Could this Book Help you Reach your Goals?

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

Austin Real Estate Agent
I truly love doing this video blog. I love answering your questions and helping you become more educated in the process. If you ever have a question about real estate, use us as your resource! If you find yourself curious about the answer to a question, chances are somebody else has that same question too. So help yourself out and ask us! We love answering questions from viewers on our blog. In fact, we are answering one today.

Recently, I had a past client call me and ask about investment properties. He and his son were curious about investing in real estate and wanted to know if I had any literature I could recommend for them to read. I'm experienced in real estate investing and of course, recommended a great book to them.

The book is called "Hold, how to find, buy, and rent homes for wealth." I have read this book myself and think it is a great resource for investors, especially those who may just be getting started at it.

If you were curious about buying investment property, you need to read this book. We want to help as many of you as we can achieve your goals, so today we are offering you a free copy of this book. The first 10 people to contact us regarding this book will get one sent to them, free of charge.  If you know someone who is thinking about investing in real estate, this could be an easy way to get a great gift for them for Christmas.

If you have any questions for us, we want to be your real estate resource. Give me a call or send me a quick email and I will get right back to you. Thanks, and have a happy holiday season!

Is it too late to buy in 2014?

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

Today's topic comes to us from a recent client we had come to us who was interested in purchasing a home before the end of the year. She wanted a new home, but didn't have time to go through the entire build process. She wanted a new home that was already built and asked us if that was even possible at this time of year.

It absolutely is! Home builders all over have inventory still available. These are homes that they have built but haven't been sold yet. Builders absolutely want to sell these homes before the end of the year. 

In order to entice buyers to buy one of these inventory homes, builders typically offer huge discounts and large incentives this time of year to get you in a home before the end of the year. It ends up being a win-win for everybody involved. You get a brand new home for a great price, and the builder will be able to get rid of their inventory. 

Another question that client asked is if it would be possible for her to get a loan closed before the end of the year. The answer to that questions is yes, and our preferred lender, Eric Weiss, can make that happen for you. 

If you are interested in getting into a new home by the end of the year, let us know. We would love to help you get a great deal in this market and have you in your home by the end of the year. Give us a call or email today to set up a time to come talk with us.

What are We Thankful For?

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Today I want to take a few moments to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving. We hope that you have a wonderful day, with lots of delicious food and fun with family and friends and enjoy the day reflecting on what you are thankful for. 

The thing I am most thankful for is my family. My husband and 2 children mean the world to me and I am so very thankful to have them in my life. 

I just wanted to check in and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the great day and we hope to hear from you soon!

What Does it Mean When a Home Is in Probate?

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

We recently received a question from a curious viewer that we will take the time to answer today. She asked what it means when a home is in probate. It's a great question that many don't know the answer to.

When a home is in probate, it simply means that the property needs to be sold and was left with an estate, which either has no will or the will they do have is being contested.

It's not a typical property - there will be many attorneys involved and a judge needs to approve of the value put on the home. There are also families involved who have an emotional attachment to the property. As agents, that's what we focus on; we act as a concierge for everyone involved, making sure the title is clear and that the buyers of the property understand the extra steps involved when interested in a listing that's in probate. Additionally, we make sure that every party is communicated with and the process goes as smoothly and as stress free as possible.

If you would like to know more about the probate process, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to assist you!

Are Good Homes and Good Schools Related?

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

A topic we get questioned on a lot is the importance of buying a home in an area with good schools. A lot of people are skeptical, wondering if a home's location near respected schools really affect it's value. We think that finding a home near good schools is extremely important, and here are 3 reasons why:

1. Good schools give local real estate stability
 Stability equals better appreciation and better resale value in the long term.
2. There will always be a demand for your home
 In the event of another economic downturn, you will see less of a fall in prices in areas with good schools nearby

3. Good schools partner with the community
 A lot of times, schools and the community work together to build a great neighborhood and this adds value to whoever is living there. 

If you happen to have any questions about this topic or anything else real estate related, please give us a call or send us an email. We'd love to help!

Do You Want to Help Make a Difference for Those with Breast Cancer?

We're excited to announce that we will be participating in the Austin Race for the Cure for the Susan G. Komen Foundation on Sunday, November 16th.

This amazing organization provides healthcare services to women in Austin that are under or uninsured and are struggling with breast cancer. One of every eight women will be affected by breast cancer.  In fact, it is likely you know somebody that has been impacted by breast cancer - we certainly do.

The Race for the Cure is a great opportunity to raise awareness and money for the many programs the Susan G. Komen Foundation offers. Examples include mammograms, transportation for women in chemo, and childcare services, among others. 

