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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Do not put too many zeroes in your list price states Researchers

In today's Statesman, dated February 24th, 2008 of the Homes section, my husband pointed out an interesting article about pricing your home.

There was a study by a research team at Cornell University and they found that people will pay more for a house if the listing price didn't end in a bunch of zeroes (ie. 449,893 oppossed to 449,000). So I continued to read on. The researchers state that it is a psychological thing. Because people are used to precise numbers for items that don't cost and tend to round numbers, consumers including home buyers tend to think that a price is smaller when there are digits at the end instead of zero. Come to think of this, when I go to Randalls or H-E-B, when I buy an item, I tend to buy the one that is priced at 11.99 instead of 12.00 even if the 11.99 is a generic brand when for a penny more I could get a name brand; or buying shampoo at 4.39 oppossed to 4.00. I guess my brain gets easily tricked by the digits in the end. The researcher says that it seems rediculous but when a price is seen by a consumer, our response is not always based on deliberate reasoning.

The study was conducted by 134 graduate students by examining 27,000 real estate transactions in Florida and Long Island where most list prices had 3 ending zeroes. The bottom line is the research states that the homes with a more precise list price sells more than that of a home with a list price ending with 3 zeroes. Amazing! I can't wait to try this out on my Austin home listings.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Guess who just got ePRO certified?

Check out the following PRESS RELEASE:

For Immediate Release

Local Agent Earns REALTOR e-PRO® Certification

Feb. 21, 2008 -- Pearl Jones of Keller Williams Realty has successfully completed the REALTOR e-PRO course to become one of a select few real estate professionals to earn the prestigious certification offered through the National Association of REALTORS.®

The REALTOR e-PRO certification course is an educational program unlike any other professional certification or designation course available, comprehensive and interactive. It is specifically designed to provide real estate professionals with the technology tools needed to assist consumers in the purchase or sale of a home.

With more than 70% of consumers beginning their real estate research on the Internet, e-PRO certified agents have the experience and expertise to meet the demands of today’s buyer and seller.

“The real estate industry has undergone a fundamental change over the past several years,” said Pearl Jones of Keller Williams Realty. “A majority of consumers are taking the time to conduct their own research prior to contacting an agent. In turn, real estate professionals must be knowledgeable of how technology can assist them in serving the needs of the buying and selling public.”

The exclusive REALTOR e-PRO certification course is presented entirely online and certifies real estate agents and brokers as Internet professionals. Because of its innovative design, students are able to complete the course at their own pace, when and where they want, via any Internet connection. The course is designed to help REALTORS stay at the leading edge of technology and identify, evaluate and implement new Internet business models.

Once completed, the e-PRO certified real estate professional joins the ranks of a special community of highly skilled and continuously trained professionals who provide high quality and innovative online-based real estate services. Consumers can identify the e-PRO through the exclusive e-PRO Internet Professional logo.

Both the content and the delivery platform were created by San Diego-based technology company InternetCrusade®. The course instructs participants in the professional use of e-mail, the development of an interactive Web site, and the use of online research tools. Graduates use the skills they've acquired to provide clients information on properties for sale, local communities, and the local real estate market.

For more information, e-mail Pearl Jones at or call (512)786-SELL.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

City of Lakeway Growth Presentation Notes

About 70 people showed up at the Ridge at Alta Vista Amenity Center, the evening of Feb. 12th 2008 to hear City of Lakeway Deputy Manager, Chessie Blanchard's presentation. The following are my notes and I am not responsible for the misinterpretations of her presentation and changes made by the City of developer after the presentation. Plus the fact that I have to decipher my chicken scratch is another thing:

Clara Van (West side of FM620) Total 160 acres, 51 acres of commercial tract, 130 single family homes, 88 condos, 33 acres of greenbelt;

Vistas at Lakeway (East side of FM620, South of Lakeway Blvd.) 175 units by Toll Brothers, 50 acres with bird preserve on one side;

Hampton Inn and Suites (near Vistas of Lakeway) 70 room hotel, expected completion date of 2008;

Downtown Lakeway (area known as goat farm, West side of FM620 on Glen Heather Rd) will begin in 2009, a city initiated project, 80 acres of mixed use, will look like a traditional downtown with gathering places, water feature, restaurants, small theater, recreation center, etc.

