Friday, August 19, 2011

Austin Home Sales Up, Median Price Down in July

There was an increase in the number of homes purchased in Austin this July than a year ago, although they tended towards less expensive ones. There was a 32% increase over July 2010 numbers meaning more than 1,970 single-family homes were sold in Austin in July 2011. The median sales price, however, declined to $196,750, an 11% drop. Those homes also were on the marked 5% longer than July 2010.

The drop in median price reflects a demand for lower-priced homes in the city. Austinites are searching for bargains right now. With interest rates at historic lows, the number of investors looking to take advantage of the savings could be driving the increase in number of homes sold. With the Federal Reserve announcing rates staying low until 2013 coupled with the busy summer sales season, August numbers could reflect a similar increase.

Even with a decrease in the median sales price, the total value of Austin-area homes sold in July was nearly $525 million, up 23% from last July. All of these homes getting snatched up has created a 20% drop in inventory to 9,393 single-family homes currently on the market.

If you are a condo or townhome owner, it's good news all around! 205 townhouses and condominiums were sold in July, a 45% increase over July 2010. In addition, the median price for condos and townhomes grew 5% to $164,250.

Federal Reserve to Keep Interest Rates Low Until 2013!

With all that has been going on with our economy, a little bit of good news never hurts! The Federal Reserve last Tuesday announced that they would maintain rates at it's exceptionally low level (near zero) though 2013 to promote on going economic recovery and control inflation. This decision was based on the labor markets nationwide showing little improvement since their last meeting along with slow signs of growth, inflation in the energy markets, and only a slow decline in the unemployment rate.

Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as interest rates fell to their lowest level this year. The turmoil in the stock market has caused a dive in interest rates; we are currently seeing conventional loans at 3.99% and FHA as low as 3.5%.  
What does this mean to you? An interest rate change of 1% equals about a 12% change in buying power, so if you could afford $200,000 loan at 5%, at a 4% interest rate you can now afford a $224,000 loan for the same monthly payment. Even refinancing into a lower rate can save you hundreds in your mortgage payment!

Interest rates are at their lowest point in history and it appears as though we will see them stay at about this level for a little longer. If you are looking to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to capitalize on the tremendous investment that we have in property ownership, now is the time! Whether you or a friend, family member, or business colleague is looking to purchase or sell to up-size or down-size I can help with that! Even if you just want to refinance to take advantage of these interest rates, I know of several great lender's who can assist that have low closing costs to maximize your savings! Let me know how I can help!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

FHA Loan Limits Being Reduced for Travis & Williamson County

The maximum FHA loan amount in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Caldwell and Bastrop Counties is projected to decline from $288,750 to $271,050 - a $17,700 decline. The decline, set to occur in October 2011, is meant to reduce the government footprint in housing, but the real estate and mortgage industry fears it could lead to lower prices on an already injured housing market. 
By comparison, the maximum loan amount in Monroe County, Florida will decline by $200,750 to $529,000 and $184,000 in San Joaquin, California, going from $488,750 to $304,750. So the decline is significantly less that experienced by other areas nationwide.
The article does not disclose the maximum Freddie and Fannie loan amount for Austin but Houston and Dallas will remain unchanged at 417,000 - more than likely Austin's conforming limit for non-FHA loans will likewise remain at $417,000. 
See the Wall Street Journal article, Sellers Brace for New Mortgage Caps, here:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

STELLAR NEW AUSTIN LISTING! Ready to Go Spotless Clean!

Priced at $147,500! (MLS# 7741109) MOVE IN READY! Four Monster-sized rooms! POPULAR floorplan! Check out that curb appeal! Few in the neighborhood look like this! Lots of trees, open kitchen to living room, Breakfast bar, PLENTY of space upstairs and down! Large backyard! Faces a greenbelt with over a MILE of hike and bike trails! Beautiful fireplace! Community ammenities only a 2 minute walk away and include pool,  wading children's pool, playground, picnic tables and more! Just MINUTES from Walter Long Metro Park with a large lake, BBQ Pits, Volleyball, Trails, Fishing, Canoeing, Kayaking, and more!! A gorgeous blank canvas for you to sculpt into your dream home!


As usual you can see more on this property 
and EVERY property for sale at:!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fannie Mae Homepath Foreclosure BUYER INCENTIVE!!

It can pay off pretty big to be clued in to deals in real estate. For many of us, a house is the most expensive investment many of us will every make in our lives. So having someone that can really help you make a smart decision and ease the burden on your wallet can prove to be an invaluable resource. ESPECIALLY knowing that the vast majority of the time, buyer's don't pay their representation a cent. Whoa whoa whoa. What do I mean you say? Seller's agree to pay their listing agent a commission. The listing agent then offers a portion of that commission to a buyer's agent to bring and represent the buyer's side. Thus, the buyer's don't pay their agent anything. 

