Professionalism at its best!
   excellent, elegant residential real estate marketing
Setting the highest standards
1101 S. Capital of TX Hwy. Ste. 100-F
Austin TX 78746
512-327-9310 x 234
Good things will come your way when you work with Tom!
2002  Realtor of the Year
Austin Board of Realtors

2001 Chairman

Austin Board of Realtors

 
 
 
 

email me

icg investor spec sheets
(for download in MS Word format)
 
We've negotiated special investor pricing with some builders that is not available to the general public, discounts based on volume purchasing due to the number of investors we have brought to the builders.  In addition, the properties below are optimally configured for rental.  If you want to make sure you get any special pricing and  rental configuration package, you should contact me to register you with this program before you communicate with any builder's representative.

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Area information
Prices and rent projections
 
Click on square footages below to see examples of
property currently available
leander
 1327, 1572,1656
   
1391,1627,1868
round rock & hutto
 1775, 1881
     
elgin
1362,1580,1706
kyle
preconstruction 1366-1655
 
1508,2258,2330
     
inspection q & a        
interest-only loans & cash flow        

Tom Polk is a real estate broker licensed in the State of Texas.

Stanberry & Associates has operated as a real estate brokerage firm licensed in the State of Texas since 1985.

















































































Inspection Q & A





Q: Can you do a walkthrough in my absence?
A:  No, we use a different procedure (see below).  I don't perform walkthroughs because doing so requires inspection of the builder's work.  Texas law prohibits real estate agents from performing inspections.  Home inspectors must be licensed by the State. I recommend that you have a professional inspection performed to protect your investment.

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Q: How can I be assured the house has been completed to my satisfaction?
A:  We take the following steps to have repairs performed and to document repairs required by the inspection. 
  • You have the building professionally inspected
  • The inspector leaves a copy of the inspection report with the builder. 
  • The builder is to make repairs, then he initials the inspection report indicating the repaired items.
  • After the builder faxes me the initialed report, I'll email it to you.
  • If you are getting a discounted inspection, you probably won't get a copy of the report until the repairs are complete and initialed. 
  • The initials you will see on the report are the builder's.  Both his and his company's integrity are at stake when he initials the forms.


    The reason I can't inspect repaired items is that the same Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) that licenses inspectors also licenses real estate brokers, and TREC prohibits crossover in those duties.  You are certainly welcome to hire an inspector to verify the repairs. 

     Alternatively, you can contact the property manager can help contact an unlicensed individual who will do a survey of property condition, which is not an inspection, but a record of the cosmetic condition. Such a survey may cost $150-$200.  For more information on this type of survey, contact the property manager, Rick Ebert, 512-794-8171.

    To put this in perspective: Some builders actually hire a third party inspector at no cost to you.  Most often, this inspector is not as thorough as the third party inspector you hire.  HIstorically, few buyers of new homes actually bother to get a third party inspection.  I'm aware that I may be in the minority of brokers by suggesting an inspection on a new home, and that doing so with out-of-towners can cause temporary inconvenience or extra cost.  I remain committed to suggesting it because I believe it's the right thing to do regardless of the inconvenience.

     As far as I know, we are the only group that gets the builder to actually sign off on repairs.  For the in-town homebuyers who do get an inspection, it's not the builder's practice to sign off on inspection reports because these buyers can be present to verify repairs themselves.   Because most investors are not interested in making a trip for that reason, we needed to work out a method to verify.  It took some negotiating to get builders to agree to put their own John Henry on the forms; doing so means they are on the hook more than with other buyers.   In my opinion, the very act of putting initials on the form pretty much forces them to make sure the work is done.  If it's ever discovered  they didn't do the work, there is a written record they'd have to deal with.   Neither the builder nor the individual who added his initials warranting the repairs wants to have such issues come back and bite them.

     That being said, you still have the right to hire an inspector to check the builder's work.  I've been through this conversation before; the inspectors charge pretty much the same for a reinspect as for the original, since it fills up an inspection time slot. 

