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Friday, December 18, 2009

November Austin Real estate market


Alamo Title in Austin reports the following statistics:


Units for Sale: (compared to November 2008)New listings are up 7.20%.
Pendings are up 17.71%.
Solds increased by 46.78%


Can these numbers be a result of the First time home buyer tax credit which was suppossed to expire November 30th? I am glad to hear that the government has actually extended this tax credit because this has stimulated our housing market. Check out the graph below submitted by Alamo Title. The statistics reported has not been verified and Keller Williams Realty does not guarantee this information.




Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Austin Cookie Realtor brings Smiles to Many this Christmas season


My nickname to many is "Cookie Realtor", and I don't mind it because I do love to bake. Stokes Sign in Lakeway calls me by my nickname because they are my best fans. Every Christmas, I bring homemade cookies to many including my clients who live nearby. Hey you wouldn't want stale cookies would you? This year, here is the list of my home baked cookies. People are amazed where I find the time to bake. Hey, when you love what you do, you will make time. Today especially was a very wet and rainy day in Austin. The perfect time to do a "pop by" since I know that most people will be home and NOT Christmas shopping. I stopped by a client's home and immediately at the door was my client and her daughter in the background said, "Is that Mrs. Jones?" and came running to the front door and gave me a hug. My client said,"My gosh, my daughter was just wondering when you were coming with the cookies!". Of course, the daughter is now a foot taller since last year, I barely recognized the (almost) woman before my eyes but it was such a delight to see the teens enjoy my cookies. Earlier today, another friend mentioned, she was thinking of me and my Christmas cookies at school today. She knew how I always plan ahead and got my Christmas cookies early.
Before you move on to the next blog, read the small print in the photo above. It says "Will bake cookies for your real estate referrals". And I mean it, don't you need a cookie realtor? Want to be one of my cookie recipients?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lakeway Elementary Fall Carnival













Once in a while when my schedule permits, I love to get involved with my children's school and volunteer. I thought I learned a lesson last year when a good friend of mine and I organized last year's Lakeway Elementary School Fall Carnival. Well, this year, we wanted to make more money for the school PTO so we decided to tackle this challenge again.

It surely was a beautiful sunny day (we lucked out since we've been getting alot of rain recently) in Lakeway. The carnival started at 11 and ended at 3. We had fabulous stage shows from local dance/arts studios and schools. Most importantly, we had alot of help from the middle/high school volunteers. The Varsity football players came to help set-up. take-down and clean-up. This was a day after they just won another game! The Lakeway Elementary school parents were very supportive of this event as it is our 2nd largest fundraiser of the year. The first is our no hassle fundraiser. I want to thank the following businesses who gave us generous contributions to our fall carnival:

GOLD LEVEL
Hill Country Pediatric Dentistry

SILVER LEVEL
Bob & Janis Allen
FranNet
Free Chapel
Jay-Reese Contractors Inc
Kid E Shack
Lake Hills Montessori
Lakeway Orthodontics
Starwood Pools
Tae Kwon Do Kicks
The KEEP Company
Trinity Pools & Scapes

BRONZE LEVEL
Black Sheep
Brian Besch of Besch Insurance
Café Lago
Chuck Saxon of Allstate Insurance
Dan Johnson of Empire Options
Ibank Austin
Lakeway Aquatic Therapy
Lakeway Pediatrics
Lakeway Vision
Nolan's Ark
Simply Organized
Transformations Salon
Virtual CFO
Warren Chirhart of Keller Williams Realty
Woofs Pet Salon

Lakeway Elementary continues to hold it's exemplary status. This fall, school attendance was unexpectingly high. But it does not surprise me that so many people want to come and live in Lakeway for our exemplary schools.

One project down, what's next? Hmm... I guess you'll have to stay tuned.




Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Short Sale Joke on Halloween


The reality is, I am seeing more short sales! How does this impact halloween trick or treaters? Double click on the image to magnify.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

September 2009 Sales Statistics



The September 2009 Sales Statistics are out and Alamo Title in Austin reports the following:


However, these are eliminary September 2009 Data:
Units for Sale: (compared to September 2008)New listings are down 4.52%.
Pendings are up 16.63%.; Solds increased by 2.31%



As for Average Prices:
The "New Listings" average list price is down 6.43% to $301,416. In September 2008 the average list price was $322,116. The sold average sales prices decreased 1.43% to $238,763. For September 2008 it was $242,215.

In Lakeway, residential units sold are down 5% compared to last September. Overall, I think these numbers are pretty good. Do you think that the first time home buyer tax credit has a big impact on these numbers? If so, what would happen after November 30th when the tax credit is GONE? Ouch!

The statistics above have been obtained from Alamo Title of Austin and the Austin Board of Realtors and the information has not been verified or guaranteed.

First time home buyers, say (almost) goodbye to $8,000

THE DEADLINE FOR THE $8000 TAX CREDIT IS 11/30/2009! In order to meet the tax credit closing deadline of 11/30/2009, you'll need to be under contract to purchase a home RIGHT NOW! So if you are still sitting on the fence about home buying, you better act TODAY! You really need to tage advantage of the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. This is $8,000 in YOUR POCKET. To qualify, you must make less than 75,000 if single or 150,000 if married and you have not owned a home for 3 years!

