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Nominees Wanted for ABoR’s Annual Industry Awards! And the winner is… you! The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) is currently accepting nominations for the 2009 Industry Awards. Every year, six dedicated ABoR members are recognized for their contributions to their industry and their community. Submit your nominations online at https://www.abor.com/events/forms/indy_

awards_form.cfm by Friday, September 11. Award winners will be honored at the 2010 Installation and Awards Celebration, to be

held on Friday, December 11 from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. Awards will be distributed in the following categories: REALTOR® of the Year This honor is bestowed on an ABoR member who has made outstanding contributions to the real estate profession on the state, local and national levels, as well

as the local community. ABoR’s current Chairman of the Board is not eligible to receive this award during his term of office as extensive service is obligatory based on the elected office. Affiliate of the Year Nominees for this award are not See AWARDS, Page 16

Know the Basics When Getting Into Green Remodeling Austin Real Incorporating green remodeling into a remodeling Estate Shows business is much easier than remodelers might think, in Strength in part because many remodelers already are green, according to Michael Strong, CGR, GMB, of Second Qtr '09 Brothers Strong in Houston. Old homes are notoriously leaky, which causes conditioned air to escape and heating and cooling systems to use more energy. And since many are equipped with inefficient heating and cooling systems, even more energy is used to cool and heat them. Older homes also are more likely to have inefficient faucets, toilets, appliances and Above: Incorporating green remodeling into a remodeling business is much easier than showerheads. According to the remodelers might think, in part because many remodelers already are green, according U.S. Environmental Protection to Michael Strong, CGR, GMB, of Brothers Strong in Houston. Agency, a family of four can save up to 25,000 gallons of water per out of the growing number of green Standard provides a credible industry year by replacing older model toilets building programs. Even nationally benchmark and scoring process for and installing high-efficiency toilets recognized programs did not provide green remodeling and renovation that use 1.6 gallons or less per flush. opportunities for green remodeling projects. Though faced with the challenge of projects to be certified as green — The standard was developed remodeling older homes to become until now. See INTO GREEN, Page 6 “greener,” many remodelers were left The National Green Building

Romancing the ‘hogger’ By Teresa Boardman Flickr image by lumaxart.When I went to real estate school I learned about the "hogger." That is the sweet deal that our instructors told us would happen if we represented both the buyer and the seller. Stories were told about unrepresented buyers calling listing agents and those agents selling the listing to the buyer. It is also called dual agency.

Agency is an issue I think about often and every six months or so I write a consumer-oriented post about it on my blog. I keep the Minnesota agency disclosure in each of my listings so that I have it on hand at all times if I need to show the listing to a buyer. The idea of agency is a consumer education challenge. Consumers do PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PA I D Victoria, TX PERMIT 207

not understand real estate agents, real estate companies or agency. The whole Realtor and commission process is a mystery to most buyers. They just want to see the house, and they don't care about who gets paid what or how. Buyers who are interested in purchasing foreclosures seem to be the least educated of all. Some may

The Limelight Monterey Homes

Austin Board of REALTORS® releases June 2009 real estate statistics

June 2009 Statistics $537,981,570 – Total dollar volume of single-family properties sold. $199,900 – Median price for singlefamily homes, unchanged from June 2008. 10,107 – Active single-family home listings on the market, a seven percent decrease from June 2008. 2,135 – Single-family homes sold, a four percent decrease as compared to June 2008.

According to the June 2009 Multiple Listing Service report by the Austin Board of REALTORS®, the volume of See ABOR, Page 10

The ShowCase USA is now featuring Inman News, the leading source of independent real estate news, information, advice, research, opinion and commentary for industry professionals and consumers alike.

See HOGGER on Page 14 get the idea of buying a foreclosure from late-night TV and infomercials. They go from listing to listing and call the agent on the sign; many believe

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The LimeLight Stunning Homes, Scenic Vistas & Hill Country Lifestyle Await Homebuyers at Monterey Homes’ New

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teiner Ranch, the highly desirable master-planned community set in the heart of the scenic Texas Hill Country, is now more attractive than ever thanks to the opening of Savannah Point, a stunning new section of gated-entry custom and semi-custom home sites by Monterey Homes.

Relaxed yet refined Hill Country living is a hallmark of Savannah Point, where beautifully designed Tuscan-inspired homes with tile roofs and stucco stone exteriors are complemented by a wealth of family friendly resort-style amenities. Best of all, residents enjoy convenient access to businesses, shopping and entertainment while taking advantage of some of the finest schools in the region.

Tuscan-Inspired Design with Exceptional Features

Monterey Homes offers eight distinct, sizable plans to choose from at Savannah Point, ranging in size from 3,058 to 4,018 square feet with up to five bedrooms. The homes, which offer breathtaking views of the canyon, have been newly priced from $410,900 to $472,900. A sampling of the signature features in every home include tile flooring, rounded corner architecture, two-step crown molding, oil rubbed bronze interior hardware, granite countertops, General Electric stainless steel appliances, elongated commodes, all wood oak kitchen cabinets and two-tone wall and wood trim paint. Each home also includes complete sod and sprinkler system, full gutters and downspouts, mahogany front door with leaded glass inserts and a full alarm system.

Endless Amenities at Steiner Ranch

Equally as impressive as Monterey Homes’ offerings at Savannah Point is the seemingly endless array of amenities available to residents of all ages. A sampling of the highlights includes parks, playscapes, hike and bike trails, water parks with children’s and adult swimming pools, basketball courts, tennis courts and volleyball. For golfers, The University of Texas Golf Club and its championship course is just down the road, and for water enthusiasts, the community is just minutes from two of Central Texas’ most popular spots for beating the Texas heat - Lake Austin and Lake Travis. Served by the highly acclaimed Leander Independent School District, students in Savannah Point attend in-community schools including Steiner Ranch Elementary, Laura Welch Bush Elementary and Canyon Ridge Middle School, with the new River Ridge Elementary set to open in this fall and Vandegrift High School to open in 2010.

Hill Country Setting with Everyday Conveniences

Steiner Ranch’s location affords the perfect opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also maintaining proximity to everyday conveniences. Retail shopping and restaurants are available right inside the community, with hundreds of additional boutiques, shops and dining options found at the nearby Hill Country Galleria and Shops at the Galleria.

Savannah Point – New Model, New Plans and a New Lifestyle!

Monterey Homes has earned a reputation for helping families find the right home in the right place for the right price. There’s no better time than right now to visit the new model at Savannah Point and get a sneak peek at the exceptional, incomparable Hill Country lifestyle that awaits you and your family.

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LOCAL/STATE NEWS

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Bad Boys of Bricklaying RE/MAX Network Continues to Grow Get Uncorked at ABoR’s Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser

NATIONAL NEWS

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Google Maps Improves Listings Search

The National Association of Realtors® has awarded more than $682,000 to 25 local and state Realtor® associations through its Foreclosure Prevention and Response grant program. The grants help Realtor® boards develop and fund local foreclosure prevention programs. More than $3 million is available to Realtor® associations through the program to help Realtors®, their clients, and the communities nationwide resolve the growing foreclosure problem. Funds can be used to give consumers foreclosure prevention information and financial counseling; educate and train Realtors® about foreclosure prevention, short sales and auctions; or help Realtors® and their associations form partnerships and get more involved in their communities to address foreclosures and support local neighborhood stabilization efforts. “Realtors® build communities and as the leading advocate for homeownership and housing issues, we believe that any family that loses its home to foreclosure is one family too many,” NAR President Charles

McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Foreclosures affect each community differently, which is why NAR is providing the Foreclosure Prevention and Response grants directly to local and state Realtor® associations – so that they can develop unique, coordinated action plans to prevent foreclosures and minimize their adverse effects on the community.” NAR has also developed a Foreclosure Prevention and Response Toolkit for local and state Realtor® associations. This free online toolkit helps associations develop a local foreclosure response program and support the work of Realtors® in the community. Toolkit resources include a list of training programs, government and other grant programs, and opportunities for community involvement and best practices, including developing community wide strategies. The following Realtor® associations received Foreclosure Prevention and Response grants. See NAR AWARDS, Page 14

Strong Commercial Real Estate Market Critical to Jobs and Economy, Say REALTORS® Downpayment, Closing Costs Still Greatest Obstacles to Homeownership, NAR Survey Shows Time to Start Worrying About the Better Times Ahead REALTORS® Say Housing Incentives Help Economy, Small Businesses Realtors® Use New Visa Types to Open Doors for Foreign Buyers NAHB Suggests Improvements For WaterSense Certification AD&C Credit Crunch Imperils Housing-Led Economic Recovery Confirmation of Stevens as FHA Commissioner Applauded MLXchange: No More Tokens!

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Stats through June

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NAR Awards Nearly $700,000 to Fund State and Local Foreclosure Prevention Programs

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Google Maps Improves Listings Search Dedicated Landing Page Aids House Hunting Google Maps now offers a dedicated landing page displaying listings the company receives from brokers and agents, and improved search capabilities that allow consumers to look for homes around specific neighborhoods. Consumers could previously use Google Maps to search for real estate listings submitted by agents and brokers to Google Base, but had to specify "real estate" from a search options menu. The new dedicated landing page, maps.google. com/realestate, shows results in a "one-box" that's offered to users when they use search queries like "homes for sale in San Francisco," said product manager Andrew Foster in a blog post Monday. When users apply search filters such as price, listings type, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, or square feet, markers show the 10 most relevant listings on the map, and small circles on every other listing in that area that meet the requested criteria. Those searches provide "a really good idea of the distribution of properties for sale," Foster said. Clicking a listing provides more detailed information about the property, including links back to the listing agent or broker who submitted the information to Google Base. The new capabilities were developed by engineeers at Google's Sydney office and were first launched Monday in Australia and New Zealand, according to TheAge.com. The new development "is likely to be viewed by existing publishers as a grab for their business

at a time when margins are under pressure and paid listings are being affected by the prevailing economic climate," TheAge.com opined. Joel Burslem, writing about the new features on the blog Future of Real Estate Marketing, said that for now, the search results are "relatively confined" to Google Maps. But if Google begins displaying listings in its general Web search results -- as is the case with "local business" results -- "we may see the Mountain View giant start to siphon off traffic," Burslem said. ©2009 Inman News

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Bad Boys of Bricklaying Ragu Sada, P.E., LEED AP, managing principal, Iron Mason LLC, says the reason he decided to move to Austin was more of a personal decision than a professional one. “I have a 3-year-old daughter, and the minute I got off the plane I knew I wanted to raise her here. I love the people, the ethics, the architecture and, most importantly, the attitude of Austinites.” After relocating here, the Iron Mason team began introducing themselves to the construction community. “One thing I learned from doing this for over 15 years is you want to work with people you like.” Sada says he thinks the best way of introducing oneself is to drive out to offices and visit with folks. A few minutes of one-on-one time, he says, can build a better relationship than hundreds of emails or pages of brochures. “The fact that I typically bring a bottle of wine or scotch with me doesn’t hurt, either!” In April, Sada began bidding work in Austin, and in May, he and his team hosted a party at the Belmont on West 6th street. One of the party’s aims? “To show Bad boys of bricklaying that we are really fun to work with.” Founded by Sada in Chicago in 1999, Iron Mason furnishes and installs brick, block, stone, retaining walls, granite

Above: Ragu Sada, center, at a party his company hosted at the Belmont

and pavers. “When we started the firm, we really wanted the name to suggest that we were different and had somewhat of an attitude,” Sada says. “Bricklaying is an incredibly aggressive profession, so we also wanted the name and logo to exemplify the aggression we bring to the business.”

