Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AUSTIN REAL ESTATE: Search for Foreclosures in Austin

AUSTIN REAL ESTATE: Search for Foreclosures in Austin

Would you or someone you like to purchase a home at a reduced price? Are you willing to do some repairs or updates on a home so you can buy a house below market value? Now it is a bit easier to find homes that may be a great value. On my AUSTIN AREA HOME SEARCH system, there is now a new feature that allows you to SEARCH FOR FORECLOSURES FOR SALE IN AUSTIN.



You can select all of your criteria just like a regular home search and select the "foreclosures" button next to the "active listings" button. This will find all of the available foreclosed homes that are listed for sale in the Austin MLS. The results will include any available photos and details of each house.

Every foreclosure is not necessarily a good deal. Banks that foreclose on properties are usually located out of the area work with local REALTORS and appraisers to try to assess the current market value of the home and to give advice on any repairs that can be made to help sell the home in about 60-90 days. Just like dealing with sellers of a home, some REALTORS will over price a home even when it is a foreclosure. The process is slightly more difficult and may take a bit longer so you want to be working with a professional to make sure you are getting a GREAT DEAL!

If you are able to find a great deal on a foreclosed house in the Austin area and you can take advantage of the $8000 FIRST TIME HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT, it is a decision that you will look back on as the greatest choice you have ever made. It is a unique time in AUSTIN REAL ESTATE that you are able to find a deal AND get money back from the government.

If you are interested in buying a foreclosure, go ahead and search on my site. If you have any questions about the process or if you would like to see any of these homes in person, please contact me today by email or call (512)638-5885.


Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in Assisting Buyers to find GREAT DEALS ON AUSTIN HOMES.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

North and Northwest Austin Homes: What you get for the Money- $300,000-$400,000.

North and Northwest Austin Homes: What you get for the Money- $300,000-$400,000.

In an earlier post, I discussed what you can get for your money in NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: Hunters Chase and Milwood Subdivisions.

Hunters Chase and Milwood are great areas to live and I am a resident there myself. It appeals to first time home buyers as well as couples or small families. As people move up in their career and/or their families grow, they start to think about moving up. This is where we would play the theme for The Jeffersons if this was on TV (Movin' on up...to the East side) Here in Austin, you don't have to move to the East side (unless you want to)***. Many people would like to move to a bigger home or a swankier area or both but still be close to work and the restaurants, shops and schools that their family is used to. Well, Northwest Austin is great for that. Less than five miles from areas that are great neighborhoods for first time home buyers and young families, there are great neighborhoods for move-up families. A move-up family is one or more people that own a home that they would like to sell and purchase a newer and/or bigger and/or fancier home.

Today I am going to focus on three general areas in Northwest Austin that are great for people looking to spend $300,000-$400,000 on a home. We will look briefly at what you can get in the areas of Great Hills, Canyon Creek and Balcones Village. There are other areas with a small concentration of homes in this price range like Balcones Woods and Jester but these are areas that have a good number of homes available in this price range.
Great Hills Austin Homes: This area is Southwest of the intersection of Hwy 183 and Loop 360. The homes are all around the Arboretum area. This area is all about location, location, location. Being close to the Arboretum means you are close to shops and restaurants and Great Hills is a golf course community with a lovely country club. Most of the homes in this area were built in the 80's and early 90's. For $300,000-$400,000 you can purchase a beautiful home with updates that is most likely 2000-2500 sq. ft. There are homes that are available that back to the golf course in this price range that may need some updates. This area is closer to Central Austin than Hunters Chase and Milwood so much of the difference in price is based on location and some of it is based on quality of construction and updates of the homes.
Canyon Creek Austin Homes: This area is South of R.R. 620 and West of Anderson Mill Dr. A majority of these homes were built from the late Nineties through 2005 or so. For the money here you can get a newer home than you would be able to in Great Hills and the home size is more likely to be around 3000- 3500 square feet with a larger yard. Homes are constructed well and this area has continues to appreciate in value because it is close to the lake and it is still easy to commute into Downtown or Northwest Austin area employers.

