travis county real estate: Real Estate is a Game where you're Only Successful if you WIN - 02/21/13 02:23 AM
A few months ago, I had a buyer who submitted an offer on a property. There were multiple offers and we were told to submit "best and final". After some thinking, the buyer increased his offer a little. He won. He was excited, per se, but he was also disappointed. His reaction, "I knew I offered too much!"
And I've also had a buyer (actually, many buyers) who was told for her "best and final" and in the end did not get the house because other offers were higher. She was also disappointed.
In both scnenarios, the buyers were disappointed...

travis county real estate: Austin Real Estate- Janaury 2013 vs Janaury 2012 - Huge Sales Increase - 02/19/13 02:24 AM
I feel like a broken record in all my market reports lately, but Austin really is on fire and doing well!!  People thought the momentum couldn't sustain into the new year, and those people were wrong. Usually I like to break market reports down by neighborhoods, but this one is a blanket analysis over the entire Austin MLS coverage area, for January 2013.
In January 2013 in Austin TX there were 1495 sold listings. In Janaury 2012, there were a mere 1198. That's a HUGE 24.8% increase in the numbers of sales!!
The sales volume is even more astounding at $382,108,099 … (3 comments)

travis county real estate: The Art of the Multiple Offer Situation - 11/13/12 04:39 AM
Writing an offer on a house for sale in Austin Texas is an Art. If you're working with the wrong agent, you might lose out on the house of your dreams. Why is that? Offers aren't just about the price, but about terms as well.
For example, take a house listed at $300,000. Comparable sales are looked at, and the house is priced very competetively at that $300,000. Because of that, there are multiple offers.  YIKES!
As a Home Buyer in the Austin Texas real estate market, you really want that house as you've seen a couple of others and you … (13 comments)

travis county real estate: Is Your House Really For Sale? - 11/02/12 06:46 AM
Is the house for sale or not? Just because there is a For Sale sign in the front yard, a lockbox on the front door, and a listing in the local MLS, doesn't mean the house is actually For Sale.
A couple of weeks ago, I had an appointment scheduled to view some houses with a buyer. We got to the last one, and it was the buyers' favorite, on paper.  It was tenant occupied and the tenant mentioned he would be home during our appointment so I knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. I repeated... I then took … (7 comments)

travis county real estate: Donna Harris - Ranked #18 of All RE/MAX agents in the Austin Market!! - 07/27/12 06:49 AM
I'm so excited!! I received an email yesterday congratulating me on my award. I had no idea what the person was talking about. Come to find out that out of all the RE/MAX agents in the Austin area, including all 25 offices, I was ranked #18 for the 2nd quarter!  I've never won any type of regional production award like this before. Office awards, yes, but not regional awards.

As I've been telling everyone these days, I might be busy, but I'm never too busy for your referrals. Help me grow even more and maybe by this time next year, … (13 comments)

travis county real estate: Making Real Estate a Personal Transaction - 05/23/12 11:19 AM
For the most part, and for many people, Real Estate is a business transaction, especially for a property in Foreclosure. The banks just want to get rid of them, but they don't usually work at a speed that shows they're eager to get rid of them. They have their process and no matter how long it takes, they usually won't budge from their process.  And why should they? The employees don't get paid per file. They just get paid to come to work every day.  There is no "reason" for a bank's employee to "rush" a file or mark something as … (27 comments)

travis county real estate: Can Consumers Trust Market Data Received in the Mail? - 04/11/12 02:03 AM
I really hate receiving real estate marketing flyers in the mail, especially when the data is wrong.  They are usually not factual and the average consumer doesn't know that they shouldn't believe what they read.In yesterday's mail, I received a marketing piece from an agent that claimed he can "save my sellers and buyers thousands of dollars."  He never actually says how he can save them money, but he then talks "facts" about the immediate area.  He claims that in the "Lake Travis Southshore Area" that there are currently 552 active listings and 64 sold in February. He's trying to tell … (7 comments)

travis county real estate: Travis Country West - Austin TX - Hidden Community with Views - 11/22/11 02:12 AM
Travis Country West is located just West of Austin TX on Southwest Parkway.  I see lots of questions on different real estate forums about where people should look for houses in specific areas in specific price points.  When someone mentions a price point under $350k for West or Southwest Austin, I always recommend Travis Country West, and that is always followed by several other people saying it's impossible to buy a house in Travis Country West in that price point.
Look at this sales chart for the past 6 months.

