Blog – Eanes Properties A Good Website is a Necessity, A Great Website is an Advantage Tue, 05 Feb 2019 16:22:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Combining Self-Directed IRA’s To Buy Investment Property Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:29:51 +0000 My wife, Ricki, was interested in using the cash in her self-directed IRA to invest in real estate. She didn’t have enough in her retirement account to cover the purchase of the single family home she wanted, but it turns out that didn’t hold her back. We were able to combine the cash in our self-directed IRAs to cover the price. Partnering on self-directed investments is possible, as detailed in IRS Publication 590. When partnering two or more funding sources, any expenses (insurance, property taxes and repairs for example) have to be paid from the funding sources in the same proportion as the purchase. Likewise, any profits flow back to each funding source in the same percentages. In our case Ricki’s self-directed IRA owns 60% of the house and my self-directed IRA owns 40%.

We used a title company familiar with the unique titling required on the purchase agreement associated with a retirement account. This title company had closed several other sales like ours and the investment titling (which was one of a few differences when using a self-directed IRA to purchase real property as the property is titled in name of IRA) presented no problem.

By using our self-directed IRAs to purchase income property all our rent income flows into our IRAs tax free and any profits when we sell will also go back into our tax-advantage accounts. We sleep better at night knowing our retirement assets are safe and invested in real property and not subject to the risk of the stock or bond markets. Let us know if you have any questions about how this can work for you and your IRA nest egg.

End of 2017 Real Estate Market Report Fri, 15 Dec 2017 21:58:22 +0000 According to the November, 2017 Central Texas Housing Market Report compiled by the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABOR) the median single-family home price year-over-year increased in Hays County by 4.0 percent to $260,000, in Travis County by 6.1 percent to $341,000 and in the City of Austin by 6.8% to $360,000. The ABOR reports in November the number of Active Listings increased 13.7% and Pending Sales jumped 14.9%. Both Pending Sales and Active Listings figures across the five-county Central Texas region indicate that single-family home sales growth could continue through the end of 2017.

“Due to rapid population growth throughout Central Texas, Austin continues to have one of the highest demands for housing in the nation”, says Brandy Guthrie, President of the ABOR. Guthrie added, “We are seeing some slowing home price appreciation and housing inventory gains, which is normalizing us to a more stable market and aligning us with long-term historical market trends. Even with the market normalization trends we are seeing, home sales volume throughout the Austin-Round Rock MSA is on-pace with 2016 year to date. If this month’s home sales volume exceeds that of last December, 2017 will most likely be another record-breaking year for the Austin-area housing market.”

“The 2018 Austin-area housing market will be a lot like this year’s housing market – slower, but still very strong housing market activity,” said Mark Sprague, State Director of Information for Independence Title. “However, there are multiple economic factors to watch out for going into next year. Slowing job growth in Central Texas, the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the price of building materials and housing development costs and the overhaul of the U.S. tax plan are all factors that could hinder housing market growth and negatively impact housing affordability in the Austin area in 2018.”

So there you have it! The Austin area real estate market continues to be strong and stable with prospects for continued growth next year. Your friends at Eanes Properties wish you a happy holiday season and stand ready to help with any of your future real estate needs!

Protect Your Retirement Savings Tue, 28 Jun 2016 22:21:30 +0000 Approaching retirement I have been thinking more about the safety of my retirement nest egg.  Earlier this year I transferred all of my IRA savings out of the stock market and into a self-directed IRA account with Equity Trust.  The risk to my principle if I stayed in the stock market was just too much for me.  Because the money went directly from one IRA to another, there was no penalty to make the move.  The new company charged a fee to set everything up and to perform transactions but my principle in no longer at risk in the roller coaster stock market.  There are a lot of companies in the self-directed IRA business to choose from so understand I am promoting diversification not the Equity Trust Company.  When my transfer was complete, my self-directed IRA purchased an income producing single family home here in Austin with cash. Now, with no mortgage to pay, all the monthly net rent income (after Eanes Properties Management Fees) goes directly into my self-directed IRA account tax free.   Insurance, property taxes and any repair bills are paid directly from my Equity Trust self-directed account.  Now my retirement savings are invested in a stable, real asset that is not going to suddenly loose value or disappear.  I also like that when I decide to sell all of the gains will be tax free!  The sales proceeds will go right back into my self-directed account and will be available for my next real estate investment, to move back to a more traditional IRA account or to use as I see fit!  With the Austin economy continuing to out perform most of the rest of the country and the future of our real estate prospects here looking solid perhaps now may be the time to consider protecting a portion of your IRA savings from the volatile stock market to your own self-directed IRA where you can invest in income producing real estate.  Let me know if you have any questions or want to check in to see how my investment is doing.

