Page 1

Upcoming Events:

REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Society seeks entries by February 19 for new program to help start-up charities n This program matches REALTORS® who would like

to expand their community service outreach

February 24 WCAoR: Rookie Club WCAoR - 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.

lected to receive a year of one-on-one mentoring. Individuals REALTORS®, who have shown dedication to their communities by volunteering and working on charitable


EALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Society is

efforts, are encouraged to apply. The Good Neighbor Award

now accepting applications for their Volunteering

winners on average spend more than 20 hours a week on vol-

Works program. Designed for REALTORS®, Volun-

unteer work. Since 2000, there have been nearly 100 winners

teering Works aims to partner REALTORS®, who are NAR

and honorable mentions of the Good Neighbor Award. For a

members, with a mentor and a $1,000 grant to help expand

Volunteering Works entry form, go to

their community outreach and improve their community serv-

and click on “Volunteering Works.”

ice initiatives. Five Volunteering Works applicants will be se-

March 3 AMBA Monthly Luncheon Austin Country Club - 11:30 a.m. March 11 8th Annual HBA Crawfish Boil Teravista - 6 to 10 p.m. March 17 NAHREP Monthly Luncheon Cool River Cafe - 11 a.m. March 18 WCAoR Luncheon Wingate Hotel/Conference Ctr. - 11:30 a.m.

The entry deadline is Feb. 19, 2010. [RL]

March 24 8th Annual St. Patti’s Day Golf Tournament Forest Creek Golf Club - 11:30 a.m. March 25 WCR Monthly Luncheon WCAoR Office (location change) - 11 a.m.


In Progress February 2010 • Vol. 14 • Issue 10

enjoyable. entertaining. It’s all about you.

Are you familiar with new RESPA rules that are in effect? n The National Association of REALTORS® quiz

provides a quick overview of key points

provide borrowers with a new HUD-1 settlement statement. While the new rule is quite complex and requires ample studying, Realty Line found this quiz from the National As-

By Linda McNabb


ESPA. It may seem like a new acronym to add to

the real estate professional’s jargon but it has ac-

tually been around since 1974. It’s just been ut-

tered more frequently lately because of changes that went into effect this month, creating a buzz in the industry and prompting mortgage and title companies and others to offer numerous seminars addressing the topic. Short for the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, it was enacted to provide consumers with improved disclosures of settlement costs and to reduce the costs of closing by the elimination of referral fees and kickbacks. Through the years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued regulations and policy statements to provide RESPA guidance to industry and consumers alike. On Nov. 17, 2008, HUD published a new final rule that took effect on Jan. 1 of this year that mandates loan originators use a new Good Faith Estimate (GFE) that clearly dis-

sociation of REALTORS® that gives a quick overview of the key points. Find out how well you know about this important issue to stay on the right side of the law.

b) Purchase of a condominium with a Federal Housing Administration mortgage c) Purchase of a single-family home with a Veteran’s Administration loan d) Purchase of a two-flat that the owners plan to live in

1. Which of the following is NOT a settlement service

and rent out the other unit financed with a conventional loan.

that is covered by RESPA: a) Mortgage loan origination

5. To combat higher costs in real estate transactions, Sec-

b) Furniture moving c) Real estate brokerage services

tion 8 of RESPA makes it a criminal act for settlement serv-

d) Lender’s credit report

ice providers to pay fees for the referral of business. One exception to this rule allows a real estate professional to

2. Under RESPA, a real estate professional may give in return for the referral of real estate settlement service business:

pay a referral fee to: a) A mortgage broker who refers a buyer who has been pre-approved b) A previous customer who refers a neighbor

a) A thank you

c) Another licensed real estate broker who refers a buyer

b) A thing of value

from another part of the country

c) A kickback

d) A relative who overhears a customer saying he or she

d) A fee

is moving.

closes key loan terms and closing costs and closing agents

P. O. Box 81366 Austin, Texas 78708-1366

a) Purchase of a small warehouse financed with a Small Business Administration loan

3. To provide consumers Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Paid Permit #715

with cost information about

6. Another exception to the RESPA rules contained in

the mortgage process, RESPA

Section 8 allows real estate professionals to receive com-

created the good faith esti-

pensation for:

mate (GFE) and the HUD-1

a) Filling out a mortgage application

closing document. RESPA re-

b) Telling the home inspector the address of the property

quires that the HUD-1 form be provided to the: a) Tax assessor b) Next-door neighbor c) Real estate salesperson

to be inspected c) The reasonable value of goods and services actually provided or performed d) Doing the same thing they have been paid to do as a real estate professional.

d) Buyer 7. RESPA allows title companies to provide real estate 4. RESPA rules do NOT You can visit us online 24/7 at

cover this type of transaction:

RESPA: Continued on page 4


February 2010

realty line of austin

Independence Title’s Jacque Smith, Debbie Rhea, Ann Carson, Donna Sherrill and Zana King are eager to close on transactions for the New Year, after hearing the forecast at the WCAoR luncheon.

All photographs, press releases and article submissions can be e-mailed to:

Realty Line of Austin is published monthly by Caxton Publications, Inc.© as a non-subscription publication for the more than 8,000 members of the Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR), the more than 1,100 members of the Williamson County Association of REALTORS (WCAoR) and the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin. Caxton Publications, Inc.© dba Realty Line of Austin is an active member of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, the Williamson County Association of REALTORS® and is a honorary member of WCR. Caxton Publications, Inc.© dba Realty Line of Austin is not responsible for opinions or facts expressed by non-staff writers or for errors and any by-products in advertising or editorial copy. REALTOR® is a registered trademark. The word REALTOR® sometimes appears in this publication without the registered trademark symbol (®), for the purpose of saving space. Wherever the word REALTOR® appears in this publication, the registered trademark should be assumed.

Ellen Boettcher of Staging By Design gives pointers to Lee Bauermeister and Karen McGrath, both of JB Goodwin REALTORS, for sprucing up their listings. They were at a recent WCR meeting.

Doren L. Carver


Tawanna K. Carver

MANAgINg EdITOR Linda McNabb


John Horton, ABoR Chairman Steve Zbranek, HBA President J. Rene Ward, WCAoR President Susanna Boyer, WCR President Bill Bradshaw, Gracy Title

P. O. Box 81366, Austin, Texas 78708 Office: (512) 821-1900


RE/MAX of Texas packed the house in January with both new and veteran agents and recruits for the free seminar Power Start The RE/MAX Way. The Power Start gang will be returning to Austin for another free half-day seminar on March 10. V3 isit for more information or to register.

1. Furniture moving; 2. A thank you; 3. Buyer; 4. Purchase of a small warehouse financed with a Small Business Administration loan; 5. Another licensed real estate broker who refers a buyer from another part of the country; 6. The reasonable value of goods and services actually provided or performed; 7. Notepads that have been imprinted with the title company’s name and phone number; 8. A statement that use of referred service is not required; 9. The party making the referral to receive a return on its ownership interest in the company receiving the referral; 10. Attorney; 11. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; 12. A fine of up to $10,000 or up to one year in prison or both.

Do You Know Why FHA Financing Is So Great? I can answer all your questions about the benefits “I do! of financing your new home with an FHA Loan. ”

— Ann McKinley, your FHA Expert

For Personalized Service, Call Me Today!

