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TOP 10 REASONS TO USE A REALTOR

RealtorIn today’s tech-savvy world there is a wealth of information at our fingertips. For buyers, browsing online is a great way to start a home search, but when it’s actually time to buy a Realtor can help you make the right decision. For sellers, there are lots of websites out there that estimate your homes’ value, but beware – many of those sites are off by as much as 35%. Real estate transactions are one of the biggest financial investments for most people.  Realtors provide a value that no internet connection or how-to book can replace.

Here are my top 10 reasons to use an agent:

  • Realtors have a fiduciary duty to act in their client’s best interest and are available to do so almost 24/7. This means having an expert who looks out for your best interest, financially and otherwise – an expert who is contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you.  For their clients, realtors handle staging a preparing a home for sale, showing homes, holding open houses, negotiating contracts, attending inspections, dealing with appraisals, getting repairs completed, and communicating with lenders and title companies. Those are a lot of tasks for unrepresented buyers and sellers to handle on their own.
  • Realtors can get sellers a better sales price for their home. According to Realtor.com, in 2012 the typical FSBO home in Austin sold for $174.900.00, compared to $215,000.00 agent-assisted home sales. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table. Experienced Realtors offer invaluable tips regarding home staging and preparation; they know what buyers are looking for and how much they are willing to pay in todays market – netting the seller more money.
  • Realtors know their markets, like when a new elementary school might be opening, how a new development across the street will be zoned, etc. With their market knowledge, realtors can offer insight that plays a crucial role in a buyer’s decision to purchase, or a seller’s decision to sell.
  • Realtors can accurately price a home so that the home will sell faster and for more money. MLS data, coupled with market knowledge, Realtors can perform a comparable market analysis to find that pricing sweet spot. A seller’s emotional ties to their home may prohibit them from objective pricing. Homes sold by owners are consistently overpriced and sit on the market longer and usually close at a much lower sales price.
  • Realtors can walk clients through all the financial aspects of buying and selling a home – such as what a seller will net after closing, what a buyer needs to put an offer on a home, how to get pre-qualified to purchase, and what out-of-pocket expenses can be expected.
  • Realtors have professional contacts that most people do not have. Need a plumber, electrician, inspector, or lender? Realtors have many referrals that have been tried and true.
  • Realtors are experienced negotiators and indispensable liaisons. Realtors advocate for their clients, taking a hard stand and sometimes even taking heat on a client’s behalf. Having a realtor negotiate on a client’s behalf can eliminate any hard feelings between buyers and sellers that could sabotage a deal.
  • Realtors can show buyers more properties since they have access to more listings. The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) that Realtors use is the only place where listing information is 100% accurate and up-to-date.  Agents also have contacts through which they can find listings that are not in the MLS – good examples of this are pocket/silent listings and new construction.
  • Realtors can be a source of comfort and a confidante. Buying and selling a home can be an emotionally draining and a very stressful experience. Having someone you can call or email in a pinch, with even minor concerns about the transaction, can help alleviate anxiety.
  • Realtors save buyers and sellers time, energy and money….see all of the above!

Bottom line – nothing can replace the human touch realtors can provide. In such complex tasks as buying and selling real estate, having a professional realtor with you every step of the way is invaluable.

Feel free to contact me to find out more about the benefits of being my client, hilary@muellersilentmarket.com512.913.8642.  

OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY 2 – 4 PM IN MUELLER AUSTIN

Situated directly across from the Ella Wooten Park & Pool, this corner-lot Standard Pacific home features the popular Andrews floor plan with the garage apartment. This 3,249 square foot home provides ample space to relax or entertain with an open concept living, dining and kitchen floor plan plus 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. Take advantage of Mueller’s hike and bike trails, park spaces, food trailers, retail, restaurants and more from 4012 Pinckney’s fabulous location!

 

  • Large, open floor plan with high ceilings
  • Loads of natural light
  • 8.75 kW solar panel system
  • Gas Fireplace
  • Crown molding
  • Hardwood floors downstair & upstairs
  • Master bedroom downstairs
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Granite countertops
  • Gas cooktop
  • 42” cabinets
  • Game room and office nook upstairs
  • Extensive, professional xeriscaping
  • Loads of storage
  • List price is $669,000

If you can’t make it by the open house, let us know if you would like to schedule a viewing: Hilary Herrin at  512.913.8642 or Hilary@muellersilentmarket.com or andrea@muellersilentmarket.com, 512.578.6383

UPSCALE, ONE-STORY HOME ON QUIET, TREE-LINED STREET

This is truly a rare opportunity – one-story homes are few and far between in Mueller Austin these days, and certainly of this caliber.

