What to Expect in 2017 for Austin, According to Three Economic Forecasts

Are you wondering how the Austin real estate market will be in 2017? Will prices continue to go up? Will interest rates go up? Will people stop moving to Austin? If you’ve either asked yourself or someone else this question, you are not alone.

Three Economic Forecasts, One Common Theme

This week was a busy week for economic forecasters all around the city.  Recently, members of our office attended the 2017 Home Builder’s Association, an annual forecast meeting held by Mark Sprague with Independence Title, and also a forecasting meeting with John McLellan with Supreme Lending.

Record Breaking 2016

The HBA meeting was a math lover’s dream.  It was loaded with statistics and information from a host of speakers. The purpose of this meeting is to educate home builders on what is to come, and to give them an idea of how many homes they should be building, what price ranges, and much more. In 2016, there were 29,500 homes that sold through the MLS in Central Texas representing over $10 Billion in sales. As you would expect, both of these numbers were record-breaking events.

Looking Toward Future Growth in 2017 and Beyond

There is currently a major shortage in commercial office space in Austin. For example, there is 1.2 Million sqft of office space at The Domain, and it is 99% occupied. While there are other large-scale commercial spaces coming to the market, it’s possible that this could lead to a situation in the future where employers looking to relocate their businesses to Austin may not be able to do so.

The unemployment rate in Austin is approximately 3.6%.  While this sounds amazing, it comes with one major drawback that can impact our economy and real estate markets.  Ultra-low unemployment can hinder future job growth to the Austin area.  The reason: employers that are considering a move to the region will have difficulty staffing positions from the available workforce (only 3.6% are looking for employment), since most people that are seeking work are currently employed at other companies.  This means that they will have to poach workers from other companies…which means they will have to pay them more money in order for them to migrate.  This is a factor that could affect employer’s desire to move to Austin and to expand their operations, which could slow job growth in Austin going-forward.

According to Eldon Rude, Principal at 360 Real Estate Analytics, the strongest and most dynamic price points of the Austin real estate market is the $175k-$300k range.  With rents continuing to rise (average rental price per sqft is approx $1.4), there will be growing interest in purchasing homes versus renting.

Rude continues to say that in the last 1-2 years, the SH130 corridor has been a big point of conversation with a lot of opportunities being purchased and entitled now. We are building towards that area, and the planned HEB at 130 and 973 could be a huge deal.  There are development concerns for this area due to the fact that many of the areas nearby are in the Austin ETJ, which come with city-imposed regulations on future development.

All three of these forecasts expressed serious concerns about Austin’s elected officials and their decision making regarding job growth and future development regulations.  Their unified opinions are that the city isn’t offering nearly enough incentives to continue to attract big businesses to Austin.  If this decision making philosophy doesn’t change, it will have severe implications on our regional growth in the next 18-24 months.

Is Austin Real Estate Overvalued?

One of the other common questions that I often hear is: “Is Austin an Overvalued Real Estate Market?”  The answer to this came from Mark Sprague’s forecast (the PDF of PowerPoint slides is downloadable at the bottom of this blog post).  He says that currently, Austin household median income is $63,603 and the Austin median home price is $263,900.  He said the ratio between these two values has Austin more affordable than cities like Miami, Portland, Denver, Washington DC, Seattle, Boston, NYC, LA, San Diego and San Francisco.

From Mark Sprague’s class, I took the following notes. Bear in mind that these are economic forecasts (i.e. opinions) and do not reflect any guarantees:

  • Homes under 350k in Austin Texas are expected to substantially appreciate
  • Dallas will likely file bankruptcy due to underfunded pensions, and several other cities in Texas might be close behind.
  • Downtown Austin commercial rental rates are 8th highest in the nation
  • College educated unemployment level is 4%, high school educated unemployment is 25%
  • Consumer confidence in Texas is an astounding 138%

The Conclusion

According to these analysts, we should anticipate a 5-10% increase in production in 2017. Most of this growth in the market will be at $300k price range and below.  Long story short, everyone is expecting 2017 to be another great year for home buyers and home sellers in Austin, Texas. Let’s have a great 2017!

