Realty ONE Group Prosper Blog

We are located in the heart of Hays County, right in downtown Buda, Texas. This blog offers tips, facts & solutions for homeowners as well as potential buyers and sellers.

July 10, 2019

6 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Today’s Housing Market

Ever feel like you just can’t get a grip on the ebbs and flows of the housing market? Don’t worry! You are not alone. As we are witnessing in our own backyard, new builds are helping to quell a nationwide housing shortage. While that has increased competition, it has also driven up home prices. Here are a few talking points to familiarize yourself with so you can have confidence when having these conversations with your neighbors:

1. Homeownership is rising again across the country
Homeownership has been on the rise for two straight years. In fact, because of the influx of younger buyers, ownership rates are now back to the rates experienced between 1985 and 1995 despite record-high prices and rising interest rates. In 2012, the nationwide monthly average home payment was $1,176. By 2018, that number soared to $1,775, but homeownership has still increased. This is may be viewed as a direct reflection of how important the value of homeownership has become.

2. Fewer people are renting
This makes total sense, right? If more people are buying their homes, less people are renting. The number of rented households dropped by over 100,000 from 2017 through 2018. This is quite the opposite of the prior 12 years when the number of renters nationwide increased each year. Another fun fact: renters now appear to be wealthier as about 25% of household incomes over $75,000 rented in 2018. Also, because of the increasing cost of rent, many renters with household incomes of $45,000-$75,000 are spending a much higher percentage of their income on rent than in years past.

3. Homes are getting bigger and less affordable
Most first-time home buyers tend to stay away from larger homes because they either don’t want them or cannot afford them. Unfortunately, just 22% of single-family homes measured in at less than 1,800 square feet. That number is down from 32% between 1999 and 2011. The reason for that shift? Simply put, it’s more profitable for home builders to put up bigger homes to sell for higher prices.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the statistics of our local market, as well, so please invest time into learning about the areas most important to you. Remember to always ask questions of our agents as they are ready to help and are a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Posted in News
July 1, 2019

Want To Know More About 217 Railroad St?

Just down the street from our Buda Office, 217 Railroad St. is located in the historical district in Old Town Buda. It is in the center of commercial growth and approximately 1.5 miles from IH 35. Corner, level lot, zoned F4H mixed-use, permitting residential or commercial, allowed impervious coverage is 65%. Only 500 feet from the Buda Drug Store & Soda Fountain, and a short walk to Main St., a haven for community and visitors alike where popular restaurants, shops, local vendors line the tree-filled street. City water, sewer on site.

Public Amenities:

  • Buda Mill & Grain complex along Main Street.
  • New City Park at north end of Main Street.
  • Historic Stagecoach Park, a 51 acre master planned nature park.
  • New City Hall and library complex.
  • City of Buda is a "full-service" community with police, fire, parks, public works, and other City services.
  • Three new major medical centers: Baylor Scott & White Hospital, Ascension Seton Health Center, and St. David's HealthCare 24/7 emergency clinic.
  • Hays CISD and new high school opening Fall 2019

Click on the link below to see inside this wonderful historic property. 

https://www.loopnet.com/Listing/217-Railroad-St-Buda-TX/16476303

Posted in News
June 17, 2019

Glamping: Closer Than You Think!

Love the great outdoors but also love the convenience and comfort of your own home?  Do you want to experience nature but roughing it is not your idea of a good time?  It sounds like glamping, or camping with glamour, is right up your alley, and it’s closer than you think!  There are glamping opportunities as close as Dripping Springs, Driftwood, and Wimberley!  Here are a few options for you to check out:

The Cabins at Onion Creek

  • 6 cabins along Onion Creek and close to breweries, wineries, and distilleries
  • $149/night and up
  • King beds and coffee bar
  • 18992 RM 150, Driftwood, 888-622-4228, thecabinsatonioncreek.com

Camp Lucy

  • 275 acre property overlooking Onion Creek
  • Frequently used as a wedding venue with a chapel and vineyard
  • Stay in a cottage or book a room in the lodge
  • Hang out with Camp Lucy’s alpacas!
  • $259-$699/night
  • 3509 Creek Road, Dripping Springs, 512-894-4400, camplucy.com

Collective Hill Country

  • Specializes in luxury tent glamping experiences, including suites for families and honeymooners
  • Horseback riding, culinary classes, massages available
  • On-site restaurant and bar, complimentary breakfast
  • $299-$550/night
  • 7431 Fulton Ranch Road, Wimberley, 970-445-2033, collectiveretreats.com/retreat/collective-hill-country