So, as a buyer you effectively are getting someone to help you locate the perfect home, schedule appointments to see them, handle contracts and other necessary documents, negotiate on your behalf, have referrals for appraisers, surveyors, inspectors, adhere to timelines, deliver monies, walk you through inspections, possibly re-negotiate, preparing amendments/addendums, make sure your financing is progressing along with regard to the deadline, review documents before closing, make sure closing goes smoothly, and after closing make sure you have a good referral for moving companies, flooring, handymen, painters, landscapers, and much more ALL FOR FREE!? In addition to providing advice on the scope of risk as an investment? If you are going to purchase a home and the representation is free, why would you not want someone who can assist in potentially maximizing the potential of one of the largest investments you will make in your life?

It's my duty to the people to inform the public of particular happenings in the market that could minimize the risk to their wallets. My website, serves as a moniker of the service I provide to the people of the Austin metro. At the end of a grand opera performance they throw roses, at a wedding celebration they throw rice, at a Detroit Red Wings game they throw octopus, but Chris Matthews throws SAVINGS!! 

Fannie Mae is offering up to 3.5% closing cost assistance for their REO Foreclosure Homepath properties. The incentive is offered in an effort to help more buyers afford their new homes. The incentive begins on April 11th 2011 and running through June 30th 2011. So in addition to getting a foreclosure-type deal on price, you also get the benefit of tremendous savings on closing costs. YAY! Search for Fannie Mae foreclosures at

Eligibility Details:
  •  Initial offers must be submitted on or after April 1, 2011
  • Buyers must be owner occupants (i.e. primary residence and will have to sign an Affidavit stating so that needs to accompany the initial offer)
  • The sale must close on or before June 30, 2011
  • Other restrictions apply.  For more information visit the "Special Offers" tab at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Advice! 10 No-No's While Trying To Get Approved For A Loan!

Many are taking advantage of interest rates at historic lows, either by re-structuring debt with a refinance or purchasing a new home. However, the recent economic crisis has ushered in some even tougher guidelines and credit requirements and there are some things that consumers must be aware of when applying for a loan.
Here is some advice on 10 things NOT to do leading up to a home purchase or under contract on a home to not harm your loan approval. It's best to just wait until after you've signed off at closing and the home is already yours.
1. Don't do anything that will cause a red flag to be raised by the scoring system
2. Don't apply for new credit of any kind
3. Don't pay off collections or charge offs
4. Don't max out or over charge on your credit card accounts
5. Don't consolidate your debt onto 1 or 2 credit cards
6. Don't close credit card accounts
7. Don't pay late
8. Don't allow any accounts to run past due-even one day!
9. Don't dispute anything on your credit report
10. Don't lose contact with your mortgage and real estate professionals

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Austin Achieves YET ANOTHER Ranking! #2 in Country for JOBS!!

Ajilon Professional Staffing, a leader in recruiting and project consulting, has just released their list of the 10 best cities for finding employment in the United States. Guess who ranked #2? AUSTIN, TEXAS of course! The only city surpassing Austin for the top spot is Minneapolis-St. Paul. This ranking only adds to the massive pile that Austin has achieved in the past few years. Austin has become a staple of resilience in an national economic crisis with the ability to keep unemployment low by generating new jobs and featuring a variety of available employment fields.

Ajilon Professional Staffing had this to say regarding Austin: "Austin, Texas came in second place on the list as a result of the city’s low cost of living and diverse talent pool. Austin’s robust educational community also contributed to boosting job growth in the market. Home to several major universities, including the University of Texas, local businesses have a vast pool of well-educated recent graduates to choose from for local employment opportunities in Austin."

As a man who's job it is to sell Austin, these rankings definitely make my job easier. I've lived all over the country, even living abroad, and I've travelled the vast majority of the United States and if there is a city that has it ALL, it's Austin. Night life, outdoor recreation, festivals, culture, lake fun, parks, low-cost of living, outstanding property values, job market, events, live music, and friendliness of the people... Austin is without a doubt one of the BEST places to live in the United States.

If you're interested in Austin, TX real estate and purchasing your piece of this great city, contact me at the numbers on the sidebar. I'd be happy to help! View my own personal compilation of Austin's rankings over just the past 3 years here:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

NEW HOT LISTING!! 18661 Dry Pond Dr. Next to Lake Pflugerville!

