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.

Nov. 1, 2018

Fannie Mae Revising Forecast Upwards For Rates

Fannie Mae Chief Economist, Doug Duncan, was interviewed by Scotsman Guide News at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention and let them know what's been on his mind and the outlook for the mortgage industry.

The mortgage industry has been facing some tough times, but is there any reason to be optimistic?

The short answer is no. It's going to be difficult because rates are going up. There are multiple reasons that rates are rising. The economy is growing stronger than people had thought and that is putting pressure on rates. Also the Fed is tightening and we expect them to continue that trend. Third, the Treasury market is going to have to fund the size of the deficit adding to the size of the debt. This puts upward pressure on rates. In the mortgage realm, the competition you're seeing now is because of the decline in refinances is leading lenders to narrow spreads in order to compete to try and stay in business.

Eventually those spreads will widen back out to normal profit levels once "players" start to leave the industry. So if you're looking for an environment where rates are not going up, it's just not going to be very realistic for the next couple of years.

The long answer is, if you're in the business to finance the purchase of homes that people want to live in, it's a good business to be in because the population is ever growing! There is no change in the attitude about owning a home. It's a generational thing and there are more Millenials than Baby Boomers now. So, 90% of Millennials say they eventually want to own a home. Long answer, yes be optimistic. Short answer, it's going to be a tough market.

Is there anything significant about the 30-year fixed rate crossing the 5% threshold?

If you look at the 30-year fixed rate from WWII to the year 2000, it averaged 6% (if you take out the high inflation rate in the 70's). If you look at it that way, 5% is still a full 100 basis points under the long-term average of what that rate would be. That being said, people only see a 5% place as a negative since we're used to a 3.5% to 3.75% rate for the past five or six years. You have to keep the long term picture in mind.

This rise in interest rate has clearly been paired with the strong house-price appreciation to slow the market down. You'll see that total home sales in 2018 is less than total sales in 2017. I predict that 2019 will be pretty flat compared to 2018. Household income is just going to have to adjust to the higher level of interest rates. In our view, 2017 will be seen as the peak pace of price appreciation. It doesn't mean that prices are falling in 2018, just that they are not rising as fast. Same for 2019.

What do you think the big story of the next 12 months is going to be?

It all depends on how far the Fed goes. One of the things about the tax bill that was passed is that many of its provisions expire. The Republicans in the House passed some extenders to make some of the components permanent, but it was nto addressed in the Senate. These tax cuts will come to an end at some point unless the Congress elects to make them permanent. This all stems around the election and people should include the election in their list of risks to think about when doing planning for their companies.

Posted in Mortgage Tips
Oct. 14, 2018

5 Tips on Creating Your Own Modern Farmhouse Style

Imagine yourself snuggling up in an over-sized chair with a soft blanket over your legs as you flip through the latest Pinterest boards from Elle Decor. The last bit of day seeps in through the windows and casts itself over the hardwood floors and across the rug. Then there's the smell of rich oatmeal cookies baking in the oven. Is there a place you would rather be?

This is how we envision modern farmhouse - a style that encompasses sophistication and casual comfort. Rooms you can actually live in and homes that have a rich history and theme. Here are five tips that will allow you to create your own Modern Farmhouse style.

1. Display some history in the room. Whether it's an older item you've put some work into or a brand new item with a weathered vibe, build that foundation for a farmhouse design style with rustic wood pieces that feel a bit time-worn. Vintage items or items that have a family history work best when it comes to decorating with a personal touch. Make sure you have a themed color pallet so that everything ties together.

2. Think open, bright and spacious. One of the best things about the Modern Farmhouse look is the feeling of space. Lots of natural light with plenty of white and cream paint colors to keep it inviting and elegant. Displaying accessories in a minimal way shows off the modern vibe while warm wood tones help keep the space from feeling to sterile. Don't opt for heavy window coverings and instead go for delicate fabrics or blinds that can be pulled to the window top. Remember: Modern Farmhouse design style is meant to have the feeling of being out in the wide open country, so keep it simple.