Download Resources

Download the HBA Meeting Notes Here: [button color=”blue” size=”small” link=”http://www.ensorrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Home-Builders-Association-Forecast-Notes.pdf” icon=”” target=”false”]Download PDF[/button]

Download the Mark Sprague PowerPoint Slides Here: [button color=”blue” size=”small” link=”http://www.ensorrealtors.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Home-Builders-Association-Forecast-Notes.pdf” icon=”” target=”false”]Download PDF[/button]

Share

Loosened Requirements, Job Growth will Continue to Drive Austin’s Housing Market

I just attended the 2016 Mortgage Forecast with Supreme Lending’s John McLellan. If you don’t know John, he is one of the top lenders here in Austin, perhaps even Texas, and his research on the data he presented is some of the most intense, comprehensive data I’ve seen collected. Here are some of the highlights from his presentation:

  • The rise in Fed rates DOES NOT equate a rise in mortgage interest rates. Historically, this actually means rates will drop. He expects a flat or downward trend over the next few months. Today’s extremely low rates are proof he is correct!
  • Another misconception is that interests rates drive the housing market. Not true. Interest rates affect affordability, the job market affects the housing market. Here in the Austin area, we are at an extremely low unemployment rate of 2.9% – which is much lower than the national average. The job growth continues to rise in Austin, giving no signs that the housing market will take a down turn. You can expect that if the jobs keep coming along with our population increase, the housing market will continue to stay strong.
  • 5% Jumbo loans are back! Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we’re headed for another stated-income crisis — Dodd-Frank will keep that from happening.
  • Fannie Mae has been loosening their restrictions. For instance, they no longer require that you have 30% equity to convert a primary residence into an investment. Also, investor-concentration in a condo complex will no longer be a barrier for most situations. Another huge change: they have also reduced the 2-year self-employment history requirement to 1-year (good credit required, of course). These all show Fannie Mae’s confidence in the market. Even Freddie Mac is getting more investor-friendly.
  • Based on Austin’s population growth, we have a housing shortage. Again, our statistics are lower than the national average, so when you hear housing bubble, know they are talking about other areas of the US, not Austin!
  • Landowners, from whom builders buy land to create subdivisions, are wise to the value in their land, thus making it more expensive (less desirable) for builders to build. This means, new home prices will increase (think, $400s-$500s, no more low entry points) and it means there will be less communities popping up. The higher prices will mean this will be a sector you can see oversupply in – opposite of the shortage you see in strictly resale communities.
  • Austin is seeing wage inflation, whereas other parts of the US are not. This means, people who are earning at least in the average income bracket will be able to keep up with the rise of the average house prices — they aren’t being out-priced, even with the housing shortage we have.

All in all, the housing market is looking very solid here in Austin. With no indication of rising interest rates, our strong job market, and the government’s loosening on mortgage restrictions, the market is going to continue strong and you can ignore any rumors of an over-inflated market here in Austin!

To read John’s article, which includes all of the statistics he used in his class, click here: “Is Austin, Texas, in a Housing Bubble?

Share

We Just Listed 11801 Woodland Hills Trail, Austin TX 78732!

We have a new listing in the UT Golf Club at Steiner Ranch at 11801 Woodland Hills Trl. This single-story home features exceptional upgrades including hardwood flooring, exquisite architectural features and a gorgeous view of the surrounding hill country from the extended covered patio.

This home features 2134 sqft (per TCAD), 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a 2-car garage with an upgraded garage door, a formal dining room, a sitting room, a breakfast room and simply gorgeous inside!

Photo Gallery

Upgrades & Features

Upon opening the wrought-iron entry door, you are immediately greeted by this home’s natural elegance. The entry features coffered ceilings with crown mouldings and upgraded light fixtures. As you walk down the entry hall, you will find two bedrooms and a full bathroom on your left. As you continue beyond the entry, you will find that the coffered ceilings continue, and the tiled flooring turns into elegant hardwoods below your feet.

Prior to entering the spacious chef’s kitchen, you will be greeted by the formal dining room and a secondary living room perfect for an evening glass of wine or for your morning coffee.  As you continue into the home, you will find the spacious living room, and the master suite to your right.

Upgraded Master Bath Features Walk-in Shower!

The master bedroom features vaulted ceilings, window shutters and plenty of space for king-sized bedroom furniture. The master bathroom features double vanities and a walk-in mosaic tiled shower that simply must-be-seen! The enormous walk-in master closet is quite impressive and features tons of hanging space as well as shelving for additional storage.

Hill Country Views, Prime UT Golf Club Location

In addition, this beautiful Taylor Morrison home is located on a .21 acre corner lot with gorgeous views of the Texas hill country from inside the large windows in the breakfast room and from it’s extended covered patio.