The Liney Moon

  • Choose between a group stay at The Stellar House lodge or one of 13 quirky cottages
  • Also hosts weddings, birthday parties, wine tour groups
  • $149-$995/night
  • 5401 W. Fitzhugh Road, Dripping Springs, 512-954-8534, thelineymoon.com

Living Waters on Lake Travis

  • From a safari tent to eco-cabins, the site offers a range of glamping experiences
  • On-site massage therapy, yoga classes
  • $125-$395/night
  • 24315 Pedernales Drive, Spicewood, 512-843-5253, livingwatersonlaketravis.com
Posted in News
June 3, 2019

3 Nonlazy Reasons to Skip Remodeling Before You Sell

Are you fretting over the condition of your home as you get ready to put it on the market?  Smooth out those concerns by playing it cool and give yourself the following advice:

  1. You can’t read your buyers’ minds! Never assume you know what can drive a potential sale!  Think twice before splurging!
  2. Cheap renovations equal a cheap look. If you throw something together that’s not high-quality, potential buyers will notice.  Also, seldomly does a renovation increase the value of the property enough to offset the costs. In fact, it could be a negative to a buyer that may view it as another project to be redone.
  3. Slippery slope of projects: First it’s the floor. Then the counter tops.  Then the cabinets.  Then the light fixtures. And then the sink.  It can go on and on.  Buyers may negotiate to have things fixed, but it’s better than spending a week before listing your home doing all the projects you meant to do for the last 5 years.  This can also lead to things being done cheaply and quickly.
Posted in Home Selling Tips
May 20, 2019

Why the 2019 Housing Market Could Be Stronger Than Predicted

Mortgage rates have remained lower than realtor.com® economists predicted at the end of last year and that’s leading many to expect a more robust market this year despite a slowdown around the nation. Rates of around 5.5% were anticipated but so far this year they’ve stayed close to 4%. 

While a 1% difference may not seem like a lot, it can be more than $100 difference in the monthly payment on an average-priced home. Which can add up to tens of thousands of dollars savings over the life of the loan.

Despite this, Chief Economist Danielle Hale of realtor.com says "it's still going to be a lukewarm year for the housing market.” 

The market has slowed down due in part to sellers anticipating a downturn in prices and rushing to put their homes on the market in the last few years. Unfortunately, this happened at the same time many buyers became wary of those same high prices. The abundance of supply led to lower price growth and fewer home sales.

The upside for sellers, but downside for buyers, is that this is set to continue. Prices are expected to rise more than Hale's team originally thought, around 2.9%, in 2019. Since many buyers are currently motivated by low mortgage rates, demand should continue to increase prices.

"We're going to see higher prices and slightly higher home sales than we expected. But sales are still going to decline slightly as a result of the housing slowdown. There's a gap between what sellers are looking for and buyers are hoping to pay," said Hale. Though the market will always vary based on local conditions. "In some markets there’s still not enough housing available, so buyers are likely to find a competitive market," she says. "But in some markets prices are so high that buyers are choosing to be patient and sit on the sidelines."

Posted in News
May 6, 2019

Sustainable Landscape Ideas from Design Pros

Planning on renovating your lawn or garden? Check out these tips from landscape professionals that will help you make your space more Earth-friendly.

  • If you are adding plants, try and incorporate some that are pollinator friendly. In Texas we have many native flower, tree and shrub varieties to choose from. A quick trip to your local nursery and you can get all the help you need in selecting and cultivating a garden that blooms throughout the year for our bees and butterflies.
  • On that same note, try and reduce or eliminate your use of pesticides. Though they can be a quick fix, they a very harmful to beneficial insects and your pets. Plus, there are a lot of all-natural remedies to explore instead.
  • When choosing hardscape materials for walkways and patios use permeable options as often as possible. This helps to keeps rainwater on-site, allowing your soil to soak it up. This leads to healthier gardens that require less watering.
  • Harvesting rainwater can also help you save money on your watering bill. Though before you go out and buy a rain barrel and connect it to your gutter system remember to check your local laws regarding them. Your county, city and/or homeowner’s association may have restrictions in place that limit or forbid their use.
  • Setting up a compost bin is a great way to put your clippings and food scraps to work for your garden. Fully broken-down compost contains vital nutrients for your soil and helps plants to stay healthy and strong without the use of synthetic supplements.
  • Remember; healthy soil = healthy gardens.
  • If you’d like a more hands-off approach to the upkeep, consider leaving a section to grow wild. This is great for a more naturalistic landscape but can also serve as a wildlife corridor for animals to eat, rest and find shelter as they move throughout urban areas. You can also reclaim part of your lawn by adding native plants, grasses and rocks and allowing them to grow wild from there.