3. Change out standard knobs for traditional hardware. This is one of the smallest but most effective ways to give furniture an upgrade. You can shop flea markets or consignment shops for good finds. Keep brushed metal hardware in mind in brass, copper or nickel. Also, don't be afraid to mix and match finishes for a more authentic look.

4. Don't be afraid of color! The typical Modern Farmhouse style features soft whites, creams and natural tones. Having a splash of color around can be the perfect way to add some contrast to the scene. Bright pillow patterns or a colorful flower pot can add variety and natural elements. Accent chairs with throws can also provide balance to the creamy colors. If you have large vintage pieces of furniture, those are even better and can add full color to enhance the eclectic feel.

5. Look overhead. If you've purchased a new construction home or have recently remodeled, you may lack the style and character you'd find in an older home. When creating the Modern Farmhouse style, remember that crown moldings, faux exposed beams and ceiling medallions give the room a historic feel and can counter act even the most cookie-cutter spaces. There's also rustic pendant lighting or modern it up with a chandelier to balance out the farmhouse feel.

These are all just suggested beginnings! For more Modern Farmhouse inspiration, check out Amanda Rickman, one of our very own agents, on Instagram @fourleggedfarmhouse

Posted in Home Improvement
Oct. 1, 2018

It Pays to Be a Homeowner: How Much Equity Shot Up in Just One Year

It really pays to be a homeowner – you wouldn’t believe how much actually!

Nationally, the average homeowner with a mortgage saw their equity shoot up by nearly $16,200 in the past year alone, according to CoreLogic. That is basically a 12.3% annual increase which is thanks to the fast-rising home prices across the country!

“It’s good news if you’re an existing homeowner. … You can certainly use that additional wealth as collateral you could borrow against if you’re looking to make some home improvements,” says CoreLogic’s chief economist, Frank Nothaft. “But it’s probably not good news if you’re in the market looking to buy.”

Folks who were homeowners on the West Coast accrued even more equity. In just one year, those who were homeowners in California gained an average of $48,800 in home equity! Definitely the most in the country.

“The first half of 2018 was probably the most ferocious market since the year 2000 in terms of buyer demand, competition between buyers, and overbidding,” says Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst of the Bay Area for the real estate firm Compass.

More homes are expected to go on the market there this Fall, and that will check the prices somewhat. If buyers have more inventory to choose from then prices are less likely to be driven up in bidding wars.

“There does come a limit on what people can afford to pay for a home,” Carlisle says.

The Golden State was followed by Washington, where average home equity was up $41,100; Nevada, at $32,193; Hawaii, at $29,565; and Massachusetts, at $23,527.

But in three states, equity actually fell—by $1,078 in Louisiana, $910 in Connecticut, and $773 in North Dakota. The other bottom states were Oklahoma, where equity rose an average of just $2,226, and Iowa, at $4,386.

Nationally, 4.3% of homes, or about 2.2 million properties, were underwater in the second quarter of this year. That percentage is down 20.1% year over year.

Posted in Homeowner Tips
Sept. 17, 2018

We're Hiring! Do You Qualify?

Realty ONE Group Prosper began with one woman's conviction that the Real Estate industry was in need of change, and her vision for how things should and could be done better. Karlyn Ellis, joined by Jody Celum and Chad Hardin, created Realty ONE Group Prosper in Buda, TX and grew it to a new office in Austin, TX during the Fall of 2018. From the outset was an understanding that success could not be achieved by one team alone. What was needed was the help of like-minded people who would share a passion for new direction, be prepared for new challenges, bring new ideas to the table, and come together with a positive and optimistic disposition. This is where we need YOU! As a real estate professional, you're essentially a small business owner and we have the support and tools to help you achieve financial freedom instead of being a self employed survivor.

Who Are You?