This stylish home is located just around the corner from the UT Golf Club, pools, tennis courts, entertainment pavilion, clubhouse with restaurant and bar, and much more!

MLS 4841660

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 4841660 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Pre-Marketing Photos

Here are a few of our pre-MLS photos to give you an additional ways to view this home.

For more details about this home before it goes live in the MLS, please contact us today!

Share

We Just Listed 3705 Pappys Way, Austin TX 78730!

Shannon & I are very excited to announce our newest real estate listing for sale at 3705 Pappys Way, Austin TX 78730.  This luxury home is located in Greenshores on Lake Austin — a posh enclave of homes with private access to Lake Austin.

Tucked discreetly into a cul-de-sac, this spectacular 4,417 sqft home looks customary yet sophisticated from the street. Once you enter the double wrought-iron doors, you are quickly immersed into this home’s true beauty and elegance.

Virtual Video Tour

This single-story home features an excellent MIL floor plan with 4 bedrooms and 4 full bathrooms, in addition to multiple living and dining areas. Intricate custom details include elaborate stone work on both the interior and exterior of the home, travertine-encrusted ceilings and artist-painted murals, wood beams, custom cabinetry and bookcases, impressive chandeliers, gleaming granite counters, hardwood flooring…and the list continues.

The exterior boasts multiple entertaining areas, too. The covered patio leads down to the exquisite pool and spa area, which leads to another sitting area and the covered outdoor kitchen pavilion. Around the side of the home is a sizable grassy area which leads to a spacious putting green made of synthetic grass (low to zero maintenance) and also a fun “tree house” built for the kids to have an adventure or maybe to oversee Dad try to work on his short-game!

As impressive as the list of features is for this home, there is something intangible that makes this home so alluring.  It has an overwhelming feeling of warmth and invitation that makes it difficult to want to leave, and will excite you to want to come back home.  I could see this residence being used to host catered dinner parties, and also as an epicenter for family to connect and engage with each other.

Call us today for a private tour of this lovely residence.

Pictures of 3705 Pappys Way

MLS Listing Details

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 2999856 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Even More Pictures!

Share

We Just Listed 17800 Edgewood Way #202, Jonestown TX 78645!

We just listed a beautiful condo in The Hollows at 17800 Edgewood Way #202, Jonestown TX 78645.  This 3-bedroom 2-bathroom condo has amazing views of Lake Travis from the master bedroom, living and dining rooms!  It’s spacious covered patio has panoramic views of the Hill Country and Lake Travis too!  The community is popular for those seeking a vacation home, a 2nd home in the Austin area, or just simply a place to get away from the city and enjoy lakeside living.  If desired, you can lease out your condo short-term to vacationers and turn your condo into an income stream.  Amenities for condo owners include the Beach Club at The Hollows, which features an infinity-edge pool, an entertainment pavilion, grilling areas, a fitness center and much more!

Photos

Schedule a showing today to own a piece of paradise on the north shore of Lake Travis!

For more details about this destination community, be sure to read our blog: Enjoy Resort Style Living at The Hollows on Lake Travis.

MLS Details

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 8926940 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Share

We Just Listed 13320 Coleto Creek Trl, Austin TX 78732!

We just listed an impressive home for sale at 13320 Coleto Creek Trl. Located in River Heights Overlook, a gated community in Steiner Ranch, this 4,440 square foot home (appraiser) has five bedrooms and four full baths. This floor plan from Drees Homes offers spaciousness and flexibility to suit your needs, as four of the bedrooms are downstairs, one is upstairs, and there are multiple living and entertaining areas throughout.

Photo Gallery

Listing Details

As you pull up to 13320 Coleto Creek Trl through the gated section of River Heights Overlook, you’ll be drawn to the curb appeal of the home. Cascading tiers of lush landscaping lead you to the welcoming front porch area and a decorative glass front door.

Look up as you enter the home so you can appreciate the grand light fixture in the foyer. To the right of the foyer is the formal dining large enough to host the heartiest of dinner parties. Wood flooring takes you from the dining room into the study and you will see it carried through to the living room later.

One bedroom en suite is located to the front of the home by the study and you’ll find the other two secondary bedrooms that are located on the first floor on the other side of the kitchen and living with their own bathroom to share.

You will really feel at home when you come to the hearth room that sits adjacent to the grand kitchen. I don’t want to describe this room as cozy, because in real estate that word tends to be the dressed-up word for small, and this room is anything but small! But, it really gives you that warm and cozy feeling when you see the room – perhaps it is the fireplace or the way you want to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a good book when you see this room!

