Real Estate

Why You Need To Sell This Summer

blog april

The market is hot, hot, hot! With interest rates at an all time low for buyers, the market has turned into a feeding frenzy, and home sales are skyrocketing in prices. In such a high demand, seller’s market, homes are selling for record breaking prices, which means more money in your pocket. If you have been considering selling your home, doing so in today’s market will bring you a larger sales price. Don’t wait for the market to shift when interest rates begin to start going up again. The National Association of Realtors has gathered data to predict a strong 6 months of sales throughout the United States. And with such a large group of buyers hunting for homes during the summer months, you have a great potential to sell your home quickly, and move on to bigger and better things sooner.

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This is also a great buying opportunity if you are wanting to transition into a new home. Low interest rates equate to more savings. You could potentially end up getting a bigger home for the same monthly payment cost when you buy your next property. And with such a hot market, there are more homes for sale, which means you can find the right one.

If you have not already spoken with an agent, get in touch with one to get a complimentary CMA. See if the numbers work out for you and/or your family, and if moving is something you want to do. Whether you are re-sizing, or moving to a different state, your agent can get the numbers in order to make sure it’s in your best interest to transition in today’s market. Don’t wait and lose tens of thousands of dollars in your sale price!

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
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Real Estate

What is CodeNext? Postcards are coming!

What is CodeNEXT exactly and how will it affect me? That is a question you may be asking as every property owner in Austin will receive a postcard from the City of Austin with basic information about CodeNEXT and a list of scheduled hearings for public comment. This information is provided by ABOR.

CodeNEXT, as you’ve likely heard, is the City of Austin’s revision to its land development code, which determines what can be built, where, and how much. CodeNEXT is Austin’s opportunity to shape the future of our city and provide stronger tools to address housing affordability, transportation, environmental protection, and preserve the things that make this city so unique and special.

Every property owner in Austin will receive this postcard from the City of Austin.

Every property owner in Austin will receive this postcard from the City of Austin.
Every property owner in Austin will receive this postcard from the City of Austin.

What’s the current proposal?

The current version of the proposed code, known as Draft 3, is available for review and comment online. If you are interested in how CodeNEXT could affect a particular property, you can use the City’s Zoning Comparison Tool to see how the zoning could change under Draft 3.

Under the current code draft, entitlement for most properties in core residential neighborhoods do not significantly change. The current Draft 3 proposal reduces the minimum lot size for some residentially-zoned lots and allows some attached housing options, but it doesn’t generally permit more units on a lot than what is allowed under current zoning.

How will this impact properties in Austin?

Land use issues are complicated and many of the changes are hard to decipher. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the City of Austin Planning and Zoning staff online or by phone at (512) 974-3583. I am available to you for questions any time at the contact info below or The City of Austin Planning and Zoning staff is also holding office hours, which can be booked through their website.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Why now is the Time to Buy

If you have been considering purchasing a home, you may be curious to know if this is the right time in the market to make your move. The market is fast changing, with new laws coming into play, interest rates are constantly rising, and a whole slew of things buyers have to face when it comes time to picking the right house. What does that mean for you? Well, that there isn’t a better time to buy than now. Let’s break down the benefits of purchasing a home now, instead of waiting.

1. INTEREST RATES ARE SOARING

If you haven’t been keeping up with the real estate market, you might be missing out on the data around interest rates. They are going up, and they are going up fast. 5% may not seem like a lot, but can be the difference between hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on what you are paying out towards your loan on a monthly basis. Would you want to pay an extra $200 towards interest for your loan each month, or would you prefer to pocket that $200? Well we know the answer to that.

Buying a home now while interest rates are at a low is going to be an advantage, both now, and long term. Take advantage of today’s rates and purchase a home that doesn’t cost you extra just because of interests.

