When working with new buyer clients in Bryan and College Station– especially the first time homebuyers – I usually find myself fielding more than one question about what they should expect as they progress through the process of buying a home. Everyone already knows the big picture, of course, but in many ways it’s dissimilar from other large purchases they are used to making.
What first time homebuyers experience does differ from other purchasing situations. How it does is something the National Association of REALTORS ® seems to have accidentally answered through their latest study of homebuyers and sellers. The NAR was trying to determine what buyers want from their agents. To answer that, they compiled homebuyers’ “five biggest expectations.” To me, these five tell the tale of why we real estate practitioners are considered all but indispensible to this process…why home buying differs from other major purchases. After all, you don’t need an ‘automobile agent’ to help you shop for a new car!
First is the help we provide in finding the right home to purchase. The College Station market is an ever-changing target. Properties arrive and disappear almost daily, and each is uniquely appropriate or not depending on a given purchaser’s (especially first time home buyer’s) needs and expectations. Knowing the details of every qualified home that is currently up for sale in College Station is pretty nearly a full-time job all by itself. Especially for a first time homebuyer, having a knowledgeable pro to provide the legwork is a reassuring place to start.
Once an appealing new home has been found, it’s invaluable to have help in negotiating the price. It’s usually much more comfortable (and likely to succeed) when professionals do the negotiating. They minimize the emotional factors that tend to surface whenever large amounts of money are in discussion. By determining what comparable homes are selling for, your agent gives first time homebuyers (and all homebuyers, for that matter) the most important starting reference point and a reasonable basis from which to proceed.
The same is true when it comes to providing help negotiating the terms of the sale. An experienced professional has been through many sales -- experience that alerts them to many details that are easy to overlook but become major issues in the months and years following the sale.
Assisting with the paperwork is listed last on the NAR’s punch list, but many of my clients tell me that to them, it’s just as important as any of the others. There are many forms, and making sure they are properly understood and executed in the legally required timeframe is always important.
All of these, and more, are reasons why you are well served to select a knowledgeable College Station real estate agent to help you secure the home you are hoping to find. I hope you will give me a call -- whether you are a first time homebuyer or experienced real estate homeowner!
After years of planning the culmination of a dream is beginning here in Aggieland. It will cause big changes in Bryan and College Station Real Estate. The announcement that the biomedical corridor of Research Valley will be one of three areas that are funded for the production and distribution of vaccines in cases of bioterrorism or epidemics is a true game changer.
Though no one knows the full impact yet of this deal it is the largest single grant source to come to Texas since NASA and it's in our own College Station back yard. Amazing to think of! The grant itself should create about 1000 new jobs for our area. In addition to that many other companies are indicating that they would like to come here to work in collaberation with the vaccine center and A&M's Health Science Center. Imagine the amount of new jobs that this whole deal can create. These new jobs will create new demand for College Station and Bryan real estate. Everything from luxury real estate to low end condominiums will be affected as all job levels including new supporting area jobs will be affected.
Eventually because of the scarcity of new home starts in the last few years, we should even have a housing shortage. Your real estate values will be going up quite a bit in all likelihood. What this means immediatly is that those who have been planning on upgrading their current housing situation should pursue that plan sooner as opposed to later. If you can keep your current home and rent it out that is an optimal solution as both your current College Station home and your new College Station home will increase in value. That is the best of both worlds! Even if not, taking advantage of todays interest rates, todays values and todays situation with appraisals that is holding back the growth of real estate in College Station will almost certainly pay off.
Another word to the wise is that anyone who is wanting to venture into investment property in College Station should do it now as opposed to later. Again, the current interest rates, low values and the economic situation around the country will come into play in your favor. With investment properties do keep in mind that is it very hard to have more than 4 mortgages as many banks won't allow it and usually 25% down is required.
For more Bryan and College Station real estate advice call your College Station Real Estate Agent, Chris Tesch! I'll be happy to have a complimentary consultation with you to point out ways that you can optimize your real estate position!
Stop by and see me at my new office right off Earl Rudder Freeway (Highway 6)! I moved effective May 25th and am proudly associated with the Bryan REMAX office, REMAX Select. Offering a refreshing glass of cold ice tea or cup of coffee anytime, always with a smile and Bryan and College Station Real Estate advice! Who knows, maybe you'll even find your new College Station home for sale!