What is the best school district in Texas and the second best in the country? Fri, 15 Apr 2016 22:46:06 +0000 According to the school rating website Niche, Texas has more than 1,000 school districts. The Eanes Independent School District, a tiny one near Austin, is THE BEST in the Texas and second best in the nation!  Now you know why we called our company “Eanes Properties”.

The EISD has nine schools: One high school, two middle schools and six elementary schools. The campuses all regularly receive the highest academic ratings from the Texas Education Agency. According to the Eanes ISD website, the school district also sends almost all of its graduates to college.

Of course, wealth goes a long way to explaining the district’s success.  Niche reports that expenses per student tops $18,000 at Eanes ISD, in the Austin suburb of Westlake.  The national average is $11,927.   Sports are big in the Eanes ISD.  When my girls were there they won two state volleyball championships.  Their success paid off when they both earned full athletic scholarships at UTSA.

During the 2012-2013 school year, every student at Westlake High School received an iPad.  The $1.2 million tech initiative was approved for students in grades kindergarten through seventh as well.  Eanes ISD, however, doesn’t receive perfect marks in every category.  The one weak point, according to Niche, is in the area of student culture and diversity. Let us know if we can help you find a home or condo to buy or lease. We know the Eanes ISD!

How Much Is Your Home Worth? Mon, 07 Mar 2016 00:27:14 +0000 The obvious answer to the question is the market value of your home is how much it ends up selling for in an open real estate market.  But how can you estimate the market value of your home if you are considering putting it on the market to sell?   This is a question many homeowners have asked us over the years.   There are several sources and methods of determining market value: you could use an online web site, the County Appraisal District web site, a Realtor or an Appraiser.  These four sources are different and will almost always produce a different value for your home.  So which one is best for you?

There are several web sites that offer market value estimations.  Two of the most popular web sites that homeowners visit to find out the value of their home are Zillow and Trulia.  Did you know that some of Zillow’s estimates can be off by thousands of dollars?  If you think about it for a moment, how can a web site that is not located in your local area and has never been inside your home determine the market value of your home?  It’s impossible for a homes market value to be accurate since these online web sites have no clue what is currently happening in your local real estate market or what the condition your home is in.  Automated valuation models, also known as AVM’s, area service that offers to provide a home valuation using mathematical modeling combined with a database.  AVM results can be produced in a matter of seconds.  They use public record data and computer logic to calculate an estimated sale price of a property.  It sounds like AVM’s would be a great way to determine the market value of a home but the reality is that they can be a terrible method to determine how much a home is worth.  Similar to the price per square foot method, AVM’s don’t take into account property features, upgrades, and amenities.  Another drawback of using AVM’s to determine the market value of a home is the fact that you do not know when their database was updated.  A lot can change in a few days, weeks or months that could affect your home value.

Texas Appraisal Districts establish their values as of the first day of each year for taxing purposes for that year.  Appraisal Districts use mass appraisal methods that analyze properties grouped by similar market influences and characteristics rather than by performing individual appraisals on each parcel every year.  This method of appraisal provides more uniformity in taxation for taxpayers with benefit the taxpayers knowing that they are being treated the same as other property owners but this is not a great source for current market value data.  In fact, in Texas when a property is sold the sales price is not required to be reported to the appraisal district.  They rely on voluntary reporting for their data base.  So their data base is probably the most out of date of the four sources listed above.

A comparative market analysis, frequently referred to as a CMA, is something that a Realtor can prepare for you after a visit to your home.  A CMA is a detailed analysis performed by a Realtor that analyzes recently sold homes within the past six month period and homes currently on the market in your area.  Some of the most important things to look for in the comparable properties used in the CMA is, are they in the same area or neighborhood as your home, were they build around the same time, do they have a similar size or square footage, do they have the same number of bedrooms and bath rooms and how do the improvement or amenities compare?  A Realtor will take into consideration your needs (i.e. how quickly are you wanting to sell, are there any special circumstances, etc.), how much are current interest rates, what is the condition of your home, how much inventory is currently on the market and how active has the real estate market been in your area?

Another popular and accurate method to determine the market value of a home is to purchase an appraisal on your home.  An appraisal is a written estimate of a properties value that is completed by an appraiser.  The cost of an appraisal typically ranges between $250 – $500 but is a great way to get an unbiased opinion of a homes market value.  There are a couple of different appraisal methods that an appraiser can use to determine a homes value.  Below are brief overviews of two different approaches used by an appraiser:

The cost approach is an estimate of what it would cost to replace or reproduce the improvements in a home that will deduct issues such as deterioration of a property.  The cost to replace or reproduce a home is added to the value of the land to complete the appraised value.