No matter how you choose to cultivate your outdoor space we hope you will support local nurseries and help out our native species. Try and be mindful and wherever possible use local and reusable materials.

 

Posted in Garden Tips
April 15, 2019

Make Sure You Read This Before Buying New Plants

Are you or your clients thinking about adding plant life to your home and yard but you’re not quite sure how to go about it? Here are a few tips that can help make the neighbors green with envy:

First, have a plan before you buy your new plants. Where you choose to plant your new greenery is as important as anything. Will the plant get full sun, partial sun, or mostly shade? Plants that face the west usually get the hottest, fullest amount of sunlight. Eastern facing plants get that milder morning sun with afternoon shade while southern facing plants usually receive an even amount of sun all day. It is also very important to know how much room your plants will have to grow and the type of soil you have. Plants are often choosy about all these variables.

Having a plan leads to my next point: read the label of the plants you want to buy. The label will usually give you all the information you need including the plant name, how much space it needs, when it will bloom, how much sun it needs, and how often you will need to water it. If not, do a quick online search to see if the plant is compatible with your home.

Staying away from impulse buys is also important. The first pretty plant you walk by in the store is often not the one that’s best for your home. Do your research and stick to your plan to ensure you’re buying the best plant for you. Also, choose buds over blossoms. Buying flowers that have fully bloomed during their stay at the nursery will minimize the amount of bloom season you get to enjoy at home!

Lastly, knowing the signs of an unhealthy plant can help prevent disappointing results. Always do your best to leave the nursery with the best quality plants possible. Warning signs include:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Plants that have become root-bound in their containers
  • Pests or disease (check for normal indicators like spots or blotches on leaves)
  • Weeds (just pull them out before planting)
  • Wilting leaves (usually from a lack of water)

Adding flowers and other plants to your yard can give your home a brand-new feel. If you decide you are ready to spruce up your yard, following these tips can help you have the prettiest yard on the block. Good luck!

Posted in Garden Tips
April 1, 2019

How Much Home Staging Can Pay Off for Sellers

As we enter our busy season, it will be important for us to use every advantage possible to ensure a quick and smooth transaction for our clients. One way for that to happen is to properly stage your listing. We talked with one of our preferred vendors, Stephanie Parker with Studio 12 Austin, about just how important that aspect of the process is.

ROG-Prosper: Stephanie, does home staging pay off, and if so, why?

Stephanie, Studio 12: Yes! It’s proven that homes that are staged sell faster and for more money. When I work with you, the goal is to always provide both of those results for your client.

ROG-P: Are there rooms in the house that are more important than others to stage?

S: When I work with realtors with occupied homes, I always suggest that we stage the entire house. In order to reach our goals, it is best to hit the market with a home that gives the best representation of its potential from the very beginning. Kitchens and master bathrooms sell homes, but I am a proponent of staging the entire home.

ROG-P: What advice do you give in terms of décor on walls, on countertops, etc.?

S: Depersonalize your home as much as possible! You want a potential buyer to feel like they are walking into THEIR new home, not yours. Color and warmth are very important via art or whatever is on the walls and countertops, but photos of your family on vacation are not the best way to make someone feel like they have just stepped foot into their own new home. You must strike a balance between being too cold or empty and having a warm, colorful feeling in the house. We’ll make sure there is something, even if it’s small, on every countertop or something on the wall in the hallway and rooms. Taste-specific looks can be a turnoff, so try to stay neutral in that regard.

ROG-P: What about vacant homes?

S: I will always stage the living room in a vacant home, but it is also very important to stage small rooms. Sometimes it is difficult to visualize where furniture would go in a small room like a bedroom, so I suggest staging it to give a potential buyer a clear picture instead of having them just imagine what the room could look like.

ROG-P: If a client says they have limited funds for updates, what rooms do you suggest get those updates?

S: Invest in the kitchen and master bathroom. Updates in those two rooms will return the most bang for your buck when selling your home!