As for the name of the company, if you thought ‘80s metal, you are correct! “I think a combination of my age – I’m 37 – listening to quite a bit of heavy metal, my interest in Iron Chef, and obviously, our interest to be the bad boys of bricklaying contributed to the Iron Mason name and logo.” The Iron Mason team is made up

of 20 bricklayers and four office staff. “Our goal is to double that by the end of the year,” Sada says. The Austin office will serve San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. As the firm grows, Sada says he plans on establishing offices in all four of those cities. –va Ragu Sada, center, at a party his company hosted at the Belmont

View the virtual issue online at www.theshowcaseusa.com

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August 3, 2009

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INTO GREEN from Page 1 through an open, consensus-based process allowing full participation of all interested stakeholders. It is also the first green building rating system to be approved by ANSI, making it the benchmark for green residential construction. The standard recognizes a wide variety of green practices, which can be incorporated into residential development, construction and renovation on a national scale, and it encourages home owners to operate and maintain their homes in an environmentally responsible manner. Green Remodeling Step-ByStep The National Green Building Standard provides in-depth guidance for green remodeling and a basis for scoring green remodeling projects. Remodelers can use the online Green Scoring Tool, a free, easy-touse software application, to streamline the process of planning and scoring a green remodeling project to the standard. The software is designed to guide users step-by-step through the green requirements. The scoring tool includes decision support information such as "How to Verify," "Intent," "How to Implement" and "Resources." It is also designed to provide online links, where appropriate, to green products that have been pre-approved for specific points in the standard. Two Paths to Green Remodeling Certification There are two possible remodeling paths to green certification. Homes built after 1980 follow the same path as newly constructed homes — also called the Green Building Path — using the notes for renovation and/or additions. For homes built before 1980, a remodeler can choose to follow the certification process for new-home construction or the Green Remodel Path. Both paths allow certification at the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald levels for either single-family or multi-unit homes. Remodelers should fully explore both paths and evaluate

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which one best meets their needs from a features, performance and cost perspective. Green Remodel Path The Green Remodel Path is available only to homes built before 1980 and has three required elements: • Achieving a certain reduction in energy usage • Achieving a certain reduction in water usage • Complying with five mandatory indoor environmental quality practices The reduction in energy and water consumption must range from a minimum of 20% for Bronze to at least 50% for Emerald certification. The home's water and energy usage must be analyzed before and after the remodel. The verification process requires an inspection to verify the indoor air quality practices and a review of the energy and water analyses. The Green Scoring Tool will walk the remodeler through the necessary requirements for this certification path. Remodelers taking this path may make these recommendations to a home owner for meeting certification to the standard: Conduct an energy audit to determine energy leaks in the house. • Improve insulation and sealing, such as caulking and flashing, to reduce air and energy leaks. • Install a more efficient and properly sized heating and air conditioning system while upgrading the ducts in the home, such as sealing and insulating to minimize leaks. • Upgrade appliances with greater efficiency, such as Energy Star products — including a refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine. • Replace water fixtures with more efficient products, such as toilets, faucets and a tankless water heater. • Use low- or no-VOC paints and varnishes. Green Building Path This path requires a remodeler to incorporate a number of green building practices as part of the

remodeling process. Homes built after 1980 must use this path, which can score renovations and additions. Each practice earns points or meets certain mandatory requirements toward certification. In addition to minimum threshold points in each of six green building categories, the standard designates overall totals for each certification level. There are several hundred practices to choose from, but remodelers only need enough practices to accumulate threshold points for the desired level of green certification. The practices in this path are generally the same as the practices for new construction, but some are modified specifically for renovation with Renovation Notes in the standard. The Renovation Notes often provide additional points. A Green Building Path renovation requires two inspections by an accredited verifier for certification. This certification path will be automated in the Green Scoring Tool within the next few months. In addition to the Green Remodel Path recommendations, remodelers taking this path can also give home owners these additional suggestions: • Deconstruct instead of demolish rooms to be remodeled. Collect and donate (or sell) materials from the deconstruction for reuse or recycling. • If building an addition to the home that expands the footprint, take action to conserve the natural resources of the land being used. This may also apply to minimizing changes in slope, managing storm water, maintaining a wildlife habitat and minimizing soil erosion. • Insulate floors, foundations and crawlspaces. • Reduce total hot water pipe length. • Create a continuous air barrier between the garage and conditioned space in the home. • Remove carpeting and either finish underlying flooring or install non-carpet materials. • Vent bathrooms, clothes dryers and kitchen exhaust or range hoods to outdoors.

The ShowCase USA

Third-party Verification Visual third-party verification of the green features in every remodeling project that earns the Green Certified is a hallmark of the NAHB Research Center’s National Green Building Certification. Verifiers accredited by the Research Center are expected to independently confirm — through a process involving document reviews and on-site inspections — that all green certification requirements and points specified by a builder or remodeler are in place for a candidate home. No selfcertifications or affidavits are allowed. This is the cornerstone of the certification’s credibility. Accredited verifiers are listed by state on the NAHBGreen Web site. Costs of Remodeling Green In general, the additional costs to remodel a home to any green building rating system fall into three categories: • Additional costs for the building products to comply with the green practices. These will vary widely by project, but aren’t necessarily significant. • Costs or the project’s verification. Verifier fees vary by market and are negotiated between the remodeler and the verifier. • The National Green Building Certification fee. Certification fees were designed to be affordable across a broad range of remodeling projects. For NAHB members, the remodeling project certification fee is $200 per single-family unit, or $200 per building plus $20 per unit for multifamily projects. The National Green Building Standard is available for purchase at Builder Books.com. For more information about National Green Building Certification, call 877- 6242476, or use the Contact Us form on www.nahbgreen.org. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

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RE/MAX Network Continues to Grow

Get Uncorked at ABoR’s Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser

Recent Successes Keep Company Ahead of Competition

Don’t get stuck with sour grapes – protect your industry by attending the TREPAC Wine Tasting and Silent Auction on Thursday, September 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Uncorked, a wine bar and tasting room located at 900 East 7th Street. Join your fellow REALTORS® at the city’s hottest new wine bar, where you can enjoy a wide selection of wines from across the world and peruse the fine selection of silent auction items. All proceeds from this event benefit the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee (TREPAC), which provides legislative representation

RE/MAX announced today the current real estate market that it has added over 200 by storm. Over 5,000 Sales franchises to its global network Associates have received the in the first half of 2009. Despite Certified Distressed Property a tough economy, RE/MAX has Expert designation, positioning not only added franchises, but themselves as foreclosure and Noling has created a presence in four Short Sale experts. Recently, a new countries so far this year: Bahamas, RE/MAX sales team was the highestBrazil, India and Jamaica. ranked real estate team, and RE/MAX "We credit a lot of our success today teams overall held six of the top 11 spots to conversions – competing brokerages in the prestigious Wall Street Journalconverting over to the RE/MAX network LORE Magazine Top 400 ranking. In because of our strong value proposition," the category of closed transactions said RE/MAX Austin Skyline, Broker/ by individual agents, RE/MAX Sales Owner, Craig Noling. "Broker/Owners Associates captured three of the top 10 and Sales Associates realize that in positions. today's market, training and education, The performance of RE/MAX Sales such as that provided by RE/MAX Associates has also been recognized University, are more valuable than ever. in two other recent surveys. Based on By aligning with the RE/MAX brand, transactions closed in 2008, “The REAL these former competitors know they are Trends 500 Survey,” found that RE/ joining a network of nearly 100,000 Sales MAX Sales Associates averaged 13.2 Associates worldwide, and a nationally transactions per agent, which was 36% recognized brand with more than 36 higher than the second place competitor. years of success behind it. We're thrilled In the "RIS Media Power Broker Survey,” to have each and every one of them RE/MAX Sales Associates were also working with us." ranked the highest of all national real "Clearly, successful agents are choosing estate franchises, averaging about 12 to align with a company that knows how transactions each, nearly 33% higher to perform in any real estate market," than the next ranked competitor. REAL said Noling. "RE/MAX is equipped to Trends also said that RE/MAX Sales withstand the market conditions we are Associates have been the most productive facing today, and there's no stopping our in their survey for several years running. tremendous momentum." For more information, visit www. RE/MAX Associates have taken AustinSkylineRealEstate.com

to private property owners and real estate professionals across Texas. To learn more about how TREPAC works for you, visit http://www.abor.com/gov_affairs/ home.cfm. Tickets to the 2009 TREPAC Wine Tasting are $35 each and may be purchased online at https://www.abor.com/events/wine.cfm. For more information on this event, including sponsorship opportunities, contact Emily Chenevert in ABoR’s Government and Community Affairs Department at echenevert@abor.com or 512/454-7636, ext. 1501. TREPAC, the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee, is your profession's insurance policy that safeguards your interests. Invest in yourself and your profession— contribute to the PAC. For further information, contact the Government Affairs Department at 512/454-7636.

