second largest cyber state and fourth best tax free haven.

And located in the heart of the Lone Star State, Austin has been recognized among the top 10 best cities to live.

So what does this mean for Austin’s housing market?

Undeniably, effects of the national economic crisis have trickled into nearly every city in the nation. However, because of its location, diverse economy, and business opportunities Austin has been named the city best poised for recession recovery by Forbes, with its economy projected to grow by $5 billion by 2010.

Though Austin has taken its lumps by way of decreased sales volume along with everyone else, “the bloom is back in Austin’s yellow rose” according to Boyce Thompson of Builder, which ranked Austin the second healthiest housing market for 2009 based on its location, pricing and population trends, number of building permits and local job growth.

Austin real estate has proven a strong investment. Those who purchased a home at Austin’s median price six years ago would find that it has increased in value by 20 percent. The city continues to “hold the line” on home value because Central Texas real estate prices have not experienced periods of rapid inflation or deflation. is one of the most trusted and comprehensive online resources available to find a REALTOR®browse properties and learn more about Austin real estate. Why not begin your Austin home search today?

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