Balcones Village Austin Homes: This area is directly across Hwy 183 from Hunters Chase and Milwood. This area was mostly built out in the 70's and early 80's. A majority of what you can buy at this price point is going to be homes on about 1/3 acre lot that are about 2500-3000 square feet and some homes are on the Arnold Palmer designed Spicewood Golf Course. These homes are charming and were made with a solid construction.

Each of these areas have a unique character and make for a great place to move up to a larger home. It is basically a matter of preferences to where a buyer should choose a home. The most important thing is to feel good about the decisions you make when purchasing a home.

If you are thinking about selling your home and buying another to move up to, contact me today to ask about my "Move-up" special that will save you money!

***If you are interested in Moving on up to the East side, check out a great post by a fellow REALTOR Garreth Wilcock about what you can buy for $300,000-$400,000 in the Mueller Austin Development.

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in Assisting People that would like to save money on their Move Up of Homes in Austin, TX

NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: $8000 Tax Credit- How to get a 10% rebate of your homes value.

NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: $8000 Tax Credit- How to get a 10% rebate of your homes value.

This is a follow up to my last article $8000 Federal Income Tax Credit: First Time Home Buyers can get an $8000 tax credit for buying a house this year.

Over the last couple of days, I have been thinking a lot about this $8000 tax credit that is being offered to first time home buyers that purchase a house, condo, town home etc. in 2009. While it seems like a good deal for people that are planning to purchase a home anyway, I have been thinking about if it will actually stimulate those people who were not already looking to purchase a house. For most first time home buyers in Northwest Austin, they will be looking to spend between $175,000 and $225,000 which is basically the range of average sales prices in the area. As you get closer to Balcones Woods or Great Hills and closer to Downtown Austin, it is more difficult to purchase a home in this range but for the most part, that is the range. When someone purchases a home for $200,000 in 2009, if they are a first time home buyer and they fit into the other criteria, they will receive a tax credit of $8000 this is equal to 4% of the sales price. That is pretty good if you consider the money will not have to be repaid and it is basically given as cash, especially if you file the credit on your 2008 taxes. You would get the money back pretty quickly. If the purchase was made with an FHA loan (with 3% minimum down payment) you would actually receive more money with the rebate than you initially put down on the property in the first place. Pretty good deal.

Now lets look at a great deal. The legislation allows for a tax credit up to 10% of the purchase price up to $8000. This means that is you were to buy something for less than $80,000, you would actually receive $8000 or 10% of the purchase price. That is pretty amazing if you think about it. During times of decent appreciation it could take up to 2 years to gain this much equity in a home. Now is a unique time to actually get 10% of the purchase price of your home rebated back to you in a short amount of time. For some it makes sense to file with their 2009 taxes but either way 10% is substantial.
Are there available Northwest Austin Homes for less than $80,000? Lets check it out. Here are Homes under $80,000 in Northwest Austin.

Contact me today to speak more about how you can take advantage of this limited time opportunity.

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in helping First Time Home Buyers make great decisions to purchase Real Estate in Northwest Austin, TX

Monday, March 9, 2009

$8000 Federal Income Tax Credit: First Time Home Buyers can get an $8000 tax credit for buying a house this year.

$8000 Federal Income Tax Credit: First Time Home Buyers can get an $8000 tax credit for buying a house this year. Congress has recently enacted legislation that allows first time home buyers to receive a credit of up to $8000 on their income taxes. Unlike "credits" of the past, this will not need to be repaid. It is a dollar for dollar credit. This means that if you buy a home in 2009 and at the end of the year you owe $1000 in taxes, you will actually receive $7000 after filing for the $8000 tax credit. This new legislation definitely provides a fair deal of opportunity for prospective buyers. It also raises a lot of questions which I will address here. Who can get the $8000 tax credit? How is the amount of the credit determined? How do I file for the $8000 tax credit? Do I need to apply? What types of homes qualify for the $8000 tax credit? Can I claim the tax credit on my 2008 Federal Income Taxes or just 2009? Can the tax credit be used as a down payment? I don't have enough of a tax burden to have $8000 of tax burden credited. Can I still get the refund?