2. HOME PRICES ARE INCREASING

Have you been hearing about folks complaining in your market about the price of homes going up? Well those prices are going to continue climbing. A home that is $200,000 now, could go up to $400,000 in 10 years because of market conditions. We also are aware that wages are not increasing as steadily as the cost of living. Purchasing a home in today’s market can get you a bigger and better deal on a house than if you were to wait a few years. Especially in hot city markets, where prices are virtually guaranteed to sky rocket, making a move now can save you hundreds of thousands.

3. COMPETITION IS GETTING BIGGER

Population growth is a real thing, and with more people, comes more competition for homes. Homes are selling faster, which means a high demand increases home prices. Buying your home now, while the competition isn’t as strong as it could be 5 years from now, helps you get a better deal on the home you want now then if you were to wait it out.

So, in conclusion, the ball is in your court in today’s market. There isn’t ever a better time to purchase then now. Avoid the competition and the increase in fees and prices, and take advantage of a market that is still in the buyer’s favor.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Achieve Feng Shui In Your Home

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If you take the time to dig into the philosophy around feng shui, you’ll understand that it doesn’t come off as esoteric as one my think. It’s based around the simple practices to make a home feel healthier and a lot more organized. It also helps you to connect to your home, in a way that can affect your mood and well being. Feng shui is as common as “spring-cleaning,” or decorating to make a home feel much more comfortable.

This ancient Chinese tradition can be incorporated into your own home. It can be done in a modern holistic approach, while still honoring the age-old traditions that come with feng shui. It’s not about transforming the structure of your home, but instead making it to evolve into a space that refreshes your home – and in turn your health. The following feng shui tips will do a little more than just bring some harmony into your home, they can potentially increase the value of your home’s selling price.

Let’s get into to the best feng shui decorating tips for your house below!

1. Slow Down Your Home’s Energy Flow:

The the back door and the front door have a direct line of sight, that means the energy in the home, or the chi, will flow through the home too fast. Instead of it going straight out of the back door, you want it to undulate throughout the whole home in a graceful and even manner. The best way to slow down this flow is to place a patteren rug on the floor in front of the front door, add artwork on the walls, or add a round entry table to the foyer space.

2. De-Clutter Your House:

Decluttering your home may seem like an obvious enough solution,  we can all be guilty of letting our content accumulate in our home, that may not have a specific function. Clutter is more than just unappealing visually, it’s an anchor for the energy in a home. An excessive amount of clutter can stop you from having clarity of thought, and even weigh you down emotionally. Feng shui isn’t focused on having a perfectly styled home, but instead, provide a happier and healthier environment. Be sure to have the correction organization throughout your home. From paying bills, to recycling content, and even something as simple as a designated spot for your keys. It’ll help you feel less frazzled and feel more efficient in your day to day routine.

3. Front Door Path Must Be Kept Clear:

The front door in a home is an important factor to feng shui. It’s the main portal through which the energy from outside will enter into your home. You want to make sure the energy flows uninterrupted through the front door, without “metaphorically” running into a wall. Keep your front door area free of clutter and consider installing a mirror near the front door. This can hold the meaning that you are expanding the energy in the space, which in turn expands the opportunities within your life – and prevents you from feeling limited.

4. Balancing The Five Elements

Whether present physically, or symbolically, the five elements you can find in a home are earth, fire, wood, metal, and water. The fire element can be brought into a home with warmer tones, or physically through a fireplace and burning candle. You want to ensure there is a balance between all of the elements. People can easily be drawn to an element that can cause an imbalance in their life. For example, if a person were to find themselves rather aggressive, they’d want to avoid a large amount of fire elements – such as a bright red wall. If a person is lacking motivation in their life, it’d best suit them to add more fire elements. Look at the elements within your home in a symbolic manner, and see what you need to change to create a more balanced emotional life.