Join several of my first time home buyers who have filed an amendment to their 2008 tax return and are enjoying their $8,000 at the moment. So if you or someone you know is considered a first-time homebuyer, please contact me RIGHT NOW at (512)786-SELL/512-786-7355 to see if you qualify. I am here to help you and you don't pay me a thing. My fee is paid for by the seller BUT I represent you! If you do not know if you have enough money to pay for the down payment and the closing cost, call me and I can go over the different loan programs and see what I can do for you regarding your closing cost.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More homes rescued from foreclosures this month

This past Tuesday, October 6th is the first Tuesday of the month. What happens on the first Tuesday of the month in Texas? It is auction date. 3 of my short sale properties were scheduled to go to auction 2 days ago and I WAS ABLE TO CANCEL THEIR FORECLOSURE thru short sales. Only 1-2 months before auction date, I received phone calls to auction these homes. I received their hardship package, got the home in the market and received a REASONABLE offer worth presenting to the banks.

If you or someone you know own a home in Lakeway, Bee Caves, Dripping Springs, Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Steiner Ranch, Manor, Georgetown, Austin, Kyle, or Buda, and are at a risk of losing your home thru foreclosure, please know that you have other options beside foreclosure. Please give me a call, Iam a SHORT SALE SPECIALIST, and all it takes is 15 minutes on the phone to see if you qualify for SHORT SALE. I have received my Certified Default Resolution Specialist certification and have successully helped several homeowners in the past year. I have been doing short sales for a year now! I am the first real estate agent to receive this designation in the Keller Williams - Lake Travis office and in the Lakeway/Bee Caves area.

I have been received referrals from realtors who have tried doing short sales and have not been able to complete the transaction because of their inexperience and non-expertise. Are you willing to put your home and your credit to risk?

Here is a testimonial from a client:

Pearl Jones was a true Godsend for our family. She is exceptionally professional, persistent, caring, and honest. Dealing with a long-distance short-sale is a serious challenge, but Pearl's sincerity and integrity made it as bearable as possible. Contacting Pearl and enlisting her help was the best thing we could have done. She's a true expert on short-sales and a pleasure to work with. We give her our highest recommendation.

Ray Zimmerman and Becky Bourgeois (Orange, CA).

Just like the Zimmerman's, they seeked my help and the home closed 2 months ago. Don't give up without talking to me, and it's FREE! Pick up the phone and call (512)786-SELL/(512)786-7355.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where to find Foreclosures/REO's in Austin

I received a call from a buyer who was searching for foreclosures or distressed properties and told me that he found a foreclosure home he was interested in. The website gave him the name of the street but when he wanted to see the details of the home, the site asked him for his credit card information. He asked me if I could do some research for him. I told the buyer that my website was just the site he needed to search for foreclosures.

A few months ago, another buyer kept calling me to show her foreclosures that she found on a website. But when I pulled the information, the address was sold months ago or the address did not exist. I told her that all she did was got me and her excited and I asked her to please stop using that website because the information was incorrect.

My website gives you accurate and real-time updated MLS information of foreclosure listings ONLY. Enter your search criteria, either by town, school disctrict, or zip code, enter your home criteria price, number of bedrooms, square footage and YES, the list returned will only be REO's or foreclosures with the addresses and details! You don't have to enter your credit card number, your SSN OR give me your first born!

Well, what are you waiting for? Go find yourself a great deal, then call me when you are ready for your showing. The website to search for REO's/foreclosures in Austin is http://www.pearljoneshomes.com/austinforeclosurelistings.

PJ's Real Estate Joke on Home Inspection


Should you allow your friend to inspect your next home? Hmm, why not you ask? I know you trust your best friend with your first born and even let them work on your prized truck but come on, what does he/she know about the structural/electrical/plumbing issues of a home? Do the right thing and get a professional and licensed home inspector. In the state of Texas, inspectors must be licensed and are required to take classes just like realtors are. So blame it on your realtor, tell your friend that your realtor made you hire an inspector. Don't lose a friend over a house, after all, you'll need them to help you move! Double click on the photo to magnify! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Do you bite more than you can chew?

I am a mom of 3 kids, a wife, have a full time and a very busy career and sometimes I feel crazy to put so many things in my plate that people think I am 'nuts'. I was really hoping to be called Super Mom but sometimes, I feel nutty.

The 2009 school year just began and having 3 kids in 3 schools (high school, middle school and elementary school) is no fun especially when I have just gone thru 3 parent nights in the 3 schools in 3 different days and today, parent/teacher conference. At every parent night, I somehow signed up to volunteer in EACH of the school's teacher appreciation luncheons or coaches luncheon (for the high school). Was I drinking? Sadly, no. In addition, I found myself teaching Faith Formation again at my church (Catechesis to some) and co-chairing the elementary school's second largest fundraiser, the school carnival. Yikes! I also volunteered to hold my own booth at the office's first Halloween Carnival. Today, I volunteered to teach 2 classes in short sales at my market center! Doesn't that require time for preparation? Just so you know, I also chair 2 other social committees for fun.

Why? Why? Why? Why do I do these things? Why do I make myself go crazy and deprive myself from rest and relaxation? Well for one thing, I don't know how to rest. I don't like to watch television, I love to read novels but lately they just put me to sleep. I teach because I love to educate people. I organize community events especially school events because I love watching the children enjoy these events. Actually, I am just young at heart. Come on, what organizer actually DRESSES UP LIKE A CLOWN to kick off the carnival ticket pre-sales? Then go to the office to fax a short sale offer after dodging the guests up front or the weird stares from my co-workers in the parking lot. "Pearl is that you? Why are you dressed like that? Your too early for halloween!"

