Nothing says December like a mutt with a Christmas bow
In this newsletter
1. Our new professional home, Spyglass Realty
2. Why we’re buying a condo at the Tyndall
3. A look back on the 2018 market, and what I expect in 2019
4. Some holiday real estate success stories
5. I got a mobile app!
From JB Goodwin, Realtors to Spyglass Realty
Okay, so I’ll just go ahead and say that it’s bittersweet writing this newsletter.
In December, Chris and I decided to move our real estate licenses from JB Goodwin, where we’d been for about four years, to Spyglass Realty. It’s bittersweet because JB Goodwin was a great place for us for many years, and leaving somewhere that’s been a home is never easy, I suppose.
And we passed a lot of milestones at JB Goodwin. We started there when Austin was a brand new city for us, built a business and closed more real estate than anyone expected us to. We learned a lot from our broker and friend, Mark Murrell, who we leaned on for support endlessly. And at JB Goodwin, we met Jason Edwards, my sales and performance coach who pretty much changed my life. And we learned more and did more than I can possibly include here. And there are some great people at JB Goodwin that I’ll miss working with.
Sometimes, the right opportunity appears at the right time, even if you’re not looking for any opportunities. And that was Spyglass. When I met the owner, Ryan, for coffee in December, I wasn’t looking for a new brokerage. But by the end of our coffee I was pondering the possibility. We had a lot of interests in common, like creative marketing and what real estate agents and brokerages need to do to stay relevant in the coming years. And we had some important things not in common as well. We bring some complementary skills to the table, and Ryan is knowledgeable in several areas I’d like to grow personally and professionally. A lot of things about it just felt right, as much as I initially hated to admit it.
As Chris and I spent time pondering the move, we had the leisure of the holidays to give us some room to consider the decision. We talked about it, I journaled about it, I yoga-d about it. You know, my usual way of making any big decision. (You’ll notice Chris neither journaled nor yoga-d about it. He’s much less woo woo than me.)
I don’t often show it professionally, but I’m a deeply spiritual person. I believe that the right decision is often clear if we’re willing to listen. That things happen for a reason. That we have powerful instincts and intuitions that will guide us to where we are supposed to be. That decisions, ultimately, aren’t hard if you’re clear about what you want, and you don’t rush it.
And so it was that we decided to move to Spyglass Realty at the end of 2018. It just felt like the right thing at the right time.
That doesn’t mean I expect everything to be easy. I’ve basically declared now to God and everyone that I’m ready for some growth, and I know that there is no growth without discomfort.
Here’s to an uncomfortable, awesome, 2019. Bring it on.
Why We’re Buying Condo at the Tyndall
Never content to just take on one thing at a time, Chris and I are also buying a new condo! We first got familiar with the Tyndall when I was helping my client Mitch buy one. I was impressed with the building, and thought it was a good buy for him. Then we started wondering if it was a good buy for us, too.
One of the best ways to build a real estate portfolio is to move a lot, a plan, I’m afraid, that my husband plans to adopt to the extreme. The reason is because mortgages for primary residences have much more favorable terms than for investment properties. You can put less money down (5% versus 20%-25%), your interest rate is slightly lower, and it’s easier to qualify.
So if you want to build wealth in real estate, you can either:
a) live in one place, save six figures for real estate investment, and then start building your real estate portfolio, or
b) buy a home, move into it, live in it awhile, buy another home, move into that, rent the first home, and repeat every year or two.
The second plan requires way less cash, which means you can start earlier in life. And over the long term, real estate appreciates, yes?
This chart shows the average price for Austin-Round Rock metro area appreciating from about $82,000 in 1990 to about $367,000 today. (Source: Texas A&M Real Estate Center)
So our reason for buying the Tyndall is two-fold. First, our house on Deerfield is way too big for us. We have 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms for 2 people. About half our square footage goes unused mostly. And sometimes we miss being in a more dense living situation, where we can make friends at the pool and get to know our neighbors. Plus eventually we’ll have to worry about babies and school districts and then we won’t be able to just up and move into 700 square feet because we feel like it. Second, we think it’s a good investment, and moving into it allows us to buy it with favorable financing.
So we’ll keep our current home on Deerfield, and rent it either long-term or short-term rental. We figure we’ll come pretty close to covering our carrying costs there, so our monthly payment won’t actually change much in total.
If you’re interested in the Tyndall, give me a shout! I’m pretty familiar at this point!
A look back on the 2018 Market
2018 was another hot year in Austin, with inventory low and prices continuing to rise. November of 2018 logged prices about 9% higher on average than November or 2017.
Anecdotally, I saw my buyers have more success in negotiations than in the past. Homes seemed to stay on the market just a bit longer, and there were fewer multiple offer situations, so my buyers had room to breathe, at least once, while home shopping. I sat down and did the math and I was able to help buyers, on average, save $8,000 off the purchase price in negotiations. In my experience, that was much less likely in years past, when it sometimes felt like every home got multiple offers.
I think that 2019 will see more of the same. Prices will continue to increase, inventory will be tight. As long as people keep moving here, I don’t see that changing. But I don’t expect the feeding-frenzy of a few years ago. I think a big reason for that is because as prices rise, fewer people can afford to buy, which means less competition. I suspect bidding wars will continue to be common in the under $300,000 price range, though.
If you’re waiting on the sidelines, and wondering what to do next, all I can say is this: Interest rates will likely never be this low again. Austin real estate will likely never be this cheap again. That was true last year, it was true the year before. I suspect it will be true this year. So we’re buying real estate whenever we can.
For sellers, rising prices doesn’t mean you should wait to sell, necessarily. Right now, inventory is low, days on market are low, and buyers are somewhat conditioned to this seller’s market, meaning they often don’t negotiate that hard. Even if prices continue to rise, some of these other factors may begin to fall off. You might have to wait longer to get your home sold. You may have to do more repairs before you sell. You may have to worry more about your buyer qualifying as interest rates rise. If you’re wondering if any of those apply to you, give me a call and we can talk about it.
Holiday success stories
I had two great success stories with sellers over the holidays in 2018. I had two listings hit the market in the fall and receive strong offers within a few days of Thanksgiving. And because of how the timing worked out, both closed around Christmas.
375 Whispering Wind Way, Closed Dec 20th, asking price, 48 days on market
20213 Bellerive Drive, Closed Dec 28th, asking price, 12 days on market
The holidays can be a tricky time to sell, but in my experience every listing I’ve ever had hit the market around the holidays has sold fast. Generally, you don’t have much competition if you’re selling during the holidays, but serious buyers still need to buy.
Congrats to my wonderful clients who spent more time, I’m sure, than you cared to taking calls from me during the holidays. I’m so glad we could get you to closing in 2018!
All the cool kids have their own apps these days
And a last note, I have an app! If you’re tired of looking at inaccurate listings on Zillow, check it out. If you’re tired of being called by a bunch of random Realtors you don’t know every time you look at properties online, this app is for you. If you’re tired of Zillow and Redfin selling your search history to Big Brother, this app is for you!
It’s accurate, and I don’t sell your info. It looks and feels much like Redfin or Zillow mobile apps, but BETTER. Check it out, it’s free!