(512) 331-7292 NMLS #200305 8800 Business Park Drive, Suite 200 Austin, Texas 78759

February 2010

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Austin Board of REALTORS®

Chairman’s Column John Horton


2010 Chairman



o you know a deserving high



Your ACTRIS subscription spans far be-

showing service in the Technology Trends

yond just having access to MLXchange. Addi-

Community, there has never been a better

tional tools available to subscribers include:

time to start discussing timely topics with

Clarus MarketMetrics which provides real-

your fellow REALTORS®.

time market trends and pricing information;

As a resource exclusively for ABoR mem-

ListHub, a listings syndication service, which

bers and MLS Subscribers, the Online Learn-

allows brokers to distribute listings to numer-

ing Communities create a forum where we, as

ous real estate search sites; and Pocket Real

REALTORS®, can ask questions about and

Estate which allows you to access the MLS di-

share opinions on issues that directly affect

rectly on your mobile device. To learn more

our performance as real estate professionals.

about these resources and the many others

In addition to holding discussions, commu-

available, visit, select “MLS Re-

nity members can share news, resources,

For more information on the scholarships,

sources” from the left-hand side of the screen

links, events and classified ads. Some commu-

a Texas college, university or

contact Hessie Brawley in ABoR’s Education

and click “Partners and Vendors.” You can

nities even allow members to create polls to

trade school, and could use financial assis-

Department at 454-7636 ext. 1603 or by e-mail

also contact for more in-

gain member feedback on a particular subject



of interest.

school senior who plans to attend

tance to offset the cost of tuition? If your answer is yes, encourage the worthy student to apply for a scholarship from the ABoR Foundation. A total of ten $1,000 scholarships are

Ensure Your MLS Access by Submitting Your ACTRiS Participation Fees by March 15

available. Applicants must reside in one of the

Access to the MLXchange MLS system is a

following counties to be eligible for a scholar-

key resource that allows you to serve your

ship: Travis, Williamson, Lee, Bastrop, Cald-

clients when they are buying and selling real

well, Hays, Blanco or Burnet.

estate. Avoid interruption to your service by

For questions or concerns regarding your semi-annual



Did you know there are more than 15 ac-


tive communities for you to join? Most com-

ABoR’s Membership Department by e-mail at

munities have more than 100 participants, and or by phone at 454-

the MLS Subscribers and ABoR Members


Communities boast more than 1,400 members

Knowledge at Your Fingertips in ABoR’s Online Learning Communities

each. Community categories range from professional practice to green real estate to property management and leasing. Whatever your

Scholarship applications can be found on-

submitting your semi-annual ACTRIS partic-

line at or can be

ipation fees by March 15. Submitting your

picked up in person in the Education Depart-

payment by the deadline also ensures you will

ABoR’s Online Learning Communities? From

The expertise and experience in these com-

ment at the ABoR offices located at 10900

avoid any late or reinstatement fees. Invoices

discussions on NAR’s REALTORS® Property

munities is plentiful. Don’t miss a moment of

Stonelake Blvd., Suite A-100, Austin, TX

will be distributed in mid-February.

Resource (RPR) in the ABoR Members Com-

the action—visit and

munity to the possibilities of a centralized

join the discussion today! [RL]


Semi-annual participation fees are $266.50

The deadline to submit an application is

and include access to the MLXchange MLS

March 12 at 5 p.m. Applications can be hand-

system, the Realist Tax system and statistical

delivered or mailed to the ABoR offices. Re-

reports. Additional ACTRIS services, includ-



ing key services, insurance and the Leasing

applications must be received at the ABoR of-

Management Service (LMS), will be listed sep-

fices by the 5 p.m. deadline on March 12 to be

arately on your invoice.





Are you missing out on the action in

need, there is a community for you.

~ Calendar of Events ~ Laurie Nunnallee NORTHWEST HILLS BRANCH | 512.422.3721

Melinda Carroll LAKEWAY BRANCH | 512.638.6611

Fran Pullin WESTLAKE BRANCH | 512.695.8634

Dewayne Naumann WESTLAKE COMMERCIAL BRANCH | 512.627.0877

Kelley Murphy SOUTH AUSTIN | 512.658.0068

Judy Mills WIMBERLEY BRANCH | 512.842.2228

Kathy Kelly LENDER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT | 512.213.7098


Colette Fitzgerald of KB Home helps Mike McKim of Texas Real Estate, Gail McClanahan of JB Goodwin REALTORS and Horacio Gallegos of ZIP Realty get ready for a complimentary photo shoot at Westwood in Leander, a KB Home Community.

Jamaal O’Neal of the Williamson County Sun, Lila Nelson Beard of ATX Investments and Julie Delgado of Keller Williams Realty get the latest update on the Austin market at the second annual housing forecast, jointly hosted by ABoR and HBA.

February 2010

realty line of austin

Continued from Front Page: RESPA professionals:

b) The party making the referral to receive

a) $50 for every client referred to the title

a return on its ownership interest in the company receiving the referral

company by the real estate professional

c) The buyer to avoid having to pay real

b) An entry in a contest to win a car for

property transfer tax

every $1,000 in premiums paid by the real estate professional’s clients

d) The seller to require buyers to use the seller’s attorney

c) Tickets to a baseball game once a week for the entire season d) Notepads that have been imprinted

10. A borrower may be required to pay for

with the title company’s name and phone

the ______ selected by the lender to represent


the lender’s interests: a) Title company b) Attorney

8. Two companies that provide settlement services and have some degree of common

c) Real estate broker

ownership are considered affiliated busi-

d) Home inspector

nesses under RESPA. When there is a referral from one of these companies to the other,

11. RESPA is interpreted and enforced

RESPA requires the customer receive an af-

by the:

filiated business disclosure that contains

a) U.S. Department of Justice

specific information, including:

b) Local U.S. Attorney c) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban

a) A statement that use of referred service


is not required

d) State Association of REALTORS®

b) Names of other providers of the same

12. The penalty for illegally giving or re-

service Kay Milligan of Austin Title discusses some of the points she heard at the WCAoR luncheon by Texas A&M economist Jim Gaines with Jon Pfau and CJ Pfau, both of Pfau and Company.

c) A statement that the property is pest-free

ceiving a kickback, which is covered in Sec-

d) The commission being paid by the prop-

tion 8 of RESPA, is:

erty seller

a) Up to 90 hours of community service b) Loss of real estate license

9. The affiliated business provision, which

c) Requirement to attend a RESPA educa-

is an exception to the general RESPA rule re-

tion program

garding compensation for referrals, allows:

d) A fine of up to $10,000 or up to one

a) The real estate professional making the

year in prison or both. Answers are on

referral to receive a small referral fee

page 2. [RL]

Patten Law Firm A Closing Office for Texas American Title Company

Raising the Bar for Closing Services

*You’re Invited to Spotlight Austin *

Property Rehab 101  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

1101 Grove Blvd. Austin, TX 78741 3:30-5:00pm

Valet Parking Provided

Title Sponsor:

RSVP & view photos at Please contact Tiffany Stillwell for any questions at (512) 241-1818 or

p: (512) 241-1818

February 2010

realty line of austin



realty line of austin

February 2010

Socar ChatmonThomas of Elegant Estates by Auction, Sandy Urias and Deb Walden of the Texas Association of REALTORS celebrate at the NAHREP Installation Gala where their friend Lise Renee Lucci was installed as the 2010 president of NAHREP.