  • Someone who has an active license in the state of Texas.
  • A motivated individual who wants to build a future for themselves in the real estate industry.
  • Someone who enjoys working with people that have a diverse background.
  • Someone who strives to build up your own business but still wants to be a part of a team!
  • Someone with excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • A negotiator who can guide clients through a complicated process, using your skills and knowledge to make it low stress.
  • Someone with a flexible schedule. You will be flexing around your client's schedule!

What We Will Provide:

  • An accessible Broker and several Owners who want to listen to you
  • 24/7 support
  • Full-time Marketing Director and Director of Agent Development who will help coach you and hone your skill set.
  • Mentorship program for new agents
  • Office in Buda with drop-in desks, color printer, conference room to meet clients and monthly happy hours
  • Top technical tools to empower you and make your job easier

Compensation:

100% Commission with a manageable transaction fee and low monthly tech fees.

Realty ONE Group Recognition:

  • #1 fastest growing real estate brand in the nation
  • #5 nationwide ranked by Real Trends
  • Fortune 500 company
  • 145 offices in 35 states
  • 100% debt free

How To Apply:

Fill out my online form.
Online contact and registration forms from Wufoo.

Posted in News
Sept. 3, 2018

7 of the Craziest Roommate Wanted Ads. Ever!

Let’s be honest, finding a roommate can be a challenging task. In the best-case scenario, you’ll end up living with someone who becomes your best friend! Worst case you’ll end up signing a lease with an epic strange person.

Usually the best horrible roommate stories don’t happen until after you move in. But in the case of these “roommate wanted” ads, the strangeness starts happening from the get-go!

Check out some of these crazy wanted ads. If reading these doesn’t make you happy that you no longer have to live with roommates or spurs you to look at buying a house of your own, we don’t know what will.

Click the Craigslist ads to see the original post in full.

STEELERS FANS ONLY


LIVING IN THE “HUGE” BATHROOM


HOG HEAVEN?


MUST LOVE NATURE


POINTS FOR CREATIVITY


“THE HIVE IS LOCATED IN THE LIVING ROOM”

 


“I JUST WANT YOUR RENT MONEY”

Posted in News
Aug. 15, 2018

Are You Under-Insured This Hurricane Season?

Many folks in Hays and Travis county, as well as the rest of the US, are inadequately insured for natural-catastrophe damage ahead of the height of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Last year we had three major landfalling hurricanes, the one affecting Texas the most being Hurricane Harvey. These storms served as a wake-up call to some but the under-insurance persists, according to regulators, trade groups and government data.

While most people have home insurance, many lack flood insurance. They also have home-insurance policy limits that are too low to cover the full cost of repairing or rebuilding their properties. We interviewed one of our preferred vendors, Jesse Miller with Goosehead Insurance, about this tragic fact.

“What more people don’t understand is that everyone has a floodplain rating for their house so technically everyone is in a floodplain of some kind. Construction can change drainage areas and so that can affect flooding too.”

The Houston area that was devastated by flooding after Harvey had about a 70% flood-related damage area that wasn’t covered by insurance. Even for wind damage, which is typically covered under home policies, some people were frustrated to find that their insurance wouldn’t pay. That being said, according to Jesse Miller, “wind/hail damage covers what would happen if a tropical storm hit our area. The chance of a hurricane hitting Travis or Hays county is so rare. We have the cheapest rates in Central Texas (typically between $300-$400 a year) just because of our weather patterns compared to other parts of Texas (i.e. Houston and flooding or Dallas and hail). In our area there is no supplemental coverage needed because the main coverage from an insurance agency will cover what’s needed.”

So while Houston was severely under-insured, the good news is your Central Texans are, on average, adequately covered. At least for wind damage. “Yes most are under-insured for flood but not as many for wind because it’s included in the general policy. By and large most have good coverage across the board and it’s rare that I come across someone who is severely under-insured. Sometimes what I do come across are coverage that can be added to the general plan to cover unique items or things about the house (i.e. water backup, water under foundation, water seepage, mold, pet liability, jewelry, “toys” etc).” says Jesse.