4313 Scales is a one-story, Craftsman style residence for sale in the burgeoning Mueller Redevelopment.  This 5-Star Green Energy Rated home is 2500 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and separate study.  The master sits at the back of the home with direct access to the private patio.  The secondary bedrooms share their own hallway tucked away from the rest of the home for superior privacy.

Enjoy this rare and exquisite home that is loaded with high-end features:

  • Chef’s kitchen with GE Monogram and Profile appliances
  • Large breakfast bar
  • Hand made subway tile back splash with decorative inlay
  • Soaring ceilings
  • Wood windows
  • Solid core wood doors throughout
  • Plantation shutters throughout
  • Over-sized master suite
  • Built-ins in master closet
  • Tray ceilings
  • Private patio
  • Pet shower
Please contact us if you would like to schedule a viewing of this one-of-a-kind home: hilary@muellersilentmarket.com, 512.913.8642 or andrea@muellersilentmarket.com, 512.578.6383

 

UNDER CONTRACT – DAVID WEEKLEY CORNER LOT HOME WITH WHOPPING BACK YARD

Want to have it all in Mueller? Then this home is a must-see! Sitting on a corner lot, this David Weekley home has a full-size back yard with a spacious deck – a perfect outdoor retreat for lounging or entertaining! With 4 bedrooms, a separate study and flex space, you can do anything and everything in this home. And when you want to head outdoors, the SW Greenway and the Mueller “Wedge” are both just a block away. Enjoy unobstructed downtown views from the 2nd floor balcony, along with partial views from the cozy front porch!

Notable features include:

  • 4 bedrooms/ 2.5 baths
  • Open floor plan with master downstairs
  • Separate study plus flex space to use as a formal dining or sitting room
  • 2.5 car garage with ample storage
  • Large back yard with sizeable deck – great for entertaining!
  • Dark-stained 7 in. hand-scraped hickory floors
  • Solar panels
  • Custom light fixtures and window treatments
  • Wall of built-in cabinetry in living room
  • Surround sound insides and out
  • 2nd story balcony with downtown views
  • LED lighting
  • Upgrades plumbing fixtures
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Berber carpet
  • List price: $569,000

Remember, you can use a Realtor to represent you in the purchase of resale homes and new construction at no cost to you.  In addition to helping you find the right home, feel free to contact Hilary Herrin at  512.913.8642 or Hilary@muellersilentmarket.com to find out some of the other benefits of being one of our clients.


 

IS THERE ANYTHING FOR SALE IN MUELLER AUSTIN RIGHT NOW?

Anybody looking to buy right now knows that inventory is low, low, low in Mueller Austin.  But it’s not all doom and gloom for buyers out there.  Here is the low-down on what’s available and what’s in the pipeline:

RESALE

As far as the resale market goes, there isn’t anything available right now.  I recently had a Standard Pacific Mueller House Condo on my Silent Market, that was snatched up quickly and is due to close early next month.

Now that we’ve gotten past the holidays, wheels are starting to turn again; homeowners are making life changes and planning moves.  I have several new listings in Mueller Austin in the pipeline so, make sure you stay-tuned if you want to be kept up-to-date with new information.

NEW CONSTRUCTION (MARKET RATE)

  • David Weekley Homes
Late November 2013, David Weekley released seven row homes for sale.  All seven of which sold before the end of the year.  They have seven additional row homes that will be released for sale *soon*  -  same floor plans that we saw previously.  And, in case you are wondering, all master bedrooms are upstairs.  The pricing listed below is reflective of the base prices when the initial round of homes went on sale in November.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a slight increase in pricing when the next homes are released.  Also, there is a waiting list for these next seven row homes so, if you’re interested make sure you get on it!

The Welsh - 2 beds/2.5baths + second living, 1653 sf – base price $377,990
The Brookshire - 3 beds/2.5 baths + study, 1915 sf – base price $402,990
The Eastmont – 3 – 4 beds/2 – 3 baths + study, 2185 sf – base price $442,990
The Wyntree - 3 beds/2.5 baths + study + second living, 2240 sf – base price $447,990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Streetman Homes

Presently, Streetman Homes has TWO homes for sale – yes, that means you can actually buy something now!

The McKinney on Page Street - 3 beds/2.5 baths + loft, 2207 sf.  Master down, corner unit with lots of windows & natural light; base price $467,990 – view floor plan

The Caswell on Berkman Dr – 3 beds/3.5 baths + study & bonus room, 2134 sf.  One of the secondary bedrooms, as well as the study is downstairs; listed at (including upgrades) at $456,458 – view floor plan

Streetman anticipates the next building of courtyard row homes for sale within the week.  