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Promotion available for a limited time only. Prices, rates, terms, programs and availability subject to change or revocation without prior notice or obligation. Offers and availability, including amount, duration and particular home/plan, vary. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or incentives unless approved by Meritage Management. Job Loss Protection Program is not a commitment to lend. Loans subject to underwriting, credit, and property approval. Loan products and coverage terms and limits may vary by state. Not all borrowers will qualify. Maximum benefit of up to $2,500 per month for up to six months, subject to involuntary unemployment insurance policy terms, restrictions, and conditions, vesting and waiting periods, claim filing requirements, and certificate of coverage issuance. Valid for eligible buyers only and does not apply to self-employed or 1099 contracts. Other restrictions may apply. Terms, policy, and programs may be changed or cancelled at any time without notice. Assistance with closing costs is available with allocated Meritage Money through their preferred lender affiliate. $8,000 Federal tax credit available to qualified first-time homebuyers. Limitations apply. Please see your tax advisor for details or visit www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. Lease buyouts are available to qualified buyers and vary depending on lease amount, duration and other applicable lease terms. Certain restrictions apply. See sales agent for details. Free Credit Repair program is available to help educate and inform you about credit related issues. Such information is not intended to serve as legal advice. We do not promise or guarantee your credit score will be increased or restored. Other restrictions may apply to programs. Please see sales agent for details. Broker Co-op paid at closing; Broker MUST accompany buyer on 1st sales office visit. Photographs are representative of a Meritage Homes design, but not necessarily offered at the advertised communities.

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August 3, 2009

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Strong Commercial Real Estate Market Critical to Jobs and Economy, Say REALTORS® Having a sound and well functioning commercial and multifamily real estate sector is critical to our country’s economic growth and development, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In testimony on Capitol Hill before the Joint Economic Committee, NAR noted that commercial real estate supports more than 9 million jobs and services. “In fact, as many as 6.5 million jobs that have been lost in the economic downturn have come from the office, industrial, retail and multifamily sector,” said NAR Treasurer Jim Helsel, a Realtor® who has specialized in commercial real estate for more than 34 years. “The overall economic crisis in the financial market is directly impacting the fundamentals of the commercial real estate market, causing the worst liquidity challenge since the early 1990s,” Helsel said. Commercial real estate generates billions of dollars in

federal, state and local tax revenue, making it a vital engine to the nation’s economic growth and prosperity. “Many of us in commercial real estate have been warning for some time that the liquidity crisis facing our industry has the potential to wreak havoc on the overall economy,” Helsel said. NAR has cautioned that the ramifications of a widespread collapse in the commercial real estate markets would exacerbate the economic crisis and hinder an economic recovery. According to NAR, deteriorating property fundamentals, declining property values, and a severe tightening of the lending markets are all factors contributing to the current crisis. “A severe tightening of lending and the near extinction of the commercial mortgagebacked securities (CMBS) market has severely impacted lending and liquidity,” Helsel said. “In fact, in 2009 not a single CMBS has been

issued versus a record high of $230 billion in CMBSs issued in 2007.” As credit markets have contracted, businesses have responded by slashing spending and jobs due in large part to the inability to secure financing. NAR reported the number of distressed commercial properties more than doubled from a year ago, with New York City, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas, and Boston among the list of hardest hit cities. “What is alarming to real estate professionals is that banks have responded slowly and inadequately. The rate at which these troubled loans are being resolved has been sluggish so far,” said Helsel. NAR is actively advocating several proactive steps to enhance liquidity and to facilitate lending. “We support several recent moves on the part of the federal government to strengthen the Term Asset-backed Loan Facility (TALF) by expanding the program to include CMBS and

the extension of TALF loans to fiveyear terms,” Helsel said. “But we strongly urge policymakers to extend the TALF program for another year or two to ensure that this important program remains in place to support liquidity and bring stability to the commercial markets.” “NAR stands ready to work with Congress, the financial regulators and the Obama administration in any way possible to quickly find solutions to stabilize the commercial real estate market and restore a strong marketplace,” said Helsel. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

Downpayment, Closing Costs Still Greatest Obstacles to Homeownership, NAR Survey Shows Most Americans still consider having enough money for downpayment and closing costs to be the biggest obstacles to buying a home. That’s according to the 2009 National Housing Pulse Survey, an annual survey released today by the National Association of Realtors®. The survey, which measures how affordable housing issues affect consumers, also found job security concerns to be the highest in seven years of sampling. Two-thirds of Americans think job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem; eight in 10 cite these issues as a barrier to homeownership. “Homeownership is an investment in your future; however, saving for a downpayment and closing costs is still too great of an obstacle for 82 percent of house hunters looking to take advantage of the current market,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Monetizing the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit for downpayment or closing costs on FHA-insured mortgages is a positive first step. Our hope is that the tax credit will be extended and expanded to all home buyers and will help bring stability to the housing market and enable more Americans to achieve the dream of homeownership." Despite the challenges with the economy and housing market, 83 percent of Americans still believe buying a home is a good financial decision. Threefourths of those surveyed also believe now is a good time to buy a home, a number that has increased steadily the

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August 3, 2009

past two years. In fact, one-third of renters are thinking more about buying a home than they were a year ago. While Americans are seeing more stability in the real estate market, uncertainty persists. The number of those who feel buying and selling activity has stabilized or stayed nearly the same has grown significantly, from 18 percent last year to 26 percent this year. However the majority (58 percent) report that activity in their market has slowed. Regarding home sales, nearly eight in 10 say it’s harder to sell a home in their area today than it was a year ago, despite the fact that nearly threefourths of respondents say home prices are less expensive. Large home inventories could be to blame; 44 percent cite concerns about the high number of homes and condos for sale in their area. While nearly three-fourths of Americans are concerned about the local drop in home values, respondents expect to see more stability in the near future. Nearly seven in 10 expect local home prices to remain about the same in the next three months; only 18 percent expect prices to further decrease. The drop in prices has improved affordability, and consequently, concerns about the lack of affordable housing are the lowest they’ve been in seven years of polling – 34 percent say it’s one of their biggest worries, down from 41 percent two years ago. Foreclosures remain a real concern among survey respondents. Slightly

more than half (51 percent) say foreclosures are a big to moderate problem in their area. However, the rate of foreclosures is generally seen as stabilizing; 41 percent say the rate of foreclosures in their area is about the same as last year. Ninety-two percent of respondents said neither they nor members of their immediate family have experienced a foreclosure in the past year, yet it is still a personal concern for many. One in five respondents said they are very or fairly worried that they will have difficulty making their mortgage payments over the next year. Thirty-two percent say it’s a big or moderate worry that they, or a member of their family, may have their home repossessed or foreclosed because they are unable to pay rising monthly mortgage payments. In 2008, more than half of respondents (54 percent) were open to the federal government taking a more active role in overseeing mortgage and lending practices – the number dropped this year to 47 percent. This could be because 42 percent of Americans believe the country is back on the right track, more than double the number last year (16 percent). Regarding financing, seven in 10 Americans cite a lack of confidence in their ability to be approved for a home loan as an obstacle to homeownership. The same number also say that banks are making it too hard to qualify for a loan (71 percent) and that fewer mortgage options offered by banks have made it harder for them to buy a

The ShowCase USA

home (71 percent). The perception of qualifying for a loan as a huge obstacle is especially high among minorities. “Home buyers need protection from risky lending products but also need access to mortgages at a reasonable cost. While there has been some easing of credit in the mortgage market, the availability of credit continues to be an issue for many qualified home buyers,” said McMillan. The 2009 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program. The telephone survey was among 1,250 adults living in the 25 most populous metropolitan statistical areas. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, www.realtor.org/ housingopportunity, was created in 2002 to encourage local Realtor® associations to create initiatives aimed directly at increasing housing opportunities available to consumers and making affordable housing more readily available in their communities. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

www.TheShowCaseUSA.com


Time to Start Worrying About the Better Times Ahead By Troy Taylor, Larry Comegys and Travis Hendren, The Algon Group Even though talk of a housing recovery may seem a bit premature with sales activity and pricing power still weak and inventories high in most housing markets, the tunnel is at least coming into focus and there have been a few flickers of light. And for savvy business owners, that means it’s time to start worrying about — and planning for — the better times ahead. Many builders today are not prepared for the market's return. They have spent much of their time during the housing correction winding down their companies and otherwise adjusting to and surviving the difficult market realities. Now that we're nearing the beginnings of a rebound, it’s time for builders to ask themselves if their business is appropriately capitalized for when the market returns. The rebound certainly will not be a return to the golden days of the mid-2000s, but there will be growing consumer demand — and there will be less competition. The government’s first-time home buyer tax credit has already breathed some life into first-time buyer demand and this activity could lead to some growth across all segments of the housing market as consumers become more comfortable with economic conditions and begin to see their home purchasing power strengthen. Will your business be ready to take advantage of the increase in activity when

the market turns? There are steps you can take now to prepare for the better times — while still maintaining your diligent focus on cost management and capital preservation. Your First Step — Review Your Balance Sheet The first step you should take is to do an honest assessment of your business. This is a particularly difficult task for many, but it must be done. The easiest place to start is to review your balance sheet. If you really want to begin positioning your company for the eventual recovery, it’s imperative that you review your balance sheet as soon as possible. To do this, the question you must ask yourself — and honestly answer — is: • Are my assets, under realistic and downside projection scenarios, worth more than my liabilities? This simple question addresses the most basic premise about your business — does it have long-term value? If your answer is “no,” you have a difficult decision to make. If the loans are nonrecourse and your assets are over-valued, it’s time to meet with your lender. Since borrowers are a lender’s best hope for recovery, lenders do have the option to re-price or restructure loans. But, if your lender won’t restructure or re-price your loan, the only option you may have is to turn your assets over to the bank.