Lake Travis Transitional Medical Center (by post office) A center for patients who are in between ICU and rehabilitation, there will be a Long Term Acute Care Hospital. To be completed Spring/Summer 2009, with medical office spaces;

Tuscan Village (Lohman's Crossing/Lohman's Spur) 42 acres, 100 multi family units, 100 townhouses, 120 cottages, for 55 and older only. I am not clear if all of these units are for the seniors.

Lakeway Regional Medical Center (North of the High School) 54 acres of privately owned specialty hospital with over 100 beds. Will contain an 24 hr. emergency room and helipad, hotel, day care, medical offices, parking garages etc.

Discovery Point (on the East side) Phase 1 will include office spaces, retail and a restaurant.

Rough Hollow (by Lake Travis) 30 condos, 100 single family homes, Highland Blvd. extension in Lakeway Highlands. This is a 2 mile stretch for this connection.

Lakeway Highlands (by Bee Creek Rd.) 1,540 total acres containing 1,400 single family homes, 300+ acres of park and greenspace, 330 condo units, 35 acres commercial, 10 acres hotel and 8 acres yacht club.

Serene Hills, 456 acres, 308 sq. ft. lots, 300-400 apartments, 100 acres commercial, extension of Serene Hills Drive, include a new Middle School.

It is all very exciting to see our city grow!

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007

Talking about confused and confusing, I have heard different versions of interpretation of this Act. This Relief Act as signed into law on December 20, 2007 by President Bush. The Act was passed to help out homeowners who have additional income to claim on their taxes as a result of an acquired forgiveness of debt during a home sale of a foreclosure, or a sale lower than the outstanding debt or a refinance where the new amount is less than the current amount. The President once again hopes that his act will help out the housing market, etc. etc.

I won't even try to interpret the law as I am confused myself. But what I think it means is that if you've had to refinance your home in 2007 and the new mortgage amount is less than the current amount, the difference is the income for the borrower to claim or the forgiven debt. But under this act, the forgiven debt is no longer considered to be income. Same goes for a foreclosure or a short sale. But the home should be your primary residence and there is a requirement as to how long you've own the home for. There is also a maximum limit on the debt which is $2,000,000!

If you have any questions or concerns, read this fact sheet and consult a tax advisor. And then if you have this all figured out, send me an email. Good luck if this affects you.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

City of Lakeway Growth Presentation

City of Lakeway is growing in leaps and bounds. Once a quiet quaint city for golfers will soon be a home for medical professionals as well. I have invited Deputy City Manager Chessie Blanchard of the City of Lakeway to come and speak about the new developments and our growth on Tuesday, February 12th at the Amenity Center of Ridge at Alta Vista.

Chessie has prepared a powerpoint presentation of the new commercial buildings, communities and the Lakeway Regional Medical Center with a helipad that is going up next to the Lake Travis High School. The city has planned another elementary school near Bee Creek Rd. which they have annexed and called Lakeway Highlands, a new Middle School but no information on a new High School. They have a developer that has bought property to build a downtown Lakeway. She will talk about Highland Blvd. that will extend all the way towards Bee Creek Rd., etc.

If you are a City of Lakeway resident and you would like more information or would like to attend, send me an email. This meeting is automatically open to Ridge at Alta Vista homeowners, The Enclave homeowners, Alta Vista at Lakeway homeowners, friends and clients.

Stay tuned for the results of the presentation.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The mindset of a successful real estate agent

Ever get up one morning, you get dressed, you put on your favorite slacks and shirt, you look in the mirror and it doesn't look right and it feels horrible. You just wore it the week before and always loved the way it looked and felt but today no matter how you convinced yourself, it just wasn't doing it for you. Then you try on numerous other outfits, without success. You didn't gain or lose any weight, the clothes didn't shrink, it's your mindset that's off!

I get those days usually on Mondays after a busy and frustrating weekend. On Monday's I usually go to my office for Rising Stars, I call it Realtor's Anonymous (a version of AA). It is a support group where we talk about the week before, get new ideas and get energized for the new week coming ahead. Without the support group I would still be in front of my mirror debating which outfit works right for me.

As a real estate agent, it is important that I have the right mindset every day. After all, how am I going to sell a client's home or even show homes when internally I am feeling blah? How does your real estate agent cope with today's market? Gary Keller always says "there is nothing you can do about the market, it is your mindset that needs to change". So yes, you've guessed what I am doing today. After going to Rising Stars at Keller Williams Realty, I am going to clean-up the pile of clothes on my bedroom floor that I have tried this morning.