But when I dig inside my head and find the real reason, it's because I love it and I have fun with it! I bite more than I chew because I enjoy food and the results... the happy faces, the hugs and the thank you's are just priceless. The key to the success is having a PDA or some type of organizer and have small goals each week so that I am not waiting for the last minute to accomplish everything. In fact, my office halloween booth supplies have been ordered and have arrived today. The menu for the coaches lunch for next month is figured in my head. Most of the carnival organization is complete and have delegated the work to committee chairs. It's amazing what you can do when you take small bites and chew slowly, there will be no left overs after a huge meal (or no small project left undone).

Next time you volunteer, ask yourself if the task on hand is something you will enjoy. If no, skip it and go to the next task. If you decide to do the task, do it with a SMILE and don't even think about an excuse. Why did you volunteer if you're just going to say, "I could have done a better job if I didn't have to do this or that." The excuses are like the bones when we chew.

When you put your name on the sign-up line, do it with love and you will enjoy the task and fruits of your labor. Focus on the positive and the results rather than the time commitment. After all, you volunteer because it's not about you but for others. Keep it up you may just end up like me!

Thursday, September 10, 2009



Drivers beware! Beginning September 1st, hand held cell phone usage in Texas school zones are now prohibited! Handset free devices are allowed. I admit it, I am constantly on my hand held phone and it is a terrible habit which I need to break. This will be enforced and anyone caught may be fined.

The only solution I have in order to break this habit is to get a puck for my MB which is needed for the Bluetooth in my car to work. Unfortunately it is quite expensive and need to have a contract closed before I can afford one. I need your referral so I can get this device. The next 5 transactions have already been allocated to new shoes, purse, shoes, FOOD, and an outfit (respectively).

Please let me know if you know of someone that needs to buy or sell real estate. There is an 8K tax credit for first time home buyers which will expire on November 30th, so if you know of anyone, please have them contact me.

If I don't get the puck, you might get a call from me asking to help pay for the fine. So would you rather send me a referral or get a call? LOL!

July Austin Market Update


Alamo Title reports the following:

Units for Sale: (compared to July 2008)New listings are down 9.06%.
Pendings are up 8.12%.
Solds decreased by 7.75%.


The chart below reflects the statistics above. A 9.06% decrease isn't so bad. How is the real estate market in your area?

Monday, August 17, 2009

PJ's Real Estate Joke Back to School 2009


With the beginning of a new school year here in Austin, TX just around the corner, I thought I'd share with you my latest ad which will be included in the LT football program and LTISD school directory. I truly enjoy writing these jokes and I hope you enjoy reading them too.


This is the marketing side of me which I truly enjoy. I always like to drum up eye-catching ads which makes me different from the other real estate agents, therefore, my marketing properties, I make sure that they are always eye catching. Enjoy and leave comments if you wish. Select on the photo to view the image larger.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Importance of a Good and Knowledgeable Lender

Buyers, do you think it is IMPORTANT that you know who your lender is and that your lender is actually knowledgeable and professional of their business?

In a recent closing, I represented a buyer who already went thru the pre-qualification process with a lender that was supposedly highly recommended by a relative. I surely will not oppose to this especially when my buyer chooses to go with the referral rather than someone out of the phone book or the internet. From time to time, I would email the lender to make sure that the loan paperwork is complete and that the lender has submitted the file to underwriting, ordered appraisal and survey etc. I always copied the buyer to make sure that the buyer is also getting the appropriate communications.

So far so good, the buyer wanted to close at Week 4 just before the long holiday weekend, instead of Week 5 as written in the contract. The lender assured that Week 4 was not a problem. At Week 3, the lender emailed me a HUD document asking me to sign and return on the same day which I did. On the early part of Week 4, I received an email from the lender that I have not turned in the document to kindly send it back that day, which I did the second time. A few days later, the lender emails the buyer, copies me, stating that I have not turned in the paperwork she has requested from me twice. I immediately called the lender and assured her that I did!!! I immediately faxed and emailed the same document to her and the buyer and miraculously she does get it! At the end of that same week (Week 4), the lender called the buyer stating that the approval could not be completed because of the long holiday weekend and that the underwriter would resume the following Monday, week 5, supposedly the day before closing. That Monday came and went and the lender needed the wood treated by a termite company which was required by the bank. The buyer gets a termite professional immediately, gets the paid invoice to the lender for proof. The lender tells the buyer to postpone closing until the next day. The next day came and went and more documentation was requested from the buyer. Luckily the buyer had the documentation available and sends it right back to the lender. The lender once again asked to postpone closing until the next day. At the end of Week 5, the buyer is really upset, and has already re-scheduled her day off and the moving company 3 times. The buyer called me after she just got off the phone with the lender after a SCREAMING MATCH! A lender screaming at her client? WOW! The closing does not happen that Friday and the sellers had advised us that the husband was going to be out of town for work and to re-schedule the closing the end of Week 6. I get the amendment to extend closing for the following week done. Week 6 comes in and the lender has asked for more documentation regarding proof of payments on some loans which the client could not find. At this time, lender has asked closing to take place on Friday of Week 6. On Thursday of Week 6, still no signs of underwriting approval. The lender has stopped responding to my emails and phone calls on Weeks 5 and 6. I finally decided to step in and contact the lender's manager. Little did I know that the manager was only the owner of the mortgage company. I complained that the lender stopped giving me updates and that the closing keeps getting postponed daily. The manager has assured me that he will take over the file from now on and communicate with me the progress of the loan. I emailed the manager to do his magic for the Friday closing, instead, he promises a Monday closing of Week 7 or better if the day after, Tuesday of Week 7. The lender calls me telling me that her manager spoke to her and said that she did respond to my emails. Yeah right. We finally got clear to close Friday morning. Did you see that, FINALLY!!!! Fortunately for my buyer, they were not available on Monday so we once again move closing for Tuesday morning. I got the amendments to extend closing signed again. On Monday evening, the closing docs get to the escrow officer at literraly 6 pm which means a Tuesday am closing was not going to happen. The HUD settlement statement needed to be approved by all parties. The closing finally takes place at 3 pm (2 weeks after original closing date) and even at the table, the lender was still emailing changes to the escrow officer!!!! Naturally, the funding does not take place since the seller did not get to sign until 4:30pm.

