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The Tallest Realtor in Town

Hill Country and Highland Lakes Real Estate Blog by Jeff Spears, 6 ' 7" Tall.
Partners in Real Estate

Listing your home for sale is a partnership with your Real Estate Broker. The mutual goal of presenting your property as the best it can be is critical for success.


Listing Brokers should provide very valuable services including market analysis for pricing and staging advice for maximum appeal in photos and for in-person visits. Your opinion also counts and can be very helpful. Your input of what you think most buyers would like is worth consideration.  Brokers are not perfect and sometimes need some suggestions to expand their own thinking. A good idea is for sellers to look online at their competition and see examples of what really appeals to them.


Please also consider how important it is to make your home comfortable for showings. For example, often second home owners do not want to run their AC when the home is not in use. No buyer enjoys looking at a home in unbearable heat. A setting of 82-84 degrees will provide relief in hot seasons and also really helps preserve the life of appliances. Keeping your home tidy is another example where your side of the partnership takes effort, but is well worth your time.


Deferred maintenance and repairs also require sellers to step up their effort in selling a home. Sellers naturally become comfortable with a lack of action in their own homes. Buyers will certainly view items in poor condition quite negatively.  Simple cleaning and changing of AC filters and touch up paint are good examples where a little effort goes a long way towards a quicker sell for a better price. If something is broken and sellers have let it slide, fixing it before listing is the only good choice. Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.


I’ll end as I started. Find a good partner in a Broker to sell your home. Just please remember you are an important partner as well.


Curious about any local real estate topics? Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business.



How Has the Price of Oil Impacted the Highland Lakes Real Estate Market?

Thanks to local readers Bruce and Sheryl for this month’s question.  The plunge in the price of oil in 2015 caused most people to worry about a major negative economic impact for the State of Texas.  Many Real Estate Brokers were on the side of this common fear.  However, our Highland Lakes Real Estate Market has not been significantly affected.  The best way to answer this question is to look at sales.


For the last 12 months, 1214 properties have sold for a total of $396 million.  In the 12 months prior to that, 1260 properties sold for a total of $379 million.  The small drop may be explained by a lower level of inventory as our market has steadily improved for 2 years plus.  Overall, the last 12 months volume of sales represents a less than 4% drop from the previous 12 months..


Another measure is the number of properties pending close on any given day.  For most of 2015, that number was around 90.  In 2016 we have been averaging well over 100 with the current number of pendings at 144.


My opinion is that the upper end market has suffered somewhat due to the drop in the price of oil.  Properties valued at $1 million or more have dropped by 20% in sales volume.  In the last 12 months 50 properties have sold for $220 million.  In the prior 12 months, 62 properties sold for $203 million.  Obviously, the fewer number of units still sold for a greater dollar total.


The takeaway is that our Real Estate Market is quite healthy and we have not suffered a significant change from the past year to the prior year timeframe.  Interestingly, an article was published today by the Texas A&M Real Estate Research Center revealing the the real estate market in Midland and Odessa has also weathered the decline in oil and gas quite well.


Stats used in this article based on residential home sales as reported in the Highland Lakes Board of Realtors MLS.


Curious about any local real estate topics? Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business.


Real Estate Buyer and Seller Checklist

Most buyers and sellers believe the primary job of a REALTOR is to assist buyers in finding the correct home and getting it under contract.  Or, listing a seller’s home and marketing to seek buyers. While this is a critical first step, the real work comes once a property is under contract and with the efforts involved to reach closing.  Here are the primary steps in the process for buyers and for sellers consideration:


Apply for a Mortgage Loan as Applicable.


Execute Contract and Escrow at Title Company.


Obtain Home and Wood Destroying Insect Inspections. Negotiate Appropriate Repairs.


Obtain Quotes for Home Insurance and Possible Flood Insurance.


Get and Review Information about Home Owner’s Associations and/or City Restrictions.


Obtain a Survey and Address any Boundary Issues such as Encroachments or Easements.


Receive and Review the Title Commitment to Ensure Clear Ownership.


Review Tax Records and Assess Anticipated Tax Assessed Value Changes.


Have the Property Appraised and Ensure Lender Acceptance.


If Septic Sewage, Have Certified by the LCRA if within ½ Mile of Waterways.


There are many additional steps and details to the overall process.  Work with a qualified Real Estate Professional to ensure you best interests are covered.


Curious about any local real estate topics? Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business.


How Do You Contingency Offers Work in Real Estate?

The local real estate market around Lake LBJ is very robust.  Central Texas as a whole represents one of the most active markets in the country.  As buyers desire to move to our area, they may have an existing property to sale first.  This results in offers contingent on the sale of other property by the buyer.  This type of transaction can be beneficial for both parties and is worthy of consideration.