Get Your Lender to the Table However, if the debt is recourse, your lender won’t restructure the loan and your personal assets are protected by smart preplanning, you should consider Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy. Both are last resorts, but the threat of bankruptcy may get your lender to negotiate. The point here is to develop a plan and exhaust all possible avenues to get your lender to the table. Every part of the company ought to be analyzed. To ensure that your personal assets and family are protected, you should probably seek outside, expert advice. Your primary responsibility as the owner at this point is to keep focused on overseeing operations of the business and the team. Having advisors will allow you to do this more effectively. Be Realistic About Your Balance Sheet If your answer to the question about your assets' worth is “yes” and your business does have long-term value, your balance sheet still may need restructuring. This is not a complicated process, but it does require you to be disciplined and honest about your business, its current condition and the value of its assets. And as the business owner, you will need to accurately forecast expenses. This realistic business plan ought to include at least a 12-month cash flow model and a plan to work with lenders

to re-price assets to market values. Any plan that is presented to lenders must be realistic and supported by facts. You will need to develop — and explain — the benchmark you used to determine why you believe your assets are priced appropriately. During the process, ask if an informed person in the industry will buy these assets today at the value shown on the balance sheet. Finally, make sure to review your personal planning to determine and ensure that your personal assets are protected. Keep in mind that reviewing your balance sheet is only the first step in preparing for the housing recovery. Your business as a whole should eventually be reviewed — including management, marketing strategy and product mix. But, reviewing your balance sheet will probably be your most important step. A problematic balance sheet is one of the quickest indicators of a failing business, so don’t be afraid to seek out support and guidance from legal and financial advisors. The goal of starting now will clearly justify your efforts. A lean builder with a clean balance sheet will be one of the first ones to attract new capital as the recovery takes hold and capital becomes available. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

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Sam Bass Rd

Round Rock 79

Cedar Park ne r La me Par

From the $180s

1 143 FM

Austin

August 3, 2009

9


REALTORS® Say Housing Incentives Help Economy, Small Businesses Having a sound and well-functioning real estate sector is critical to our country’s economic growth and development, as well as the growth and sustainability of many small businesses, according to the National Association of Realtors®. In testimony on Capitol Hill before the House Committee on Small Business, NAR President Charles McMillan noted that the real estate industry supports millions of jobs and services. “By enacting provisions that stabilize America’s real estate markets, you are helping small businesses and America’s communities thrive and prosper,” said McMillan, a Realtor® and broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. NAR shared its belief that the 2009 stimulus legislation has proven helpful to small business owners - which includes many Realtors® - most notably by beginning to stabilize the housing market and stimulate the economy. “Along with other tax bills passed in 2007 and 2008, the 2009 stimulus legislation included a number of

provisions that are helping the nation recover,” McMillan said. The focus of NAR’s testimony was on three provisions that are having a positive impact on the real estate industry - the first-time homebuyer tax credit, the elimination of the mortgage cancellation tax, and the SBA loan programs. The 2009 stimulus increased the amount of the homebuyer tax credit to $8,000 and eliminated the repayment feature of the credit. It also extended the program up to December 1, 2009. “It appears the tax credit is now being embraced based on the number of inquiries we and our members are receiving and the increased activity in the first-time homebuyer market,” said McMillan. NAR has asked Congress to take steps to ensure the tax credit continues to stimulate the housing market and help families achieve the dream of homeownership. “We hope Congress will extend the tax credit through next year and make the credit available to all purchasers of primary residences,”

McMillan said. “Additionally, to be fair, we’d like the repayment requirement from the 2008 stimulus bill to be eliminated so families are not penalized for buying their home just a few months before the new legislation went into effect.” The second provision is the Mortgage Cancellation Relief Act passed by Congress in 2007. The tax relief has been extended through 2012, but NAR would like to see this become permanent. “It just doesn’t seem right to further penalize a family that has acted responsibly and has lost their home or been forced into a short sale because of market conditions. Eliminating the tax on the excused debt will help many families begin to recover more quickly and maybe will allow them to once again own a home,” McMillan said. Lastly, NAR addressed the Small Business Administration loan program that provides fee waivers for some of its SBA programs and new loan programs and raised guarantees. “We applaud these efforts,” McMillan said. “However, the SBA often deems

independent contractors, which most Realtors® are, ineligible for its programs and its standards are not always evenly applied across regions.” Realtors® and other independent contractors are often denied access to SBA programs. NAR asked Congress for assistance in making these loans available to more small businesses helping them to grow and prosper. “NAR thanks you for all of your efforts to date. We stand ready to work with Congress and the Obama administration in any way possible to find further solutions to stabilize the real estate market and restore a strong marketplace and economy,” said McMillan. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

Realtors® Use New Visa Types to Open Doors for Foreign Buyers Citizens of other countries represent an important segment of the U.S. home buying market, and now new special visa categories that allow foreign nationals to gain U.S. residency can help facilitate that process. By using these visa categories correctly, Realtors® will be able to help many more buyers from overseas purchase property in the U.S. Toward this end, Realtors® from across the country met today with experts in immigration issues and international economics at the joint International and Resort and Second Home Real Estate Forums at the Realtors® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. “We know that business of real estate today is truly borderless, and the National Association of Realtors® has recommended steps toward facilitating and streamlining international real estate transactions for some time,” said NAR President Charles McMillan,

a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Knowing how to properly apply immigration rules can help Realtors® add value to international property transactions, benefiting both domestic sellers and international buyers.” International real estate purchases in the U.S. continue to be a significant share of business for many Realtors®, according to the 2008 NAR Profile of International Home Buying Activity. Of the Realtors® surveyed for the profile, 26 percent served international clients in the past year and about half of those clients ended up purchasing a home. Recent research conducted by the Harris Research Group for NAR reveals that 7.1 percent of potential overseas buyers surveyed would definitely or possibly consider a retirement location in the U.S. This equates to a market in excess of one million potential buyers, according to real estate economist and

ABOR from Page 1

from the beginning of the year. Over the first two quarters of 2009 (January 2009 to June 2009), the average sale price for a single-family Austin home has increased $20,824, while median sales price has increased $24,400. Also, from January 2009, sales volume is up 61 percent and active listings are up 14 percent. “This signifies a healthy Central Texas real estate market and good news for both local home buyers and sellers,” said Gohil. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is a non-profit, voluntary organization representing more than 8,000 licensed REALTORS® in Central Texas. For more, please contact Angela Brutsché at 512/454-7636.

single-family home sales in June 2009 was 2,135, down four percent from June 2008, and the median price was $199,900, unchanged from June 2008.

"We've seen the year-over-year gap in sales volume close steadily throughout 2009 and that momentum continues this month," said Jay Gohil, Chairman of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. Home prices in the Austin area have also continued to gain momentum 10

August 3, 2009

author John Tuccillo, who spoke to the forum. Stephen H. Davis, a leading immigration attorney, explained how various U.S. visa programs, including the E-2, EB-5 and L-1 visas, help foreigners purchase homes in the U.S. “These different visa programs will help attract individual investors from other countries,” Davis said. “One long-term visa program helps investors attain a conditional lawful permanent residence status by investing $500,000 in a limited partnership at various governmentmaintained regional centers. Another program involves an investment of $l million to create 10 new full-time positions for U.S. workers.” There are also visas for people who manage various types of enterprises and businesses in the U.S., including rental properties, condominiums and franchises; people in the export and import business; and foreign executives

The ShowCase USA

who manage U.S. subsidiaries of foreign companies. All of these can facilitate international investment in U.S. real estate. Realtors® can help their international clients buy second homes, vacation or future retirement homes by knowing how to use the appropriate special visa categories. “NAR research shows the increasingly international nature of real estate markets and how foreign buyers are responding to opportunities to acquire homes in this country,” said Davis. “After all, a piece of America is worth its weight in gold, and buyers from overseas recognize this. Understanding how the visa categories work can be a useful tool for Realtors® in unlocking this important new market segment.” Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

2009 Sales Volume

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NAHB Suggests Improvements For WaterSense Certification The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released the final version of its WaterSense new home certification system as part of its planned WaterSense New Homes program for homes built to use 20% less water than conventional new construction. The system outlines the procedures home builders must follow to apply for the WaterSense label using the specifications for appliances, fixtures, storm water management and irrigation now under review by federal officials. NAHB recently submitted official comments on the WaterSense specifications, calling for the EPA to simplify the administrative process and to align the program with the requirements of existing green building programs, thereby removing more barriers to its use. When final, the WaterSense certification will apply to newly constructed single-family homes and townhomes, three stories or less in size. Last month, the NAHB Research Center unveiled changes to the green building scoring tool at www. nahbgreen.org to allow home builders to participate in the Department of Energy’s Builders Challenge energy efficiency program while simultaneously scoring their projects to the National Green Building Standard. Builders Challenge homes must be constructed to be 50% more energy-efficient than standard building codes and are designed to showcase technologies and building systems that eventually will lead to affordable, zero-energy homes by 2030. A similar approach allowing double certification would boost participation in WaterSense certification, NAHB said. “By streamlining the cost and administrative effort needed to participate in the WaterSense program and aligning it with a program that many home builders have already embraced, the EPA can broaden the program‘s appeal among those who may otherwise be reticent to incorporate an additional voluntary conservation initiative without compromising the stringency or prestige of the WaterSense for Homes label,” the comments said. The same tactic can also be used when defining requirements for storm water management, including low-impact development techniques such as rainwater collection, the use of pervious pavements and other practices. “The WaterSense for New Homes initiative is an ideal venue for encouraging builders to be creative and proactive about incorporating long-term storm water mitigation strategies into projects on a voluntary basis,” the NAHB comments said. However, WaterSense might gain more participants if these strategies were aligned with the land development requirements of the National Green Building Standard, the comments said. In the standard, builders earn points by incorporating vegetative swales, French drains, wetlands, drywells and rain gardens into their projects. EPA representatives participated in the development of the standard, which was approved by the American National Standards Institute in January 2009. NAHB also included an important caution to the EPA . “Before requiring any of these items, EPA should fully consider the various water rights issues that would be raised as a result of diverting or otherwise using storm water runoff, as well as the many geological, geographical, meteorological, topographical and climatological factors that can affect the options available for directing and managing storm water flow on a given lot,” the comments said. “Alternatively, it could take an approach similar to that found in the standard and make certain practices www.TheShowCaseUSA.com

voluntary or interchangeable,” NAHB said. NAHB also suggested that the EPA expand the voluntary program so that the certification adds value to home sales. “Once the home is sold, the certification becomes essentially moot. As an alternative and added incentive, NAHB suggests that the EPA develop or incorporate a low-cost methodology to recertify homes that have earned WaterSense certifications so that the certification can convey upon resale of a home,” the comments said. “Otherwise, consumers spending the $1,000

to $3,000 (based upon EPA estimates) for a WaterSense qualified home cannot ascribe that cost to the real market value of the home, even if most or all of the qualifying features remain intact. NAHB is concerned that builders will be reticent to participate in a voluntary program that cannot translate into resalable value,” the comments said. NAHB looks forward to working with the EPA to refine the certification program and encourage builders to participate, the comments said. “NAHB‘s involvement in sponsoring and promoting the standard is indicative of the association‘s long-standing commitment to proactively address many environmental and land use issues and reduce the overall environmental footprint of home building,” NAHB said. For more information, e-mail Calli Schmidt at cschmidt@nahb.com, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8132. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

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August 3, 2009

11


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PACESETTER HOMES INVENTORY LIST

under contract

Approx. 1501 Two story, 3 Bdrms, 2 ½ Baths, 1 car garage

10

$267,900

Approx. 1830 Two story, 3 Bdrms, 2 ½ Baths, Gameroom, Covered Patio, 2 car garage

11

$219,900

Approx. 1501 Two story, 3 Bdrms, 2 ½ Baths, 1 car garage

12

$267,900

Approx. 1830 Two story, 3 Bdrms, 2 ½ Baths, Gameroom, 2 car garage

33

$219,900

Approx. 1501 Two story, 3 Bdrms, 2 ½ Baths, 1 car garage

34

$263,900

Approx. 1404 Single story, 2 Bdrms, 2 Baths, computer area, 2 car garage

35

$289,900

Approx. 1830 Two story, 3 Bdrms, 2 ½ Baths, Gameroom, Covered Patio, 2 car garage