5. Remove Any Negative Symbolism:

From books to traffic signs, symbolism bombards us daily. In every day life, we are guided by the symbolism that surrounds us, which is enhanced even more so within our homes. An intimate environment represents an individual’s fears and challenges. If you have trouble finding clarity, see if you have a lot of stuff cluttered in your home. If you have low self esteem, check to see if mirrors are hung too high, which equates to you never measuring up. If you find yourself unable to get out of the single life, do you surround yourself with single decor? I.e. single vases, single chairs, single person in pictures/art. Figure out the challenges you face on a daily basis in your life and look at the symbols the content in your home hold, to understand what changes need to be made.

6. Maximize The Natural Light: 

Natural light can make a person much happier and more positive. You want to enhance as much natural light in a home as possible, which can be done by placing mirrors directly across from windows to help reflect the light throughout your space.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

From “I Do” to Sold

Idoblog

Newlyweds are saying “I do” to each other, and equate to over half of first time home buyers that are also saying “I do” to their dream homes. It makes sense! When you put two hearts together, the time comes to find a home to nourish that love. A home that brings two of your places together, and makes it one. If you and your spouse are ready to fall in love with the perfect house together, here are five tips to make sure the process goes smoothly, and you come prepared.

1. YOUR WEDDING BUDGET: Your wedding is a one-time event that shouldn’t be less than what you’d imagine. It’s a beautiful time to put all of your dream pieces together. However, it’s best to sit down and find out ways you can shift the budget to help with your down payment for a home, if you plan to purchase. The average couple spends a little over $20,000 on their wedding. Even a savings of $5000 from your wedding budget can help with owning the perfect home.

2. WEDDING GIFTS: Wedding bliss comes with wedding gifts. Let’s admit, one of our favorite times during the wedding season is all of the gifts that come pouring in! Have any friends or family pitching in cash? Save that to put towards your down payment. And depending on the generosity of your gifts, you can even open an account dedicated to your down payment, that friends and family can gift to.

3. GET PRE-APPROVED: One of the least brought up conversations in relationships is the credit and financial history of your soon-to-be spouse. Get together with a lender to go over both of your histories to know what needs to be done to put you guys in a position to own together. In some cases, only one person can get approved, while the other can’t. If you want to put both of your incomes toward the cost of the house you want, talking to a lender early on can ensure you are prepared to make the right moves.

4. THE RIGHT AGENT: That’s where I come in! For starters, I can connect you with a lender to ensure you guys are being watched over from the best recommendations. And it’s an absolute joy to take the stress out of buying a home for my newly wed couples. We all know how stressful, although joyous, a wedding can be. To then jump into buying a house shortly after, well, it’s certainly a lot to get through. But I can guide you through all of the steps to make sure you end up with a house you love. Just think of me as a wedding planner, but for homes.

5. NOW THERE’S TWO: Although some spouses are a match made in heaven, loving and adoring the same exact things, often times that’s not the case with most couples. You still are your own persons, and have your own tastes. This is where the first step to compromise really begins. Spending a good bit of money on a place you both will love and call home. A happy marriage starts with a happy home, so be sure you both are considerate of each other’s wants and needs in style and location, so you both are happy with the home you end up getting.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Why Rent If You Can Buy?

rentvsbuyblog

Home ownership rates are the lowest they have been in the last 50 years. Yet a large portion of Americans are still renting properties, instead of enjoying a home of their own. Consumer reports believe this is an issue because of a buyer’s lack of trust in their ability to purchase. It is still a long standing notion that a buyer needs 20% towards the cost of the home in order to move forward, but this isn’t true. With countless down payment assistant programs, and closing cost roll-ins, a home owner could move in with as little as a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Which is a huge difference in the time it takes to save up to make the move.

 

With interest rates at an all time low, home ownership in today’s market is a great investment. The money saved over a mortgage’s lifespan can result in tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds. That’s more money in your pocket today. Don’t wait to buy when interest rates soar again. With low interest rates, that means your monthly mortgage payments are at a significantly lower cost, as well. With such a heated housing marketing, rental prices are soaring, and statistics are constantly showing that home ownership can be equivalent to your rental rate each month, if not less. Why get stuck in a small 2 bedroom apartment, if you can move into a home and pay a monthly rate that is the same, and get a 3 bedroom house with a great backyard?