If a seller accepts a contingency offer, their home stays on the market for other potential buyers to consider.  If another buyer makes an acceptable offer, the seller notifies the first buyer. The first buyer must waive their contingency and agree to purchase the home whether they sell their existing property or not.  If they do not waive their contingency, the first offer is terminated and the seller goes under contract with the second buyer.


One drawback of accepting a contingency offer is that buyer’s agents may be less likely to show your home.  Some agents and buyers may feel their chances of securing a deal are less likely as the first buyer has first right of refusal.  However, most buyers with contingency contracts are only able to buy the new home with proceeds from the sale of their existing home.  In other words, the first buyer often has to terminate their contract which allows the second buyer to achieve a contract to purchase.


Sellers often benefit by receiving a higher price with contingency offers.  The buyer may pay more for the home as an incentive to the seller to accept a conditional offer.


As with all real estate transactions, each individual must assess their situation and decide what is best for them.  Your real estate professional may provide valuable advice in most situations to assist with your decision.


Curious about any local real estate topics? Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business.


I'm Selling My Own Lake LBJ Waterfront Home in Sunrise Beach

I need to sell my home to purchase something larger so my mom can live with me in her retirement.  Please consider this home at a rare price point for a single family Lake LBJ waterfront home.

Here's the description:

Text LBJ15 to 79564 for smart phone presentation. Clean and Comfortable Cabin on Controlled Level Lake LBJ in highly sought after community of Sunrise Beach. Approximately 1/3 acre under a full canopy of beautiful trees on 65 feet of channel waterfront. Enjoy water views from the lakeside deck in several directions due to location at the split of two canals. Excellent outdoor living with 480 square foot covered deck leading to a large open patio. Open living plan indoors with a great room for kitchen, dining and living including a large breakfast bar and vaulted ceiling. Two bedrooms are each 12 x 15. A large storage closet in the center of the home provides a perfect location to add a second bathroom with adjacent incoming water and main drain. Ceramic tile floors throughout. One stall boat dock with electric lift ready to launch your short trip to open water. Get on gorgeous Lake LBJ at a rare price point. Over sized carport with large storage room and additional storage at dock. Lake sprinkler system. Owner/Agent is a Licensed Real Estate Broker in the State of Texas. Interested buyers should contact Michele Walker for fair representation, 512-557-5582.

The address is 108 E Lakeshore Dr, Sunrise Beach, Tx, 78643.  MLS number 134723.

I appreciate your consideration.

Jeff Spears

Broker/Owner

The Lake LBJ Group Keller Williams Realty

www.lbjre.com 

 

 

 

Has Your Home Been Listed for a While and Not Sold?

Has Your Home Been Listed for a While and Not Sold?


The New Year offers a great opportunity for a “health check” if your property has been listed in Lake LBJ Area for several months and has not sold. This exercise is most effective if you take on the mindset of a buyer. Wipe any personal and emotional attachments to your home out of your mind.


Take a look at your listing online and honestly ask yourself these questions:


Is the presentation quality of your listing high? Consider the photos and information provided. Do they reflect your home in the best and most complete manner possible?


What feedback have you received from buyers that have seen your home in person? If there is a consistent theme, what can you do to address the matter?


Google your home address. Do you find multiple results reflecting widespread online exposure for your listing? Search for your home on your phone and/or tablet. Do you find mobile friendly results? This is critical. More buyers use mobile devices than traditional computers when looking for real estate in today’s world.


The current real estate market is technology driven. Does your listing include the latest available features like video and aerial photography?  


Are you receiving status reports with online statistics on a regular basis?  96% of buyers will look at your home online before considering an in person visit.  Massive exposure may be the most important aspect to increase your chances of finding a buyer.


Finally, does your asking price reflect fair market value? If you are doing well on all the above topics, but not receiving decent offers, your price is almost certainly the primary issue.


Talk to your listing agent about all of these topics. Selling a home is a partnership with your agent and requires substantial effort by both parties. Best wishes for a successful sale in 2016!


Curious about any local real estate topics? Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business.


Guaranteed Real Estate Sales are a Scam

Have you seen TV commercials promising to sell your home or the Broker will buy it?  Or, to sell within a certain time frame or they will sell it for free?  A recent article by Inman Real Estate News reveals these offers are largely a scam.  They are used as a hook to get your business, but the terms are completely unreasonable.


One example was a broker from another state.  She received 36 new listings, but not one agreed to the terms required for a “free” sale.  All of the listing clients chose a more traditional arrangement.  To receive the “guarantee”, the seller had to make improvements and repairs required by the agent.  They had to agree to list their home at 95% of the fair market value.  Further, they had to agree to drop the price 5% every 30 days until sold.


Another example was an agent that promised to buy your home if it did not sell.  The terms of the agreement were similar, requiring you to accept less than a fair price.  The agent would not comment on whether he had actually ever purchased a home he did not sell.