2

Model Kleberg II

Sq. Ft. 1,374

Bed 3

Bath 2

S/G/L/D 1/2/1/1

Price SOLD

Completion SOLD

Monthly Payment SOLD

Avery r AnCh G Arden h omes

Close-Out! » Wooded sites with front yard maintenance » Leander ISD » Contact (512) 627-9619 15528 Interlachen

Duval

1,926

3

2.5

2/1/2/2

$264,000

Available Now

$2,193 FHA

$375,000

Available Now

$2,803 CONV

B ehren’s r AnCh

Close-Out! » Cactus Ranch Elementary » Contact (512) 627-9619 3037 Covington

3

5

4

3.5

2/3/3/2

C

Childress Edwards Edwards

2,559 2,940 2,940

4 4 4

2.5 3.5 3.5

2/2/2+/1 2/2/2+/2 2/2/2+/2

$182,280 $215,490 $278,000

Available Now Available Now Available Now

$1,505 FHA $1,780 FHA $2,296 FHA MODEL HOME

C ArriAGe h ills - G rAnd r e -o peninG ! Cul-de-Sac Homesites » From the $110’s » 13301 Prairie Sage, Manor 78653 » Contact Ranee Warrington, (512) 278-9295 13301 Indian Oak Bend 13221 Pecan Hill Cove 13320 Ring Drive

La Vid Urban Homes www.lavidhomes.com

4,062

AntArrA // L egacy S erieS Pflugerville Schools » Low Taxes » 13212 Cantarra Drive, Austin 78660 » Contact Brianna Ward, (512) 989-8725 13117 Lismore Lane 3405 Stephens Street 13212 Cantarra

4

Baron

Karnes Kleberg II Panola

2,069 1,374 2,743

4 3 4

2 2 2.5

1/2/2/2 1/2/1/1 2/2/3/2

$169,000 SOLD $177,385

Available Now SOLD Available Now

$1,406 FHA SOLD $1,476 FHA

FAlCon pointe

Ask about energy-saving features! » 2504 Quiet Water Pass, Pflugerville 78660 » Contact Paul Williams, (512) 989-3374 2804 Richfield Landing 18812 Golddust Pass

Gaines Nolan

3,037 2,538

4 4

2.5 2.5

1/3/1/2 2/2.5/2/2

$320,000 $229,990

April Available Now

$2,565 CONV $1,981 FHA

Forest o Aks

Karnes Edwards

2,126 2,901

4 4

2 2.5

1/3/2/2 2/3/2/2

$224,000 $270,000

Available Now Available Now

$1,859 FHA $2,240 FHA

h utto s quAre // L egacy S erieS Only 2 Homesites Left! » Community Elementary » Community Pool » From the $120’s » Contact (512) 627-9619 6

k ensinGton trAils 428 Buckingham

7

4

3.5

2/2/2/2

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

l Ake Forest

Cibolo

3,642

4

3.5

2/3/3/2

$375,000

Available Now

3,642

4

3.5

2/3/1/1

$429,900

LAKE

ContaCt tammi about our new Plans and PriCing in steiner ranCh! homes start in the $410’s.

Wimberly lane at barton creek

Available Now

Park

Rd.

Sava Poin nnah Stei t at Ran ner ch

Maggio Pena Valles Bullock Benson Armstrong

2,055 2,055 2,330 2,338 2,065 2,403

3-4 3-4 4 4 3-4 4

2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5

2/2/1/1 2/2/1/1 2/2/2/1 2/2/2/1 2/2/1/1 2/2/2/1

$352,586 $346,089 $366,334 $361,681 $360,132 $340,400

Available Now Available Now Available Now Available Now Available Now Available Now

gna

only 5 homesites left!

4 3 3 3 3

3 2 2 2 3

2 2 1 2 3

2 2 2 2 2

2 1 1 1 1.5

3 Car 3 Car 2 Car 3 Car 3 Car

60x132 60x136 60x136 84x128 85x128

$299,900 $269,518 $236,778 $229,900 $239,900

AUSTIN

Wimberly Lane

Plan

Sq. Ft.

Bed

Bath

L/D/S

Price

Available

2305 Swirling Wind

Napa

4,227

5

4.5

4/2/2

SOLD

SOLD

Wimberly Lane at Barton Creek

290

the enclave at rough holloW

don’t miss this last ChanCe to own a monterey home in the enClave at rough hollow!

304 Barbuda Drive

Lalique

7,028

6

5

4/2/2

$1,299,000

NOW

3.5 3.5

2/2/1 2/2/2

SOLD $450,000

SOLD NOW

3 4

2/2/1.5 3/2/2

$513,700 $622,060

NOW NOW

$25,000 realtor bonuS on the laSt home in rough holloW!

ranch at bruShy creek eStateS 306 Creekside Cove 3814 Avery Woods

16116 Spillman Ranch 15025 Spillman Ranch

Delano San Angelo

3,689 3,620

4 5

Contact Greg Vaughan, (512) 402-9294 or (512) 417-7373

$2,630 CONV $2,582 CONV $2,732 CONV $2,698 CONV $2,686 CONV $2,539 CONV

2600 2335 2019 2335 2615

Design Center

San Mateo San Luis

3,380 4,149

5 5

MLS

Plan Name

PLANTATION HOMES PARKSIDE AT MAYFIELD RANCH 304 Lake Livingston Drive 5228225 304 Monahans Drive 2519677 308 Monahans Drive 4312319 316 Monahans Drive 3461074

Kollek V Havencrest III Graham Melrose VIII

Stories/Beds/Baths/ Half Baths/Garage (512) 260-2223 2/4/4/1/2 2/4/3/1/3 2/3/2/1/2 1/3/2/0/2

Sq.Ft.

4,024 3,061 2,980 2,258

List Price

Advertised Price

BTSA

$ 394,413 $ 331,162 $ 301,082 $ 310,089

$ 349,000 $ 315,000 $ 300,000 $ 285,000

$5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000

The Courtyards at Onion Creek 512-280-4500 www.courtyards-oc.com 2210 Onion Creek Pkwy Austin, TX 78747

A Floor Plan – Single Story B Floor Plan – 2 Story* 2 bed/2 bath 1428 Sq ft 3 bed/2.5 bath 1967 Sq Ft

C Floor Plan – Loft 3 bed/2.5 bath – 1782 Sq Ft

401 404 501 504 601 604 701 704 801 805 1201 1204 1301 1304 1404

403 503 603 703 902 1202

$217,00 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $217,000 $237,900 $237,900 $237,900 $237,900 $237,900

502 $229,500 602 $229,500 702 $229,500 803 $229,500 903 $254,900 1103 $254,900 1203 $254,900 1303 $254,900 * GameRoom

$10,000 realtor bonuS on Falconhead inventory homeS!

Dennis Ciani Community Operations Manager Qualico US cell: 512.507.1059 other: 512.633.2973 email: dciani@qualicous.com

www.MontereyHomes.com

www.meritage.com

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August 3, 2009

Real Estate Industry News

& Events

San Antonio

Real Estate Industry News

& Events

Austin

The ShowCase USA Real Estate Industry News Events

El Paso, Teller, Elbert & Douglas Counties

&

$219,000 $219,000 $219,000 $219,000 $237,900 $237,900

D Floor Plan – Loft 2 bed/2.5 bath – 1935 Sq Ft 1102

$5,000 realtor bonuS on ranch at bruShy creek eStateS inventory home!

Green living! » energy efficient homes » 1912 Antone, Austin 78723 » Contact Bob Ellenbogen, (512) 391-2380 3905 Hargis 2136 Antone 3925 Hargis 3900 Hermalinda 3916 Hermalinda 2124 Emma Long

SQ. FT. BD BA LIV DIN STORY GAR LOT SIZE PRICE

2222

Quin lan

Falconhea d

Address

$3,197 CONV

mueller

TRAVIS

Enc Rou lave Lak gh at ewa Ho y Blvd llow . Bel Mo la nta

Falconhea d Blvd.

Contact Greg Vaughan, (512) 329-8089 or (512) 417-7373

Falconhead

meridiAn

Cibolo

Contact Tammi Evans, (512) 266-6300 or (512) 751-6559

$2,893 CONV

Large Treed Homesites » 12100 Cherisse, Austin 78739 » Contact Tommy Coats, (512) 301-4224 7517 Wisteria Valley Dr

9

2,627

Large, Wooded Homesites » 2737 Lake Forest Dr., Round Rock 78665 » Contact Paul Williams, (512) 238-9808 2760 Deep River Circle

8

Panola

Savannah Point at Steiner ranch

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Community Elementary » From the $140’s » Contact Rochelle Lord, (512) 233-6500

1009 Dogwood Trail 210 Cherry Laurel 212 Cherry Laurel 19913 Bark Way 19917 Bark Way

Ranch at Brushy Creek Estate

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COMMUNITY

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A ustin’s C olony Grand Opening! » From the $100’s» 2901 Wickham Lane, Austin 78725 Contact Andrew Gomes, (512) 276-9988

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$254,900


AD&C Credit Crunch Imperils Housing-Led Economic Recovery As the scarcity of credit for building new homes remains a major obstacle to the full-fledged housing recovery needed to lead the nation’s struggling economy to higher ground, participants at a June 25 NAHB audio seminar on the AD&C lending crisis reported that the association is making steady progress on this issue. Case studies from builders and developers who have experienced financing difficulties have been a key component of NAHB’s efforts to alert policy makers to the problem. More than 125 examples of how the AD&C credit crunch has been harming businesses have been collected at www.nahb.org/ adccasestudy, and panelists encouraged association members to continue to report on the financial constraints they have been encountering. (Information on the AD&C lending issue has been compiled by NAHB and is available at www.nahb.org/ adcresources.) “We need more case studies, especially from builders or developers in relatively stable markets, which can clearly illustrate inappropriate regulatory actions,” said Chellie Hamecs, an assistant vice president in NAHB’s Housing Finance Department. In the case studies provided so far, she said, the lack of financing has been the primary concern, followed by equity

calls, stricter underwriting (including tighter terms and higher interest rates) and regulatory and appraisal issues. She said that builders have also raised concerns that their bank had received TARP funds but was not cooperating on a loan modification. “AD&C financing is the industry’s most pressing problem,” said Hamecs. “We continue to hear from NAHB members that it is virtually impossible to get AD&C loans. This is a major impediment to the housing recovery, and NAHB has launched an all-out assault to address this issue.” In the latest results from ongoing NAHB surveys on the availability and cost of AD&C credit, Hamecs said, conditions remained unfavorable in this year’s first quarter: • Seventy-one percent of those polled stated that the availability of credit for new single-family construction loans worsened in the first three months of this year compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. This was slightly better than previous quarterly reports over the past year, in which those reporting declining availability of financing ranged between 70% and 75%. • Eighty-two percent of those seeking land acquisition loans, or construction funds for

multifamily housing, reported worse credit availability. • Forty percent of the respondents reported tighter loan terms for outstanding singlefamily construction and land development loans. • Of those reporting tighter terms on outstanding loans:

ooFifty-eight percent stated that lenders were requiring partial paydowns based on reappraisals. ooFifty-seven percent cited demands for increased collateral. ooForty-three percent said lenders were refusing additional draws. ooThirty-five percent said lenders had terminated lender-funded interest reserves and were requiring out-of-pocket interest payments. ooNearly 30% reported that their loans had been called.

