10 Hottest Neighborhoods in Austin


Did you see the cover story in the latest issue of Austin Monthly about the 10 Hottest Neighborhoods in Austin?  They crunched data from the Austin Board of Realtors and based their ranking on “inventory sold and percentage change in days on market and median price.”  It’s a really interest article which you can read here.

1.  Northwest Hills/Far West

2.  Pemberton Heights

3.  Mueller

4.  Bryker Woods

5.  Hancock

6.  Hyde Park

7.  East Riverside

8.  Great Hills

9.  Gracy Woods

10.  West Oak Hill

Bell Boulevard – Cedar Park’s Downtown


Two bond options were presented to the Cedar Park City Council which will likely be on our ballot come November.  One of which is for $89.9 million and would include $15.3 million for the Destination Bell Boulevard project as well as $42.6 million for transportation projects, 10.8 million in park improvements, and $15.3 million for phase one of a new library.  The second option is for $83.9 million and does not include the Bell Boulevard project but does have $20.2 million for a new library, $11.9 million in park improvements, and $44.4 million for transportation projects.

So what is Destination Bell Boulevard?  Though no one is officially saying this, I think of it as what will be Cedar Park’s downtown since we don’t really have one.  The current plan includes moving Bell Blvd (old 183) eastward around the Buttercup Creek area to allow for 40 acres of retail, residential, and office space plus 12 acres for a park.  In a nutshell, the goals of the project are to work with the natural and historical assets of the area to create an economically vibrant corridor while maintaining traffic mobility.  Aspects of Destination Bell Boulevard are still in refinement but there are many details on the project’s website including renders and maps.  From all descriptions, I’m picturing something that looks a lot like the Domain which is very exciting since I think it will bring Cedar Park some real charm and character, not to mention money.  I, for one, will definitely be voting in favor of the bond for the Destination Bell Boulevard.  How about you?

A Few Things to Know Before Buying a Condo

People buy and sell condos all the time. It is not rocket-science. But it is also not as simple as buying a house. Unless you are purchasing with cash, there are additional considerations to check to ensure there won’t be any surprises with financing, such as larger down payment requirements.

At the heart of the matter is the fact that whether you are getting conventional, FHA, or VA financing, most loans are sold on the secondary market shortly after you close. For the majority of buyers this is of little consequence since the terms of the loan remain the same and sometimes even the place where you send your payments stays the same too. Being able to sell your loan on the secondary market is critical to your lender, however, and to do so, your loan must meet certain requirements established by Fannie Mae.

The term used to indicate that a condo meets the requirements to be sold on the secondary market is “warrantable”. These requirements can change so it is best to contact your lender for a current list, but just to give you a feel the current list most likely includes:

*Complex must be at least 51% owner occupied.

*No one entity can own more that 10% of the units.

*Less than 15% of the units can be behind more than 30 days on association fees.

*HOA must carry specific insurance on the complex.

In addition, if you are getting an FHA or VA loan, the condo must be on the FHA or VA-Approved condo list. If the condo you are trying to buy is not on this list but does meet the requirements, your lender along with the condo’s HOA can work to get the complex approved and on the list. This all takes time, of course.

Believe it or not, most of the difficulty lies in ascertaining the answers to these warrantability questions. In a perfect world, we agents can call the HOA and have our answers. But it is not uncommon for HOA management to be unable or unwilling to provide some or all of this information without you first submitting a formal request based on a contract to buy a unit within the complex as well as paying a fee.

Before you throw your hands up and decide condos are too complicated, a good agent (ahem, Solis Realty) can take much of this research off your hands. And in cases where the HOA is less than helpful, we can pursue alternative sources of information such agents and lenders who have recently sold other units in the complex and presumably went through the same questions to do so. Really as long as your agent understands the process, and is resourceful and proactive in finding the answers, you can have a smooth condo buying experience.

We find the best thing for buyers is to be informed about what is involved (which is why we are writing this post) so you can pick a knowledgeable agent, refrain from falling in love with a condo until you know if it meets your lender’s requirements, and be realistic about the timeline involved in processing such loans. Please note, if the complex is non-warrantable, all is not lost either. There are a few select lenders who make these loans provided your down payment is at least 20%.

Questions?  Call us at 512-771-9129

<Back to Main Page

Authentic Loft Style Condo located in the Heart of Downtown

411 Brazos St, Unit # 217  is a more authentic loft style condo than any other building in the heart of downtown with its exposed brick wall, vintage wood floors, high ceilings & open spacious floor plan that includes a renovated bathroom with two Continue reading “Authentic Loft Style Condo located in the Heart of Downtown”