Buying in a Hot Austin Seller’s Market

So I have to admit.

I have already posted about this, done videos on this, and if you meet with me in person and you are buying a home–I cover all this. But also I wrote a blog on this topic on a plane a few weeks ago and somehow deleted it–sigh, but I am determined to get my message out there!

If you are a buyer and you are actively looking and trying to make offers on a house–well then, this post is for you!

Here’s a few words of advice I have for my buyers.

  1. Home buying is a Team Effort!

While your Realtor is certainly going to try and keep up with the market, find you off market deals, put in back up offers and coach you on how to make aggressive offers… with the age of the internet, you may be on a few websites yourself, searching homes as your work at your desk and such as well–and when you do see something you like, you must let your Realtor now when you are free and what you want to see–umm…ASAP. I usually explain to buyers that if you need to see something, taking off work for an hour or leaving work a bit early can be worth it, it puts me in communication with the agent asap. And I set up the appointments. While the Austin market has very low inventory, it is pretty important to see a home that you are really interested in fairly quickly, especially if you are below a particular price point ($400k for central Austin) and especially if this home is updated (no one wants to do any work these days–everyone likes pretty, it seems).

All Realtors work differently, but at this point in my current business, I have team members who help me be two places at once that are licensed and experienced and I am grateful for that!

2. Staying Educated

When I work with buyers I teach them (at least on our website) that they can see updates and sold pricing on their favorite homes and search for recently sold homes as well. {They must verify a password because Tx is a non-disclosure state, and that’s how websites get around sharing sold pricing-by having a password} but overall this is a great way to familiarize oneself in their favorite areas or areas they are heavily looking in. When it comes time to make an offer and go $5k over list price, you’ll feel confident in your decision because the other three updated homes recently sold for something similar with similar updates/size.

Besides searching online frequently and eyeing the market and what’s sold, I do recommend clients drive areas. Get familiar with commute times and attend open houses. If you don’t like the street of a particular area there is no point in seeing the house. Often times one can rule out seeing homes in a particular area after driving around the streets. Seeing the power plant or hearing the train tracks etc. Satellite maps help with this, but driving is encouraged. Also, Open Houses are a great way to see that sometimes photos online can be very deceiving…in a good way and a bad way.

Questions I coach my clients to ask when at Open Houses:

-Why is the seller moving?

-How old is the: Roof, hot water heater, HVAC system?

-Any offers? Offer deadline set, if so?

-If a home is updated, ask when updates were done and were they done by seller, or a professional

{Full Disclosure: sometimes the agent working the open house does NOT know ANY of these answers. It is a shame, (and a pet peeve of mine) but many agents work open houses to pick up buyers, and are not the listing agent, therefore don’t have a full scope of details to share.}

In this Austin market it is not uncommon for homes to come on the market before the weekend with an open house the first weekend–in hopes of multiple offers to be reviewed the following weekend. Sometimes offer deadlines can be Saturday at 3, Sunday at 6, or Tuesday at 12–it really all varies, (but personally and professionally nothing irritates me more than setting deadlines on a weekend night when people are trying to live their lives/get ready for the week, I want to work on weekdays like most people too!)

3. Financial Ducks In a Row

If you are already looking for a home, well, then you should already be fully pre-approved, know how much is needed when you close and feel confident you still have an emergency fund, money for inspections, appraisal, any fixes, some paint and furniture (because let’s face it, when you buy a home, you want to purchase a bunch of other “fun” things too and make your space your own). You do not ONLY need a down payment. But need to grasp what you will need when you make an offer the first week in addition to what you need to close (and don’t forget pre-paids which is a few months of taxes and insurance) Do NOT make any sudden purchases or open lines of credit prior to close. If a lender explained what you are approved for and how much you need, make sure you have that before you start looking at homes. It never fails that when you put your mind to something you often find it, but don’t put the cart before the horse (the house before the savings!) It feels nice to be able to move into your home, buy a couch, and continue to live your life as you had before. I do NOT encourage being “house poor” or living beyond your means. You also have to account for possibly higher bills, HOA fees, in addition to property tax values increasing (as long as the market does) which equates to higher payments per year.


Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading my real estate tips for home buying. And if you ever want to chat, or ask more on this topic-feel free to reach out!