The story gets better, read on.... The buyer has taken the day off, day after closing, waiting nervously for the green light so she can pick up the keys and get the movers to the house. The keys are not released to the buyers until the loan has funded. BTW, the lender has assured my buyer that she can get the keys on the same day she signs the closing docs, even before she sits down to sign. 9 am, 10 am, noon, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3pm comes along, the buyer has already called and txt me at least 2 times, "Have I heard anything?", nope I reply. Then I get a call from the title company stating that they have received the wire but the funds were SHORT! SHORT? How could the wire be short? Not enough money!!! The escrow company does not have an answer but will have to recalculate and see where the lender was short. The wire was short less than 3 dollars, another mistake by you know who. The lender drives to the title company to bring a check so that the keys would get released to the buyer. The buyer goes to the title company, meeting the lender in the parking lot. The lender tells the buyer AFTER ALL THIS, that the lender will pay my buyer a $500 fee for her referrals from friends, etc. You think she would after this fiasco? My buyer tells the lender under her breath that she was not willing to lose any friends over $500! SCORE!

Moral of the story, get a professional lender that knows the process and won't scream at the clients. The professional way to approach this situation is to have the lender not schedule a closing date until a clear to close has been received. Once a clear to close is given, the closing department needs 24 hours to get the docs to the title company. The title company needs a few hours to draw the HUD Settlement Statement and get it approved. Wouldn't it be simpler to just say "Miss Buyer, let's not make any plans to take a day off or schedule a moving company until I have the clear to close" PERIOD. This way no one gets stressed out! The best part about it when I heard my buyer say "My realtor is getting referrals but my mortgage lender is not getting anything from me."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Austin is a Hot Place to Live in 2009

I’m not surprised that our city is ranking well in several polls. Here are only a few of our city’s recent accolades:

Austin is #8 in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of the country’s best cities. This is due to solid job growth and stable economy.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that our city was the only major city that added jobs last year.

Austin is #1 in Relocation.com’s top city for relocation. Once again, the city’s economic growth forecast, housing affordability and strength of community contributed to this ranking.

Austin is #9 in the annual American Fitness Index awarded by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Are you looking for more reasons to move to Austin? If you are convinced that Austin is the place for you and your family, give me a call and I can help you find a home to buy or lease in Austin. Call me on my “SELL” phone at (512)786-SELL/7355.

Monday, July 20, 2009

June 2009 Austin's Real Estate Statistics


Is Austin's market shifting? Hmm, look at these statistics. Based on the number of single family homes sold in Austin (per Austin Board of Realtor's), in June, sales are down ONLY 9% compared to last June! In Lake Travis ISD (which includes Lakeway), sales ARE UP 2% compared to last June!!!! Yes, sales are UP, finally in the black. The last time Lake Travis ISD was in the black was in 2007. Just in case Lake Travis ISD home owners wanted to see the break down of home prices sold and days in market, I have provided this information in the above chart. So far this is a good sign, and I hope this market picks up! Let's keep selling these homes and keep thinking positive! NOTE: The information herein has been obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and has not been verified.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Austin's Real Estate Market May 2009




How's the real estate market in Austin, TX? Well, it could be better, though it is better than other parts of the country. Austin residential unit sales are down 22% this May compared to May 2008. In Lakeway or residential sales under Lake Travis ISD, sales are down 20% compared to last May.






Alamo Title reports that new listings are down 30.65% compared to last May. As for average prices in Austin, Alamo Title also reports that the "New Listings" average list price is up 12.11% to 355,139. In May 2008 the average list price was $316,768. Sold average sales prices decreased 3.35% to $250,014. For May 2008 it was $258,675.






The statistics reported below have been obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and have not been confirmed. Pearl Jones nor Keller Williams Realty is not responsible for the inaccuracy of this report.






Thursday, May 28, 2009

City of Lakeway's Growth for 2009

City of Lakeway representatives Shannon Burke and Chelsea Blanchard came to my market center to give a presentation on the city's growth. This is the second time I am blogging about the fast growth of Lakeway and the changes appear right in front on my eyes.



Below are my notes, to the best I could take them:



No. Lakeway Village - 160 total acres; on FM 620 and Clara Van; close to Ryland's Home's location. 130 single family homes, 88 condos



Corey Fish Funeral Homes - West side of FM 620



Vistas of Lakeway - Toll Brother's Community of 175. Phase 1 is still under construction which has 110 condos.



Lake Travis Transitional Medical Center - Opens spring 2010, located behind the post office. A long term acute care hospital, medical office is going up. This is for patients who are just coming out of ICU just before going to rehab.



Real del Lago - 22,500 sq ft building, restaurant and retail office. This is going on FM 620 just next to Walgreens.



Discovery Point - 1st phase is almost done, 11,000 sq ft of office space. 2nd phase will be twice as big, 22,000 sq ft. medical office building closer to the ridge.



