Part of the moving process is changing your address so that all of your bank statements, bills, magazines and other mail goes to your new home. The quickest and easiest way to do that is to hop online and go to the U.S. Postal Service website. You’ll need to verify your identity by using a credit card, and you’ll be charged $1, but the change can be done in minutes, and without leaving home. (You also can go into a post office and make the change without using a credit card.)
After your change of address is processed online, mail sent to your old address will start going to your new home. The USPS mail forwarding service lasts one year for most first-class mail. Magazines are forwarded for 60 days.
Certain classes of mail, however, will not forward to your new address through a change-of-address request. Companies and organizations you’ll need to contact directly to change your address include banks and credit unions, mortgage companies, insurance companies and utility companies. Don’t forget to notify the Internal Revenue Service and the motor vehicle department as well that you’ve moved.
“New car smell” is divine, but nothing quite like the smell — and look — of a newly-built home. Pristine carpets, unblemished walls, the smell of freshly-cut lumber lingering in the air — it’s hard to beat the excitement of taking ownership of a brand-new property.
Everything looks great, and you have been involved in the construction process every step of the way. Why would you need a home inspection?
Home inspectors are trained to spot problem areas, and identify issues that could cost you time and money down the line. Building a home is a massive undertaking, much like fitting together a big jigsaw puzzle. It involves many different trades, from plumbers and roofers to HVAC technicians and concrete masons. When should the inspection take place? Your home inspector may want to take a look at specific times during construction and when the home is completed.
A comprehensive home inspection is always a good idea, whether your house is the NKOTB (anyone?) or a centuries-old pillar of the neighborhood.
Wow! It’s been a wild and crazy start to the year! I’ve been focusing (apart from normal business activities) a lot on trying to get all of my blog posts cleaned up and reformatted- starting with the oldest. After moving brokerages back in October, I also changed blogging platforms and moved all of my YouTube videos over to my personal YouTube account. Sounds easy, right? HAH! So, apologies for the scarcity in new blog posts as of late- but they’re coming!
In light of that, what better way to come back than with a 2016 year-end wrap-up! Unless you’ve been living under an enchanted rock, you know that 2016 was a nutty year in Austin real estate. You’re either feeling squeezed by rising rental rates or rising property taxes.
It’s a catch-22 really. I mean, we love Austin because it’s an amazing city to live in. Almost no one can deny that. However, because it’s such an amazing city, the number of people wanting/willing to relocate here is ever-increasing. For those of you feeling the financial squeeze of housing costs, I hate to tell you- but I think the pressure will continue for a while. The good news: I don’t think the acceleration of the intensity will be quite like it has been the past few years.
Check out the video below where I break down Austin’s most recent market numbers for the month of January. Additionally, I go over the stats for 2016 as a whole and attempt to take stock of where the heck we’re at with the housing market in this sweet town. (If the video doesn’t show up below, check it out HERE on my YouTube channel!)
The Austin Board of Realtors just released the newest round of stats for the month of August. Check out the video below where I break down (what I think are) the most important take-aways! Everyone knows this market is a bit nutty. But how nutty is it, you ask? Watch the video and judge for yourself!
I’m all about green technology. These days, there are so many upgrades you can make to your home that not only help the environment- but they can also save you a crapload of money! You can upgrade/add insulation in your attic as well as the walls; you can go solar; you can get energy-efficient appliances; you can do low impact landscaping with timed drip irrigation; you can even get energy-efficient roof shingles. But one of the best things you can do to your home is upgrade the windows.
All homebuyers I work with quickly learn that I’m a little OCD about three things: HVAC Safe-T switches, water heater drain pans, and- you guessed it- windows. So, how the heck are you supposed to assess the window situation in your current home…or the home you happen to be viewing at the moment?! Well, the super short article below was posted recently on the Texas Association of Realtors blog and I just had to share. Enjoy!
5 ways to tell if the house you’re touring will need new windows
08/26/2016 | Author: Fran J. Donegan, guest expert
New windows are an expensive investment, easily costing $300 to $1,000 per window, and most homebuyers don’t factor in window costs when searching for a new home. However, if you’re aware of what to look for when touring a home, you can spot windows that may need repair or replacement. Here are things to pay attention to:
1. Windows that are difficult to open and close. You might not be able to test every window in the house, but try some out. If you are unsure, you can ask permission.
2. Damage to window frames. Look for signs of water damage, rotted wood, or recently made repairs, both inside and outside.
3. Missing hardware. Most hardware can be replaced, including cranks for casement windows, but if the hardware is missing, it could be a sign that the window does not work properly.
4. Foggy double-pane windows. Condensation between the panes of glass means the seal has been broken and the energy efficiency of the window has been compromised.
5. Single-pane windows. This is a sign that the windows are fairly old and not very energy efficient. New double-pane windows are much more energy efficient.
Consider future maintenance when surveying the windows. Wood windows need to be scraped and painted every few years. If new windows are an option, there are number of low-maintenance models available, including vinyl, fiberglass, and composite, as well as wood windows where the wood is exposed inside but covered with vinyl or aluminum outside to protect it from the elements.
If you get to the stage of the buying process where you visit the property with a home inspector, point out any concerns you have.
While you may not have planned to spend money for window fixes as a new homeowner, you’ll benefit in the long run by having a more energy-efficient home.
Fran J. Donegan writes on home improvement for Home Depot. Fran is a longtime DIY author and has written several books, including Paint Your Home. To review a number of window installation options, you can visit homedepot.com.
If you are a home-seller in Austin, TX, you’ve still got the upper hand. As long as you are priced somewhere in the range of what’s reasonable, you should sell very quickly…and you’ll likely have several interested parties. Multiple offers have really become the norm.
In the video below, though, I talk a bit about an area that is growing significantly in popularity. With pretty good schools, easy access to I-35, MoPac, HWY 183, etc., and relatively affordable prices, Williamson County (Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown, etc.) is experiencing somewhat of a boom.
When I first started in real estate (literally in my first licensing class), I heard several people say, “Never do business with friends or family.” I guess, at some basic level, that made sense to me at the time. I don’t know why- I just accepted it.
I hope that if/when one of these kids (my own children!) want to buy their first home, they’ll know who to call. haha
However, I sought out wise counsel from seasoned real estate agents who I deeply respected and who I knew had a solid ethical backbone. One agent, in particular, directly challenged that little bit of what he called “folk wisdom”. He said, “Screw that, dude! I say only work with friends and family!” This guy said that avoiding business deals with friends and family is only important if you (or the other party) are planning on acting without integrity. He encouraged me to be open to working with anybody who I genuinely believe I can help. After all, if I am honest, ethical, and trustworthy, why in the heck should I exclude those who are closest to me?!
Some of my favorite peeps, Leif and Autum
With that in mind, I recently had the ammmmazing opportunity to work with Leif, who is one of my dearest childhood friends (and his awesome wife, Autum…who is also a dear friend!). We had such a blast together and I am so glad that I was the one who was able to help them buy their first home! Leif and I actually played in a band together in high school and college (see us shredding below), travelled the country in a van playing gigs, and grew up about 200 yards from each other.
See Leif and Autum in the video below describing what it was like working with me…a friend…and also family…basically.