Real Estate Blog

Two data sources compiled the latest information about home sales and values in the Austin market and suggests some plateauing in what had been a longstanding upward sales trajectory.

The Austin Board of Realtors said sales in July dropped 3 percent compared with the same month in 2013, marking the first dip in velocity since May 2011. Still, median and average prices for homes sold increased in July to $250,000 up 9 percent compared to a year ago. The average home price in July was $318,856, 7 percent more than a year ago.

Zillow, the national internet real estate portal and brokerage, surveys all home stock within various submarkets. That company pegs the median home value of all houses in the Austin market at $216,900, reflecting a 13.4 percent

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 Austin is currently experiencing a hot real estate market, with many potential buyers not requiring much of sellers when purchasing their property.  Despite this reality, if you are considering selling your home, consider these following tips to help ensure you receive top dollar for your property:

1)   Talk with a Pro:  First impressions matter.  Therefore, you want potential buyers to have a great first impression of your home.  Accordingly, consider consulting with a realtor or interior designer to do a quick review of your property.  Although it may only result in a few small suggestions (ie: repositioning some furniture, adding color to a room, scrapping outdated designs/materials), it is the small things that matter.  Fortunately, many of these

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You have probably heard the phrase, “it is ten-times harder to hold onto wealth than it is to create it.”  Fortunately for homeowners, the Internal Revenue Code provides homeowners with a tremendous tax break designed to help homeowners hold onto the wealth generated from the sale of their primary residence.  This is great news for Austinites looking to sell in Austin’s hot real estate market. 

Specifically, Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that an individual can exclude up to $250,000 (if you are not married) and $500,000 (if you are married) of capital gain upon the sale of their primary residence.  For example, if a married couple purchased their primary residence for $200,000 and later sold it for $600,000, (realizing a $400,000

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In today’s litigious society, the threat of being sued is an increasing reality.  As a result, individuals go to great lengths to protect their real estate assets by utilizing insurance policies and limited liability companies.  For most Austinites, their primary residence represents their greatest real estate asset.  As a result, the question is often asked: Should an individual transfer their primary residence into a LLC for asset protection purposes?  Surprisingly, the answer is likely no and here are some of the reasons why: 

1)   Capital Gain Exclusion – Section 121 of the Internal Revenue Code provides that an individual can generally exclude up to $250,000 (if you are not married) and $500,000 (if you are married) of capital gain upon the sale

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Zillow will continue to operate two separate websites, where consumers can search listings of homes for sale. Zillow and Trulia together attract more than 130 million visitors a month.

Both companies post detailed listings of homes for sale, and charge agents to post their names alongside their listings. Some agent teams spend $20,000 a month with Zillow, Trulia, or both.

Still the websites' revenue only add up to about 4% of the $12 billion the real estate industry spends on marketing via newspaper and television ads, billboards, direct mail and the like. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff sees an opportunity to capture more of those marketing dollars via mobile.

"Mobile is becoming the medium of choice for home shopping," said Rascoff.


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Fixed mortgage rates have been gradually decreasing over the last five weeks.  As a result, persons with existing mortgages may be asking themselves, is now a good time to refinance?  While nobody knows what the future holds or where interest rates may be in the future, the recent decrease in interest rates may signal a good time for homeowners looking to refinance.  As a result, homeowners looking to refinance should consider the following three things (at a minimum) when determining whether refinancing is right for them.  1) What is the term on their present loan (ie: interest rate, outstanding mortgage balance amount and repayment schedule)?; 2) What are the terms on new loans being considered (ie: interest rate and repayment schedule)?; and 3) What

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There is no question that the use of LLCs in association with the acquisition and management of real estate have become increasingly popular, and for good reason.  After all, who doesn’t like having their liability exposure limited when entering into a business venture.  While no question exists regarding the importance of using LLCs, questions do exist as to which LLCs should be used.  Specifically, in which state or states should a person create their LLCs in order to obtain the best liability protections (ie: Texas, Delaware, Nevada, California, etc.)?  While the complete answer to this question is outside the scope of this article, this article will highlight several important factors to be considered. 

Generally, the best states to form a LLC will

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As the summer temperature heats up in Austin, so to is the debate surrounding the recently released Tax Reform Act of 2014 Discussion Draft.  Developed in part to help quell frustrations concerning the US’ complex/confusing tax system, the Discussion Draft’s proposals could have a major impact on Texas’ real estate market.  Although it is unlikely that any changes will occur in 2014, given it’s an election year, drastic change could be on the horizon.

As set forth in the Discussion Draft, two advantageous real estate tax provisions are scheduled to be reduced or eliminated, namely:

  • Mortgage Interest Deduction:  Currently, taxpayers are able to claim an itemized deduction for qualifying mortgage debt up to $1 million.  However, under the proposed
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Its safe to say that Austin’s real estate market is hot right now.  As a result, investors are jumping into the market to not only take advantage of Austin’s increasing property values but its rental rates as well.  Fortunately for real estate investors, US tax law provides investors with the ability to reduce their gross rental income tax liability.  Specifically, the owner of a rental property can deduct the money they spend on their rental property’s mortgage interest, maintenance, and repairs (to name a few) from the property’s gross rental income before calculating taxable income.  As a result, the property owner’s tax liability can be greatly reduced.  

It is important to note that when analyzing investment properties, careful consideration and

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Owning residential rental properties can be a great way to generate income and accumulate wealth.  However, if you don’t know your tax status you may be costing yourself thousands of dollars in the form of tax deductions.  Specifically, a property owner’s tax status will determine whether (and to what extent) their rental property’s expenses can be deducted.  As a result, determining whether a property owner’s tax status qualifies as an investor or business owner is really important.

As a general statement, a residential rental property owner can qualify as a “business owner” if they operate their rental property(s) to earn a profit and work with their rental properties regularly, systematically and continuously.  Conversely, a rental property owner

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