I'm definately looking forward to a new office with our internet cafe for a pleasant chat, or even seeing some of my previous clients and friends for lunch!
I've stayed at the same phone number so 979-574-1084 is still relevent. Same, if not better, service, and beautiful new office with amenities my last office didn't offer.
The new address here is 161 N. Earl Rudder Freeway, in between Briarcrest exit and University. If coming from College Station exit Briarcrest off highway 6 and at Briarcrest double back around on the feeder. We will be on the right about the same area the University Drive exit is in.
Chris Tesch, RE/MAX Select, 161 N. Earl Rudder Freeway, Bryan, Texas 77802. Cell number 979-574-1084 and fax number 979-393-0344.
Buying homes and renting them are such distinctly separate aspects of College Stations real estate scene that we tend to pay attention only to the sector we are most involved with. We pretty much ignore the other. Renters and real estate investors watch trends in residential rentals, while homeowners and soon-to-be homeowners check on prices and activity in the local home market.
All of which means that it’s easy to overlook how trends in one sector have major impacts on the other. And any sort of residential construction activity – new building or remodeling – has a direct and positive impact on College Stations economy as a whole.
So here’s some good news: this year, rental construction is expected to reach its highest level since 2005. Somehow that may not seem like such a big deal, but despite the way it looks, 2005 is SEVEN years ago (time flies, doesn’t it?)! Those have been seven painful years for most of the construction folks we know, so the change comes as welcome news. It’s also possible that a turnaround could mean that other turnarounds in different areas of the economy may be in the wind.
The apartment experts at NMHC just published something that most of us already suspected. They found that nationally, apartment vacancy rates fell to a decade low of 4.9%. We have already written about how asking rents continue to rise (in March, up .5% from the previous month). The same experts noted that some empty-nesters seem to be increasingly likely to opt for the convenience of apartment living -- even those who could easily afford to buy.
It explains why more College Station investors are stepping up to order the building of new rental homes even as many older apartments and rental homes are being renovated. Add to that recent government moves to encourage lenders to become at least temporary landlords, and the result is real activity. Budgets have been tight for families in recent years, which may have caused them to decide to choose rental homes that were older, hence less expensive. If the economy continues to strengthen, these same families may later be able to afford to look at one of the new rental homes now under construction. It’s likely that many tenants would choose to live in a place that is a product of new construction, or in a complex that has been recently renovated.
All that increased building activity is another sign that the College Station housing market as a whole is waking up. In the longer range, since newer rentals generally cost more money, more would-be tenants will ultimately reconsider the prospect of owning a home – in turn increasing demand for first-time or entry level homes.
Wherever your family falls in the College Station real estate mix, don’t hesitate to call our office when you have a question about the buyer's market and what is available for you. We’re standing by!
There’s nothing like being able to bask in the warm glow of well-being a College Station homeowner gets after finishing a thorough spring cleaning. It's especially true when you realize how important the annual ritual can be in protecting your greatest asset: your College Station property.
That warm glow results from doing more than just cleaning your home's interior, though. It involves maintaining the property in the ways that will prevent having to take more costly steps later. There are three different tasks you can complete to get your home ready for the warm weather that's on the way. If you follow these basic tips, your home will be looking its best – and the resulting beauty will be more than skin deep.
One of the most overlooked areas for most College Station properties is its foundation. It is important to check your foundation for damage, and to patch and seal any cracks as soon as you discover them. The foundation is one of the first areas potential buyers (and their inspectors) examine when they get serious about writing an offer on a home. A sound foundation is essential for the obvious structural reasons -- and it can even have an impact on utility bills.
May is also prime time for cleaning out all of the gutters on your property. When gutters clog, you can end up with leaks inside walls. For the ladder-shy, the cost of a once-yearly gutter clearing service can be a prudent and cost-conscious choice (as anyone who's experienced the major costs that result from neglecting the gutters will tell you)!
Spring is also a great time to paint the outside of your home. A fresh paint job gives your College Station property the fresh look nothing else can. You don't have to be selling your property to appreciate the 'curb appeal' – the real difference a fresh coat gives to any house. That paint job will also be more than just attractive: it will also prevent premature aging of the whole exterior.