The most common reasons cited for tighter credit for new or outstanding loans, Hamecs said, were regulators forcing lenders to restrict credit or demands by lenders’ boards of directors. “Federal banking regulators continue to maintain that they are not instructing

institutions to stop making loans or to indiscriminately liquidate outstanding loans,” she said. “Nevertheless, the bank regulators have raised concerns about real estate lending and are encouraging institutions to increase capital and loan loss allowances and to take other strong measures to manage problem loans,” she said. “Regulators also have expressed grave concerns over the high concentration of commercial real estate loans (the category that includes residential AD&C loans) in institutions’ portfolios.” While federal banking regulators last November warned that excessively tight lending standards to businesses, consumers and other credit-worthy borrowers could exacerbate current market conditions, leading to slower economic growth, Hamecs said that reports from NAHB members in a number of different geographic areas suggest that bank examiners in the field may be adopting a significantly more aggressive posture. “We understand that examiners are conducting more frequent bank examinations and requiring institutions to get updated appraisals on AD&C projects and to increase loan loss reserves,” she said. “Overly conservative See AD&C CREDIT, Page 15

View the virtual issue online at www.theshowcaseusa.com

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The ShowCase USA

August 3, 2009

13


NAR AWARDS from Page 3 Additional information on the approved grants is available at www.realtor.org/ foreclosure. Arizona Association of Realtors®: $10,500 to develop and record multiple one-hour infomercials on bank-owned real estate purchases, fair housing, upside-down listings, short sales, and tips for getting to the closing table. California Association of Realtors®: $140,640 to develop regional foreclosure prevention seminars, a zip form library of resources, a media campaign promoting California’s mortgage protection program, a media kit for local Realtor® associations, and a foreclosure prevention continuing education course for Realtors®. Florida Association of Realtors®: $97,000 to plan, coordinate and promote a statewide Making Homes Affordable Week to educate Floridians on federal, state and local foreclosure, loan modification and refinance assistance; develop a toolkit for local Realtor® associations to host educational events; conduct statewide foreclosure seminars; and create a new Web site for consumer foreclosure prevention information. Georgia Association of Realtors®: $40,450 for a Realtor® loss mitigation certification program. Greater Binghamton (New York) Association of Realtors®: $500 to host multiple continuing education classes for Realtors® about how to work with clients facing foreclosure. Greater Nashville Association of Realtors®: $3,200 to host a foreclosures and short sales course.

Idaho Association of Realtors®: $35,905 to host a Realtor® training program on short sales and foreclosures. Massachusetts Association of Realtors®: $6,000 to reprint a consumer brochure about understanding home financing and avoiding foreclosure. Metro Tex (Dallas) Association of Realtors®: $24,500 to develop a multilingual consumer course; create a Realtor® training course to assist distressed homeowners with foreclosures and credit repair; work with the Texas Association of Realtors® to develop a foreclosure prevention specialist course and designation; and partner with several local organizations. Michigan Association of Realtors®: $54,000 to develop a foreclosure prevention training kit that will include a short sales video, talking points, and FAQs; develop a public service announcement; conduct multiple public forums to educate consumers on the available resources; conduct multiple three-hour foreclosure training sessions for Realtors®; and develop a Web page and information booklet. Mississippi Association of Realtors®: $11,250 for a four-phase project that will include a short sale course for several hundred Realtors®, a six-hour foreclosure course, a short sale course at the state association’s annual convention, and consumer outreach. North Carolina Association of Realtors®: $53,000 to host a Realtor® training program on short sales and foreclosures and develop a statewide advertising campaign to direct distressed homeowners to HUDapproved mortgage counselors.

North Metro (Minn.) Association of Realtors®: $5,000 for a community outreach program in partnership with several local government divisions that have been impacted by the foreclosure crisis. Oklahoma Association of Realtors®: $1,350 to host a short sales and foreclosure course for Realtors®. Oregon Association of Realtors®: $2,500 to develop and conduct a statewide three-part Webinar series about working with foreclosure consultants, bank-owned real estate and short sales. Portland (Ore.) Metropolitan Association of Realtors®: $4,500 to host multiple foreclosure prevention training sessions for Realtors®. Southeast Minnesota Association of Realtors®: $5,000 to host the 2009 Southeast Minnesota Economic Recovery Fair in partnership with Congressman Tim Walz, D. Minn., and over 100 area organizations. St. Louis Association of Realtors®: $5,000 to host a Realtor® training program on short sales and foreclosures. Sumner (Tenn.) Association of Realtors®: $6,000 to host a Realtor® training course on helping consumers who are behind on their mortgages. Tennessee Association of Realtors®: $8,050 to develop a course and DVD for consumers and Realtors® on the legal risks associated with foreclosures and short sales. Texas Association of Realtors®: $70,998.10 to partner with the Texas Foreclosure Prevention Task Force to develop consumer messages; identify and train Realtors® to work

with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and HUDapproved counseling agencies on short sales; develop a checklist for consumers on avoiding foreclosure; partner with the Metro Texas Association of Realtors® to develop a microsite with local and national consumer information and resources; and explore the possibility of developing a HUD-approved counseling agency under the umbrella of the TAR Housing Opportunity Foundation. West Maricopa (Ariz.) County Regional Association of Realtors®: $9,720 to host multiple two-day short sale training sessions for Realtor® members. West Virginia Association of Realtors®: $40,000 to host a Realtor® training program on short sales and foreclosures; produce and distribute a state-specific foreclosure prevention brochure; and develop a presentation for Realtors®. Wisconsin Realtors® Association: $47,636.30 for a public information campaign to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. All state and territorial Realtor® associations are encouraged to apply for grants. Applications are reviewed and grants awarded on an ongoing basis. Grants are available through 2010, and allotted amounts are based on membership levels. For more information about the Foreclosure Prevention and Response grant program, visit www.realtor.org/foreclosure. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

View the virtual issue online at

www.theshowcaseusa.com

HOGGER from Page 1 that they will save money on a home purchase by not engaging a buyer's agent, and some are unaware that they can have their own agent. They may even think that the listing agent knows more about the property. With the foreclosures none of us know much about them. The banks use a kind of nondisclosure and no one asks the people who lived in the home questions about it. When I went to the classes that I needed to get my real estate license I remember the story the instructors told about the lucky agent who got the "hogger," or both sides of the deal. They painted a picture of the hogger being something to strive for because the agent gets the entire commission and does not have to split it with a buyer's agent. There is an upside to being a dual 14

August 3, 2009

agent in that it pays well but there is also a downside. The dual agent can not act in favor of or on behalf of one party or another. When buyers ask me to write an offer for them on one of my listings they either get a no, or a lecture or both. I have had transactions where I have represented both parties, but I will only do it if I know both parties well enough so that I understand their needs and I trust them. The unrepresented buyers are usually people I just met and that I don’t know at all. They seem to be more likely to have a distrust of Realtors and decide not to engage a

buyer’s agent because of it. Working with people who are suspicious and in some cases even paranoid about getting ripped off is difficult to do and everything that happens during the transaction is met with suspicion. Sellers become suspicious when their agents write a lowball offer for some buyers. They don’t understand why their agent -- the same one who helped set the price -- would write an offer for less than the asking price for some buyers. From a legal point of view, my exposure is huge when I play dual agent. Is the court going to be sympathetic to an agent who has the

The ShowCase USA

hogger or to a buyer or seller who were harmed in some way? Dual agency also occurs when two agents under the same broker represent the buyer and the seller in a transaction. That gets even more complicated. I have represented buyers and sellers in that situation and in every case the agents involved represent and advocate for their client. Consumers need more education on the issue. As Realtors we make the most amount of money for the least amount of work when we play dual agent, so why would we want to educate consumers? Should agents be encouraged to get the hogger? There are plenty of real estate agents to go around; if there were a shortage, dual agency would make more sense. © 2009 Inman News www.TheShowCaseUSA.com


AD&C CREDIT from Page 13 appraisals are presenting further challenges by limiting sales and refinance opportunities and exacerbating pressure on outstanding mortgage and housing production loans. Some institutions appear to be overhauling and downsizing portfolios independent of regulator/ examiner pressure.” Hamecs cited appraisals as a major contributing factor to the current AD&C credit crisis, with foreclosed properties being used as comparables in appraising the value of new homes despite statements from representatives of the Appraisal Foundation and the Appraisal Institute that foreclosure sales should only serve as comps if they represent reasonable alternative options for the buyer of a new home. “Reappraisals that understate value are resulting in unreasonable demands for increased equity from builders,” Hamecs said. Among the problems that builders have been encountering with their lenders: • Bank examiners are demanding that banks obtain new appraisals on properties for fully performing loans, which can result in the banks having to downgrade those loans, turning them into troubled “non-performing performing loans.” “This is a gray area heavily subject to examiner judgment, which can often lead to calls for additional equity or even to a good loan being called on the basis of an overly conservative

appraisal,” she said. • An increasing number of builders are being required to put up additional equity or collateral due to reappraisal of collateral or revaluation of their loan. “Most home building companies are small businesses and do not have the capacity to meet significant equity calls,” Hamecs said. The result is often foreclosure on a loan that had been performing. “Such actions can result in a cut-off of loans on other projects a builder is undertaking and can also have severe adverse consequences for other AD&C loans in the bank’s portfolio. Foreclosure on such loans is not in the best interest of the lender or the builder.” • Banks are increasingly refusing to modify AD&C loans or to provide builders more time to complete their projects and pay off these loans. “Calling performing loans or forcing partially complete developments into foreclosures can result in unnecessary losses for a financial institution and significant losses for the local economy.” To address this issue, she cited one builder who has worked with his lender to split a development/ construction loan into two notes: one is a performing note that the builder has the capability to keep current and the second represents the balance of the loan that is no longer supported by the collateral, which has declined in value. “The