Priced at $135,000! (MLS# 7929575) Amazing Home with designer-taste upgrades including beautiful flooring, window treatments, neutral color tones, and a massive stained concrete patio! Villages of Hidden Lake has an astronomical amount of amenities including Lake Pflugerville where you can bike, jog, swim, picnic, fish, and more! Also, Blackhawk Golf Course is a quarter mile away where you can play a round of golf on a gorgeous course.
SEE VIDEO TOUR FOR FULL VIEW OF UPGRADES! A guaranteed charmer in Villages of Hidden Lake! Functional floorplan with spacious rooms! Cute as a button! VERY LOW PRICE! Tons of natural light, durable wood laminate flooring, vaulted ceilings, window treatments included. Neighbors are super friendly & welcoming w/great community feel. Amenities incl. pool, splash park, playground, & jogging paths. Neighborhood borders Lake Pflugerville! Perfect place for a lake swim, beach areas, scenic jogging, or picnic! Well-loved PERFECT Home, Outdoor Activities, & Academically Recognized Schools!
As usual you can see more on this property and EVERY property for sale at:!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Happy Valentine's Day!! My significant other is in South Korea on business, so sadly, I'm alone today. If you have some one, don't take yours for granted! When you shrivel up into a prune you're going to be glad to have someone who can stand to look at you everyday. That's why it's important to lay the loving foundation now because the dating scene for seniors isn't as bountiful. If you don't have someone right now, then someone took you for granted and they don't deserve you anyway.

Since my lady is on the other side of the world, I'll be kissing the mirror tonight. "You handsome devil you. You just get better with age. You always know just what to say, you wizard of words! Oh, I see you're wearing the shirt I got you. It fits you like a dream." ....I'll pathetically say to myself. Is it so wrong to want to hear some complements on Valentine's Day? I could be sending a gift basket to myself, but when you're self-employed, what's the point?

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


In the spirit of tax season, because they get me just so excited I can barely contain it, here are some tax benefits you can claim on your taxes as deductions. Reason to stop renting and purchase something? ....Quite possibly.

Deductible homebuying expenses: Certain closing costs involved in a home purchase are deductible from your taxes as itemized deductions. Loan origination fees or points, prorated interest on a new loan, and prorated property taxes paid at settlement for example are all deductions you can claim on your taxes.

Home mortgage interest deduction: Interest paid on a mortgage or mortgages of up to $1 million for a principle, homestead and/or a second home is deductible as an itemized deduction. With interest payments being particularly high in the early stages of a loan, this deduction can be particularly substantial during the first years of home ownership. 

Depending on the state a buyer lives in and the tax bracket their in, this deduction can reduce the cost of borrowing by one-third or more.

Property tax deduction: Homeowners can deduct state and local property taxes they on their home from their federal income taxes. Renter's won't get this kind of itemized deduction.

Home equity loan deduction: Homeowners can borrow up to $100,000 against the equity in their home and deduct the interest paid as an itemized deduction. 

$250,000/$500,000 home-sale exclusion: The most financially glorious benefit of owning a home is the tax savings when a person sells it for a profit. If you sell your home and gain a profit of $250,000 for single homeowners and $500,000 for married homeowners who file jointly, you don't have to pay income tax on the gain of appreciation. CHA-CHING! The stipulation is that the homeowner must have lived in the home for two of the prior five years before it's sale. This exclusion can be used once every 24 months.

14 days of free rental income: A homeowner can rent out the home for up to 14 days during the year and pay no tax on that rental income. A renter who sublets their rental must pay income on ALL the rental income they earn.

There are also deductions such as a home office deduction where you can deduct the square footage of your home that is used REGULARLY AND EXCLUSIVELY as a home office from your property taxes. Renters can do this deduction as well.

Values of deductions can vary by state and it is recommended that you talk to a professional tax adviser before claiming any deductions on your taxes. Whatever the case, it is clear that the tax benefits of owning a home are far greater than renting.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Putting Cash Back in Your Wallet.... The Chris Matthews Way. DISCOUNTS ON INSURANCE!

With every sold property comes a need to obtain property insurance. I, Chris Matthews, always aim to ease the burden of my client's wallets so I had a list compiled of some common discounts you can get on not only your property insurance, but your car insurance as well.

- Multi-line discounts (typically the largest discount)

Multi-line means multiple policies, such as when you have your property insurance and auto insurance or two cars with the same carrier. Most companies will recognize an umbrella policy with things like personal articles (ex. jewelry), flood policy, renter's insurance, condo, boat, or yacht when giving a discount.

