Buying vs. Renting

There are pros and cons to buying a condo versus just renting one.

There are currently 15 blog entries related to this category.

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in Fort Worth

Not everyone has the time or the desire to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. The hours of preparation may be part of the appeal of the holiday for some, but for those who would rather not bother, there are a number of Fort Worth restaurants ready to come to the rescue. Whether you’re looking to eat out, or simply have someone else do the heavy lifting for your family meal at home, here are a few turkey day options that don’t involve staying in the kitchen all day (and note that making reservations is highly recommended, if not required!):

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
If you’re planning on being near West 7th on Thanksgiving, Eddie V’s will be serving a traditional

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While many of our clients are veteran home buyers, just as many are first-timers, haven’t bought a home in many years, or haven’t bought property in Texas (and things do vary some from state to state). So today I thought I’d take a few minutes to outline how we go about it here in Austin.


Austin’s condo market is hotter than its August temperatures, so it’s important to show a Seller you mean business. Either a letter from your bank declaring assets sufficient for a CASH PURCHASE or a pre-qualification letter from a lender stating your eligibility for a MORTGAGE will be needed to get your foot in the door when presenting an offer.

The first step for non-cash Buyers, then, is to get pre-qualified for a mortgage. Different

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Here are commonly asked questions about HOA dues.

1)  What are HOA dues for?

HOA (homeowners association dues) are paid by a group of condo owners to maintain the property and common areas.  They are used to maintain and improve landscaping, pools, tennis courts, golf areas, clubhouses, neighborhood parks, fitness center, community utility bills, administration, management, legal fees, security and other items that benefit the beautification and safety of the community.

2)  What are the average HOA dues?

Unfortunately there are no average HOA dues.  All the factors depend on how many common expenses the residents share.  Typically fees are in the 100-600 range, but this seven bedroom, 25,000 square food luxury LA penthouse has almost $20,000

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With the recent rise in mortgage rates, analysts predict that there will become more credit available to consumers in 2013.  As the mortgage rates have risen from 3.59 percent to 4.68 percent for a 30-year-fixed-rate mortgage.  As the mortgage rates increase, it lowers the affordability index.  The affordability index is a measurement of the cost of housing relative to the median income for an area.  When affordability is at 100 percent, it means that the median income has enough income to afford to purchase housing.  The lenders are accounting for the increase in mortgages by lowering the standards for purchasing a home making credit available to more home buyers.

Interested in hiring and expert real estate agent in your city?  We know all about the

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mortgage rates June 2013

Mortgage rates had their biggest jump this week in 26 years and rose from 3.93 percent last week  to 4.46 percent this week.  

Although this is a huge jump in mortgage rates, it still is still at a 60 year low.  Below is a chart showing the mortgage rates since 1972 until June 2013.

Pending home sales are at a six year high, and many experts believe this is the time to take advantage of the low mortgage rates before they increase.  Freddie Mac released a report this month that most markets across the US will be able to bear up to 5 or 6% before the housing affordability index begins to hit a barrier with increased mortgage rates.

Thus, according to Freddie Mac, rising interest rates will make the amount of people able to buy homes a

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Mortgage Credit AvailabilityThe MBA (Mortgage Bankers Association) is producing a  monthly Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) to show if mortgages are becoming more or less available.  The data shows that there was a slight increase in May 2013 of available mortgages.  It appears that 2013 rates are increasing back to the levels of 2011 before it decreased in 2012.  In the chart above, the data has been benchmarked to 100 as a relative value in 2012.  The MBA also noted had this number been tracked back to 2008 it would have been a staggering 800!  

When values are above 100 it represents greater availability of mortgages, and when below 100 it tells us that there are more strict standards.  The increase in 2013 is most likely due to lenders accepting lower credit scores

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Are the bidding wars back?  You bet they are.  We asked four of our partners about the trends in real estate.

Ian Bell from Seattle said a property listed on a Thursday for $780k, and by Monday there were 10 offers, come even offering to waive inspections!  The property ultimately sold for $930k to a cash buyer.  This prompted Ian to wonder, “How do regular folks compete?”

Danielle Contreras, our partner from San Jose, CA is seeing a similar trend in her real estate market.  A property recently listed for $668k and quickly received 11 offers. The price of the house jumped to well over $700k with one buyer even agreeing to waive all contingencies.

Danielle said she has experienced so many stories just like this one,

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This spring 300 Ivy, a new mid-rise condo comes to Hayes Valley in San Francisco. 

This quaint neighborhood is surrounded by boutiques and some of the best restaurants in San Francisco.  Even better, 300 Ivy is a perfect location to take Muni quickly to all over the city.   The new building will have mixed use with retail on the ground floor and new SF 63 flats and townhouses.  There will be several amenities craved by SF locals including enclosed bike parking, shared outdoor courtyard, an outside kitchen and even a rooftop garden.

The roof at 300 Ivy will also capture the sun’s energy to provide 50% of the hot water for residents.  The roof will also have a sunbathing deck and breathtaking views of the city.  The units vary from studio to three

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Top 10 Housing trend predictions for 2013

1)  Compact Design with Shared Common Areas

Shared Common Areas

We expect there to be an increase in compact design and shared common areas.  Not only are baby boomers needing to adjust to smaller spaces closer to their needs and desired amenities, the Gen X and Y’ers have been raised with smart growth as a responsibility and see financial risks with investing in homes after they saw the housing market crash.  Also, a small living space with a roof deck or garden area with impromptu meet up’s via social media or text provide a social outlet and common area.   In Atlanta, the new Sovereign has The Sky Terrace on the roof deck with saline infused pool, Jacuzzi, 2 outdoor gas grills and fireplace, soothing music, and superb

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Emily Ray-Porter of Dave Perry-Miller & Associates closed Museum Tower’s first residential transaction.  Emily is our Dallas representative and brings knowledge and expertise to homeowners selecting thier dream houses and specializes in Highrise Lifestyle and fininding the location and amenities to fit buyers home fantacies. 

Emily Ray PorterMuseum Tower Condos

Designed by world-renowned architect Scott Johnson, the dramatic one, two and three bedrooms at Museum Tower in Dallas also have access to amenities such as two resident owners lounges, a bocce ball court, 80-foot swimming pool, outdoor fire place, fire pit plus outdoor cooking and dining areas to live life to the fullest and entertain your most special guests.  There is even an on-site dog park and accommodations

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