Lakeway Regional Medical Center - 54 acres of 104 bed hospital, medical office, retail, hotel, retail and restaurants. Site work is underway. There may be more beds 40+.



Tuscan Village - on Lohman's Crossing, 61 acres of age restricted community. 120 Single family cottages, 70 townhomes, 100 condos, with library and retail stories. Across the street on Lohman's Crossing will be a 210 multifamily dwelling.

Lakeway Mud Water Tank - which is already in progress on Lohman's Crossing. This tank will hold 2 million gallons of water.

Pierce Plaza - on Lohman's Crossing and Rolling Green, 12,000 sq. ft. office building.

Lakeway Dental - this 8,000 sq ft medical office will go next to the old Exxon station on Lakeway Blvd.

Lakeway Church - is expanding the church adding a 13,000 sq ft building.

Lakeway Highlands - As you know, Highland Blvd. is being extended from Lakeway towards Bee Creek by Rough Hollow. This will be 1,540 acres which includes a hotel, yacht club, 1,400 single family lots, 330 condos. The street should be complete this summer.

Serene Hills - The road was expanded to connect to Hwy. 71; 456 acres of 300 single family homes plus 300-400 apartment units with a commercial building.

Palombo, Flintrock - 15 single family lots near Flintrock Falls.

There will also be two new schools, an Elementary school and a Middle School by Bee Creek Road. How about a Hight School? No talks of adding a new one at this time. What Lakeway really needs is another grocery store. The HEB Shopping Center of Hwy 71 and Hwy 2244 which recently expanded has been so congested! The Randalls on FM620 is a bit more expensive than HEB.

What are your thoughts on Lakeway's growth? If you are thinking of moving to Lakeway, who is the best person to reach than one who knows the area best. Give me a call at (512)786-SELL/7355. I am a realtor with Keller Williams Realty and my office is smack in the middle of Lakeway.

Austin's Real Estate Market April 2009

The Austin Board of REALTORS® has reported that the volume of single-family home sales in April 2009 was 1,601, down 18 percent from April 2008, and the median price was $189,000, up one percent over the same time period. In Lakeway or homes under the Lake Travis ISD, single-family homes sales in April 2009 is down 14% compared to April 2008.

The outlook for Austin is getting better as the sales have increased and the gap between the months have started to close in. With the current low interest rates (4.5-4.75% 30 year fixed) and the 8K stimulus for first time home buyers, we hope that this continues. It was mentioned in my office that over 50% of the buyers in the current market are first time home buyers, wow!

We hope that more enlightening news about our real estate market continues. Let's see what May brings us!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hill Country Women's Vendor Show in Lakeway


16 women business owners have come together to participate in the first Hill Country Women's Vendor Show occuring in Lakeway. The show will be held on Sunday, May 17th from 2 till 6 pm at the Ridge at Alta Vista Clubhouse in Lakeway.

Participants include Marge S. showcasing Silpada Jewelry (jewelry) ; Kimberly P. from Organize Me (organizing service); Kate B. showcasing Mary Kay (make-up); Melissa P. of Entertaining at Home (home decor); Hillarie E. of Creative Memories; Susan A. of Lush Salon (hair salon); Kate S. of Exclusive Wall Design (faux painting); Lana B of Personal Training and Group Fitness (personal traning); Nicole L. of Nicole's Computer Solutions (PC help); Carole W. of Carole Willard Interiors (Interior decorating); Doris S. of Deep Tissue Therapeutic Massage (massage) and more!
The event will provide food, drinks, and prizes. Please come and bring your family and friends and support our women owned businesses. Call me at (512)786-SELL/7355 for questions or directions.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

PJ's Odd Real Estate Joke on Optimizing For Sale Signs


In the City of Lakeway, the city pays code enforcers to monitor that appropriate signage is used when a home is for sale. Example, for Open Houses, one can only have a sign that says "Open House" and an arrow plus a business card must be stapled on the sign. Nonetheless, realtors are only allowed to have an Open House on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. If your Open House sign is in violation, they either take the sign down and they try to track you down and pay you a visit and they give you a warning. Then after the first offense, you can get fined. Yes, I have had to learn the hard way and get many unexpected visits from the code enforcers.

When a property is for sale in Lakeway, you are not allowed a for sale sign, not even one. Just an informational box with flyers are allowed in front of the home. In my frustration, I have come up with this 'optimized' home for sale joke.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

March 2009 - Residential Sales Statistics


Once again, residential sales in Austin have dropped 31% in March 2009 compared to last March (using units sold). In Lakeway, specifically all homes under Lake Travis ISD, residential sales are down 17% compared to last March. Though these numbers don't sound so great, looking at the charts below, we are at an upward trend for the season as we approach spring/summer when sales are usually higher. Hope this trend continues to grow upwards as the interest rates continue to stay low (currently 4.875% 30 year fixed).
This information has been obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and has not been verified.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

PJ's Odd Real Estate Joke on Easter Egg Hunting


This is the second year I am organizing an Easter Egg Hunt in my community, Ridge at Alta Vista. Last year, we had over 1,000 eggs and about 200 children plus a special appearance from the Easter Bunny. This year, we have at least 1,300 eggs and the Easter Bunny will also be coming. We anticipate to have about 200 children again. As your realtor, I always want to make sure that I protect your interest. Enjoy and Happy Easter! (Double click on the photo to enlarge)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Find Austin Foreclosures

Are you looking to find a good site to find Austin Foreclosures? There are so many sites out there but you have to pay for some to get either some kind of confusing list or have to get hold of a realtor to get you the foreclosures. I have created a website for home buyers looking for Foreclosures in Austin. It is a Search site where you enter the parameters: price range, zip code, number of bedrooms, etc. and it only gives you those foreclosures that match your criteria. Easy enough? Ready, Set, Let's Search.