Dawn Bayarena, and Nicole Spiegel, both of Treaty Oak Homes, along with Wendy Feeley, welcome guests to the model home in South Austin.

Austin Title CEO Mickey Blisset shares some holiday spirit with wife Jan Blissit at the company’s holiday party.

February 2010

realty line of austin

Williamson County Assoc. of REALTORS®

President’s Column J. Rene Ward


2010 President



think it was Woody Allen that said

“eighty percent of success is showing up.”

dence for when the opportunity arises. So how are you preparing for your real estate success? If you thought the license was

I agree with Woody. Showing up is impor-

it and success had arrived, you are wrong. It

tant; but after you show up I hope you’re

was just the first step of preparation. There

prepared. Preparation is something done in

would not have been a Mona Lisa if

advance in order to be ready for a future

Leonardo Da Vinci decided to stop after he

event or opportunity.

bought the paint.

Many may argue that passion, integrity or perseverance is as important as preparation.

Here are just four ideas to help you in your preparation for success:

I agree that they all play a vital role to suc-

1. Have a plan

cess, but being prepared is monumental.

Not just on paper (though that is better

Think about people you know who have

than most) but in action! If you knew that in

succeeded. Whether it is in sports, politics, or

one year from today your real estate business

entertainment. It’s hard to imagine any area

would be exactly where you wanted it to be,

of life where preparation was not a prerequi-

what would you do today to ensure that suc-

site to success. Success is rarely an accident

cess? Would you change some things? Stop

or instantaneous.

doing some things? Do more of other things?

We prepared for our real estate career by

Okay, start now. I would pack my suitcase

taking classes in preparation to take a test to

differently if I was going to the Bahamas than

obtain our license. Do you remember the day

I would if I was going to Alaska. If you know

you took the test? The better prepared you

your destination, it’s easy to prepare.

felt, the more confidence you had about pass-

2. Never stop learning

ing the test. Preparation gives you confi-

Learning is an on-going process. You are

never too old, too smart or too broke to learn.

reputation are important, you should also

Get education for the sake of education. Not

make sure your team is reliable, fair, honest

because someone requires you to learn. Take

and is willing to support you in your career

a class, read a book, go to a seminar and join

and provide you with the tools and assis-

in on webinars. Find successful REALTORS®

tance you need. Would you refer your mom

and learn from them. Have lunch with some-

to them?

one smarter than you. Ask questions. Be cu-

4. Do the basics well

rious about your industry. Success leaves

There's blind luck, dumb luck and then

clues and they are not hard to hide. Many

there's get up every morning at 5:30 and

successful REALTORS® are willing to “pay

sweat the details luck. Do lead generation

it forward.”

every day. Get good at it. See it as a means to

3. People make the difference

your end. You are either getting business or

Surround yourself with people who make

closing business. Everything else is the

you better. Each transaction requires a host

preparation to get business or close business.

of people—your broker, buyer’s agent, list-

Stay motivated. Zig Ziglar said “People often

ing agent, lender, inspector, appraiser, title

say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither

company, etc. Make sure you build a “team”

does bathing—that's why we recommend it

worthy of referrals. While pay, location and

daily.” [RL]

Upcoming Events FEBRUARY 2010 Classes: 2/18 - Bottom Line Business Basics 2/19 - Fundamentals of Foreclosure Auctions 2/24 - Rookie Club: “I’ve Got My License & $500—Now What? Community Service: 2/27 - Blood Drive at WCAoR Building (123 E. Old Settlers Blvd) MARCH 2010 Classes: 3/3-4 - SRES: Senior Real Estate Specialist Designation 3/5 - SFR: Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource 3/10 - Basics of Real Estate Photography 3/11 - ePRO For more information on any of these events, please visit our Web site at



Dress D r e s s for f o r the t h e job j o b you y o u want, w a n t , not n o t tthe h e oone n e yyou ou h have. ave. RE/MAX RE/MA X agents agents average average 12 12 transactions transactions p per er year. year. They don’t necessarily work harder than you, or are smar ter than you, but they have more adver tising, brand power, bet ter technolog y & training than you do. If you’re at least average, you’ll earn earn more more at RE/MA X. rema x t


• To p P r o d u c e r s m i g r a t e t o R E/ M A X • L ow Pro du ce r s d on’t • How do you se e yourse lf ?



R RE/MAX E/MA X P Power ower S Start tar artt C Career a r e er D Day ay March M arch 110th 0t h 99 :::: 33 00 aa m m

Norris Norris C Conference onference C Center enter NorthCross Nor thCross Mall, Mall, Rear Rear Entrance Entrance 2525 2525 W West es t A Anderson nderson Lane Lane Each Each office of fi ce independently indep endently owned owne d and and operated. op e r ate d.


realty line of austin

February 2010

Mary Tennant, second from right, introduces Susanna Orr and Amy McDonald to Diane Johnson, all of Keller Williams Southwest Market Center, at a recent Meet & Greet. Diane is the newest addition to the leadership team.

Joy Herring of Realty Executives welcomes Annie Barkowsky of Gracy Title to the company’s regional meeting, where attendees learned about the new HUD1 and Good Faith Estimate changes.

Cathy Coneway of Stanberry & Associates and Becky Hopkins of Austin Title join Gabriel Trinidad of Lighting Inc. at the HBA happy hour at Lights Fantastic.

Craig McMenamy and Nancy Kearns, both of Drees Custom Homes, attend the second annual housing forecast that ABoR and the HBA hosted at the AT&T Conference Center.

February 2010

realty line of austin


Allison Craig and Tom Berry, right, both of Gracy Title, prepare to teach Chris Rodriguez, left, and Michael Neuman and other Realty Executives members about all the changes to HUD requirements.

Dawn Schweter, left, and Alison LeBlanc, both of North American Title, thank Chad Goldwasser of Goldwasser Real Estate for speaking at AYREP’s coffee talk where he shared tips on marketing.

Now, each time you register a new, qualified prospect at the Steiner Ranch Welcome Center, you will receive a $20 Gift Card to Nordstrom. The more you show, the more you collect! And the best part of all, these cards never expire. Call or visit the Welcome Center for details and start eyeing that new pair of shoes! Showing your clients new construction in Steiner Ranch is always in style.

Lee Easter and Shannon Easter, both of Lee Easter Inc., get some bright ideas for their home at the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin’s happy hour at Lights Fantastic.

Homes from the $250’s to $3+ million Welcome Center: 512-266-5833 or 800-783-4640 For more information, visit

Linda Knowles Katz of Land Mortgage, second from right, enjoys starting off the New Year at AYREP’s social at Firehouse Lounge with Katie Osborne, David Pavliska, Rod Morgan and Jim Smith.

Builders: Taylor Morrison, Drees Custom Homes, Highland Homes, Monterey Homes, Sendero Homes, Partners In Building Custom Homes: Affinity Homes, Randy Rollo Homes, Echelon Homes. Information contained within this advertisement is correct at the time of publication and subject to change. In order to receive gift card, Realtor must accompany prospect into the Welcome Center on first visit.