The comparison approach is the same as a comparative market analysis completed by a real estate professional. An appraiser will look at properties that have similar size, quality and location that have been recently sold. Variations between properties are factored by either adding or subtracting value to the value.

As you can see, there are many different ways to determine the market value of a home.  Some can be poor choices for the reasons listed above.  Remember both a CMA and an appraisal take time to complete properly and a CMA is free.  If you agree information is power you will want to use one of the sources listed in this article before you list your home for sale.


Tips To Consider Before You Buy A Home Mon, 09 Nov 2015 21:12:30 +0000 Buying a home is a big decision you make only a handful of times in your life.  The three key things to remember are location, location, location.  So choosing the right neighborhood requires some research before you choose. Below are several things to consider:

Safety First!

Your safety should always be a top priority!  While no area is completely safe, some areas provide better protection and have less crime than others.  Knowing which areas are low and high risk can save you a lot of angst and help keep your family relatively safe and secure.  Going to the local police station to ask about the crime rate in the area and visiting neighborhoods during different times of the day and night can give you a reasonable picture of the safety level in that area.   You may also want to ask neighbors you see walking or outside in their yard in the neighborhood about how they feel living there.

Pay Attention to Other Homes

When choosing a new place to settle down, you should always pay attention to the houses around the one you are considering.  If there are several empty homes on the street or in the subdivision, it might be a good idea to go door-to-door and ask current homeowners why there are so many vacancies.  If possible you don’t want any surprises.  If there are undeveloped lots around your dream home, see what you can find out about any future plans with that land.  It would be terrible to buy a house only to see that a shopping center or apartment complex built in front of your eyes after you purchase the property. Do your homework and find out as much as you can.  In upscale residential areas it is hard to imagine something like this occurring, but it can and does happen.  When your money is at stake, leave nothing to chance.

Schools and Education

Buyers with children want to live in areas with decent schools.  Homes in good school districts are typically sought after which helps keep home prices stable.  A few of the things you may want to consider when comparing neighborhood schools are:

  • School Rating – On our Home Page, click on Area Info tab and select School Information from the drop down menu .  Click on Austin School Search for information about teacher-to-student ratios by school.  You can also find the web sites for the Austin, Eanes, Hays and Lake Travis ISD where you can find data about the district test scores, bus routes, special/gifted programs, family/student aid and any bi-lingual support.

Do your homework and consider all the features that are important to you.  Once you know which schools you want your kids to attend, you can narrow your home search and with the help of an experienced Realtor find a home you can afford in the neighborhood you want to live in.

Is Now A Good Time To List Your Home For Sale Sat, 13 Jun 2015 23:19:44 +0000 According to the latest data from the National Association of Realtors, pending home sales rose by 3.4% in April to their highest level since 2006. On an annual basis, the gain was an even more impressive 14%. And homes are going under contract at their fastest pace in years

The market seems to be quite strong heading into the Summer selling season. Realtors are reporting more frequent multiple offers and houses selling in a matter of hours in some cases. The CEO of Redfin recently said that we’re going to see stronger price increases over the next few month, and the Summer is historically the strongest time of year for home sales. According to, the site is experiencing 35% higher search volume than last year so there’s no reason to think sales volume will decline anytime soon.

Even though mortgage rates have started to rise, they are still near record lows. Changes in the mortgage market this year are making it easier for first-time buyers. And, the rising home values are making it easier for formerly underwater home buyers to sell and purchase new homes.

Now may be the time to sell Homes are selling for higher prices and faster than in the past. Plus, mortgage rates aren’t likely to stay low forever. The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates later this year and mortgage rates are probably going to increase as well. Even though mortgage rates have risen recently, they are still extremely low on a historical basis, and we may see an even higher-than-expected level of activity this summer as people scramble to take advantage of the low rates while they last. If you are considering selling your home this Summer and have any questions or would like to see a market analysis of what is currently on the market and recently sold, give Samantha a call and she will be able to help.


Your Austin, TX Real Estate Agent Tue, 23 Apr 2013 22:34:24 +0000 It feels great to know that we are one of the top local real estate firms in Austin, TX. My website has a ton of resources that can help you search for a new home to buy or lease. Feel free to use our website, free of charge and with no strings attached. If you need representation or just have any questions we are always here to help. Contact us today!

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Contact Eanes Properties at 512-293-0276.