Please, please, please, do contact me if you have any questions regarding a property, or wish to request a showing. Call me at (512)786-SELL/7355.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

IMPACT of the First Time Home Buyer 8K Stimulus Plan

Have you heard of the $8,000 Tax Credit offered to First Time Home Buyers? People purchasing a home in 2009 for their primary residence AND are first time home buyers (meaning you have not owned a home in the past 3 years or more or even never owned a home) may claim up to a $8,000 tax credit when filing their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. There has been much buzz about this tax credit, let’s talk about how this will affect people’s life:

1) DIVORCE RATES WILL BE LOWER – Couples now have an incentive to buy a home, and since most households have both spouses contributing to the mortgage together, what a great reason to stay together!

2) TAXPAYERS WILL FILE THEIR TAXES ON TIME – I want my 8K and I want my tax refund now! Who wants to wait for your tax credit until next year? If you are a first time home buyer and purchased your home before April 15, 2009, you can file for your tax credit when you file your taxes for 2008. Please check with your CPA or financial advisor about this.

3) HOME OWNERSHIP WILL START EARLY FOR MANY – Why not start your real estate investment once out of college and have a job? Many people have a trust fund that is accessible to them after college. They can use their trust fund as a down payment for their home. Start your real estate portfolio while you are young; don’t wait until after the 1st child arrives or after owning the first boat or after paying off your wedding. Start TODAY!


4) PEOPLE WILL HAVE STRONGER CREDIT – A first time home owner usually does not have a long credit history or none. By making mortgage payments on time every month, the homeowner can establish great credit history. Would it be a perfect world if all our youth started on the right foot with their credit?

5) THERE WILL BE LESS STRESS IN THIS WORLD – Find a real estate agent that will walk you thru the entire home buying process, not just from seeking your dream home, but explaining the mortgage process, make recommendations of service providers (loan processor, home warranty, home insurance, title company, etc.); and one who holds your hand thru the contract to close process. Here is what my First Time Home Buyer/Client have to say about me:

"Purchasing a home is not an easy task and can be a headache for a first time buyer.
Pearl was able to walk me through the ins and outs of purchasing a home. I'm pleased that the overall process went pretty smoothly from start to finish with no paperwork issues. I highly recommend her!" ~Thao P.

If you or anyone you know is ready to be a homeowner and want to take advantage of this $8,000 tax credit, give me a call TODAY at (512)786-SELL/7355. (Certain restrictions apply, call to see if you qualify for the 8,000 tax credit).

The impact of the FTHB plan is an opinion of the author who likes to remain positive ;)

Friday, March 20, 2009

March - This month in Real Estate for Sellers and First time Home Buyers

News for First time home buyers and Sellers putting their home in the market today. This has been brought to you by your Keller Williams real estate team.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Purchasing a home from Overseas? What I have done for my buyer

I have a buyer who is in town who needs to relocate to Austin this spring, which means, they need to find a home in the next few days. Caveat is, the husband is overseas and was not able to join us house hunting. We have narrowed down the choices to 2 homes. This home is the wife's top choice. As a buyer's agent for this couple, my job is help both spouses make the decision TOGETHER. Did you read that correctly? Well together does not only mean the husband and wife, there are also 2 children involved. How did I help the spouse and 2 children, who is currently left overseas to help with the decision? I have taken these tours myself to help the family feel the home as if they were walking the home themself (minus the chit chat of course). I am a poor narrator, it may take 20 takes before I say everything right so I decided that this was going to have to be a silent move.

Bring out the popcorn and see what the family overseas saw to help them make the decision.

Master Bedroom/Bath Tour

video

Second Floor: Game Room/Media Room/Front BR/Bath/Back BR

video

FYI, I tried to upload a couple more videos but Blogspot is giving me an error. The blog might be too large for multiple tours. Anyway, the family voted a big YAY on this home and we are currently under contract.

For you buyers out there, does your real estate agent help you be a part of the buying process when the other deciding family members are not able to be here in Austin? For those of you who are thinking of relocating to Austin, do you want this kind of service from your real estate agent? If you do, give me a call on my SELL Phone (512)786-SELL/7355 or email me at PearlJones@kw.com. I will be happy to help you with exceptional service on your next home.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Jan and Feb real estate statistics for Austin and Lakeway areas



Alamo Title of Austin has reported that in January, residential sales units were down 43.24% BUT pendings were UP 8.08% compared to January 2008. In February, residential sales were DOWN 26.32%, pending sales were DOWN 24.32% compared to February 2008. New listings are also down both months. I think sellers have come to a realization that you should only put your home in the sale market if you have to sell.





In Lake Travis ISD which includes Lakeway real estate, in January, sales are down 35% compared to last January and in February, sales are down 18% compared to last February.



If you are thinking of selling, give me a call to give you a market measure on a specific community or MLS area. If you are thinking of buying, it is absolutely a good time to buy in AUSTIN!


The information in the graph has been obtained from the Austin Board of Realtors and the information has not been verified. The graph is to be used for informational purposes only.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Did your high school make the grade? Eanes' Westlake High School did

How does your high school rank in the nation’s public schools? Newsweek.com released the 2008 List of top 1,300 public high schools in the country. Are you surprised that Westlake High School ranked #52 (in 2007 they ranked # 97 ), while Lake Travis ranked #603? Round Rock’s Westwood High School made it in the top 100 ranking #78! James Bowie in South Austin just made the top 1000, ranking #996.