February 2010

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For a complete listing of these events and MORE visit

What’s Happening in Real Estate

Calendar of Events February 22 - March 31

MONdAy February 22

TUESdAy 23




WCR Mixer 5 p.m. @ Viva Chocolato in The domain


KB home MCE Staging Course 11 a.m. @ Spring Trails in Pflugerville


CRS 200: Business Planning & Mkting (2-day) 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. @ ABoR

3 CRS 200: Business Planning & Mkting (2-day) 8:30 am - 5:30 p.m. @ ABoR


Austin Title: Credit Scoring & Repair 9 a.m. @ Austin Title (1515 Cap. of Tx hwy) Presented by Mark hairston of Mortgage IQ

CTCAR: Monthly Luncheon 11:15 a.m. @ Austin Country Club

March 1




CRS Elective: Exclusively By Referral (1-day) 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. @ ABoR

CRS 201: Listing Strategies (2-day) 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. @ ABoR

CRS 201: Listing Strategies (2-day) 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. @ ABoR

AMBA: Monthly Meeting 11:30 a.m. @ Austin Country Club

hBA: general Membership Meeting 11 a.m. @ hBA office (8140 Exchange)

Milestone Builders Lunch/grand Opening 11 a.m. @ Cypress Creek Townhomes



10 Patten Law Firm: Spotlight Austin 3:30 p.m. @ 1101 grove Blvd, Austin, 78741


Austin Title: Septic 9 a.m. at Austin Title on Spicewood Springs


hBA: Crawfish Boil Builder/REALTOR Mixer 6 p.m. @ Teravista in Round Rock

RE/MAX Power Start Career day 9:30 a.m. @ Norris Conference Center








Property Tour: 2A 9 a.m. @ Cover 3 on Anderson Lane

WCAoR: Luncheon 11:30 a.m. @ Wingate hotel/Conference Center

NAhREP: Luncheon 11 a.m. @ Cool River Cafe

Property Tour: downtown 2:30 p.m @ Ranch 616 @ 616 Nueces St.



hBA: 8th Annual St. Patti’s day golf Tourney 11:30 a.m. @ Forest Creek golf Club


WCR: Networking Luncheon 11 a.m. @ WCAoR office (123 E. Old Settler’s)

WCAoR: Rookie Club 11:30 a.m. @ Williamson County Association of REALTORS




Austin Area Market Update from your friends at Gracy Title


Median 2008

% Change


Average 2008

% Change

List Price Sold Price Square Feet LP/SF SP/SF SP/LP DOM



- 2.0%





- 1.3%



- 3.0%



+ 0.5%



+ 1.5%



- 2.6%



- 4.3%



- 2.5%



- 4.6%



- 0.1%



- 0.1%



+ 6.7%



+ 12.4%

Price Price Range Range

P Price rice Range Range

Quantity Q uantity


- 2.6%

Quantity Quantity


$149,999 or under



$500,000- $549,999



$150,000- $199,999



$550,000- $599,999



$200,000- $249,999



$600,000- $699,999



$250,000- $299,999



$700,000- $799,999



$300,000- $349,999



$800,000- $899,999



$350,000- $399,999



$900,000- $999,999



$400,000- $449,999



$1,000,000 or over



$450,000- $499,999






Sold Listings Volume



% Change



% Change



- 7.0%



- 7.0%



- 9.8%



- 9.8%

For more market information, please contact one of our sales executives. Based on information from the Austin Board of REALTORS® (alternatively, from ACTRIS) for the month indicated on the header. Neither the Board nor ACTRIS     all real estate activity in the market. Copyright 2009 Austin Central Texas Realty Information Services, Inc.

February 2010

realty line of austin

Stay on target with a new, quick and easy way to get the accurate title insurance fee information you need, at the time you need it.

Gracy Title’s Loan Officer Fee F ee Q Quote uote System System is Here! Here! new HUD The first online fe fee e quote quote sy system syst stem st em for the required required new http://feequot http://f Gracy ’s Loan Officer Fee Quote System has been developed specifically to help you accurately quote our fees, the lender ’s policy and the owner ’s policy that now must be quoted in all Good Faith Estimates (even if the seller is crediting the buyer back at closing for the owner ’s title policy or paying for closing costs). After transaction specific infor information is entered, you have the ability to open the report immediately and/or to email yourself the report. You get all the details you need for a precise quote immediately. The quote will even off ffeer direction on where to include each fee in your Good Faith Estimate.

Contact your Gracy Title Sales Executive today to find out more about this exciting new tool to help your customers and your business.

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February 2010

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Catching up at a recent meet and greet to introduce Diane Johnson to agents were Eric Copper, Tim Seeliger and Betsy Scheffe, all of Keller Williams Realty’s Southwest Market Center.

Terry Jackson of Texas American Title and David Reed of Land Mortgage share industry news at the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association meeting at Austin Country Club.

HBA’s VP of Membership Carol Baker and Linda Strickel of Bonded Builders Home Warranty enjoy the happy hour at Lights Fantastic.

Double Y Your our Income Income without w working w orking twice twice as har hard! d! Our proven system helps our agents outperform traditional agents by 4x. To T o find out ho how, w, ccontact ontact Ryan Ryan Matthews Matthews at at 512-420-0300 for for a confidential confidential conversation. conversation.

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Database Marketing Syst Lead Generation and Cultiva Effective Listing Systems and Tools Comprehensive Transaction Management Business Coaching from Industry Leaders Ongoing Continuing Education


February 2010

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HBA of Greater Austin

President’s Column Steve Zbranek


2009-10 President


Master Builders, six Certified Graduate

2006 and 2009 “Custom Builder of the Year”

Builders and six Certified Green Profession-

by the Texas Association of Builders and

als. We build throughout Austin, Horseshoe

was selected by the Austin Business Journal

Bay and the surrounding cities with homes

as one of the top ten custom home builders

priced from $750,000 to over $5 million and

in Austin and has a strong history of design-

we were recently named the Lake Travis

ing and building exceptional show homes.

Chamber of Commerce “Business of the


eral other builders are finalizing plans for a

Builders Association of Greater

possible entry as well. The HBA’s exclusive

Austin prepares to showcase

Parade of Homes™ at Rough Hollow offers

the prestigious Parade of Homes™. The

thousands of prospective homebuyers and

tour features some of the best our region’s

REALTORS® the opportunity to see first-

builders have to offer as well as the latest in-

hand the stunning line-up of Tuscan and

terior design and architectural trends of the

Hill Country contemporary custom home

year. No other home tour offers the general

designs available for purchase. Three of the

public the chance to visit several top-of-the-

six residences to be on display at the Parade

line, fully furnished, award winning homes

of Homes‘, which span 3,500 to 4,900 square

where they can generate ideas for their own

feet and are priced from the $750s to $1.5

home building and improvement proj-

million, have already been sold, with great

ects...and it’s back for another round in Oc-

interest in the remaining select home sites.

tober 2010.