- Paperless (small discount for no paper bills)
- Mature Homeowner (55+ years of age)
- Early Quote Advantage (receive quote 8 days prior to closing on auto policy)
- Good Student (A or B average, grade needed varies with carrier)
- Defensive Driving Class taken
- Security Systems (Deadbolts, Monitored smoke alarms, Security Systems)
- New Home Discount (what age qualifies as "new" varies by carrier)
- Home Buyer Discount
- Continuous Insurance (3+ years with the same carrier)
- Green Home Discount (Home has particular energy efficient features)
- Hybrid Car Discount
- Claims-Free Discount (haven't filed any claims for a certain length of time)

Not ALL carriers provide all of these discounts, but the easiest way to find out is to call them up! Important to remember when choosing an insurance carrier: Make sure what you need protected is covered first, then look for best price. Don't purchase based on discounts because policies that are heavily discounted on price usually have been heavily discounted on coverage.
Special Thanks To: Sarah Delaune of Carroll & Delaune Insurance Services.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Round Rock Ranks As One of America's SAFEST Cities!

Round Rock, TX ranks as the #2 safest among cities with populations from 100,000 to 499,000 in Texas and #9 safest city in the nation according to a survey conducted by CQ Press! Texas has 32 cities with populations over 100,000 and only Frisco, TX outranked Round Rock as being "safer." In addition, Austin, TX ranked #6 lowest crime ranking of 34 cities of populations of 500,000 or more nationwide.

The crime rate rankings of the cities and metro areas are calculated using six categories: aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, murder, rape, and robbery. Among cities with 75,000 population or greater, Round Rock ranked #25 overall in the 2010 survey.

This is the sixth consecutive year Round Rock has ranked among the 20 safest cities in the nation. In 2005, Round Rock ranked #8, in 2006 and 2007 Round Rock was #13, in 2008 it was ranked #19, and in 2009 Round Rock ranked #18 in the survey. This is a remarkable series of rankings for a city to achieve. 

The city of Round Rock conducted a survey of their own in March and April 2010 via a seven page survey administered to random residents by mail and phone. The results of the 459 residents showed that 90% said they feel "safe" or "very safe" in Round Rock and that 93% feel the city is "headed in the right direction."

Not that I associate myself with criminals, but I've heard through the grapevine that Williamson County in general, brings the hammer when sentencing punishments for crimes. Perhaps, the stiffer penalties could be a reason that criminals shy away from committing their law breaking in the county.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Remodeling Projects That Pay Off

Some interesting numbers have just come out for those who are interested in doing some remodeling to their homes. According to the 2009-2010 Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report, exterior projects add more value than interior ones. Here are some numbers specific to the West South Central Region of the United States (Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma). Keep in mind that these are averages and that the rates of return can be effected greatly by location, neighborhood, scope of project, and quality of materials used.

Percentage of cost recouped by replacing an entry door with new steel unit, the highest return of any project in the report.

Percentage of cost recouped by adding a 16' x 20' composite deck.

Percentage of cost recouped by adding a 16' x 20' foot wood deck.

Percentage of cost recouped by converting an attic to a bedroom, the highest return of any interior project.

Estimated return from adding a master suite, the most expensive project in the report with one of the lowest rates of return.

For more remodeling project numbers go here:

Monday, January 3, 2011


HAPPY NEW YEAR! I don't know about you, but I have a special resolution for 2011. I am going to set up the weight bench that has been gathering dust in my garage and get this finely tuned machine oiled up and back into lady killing mode....well maybe just one wife, but she's that's as good as two ladies. That's me above conquering the real estate globe with my new ripped body. No photoshop needed.

Once upon a time, when my wife and I first met, I was a colossus of strength. My wife would say my gigantic arm muscles were too big to display in public, but I beg to differ. How does one quell his desire to be vastly superior in every physical realm? God blessed me at that time with veins the size of bamboo shoots and a neck as thick as two bricks bound together with twine. What was I supposed to do? Drape a blanket over myself? No, I will not. I didn't work hard to be modest.

So I aim to get back to that in the year 2011. Jealousy will come, but it is natural and we must show respect for each other as a community. When you see me at the pool, you will stare....and you will say, "Oh my gosh!" and maybe whisper to your friends. I just want the people of Austin to know that God hears you, and he knows. He wiped sweat from his brow when he finished making me....a physical marvel.

I'm sorry. I go off in day dream tangents. I'm 5'11'' and 160 lbs. and to be honest, my wife says I need to wax my chest before I go to the pool or my hair will clog the filters. Whatever! She is exaggerating! My hair is minimal, soft, and beautiful, some say like a Chinchilla.