LZ Austin

Landing Zone Austin offers tips, articles, market trends, and feature stories about the real estate market in and around Austin, Texas.

Okay, so I haven’t been blogging much lately

Hey, things are rocking and rolling in Austin real estate now. Buyers and listings are everywhere, and it is starting to feel like the fishing lure is bouncing less on the bottom and more a few inches from the bottom. Mainly I wanted to refresh my posting record a little and remind folks that I have inserted several GREAT news feeds into this blog space, so you can look at the right side of the blog to see up to the moment news on real estate in the Austin area. It is a beautiful thing.


2011: Austin RE Market Like a Fishing Lure

Well, hello there. Welcome to the new year. This is just a quick post to let you all know I am still getting my engines running for this blog thing. Based on market data and my own experience over the last 12 months, I think the market has a way to go before we see anything like a breakout. Big news, huh? I believe the local Austin market is still bumping along the bottom like a fishing lure. The lure flips and scrapes along rocks and through old stumps and weeds, but it jerks upward with some positive motions while the fisherman reels it in. Let’s face it: we did not suffer the bubbles of those unfortunates in California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, but we had our own dip over the past couple of years.

Now is a great time to buy and a not so great time to sell. Interest rates are still near historical lows, and prices bump up and down, still mostly down, as the market looks for a bottom. Nobody really knows when the bottom will happen, but the fact is that this is and will continue to be a buyer’s market for the foreseeable future. Some folks suggest another year and a half for the breakout; others as long as three years. So there is no hurry to jump in, but start looking now if you haven’t already.

Check back here later. I am watching activity like a hawk, and I am watching the fishing lures attached to many lines. It’s exciting. It’s a great time and place in the national fishing hole to be right now.

The Short Sale – Not so Short!

What do “same difference”, “airline food”, “free gift”, and “accurate estimate” all have in common? Answer: They are all “oxymorons” (a figure of speech combining two normally contradictory terms). Now we can add the real estate “short sale” to the oxymoron list! With short sales on the rise in the Austin market (and nationwide), it is good to know a few things about them
The “short sale” in real estate is typically not very short. If you are considering a short sale as a home seller or buyer, you should understand upfront that the conventional short sale will take longer than a normal real estate home sale – sometimes twice or three times as long (or longer!). This is because there are extra steps to get a short sale approved by the Seller’s lien holder (typically a bank and there could be more than one). Here is a summary of the minimum steps in a short sale:
1. Seller qualifies for a short sale after seeking expert legal, tax, and financial advice.
2. Listing Agent assists Seller in putting the house up for sale as a short sale.
3. Listing Agent contacts Seller’s bank(s) to notify bank(s) of short sale.
4. Listing Agent markets Seller’s home.
5. Buyer makes offer on Seller’s home.
6. Buyer and Seller negotiate final agreement on sale/purchase of home.
7. Listing Agent submits short sale package to Seller’s bank(s).
8. Seller’s bank(s) review short sale package internally.

9. Seller’s bank(s) orders appraisal or Broker Price Opinion on Seller’s home.

10. Seller’s bank(s) and Listing Agent/Attorney/Seller negotiate final terms of acceptance.

11. Listing Agent/Seller renegotiate with Buyer as necessary.
12. Seller and Buyer reach final agreement on contract terms.

13. Seller’s bank(s) approve sale/purchase of home.

14. Home sale/purchase closes

Steps 8 through 13 can take weeks or months to execute. If the Buyer’s initial offer is not adequate from the bank’s point of view (they are the one actually losing money in the short sale), then the bank will attempt to negotiate with the Seller (who may in turn have to re-negotiate with the Buyer) to reach an acceptable agreement. If an acceptable agreement cannot be reached, the Seller’s home will likely go into foreclosure.
As a Seller in a short sale, it is critical to provide all required information outlined by your bank and/or Listing Agent. The completeness of the short sale review the Seller’s file in a timely fashion. Importantly, the Buyer in a short sale must be willing to stay the course while the Seller’s bank conducts its review process. Patience and an understanding of the complete process will help the parties work together for a successful outcome.