Whether your current plans are to sell, rent or stay put in your College Station property, you'll be rewarded by taking a day or two every spring to focus on these preventative care details. If you need a referral for a handyman or other maintenance service, I'm always happy to recommend some of our reliable College Station vendors. Call me!!!
For those who are just about ready to list their College Station or Bryan house for sale this Mayseveral simple yet cost-effective projects can be sure-fire buyer-pleasers. I am often asked to help my clients identify areas in their home that will benefit from improvements. I like to point to some simple changes that materially help a property’s ability to compete with any other house for sale in our area without breaking the bank.
Here are my three favorite inexpensive equity builders:
1. Painting walls in pale neutral colors. Freshly painted walls erase years of wear from any room. They send prospective buyers two subtle messages: First this is a home that has been well maintained and is in great shape! Secondly, here is a home where your family can create your own memories. Neutral tones are important, too. While you may personally prefer rich or bright colors, potential buyers likely won't. Beyond ensuring that rooms look as big, bright and airy as possible, you want potential buyers to picture spaces where their furnishings will fit in without redecorating. Pale beige or grey rooms work with furnishings of all colors, and wind up appealing to the greatest number of potential buyers. There are some newer nuetrals that aren't out of the spectrum but before you start with the roller please call your College Station real estate agent to find out if it's truly a good shade and if it is what we are seeing in many homes.
2. Clearing clutter. Clear kitchen and bathroom countertops, consign heavy furniture to storage, and stow the teens clutter neatly out of sight. The object is to emphasize the impression of adequate or abundant space. When buyers visit any house for sale, they are most drawn to those where it’s easy to picture all of their furniture fitting in easily – and that takes space.
3. Keeping your cool. You want buyers to be comfortable as they walk through your house for sale, and at the same time want to signal that heating and cooling are in great shape and are not going to be problematic. Have your heating and air conditioning systems serviced so that they are in efficient working order. In our hot summers always be willing to crank up the AC!
Whenever you list a house for sale, it's important that you put yourself in the buyers’ shoes. Ask what are the key factors you would look for, and be sure your home reflects the answers. For any and all other questions you might have about selling your local home, I’m here to help!
Does this month find you looking for a home to call your own? In College Stations current bargain-rich real estate market, you’ll find that you’re not alone! If it’s been a while since you last house-hunted (or if it’s your first time out), it’s important to go over some basics.
A real estate agent or broker who lists a property is usually working for the seller. Since it takes a buyer to make anything happen, there are also buyer’s agents. Although anyone is free to buy or sell on their own, there are good reasons why most buyers decide to enlist a buyer’s agent to represent their interests exclusively.
A Buyer’s Agent Protects You
Let’s say you stop by a weekend open house, and there it is -- your dream home! The listing agent is very nice and wants to help you to write up an offer to purchase through her. This is called a “dual agency,” and is not necessarily a great idea (some brokerages even forbid it). The problem is that the seller's agent rightly wants to get the highest price for the property because she represents the owner. If I were working with you as your buyer’s agent, my job would be to represent your interests, so an offer I wrote could look quite a bit better from your prospective. That’s why it is prudent to find a College Station real estate agent to represent you before even starting your search.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
Whenever you are house hunting, be careful of what you say to the seller's agent. Resist the temptation to discuss financial matters or to mention that you are in a rush to buy: either could damage your chances of getting the home you want on terms you want. Always bear in mind that the agent is working for the seller, not for you.
Consider Signing a Contract
As soon as you sign a contract with a local buyer’s agent or broker, you put a real estate professional to work for you. It is a legally binding agreement in writing that obligates the agent to work to get you the best deal possible. You may also sign an exclusive contract with your buyer’s agent, which gives the agent an extra assurance that his or her work is likely to accomplish what you both want -- a deal that puts you in your new home. Worth noting: except in extremely rare cases, you as a buyer should never have to pay a commission. If an agent asks you for a fee upfront, that’s your signal to run the other way! It’s part of the MLS listing agreement that fees and commissions belong on the seller's side.
Finding an experienced College Station buyer’s agent for your side – one you feel comfortable with, who listens to your needs and who offers expert suggestions and advice – will be well worth the time it takes. But it doesn’t even have to take much time: I’m right here!
This is usually the time of year when College Station and Bryan residents have gotten through tax season, heaved a sign of relief, and gone back to working on more important matters – like earning enough to make reducing taxes a goal worth pursuing.