Other Texas winners are Talented and Gifted school ranked #2, Science and Engineering Magnet school #4, Highland Park #15, these schools are located in Dallas.

To view how your school ranked and to read the complete story on how Newsweek ranked these schools, read the article.

Monday, February 16, 2009

How Texas measures up to other states

The Austin American Statesman, reported on Sunday, 2/15/2008 how our state's economy compares to other parts of the country.

Housing: New home starts are down 33% in 2008 compared to 2007. Nationally, it is down 41%. 37 other states are in worse positions. For resales, sales are down 16%, compare that to the national rate of 13% drop.

Foreclosures: One in every 971 mortgages in December was in foreclosure; Nevada is 1 in 71, California is 1 in 147 while Arizona 1 in 163. 7% of these mortgages were sub prime in October, nationally 9%.

Unemployment: 6% unemployment was reported in December, supposedly the 36th lowest rate. The worse is Michigan at 10.6%, California is 4th at 9.5%.

The Source of Austin American Statesman information are: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Standard & Poor's, National Association of Realtors, National Association of Home Builders, Texas comptroller's office, First American CoreLogic, US Commerce Department, the Conference Board.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recipe to a successful Short Sale transaction

Many agents run away from a short sale property (both on the buy and sell side) for many reasons, one of which is the difficult and the lengthy process involved. As a listing agent, a short sale is not exactly financially rewarding primarily because the first thing the short sale lender does is discount our commission (on both sides). That and the tremendous amount of time on the phone with the lender on top of the paperwork involved, pretty much amounts to alot less commission compared to a normal sale transaction. Why do I take short sale listings? Because the fact that I am able to save a homeowner from foreclosure is absolutely priceless.

Once you have an experienced short sale agent who brings you a reasonably clean offer on my listing comes along, the process is just as smooth as a newly starched cotton shirt. That and a patient buyer who is willing to wait at least two months added with a loan officer who is quick as a pin, plus an escrow officer who is on top of every detail, wholla, resulting a smooth transaction. Ain't that a WIN WIN for all parties? A win for the short sale lender who has a reasonable net return and not have to pay a highly paid lawyer for the foreclosure process; a win for the buyer who is happy as a clam since they have instant equity ($$) on a beautiful home they absolutely love; and most of all a win for the seller who can actually move on forward to the new chapter of their life, then purchase another home once they have their credit repaired and saved enough downpayment.

To buyers out there, yes short sales are absolutely worth it! It is instant equity for many since the listing agent needs to price the home at less than market value in order for the home to sell fast. But beware as not all buyer's agents know how to write a clean short sale offer! To sellers out there, yes short sale may be your solution, but does your listing agent know how to handle it? Is your listing agent organized enough, ready to tackle the mounds of paperwork and knows that it is a lengthy process? A short sale can take 60-90 days to close from the time the offer was taken, if the short sale lender approves.

My advice to you is to make sure your real estate professional knows how to handle short sales (on either sides) once you decide to consider a short sale. Give me a call at (512)786-SELL / 786-7355 to discuss how I can help you with your short sale.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Austin's Real Estate Statistics for December 2008



Sorry I took to long to post the December 2008 real estate statistics. Alamo Title has reported that December residential sales are down 3.86% compared to last December. On a brighter note, pending sales are up 35.10%. New listings are also down 47.01%.
Looking at the graph, in the past years, February marks the beginning in the uprise of sales, continues until spring and dips in the fall. With the lower interest rates, we have seen an increase in pending sales, we sure hope that this is a good sign for Austin's real estate. Keep an eye out for January 2009's statistics.
NOTE: This information has been retrieved from Alamo Title of Austin. The accuracy of this report has not been verified and neither I or Keller Williams Realty guarantees and is responsible for its accuracy.

To My Twitter Followers


A message to my Twitter Followers. To all the others who are Twitters, follow me at www.Twitter.com/ARealEstateGeek.

Select on the image to magnify. Happy Twitting!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kung Hei Fat Choi, Year of the Ox, Happy Chinese New Year 2009!

What better place to celebrate the Chinese New Year than be here in Asia! Yes, I am currently in Manila, Philippines and the buzz in the news and papers is all about celebrating Chinese New Year, the year of the Ox!

To celebrate the New Year, the Chinese believe that eating certain foods bring them good luck. For example, eating noodles brings longer life; round items such as hopia or siopao symbolize a coin which brings prosperity; fresh food brings healthier life; and seafood ie a prawn showing a smiley face brings happiness.

Are you an Ox? The year of the Ox is said to be a lucky year for businesses which are based on its element which is the earth. These are businesses related to REAL ESTATE, construction and farming. Fantastic! As for me, I was born in the year of the Horse (if born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 or 2002). If you think I was born in 1990, that makes me 19 this year. It is said that the horse must be cautious this year and be focused on their goals (so as not to waste energy). Helpful people will help come in pursuing projects. So far, this has been true as I am out of the country on family leave and I have hired an assistant to take care of my pending transactions, or projects. The horse’s career and wealth will increase and dreams will come true. Well it’s about time! Do you think Brad Pitt will ask me to marry him this year? LOL! The horse must be humble to avoid envious people who will get jealous and bring trouble. Okay, Angelina, hope you are reading this! Be careful in taking medicines and exercise regularly and avoid unhealthy and junk food. Okay, I am listening. The most favorable dates are 3/5 to 5/4, 7/7 to 8/6, 9/7 to 12/6; meanwhile moderately favorable dates are 2/2 to ¾, 5/5 – 6/4, 8/7 to 9/6.