One of my favorite parts of the home is the show-stopping island in the kitchen. You and your family & friends will love gathering around the over-sized island and it is easily the hub of the kitchen. You also have generous amounts of counter space and cabinetry in the kitchen.

A beautiful light fixture hangs above the dining room that sits across from the kitchen on your way to the living room. From the kitchen and living room, you look out onto the covered patio and backyard which features large shade trees and lush landscaping. The ceiling reaches atop the second story in the living room, giving it an extra spacious feel. A second fireplace and niche for your entertainment system are also in the living room.

The owner’s retreat is a special one at 13320 Coleto Creek Trl. Your bedroom furniture needs will fit undoubtedly in this expansive space. The luxurious spa features a king-sized walk-in shower, garden tub and double vanities. Filling this walk-in closet will be fun for any fashionista!

Heading upstairs, you enter a spacious game room that could easily double as a second living room. Through the double-doors to the right lies a media room complete with a projector screen, a projector and a wrap-around sectional sofa. Leave the media room and head beyond the upstairs gameroom in the other direction and you will find the fifth bedroom with it’s own private full bathroom!

The backyard is lovely, complete with a sizable covered patio with a tall ceiling and several shade trees.  The yard has ample space for a pool too, and the owners have a pool design that is available upon request.

The three-car tandem garage has tons of storage space for you and an extra tall ceiling for any additional storage needs you may have.

13320 Coleto Creek Trl is a substantial estate-sized home built for a discerning buyer. It is a well thought out floor plan and the owners have upgraded this home using care and consideration with their selections.

If you are looking for Steiner Ranch homes for sale in a gated section of the community, and more specifically the area zoned to Laura Welch Bush Elementary, then you are going to want to schedule your appointment today to view this home!

MLS Listing Info

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6328649 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

Share

Timing & the Austin real estate market: does a perfect time exist for a seller to list?

2009-2013 Market Trends for Austin residental real estate sales

Imagine if the housing market was just like Wall Street. Brokers stood on the street corners, wearing funny colored jackets, waiving MLS sheets into the air while yelling, “Buy, buy, buy! Sell, sell, sell!”

Of course, there is a lot of research going on behind the scenes and those stock traders have it down to a science on when a stock should be held or sold. I can say real estate is similar in that respect. Market data such as the number of sold listings, days on market and selling price provides critical information that we Realtors use so that we can properly educate our clients on when they should buy or sell their homes.

With more than 150 people moving to Austin every day, it seems like any time of the year may be a good time to sell your Austin home! As of the time of this writing, the city of Austin Texas has less than 2 months of single-family home inventory on the MLS!

In the city of Austin, there are currently 1279 active single-family homes in the Austin MLS and there were 709 single-family homes that sold in the last 30 days.

As we all know, life just happens. Of course people will need to sell their home 365 days of the year and there will be a buyer looking all of those 365 days. Surprise job transfers, loss of jobs, divorce, marriage, or maybe that perfect house pops on the market and you need to take action even though you didn’t think you’d move for another six months. All are reasons for moving and they can take place any time of the year.

“Is Now a Good Time to Put MY Austin House on the Market?”

It is a widely known fact though that most people buy and sell during the summer months because the kids are out of school and 1) if they have to transfer schools it is easier to do so during the break and 2) there are less activities going on for the kiddos during the summer, so parents have more time to devote toward the move.

Check out this chart that compiles the MLS data for the last five years here in Austin. As you can see, things start to pick up every April, with home sales peaking in May, June, July and August, and then they start to slow down in September. Last year, 2013, July and August were the superstar months in Austin.

2009-2013 Market Trends for Austin residental real estate sales

 

You may ask, “Not everyone has children, so why does the summer break affect everyone?” The answer stems from the Law of Large Numbers. Since there is a pool of people who find it most convenient to buy a home during the summer months, putting your home on the market during those months guarantees you a larger amount of potential buyers.

How much more money can selling during the peak months mean to a seller? Tens of thousands, according to the median data of Austin home sales:

2013 Home Sales Stats - Austin Texas

If you would like to know what the statistics are based on your area or neighborhood, contact me today and I’ll be happy to provide you those numbers.

Do you fall under circumstances where you need to sell in the ‘off’ months? Do not fear! We have an outstanding marketing system that will get your home maximum exposure, no matter what the time of year.