These are the sales and currently active properties in … (3 comments)

travis county real estate: Senna Hills Homes for Sale - Austin TX - Market Report Year to Date - 09/13/11 07:58 AM
The Senna Hills community in Travis County is having a fabulous year, compared to last year.  Back in June, I wrote a Senna Hills Market Report that detailed the first half of 2011 and mentioned how the Senna Hills Home Sellers have finally started coming around. The trend is continuing.  At that time, there were 19 sales already, and three months later, there are 22 sales with 3 more under contract, which is 25 thus far and the year isn't over.  In 2010, Senna Hills had 24 sales total! I ran some sales history year to date in 2011 and compared … (4 comments)

travis county real estate: Real Estate Recovery - Austin TX Ranks #7 for Biggest Boomer Towns- Forbes - 08/15/11 08:26 AM
Forbes' Biggest Boomer Towns?  Austin TX ranks as #7 for the Baby Boomers to move and retire to. This Boomer population is around 36 million people across the country. They "will continue to influence communities and real estate markets across the country..."  Why is this interesting? Because some of the top cities for the Boomers are also the same top cities for, what Forbes' calls, the "young and restless". I chuckled when reading the article because it talks about how developers were anticipating Boomers to move back into the main cities upon becoming Empty Nesters, but that's not what the people … (4 comments)

travis county real estate: New Construction Homes - Is Your First Meal, the First Meal in the House? - 08/08/11 09:34 AM
What happens during the new home construction process that you're not aware of? You move into your brand new Austin TX home, and you get unpacked.  You decide to make your first meal in the house, but was it the first meal in the house... I walked the house across the street from me yesterday as it's coming along nicely and the buyers stop by every so often to check on it.  I was in the master bathroom and noticed the shower was a little odd. They are doing a walk around shower that is sheetrocked up. This caught my attention … (3 comments)

travis county real estate: Is that Glass too Clean? - 04/15/11 07:42 AM
I was showing houses yesterday, and I had another "Can I post this on my blog?" moment with a buyer... he laughed and said it was ok.
It's common to have screen doors or glass doors on the front and back doors of a house. This allows you to leave your main door open, while having a door closed that lets in some natural light or a nice breeze on a cool day.
During the tour of this house, we go out to the garage. Our eyes acclimate to the darker lighting in there.  We turn to walk into the house, … (12 comments)

travis county real estate: Austin TX Sellers - Your Pricing Strategy Can Make or Break Your Net - 09/20/10 01:22 PM
Austin TX Real Estate Pricing Strategy can make or break your selling experience.  You can end up staying on the market longer than you should, and also making you net less than you probably would have if you don't think about your strategy in advance.  I have two examples...One Austin TX Seller got an unofficial appraisal of his home for $750k. But you don't have the report? No, says Mr. Seller. The appraiser came over and looked around and such and told me a number.  Oh great...  It comes time to list it. He thinks his house is worth $750k because … (4 comments)

travis county real estate: Does Death in a Home have to be Disclosed? - 09/18/10 10:28 AM
Does a death or suicide need to be disclosed by a seller or a listing agent? I haven't been asked many times over the years, but it comes up every so often.  What's Texas law? Texas law states, in summary, that disclosure is only needed if the house caused the death. What does that mean? The biggest example always used is say a house was a known drug house. Someone got mad and did a drive-by shooting and someone died. Upon resale, the death would need to be disclosed because if word does not spread around the drug community that the … (60 comments)