More about each selected builder below:

Selected for the second time in the last three years, the 2010 Parade of Homes™,

Zbranek Custom Homes

where dream homes become reality, will

We are a fixed price custom home

take place at Rough Hollow Lakeway.

builder and build exclusively pre-sold cus-

Rough Hollow’s Bluffs neighborhood was

tom homes. Our company does not build

selected to showcase six exquisite homes

“spec” homes or own any home sites. We

Vii Custom Homes

Year.” Triton Custom Homes

nnually since 1953, the Home


VII Custom Homes practices the art of building dream homes for their clients.

Founded in 2006 by Tommy Roberts, a li-

They continually strive to raise the stan-

censed professional engineer, Triton Custom

dards in custom building through the use of

Homes has quickly solidified a position in

natural products, building healthy homes,

the upper tier of the Austin home building

wide open living spaces, unique outdoor

industry. Triton is an award-winning, fam-

living, and homes that are wired for the 21st

ily-based company established to provide a

century. While many of their primary goals

dependable, customer service driven solu-

are the same as other notable builders, their

tion to homebuilding. Triton focuses on pre-

most important purpose is to ensure that

sold custom homes from Central Austin to

each home genuinely reflects their clients’

the Texas Hill Country, many of which are

style and personality.

designed and built utilizing the latest in

Rostrata Builders, inc.

green and sustainable technologies. Masters Touch Custom Homes

Rostrata Builders has over 100 years of combined




Master's Touch Custom Homes has been

homes in Central Texas. The companies val-

considered one of the premier construction

ues of trust, integrity and performance help

companies in Austin, featuring beautiful

them to focus on creating homes that ex-

homes from $400,000 to over $2 million. The

ceed a customer’s expectations technically,

homes offer unique floor plan designs, high

functionally and aesthetically while adher-

quality craftsmanship and interior details.

ing to a budget.

Jenkins Custom Homes

The HBA’s 2010 Parade of Homes™ at Rough Hollow Lakeway is scheduled to

built by Zbranek Custom Homes, Triton

are a 100% referral based business and re-

Since 1992, Jenkins Custom Homes’ at-

Custom Homes, Masters Touch Custom

ceived the 2010 National Master Builder

tention to detail has earned them a reputa-

Homes, Jenkins Custom Homes, VII Cus-

Award from the National Association of

tion for excellence in both design and

and for fre-

tom Homes and Rostrata Builders, Inc. Sev-

Home Builders. Our team includes four

construction. The company was voted the

quent updates and community details. [RL]

take place Oct. 16 through Oct. 31, 2010. Visit


realty line of austin

February 2010

ABoR chairman John Horton gives an update on the organization’s upcoming activities at the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association meeting.

Olga Hernandez, right, gives Melanie Taliaferro her certificate at the second annual United Lending Oscars. Melanie ranked in the 6-10 million dollar club.

These professionals have joined the $99 club by pledging to TREPAC and will make a difference in their business.

Jana McCool of RE/MAX Austin Associates helps the Certified Distressed Property Expert group build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

Sweet New Suite Barton Oaks Office - Ground Floor


Escrow Officers Toni Vance Halseth I Bonnie Barrera I Elizabeth Elford Laura Pagnozzi I Debbie Thornal I Jodie Wilkinson

E x p l o r e

February 2010

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Real Estate

News & Notes

Scott dill Joins Leahy & Associates at Cornerstone Mortgage Company With more than 11 years of experience in national banking, Scott recently joined Leahy & Associates at Cornerstone Mortgage Company as a Senior Loan Officer. “I truly enjoy the challenges and rewards of helping people realize their financial goals,” Dill said. “I’m dedicated to getting the job done and developing lifelong clients.” As a Senior Loan Officer, it is Dill’s job to educate and help clients with their home purchases and to assist with planning for the future with refinances. “Scott possesses the kind of knowledge about the mortgage business that can only be gained through years of experience, and he is extremely trustworthy,” said Branch Manager Ryan Leahy. “He works hard to efficiently assist his clients with their home purchases, and honestly wants to help them meet their financial goals.” Leahy & Associates was founded eight years ago by Ryan and Heather Leahy. They have earned a reputation as a leader in the mortgage industry not only because of their cutting edge technology, but also by serving their clients’ best interests in a way that only comes from years of experience in the residential lending and financial planning industries. Their office is located in Westlake at 3160 Bee Caves Road in Austin.

RE/MAX Network Continues Expansion

2009 Franchise Sales Surpass Industry Competitiors Even in a year when the real estate industry continued to feel the effects of a recession, RE/MAX International, Inc. sold 630 franchises worldwide, while extending its global presence into eight new countries. In North America, several former competitors joined the RE/MAX Network, bringing with them more than 650 individual Sales Associates. RE/MAX experienced additional success in the U.S., selling 21 new franchises in Cal-

MileStone Community Builders Calls Cedar Park Home With Two New Communities Construction is well underway at two new Cedar Park communities, as MileStone Community Builders, LLC enters the market with plans for aggressive growth throughout Metro Austin. MileStone has secured two prime locations in Cedar Park, offering easy access to major highways and employers such as Dell and Cedar Park Medical Center. “We are delighted to have found such exceptional sites in such a vibrant, growing community,” MileStone president/CEO Garrett Martin said. “We believe our product fills a tremendous need for low-maintenance living at a very affordable price point.” The grand opening for Paradiso Villas is scheduled for Feb. 20-21. Located on West Parmer Lane adjacent to the acclaimed Brushy Creek Park, Paradiso Villas offers a lowmaintenance lifestyle, providing time to enjoy nearby nature trails, cycling, canoeing, shopping, dining, entertainment, and more. Located in the award-winning Leander Independent School District (LISD), Paradiso Villas includes a private community pool and expertly manicured outdoor spaces. One- and two-story garden homes range in size from 1,203 sq ft to over 2,000 sq ft, with prices starting in the $150s. Cypress Creek Townhomes’ grand opening is scheduled for Mar. 6-7. Located on Little Elm Trail, just off Cypress Creek Blvd. between Lakeline Blvd. and Hwy 183, Cypress Creek Townhomes offers the benefits of home ownership combined with a low maintenance lifestyle, providing time to enjoy nearby shopping, dining, and entertainment. Also located in the LISD, Cypress Creek offers a private community pool, expertly maintained lawns, and all exterior home maintenance provided by the Homeowner’s Association. Affordably priced from the $130s, Cypress Creek townhomes range in size from 1,282 sq ft to 1,939 sq ft, and include attached garages, lofts and tile entryways along with numerous other distinctive features. For additional information about these communities and grand opening activities, visit or email

ifornia, a state with one of the most challenging real estate markets. There was also impressive growth in other regions. The number of new offices in New England and southeast Michigan increased by 100%, in Georgia by 80%, and in the Mountains States region, franchise sales were up 40%. For more information on RE/MAX, Contact RE/MAX Heart of Texas by calling 7949292 or visiting


Subscribe to Realty Line’s Online Calendar of Events at

A u st in ’ s O r ig in a l R e a l E s t a t e N e w s paper


realty line of austin

February 2010

Amelia Bullock and Barbara Wallace conduct their annual company business meeting at the Norris Conference Center.

Nicole Cooke, Lise Renee Lucci, NAHREP president and owner of EXIT Global, along with Randi Meshell, help to construct a home for Habitat for Humanity during the EXIT Austin Build Blitz.