There is also a fear that a home can keep you “stuck” or “rooted” to one place, without an easy transition out if you decide to move. Although the future of the housing market isn’t easily predictable from location to location, you can always discuss with your agent about buying a home in an area that has a strong turn-over rate when a home hits the market. The equity build up when it comes time to selling is going to be far more beneficial, than if you put money into a rental and decided to move. The money from selling the property can be used to purchase a new home. With renting, there would be no additional funds to transition into a new place.

Now imagine if you were renting a home for $2000/month. If your landlord is renting to make a profit, think how much less you’d be paying on a monthly basis towards your mortgage, if the home was yours. Then you wouldn’t be paying a landlord to profit off of you, you’d be paying a reasonable rate, and get to call the property your own. Discuss with your agent and lender the steps you need to take towards home ownership, you might be happily surprised about the type of home you can afford to move into.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

10 Staging Tips To Get Your Home Sold

stagingtipsblog

Ready to sell your house? Here is a few staging tips to get your home prepared for the market. When listing a home that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, you want to make sure it’s presented in the best light. You wouldn’t buy a $50,000 dollar car if it was filled from top to bottom in someone’s personal content and trash. This is the same mindset you need to carry into selling your home that will be worth well over a $100,000.

1. SAY BYE TO CLUTTER

The best thing you can do for your home for sale is to get rid of all of your clutter! Make a rule for your home that for every new piece that comes in, one must go. One of the biggest factors to a cluttered home is too much furniture. Generally, in a professional staging, half the home owner’s furniture is removed to make the house look much bigger. Look around your house and see what you can pack away. It’ll be worth the investment to get a storage unit for a couple of months to store away a lot of your furnishings and goods.

2. FURNITURE GROUPINGS

It’s largely misconceived that furniture pushed directly up against walls make a room look bigger, but this is far from true. Instead, you’ll want to float your furniture in reach room and away from the walls. Position your sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groupings. Be sure the furnishings are placed to make the traffic flow in a room obvious. This will make the room more user-friendly and will make it look larger.

3. TRANSFORM ROOMS

If you have a room that has only served to collect boxes or other junk, it’s important to purpose the room to something that is functional. You can make it into an extra bedroom, a small cozy nook/reading room, etc. If it’s in the basement, hid the boxes and turn it into a gaming room or family area.

4. HOME LIGHTING

Great lighting is the trick to making a staged home look warm and welcome. Most homes are improperly lit, which makes rooms look dark and dreary. There is a quick fix to this issue. Increase the wattage in your fixtures and lamps, aiming for about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Add three different types of lighting to each room: ambient (general overhead), task (under cabinets or pendants), and accent lighting (table lamps and wall accents).

5. GO NEUTRAL

The simple trick to toning down dated finishing in any space is a little bit of fresh paint. You don’t want to go stark white, but look into neutral grey and beige colors. Beige colors can also consist of warm honey like colors, soft blues and greens, and a variety of undertones that add a little life to a general neutral color. If you do want to use bold colors, be sure to only keep it on accent walls to help enhance structural features.

6. MAKE IT LOOK BIGGER

If you want to make a room bigger than it is, paint the room the same color as an adjacent room. For small kitchens and dining rooms, a seamless look will make the space feel like one, open it up, and make it seem much larger. Using drapes that match the wall colors can also add an emphasis to the room’s size.

7. USE YOUR GARDEN

Staged homes have an emphasis in fresh flowers and pricey floral arrangements. If you don’t have the money to go all out on florals, you can get this same effect by raiding your garden space. You can DIY beautiful pieces with fern fronds, magnolia clippings, and more. Use the spring and summer months to find cheerful flowers and use them in your arrangements.

8. GET A FACELIFT

So you can’t afford new cabinets? Then you can just get new doors and drawer fronts. Then paint everything to match and add new hardware to them. Instead of replacing the entire dishwasher, you may be able to get a new front panel, go for stainless steel if you can pull it off. Check with the manufacturer to see if replacements are available for your model.