idea is to allow time for the builder to pay off both notes as the project is developed and sales are realized in the future,” Hamecs said. • The latest setback for builders, she said, is the rising number of bank and thrift failures. “Builders with outstanding loans that are placed under FDIC control are frequently unable to contact a decision maker to deal with routine, but time-sensitive matters related to loan draws or extensions." To address customer problems with bank failures, the FDIC on May 5 announced an expansion of its ombudsman office to assist customers with loans at failed banks. The FDIC also has published “A Borrower’s Guide to an FDIC Insured Bank Failure.” The new guide provides information on what customers with loans can expect to occur in the receivership process — including the disposition of loans, workout steps taken on delinquent loans and an explanation of borrower rights. The guide also contains a section on lines of credit and construction and development loans. Kirk Hartley, a sales manager for the Builder/Renovation Division of Bank of America Home Loans in California, said that AD&C financing for new housing is “almost non-existent” and that the situation is unlikely to ease up until next year. “What I hear from my peers in the banking business is that they are working

hard with the existing customer base they have to solve problems,” Hartley said. Communication is key to resolving the many scenarios that have arisen between lenders and home builders, he said. Builders and developers who are being hurt by the current AD&C squeeze should contact their members of Congress and provide them with a personal account of the impact of the credit tightening, advised NAHB lobbyist Scott Meyer. “Elected officials are concerned about any issue that will delay economic recovery,” he said, and they are sensitive to the loss of construction and other jobs in their congressional districts. Through testimony and meetings, lobbyists have already delivered the message on the AD&C crunch to many offices on Capitol Hill, he said, but when an NAHB member “explains how this impacts jobs, that raises eyebrows.” When talking to their members of Congress, builders should ask their senators and representatives to convey their concerns to the congressional leadership. “We are not asking for a bailout,” said Meyer, “we are asking for a regulatory lifeline so businesses can succeed.” For more information, e-mail Chellie Hamecs, chamecs@nahb.com or call her at 800-368-5242 x8425; or contact Scott Meyer, x8144. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

Mental Health Can be Your Greatest Asset Luann M. Sandahl, LPC Anxiety, Depression, Relationship Issues Grief Counseling, Parenting Workshops

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www.courtyards-oc.com August 3, 2009

15


Confirmation of Stevens as FHA Commissioner Applauded Week of: Week of:

# Homes Sold

67 92

$/SF

List Price

Average

2215

$93

$211,735

$204,932

96.79%

96

Median

2066 $91 4868 $146 840 $35

$189,000 $499,900 $31,900

$184,000 $475,000 $29,500 $13,730,432

97.35% 95.02% 92.48%

64 673 1

Low $ Volume

X, W

Sold Price

Days on % Difference Market

SqFt

New Listings Removed Listings High

227

7/12/2009

7/12/2009

7/5/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

SqFt

$/SF

List Price

2089

$94

$203,330

$196,500

96.64%

105

Median 1912 $92 New Listings Removed Listings High 4751 $148 Low 950 $48 204 88 $ Volume

$179,999 $528,900 $97,777

$179,900 $447,000 $84,000 $20,632,540

99.94% 84.52% 85.91%

63 515 0

105

Average

X, W

6/28/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

193 91

$/SF

List Price

Average

2199

$94

$213,943

$206,923

96.72%

96

Median

2028 $93 5223 $233 1017 $49

$179,900 ###### $75,000

$179,900 $1,050,000 $75,000 $29,383,012

100.00% 81.08% 100.00%

48 864 0

Low $ Volume

X, W

6/21/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

133 56

$/SF

List Price

Average

2193

$94

$212,310

$204,565

96.35%

103

Median

2062 $94 4094 $172 960 $43

$198,500 $638,000 $55,000

$190,000 $608,000 $52,050 $27,207,200

95.72% 95.30% 94.64%

60 470 1

Low $ Volume

X, W

6/14/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

124 55

$/SF

List Price

Average

2221

$91

$207,061

$201,133

97.14%

107

Median

2116 $90 4219 $184 992 $24

$194,995 $810,000 $33,900

$188,450 $745,000 $28,000 $24,940,439

96.64% 91.98% 82.60%

60 621 0

Low $ Volume

X, W

6/7/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

113 55

$/SF

List Price

Average

2342

$94

$234,301

$225,590

96.28%

119

Median

2172 $91 5034 $174 1072 $40

$187,900 $899,900 $49,900

$187,900 $815,000 $49,900 $25,491,694

100.00% 90.57% 100.00%

59 704 2

Low $ Volume

X, W

5/31/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

Sold Price

$/SF

List Price

Sold Price

SqFt

Average 2375 $93 Median 2160 $93 New Listings Removed Listings High 5625 $213 Low 944 $50 209 89 $ Volume

$232,372 $189,000 ###### $74,900

$223,935 $185,000 $1,150,000 $65,000 $24,856,829

111

X, W

5/24/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

143

Days on % Difference Market

SqFt

New Listings Removed Listings High

244

Sold Price

Days on % Difference Market

SqFt

New Listings Removed Listings High

219

Sold Price

Days on % Difference Market

SqFt

New Listings Removed Listings High

215

Sold Price

Days on % Difference Market

SqFt

New Listings Removed Listings High

209

Sold Price

Days on % Difference Market

Average Median New Listings Removed Listings High Low 166 53 $ Volume

SqFt

$/SF

List Price

Sold Price

2345 $89 2249 $88 6532 $130 1081 $34

$210,360 $182,500 $466,900 $105,000

$203,262 $180,000 $422,900 $105,000 $21,749,029

Days on % Difference Market 96.37% 97.88% 92.00% 86.78%

109 59 745 1

Days on % Difference Market 96.63% 98.63% 90.58% 100.00%

101 60 541 3

X, W

16

August 3, 2009

The ShowCase USA

NAHB on July 13 applauded Senate confirmation of David Stevens as head of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). “During this time of market uncertainty, NAHB believes that it is essential to have a strong and experienced leader at the FHA and David Stevens is the right man for the job,” said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson. “His strong background in the financial services, real estate and mortgage industries makes him uniquely qualified to take on the extensive challenges facing the FHA and the housing industry,” Robson said. “NAHB looks forward to working with Mr. Stevens and HUD in 2009 and beyond to put housing back on a growth path.” Since October 2008, Stevens served as president and chief operating officer of the Washington, D.C.-based real estate firm of Long & Foster. He joined Long & Foster in 2006 to lead the company’s affiliated businesses, including its mortgage, title and insurance division. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

MLXchange: No More Tokens! Beginning sometime in July, ACTRIS members will be able to log in to MLXchange without a token! Instead, you will see a new login screen that will prompt you to create an eight-character password. After you create your new password, your token may be discarded. There is no need to return it to the ABoR office. Once the conversion is complete, ACTRIS subscribers who have not created a password must contact MLS staff to obtain login information. The new login system offers convenience and improved security. Powered by patent-pending keystroke dynamics, the product is unique in its ability to accurately and transparently identify users. Keystroke dynamics makes it possible for the server to detect account sharing, account takeover and differences between individual users that is not possible with traditional devices or IP tracking. AWARDS from Page 1 only recognized for business accomplishments and participation in ABoR activities, but also for contributions to other businessaffiliated organizations and the community at large. Only Affiliate members of ABoR may be nominated for this award. REALTOR® Community Service Award The Community Service Award denotes a member who shows outstanding dedication to public service in his or her community. This person may donate a significant amount of time to local service organizations, work individually in the community or inspire others to volunteer their time. The award recipient must be a REALTOR® member of ABoR. Salesperson of the Year The Salesperson of the Year Award is based on an evaluation of the nominee’s outstanding contribution to the real estate industry in terms of overall achievement. This award is independent of the top producer awards given out by individual companies. The award recipient will be chosen based on involvement with ABoR, the Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), along with the nominee’s spirit of cooperation, personal production

and educational achievements. Rookie of the Year The Rookie of the Year Award is based on an evaluation of the nominee’s outstanding contribution to the real estate profession in terms of overall achievement. A “rookie” is defined as an individual with 18 months or less experience as a REALTOR®. This award is independent of similar awards given out by individual companies. The recipient will be chosen based on participation in ABoR activities, spirit of cooperation, personal production and educational achievements. Cultural Awareness Award The Cultural Awareness Award is based on an evaluation of the nominee’s outstanding contribution toward raising cultural awareness. Participation in cultural diversity programs and organizations on the local, state and national levels will be considered. For more information on these awards or the nomination process, contact Rita Barousse at 512/4547636, ext. 1603 or rbarousse@abor. com. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is a non-profit, voluntary organization representing more than 8,000 licensed REALTORS® in Central Texas. For more information, please contact Angela Brutsché at 512/454-7636, ext. 1300. www.TheShowCaseUSA.com


New Listings Removed Listings High

215

Low $ Volume

56 X, W

Week of:

# Homes Sold

124

Average

55

$638,000 $55,000

$608,000 $52,050 $27,207,200

6/14/2009 Williamson

95.30% 94.64%

470 1

County

STATISTICS SqFt

$/SF

List Price

2221

$91

$207,061

Median 2116 $90 Provided by 4219 $184 Low 992 $24 $ Volume

New Listings Removed Listings High

219

4094 $172 960 $43

Sold Price

$201,133

Days on % Difference Market 97.14%

107

$194,995 $188,450 96.64% 60 REALTORS Williamson County Association of $810,000 $33,900

$745,000 $28,000 $24,940,439

91.98% 82.60%

621 0

# of Existing Homes Sold in Williamson County

X, W

Week of:

# Homes Sold 900

6/7/2009January 2002 - June 2009Days on

$/SF

2342

$94

$234,301

$225,590

96.28%

119

Median 2172 $91 New Listings Removed Listings High 5034 $174 Low 1072 $40 700 244 55 $ Volume

$187,900 $899,900 $49,900

$187,900 $815,000 $49,900 $25,491,694

100.00% 90.57% 100.00%

59 704 2

113

Average

List Price

800

X, W

Sold Price

% Difference Market

SqFt

5/31/2009

Week600 of:

# Homes Sold

SqFt

$/SF

List Price

Sold Price

Average 2375 $93 Median 2160 $93 New Listings Removed Listings High 5625 $213 400 Low 944 $50 209 89 $ Volume

$232,372 $189,000 ###### $74,900

$223,935 $185,000 $1,150,000 $65,000 $24,856,829

111 500

300

X, W

5/24/2009

Week of:

