I submitted an email to the Mayor recently through ABOR’s Take Action website.  I received a form-letter response back.  It points out a few directions that the city council gave to the task force that will be formulating the recommendations regarding the ordinance.  If these directions are followed, then the ordinance could actually be very helpful and less damaging as many of us feared.  Here is the full email: Continue reading

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Villa Muse, the large entertainment project, announced that it will look to build elsewhere instead of in East Austin.  They had been in discussions with the city to be removed from Austin’s ETJ but Austin ultimately decided against doing this.  Being out of the ETJ would have prevented Austin from annexing the land in the future. According to Mayor Wynn, the project could have moved only a few thousand feet and been out of the ETJ but ultimately they decided against this.  Hopefully, the project can be salvaged as I think it would be a great boon for the city.

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This time Austin sits atop the list of Greenest Retirement Cities

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In my previous post, I mentioned the City of Austin’s proposed ordinance that would require sellers to obtain a certificate of compliance before selling their home.  Well, a lot of people have questions about this issue, so The Austin Board of Realtors has launched a new site at www.keepaustinaffordable.com that will hopefully answer these questions and also allow you to inform your friends and neighbors.  So go take a look at the site and please share the information.

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The City of Austin is proposing an ordinance that could have a major effect on the sale of homes within the city.  They are proposing that each home sold must have a certificate of compliance stating that the home meets certain energy efficiency requirements.  The home would have to get an inspection by the city to receive this certificate.  This means a longer process as well as increased costs of selling.

This seems a bit extreme to me.  Most home purchases already go through an inspection process even though it is not required.  Any good Realtor would recommend you get one before making your purchase.  Then both parties negotiate on what is fixed or not fixed, not the city.  Any delays caused by this new process could wreak havoc on getting loans done in timely fashion.  Your rates could change or the loan could go away completely while the parties wait for the certificate.

ABOR is having a forum tomorrow to discuss the issue with City Council candidates.  Hopefully, the candidates will see that will just produce more bureacracy than good.

Here is an excerpt I received in email from the Austin Board of Realtors:

The City of Austin is introducing an ordinance to mandate energy efficiency retrofits for all types of properties in Austin, including single family owner-occupied homes. This is ordinance is being looked at as part of Mayor Will Wynn’s Climate Protection Plan.

They intend to enforce it at the point of sale. In other words, prior to the sale of any single family owner-occupied home, a certificate of compliance proving the required efficiency retrofits have been done must be done prior to closing.

WHAT THIS MEANS TO OUR HOMEOWNERS

  • Without a Certificate of Compliance filed of record prior to closing or at point of sale, a single family home cannot be legally sold in Austin.
  • Delays in the time from escrow of a purchase agreement to closing due to the compliance and inspection process could exceed, by days or weeks, the typical 30 to 45 day time frame in a sales transaction today.
  • Immediately upon the effective date of the ordinance, the city will have to implement methods and processes to meet the demand created by the sale of some 25, 000 homes per year. That’s 25, 000 inspections, assuming the first inspection results in the issuance of a certificate of compliance. City inspectors say that at least 50% of all inspections result in a subsequent inspection to correct problems found. That’s an additional 12, 500 inspections, at a minimum, or some 37, 500 new inspections in a typical year to determine if single family owner-occupied properties comply with the new proposed ordinance. Who will pay?
  • Homeowners will bear the expense of retrofits to obtain the certificate of compliance. These expenses will vary from home to home, but the range could be anywhere from $1, 500 to $10, 000 per home.
  • Expect delays in acquiring another home as homeowners scramble to comply with the new ordinance, especially if that homeowner needs to sell his or her existing home prior to closing on a new one.

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Google has recently enabled ‘Street-View’ for Austin.  It is pretty cool.  It allows you to actually see what you would see if you were walking down the street.  Take a look at this view of the Capitol from Congress Avenue.

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Back in 2006 their was an incident at the Lofts downtown where Mayor Wynn lives.  I wasn’t there, but from what I have heard and read, the story goes something like this:  The man goes to the lofts for a party specifically to meet the Mayor.  The Mayor is in a conversation, so the man waits.  When the Mayor finishes his conversation, he introduces himself to the man.  The man quickly becomes rude and obnoxious.  The Mayor tells him to leave.  The man continues to bother the Mayor.  The Mayor grabs him and escorts him out of the party.  That’s it in a nutshell.

Almost two years later, the Mayor has been charged with assault.  I understand that you have to treat the Mayor like any other citizen so that their is no bias, but I am not sure I believe that a normal citizen would have been charged for something like this.  In fact, I think that many people would have done exactly what the Mayor did if found in a similar situation.

The Mayor now has to attend anger management counseling.  I, for one, think that the man being escorted out of the party should attend some counseling.  What do you think?

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My broker has setup a forum for Realtors and others to discuss our Board of Realtors.  Have a look and let everyone know what you think.

Update: The forums have been shutdown.

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Now that the holidays are over you may be ready to get into a “new” home, and the timing couldn’t be better. By now many homes have been on the market longer than normal and sellers are ready to sell. And if you haven’t heard yet, the Fed really wants you to buy a new house. They have dropped interest rates to 3.5 percent. This is their first unscheduled rate cut in almost 6 years and their largest in 25 years. Many people have already started looking.  So now is the time to make that move and find a great deal.

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Austin Energy worked with Samsung to reach the quality certification to help prevent the power outages that caused two of Samsung’s plants to go powerless in 2006. Austin Energy is the first in the country to obtain this certification.

via Austin American-Statesman

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