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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
Get your home ready for sale

When you're considering selling your home, you'll want to present your house in the best light possible. Of course, cleaning and organizing your house before showings is a must, but there are other steps to take before your home will be ready for a buyer to see it. Below, we have crafted a check-list that home sellers should review before putting a house on the market.

Get in touch with a REALTOR®
With a REALTOR® by your side, the home selling process will be much easier. Not only can they become a valuable partner, they can also offer sound advice for getting your home ready, especially when it's time for your first home showing. In addition, a REALTOR® can get your home listed, priced properly and marketed effectively.

Depersonalize your home
Perhaps the biggest hurdle you may face is removing any strong emotional attachment from your property. This is understandable, as it's likely that you've lived in the home for many years. However, when it comes to selling your home, you must see it as a house; a piece of property no different than a car or a piece of jewelry. Once you release the emotional attachment, the process of selling your home becomes much easier.

Stow away your belongings
Consider renting a storage unit and move some of your personal items from the home. Not only will this help potential buyers see the house as "their own," it will also take some of the sting out of getting rid of your former home, as your personal belongings will be out of sight and out of mind. You could also hold a yard sale or sell unneeded items on eBay or Craigslist.

Freshen up your home's exterior
The inside appearance of your home is important, but what about the outside? The exterior of your home is the first thing a potential buyer will see. Its condition will ultimately influence whether the buyer will want to step through the front door. One of the best ways to boost curb appeal is touching up your home's paint job. Other effective methods include regularly mowing your lawn and sweeping away debris in your driveway, as well as planting and maintaining flowers in your yard.

Consider having an inspection performed
Buyers typically have the house inspected before they finalize their decision to buy. However, it can be beneficial to have an inspection performed before you even put your home on the market. If there are any issues with your home, they can be identified and even repaired before your home is listed. This can help save time for both you and the buyer during the negotiation process. In any case, it's best to discuss with your REALTOR® whether you should have an inspection performed ahead of time.

By following these steps, you'll greatly improve your overall home selling experience. For more tips for successfully selling your home, visit

Austin real estate blog
Central Texas wildfires impact Austin area residents

Drawing national attention, Central Texas continues to battle a relentless outbreak of wildfires, including the Bastrop County fire, which has already consumed more homes than any single fire in Texas history. Residents living in Bastrop, Leander, the Steiner Ranch community and many other areas across Central Texas have been affected, with at least 34,000 acres of land lost to the fires and more than 4,000 residents being forced to evacuate their homes.

Residents facing evacuation
As fires continue to burn throughout Central Texas, containment efforts continue. If your neighborhood is ordered to evacuate due to the wildfires, be prepared to bring food, fresh water, extra clothes, phone chargers and other important items with you as you follow the evacuation route set by authorities.

Home buyers and sellers
This morning, Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, spoke with KVUE News about the wildfire outbreak. Bundschuh recommended that homeowners and potential buyers contact their lender and insurance provider to get a sense of how the disaster affects their situation. Bundschuh also mentioned that those in the home search process may face limited access to some neighborhoods.

Those looking to help
Your Central Texas REALTORS® have been lending a helping hand since the onset of this disaster, collecting donations to help those who have been displaced by the wildfires. For more information on donations and drop-off locations in the Austin area, visit the Disaster Relief page here at

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®.

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