Remember, you can use a Realtor to represent you in your purchase of resale homes and new construction at no cost to you.  Feel free to be in touch to find out the benefits of being one of our clients, hilary@muellersilentmarket.com, 512.913.8642.

MODERN CONDO IN MUELLER AUSTIN

Enjoy a luxurious and low-maintenance lifestyle in this modern and open condo just 2 blocks from the Mueller Lake Park. This 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo lives large with over 2000 square feet and is loaded with features that will make you want to call this place home. Walk to HEB, restaurants, food trailers, retail, the new children’s museum and more. Take advantage of Mueller’s hike and bike trails, multiple green spaces, and Junior Olympic-sized pool. This award-winning, sustainable community is just 5 minutes from downtown and UT!

Notable features include:

  • 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms with an open floor plan
  • Flex space/nook to use as an office
  • Soaring ceilings with loads of natural light
  • Dark-stained hickory wood floors
  • Glass tile back splash
  • Generous-sized kitchen island
  • Silestone countertops
  • Under-cabinet lighting
  • Gas cooktop with separate oven
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Large master bedroom & bath with 2 walk-in closets and private terrace
  • 2-car garage
  • List price: $359,000

Want to talk Mueller or real estate in Central Austin?  Feel free to get in touch:

Hilary Herrin, 512.913.8642, Hilary@muellersilentmarket.com or Andrea Bowen, 512.578.6383, andrea@muellersilentmarket.com

 

DAVID WEEKLEY ANNOUNCES NEW MARKET RATE ROW HOMES IN MUELLER

David Weekley has just announced that they will have 14 new market rate row homes for sale, with sales likely to begin late November 2013.  They are located in the section just north of where the residential is currently under construction, as you can see on the map to the right (click on it for a larger view).

They will have four floor plans – the Welsh 1653 sf, the Brookshire 1915 sf, the Eastmont 2185 sf and the Wyntree 2240 sf - similar to what we’ve seen from them in the past.  They will be grouped in buildings of three or four.

  • 1650 – 2240 square feet Square footage has recently been updated by builder.  The correct sizes are noted above.  
  • 2 – 4 bedrooms, 2.5 – 3 baths
  • All master bedrooms upstairs

I’ve posted floor plans here for your review (again, click for a larger view).

There is not any information on pricing at this time.  Currently there is a general interest list, but not a waiting list, per se.  Let me know if you’re interested in and I can get you on that list and keep you updated as plans develop.    

Both David Weekley and Standard Pacific will be building on the 63 lots in this upcoming section.  Stay tuned for updates on pricing and contracts.  As usual, feel free to reach out with questions:

Hilary Herrin, 512.913.8642, hilary@muellersilentmarket.com

UNDERSTANDING APPRAISALS

What is an appraisal?

Simply put, a real estate appraisal is the expert opinion of a certified, state-licensed professional appraiser who determines the value of a piece of property, or what is also called “market value.”

Appraisers confirm and evaluate the existence and condition of the property; square footage; number of bedrooms; reported upgrades (you or your agent need to provide this information to the appraiser, if possible); all interior permanent features that could affect value; any other permanent structures on the property; the exterior of a house; and all land area within the property lines.

Appraisers also take into consideration the neighborhood quality and proximity to schools. A strong and active real estate market can further influence their assessment. Another element of their job is to compare the asking price of the subject property to prices of similar homes that have recently sold in the area. Such similar sales comparisons are called comparables.  

So how does the appraisal fit into your home buying process?

Let’s say you found you dream home. It’s THE ONE. It’s perfect, and you have already planned where to place all the furniture in your head. Your expert real estate agent has negotiated an incredibly awesome, final sales price of $350,000.00. Your bank has already pre-approved you for that amount. But is this home, your dream home, really worth $350,000.00?

That’s where this thing called the appraisal sneaks in…. The value of the home will determine the amount the lender is willing to lend you to purchase the subject property. When you apply for a mortgage, lenders require a home appraisal, typically by one of their approved appraisers. It is a buyer’s cost, though, and you usually pay for it as part of your closing costs. Appraisals cost around $200.00 – $400.00, depending on the price, size, and type of property involved.

An appraisal can protect you, the homebuyer, from paying more for a home than what it’s worth. But lenders require home appraisals for mortgages because appraisals protect the banks from getting burdened with properties worth much less than their investments.

So again, back to your dream house, what happens when the appraiser comes back with a value of $300,000.00?  This scenario is not uncommon in a hot market, like we’re experiencing today.  What a home sold for 3 – 6 months ago, may be considerably lower than what it would sell for today.  So, the lesser value now means that the amount a buyer can finance to purchase the property is lower than expected. 