This year, the latter part of April may be a little different. Because this is an election year, tax matters are already being widely debated, and changes that could affect everyone are more possible than usual. I am bringing these topics up for discussion with the firm caveat that your own planning (including College Station home buying decisions) should always be made after consultation with the financial experts you trust. Currently, federal and state rules carry tax benefits that can greatly reduce a homeowner’s tax liability. They are very unlikely to be eliminated, but you may want to keep your ear tuned whenever you hear these topics under discussion, because seemingly minor changes can have major impacts.
Mortgage Interest and Points
Many renters found that they were able to use the standard deduction tables to simplify their federal filings. Homeowners, on the other hand, were usually better off using itemized deductions because of the welcome mortgage interest deduction. Qualifying points paid to obtain a mortgage can also generally be deducted in the year they are paid.
Everyone with a standard Individual Retirement Account has heard about the penalties for withdrawing funds before retirement age. But currently there is an exception in some home buying situations. Generally, some IRA funds can be applied to home buying (or building) a first home without those tax penalties. The catch is that you can only withdraw up to $10,000 over your entire lifetime (not annually). Those with Roth IRAs may find additional tax advantages, too.
Real Estate Taxes
Qualifying Bryan and College Station property taxes can amount to sizeable deductions. If, in the home buying process, you reimbursed a seller for prepaid property taxes, that amount can qualify, too.
As in all financial planning, you should consult your accountant or other tax professional before making any important decisions. And whenever buying or selling a College Station property makes sense for your family, I’m standing by to answer all of your College Station real estate questions.
Interest rates are at historic lows. The economy is looking up and jobs are up within Bryan and College Station. We still, however, get the questions about whether it is wise to buy. Let's start with what the experts are saying.
With more than 1,000,000 members the National Association of Realtors® is the nation’s largest trade association. It’s no wonder that what it says carries a lot of weight. When a gargantuan outfit like NAR makes a prediction, its words may not always make headlines, but they do influence everyone whose job it is to forecast the future of the nation’s economic activity.
That’s why their most recent report dealing with pending home sales put smiles on many of those one million members’ faces.
“The spring home buying season looks bright,” according to Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “If activity is sustained near present levels, existing-home sales will see their best performance in five years.”
Like all statistics, those he was describing can be looked at in more than one way. We know that some numbers are more reliable than others. This particular index is based on an unusually large sample: about 20% of all transactions for existing home sales. It’s a forward-looking indicator: in the past, it has signaled coming trends before they materialize. This index seldom produces a straight line of activity because of seasonal and monthly ups and downs, but this time a trend is evident that is “notably above the pattern from a year ago.”
Our Bryan and College Station home sales patterns are not invariably tied to national trends -- but they aren’t impervious to them, either. So we are pleased when our own impression that the spring market is looking up is borne out by the experts who deal in the broader picture. “Based on all of the factors in the current market,” Yun went on, he expects to see “sales rising 7 to 10 percent in 2012.”
Real estate is a famously local phenomenon, and although we keep an eye on the national and state markets, our real attention is always centered right here in Bryan and College Station . If you have questions about your own real estate outlook, call me anytime for a consultation focused on your neighborhood.
Preparing your home for sale BAH HUMBUG!!! That's what some of todays seller's think. It is vitally important for your College Station home to be prepared and staged correctly to sell quickly and get the best price.
Landscaping Counts: Very few improvements will give you dollar for dollar for your College Station home for sale in what you have spent. This, however, according to many studies, will. Your beds need to be weeded, mulched and have fresh blooming flowers to add color. Ensure that your yard looks good with water hoses neatly rolled up and grass neat and mowed. The front door needs to be freshly painted or stained and ensure that the doorbell works. Call me if you need the name of a good, reliable landscaper or painter.
Clean the house. Of course the house needs to be decluttered and have clean floors, made beds, and smell fresh. There are many things that people overlook that are vitally important. Light switches are areas that are forgotten about. Dirt clings to the on/off lettering and most people don't even realize it. Someone showing your home certainly will though! Make sure that baseboards have been cleaned, bookshelves dusted and toilets and sinks scrubbed. Yes, it's a lot of work but I can refer a realiable housekeeper to help. These tips help ensure that you are selling your College Station home for the most money.
When selling your College Station home please give me a call. I would be pleased to give you a complementary market analysis and interview for the job!