Who can get the $8000 tax credit?
The first qualification is that you are a first time home buyer. First time home buyer is a term that is defined by anyone who has not owned their primary residence for at least three years prior to the purchase. The tax credit amount is reduced for buyers with a modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of more than $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. Taxpayers with MAGI of more than $95,000 (single) or $170,000 (married) are not eligible for this credit.

How is the amount of the credit determined?
The tax credit is an amount equal to 10% of the purchase price up to $8,000. Basically this means that properties purchased by eligible buyers for more than $80,000 receive the $8000 credit. Properties bought for less than $80,000 would receive 10% of the purchase price as a tax credit.

How do I file for the $8000 tax credit? Do I need to apply?
Filing for the $8000 tax credit is easy. The paperwork is done simply while filing your Federal income taxes. Home buyers should complete IRS Form 5405 to determine their tax credit amount, and then claim that amount on Line 69 of their 1040 income tax return.

What types of homes qualify for the $8000 tax credit?
Any home that will be used as a primary residence. This can include single family residences, condominiums, town homes, manufactured (mobile) homes and even a houseboat.

Can I claim the tax credit on my 2008 Federal Income Taxes?
Yes. The legislation allows the credit to be claimed on 2008 taxes that have not been filed even if the purchase is made in 2009. This means that you can choose which year it would be best to offset your income if the purchase is made in time for 2008 tax filing.

Can the tax credit be used as a down payment?
No...Yes...well, kinda. Home buyers will receive the credit after the home is purchased so it can not be used for the down payment. However, qualified buyers could purchase a home in 2009 and have someone gift the down payment to them, which is as low as 3% with FHA financing, file their taxes for 2008 with the credit included and return the money to the family member/friend when they receive their tax refund.

I don't have enough of a tax burden to have $8000 of tax burden credited. Can I still get the refund?
Yes. Even if you have a refund, the credit will be added to it. For example, if you were to receive $1500 refund on your 2009 Federal Income Taxes, you could receive $9500 with the $8000 First Time Home Buyer tax credit included.

If this applies to you, this is the perfect time for you to buy a home. There are great deals available and with an incentive like this, it should make the decision to buy a bit easier.

There is a follow up to this article: NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: $8000 Tax Credit- How to get a 10% rebate of your homes value.

Related Blog Posts:
Just Listed: Foreclosure - Incredible deal on great home in Buttercup Creek

Believe it or Not: NW Austin is a Sellers Market (There are deals for buyers too!)

Featured Property: Pflugerville Townhouse

NORTHWEST AUSTIN HOMES: Hunters Chase and Milwood Subdivisions- What can you get for the money?

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in helping First Time Home Buyers make great decisions to purchase Real Estate in Austin, TX

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

CEDAR PARK HOMES: Just Listed- Incredible deal on home in Buttercup Creek subdivision in Cedar Park, TX

CEDAR PARK HOMES: Just Listed- Incredible deal on home in Buttercup Creek subdivision in Cedar Park, TX
This is new listing that I have on a great home in Cedar Park. This is an incredible price in the highly sought after subdivision of Buttercup Creek in Cedar Park, TX. Exemplary schools and location are just two features that draw home buyers to this area consistently. Do not delay in seeing this home because at this price it will not last! Contact me today for a showing.

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in Listing homes and helping buyers find great deals on homes in Cedar Park and Northwest Austin, TX

Monday, March 2, 2009

NORTHWEST AUSTIN REAL ESTATE: Exploring the option period.

NORTHWEST AUSTIN REAL ESTATE: Exploring the Option Period. What is an option period? What needs to be done during the option period? Why is an option period important for a homebuyer? What rights do home sellers and home buyers have during the option period?
I work with a lot of of first time home buyers. I also tend to work with a lot of first time home sellers and what I like to call long time home buyers (people that have not purchased a home in a long time.) For most of these people a few questions come up about the option period. Here in Texas, you can negotiate an option period within a purchase contract to buy a home.