# Homes Sold

SqFt

200

143

Average Median 100 New Listings Removed Listings High Low 1660 53 $ Volume X, W

January

February

$/SF

List Price

2345 $89 2249 $88 6532 $130 1081 $34

$210,360 $182,500 $466,900 $105,000

March

April

Days on % Difference Market 96.37% 97.88% 92.00% 86.78%

109 59 745 1

Days on

Latest Sales data: ran 7/20/09 Market Sold Price % Difference June 2009 - 652 homes sold

$203,262 $180,000 $422,900 $105,000 $21,749,029 May

June

96.63% 98.63% 90.58% 100.00%

101 60 541 3

July

August

September October November December

Median Sales Price of Homes Sold in Williamson County January 2004 - June 2009 $190,000

June 2009 - $186,00

$180,000

$170,000

$160,000

$150,000

$140,000

www.TheShowCaseUSA.com

The ShowCase USA

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$130,000

August 3, 2009

17


Sales Pep Talk By Paul Montelongo

MySpace.com has 100 million users. Facebook reports it has 200 million users. LinkedIn says it has 6 million users. Twitter is the current rave with its 10 million (and counting) users. All tolled, Social Networking websites are used by approximately a quarter of a billion people and businesses. In short, Social Networking websites are sites dedicated to an exchange of ideas, conversations, information and general online pontification. The content is generated and swapped by the users of the networking sites themselves. The big question is, “Can you make money in your business by participating in Social Media Marketing?” To answer this question, consider the intended purpose of some of the main sites and specific business applications you could use. Facebook is primarily a site where friends and family join to extend their connection. It also provides a platform for past and future business prospects to join. Lifestyle photos as well as business links and videos can be posted to your Facebook community. MySpace preceded Facebook and has basically the same format but tends to be a bit more difficult to use. LinkedIn is a social network focusing exclusively on connecting professionals with other professionals. It is a site where you can swap leads; offer your resume and

Is Social Media Marketing for You?

portfolio to generate leads and prospect resources. It is also a place where you can demonstrate your product knowledge in a more professional manner. Flickr is a site where you can post photos, create photo albums and engage your community with pictures. It is a great place to post before and after job photos, your company staff and company event photos. YouTube offers tools for you to post videos and video logs. You may also post virtual tours of your product. Many businesses use YouTube to post video testimonials from happy customers. It may also be used to post video demonstrations or instructional videos of your product. Viewers can offer feedback and rate your videos based on likeability or usefulness. Digg, Utterz, Wordpress, Blogger, Delicious, Twitter and similar sites offer ways for you to post interesting information about your product and service. They each have their nuances of usage and function ability. Their purpose basically remains the same, the exchange of information for entertainment or education. One could go stir crazy managing all of these sites. There are ways to connect them all together but that may or may not be for you. Essentially, the Internet has become a means for people to collect information

Now on Facebook The ShowCase shows you what’s happening in Austin.

Search The ShowCase

or Become a Fan

about anything on the planet...and actually off the planet as well. Social Media sites have created the vehicle to link people with similar interest together. After all, if you collect mosquito wings in Gambia, there is likely someone else you can connect with on social sites who share a similar passion. That is the real beauty of Social Media Marketing. You can offer value in the form of education and product information to attract prospects with an interest in your services. By providing your knowledge you can position yourself as an expert in your field. Guess what? Customers prefer to do business with companies and people who are experts in their field. Sure, you can connect with family and friends on any, or all of these sites. You can also promote your business with useful information to your prospective customers. You can use these sites to differentiate your company from the competition, or at least to educate the public about your specific means of customer satisfaction. I am a bit biased though. I am a registered member of fifty-one social sites where I post articles, videos, blogs, links and general information about sales and marketing. The vast majority of these sites are populated by automation. I only personally manage three sites; Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If you are a complete novice, start with just one

of these simple sites. Promote the site on your company website, on your business cards and in your email signatures. Pay attention to the response you receive. It’s a new market place. Automation and technology are here to stay. Since the majority of these sites are completely free, you might as well see if any of them fit into your overall marketing scheme. By the way follow me on Facebook and Twitter for examples of how to use these sites for business purposes. You can find the links to these on my home site… www.paulmontelongo.com. Paul Montelongo CGR, CSP is an international authority on sales motivation, author, syndicated columnist, and a housing industry insider. He conducts process oriented corporate sales training programs, delivers inspirational keynote addresses and offers retreats for sales and management teams worldwide. Paul has built two multi-million dollar construction companies in the highly competitive South Texas market. Paul is a featured speaker at housing industry conferences all across North America and Europe. For more resources, articles and a free newsletter, visit www.PaulMontelongo.com.

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18

August 3, 2009

The ShowCase USA

www.TheShowCaseUSA.com


Industry News & Events WCAOR Announcements ABoR NEWS YOU CAN USE Basics of Real Estate Photography

Date: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Start Time: 9:00 am End Time: 11:00 am Location: WCAOR MLXChange Room (map) The first thing nearly every home buyer looks when deciding to purchase a home are the photos. That is the first impression listing agents give of each home they sell. Why not make it the best impression possible. Come learn from a professional photographer, Tom Soliz, how to use YOUR camera to take better photos and help your listings get SOLD faster. For Realtors, Leasing Agents, & Brokers (2 hours MCE credit) - $20.00 Instructor: Tom Soliz with Lonestar Image Design Contact: Jackie Woodfin Email: jackie@wcaor.org Phone: 512-255-6211 More Info: https://www.wcaor.org/login.asp Location Details WCAOR MLXChange Room 123 East Old Settlers Blvd. Round Rock TX 78664 US

August Luncheon 'Back to School'

Date: Thursday, August 6, 2009 Start Time: 11:30 am End Time: 1:00 pm Our Third Quarterly Luncheon will be held at the San Gabriel Community Center ( inside San Gabriel Park next to show barn behind recreation center) located at 445 E. Morrow St., Georgetown, TX 78628. The cost for this luncheon will be $15. The theme for this luncheon is "Back to School". The Community Service Committee will be collecting donations for the back to school drive and will be doing a special presentation on their "Mentoring Program". We will also be having a panel discussion about city growth and how it will affect out members. The panel will include: * Joe Vining, City of Round Rock * Mark Thomas, City of Georgetown * Phil Brewer, City of Cedar Park * Kirk Clennan, City of Leander * Jason Ford, City of Taylor * Scott Martinez, City of Hutto (Tentative) More Info: http://www.wcaor.org/login.asp

San Antonio

Plant Your Booth for Realty Round Up 2009

Date: Wednesday, October 7 Time: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Location: Austin Convention Center As the largest real estate trade show in Central Texas, the Austin Board of REALTORS®’ Realty Round Up offers you a great opportunity to connect with industry experts and share your services with thousands of local real estate professionals. This year’s trade show emphasizes energy conservation, sustainable building and all things green. Early bird prices through June 30, booth prices are as follows: • $350 for a 10’ x 10’ booth • $650 for a 10’ x 20’ booth • $950 for a 20’ x 20’ booth • $1,200 for a 20’ x 30’ booth All booth fees include: • One skirted table and two chairs for each 10’ x 10’ booth • Two skirted tables and four chairs for each 10’ x 20’ booth • One skirted table and two chairs for each 20’ x 20’ booth • One skirted table and two chairs for each 20’ x 30’ booth • One 7” x 44” identification sign for each booth After June 30, all booth prices will increase by $50. Realty Round Up 2009 also provides a variety of sponsorship opportunities, ranging from $300 to $2,500. Don’t miss the opportunity to grow your client base – secure your Realty Round Up booth today!

Lakeway Announces Million Dollar A Month Club Winners

award for achievements in June 2009. The following agents achieved this award: Debbie Sheppard-Thrush Elicia Rudberg Lynn Robin-Pitts Diana Thomas Sue Ellett Cyndi Cummings Stacey Nelson

CALENDAR OF EVENTS August:

5th WCAOR: Basics of Real Estate Photography 9:00am-11:00am @ WCAOR MLXChange Room Contact: Jackie at jackie@wcaor.org Phone: (512) 255-6211

17th How to Stand Out in a Crowd 1:30pm-4:00pm @ WCAOR Education Hall. $25 – 3 hours MCE Contact: Jackie at jackie@wcaor.org Phone: (512) 255-6211

19th NAHREP Monthly Luncheon 11:30am-1:00pm @ Cool River Cafe Contact: rurias@farmersagent.com Phone: (512) 448-0844

September: 3rd ABoR's Wine Tasting Fundraiser

6:00pm-8:00pm @ Uncorked, 900 East 7th St. in Tasting Room Tickets are $35 each Contact: Emily Chenevert at Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, Lakeway echenevert@abor.com or announced their Million Dollar-A-Month Club Phone: (512) 454-7636, ext. 1501

Austin

Managing Partner Cara Diaz | CaraD@theshowcaseusa.com

Sales: 210-722-9650 | Design: 210-488-7307 Office: (210) 493-5554

Newspaper Designer Gerald Wright | GeraldW@theshowcaseusa.com

We proudly support the following organizations

The ShowCase is published once a month. We are a non subscription for the members of the WCR, ABOR, WCAOR, NAHREP, AYREP, NAPMW and Industry Professionals. The ShowCase 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 without the registered trademark symbol (®), for the purpose of saving space. Wherever the word REALTOR appears in this paper, the registered trademark should be assumed. We welcome submissions of photos, Press releases or articles to be sent to CharlesL@theshowcaseusa.com.

www.TheShowCaseUSA.com

The ShowCase USA

August 3, 2009

19


we’ve

saved the best

for last

FINAL

21 HOMESITES

Senna Hills Spacious Homesites with Endless Views Taylor Morrison’s Senna Hills Community is the last place to buy a Lake Travis

newly constructed home in the prestigious Westlake area. Twenty-one homesites have just been released with spectacular views of the surrounding hill country. With its close proximity to downtown Austin

620 LOOP 360

and award-winning Eanes School District, Senna Hills is a beautiful and enchanting neighborhood. Don’t miss out on the dream of owning a new home in Westlake!

• Estate-sized Homesites • Pricing starts in the $500,000s

71

1705 Milagro | Austin, TX 78733

Call us at 512-263-2655

• Eanes School District • Impressive views of the beautiful Hill Country • Nine spacious floorplans ranging in size from 3,163 sq. ft. to 4,683 sq. ft.

taylormorrison.com All lots subject to prior sale. Taylor Morrison reserved the right to change the terms of the offer at any time. Please see a Taylor Morrison Sales Representative for more details. All rights reserved. TM Homes of Texas, Inc.

AU, August 3rd Issue  

The ShowCase Austin Real Estate Newspaper.

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