travis county real estate: Austin TX Unemployment Rate - Job, like Real Estate, are Local and Not National - 09/08/10 03:09 AM
Why are so many people relocating to Texas and specifically, why are they coming to Austin TX? Look at the unemployment history below...  
Austin Texas Unemployment History Just like Real Estate is local and not national, the job situation is also local and not national. I hear a lot, "Housing is down because of jobs." Really? Austin TX doesn't seem to be doing too badly. According to the chart above, there are approximately only 67k people unemployed (in the city of Austin, not suburbs) with a population just under 1M.  I wish I knew what went into that 67k number. … (6 comments)

travis county real estate: Real Estate - Austin TX - How Long Does it Take to Buy a House? It Depends on You... - 09/01/10 04:09 AM
I get asked a lot, "How long does it take to buy a house?" My response? "That depends on you!"I usually get strange looks or silence if they're on the phone...In the past year, I had some buyers that took 8 months to find a house. Yes, 8 months!  Yet, I had buyers that took a week... you never know until you start the process.These buyers contacted me on a Friday, we scheduled to look at houses on the next Tuesday, and we submitted an offer on Thursday.  From contact to contract was less than a week!!The 8 month buyers... He … (9 comments)

travis county real estate: Texas is a Non-Disclosure State - Real Estate Agents Hold the Sales Information - 08/31/10 03:43 AM
In today's market, agents need to be online marketing themselves and their services. That's how I get the majority of my business, along with many others.  Why has the consumer not realized that almost every site they go to is attached to a human? Whether it's a real estate site or a car dealer site or any other site where a response is needed in return for specific information, there will be a human.When someone visits my website and hits that submit button, they immediately get a Thank You email letting them know I can answer any questions they have.  Asking … (9 comments)

travis county real estate: Austin TX - Kiplinger's 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade - Austin #1 - 08/30/10 05:22 AM
Austin TX - Number 1 for Kiplinger's 10 Best Cities for the Next Decade. What was the focus of this latest survey? "We focused on places that specialize in out-of-the-box thinking."  Austin TX definitely has that!"New ideas generate new businesses... where innovation works, it really works..."But what else gets people to the top places to begin with? It boils down to the basics of culture, music, and arts.  People have to want to move here. More and more, I hear about people moving here without jobs thinking they'll be able to find one easier by being local.  "...neighborhoods and recreational facilities … (8 comments)

travis county real estate: Psychology of Real Estate - Interesting Study Results - 07/19/10 06:04 AM
The Psychology of Real Estate - Old Dominion University just released some preliminary results of an interesting study they're conducting about the way people view homes for sale, from pictures to descriptions to the attractiveness of their agents.Something obvious is that people are less likely to think a house looks nice when there is a pink living room, even though it's easily corrected with a can of paint. We've known that for years and preach to our sellers to neutralize as much as possible, but also point out to our buyers that paint is cheap...The part I disagree about is descriptions.  … (43 comments)

travis county real estate: Success at the Travis County Appraisal Review Board - Lowered My Property Taxes - 06/04/10 08:47 AM
Today was an interesting day.  I went to the Travis County Appraisal Review Board to protest my property taxes. In the past, I had only gone in, spoken with someone, told them about my concerns, and was done with it.  This time, I'm in a different situation. I'm in a brand new community and all the properties are being assessed all over the board.I tried to do the informal thing where I explained what I was talking about, but apparently I went over the manager's head and he didn't understand. How he didn't understand, I don't know, but honestly, I think … (11 comments)

Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - Rainmaker large

Donna Harris

Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

Austin, TX

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Donna Homes, powered by JPAR -

Address: 5113 Southwest Pkwy #140, Austin, TX, 78735

Office: (512) 592-7127

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This blog is to help educate Buyers, Sellers and even other Realtors across the country.  Each market is different and the way Real Estate is done is different.  Austin Real Estate is completely different than Dallas, California and Florida and everywhere else in between.  Some times there will be other things besides real estate as I like to rant and rave as much as the next!!  Come back often! Tweets by @donnahomes




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