You can help the Smith Team reach our goal of $7,500 for the Austin chapter of the Foundation. The Race is a 5k (3.1 miles), but a 1 mile family walk is also available. If you can't make it on the day of the race, you can still show your support by donating. You can register to join our team here if you are interested in standing with us in the fight against breast cancer. 

This cause means a lot to us, and we would love to work with you to meet our fundraising goal. We hope to see you on November 16th!

You May Be Sitting on More Equity than You Thought

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

One of the more common questions we get concerns home equity and whether it has improved in Austin over the years. We are experiencing yet another record breaking year in home sales, which are up 3% since last year. Not only that, median value is up 7% to $252,000. What all this means is that you may be sitting on some valuable equity.

We want you to take advantage of these favorable conditions, so we put together a list of 3 tips for you to consider.
  1. If the kids have left for college or you just have fewer people living in your home, you should consider downsizing. This will leave you with money for cash reserves, which is never a bad thing to have.
  2. If your family is growing in size, you're probably thinking about upgrading. Interest rates are still great and the equity you're sitting on now will help with a down payment on your new home. 
  3. If you like your neighborhood, your neighbors, and your current home, you can still make use of your improved equity without moving away. You can use it to improve your home. Make changes to fit your lifestyle and perhaps even add more value to your property.
Now is a great time to own property in Austin. If you would like more information on how you can get the most of these fantastic conditions, give us a call or shoot us an email. We would love to hear from you.

How Lenders Determine The Loan You Qualify For

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

Today, we are talking about loans. The purpose of this blog post is to make sure you know how a lender decides the maximum loan amount that you are available to qualify for. There are really 4 major things that mortgage lenders look at when they are determining how much of a home you can afford. Knowing what lenders are looking for in advance will surely allow you to get your finances in order so you can qualify for the loan you desire. Here are the 4 things that lenders are really keeping their eye on:

1. Income
The first thing lenders will look at is your income. They want to look at what your household income will be. If you have been at the same job for over 2 years, that is a good thing for lenders. It's a bit more of a longer road if you are self employed.

2. Credit History
Lenders will look at factors such as how you are with paying your bills on time, or if you have had any delinquencies as far as credit goes.

3. Debt-to-Income Ratio
The next thing lenders will check is your deb-to-income ratio. They want to know how much money you owe vs. how much you make. You will want to make sure your debt is as low as it can be.

4. Down Payment
Finally, they will see how much money you have to put towards a down payment. 20% down is typical for a home, but the lender will make sure they know what you can afford to put down.

We like to let our clients know that even though sometimes, on paper, you will qualify for more than you are comfortable with, you do not have to purchase the maximum amount. You should be comfortable with your monthly payments and be sure to communicate that with your mortgage lender.

If you have any questions, or are looking to buy/sell/invest in real estate in Austin, please give us a call. We would love to help you!

Keep Your Home Protected While You're Away

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 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

You go on vacation to relax and get away from the stress of work. Worrying whether your home is safe should be the furthest thing from your mind. Lucky for you, we're here to help relieve you of that one stress that could follow you on your trip.These 6 steps will make you feel comfortable with the safety of your home while you're away:
  1. Ask a friend or neighbor: There's no better way to feel at ease than knowing there is a pair of trusted eyes on your home. Have a friend or neighbor stop by regularly to make sure everything is as it should be. You could even have them take care of a pet, or water your plants while they're at it.
  2. Don't tip criminals off online: While it's very tempting to shout your exciting vacation plans to the world, it's probably best to keep them low key - at least on the internet. It's just too easy for potential burglars to access that information. Besides, there are better ways to tell your friends about your plans than Facebook or Twitter.
  3. Leave the lights off: One of the biggest misconceptions is that leaving the lights on will prevent crime. In reality, leaving lights on for consecutive days makes it obvious nobody is home. It wouldn't be a bad idea to invest in timers if you feel more comfortable leaving the lights on.
  4. Stop your mail: There's no clearer sign a home is empty than an overflowing mailbox. Have your mail held by the post office or have a friend collect it for you.
  5. Unplug your electrical devices: This will help prevent fires and even save you a few bucks on your electrical bill.
  6. Remove your spare key: Don't make it any easier to enter your home than it needs to be. Either put your spare key inside the house, or have a friend or neighbor hold on to it.
Now you're ready to leave town with your mind at ease and feeling confident your home is protected. As always, if you are interested in buying, selling, or investing in the Austin area, I'd love to talk with you. Have a safe and happy summer!