If you have any questions about home staging, please call Stephanie with Studio 12 Austin at 512-576-1676 and she will be happy to help you!

Posted in Home Selling Tips
March 18, 2019

Most Sought After Features & Home Trends of 2019

The National Association of Home Builders recently released their 2019 report on home trends and buyer preferences. Somewhat unsurprisingly it revealed that buyers could live without elevators, wine cellars, plant-covered rooftops and pet washing stations in their new homes. But what did the 4000 people surveyed say was the most important feature they were looking for? A good laundry room. Behind that in popularity were energy efficient windows and appliances, outdoor patios and ceiling fans.

The report also looked at other statistics. When asked about desired location, 64% of shoppers said they want to live in the suburbs. That preference, according to Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, is because they “offer a better possibility of getting a larger home—necessary for growing families.” Next in popularity is rural areas, 24%, while only 11% wish to live in cities. 

As for type of dwelling, the single-family home is preferred by 77% of buyers, with 13% opting for townhouses and 4% each for condos/ apartments and manufactured homes. Though no matter where they live, they want to be close to restaurants and shopping options.

More buyers are wanting an area dedicated to addressing their soiled clothes, but other areas of the home are important too. Remodeling their kitchen is at the top of the list for many homeowners. “Kitchens will continue to be the hub of the home” and owners are spending a lot of money to make them a “showpiece,” says Nino Sitchinava, chief economist at Houzz. 

According to research, the transitional-style kitchen is the hottest right now. Which blends traditional concepts with more modern components. Other popular styles are contemporary, which Sitchinava says integrates "a pop of slightly more industrial features,” and the farmhouse style made popular in part by shows on HGTV. Remodelers have also been opening kitchens to the outdoors more frequently using large windows and glass doors.

Many homeowners are opting for ceramic and porcelain tile floors, but hardwood, engineered wood, vinyl and laminate are all chosen frequently. Stone countertops are still very popular but engineered quartz has surpassed granite as number one because of its durability, despite the price tag. White cabinets are “in”, but homeowners are more often selecting creamy, off-white shades. Though more traditional wood cabinets are still highly desired. 

Another hot trend is redoing the master bathroom to create a more luxurious private retreat. Contemporary style bathrooms are still number one, but farmhouse and traditional looks are not far behind. According to Houzz research more people are updating cabinets, fixtures and colors in ways that complement the bedroom. Some are even removing the doors and opening the space to create one continuous room. Though Sitchinava did add that there is usually still a small toilet room for some measure of privacy.

Posted in Home Improvement
March 4, 2019

Fantastic Blooms Set For Spring 2019

Living in Central Texas you are almost obligated to take cute family photos in lush fields of bluebonnets. Heck, most of the state’s spring visitors do it too. Whether it’s your yearly tradition or your first time, local horticulturists are saying 2019 should be a great year for bluebonnets. 

The blooms are a bit early this year, with their peak normally coming in the “first couple of weeks in April,” said Julie Marcus, senior horticulturist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It should be a very good year for the bluebonnets in Texas, because of the rainy and unusually warm winter we’ve experienced. “They like sunshine, … it will make them pop, it will push them into bloom.”

We’ve had a couple cold fronts recently but that shouldn’t affect the flowers too much. As Marcus puts it; “they’re conditioned for the extremes of hot and cold” in Texas. “I’ve seen the bluebonnets with ice on them and it just melts and they pop back up.”

Michael Eason, head of the rare plant conservation department at the San Antonio Botanical Garden and author of Wildflowers of Texas, a Timber Press field guide, agrees. “The [bluebonnets] are pretty well adapted to the weird changes we have in our weather.” “If they were in full bloom, they may have been nipped but for the most part, they should survive it unscathed,” he said. “We’re going to have one of those banner years I believe just from all the rosettes.”

Many people may not know that there are multiple species of bluebonnets in Texas, though they are all collectively the state flower. The “Lupinus texensis” is the most common and recognizable to those around the Austin area, but the blooms this year are going to be historically large across all six species in the state according to both Marcus and Eason. Especially in Big Bend National Park, where the “Lupinus havardii” could have “the best bloom that’s occurred in 30 years,” Eason said.

So grab the camera and matching outfits, and go cruise some backroads to find the perfect spot! Though do take caution to check before jumping in as you may disturb some of our not so friendly area reptiles.

 

Posted in News