The Austin housing market is on fire! Here are three tips for both buyers and sellers.
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I was working from home full-time when my husband got a job offer here last fall. We lived in the Pflugerville area before and thought it would be an easy transition from Houston back to Austin. While the decision to move back was easy, we were not prepared for Austin’s competitive housing market. That’s why we reached out to Michele Scott, Broker and Owner of a local real estate group for help.
Inventory is low and prices are up in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell counties. “As a result, competition among buyers rise and more bidding wars take place, making it a lucrative time for sellers”, says Michele.
Since February the home sales price increased by 24.3% driving the median home price up to a record high of $491,000.
I asked Michele to share her top three tips for both buyers and sellers.
TIPS FOR BUYERS
- Don’t wait to buy.
Michele recommends buying what you can now even if it doesn’t have everything you want then using the equity to upgrade to your dream home later. “Our housing inventory is extremely low which means we will see steady price increases for years to come. If buyers wait, they may also have higher interest rates which could diminish their buying power.” She expects demand to remain high as companies continue to move jobs the Greater Austin area.
- Act Fast with your “highest and best”.
According to Michele, paying less than the asking price in today’s market is highly unlikely. Sellers are asking for your “highest and best” offer. “In short, consider yourself in an auction where you need to submit your strongest possible offer, as you may not get another opportunity. Your real estate agent will be able to provide the best advice on how to make a competitive offer, which will likely include flexible move-in dates, a higher price, and/or minimal contingencies.”
- Get pre-qualified first.
Michele suggest getting a lender pre-qualification letter to better understand your buying power and let potential sellers know that you are serious. “One of the very first steps in the buying process is to get pre-qualified with a trusted lender. While interest rates are on the rise, they are still at historic lows.”
TIPS FOR SELLERS
- Price it right.
Although the market is competitive Michele notes it is still important not to overprice your home. “Those properties that are priced competitively will sell faster and attract multiple offers. Competition from buyers gives you the best opportunity to get terms that work for you.”
- Wait to renovate.
Michele recommends consulting with a realtor before making any renovations. “A Realtor can advise on what to focus on, and if updates are necessary, they can also provide a list of recommended contractors. In many instances, sellers can focus on these three things: 1) de-cluttering, 2) deep cleaning and 3) lighting (letting in as much natural light as possible and making sure all interior and exterior lights are working).”
- Marketing and Staging are still crucial.
Even in a competitive market, Michele notes that professional marketing is still important. “With so many buyers relocating into the Austin area, it’s imperative to have a strong online presence. That means, high-quality professional photos, virtual 3D walk-through tours and professional staging. The goal is to create an immediate emotional connection with prospective buyers.”
I appreciate Michele’s expertise and guidance as we navigated the Austin housing market. She helped us go to battle in two different bidding wars and finally land a home for our family of six that had almost everything we wanted plus a few extras.
Whether you are a first time home buyer or a mom looking to up size or downsize, I hope these tips help you better navigate the current Austin housing market.