I will let you know at the end of the year if my fortune has become a reality. After all, we could all hope that real estate will turn around for the better. Hurray for the year of the Ox!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pearl's Odd Joke on my 2009 New Year's Resolution


I like to think that I am an organized person but once in a while I forget. If I don't write it down, it's pretty much lost in (brain) space. Many times, my kids find me in the kitchen scratching my head. I knew I got up from my office for something and just can't seem to remember what I needed, only to go back to my office and get up again. I hope I am not alone. Here's my Odd Joke for January. Can you relate?

Ridge At Alta Vista, Enclave at Alta Vista, Alta Vista at Lakeway YTD Real Estate Statistics


Many homeowners from the neighborhoods mentioned above follow my blogs to see the statistics in their community. I ran the YTD statistics and overall, in the Ridge at Alta Vista neighborhood, the average price per square foot is 2% lower in 2008 compared to 2007. That is expected but still not too bad. But in the Enclave Condominiums, the average price per square foot is 18% lower than last year. As you know, Toll Brothers has completed the project and only has a handful of completed condominiums to sell.


These are Year To Date numbers, so when averaged, it doesn't seem too bad. I want to point out that it is important to take into consideration how Central Austin's real estate has been doing the past two months when the bank crisis and mortgage bail-out started. The sales every where in Austin became sluggish (view my blog on November statistics).


If you are thinking of selling in Austin at this time, please have your real estate agent, run your neighborhood statistics since October, 2008. You need to have an understanding of the current market.


If you would like me to run the statistics for a specific neighborhood, like the one in this blog, please give me a call and I would be happy to provide this information to you for FREE.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Austin is #8 in best places to live in US

Hurray! We have done it again. Our wonderful and beautiful city has been ranked #8 by msnbc.com as the best metro places to live in the US in 2008. #1 is Raleigh, NC. Other Texas cities named in the top ten are Houston (#4) and San Antonio (#7). The site has taken the rankings from Forbes.com, Kiplinger.com, Money magazine, Fortune Small Business magazine, and Relocate-America.com, merged them whoalla, this list.

Today, it is 78 degrees in a beautiful January morning. Anywhere else in the US would probably not be this clear and warm. How about you, what is your reason for moving to this beautiful city?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a TWITter!

Sometimes, I am a TWIT, but today, I am a TWITTER! I just joined another social networking site called TWITTER.COM. My username is ahhh "ARealEstateGeek".

Funny you should ask why I chose this username. For one thing, my 20 years in computer science classifies me as a geek. I graduated with a BS in Computer Science when I was in 19, which makes me a nerd. But I don't really want to go with that name. #2, thesaurus.com defines geek as an odd person (which I AM); computer expert (which I like to think I was at some point in my career). Then under the website's notes, they explain: A geek is a smart person with an obsessive interest, a nerd is the same but lacks social grace, and a dweeb is a mega-nerd. If we really need to dissect this note, I do have an obsessive interest in real estate; I usually have social grace and I am definitely not a mega-nerd, though I snort when I laugh!

If you are a twitter, please follow me at my site: www.twitter.com/ARealEstateGeek and I would love to reciprocate the link.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Listing Agent goes MIA, who will take care of the offer?

I recently read a Real Estate blog post about a terrible Buyer's Agent that lost a deal and it made me think of a similar situation I had.

In this experience, I was a buyer's agent. I wrote an offer for a willing and able buyer on a Sunday evening. The buyer was very anxious and needed a place immediately. I absolutely love motivated buyers. I left several messages that evening with the listing agent. The following morning, I did the same. My client had already called me 4 times by 1 pm the following day and I pleaded to give me till 5 pm to receive a response from the other agent. I spoke to the agent's broker and the office had no idea where the agent is, though, they think that the agent is on vacation. I asked who may be taking care of the agent's business, unfortunately, the listing agent did not tell anyone from the office who that may be.

2 pm came and the buyer was furious! The buyer actually fired me, thought I wasn't doing my job in contacting the other agent. I gave the buyer a few minutes to calm down, called them back later, and we were back on the road looking for another home. Thank goodness, the buyer was easy, we found another home and that deal was sweeter than pie.

How many listing agents are there who go MIA (Missing in Action) during the holidays? I worked this Christmas and New Year's weeks and I would say I was extremely busy. I had several buyer appointments including one listing appointment. A comment I received was from a seller who wanted to terminate their agent and was looking for another one. They said that I was the only one who responded within one hour from their call, while they are still waiting for responses from calls they made from a week ago! I asked the seller what was important to them as far as their listing agent, they said good communication. I asked them how often their listing agent called them, they responded, 'only when they called him'. Two internet inquiries I received during the holidays commented the same thing. They were inquiring about a listing they saw on one of the websites I advertise, I responded within minutes from receiving their email. They have not heard back from other inquiries they placed days ago.

If you are a seller, is communication important to you? You need to ask your agent how soon will they return calls and how often you expect to hear from them. If you were the seller and you found out that you could have had a deal going while the agent was away, how would that make you feel? I have several listings and I assure each of my clients that they will receive an email from me weekly and receive feedbacks as soon as I get them from the showing agents. On New Year's Eve, I actually wrote and entered on the MLS 2 listings. While everyone was planning their parties, or getting ready for one, I was working!

You could learn the easy way or the hard way. Now tell me, knowing that you could always reach me and count on me, how about that listing appointment?