Eldon Rude of Metrostudy gives valuable information about the housing forecast to an eager crowd of more than 500 people at the second annual housing forecast presented by the HBA of Greater Austin and the Austin Board of REALTORS.

February 2010

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Women’s Council of REALTORSŽ

President’s Column Susanna Boyer


2010 President



ow it’s February‌already!

You will also have a chance to donate to

At the Austin Chapter of

TREPAC at the Celebrity Waiter’s Dinner on

WCR, we are in the middle of

the evening of the Feb. 19. Mardi Gras is the

our Retention and Recruiting contest that

theme, so come and have some fun. Like chocolate‌and who doesn’t? Come

started Jan. 1 and runs through Mar. 31. For current members that bring a guest

out to our WCR Happy Hour on Tuesday,

that joins, their name (current member) goes

Feb. 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Viva Chocolato! in

into a drawing for a $50 gift card. We will be

The Domain, 3401 Esperanza Crossing, Suite

drawing for three winners names at our


Our February Business Resource meeting

Business Resource meeting with Lani Rosales

will be held on Feb. 18 at the Austin Board of

and Social Media — “Truly Simplified for the

REALTORSÂŽ auditorium. We will feature a

Real Estate Community.� Lani won the Texas

Rookie Panel, moderated by WCR’s state

Social Media award as named by the States-

president Deborah Spangler. We’ll learn how,

man, was named in the Top 50 Influential

even in a down market, and being new in the

Bloggers, the Top 12 Women in Blogging,

business, they successfully closed millions of

and won the Inman Innovator award. So this

dollars in transactions. Bring your notepad

is a meeting you truly do not want to miss.

and pen and be ready to take notes to learn how to rev up your business in 2010. TAR/WCR Winter Meeting runs Feb. 19-

When you join the Women's Council of REALTORS, you tap into a whole world of

istration is FREE, so come out and take

concrete, powerful programs that yield tan-

advantage of the education that is offered.

gible results for you and your business. It's

30 day closings



Enjoyable SHOP, DINE & PLAY nearby at brushy creek park

all possible thanks to our unique structure,

increasingly savvy customers and tough

the foundation of which is our nationwide


network of local and state chapters. That

A nationwide community of many of the

foundation of which allows us to bring our

industry's most successful and motivated

members the best of both worlds: the

real estate professionals, the Women's Coun-

strength and continuity of a national profile,

cil of REALTORS delivers an unmatched

with the responsiveness and accessibility of

combination of professional training and

chapters close to home. The result? The

personal support you need to keep your

Women's Council of REALTORS brings you

business at its very peak. From our local

more programs, more networking opportu-

chapter meetings to our Performance Man-

nities and more ways to build your business

agement Network training, from wealth-

than any other REALTOR organization.


Are You Ready?




conferences to our vast referral network, we bring you the real-world tools and informa-

To plug into the power of your profes-

tion that help you anticipate change, outpace

sion? Then you're ready to become a member

the competition and grow your business in

of WCR.

ways you never thought possible.

Now more than ever, membership in the

It all starts now, at the Women's Council

Women's Council of REALTORS is the way

of REALTORS. So get to know us. And get

to stay out in front of a fast-changing market,

ready! [RL]

Local Support, National Strength

23 at the Hyatt Regency on Town Lake. Reg-

12 Homes


March on into the year at our March 18

April 22 meeting.


John Rosshirt of Stanberry & Associates confers with Patricia Wagner of DHI Mortgage about the new loan guidelines while at the AMBA meeting at Austin Country Club.

You’re Invited

To take a tour through our new townhome community, Cypress Creek, in Cedar Park. Come and enjoy lunch and explore our newly designer decorated homes offered by Milestone Community Builders. 7EDNESDAY -ARCHRDsAMnPM 3PACEISLIMITED SOCALLOREMAILTODAY 2360 -Y-ILE3TONECOMOR  

WIN One of ten $100 prizes! EARN 4% on your 1st sale!

Townhomes from the $130’s 512-215-5220 1900 Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park 4% commission applicable only if Realtor accompanies buyer on initial trip to Cypress Creek. Offer valid on new contracts only; must contract by 3/31/10. Actual terms of sale may vary. Additional restrictions may apply. Commission program & incentives subject to change.


Take 183A North to the Brushy Creek/ Cypress Creek Exit. Turn left at light & travel 1.7 miles on Cypress Creek Rd., then left on Juliette Way & left on Little Elm Trail. Cypress Creek Townhomes are just ahead on the right.


realty line of austin

February 2010

There was a large turnout at the Williamson County Association of REALTORS first membership luncheon of 2010.

Sharon Smith, Lilla Ezell, Kay Andrews and Jill Turlington, all of Amelia Bullock REALTORS, are looking forward to the new year as they get positive information at the morning business session at the Norris Conference Center.

Amy Kobza of Austin Title tells WCR president Susanna Boyer she is ready to help her lead the organization toward a great year.

Edie Finch of Edie Finch Properties and Judy Moss of Prudential Texas Realty join 80 plus other real estate professionals for the downtown property tour, which gathers at 616 Ranch.

February 2010

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February 2010

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KB Home supplied lunch for the workers on day two of the EXIT Austin Build Blitz.

Sonia Guardado of JB Goodwin REALTORS greets Teresa Roberson of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS as she arrives at the Women’s Council of REALTORS meeting.

Chris Ott of Keller Williams Realty wins a gift card at the latest Austin Young Real Estate Professionals social held at the Firehouse Lounge.

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February 2010

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Associates In Progress


Advertiser Profile By Linda McNabb



reaty Oak Homes is new to the

ahead of projections, with about 35 remain-

Austin market, but the builder be-

ing lots. The homes range in square footage

hind the name is no rookie. Presi-

from about 1,200 to nearly 2,100 and are


priced from the $190s to the $240s, which

experience in the industry, having grown up

makes them appealing to a broad range of

in the home building business as the son of







Ron Hammonds, founder of Hammonds

“It is a flexible product,” Hammonds

Homes, a company that built nearly 8,000

says. “All of our home buyers have unique

homes in the Houston, Dallas and Austin

stories and backgrounds. We have move ups,

markets before being sold in 2002.

Treaty Oak homes Model Central Park in South Austin homes from the 180s

move downs, singles, couples and older cou-

majestic branches of a southern live oak tree

“I have been working in the business

ples. Some are buying the base product while

near downtown Austin,” Hammonds says.

since I was old enough to sweep out a

others are putting in substantial upgrades.”

“Agreements were reached and futures

garage, doing just about everything from es-

The one- and two-story floor plans offer

born—stamped with wax seals that repre-

timating, purchasing, developing, financing,

extensive standard features including flexi-

sented the dignity and prestige of the occa-

from his previous endeavors and is intro-

developing land and supervising construc-

ble spaces to accommodate a play area for

sion. The stamp designated quality and

ducing himself to new ones as well by ac-

tion,” Hammonds says.

children, a home office, an arts and crafts

tradition as it does today with Treaty Oak



presenting his story there.