Jesse did not have any clients that were not paid out for Hurricane Harvey expenses. “Most broke even if not over compensated.” Jesse warns his clients that you don’t want to jump to making a claim if you can help it. “I’m not one of those kind of agents that will try to up-sell insurance. Once you start filing these claims your rate goes up. If you can fix it yourself, you should try to.”

In summary, Texas coastal regions remain largely under-insured compared to most Central Texans. If you’re worried about what kind of tropical storm coverage you have, contact your home insurance company. Not happy with your policy coverage? Meet with your real estate agent to get connected to a reputable one that can provide the service you need.

Posted in News
Aug. 1, 2018

Hays CISD School Zone Updates

New Elementary School Boundary Map Takes Effect

The new elementary school attendance zone boundary map takes effect this school year. The map was redrawn last November to create a new attendance zone for Uhland Elementary School, which opens in August, and to help alleviate current or projected overcrowding at some campuses. The exact changes are depicted on the approved attendance zone map (the enlarged version of the map above) and listed by campus online in English and Spanish. Double check your address online using the street-by-street attendance zone directory or view more attendance zone information and maps on the attendance zone webpage.

HS Attendance Map Rezoning to Take Place This Fall

Johnson High School will open in August 2019. To create an attendance zone map for the campus, the Board of Trustees is expected to empanel an attendance zone committee in August, according to the rules in Hays CISD policy that govern attendance zone changes. The first draft map options are expected to be published in late September after the attendance zone committee has reviewed the starting-point maps and made adjustments. At least two public forums are required during the process to change attendance zones. Look for more information about the forums and the process in your email, on the district website, and on district social media. Once dates and information associated with the upcoming process are set, the information will be published. The Board could vote as early as November or December on the new high school attendance zone maps. The new maps would take effect in August 2019 and not affect this school year.

NOTE: This information comes from the Hays CISD Back to School Newsletter & Tip Sheet 2018 – 2019.

Posted in News
July 15, 2018

Things To Do in Buda/Kyle This Summer

Buda and Kyle have so many fun places and activities to enjoy with the whole family. Whether you enjoy outdoor or indoor activities there’s bound to be something that you will enjoy.

If you enjoy outdoor activities you will absolutely love historic Stagecoach Park. The beautiful park is actually two parks combined into one and it sits on a total of 54 acres. There is a fantastic covered playground for little ones to enjoy. It is even complete with private pavilions and amphitheaters for the public to rent out. You are able to experience Buda’s history when strolling through Stagecoach Park.

Something that the whole family would enjoy is going to Pinballz Kingdom which is an Austin original. Pinballz Kingdom has more than just an arcade. It has a bar that is perfect for a date night a delicious dinner menu. You will begin your old school arcade experience as soon as you walk through the doors of Pinballz Kingdom. Don’t let the name fool you there are more than just pinball games at Pinballz Kingdom. There are tons of new arcade style games there too. You can even hold events at Pinballz Kingdom and it’s the perfect place to hold a birthday celebration or go on a date night.

On the second Saturday of each month starting in April the city of Kyle hosts Kyle Market Days. The market go on all summer long and ends in September. Not only can you shop but you can enjoy the popular local musicians while you shop. The market is open from 9am to 1pm. You can find produce, antiques, art, collectible, crafts, and garage-sale items at the market.

Buda has a Farmer’s Market similar to Kyle’s Market Days that starts in May and goes until October, on Sundays, 10am to 2pm at 308 South Main Street in the Buda Mill and Grain Co. parking lot. This market strives to provide visitors with the freshest, highest quality and most nutritious local goods. It’s a place where producers, artisans and farmers can gather. You can support these local vendors while enjoying love music from local musicians as well!

EVO Entertainment is very popular among the locals. You can bowl, watch movies, and play games at EVO Entertainment. There is also a great full service bar and eatery called Hardihood. They serve mouth watering appetizers, burgers, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and desserts. Some of the games you will find at EVO Entertainment include ski ball, Down the Clown, the Big Wheel, and many more.