In upcoming blogs, I plan to share tips on getting your home ready for the market. Check back often or better yet, call me today so you can get started!

Share

How the Texas Drought is Affecting Lake Travis Area Home Sales

Austin continually makes national news with our outstanding job and housing market. But there is another thing on the national radar – the drought in Texas. My out-of-state buyers are always posing the question, “How are the lake levels affecting the market in Austin?”

Unfortunately, I have yet to find that magic crystal ball to tell me the future of our lakes. However, I did compare the U.S. Drought Map of Texas for the current week to a blog on our site that featured the Texas drought map from September 2011.  The 2011 map has Texas painted in deep red – which means exceptional drought. Today’s map is much nicer looking with whites and yellows and very little red. The areas by Lake Travis are colored to resemble moderate to severe drought (which sound much better than extreme to exceptional drought!). So, it does seem as though the drought is getting better (we’ve had some nice rains since the summer that I believe has really helped).

Jan 2014 - Texas Drought Map

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

This tells us not how the drought is affecting the market, but that the drought is better than fall of 2011. So, when I start to talk numbers next, we have a better picture in mind for comparison sake.

For those statistics, I am going to focus on two MLS areas: LN and LS (think Lake Travis North, Lake Travis South). I am focusing on Lake Travis, because this is where I sell more homes, as compared to Lake Buchanan or LBJ; and because Lake Austin is not affected by drastically changing levels.

Area LS includes the popular cities Lakeway and Bee Cave and area LN includes Jonestown and Lago Vista. Due to LS being closer to Austin and having more subdivisions/population than LN, you will see the sales data coming in higher for area LS.

With this in mind, the following chart shows you the average sales price fluctuations from a five year period in these two areas (2013 information not included).

MLS Area2008/20092009/20102010/20112011/20125 Yr Change
LS-7.20%-1.2%3.23%4.88%-.73%
LN-3.67%23.33%-6.62%-10.73%-.97%

Chart is taken from statistics provided by Austin Title.

December 2013 numbers are not yet out, but from my calculations, it looks like we are going to roughly see a -1.01 change in average sales price in LS and a .84 change in LN from 2012/2013. These 2012/2013 numbers are less drastic than most of the past five year comparisons, which shows us a less volatile market over the span of these two years.

Without overloading you with numbers, the 2012 average sales price in area LS was $453,375 and the average in LN was $239,183. If you are a ‘numbers-person’, email me and I can send you more data!

I am still just giving you background data and have not yet made my point! When someone asks me what the lake levels are doing to property values, I have to answer their question with a question.

Are they looking specifically for something that is lakefront? If the answer is yes, then OF COURSE the levels are going to affect price. No one wants to pay top dollar for a dried up dock with no guarantee that they will ever have a true lakefront again. Have we seen this drought happen twice over the last twenty years with lake levels returning: yes. Is it safe to assume lake levels will return again one day: um, yes. But no one knows when and I’m not one to bank your large investment on this assumption. When is it a good idea to invest in a lakeless-lakefront: NOW when the property values are lower due to the lack of water. Moral of the story: if you are looking for a good investment then go for it. If you will be broken-hearted if you cannot swim off your back porch this summer, you may want to look elsewhere.

If they are not looking for a lakefront property, but want to be in the vicinity of a lake/like the lifestyle that the areas offer, then I have to break the question down again into the different areas: LN & LS.  With area LN you are further from Austin, so people tend to want that true lake living with actual water. Therefore, the lake levels will affect property values more heavily in area LN. When the lake dries up, there are fewer things to do in this area. If you are looking for a long term investment or simply want to be far away from the city and aren’t tied too much to having high lake levels, this move is for you.

I took this picture August 2013 from The Oasis -- a popular entertainment complex consisting of numerous shops, boutiques and restaurants on the South shores of Lake Travis.
I took this picture August 2013 from The Oasis — a popular entertainment complex consisting of numerous shops, boutiques and restaurants on the South shores of Lake Travis.

I believe area LS is quite the opposite. While still a 30-45 minute drive to downtown Austin, people love that they are not too far from the city. The excellent Lake Travis ISD is another incentive for buyers. Communities like Ladera and Rough Hollow are popping up and selling well in this area. Lakeway is one of the most desirable areas with its variety of homes and low taxes. People like moving to this area not just because of the lake, but because of the lifestyle, schools, amenities (think golf, Hill Country Galleria) and there is growth. So, would I say lake levels are affecting this area to someone who is not specifically looking for a lakefront property: no! I believe that as area LS grows, it will only get more desirable regardless of lake levels.