The Importance of Pricing your Home Accurately

Selling in the Austin area?  Get a market analysis report
 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

In past videos, we have talked about how great the Austin real estate market is for sellers. This fact still holds true, but only if played the right way. Today I am going to talk to you about getting the correct information about the value of your home and the importance of pricing your home correctly according to the market.

We have done advanced statistical research that analyzes different pricing strategies. In a hot sellers market like Austin's, it seems obvious to try and price your home a little bit higher than its worth so that you can get more money and take advantage of the market. This may sound like a sound strategy, but our research shows anything but.

Depending on where your home is priced, a certain percentage of people will see your home online because buyers are going to look for the best possible value on a home. If you price your home at market value, statistics show that 60% of people looking to buy will see your home. That number jumps to 90% if you price your home at 15% below market value. If you price your home at 15% above market value? Only 10% of home buyers will see your listing and that will make things very difficult for you.

When The Smith Team sells your home, we will look at the homes both currently on the market as well as homes that have been sold recently in the area so we can strategically price your home and put it on the market where it will be one of the first ones to come up on the Multiple Listing Service.

If you want to take advantage of the great sellers market we have here in Austin, we would love the opportunity to talk to you about the appropriate price for your home and show you exactly what is happening in your area. Give us a call at (512)532-5550 or send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Do You Really Know the Value of Your Home?

Selling in the Austin area?  Get a market analysis report
 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

Today’s topic is all about finding the true value of your home. There are many different sites and services out there that claim to be able to give you an accurate figure for your home’s value. The fact is that without access to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) like the one we have, you are not getting a proper value for your home. We want to help you obtain this information, and we possess the tools to do so.

  • I have had a lot of clients ask me about two popular home listing services, Trulia and Zillow. What they want to know is if this information is accurately portraying their home’s value
  • The truth is that while these services do offer a variety of listing services, they simply do not offer you the most accurate figures 
  •  Only licensed Realtors like the Jennifer Smith Team have access to the true MLS that gives the legitimate, factual value for your home
  • Our MLS is the most accurate and up to date listing service out there, but we can’t just keep this information to ourselves
  • All you need to do is simply pick up the phone and contact us with your questions.  We would LOVE to share this information with you.
  • We have two great links here on our page to assist you. The first is for a FREE home value report that will determine the actual value of your home. The second is a home search that will display for you all of the homes for sale in the Austin area

You Can Choose Any Movie You Want at Our Free Movie Night on May 22nd at AMC!

Selling in the Austin area?  Get a market analysis report
 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

Come enjoy our Free Movie Night!

Today I would just like to extend an invitation to you to come and enjoy a free movie on Thursday, May 22, 2014 from 6-8 pm at the AMC Theaters at Barton Creek Mall, 2901 S. Capital of Texas Hwy & S. Mopac.

You can bring a date or your family, and you can also choose which movie you would like to see. This is just a small way for us to show our appreciation for our clients. We cannot thank you enough for all of your referrals and excellent reviews.

We would love to see you there. Just click on the link to RSVP.

In the meantime, if you have any other questions about real estate in Austin, please feel free to contact me via phone or email and I would be more than happy to sit down and discuss any and all of your needs. Your satisfaction is very important to us.

Get the Facts on the Latest of What's Happening in the Austin Real Estate Market

Selling in the Austin area?  Get a market analysis report
 Purchasing in the Austin area? Get full MLS access

Welcome to my new real estate video blog! My team and I are very excited to introduce our new blog – twice a month we will update you with the current state of the Austin real estate market and also answering any of your real estate questions. Our goal is to educate and inform you about what is going on so that when we transact together, you know without a doubt that it will be a success and that your goals will be met!

Having said that, I would like to delve into some numbers and let you know how the market is looking and where we are trending. Now I’m certain that you’ve heard that 2013 was a “banner” year for Austin real estate – there are no clear signs that it will be slowing down anytime soon! 
  • Just last month, we had 1,761 homes sold which accounts for a 9% increase from 2013! 
  • The Average Sale Price has risen 12% to $293,746 over 2013! 
  • With 4,720 active homes on the MLS, we have seen an 8% decrease in the amount of active homes over 2013. This is a telling sign that there is a high demand for homes in our market – especially with 150 people moving into our area each day! 
  • If everything on the market was to sell, it would take two months to do so.
We are in a true seller’s market! There are many buyers out there looking to purchase with limited options to choose from. Are you thinking about selling your home, or are you on the fence about doing so? If you are, I don’t have a crystal ball, but all signs point to now being the perfect time to sell your home!

If you’re not ready to sell your home, watch our videos to make sure that when you are, you will be educated to enter the real estate market!
Don’t hesitate to call me if you are interested in buying, selling, or investing in Austin real estate. Thanks and have a great day!