• Thu. Dec 1st, 2022

State of Texas defends $2.9 million payment for San Marcos home, says price was in line with Austin homes

ByWillie M. Evans

Apr 8, 2022

Texas State University is defending its purchase of a house in San Marcos for $2.9 million – more than three times its appraised value – late last year for a new presidential residence.

But real estate experts say it’s highly unusual to gauge a home’s value by looking at homes in a different city or county.

“You try to stick to your neighborhood” when looking at comparable homes, said Tracie Hasslocher, realtor and 2022 board chair of the San Antonio Council of Realtors. She was in no way involved in the sale of the house to the State of Texas and she spoke about real estate practices in general.

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If you can’t find recently sold homes that are the same size as the home you’re looking to buy, “you keep branching out into nearby neighborhoods, or at least the same school district or on the same side of the road, and cut it down as best you can,” Hasslocher said.

The university purchased the home at 103 West Laurel Lane, less than a mile from the San Marcos campus, in November 2021. That same year, the Hays County Assessment District listed a market value of $877,100. $ and a assessed value of $672,844 for the property. , according to assessment district records.

Mike Wintemute, Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications at Texas State University Systemsaid the house is a “one-of-a-kind residence in this area,” and it’s a perfect home for incoming president Kelly Damphousse because it has enough space to entertain guests and host events.

The home has four bedrooms, five bathrooms and a swimming pool and pool house, according to the county assessor’s office. The living area is 5,250 square feet and sits on approximately 2.5 acres of land. It is located in the Spring Lake Hills neighborhood, less than 1 mile from the Texas State Campus.

“Its proximity to campus makes it an ideal location for a president’s home, and there really isn’t anything quite like it near campus,” Wintemute said.

Wintemute said that in order to determine the home’s true market value, TSUS representatives reviewed 20 homes of comparable size in Austin based on square footage, lot size and proximity to campus. He said there was no comparable house in San Marcos of equal area or size.

“Through this process, the Chancellor (TSUS) ensured that the value of the house far exceeded the appraised value and began the process of negotiating with the Meeks family on a purchase price that was within his spending power,” Wintemute said.

The comparable analysis for the home did not include any homes in the same neighborhood, or in San Marcos at all — highly unusual for determining a home’s true market value, real estate experts say.

Hasslocher said that to determine the value of a home, a broker will review homes that have been sold, homes that are active, or listings withdrawn from the past six months for homes similar to the home for sale in question, and will review homes that are in the general area of ​​the house that is sold.

Hasslocher said it’s not common practice to go to another county or city to look at comparable homes.

“For comps, you stay in your area,” she said, adding that private appraisers may have different methods for estimating home value.

Hasslocher also said supply and demand are the name of the game in real estate right now, with the supply of new homes in dire straits and sellers hesitant to sell because they’re not sure they can find a home. another house.

The house was sold to the university by John and Karen Meeks, who are listed as relatively minor donors to the university. For the current school year, they donated $500 or more to the Texas State College of Fine Arts and Communication, according to university records. The Meeks did not respond to a request for comment.

Brian McCall, Chancellor of TSUS, is responsible for overseeing the entire university system: Texas State University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University, Sul Ross State University, Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College Orange, and Lamar State College Port Arthur.

It is within the Chancellor’s authority to authorize purchases and acquisitions up to $3 million. Anything above this figure requires the approval of the Board of Regents.

The $2.9 million came from unrestricted institutional reserves, which are made up of residual income from things like tuition, gifts, funds generated from food services, or the sale of retail merchandise in stores across the country. campus. It can be used for general operations of a university, such as salaries, building maintenance, general operating expenses, and the purchase of new facilities.

Outgoing Texas State President Denise Trauth lived in a president’s home on campus that will be converted into an academic or research facility.

Annie Blanks writes for the Express-News through Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. ReportforAmerica.org. [email protected]