What is an option period?

In the Texas Association of Realtors form (TAR 1601) "One to Four Family Residential Contract", Paragraph #23 titled Termination Option basically states that for a negotiable amount of money, the buyer receives the unrestricted right to terminate the contract within the negotiated amount of time.
Generally, the option fee is equal to about ten percent of the earnest money which is generally one percent of the purchase price. Ex. ($200,000 house X 1% = $2000 earnest money X 10% = $200 option period fee.) This is negotiable so the fee could be as low as $1 and it could also be higher to give the seller some added assurance that the offer is solid. The time period is also negotiable but is generally about 7 to 10 days.
When the deal goes through to closing, the option fee is generally credited to the buyer but again, this is negotiable.

What needs to be done during the option period?

The main thing that should be done during an option period is for the buyer to order and pay for a property inspection by a Licensed Inspector. This generally costs about $400-$500. The inspector goes through the house for a few hours and inspects all systematic and structural conditions. The main things that are inspected are the HVAC (heating and air) systems, roofing, foundation, electrical and septic systems. The inspector also looks at windows, siding, appliances and a number of other features in the home. The inspector furnishes the buyer with a promulgated inspection report with their findings. The inspector may also advise the buyer to have certain items inspected by a specialist in the field. (HVAC, Septic, Foundation, Electrical. Basically the "major" issues listed above. Inspectors can only let you know if a system is possibly malfunctioning and an idea of what it may be. Then the buyer needs a specialist to look into it in more detail.The buyer can choose to terminate the contract based on the inspection, go through with the contract as is or negotiate the repair of items or an amount of money in lieu of repairs or treatments. This is not a time to renegotiate other terms of the contact. It is important for buyers and sellers to be comfortable with the deal the way it is put together in the executed contract without regard to the Option period. Buyers that come back to the sellers with a laundry list of repairs that "need" to be made are usually less successful than buyers who only ask for repair or allowance for "major" issues found in the inspection. How are you supposed to know the difference? Make sure you are working with a knowledgeable Realtor and an informative inspector. Many times, there are no major issues so a negotiation of additional terms is not necessary.


Why is an option period important for a home buyer?

When you are looking at a home, you are most likely looking at the aesthetic features of the home, trying to figure out if the home is right for you, wondering if your furniture will fit, asking questions about the neighborhood, etc. As an agent, I try to point out any red (or red tinged) flags that I may see in a home. The inspection brings those issues to the surface in detail. It also brings up all of the possible issues that you don't see in a typical home showing. For example, I don't generally crawl around in the attic to look at the ducts or take the electrical panel off. I would do it but I am not an inspector and it is always best to work with a specialist.
This is important because a major repair or issue may detour a buyer from the property they thought was perfect.


What rights do home sellers and home buyers have during the option period?


The buyer should be allowed reasonable access to the home for the inspection and resulting meetings with specialists and/or contracts to get bids to have repairs completed. With the option period, the buyer has an unrestricted right to terminate the contract during that time while the seller is bound to the contract as agreed. In case you are wondering, the right to terminate is actually unrestricted which means the buyer can back out for an endless number of reasons including but not limited to; cold feet, buyers (contract) remorse, job loss, financial changes, and anything else you can think of. The seller has the right to cash the check made out to them for the option fee and they also have the right to deny, fulfill or negotiate any request for repair or allowance of issues in the home.
This time period is generally a stressful time for all involved in the transaction but, if the buyer and buyers agent address the issues that they can in the original contract and then address any major issues that may come up in the inspection, the option period can be a little less stressful leading to a successful purchase and closing of the buyers dream home.

Posted by Brian W Martin REALTOR for The Pinnacle Group of Keller Williams specializing in Assisting Buyers and Sellers to make educated decisions in Real Estate transactions in Northwest Austin, TX