When you are in the Buda or Kyle area make sure to stop by one of these great places to enjoy some quality family time.

Posted in News
July 6, 2018

Outdoor Features That Increase Home Prices

Are you planning to list your house this summer? If so you should consider adding summer oriented amenities to not only increase the value of your home but to also make it more desirable to buyers. The outdoor home additions that would give you the most return on investment are an outdoor shower, barbecue station, and a fire pit. It could possibly increase your home’s value by 10% when compared to a similar listing.

The biggest return on investment would be to add an outdoor shower to your home before you list it. This of course being especially true when the home is on waterfront, like a lake or beach to wash off the dirt or sand from yourself. Realtor.com’s research shows that homes with an outdoor shower saw a 97% price-per-square-foot premium. In addition, homes with a unique feature such as an outdoor shower can turn into a special listing which makes it more desirable to prospective buyers.

When you picture summer you probably envision sitting around a firepit or shooting the breeze while cooking on a grill. 

Adding a firepit area or a barbecue station would be less expensive way to add a summer amenity to your home in-place of an outdoor shower. Homes with an outdoor barbecue station typically see a 26% premium while homes with homes with an outdoor firepit see a 25% premium. Adding any one of these outdoor amenities will help make your home even more desirable to prospective buyer while on the market.

Posted in Home Improvement
June 18, 2018

5 Tips on How to Decorate Your Home When You Have Young Kids

If you’re interested in kid-friendly ideas when it comes to decorating your home, try to do a little “thought experiment” for a moment. Imagine that a very upset Hulk just got his little hands on the piece of décor you want to display. Does it survive? If losing that item would affect your emotional well-being and your pocketbook, perhaps consider something a little less sentimental or expensive.If you’re interested in kid-friendly ideas when it comes to decorating your home, try to do a little “thought experiment” for a moment. Imagine that a very upset Hulk just got his little hands on the piece of décor you want to display. Does it survive? If losing that item would affect your emotional well-being and your pocketbook, perhaps consider something a little less sentimental or expensive.

Here are some kid-friendly decorating ideas that have resulted in fewer headaches for homeowners:

1. Imagine the life of an item before you purchase it. Before you purchase any new home decor take a second to imagine how you would feel if it were to be broken or ruined. Would it break your heart a little? Would it hurt your wallet a lot? If you said yes to either of those two questions you should put the item back. You don’t want to have too many items if any at all that would really upset you if they were destroyed. Little ones somehow manage to break even the things that are said to be unbreakable. Don’t let your home decor be too precious or expensive that it’s irreplaceable.

2. Avoid any and all light colored rugs especially white! When you think of kids you probably imagine their cute little smiling faces and tiny hands. You probably also think of all the messes that kids create and that definitely includes spills. If you are thinking about getting a rug for your home you want to stay clear of any that are light colored and especially if they are white. The ideal rug colors to purchase are dark red and brown. Those colors will hid any spills and stains the best.

3. Pass on any expensive breakables. Kids are notorious for breaking things. They don’t always mean to break things but it’s just in their nature. You don’t want to have any breakable home decor items within a little ones reach. It’s best to put away all breakables until your little one is older but if you still want to keep some breakables out you should keep them up high and out of the sight of little ones.

4. Don’t buy anything that can’t be wiped clean. When you purchase a home decor item or even just rearrange your home decor only have items out that can easily be wiped clean. Little ones love to look at things with their hands instead of their eyes. They leave little finger prints on whatever they touch so if all of your home decor is able to be cleaned by just simply wiping it off it will make your life so much easier.

5. If something has a lot of nooks and crannies pass on it for now. Little ones are messy eaters especially when they are still learning how to feed themselves. It can even look like a food fight when on around them. When food goes flying you never really know where it may land so its best to have most of your home decor be made up of smooth surfaces. Smooth surfaces are easy to clean and also easy to sanitize. Little ones will eat off of any surface so being able to quickly and easily sanitize an area is almost crucial when little kids are around.

Posted in Home Maintenance