He ventured into his own home building

room or a designated homework space. De-

business by starting Treaty Oak Homes late

signed by award-winning Austin architec-

last year, opening the company’s first community in Central Park, a traditional South





Hammonds say he hopes to secure at

“I am letting them know that we may be

tural firm Kipp/Flores, each home is built to

least three more lot positions this year. “We

a start-up builder but we are not new at

high-efficiency energy specifications under

are looking for good communities that peo-

this,” he says. “I feel the same passion that

Austin neighborhood with 42 homes priced

the City of Austin’s Green Building pro-

ple find desirable,” Hammonds says. “The

has guided my family’s business for more

from the $190s and located just minutes from


kinds of lots and product we build may vary,

than two decades, and offer my commitment


Hammonds said he chose the name

“It is a really great location,” Hammonds

Treaty Oak Homes because of the grand his-

says. “We were attracted to it because of the

toric images it conjures about Texas history

ability to stay close to downtown while

and the resiliency of the tree itself.

keeping prices in check with the market.” Hammonds says Central Park is selling

based on the needs of the immediate mar-

to excellence to every home buyer. We have


done this before and we have done it well.

Hammonds says this is his third time to live in Austin and he plans to remain here

“Legend says that many of our state's

this time. He has been busy getting reac-

greatest names forged their future under the

quainted with many of the faces he knew

We expect and encourage a high REALTOR participation to help us do so again.” For


information, [RL]



realty line of austin

February 2010

The 2010 officers for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals take their oath of office at the installation banquet at the Mexican American Cultural Events Center.

Mary Tennant is pleased to welcome Diane Johnson to the Keller Williams Realty team. Diane was introduced to Keller Williams Realty agents at a recent meet and greet.

Gwen Johansen, Georgia Duke, Alisa LeBlanc and Tiesa Hollaway, all of North American Title, arrive early to get firsthand knowledge of what’s in store for the new year at the second annual housing forecast hosted by ABoR and HBA. Austin Title’s Becky Hopkins and Rudy Hopkins entertain colleagues at the Austin Title holiday party in their home, where Susan Graham was one of the guests.

Renovation Financing

Help your remodel customers maximize their renovation dollars Recognized as the nation's #1 originator of renovation financing, our renovation loan options may provide your customers financing power to remodel, repair, improve and bring out the most in their home. • Fixer-uppers, rehabs, and properties in any condition are eligible • Provide your customers a loan amount that is based on the completed value of the home after improvements with our Purchase & RenovateSM program • Qualified customers can transform a “before” with a loan based on the upgraded “after” • We can lend up to 110% of the after-improved value To learn how your buyers may benefit from renovation financing, call today!

Annie Fojtik Renovation Specialist 3601 Far West Blvd. Austin, TX 78731 Phone: (512) 344-7887 Cell: (512) 633-2883 Information is for real estate professionals only and is not intended for distribution to consumers. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage is a division of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. © 2009 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A .All rights reserved. #67954 12/09-3/10.

February 2010

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February 2010

Congratulations to Chad Bowman of United Lending as he was presented with a certificate in recognition of closing 6-10 million dollars in loans. Pictured with him is Lesley Guerrero.

Gregory Noack and Joanne Flynn, both of Amelia Bullock REALTORS, grab their notebooks to get ready for a company business meeting at the Norris Conference Center.

AYREP education chair Shannon Powers of Zip Realty introduces her brother Cameron Thomsen of Pulte Homes to Wendy Feeley at the organization’s recent social at Firehouse Lounge.

February 2010

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realty line of austin

February 2010

Lone Star Statesmen pledge $250 at the TREPAC breakfast. Join and make a difference in your business.

Danette Tidwell of Time Warner Cable’s Partner Program takes a moment at the WCR meeting to tell Laura Nye of Stanberry & Associates about the rewards of participating in the program.

Mark Hairston of Mortgage IQ was one of the sponsors for the WCAoR forecast luncheon, where Winnie Harrison of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS, Suzanne Gantner of Sky Realty and Edmond McEnany of Central Texas Realty Experts were in attendance.

Otho Wilbur and Tephanie Wilbur of E-Infinity Realty get dressed up for their business photos, a service that was provided by KB Home at the Westwood community in Leander.

February 2010

realty line of austin


Lise Renee Lucci, second from right, is surrounded by her family at the Installation Gala. Lise was installed as the 2010 NAHREP president.

David Cook of Reverse Mortgages, Ray Daniel of Network Funding and Jim Downing, guest, get an update on lending guidelines at the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association meeting at Austin Country Club.

Carrie Weikert of Keller Williams Realty and Les Sherman of RE/MAX Austin Associates enjoy some early morning coffee and the view of the stadium at the TREPAC appreciation breakfast at the UT Club. Keith Barker of Barker Roofing and HBA membership director Debbie Horridge check out the many lighting options at the HBA happy hour at Lights Fantastic.


February 2010

realty line of austin

Laurie Nunnallee of First American Title and Janey Richardson listen to the Austin Lounge Lizards at the Spicewood Vineyard while helping to raise money for the Spicewood Arts Society.

David McMillan of United Lending won the “hot air” award for being long winded at the United Lending second annual Oscars.

Mary Lou York and Judy Arnold, both of Amelia Bullock REALTORS, team up at the annual business meeting to make 2010 a great one.

Getting a loan requires more than LUCK. Harper Ray and her Ultimate Lending Group offer

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45 years of combined lending experience. Harper understands the home-financing process, can successfully navigate the current mortgage environment and make your clients’ transactions smooth and seamless. Call Harper today for more information about her services.

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Weekly Updates

February 2010

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February 2010

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During a recent agent-driven meeting, Willie Fluck, second from left, presented upcoming changes in our system and customization. Next month will be a demonstration on "Building a Web site using Wordpress for FREE," by Karen Wilson, left, of City Realty. Also pictured is Dave Schara.

Grant Whittenberger of Outlaw Real Estate Group, Ashley Whittenberger of Interiority Complex and Fred Meyers of Austin City Living tour the model home that Treaty Oak Homes unveiled in Central Park.

Members of the Capitol Club pledge $500 to TREPAC at ABoR’s breakfast appreciation at the UT Club.

HBA president Steve Zbranek welcomes an enthusiastic crowd of more than 500 people to the second annual housing forecast that the Home Builders of Greater Austin (HBA) and the Austin Board of REALTORS co-hosted at the AT&T Conference Center.

Ellen’s Staging Tip: Dead Air Have you ever opened an entry door and felt the vacuum of no air movement inside the home? Air movement signals that the house is alive and vibrant and buyers will react positively. A good solution is to have ceiling fans turned on low in each room to dispel dead air. Give the buyers the best first impression—let the home breathe!

Do your seller’s need professional staging?