We have all heard the phrase “buyer beware”.  In this case, “seller beware”.  If something seems to good to be true, it almost always is.


Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated.
How is the Highland Lakes and Horseshoe Bay Real Estate Market?

The Highland Lakes MLS Board covers all of Burnet and Llano Counties and much of the surrounding counties.  2014 was the best year for overall sales since the market downturn of 2008.  2015 continues to show our market is healthy and growing.  Here are some stats for the overall market as well as Horseshoe Bay.


Total Highland Lakes MLS Sales Volume:

  • 2014 - $521 Million

  • 2015 thru 3rd QTR - $448 Million

  • Sales Pending - $81 Million


Total Horseshoe Bay Sales Volume:

  • 2014 - $161 Million

  • 2015 thru 3rd QTR - $102 Million

  • Sales Pending - $22 Million


For many categories of real estate including improved residential, waterfront and resort homes, this is the best time to sell since 2007.  Prices are on the rise.  Another significant indicator of market health is the median number of days sold homes were on the market.  Using median rather than average prevents abnormal properties from distorting the picture.


Highland Lakes MLS Median Days on Market:

  • 2014 - 145

  • 2015 thru 3rd QTR - 123


Horseshoe Bay Median Days on Market:

  • 2014 - 159

  • 2015 thru 3rd QTR - 158


Horseshoe Bay Real Estate carries the highest market values in our area.  It is common for higher value properties to take a little longer to sale.


Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated.


When is the Best Time to Sell?

Many buyers and sellers assume our real estate market is very seasonal due to our resort and waterfront amenities.  Most folks believe spring and summer are the best time to sell, especially for waterfront homes.  Actually, real estate sales in Horseshoe Bay and the surrounding area are steady throughout the year.  These numbers may surprise you:


Horseshoe Bay Residential Real Estate Sales (number of units)

  • First Half of 2014 - 133

  • Second Half of 2014 - 142

  • First Half of 2015 - 127


Buyers are seeking to invest in our beautiful community year round.  The numbers for waterfront home sales on Lake LBJ are also spread evenly throughout the year.  The only slow period is between Thanksgiving and Christmas.


If you are considering selling your home, almost anytime of year is a good time.  If you are curious about the value of your home, please visit:


www.HorseshoeBayHomeValue.com


Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business.


Are Online Home Estimates Accurate?

Estimates of value for online real estate listings are very popular with buyers.  It may be the primary reason Zillow has become the most popular real estate website.  They were the first major player to create software to generate their “Zestimates”.


The answer to the question is sometimes.  Estimates can be very accurate, especially in metropolitan areas where many homes are very similar, such as Austin or San Antonio.  The automated systems are derived from sold homes and online tax assessed values, among other things.


In our area, these estimates tend to be less accurate.  We have many, many custom homes that differ greatly.  We have very few cookie cutter neighborhoods.  The unique values of golf course and waterfront properties is another challenge for these online systems.  I have seen that they often do not recognize waterfront properties and therefore estimate them at incredibly low values. Other improvements such as extensive landscaping are also impossible for these online systems to know about or measure.


Estimates are fun to look at, but only a REALTOR can give you the most accurate assessment of your home’s fair market value.  Getting more than one assessment is a smart move for sellers. If you are really curious about the value of your home, please contact a local REALTOR for assistance.


Sold in One Day for 99% of Asking Price - New Waterfront Listing in Sunrise Beach Coming this Week

Available August 21st. Charming Lake House on Constant Level Lake LBJ. Excellent condition and ideal location in Sunrise Beach. 79 feet of waterfront on a very wide and deep canal just seconds to open water. Amazing outdoor living spaces including a tavern over the dock. Open kitchen/dining/living space with granite counters, huge island, 10 foot ceilings and tons of natural light through the walls of windows. Excellent condition with no work to do. Beautifully landscaped with gorgeous trees. Electric boat dock lift, patio at water's edge and huge storage room.

 

Why Do Real Estate Commissions Seem High?

Ask a Local REALTOR - What’s Your Question?


This week’s question comes from a Beacon reader that asks, “Why are real estate commission fees so high?”.


This is a common misperception.  Frankly, before I started my real estate career many years ago, I had the same feeling.  Many people believe one or two agents walk away with the entire percentage of commission at closing.


In fact, all agents are sponsored by a Broker, whom is responsible for the agents actions.  In most transactions, there are two agents, one representing the seller and one representing the buyer.  Each of these agents must split their portion of the commission with their Broker.  So, in most transactions, the total commission is split four ways.


Running a real estate brokerage is very expensive. Offices and marketing expenses make up the bulk of the costs. Good companies will stretch their marketing costs to the maximum to give the best and most exposure to their client’s listing. Additional costs include licensing fees, liability insurance, support staff, equipment, and more.


