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Your Austin real estate blog

Thank you for visiting Homeowner Herald, the official blog of AustinHomeSearch.com, 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.

REALTOR® topics

Austin real estate blog
ConsumerVue Report: Titles and title insurance
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2011

As part of their ConsumerVue segments, KVUE News showcases REALTOR® expertise each month to update their viewers on the latest happenings in the Austin real estate market. Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, appeared last week on ConsumerVue and discussed the importance of title insurance.

During the interview, Bundschuh identified two types of title insurance policies and explained what each type of policy covers. These two policies are known as the Mortgagee Title Policy and the Owners Title Policy. Above all else, Bundschuh strongly recommended that all home buyers purchase a title insurance policy.

You can hear more of Chairman Bundschuh's comments by watching her ConsumerVue interview on KVUE.com.

Austin real estate blog
ConsumerVue Report: the numbers of real estate transactions
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2011

As part of their ConsumerVue segments, KVUE News showcases REALTOR® expertise each month to update their viewers on the latest happenings in the Austin real estate market. Judith Bundschuh, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, appeared last week on ConsumerVue and discussed the important numbers to consider during real estate transactions.

These numbers include the type of mortgage a home buyer should choose, the negotiation of the final closing cost and the various statistics that shape Austin's real estate market each month. In regards to mortgage types, Bundschuh mentioned that while 15-year mortgages typically have lower rates, the monthly payments towards a 30-year mortgage are usually cheaper.

You can hear more of Chairman Bundschuh's comments by watching her ConsumerVue interview on KVUE.com.

Austin real estate blog
Central Texas wildfires impact Austin area residents
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2011

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 AustinHomeSearch.com.

Austin real estate blog

REALTORS® who go the extra mile
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2011

When searching for a REALTOR®, you may notice that some REALTORS® have acronyms next to their names, such as GRI, ABR or CRS. These are known as professional designations. But what do these designations mean? Read on as we explain.

What exactly are designations?
Becoming a REALTOR® requires education and a commitment to ethics beyond that necessary for earning one's real estate license. Additionally, some REALTORS® choose to further their education in specific areas of the real estate industry by earning designations. Some, for example, may specialize in property management while others may educate themselves on green real estate.

REALTORS® have many options for enhancing their expertise through designations, whether it be completing designation requirements online or visiting a state REALTOR® association to take the necessary classes. Upon successful completion of the program of his or her choice, the REALTOR® earns the respective designation. Based on statistics provided by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), approximately 33 percent of REALTORS® in the U.S. and 40 percent of REALTORS® in Texas have designations.

Common designations
According to NAR, the most popular REALTOR® designation in the U.S. is the GRI, or Graduate REALTOR® Institute, accounting for 19 percent of REALTORS®. GRI training covers a broad range of real estate topics, such as technology, legal issues and professional standards. In order to earn this designation, REALTORS® must attend an intensive series of courses that total 90 hours of classroom instruction.

Another popular designation is the ABR, or Accredited Buyer's Representative. REALTORS® with this designation have specialized in working with buyers. The requirements for this designation include completing two exams related to the ABR and completing five real estate transactions while solely representing a buyer. NAR states that 13 percent of REALTORS® have the ABR designation.

The CRS, or Certified Residential Specialist, is another designation for REALTORS®. Like the GRI, this designation indicates special training in a variety of topics, such as closing transactions and business planning. REALTORS® looking to get this designation must be members of the Council of Residential Specialists and meet specific CRS education, elective and production requirements.

Designations such as these help REALTORS® better serve their clients through advanced education and training. Keep in mind that a designation doesn't necessarily mean that one REALTOR® is better than another. Rather, it indicates that a REALTOR® has taken additional steps to further his or her knowledge of a specific aspect of real estate. To learn more about REALTOR® designations, visit the Understanding REALTOR® Designations page here at AustinHomeSearch.com.

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