Call me today for a “MAKE A DIFFERENCE” consultation. Ellen is ready to help you set the stage for professional results. Ellen Boettcher, president 512.751.1756

February 2010

realty line of austin

Expects Speak Out

Commentary Bill Bradshaw


Gracy Title


c. Insolvency of the borrower;

considered income by the IRS. For example,

A seller wanting to know if their debt can-

if the seller owes their lender $100,000 and

cellation is a taxable event should seek coun-

the lender agrees to release the mortgage for

sel from their tax advisor. REALTOR®

$80,000, there is a $20,000 difference between

should not comment on whether or not there


what was owed and what will be accepted

is a taxable event from a short sale transac-

by the lender. If the lender elects to not pur-

tion, as the tax advisor is the appropriate pro-

This month’s article is a continuation of the article from last month about short sales.

sue the seller for the deficiency, under the IRS

fessional to address this with the seller.

guidelines there is $20,000 of income for the

3. It also is rumored that in the near future

year in which the debt forgiveness occurs for

the government may announce a $2,500 sub-

the seller. To encourage short sales a recent

sidy to encourage short sales—$1,500 to the



debt—also know as debt cancellation—is

here is nothing in the law or the

behalf of a borrower authorization to the

IRS Regulation allows short sale sellers to

seller and $1,000 to the lender. This is some-

instruments creating the lien on

lender to discuss the file with that third party

avoid that tax liability in some circum-

thing that sellers and REALTOR® can look

will be required from the borrowers.

stances. This is called the Mortgage Forgive-

for in the future.

the property that requires the

lenders to engage in short sales. Given the

In the negotiation process, it is also critical

ness Debt Relief Act.

This is a complicated topic and this short

state of the real estate market, not so much in

that the seller, or their representatives, pres-

As quoted by the IRS, some common sit-

article is by no means exhaustive of all the is-

Austin, but in other parts of the county,

ent an accurate picture of their financial mat-

uations when the cancellation of the debt is

sues presented by short sales. But as the

lenders have created significant loss mitiga-

ters. They must take extreme care to make no

not a taxable event involve:

numbers of short sales increase, and it seems

tion departments and hired scores of em-

misrepresentations or omissions as to the

ployees to facilitate the short sale process.

seller’s financial status, the value of the prop-

These employees are overworked with hun-

erty or the funds to be passed at closing. A

dreds of files on their desks. Because there

misrepresentation or omission regarding

are so many short sale transactions going on

these topics could constitute mortgage fraud.

as of now, it is important that a REALTOR®

Three issues remain:

or seller wanting to start the short sale

1. The short sale seller’s credit history will

process send their requests to the lender as

be most likely be affected. While the effect on

complete as possible with correct informa-

a seller’s credit history and credit scores is

tion the first time. They must also be careful

not as much as previously thought, an effect

to present all of the required information at

still exists. That effect, however, is not nearly

one time instead of sending in documenta-

the same negative effect as a foreclosure

tion piecemeal. Files that are awaiting addi-

would have. It is still important for a seller to

tional information are generally placed at the

realize that there are negative implications.

bottom of the loss mitigation employee’s

2. There may also be tax ramifications as-

stack of files. Also, if an agent, lawyer or

sociated with a short sale in so far as the

other representative is going to negotiate on

seller is concerned. Generally forgiven

a. The sale of a qualified principal residence;

likely that they will, those of us in residential real estate will be exposed to more and more

b. Debts that are discharged through a bankruptcy; or

information about this type of transaction. Good luck! [RL]

Find out what’s happening in real estate. Visit our Calendar of Events page on our Web site.


realty line of austin

February 2010

Christy Gessler of RE/MAX Capital City, Mary Miner of M.E. Gene Johnson REALTORS and Karen Parker of Mike Parker and Company are all smiles at the WCAoR meeting after hearing the forecast looks good for the Round Rock and Georgetown areas.

Larry Shumake of Shumake Group Properties and Verenea Sullivan of Turnquist Partners say they could double their sales by boxing up the wonderful weather that helped make the downtown property tour such a pleasure.

Colette Fitzgerald of KB Home welcomes Roy Dutton of Property Consultants of Austin to the model in Leander, where a photographer was on hand to help him update his photo for business cards and other promotional materials.

February 2010

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Sytha Minter of Horizon Realty enjoys the company holiday party with her husband Norman Minter.

Michelle Murphy and Andrea Wilde of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS arrive early to attend AYREP’s coffee talk, a networking and marketing event that featured guest speaker Chad Goldwasser of Goldwasser Real Estate.

Monica Middleton, Paula Bacon and Sandi Gillis, all of Austin Title, celebrate their 78 years of combined experience at the company’s holiday party.

We’re Ready For an Encore. for our next act in Westlake at our new venue. Coming Spring 2010.


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February 2010

Stephanie Zellous, Huston Dorris and EM Doyle, all of Keller Williams Realty, gather at 616 Ranch to get ready for the downtown property tour.

Danette Tidwell of Time Warner Cable, Tiesa Hollaway of North American Title and WCAoR president J. Rene Ward find the future looks bright for Williamson County, after hearing Texas A&M economist Jim Gaines speak.

Cheryl Sullivan of Gracy Title thanks Diana Kropka of Realty Executives for inviting her to shed some light on the new HUD rules at the company’s regional meeting at Marie Callender’s.

Jeanne Butterfield of RE/MAX Austin Associates, Bill Evans of Austin Real Pros and Ann Marie Sandlin of Reta Kays REALTORS enjoy some time sharing industry highlights at the second annual housing forecast hosted by ABoR and HBA.

February 2010

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James Barnes of SWBC Mortgage and Rudy Hopkins and Becky Hopkins, both of Austin Title, arrive at the Mexican American Cultural Center to support the new officers for NAHREP.

Tommy Nelms of United Lending gets the El Matador award for always being able to cut through the bull and smoothly handle any situation during the United Lending second annual Oscars.

Jeffery Harwell and Sheila Leech, both of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS, enjoy some wine and cheese while they preview the new Treaty Oak Homes model in the South Austin community, Central Park.

Holly Hawn and Leslie Brvenik, both of Independence Title, join Les Sherman of RE/MAX Austin Associates, Crystal Warner and Betsy Welhausen of Austin Title at AYREP’s Kick Off the New Year social at Firehouse Lounge.


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February 2010

Jayne Kidd, Debbie Harmon and Cherie Copus, all of Amelia Bullock REALTORS, go over the morning session notes at the company’s meeting at the Norris Conference Center.

The Sterling R group pledged $1,000 to TREPAC. They were recognized at ABoR’s TREPAC Breakfast. Earl Hairston, Jim Smith, Sytha Minter, Pam Drawbaugh, Jay Gohil, John Horton, Joe Stewart, Robert Wright, Judith Bundschuh, David Burton and David Foster.

HBA’s Naomi Bludworth, Barbara Wallace of Amelia Bullock REALTORS and Kathy Mayer of Steiner Ranch look forward to hearing how the housing market will fare. They were on hand for ABoR and HBA’s second annual housing forecast.

REALTORS from Austin, San Antonio and as far away as Toronto came to help build homes for Habitat for Humanity during the EXIT Austin Build Blitz. Dion McCormick of EXIT Realty puts up the soffits on the porch on a cold rainy Saturday.

Merrick Ales reviews the photos he took of Marge Lemons of Kara Kay and Company that she can use to update her website. They were at the KB Home model in Westwood.

Robin Austin Reed of Star of Texas Realty, Steve Builta of Hometrust Mortgage, Julia Heart of Star of Texas Realty and Tex Meazell of Keller Williams Realty join many others on the tour of downtown condos. These two guys know the importance of the PAC and what it means to the real estate profession. Bill Evans of Austin Real Pros pledged $2,500 (Crystal R) and Earl Hairston, ABoR Government Affairs director, committed $1,000 to TREPAC. They were both recognized for the pledges at the TREPAC Breakfast.


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