9.MAKE NECESSARY REPAIRS

Unfinished home projects can really scare off potential home buyers, so you’ll want to be sure to make required repairs. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag. Holes in walls and scratched up door frames can really look unattractive. These repairs cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.

10. CLEAN YOUR HOME

Aside from de-cluttering, the most important step to staging your home is to clean it. A dirty house is a quick turn-off for potential buyers. Most homes, especially with children and pets, and smokers, have a smell that may go undetected to home owners, but are quickly picked up by strangers. Be sure to have your home professionally cleaned prior to staging to appeal to all buyers that your home is nice and fresh.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Storage Ideas For Small Bathrooms

storageblog

Is your bathroom small? It’s the worst, isn’t it? Well, unfortunately, small bathrooms are very common, and are usually the smallest rooms in the house. I can almost bet that it almost always feels cramped and tight in there. Although the square footage doesn’t change, a change of organization and storage space can make a drastic change to how your bathroom feels. Here are a few tips and tricks to make your bathroom space feel more functional and spacious.

  •  Medicine Cabinet
    If you have a regular mirror, replacing it with one that includes a medicine cabinet and provide further storage space.
  • Shelving
    If you have free space above your toilet, vanity, or other another empty part of the wall, install shelving units. Purchase a few decorative baskets to maximize shelf space.
  • Hooks
    With a few decorative hooks, in a style of your preference, you can declutter by placing a couple on the back of the door to hang towels or robes. Perhaps one or two right next to each end of the shelving unit you just installed.
  • Towel Racks 
    A rack installed inside of you shower can save you space and convenience, also adding an additional shower bar above the original will work nicely. Another idea is installing a few racks a couple of feet above each other or right next on another. If you have an excessive amount of towels, store some of them away in the bedroom closet.
  • Vanity with Cabinet
    I have come across plenty of pedestal sinks in small bathrooms, but if you want save some space, add some storage, and upgrade the look of your bathroom at the same time, a vanity cabinet will definitely do the trick.

    Jennifer Cote
    REALTOR®
    512-967-5748
    Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
    5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

The Incredible Joy of Owning Your Home

joyhomebuyingblog

If you haven’t bought a home yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful feeling! That moment when you walk through your doors, throw your purse or keys on the floor, plop down on your couch and breathe a sigh of relief while thinking, “Finally, it’s ours (or mine)!” And the joy of looking at all of your boxes, getting to roll your eyes about why you buy so much stuff, then giving yourself a moment to take a nap because you worked hard to get here and earned it! Yes that’s a real feeling!

We often hear, and read, about the cost effectiveness of home ownership. The equity build-up, the freedom it can give us from finances in our retirement years, and a plethora of other ways owning a home can be a positive impact on your bottom dollar. But we don’t often hear about the emotional impact owning a home can have. Yes there will be days the fridge is acting silly and you need to call your home warranty, or days you have to get outside to mow your own yard, but nothing beats the pride and joy of owning a home.

There is a sense of security, and a sense of “this is mine and I worked my way up to this moment,” that provides moments of bliss. The ability to do with your home as you please, not pay a pretty penny for every member of your fur family, and the privacy it provides can’t be beat.

Home ownership also gives you the ability to put down some roots. And we mean that figuratively and literally. You get to build memories through the holidays and go through many milestones with your family, that leave a significant impact into the later years. You also get to build bonds with your neighbors, and grow in a community oriented neighborhood. With rentals, people come and go annually, but there are deeper roots planted with building relationships with those living next to you. Potlucks, 4th of July and New Year’s Eve spent lighting fireworks, and just the excitement of getting to know each other and build new relationships.

Buying a home isn’t about the dollars and cents for everyone, sometimes it’s just about the joy of owning your own place, and getting to build amazing memories in it. If you’ve been longing for this, get in touch with me as your Real Estate Agent and let’s make it happen. You owe it to yourself to make your dreams come true!

