Tim's Top 10 Rules of Austin Real Estate

Rule 1. 
Experience is measured by the number of individually closed transactions during the past year--not measured by one's "Years in the business".
A Realtor's experience is only as good as their last 20+ closed deals during the past 12 months. No longer should Realtors skate-by on the declaration "I have been in this business for the past 20 years...".  

Rule 2. 
Every Market is different.
Every state, city, community and street are different in the business of Real Estate. Generalizations don't work and what is happening in one part of town has little or nothing to do with what is happening in another. 

Rule 3.
Living in a community does not make one a Real Estate Expert on that community.
The "business" of Real Estate is far more than knowing where the community pool is located and which neighbors are the ones that people talk about--everyone can figure out the community map and local "gossip". Having an Expert Perspective on a community requires real-time experience and MLS research.

Rule 4.
The Listing Agent does not sell your home.
A robust listing of a home is a function of Marketing and Online Advertising--not Salesmanship. Listing Agents almost never bring "the buyer" to your home and the Listing Agent and their brokerage will almost never be the one that sells your home. The internet has changed this dimension of the business forever.

Rule 5. 
Every deal is unique.
Having as much information as possible on the history of a home, the seller and what is going on around a specific property is critical to strategic negotiations. Since Texas is a "Non-Disclosure State", published public information is limited to the guesstimates that the county uses to determine tax value in a zip code, not based on actual sold sales data from the MLS. 

Rule 6. 
Buyers determine Market Value for a home--not the Listing Agent. A Realtor that loves your home and is excited about your property will not affect either market value or the appraised value of the home. Buyers and their agents are smart. Pricing a home above market value only prolongs the inevitable re-pricing game.

Rule 7.
You won't get a "better deal" by not using a Realtor.
If you are buying a home, don't believe that you can get a better deal by going directly to the Seller, Builder or Seller's Agent. You do not know what a good Buyer's Agent can tell you about a particular property and the listing agent can't tell you everything that a Buyer's Agent can tell you. Why is that? The Texas Real Estate Commission is very clear in explaining the roles of the Buyer's Agent and the Seller's Agent. A Realtor either represents the Buyer or the Seller--not both.  And Red Flags that a Buyer's Agent sees in a listing are not always what shows up on a Seller's Disclosure about the property. Because the Seller's Agent represents the seller, there are something that he may believe to be true, but just can't tell you, like unverified potential problems with the foundation, roof or other features of the home. If there is no certified or professional support for the concern, it is not something that the seller is likely going to disclose. You can't disclosure what you don't know. But the Buyer's agent can raise red flags on any concern that their experience tells them may be an issue.

Rule 8.
Buying a new home requires as much or more expertise from your Realtor than buying a resell home.
New homes are a unique corner of the Real Estate Market and your Realtor should be well versed in all the normal aspects of Real Estate (community, comps, growth, schools, etc), and the Realtor should understand Time to Market appreciation of new communities, Construction, and when a new home builder is most likely to negotiate on a particular house and to what degree. It's a whole different ball game and the strategies are different out of necessity. 

Rule 9.
Your Realtor should always know more. 
More about the history of the house, community and area. More about what has sold during the past 6-12 months. More about what is selling in other areas and why. More about financial alternatives, reputable inspectors, the contract documents, title and all aspects of the end-to-end Real Estate process. Your Realtor is a business person representing your best interests in a Real Estate transaction.

Rule 10.
See Rule Number One.


  1. Nice list! One thing that I would definitely like to have with my real estate agent is that he/she is very well trained in appraising houses. I surely wouldn't want to be visiting tons of houses then only having to complain about things that I don't desire or don't like such as broken stuffs in the house.

  2. I think rule number 4 is crucial for sellers to keep in mind. If you're looking to sell a home fast you need to make sure that the listing agent is pursuing a full blown out marketing campaign for your home. Another option to keep in mind though is that some buyers are willing to offer cash even if your house is not move-in ready.

  3. Please see my blog "Cash is Seldom King" for my thoughts on Cash Buyers. In the end, sellers received "cash" on every equity deal, whether it is from the buyer or the bank. All deals end up as cash--sooner or later.

  4. I do agree very much with number one rule. It's not how long you have been in the business, but what you really had put during those times that make you an "experienced" individual.

    Florida Real Estate License

  5. Rule #11. Just because you have done it the same way for 20 years, that does not mean it is the correct way. It just means you don't know how to change how you do things. Love rule #1

  6. Very nice post. I am currently searching Dallas Real Estate along with a few other places in Texas. These are some great tips that will come in handy.


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