All in all, you have to know your buying needs and the right Realtor to match them up to the best house and area for you. I’d be happy to share more details about the numbers (I tried not to bore you too much in this blog with those!). Don’t hesitate to call or email any time to discuss.

Share

FAQ on Homestead Exemptions for Travis County (Austin, Texas)

It’s that time of year…time to start thinking about taxes, and time to make sure you have your homestead exemption filed with your appraisal district. The homestead exemption in Texas is a benefit that is part of owning your home, and here are the top 5 questions that get asked:

Do I qualify for a homestead exemption?

As a general rule, to qualify for a homestead exemption, you must own your home and it must be your principal place of residence on January 1st of the year you file.  So, if you purchased your home in 2013, you have until April 30th, 2014, to apply for the 2014 homestead exemption.  More details on qualification are available here at the TCAD website.

Will the homestead exemption protect me in case of a lawsuit?

There are 2 laws in Texas that designate a homestead; these are the tax code and the property code. The tax code offers homeowners a way to reduce their local property taxes; the property code allows homeowners to designate their homesteads in order to protect them from forced sales by creditors.

How much will the Travis County homestead exemption save me?

The homestead exemption removes part of the value of your property from taxation and therefore lowers your tax bill. Travis county currently offers a 20% reduction for homesteaders…let’s look at an example:

Let’s say that the county has arbitrarily appraised your home at $200,000. You reside in Travis County so you qualify for a 20% reduction, which is equal to $40,000. The taxable value of your property is therefore $160,000 and that is the number that your taxes will be based on.  Your total amount of savings is going to be dependent on the taxing unit.

How do I apply for the Travis County homestead exemption?

You can receive a homestead exemption form by calling 512-834-9138, or you may go to the Travis Count Appraisal District and download the form from their website.

Does my homestead exemption ever expire?

You only need to fill out the exemption form one time, unless it is requested by the chief appraiser. Homestead exemptions renew automatically annually.

As your Austin Real Estate expert, I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding the homestead exemption, as well as any real estate related questions. Please call me today: 512-522-8196 or email matthew@teamensor.com.

Share

5 Smart Tips on Surviving Winter in Austin Texas

It’s cold; I mean, not cold enough to be setting any records here in Austin, but it’s definitely cold…and even though we are just days away from a warm front, there’s sure to be another arctic blast coming our way before we can breathe easy and enjoy our summer! In the spirit of sharing the warmth, because let’s be honest, no one likes the cold, I’ve compiled a list of winterizing tips for your most important asset: your home!

1. Leave your faucets drip.
Nothing is as inconvenient, let alone as potentially harmful, to you and your house, than a frozen set of pipes. If you turn on your faucets to a slow drip, you’ll help to avoid this icy situation. If you’re unfortunate enough to have already gotten frozen pipes, you can use a hair dryer to warm them, and then wrap them with a towel to insulate from the cold once the water starts flowing again.

2. Open under sink cabinets at night.
It gets coldest as the sun sets, and the most vulnerable spot for your pipes are under your sink, away from insulation, and no heat source. Help the heat to get in but opening your cabinets, this will allow air to circulate around the space and in addition to your dripping faucets, should ward off the specter of frozen pipes.

Tip: Remember to move household chemicals if you store them under your sink, especially if you have small children or pets that could get into them!

3. Switch the direction of your ceiling fan.
This is something that I do every time the weather starts to get cold. Most people only use their ceiling fans in the summer to circulate the cold air, but here is why you should be using it in the winter too: hot air rises…if you switch the rotation (check your manufacturers website for specifics) you’ll be pushing the hot air back down to where it is needed. Why pay to heat the ceiling?

4. Open/close blinds.
If it’s sunny, you want to let as much natural light in as possible to help heat the house, however cold it is outside…but as soon as the sun starts to go down, shut the blinds; you’ll trap the heat in, and lock the cold out, plus, it makes the day a little cheerier with the sunshine beaming in!

5. Insulate around doors and windows.
Check all of your doors and windows to make sure that they aren’t letting any cold air in and hot air out…this is a huge source of thrown away money not only when it’s hot, but when it’s cold. If you feel a draft, get weather stripping and seal around your doors and windows…you’ll notice a big difference in your electric bill, I can almost say with certainty!

Bundle up and keep warm…after all, it’s Texas, and before you know it, we’ll be wishing for cooler weather!

Share