Agents bare high costs in addition to their Broker. Many agents pay their own office rent and the bulk of marketing costs.  Agents are independent contractors versus employees and receive no benefits by law.  No paid vacation, sick leave, retirement benefits or health insurance are permitted. The success rate of agents is actually similar to that of restaurant owners.  There is a high rate of failure.


However tough it may be, there are many successful agents and brokers that truly love their jobs. The business models of Broker versus agent costs vary widely. Some believe beautiful offices drive business.  Others prefer modest offices and spend more on marketing. You deserve to work with successful agents for your own benefit.


Please submit questions by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  


Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business. Statistics are based on information provided by the Highland Lakes Board of Realtors MLS.


What Can I Do to Sell My Home Faster?

There are three critical factors that a seller controls: pricing, condition and marketing.


Pricing - Correct pricing is the most important element of selling a home.  Your agent should assist you in making this decision by providing a comparative market analysis based on recently sold homes that are similar to yours. You should also consider which active homes for sale will be your competition.  Visiting your competition in person can be a very valuable use of time.


Condition - Buyers strongly prefer homes that require little or no work.  You should clean thoroughly, get rid of clutter and stage your home to show at its best.  Your agent should help make suggestions.  Professional stagers are available when needed.  Beyond staging, but perhaps more important, are repairs. Making repairs and improvements before you list your home can be critical.  A well presented home will almost always sell more quickly and for more money. Small things like fresh paint can pay off big at closing. When a home is in need of obvious repairs, buyers will turn away or make low offers.


Marketing - Quality presentation and massive exposure are the most important marketing tools.  The seller controls this aspect by choosing their agent wisely. I recommend sellers consider and visit with at least 3 agents before making a decision. You should ask for examples and insist on the maximum number of high quality, professional photos for your home. Video and Virtual Tours are essential elements in today’s market. 97% of buyers search homes online and decided which homes to visit in person based on the online presentation.


My New Weekly Real Estate Column in the Horseshoe Bay Beacon

Ask a Local REALTOR


jeff new headshot bw.jpg

Welcome to my new column regarding local real estate happenings in the Horseshoe Bay Area. This column is intended as a community service to provide you with real estate information based on questions submitted by you, our much appreciated HSB Beacon readers.

If we have not met, I am Jeff Spears, Broker Associate and Owner of The Lake LBJ Group Keller Williams Realty Horseshoe Bay. My partner, Michele Walker, and our team have enjoyed providing real estate services in the area for many years.

In addition to our beautiful Resort, Local Lakes, and the Retail and Service Sectors, Real Estate is a vital part of our local economy.  Our market has been in recovery mode for several years since the downturn of 2008.  I am happy to report we have returned to a Seller’s Market with high buyer demand and lower inventory than the past several years.


Here is a quick re-cap of the past few years for Homes Sold in Horseshoe Bay.


Year

Number Sold

Total $ Volume

2013

263

$128,149,901.00

2014

273

$146,253,275.00

2015 YTD

155

$69,341,950.00


These stats represent all types of improved residential properties. Waterfront has led the market recovery with great homes below the $2 million dollar mark particularly difficult to find. Golf course homes made strong gains in 2014 and continue to rise in 2015.  Other categories of homes are following suit.  Pricing in any sector has risen and continues to do so.

I would sincerely welcome the opportunity to answer real estate questions submitted by our local residents or anyone curious about real estate in our area.  Please submit by email at jeffbspears@gmail.com, or feel free to give me a call on my direct line at 325-248-4369.  Please also let me know if I may use your name if reference to your question.

On behalf of all REALTORS in the area, thank you very much to the community for allowing us to serve your needs.  It is a proven fact that Local Experts are your best Real Estate Resource. We greatly appreciate our clients and customers.

Jeff Spears is a Licensed Broker in the State of Texas.  Each Office of Keller Williams Realty is Independently Owned and Operated. If you have a contractual relationship with another Broker, this is not a solicitation for your business. Statistics are based on information provided by the Highland Lakes Board of Realtors MLS.


Private One Acre Island for Sale on Constant Level Lake LBJ

Private One Acre Island for Sale on Constant Level Lake LBJ. Zoned for residential use. Bodin Island rests a few hundred feet from the mainland in beautiful Sunrise Beach. This is the one and only Island available on Lake LBJ. Imagine living your waterfront dream at its very finest. Amazing potential to own the trophy property on the best lake in Central Texas. A pipe from the mainland under the lake bed is in place for electrical lines. A small structure on the Island was built in the 1920's and a pier is in place. The Island is across the water from McNair Park with two boat ramps. Many of the logistics for development have been addressed.

Truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Contact Jeff Spears, Broker/Owner of The Lake LBJ Group Keller Williams Realty Horseshoe Bay for details. 325.248.4369, jeffbspears@gmail.com. Ask why many of the locals call this "Goat Island".  Visit www.lakelbjgroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

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