But do not fret! There are a few options. Review the appraisal and subject property to see what caused the low appraisal first. It could be something easily remedied. There may just be repairs or maintenance the homeowner needs to complete, and then the appraisal can be adjusted upon review.  If that is not the case, there are a few other options:

  • You may have the option to order a second appraisal, however this could necessitate changing lenders
  • Work with the seller to lower the price, which can be more difficult in hot markets like we’re experiencing now
  • You, the buyer and borrower, can increase your cash down payment. 

If all of these options fail and the appraisal is still too far below what amount the bank if willing to finance, then you may have to cancel the transaction. But that is why it is imperative to work with an experienced agent to help navigate you through this process.  

Want to talk Mueller or Real Estate in Central Austin?  Feel free to be in touch 512.913.8642, Hilary@muellersilentmarket.com 

SOLD – BEAUTIFUL CORNER LOT STANDARD PACIFIC HOME IN MUELLER

This highly sought-after Standard Pacific floor plan in Mueller sits on corner lot with mature trees and is only one block from the Ella Wooten Park & Pool. With a chef’s kitchen and a large open floor plan, this home had great entertaining potential. There is also a generous yard with ample room for outdoor lounging or additional entertaining. Three bedrooms and two full baths are upstairs, with a fourth room and full bath downstairs that could work as an office or separate guest suite. Walk to the brand new HEB now open. Restaurants, children’s museum & retail under construction! This award-winning, sustainable community is just 5 minutes from downtown and UT!

Other high-end features include:

  • Solar panels (provides significant cost savings)
  • An interior stone wall
  • Hardwood floors
  • Granite counter tops
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Gas cook top
  • Loads of counter space
  • Surround sound
  • A trex deck
  • Epoxy garage floor.

 

Want to talk Mueller or real estate in Central Austin?  Feel free to be in touch,

Hilary Herrin, 512.913.8642, Hilary@hilaryherrin.com or Andrea Bowen, 512.578.6383, andrea@turnerresidential.com

 

SAY GOODBYE TO 3% INTEREST RATES

Just like the temperature, rates for 30-year loans have been on the rise this summer, climbing back from their record 3.5% levels. Recently, government-backed Freddie Mac reported a full percentage point jump to 4.5% for fixed rate mortgages.

Traditionally, mortgage rates change with the economy, and lower rates occur when the economy is reeling. Cheap financing helped steer the housing recovery. With lower rates allowing qualified home buyers to obtain this cheaper financing, the market supported a swell in both price increases and home sales. Now with this recovery in the U.S. housing market, along with lower unemployment and job growth (job gains are averaging 202,000/ month these past 6 months), rates are expected to rise again.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, applications for home purchases rose 7% since early May. The association also predicted that the 30-year mortgage rates would increase to 4.4% by the end of 2013. A big factor in their prediction was knowing that the Federal Reserve will eventually stop purchasing mortgage-backed securities.

In 2008, the Federal Reserve developed a program call The Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities Purchase Program in response to the economic crisis of the time. The Federal Reserve supported the housing market by buying up to $85 billion a month in Treasury bonds and mortgage-back securities. This allowed lenders to sell mortgage loans at unprecedented interest rates because they could get back their money, plus profit, immediately. Then in September 2012, the Federal Reserve announced it would buy up to $40 billion a month in mortgage-back securities until the economy demonstrated signs of recovery. Now that economic conditions are improving, the Federal Reserve’s involvement in the program will decrease, driving up the rates higher.

Originally, the Federal Reserve was expected to begin decreasing their purchases of mortgage-backed securities in late 2013, but that timeframe was moved up. And speculation that the Federal Reserve would stop the stimulus program that had been reducing rates already incited rate increases. But rates dramatically jumped when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced on June 19th that if the economy continued showing signs of improvement, the central bank would wind down one of its bond-buying programs by the mid 2014. Investors reacted immediately once Chairman Bernanke provided a time frame for the end of the program.

In 2003, the 30-year mortgage rate hit a 37-year low at 5.23%. Before the economic crisis, that was the record low, and it’s a number market experts believe we will get closer to as we move forward. For those who have been watching from the sidelines and waiting for the rates to go lower, just know that they are only going to go up.  Consider the rate increase when the Federal Reserve merely announced it would stop its stimulus program some time in the next year. Now consider what will happen when the program is actually cancelled and that cancellation is implemented…..So don’t wait, jump in there! Even if the rates go up a percentage or so, mortgages will still be historically low. So if you haven’t already, now’s the time to buy.