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Q: Is a building inspection really necessary on a new home?
A:  Good question.  Our investors have had inspections performed on over 100 homes built by the most respected builders in Austin.  Without exception, inspectors found items in need of repair, amounting from under $100 to over $1,000.  Most of these items would not be discovered by the tenant or even by the property manager, but they would show up during the inspection your buyer performs when you sell the property.  Some day when you sell the property, warranties will likely have expired.  It's in your interest to get such repairs done at your builder's cost now, so you don't have to pay for them later.

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Q: Should I use the builder's inspector?
A:  Builders sometimes provide inspectors for free.  In my experience, these inspectors' scopes are determined by the builder and with emphasis on cosmetic issues.  Such an inspection is most often not as thorough as one you would get with an independent inspector.

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Q: How do I obtain a building inspection?
A:  If you choose to have an inspection done, there are dozens of licensed inspectors in Austin.   Technically, it is your choice and your responsibility to choose and retain an inspector.  Because you are probably not an Austin resident, I'll try to help:

     For ICG investors, I've negotiated a discount with Rick Runnels of Excel Inspections.   Excel inspections requires payment at or before the time of inspection, so be prepared to overnight payment if you wait until the last minute.  Excel's phone number is 512-262-1100.  They will give you their mailing address.

     Alternatively, Home Critic (I believe the largest inspection firm in town) can often perform inspections on short notice.  They may charge more than Excel Inspections, and they will take VISA over the phone.  Their number is 512-440-8282.

    Feedback I've received from buyers regarding these inspectors has been generally favorable, and at least as good as for any other inspector I've heard about. 

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How do I choose a lender?

Three basic choices:  Builder's preferred lender, local Austin lender, and your existing lender (if you have one.)

My preferred local Austin lender is Cheryl Darter of SouthTrust Mortgage.  She can get a loan approved on one day.  In fifteen years, Cheryl has never let me down.  Contact info: 512-634-2106; email is cheryl.darter@wachovia.com, website is http://cdarter.wachovialoans.com/ 

Your existing lender:  There may be some overhead here, as an out-of- state lender who does not regularly loan in Texas may have difficulty getting you the best financing.  They also don't know who the best and fastest appraisers are and don't have relationships with the local title companies, which can cost you. If you like your existing lender, I would encourage you at a minimum to compare good faith settlement estimates between them and at least one of the above two lenders to help ensure you are getting the best rate and terms.
 

     Be sure to discuss insurance requirements with your lender and your insurance agent.  Some lenders require "loss of rent" coverage in case property damage forces the tenant to vacate.  Such coverage can substantially raise the cost of insurance.

     Consult with your insurance agent and property manager regarding liability insurance.  The example rates quoted here do not include liability insurance. 


How Interest-Only Loans Increase Cash Flow

It's like borrowing against your equity each month; your equity does not grow as fast as with an amortizing loan, but that is offset with a more comfortable cash flow.


30-year fixed
30-year amortization
30-year fixed
Interest only first ten years
Loan amount
$150,000
$150,000
Interest Rate 
6.25%
6.25%
Payment (Principal & Interest vs. Interest only)
$924
$781
Monthly savings (increased cash flow)
0
$143
Monthly savings after 5 years
0
$8,565
Loan balance after 5 years 
$140,006
$150,000

Here's what it means to you after five years:  With the amortized loan, you will have reduced your principal about $10,000.  With the interest-only loan, instead of reducing principal, you will have saved $8,565 in monthly mortgage payments.

The actual difference is $1,429.  This means that if you choose to forego $1,429 in equity,
you can increase your cash flow by $143/month.
 
 
 

 Home

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NOTICE:  The builder in Horizon Park, Centex Homes, requires domestic investors to visit the property at some point prior to closing.  This policy is intended to help Centex comply with interstate commerce laws.  Such laws can require a sale to be made in the state where the property is being bought.  Foreign investors don't need to visit the property, only domestic investors.