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com
Real Estate

Why You Need An Agent For New Construction

builderblogphoto

Are you ready to buy a home and considering going in the route of new builds? It may seem like an easy enough process, where you get to call the shots of how you want your dream home to be, but there is a lot of risk when it comes to new construction if you are going in blindly. It’s unfortunately not as trouble free as we’d like to hope, if you don’t have the right representative by your side to help with the things that need to be looked out for from a professional’s eye. Below, we’ll dive into the many reasons you need a professional buyer’s agent representing you in the sale. They are, after all, on your side. And it’s their role to ensure you aren’t taken advantage of by the builders and their representatives in the transaction.

1. HIRING THE RIGHT BUILDER

The most important part of finding an agent is having a professional’s perspective to finding a builder with a great reputation. You get to benefit from your agent’s network of vendors, lenders, and home builders. They have the industry expertise to connect you with a builder that matches your needs, and more than likely, have already had experience with the builder with a past client. Or, if they haven’t worked with a builder you want to use directly, they can gather person-to-person recommendations from other agents to know the expected experience with said builder. They will help you find one, that not only delivers exactly what their clients want, but in a timely fashion.

2. THE RIGHT LOT IN THE RIGHT NEIGHBORHOOD

The lot you choose to go with in a new build can either be a positive to your new home, or detrimental. In the excitement of the process, we tend to overlook important features of a property. It’s important to have a professional to ensure you make a purchase that will best serve you. They’ll be able to find a neighborhood that best fits your lifestyle and a lot that has a location that works for you. Whether you’re single with pets, or a family with children, the lot location can really make a huge impact. Especially when it comes time to selling it in the future. These are important things your agent will be able to help walk you through, so your decisions work in your favor in the long term, as well as now.

3. UPGRADES AND PLAN MODIFICATIONS

Not only will your agent be able to ensure you get the upgrades and modifications that will best suit your lifestyle, but will also help you make decisions that will increase the value of your home in the long term. They are working for your best interest long term, and with an agent’s guidance, you can be sure to make changes that end up benefiting you.

4. HANDLING CONTRACTS AND PAPERWORK

Your agent will handle the contract and all of the paperwork, and they will be sure to review it to ensure that it is in your best interest. They will be able to help you break down the best loan types, purchasing processes, and steps to take that benefit YOU, not the builder. They are, after all, working for you. They’ll make sure there are no overlooked terms in a builder’s contract that could end up hurting you after you move in. Or even during the building process. You want to make sure you have a professional who is experienced with the paperwork and contracts and knows how to make revisions that work in a way that make you happy.

5. NEGOTIATIONS

It is imperative in the purchasing process to have an agent that is able to represent you and negotiate for you. The building process is so much more than having the builder put in your favorite counters and floors. They will be able to get you a price that actually benefits you – not the builder. They will be able to run a comparative market analysis to ensure you are paying a fair price for the property. You don’t want to end up overpaying for the home – it could put you in a tough spot when it comes time to sell. They’ll also be able to negotiate terms around building time frame, closings costs, and so many other aspects of a contract that you may otherwise overlook.

6. BUILDER’S AGENT REPRESENTS THEM, NOT YOU

It may seem easy just to pop into an office of a new build, or a builder’s office, and use the onsite agent. But keep in mind that this agent works FOR the builder, NOT for you. So they will be working to make sure the builder gets the best deal at the end of the day. By having a buyer’s agent of your own, you can ensure there is a professional on your side that can walk you through the process and avoid being taken advantage of during the transaction. They will also have a better handle on things when you hit bumps along the way. If you end up working with a builder who isn’t holding their end of the deal, they will have the power to make connections that ensure the builder holds their end of the contract terms.

Jennifer Cote
REALTOR®
512-967-5748
Jennifer.Cote@5elementsrealtyteam.com
5elementsrealtyteam.com