12 July

Two Beautiful Austin Modern Retreats!

Posted by Tom Bates - Telephone: 512-413-0870, Email: tom@austinmodernliving.com


Call or email me to learn more about these two beautiful Austin luxury homes!

1401 Shenandoah is a fresh interpretation of a classic linear MCM style.  It boasts a 1000 sf guest cottage and is located on a large corner lot, convenient to major commute roads, Lakeline Mall and more.  If you are looking for a deal, here it is…builder taking massive loss.

5401 Carbine Circle is a hill-country modern green retreat on 5 acres, nestled just outside the village of Bee Cave, convenient to downtown, the lake, the Hill Country Galleria and more.  Show me another 4000 sf house with no water bill, taxes this low and average electric bills at $175/month…now that’s a green home!

Tom Bates, Texas licensed REALTOR, Broker

Austin Modern Living

Austin modern homes for sale

 
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26 June

Buyers and Sellers Seem to Dislike Each Other These Days

Posted by Tom Bates - Telephone: 512-413-0870, Email: tom@austinmodernliving.com


There is certainly something different in the air this year in Austin real estate sales than in previous years.  I mean, like really different.  In years past, buyers and sellers would actually seem to work toward the common end goals: a contract, a non-terminated option period, a deal…and (I dare say) a closing!  This year though, sellers and buyers seem to have other goals in mind…and honestly, I’m not really sure what those goals are!

Certainly part of the issue is that a lot of buyers are shopping for deals and throwing out low ball offers at rapid fire.  And that’s fair, buyers, including myself, want good deals…and the only way to get good deals is to make offers.  The other part of the equation are the sellers.  Austin home sellers are in a tricky spot right now: How do you convince someone from out of state where home values are down 25% that certain Austin markets are actually a pseudo-seller’s market?  You don’t.  You let them figure it out themselves.

Look at the market.  In the south Austin real estate market in the 78704 zip code, the average YTD list price to sales price ratio is 96.32% and the average days to sell a house in 78704 is 72 days.  Sounds pretty similar to the data from the roaring salad days right?  Right.  Still, when you do the research and look at the Austin real estate sales data you will see that one sale where the buyer got 67.80% of list price…and that anomaly is what the buyer market sets their scopes on.

So, I guess this soap box article is really just to highlight that Austin buyers and sellers have severely different OPINIONS these days and that sellers should be prepared for continued low-ball offers and unrealistic expectations and that buyers should be prepared to hear those dreadful words “NO”.  It’s just where we are at right now, and don’t even get me started on the current lender appraisal situation.  Anyway, happy house hunting…and you buyers and sellers out there, why don’t you go out and get a cocktail together…loosen up, get to know one another a little better!  :)

 
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16 June

Austin, A Relocation Real Estate Market

Posted by Gary Thompson - Telephone: 512-799-3022, Email: gwthompson@soularsolutions.com


Having been such a long time Austin resident I have watched our beautiful town be discovered.  It all started in the late 1950′s when UT began exploring computer science research programs, which then resulted in the creation of the Balcones Research Center. Through this they attracted both MCC, with research in computer software, and Semetec, with research in computer chips.  These were major consortiums of various business groups with federal subsidies to do research in those areas.  When I graduated UT in 1967 student enrollment was approaching twenty thousand, and the university had become one of the first in the country to initiate a degree program in computer science.  IBM was just then completing one of their first major facilities here with a type writer manufacturing plant for the old “Memory Writer”.  As the computer industry evolved that facility then became one of the first places to manufacture personal computers in the US, and Austin was off and running.  Up until this happened Austin had been a sleepy little-known town where the main sources of employment were state government and UT.  The computer industry, along with UT then began to accelerate growth as it brought many more talented people from all over the world, and our real estate market began it’s long and steady process of expansion from all of the relocation business.  Austin has since evolved into one of the major high tech cities with UT student enrollment now in excess of fifty-five thousand.  This brings us a wide mix of people who continue to come here from so many different places providing us with such a youthful and vibrant culture, and such a healthy real estate market place. This combined with our natural beauty has made Austin one of the most desirable relocation cities in the US, and the world now knows we are here.

 
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15 June

TV Location Scout Needs This Austin Modern Home or Similar One for Series

Posted by Tom Bates - Telephone: 512-413-0870, Email: tom@austinmodernliving.com


Austin TV Location Scout Needs This Modern HouseIf anyone knows what the address is of this Austin modern house and who the owner is, please let me know.  A location scout for a television series wants to maybe use this house for the TV series shot here in Austin.  The scout told me that the pool scaping and modern architecture is was was important and that this house was perfect, though we don’t know what the address is or who owns it.  If you know please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with this location scout…or if you have a house that will work with a modern courtyard pool like this one, let me know. (We get a handful of these requests each year, so if you want your house to be considered for TV or commercials looking for modern architecture location, let me know and I keep your address and contact information on the ready…which makes me wonder if being a modern homes location scout is a better a living than selling modern homes….hmmm.)

 
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13 June

South Austin Rental Market

Posted by Dave Cothran - Telephone: 111-222-3333, Email: nobody@example.com


Good afternoon everyone!

I have been working with quite a lot of tenants lately and I thought I would take a moment to describe the condition of the leasing market between the Colorado River and William Cannon, IH 35 and MoPac.  These statistics are concerning three bedroom, two bathroom, houses, duplexes, condos, and town-homes between $1000 and $3000 per month.  There are fifteen properties in pending status with an average of just seven and a half days on the market and there were thirty five properties leased in the last sixty days with an average of fourteen days on the market!  What this means is that if you are looking to lease, you need to be prepared to move and move quickly on any property you find that is to your liking.  Working with a licensed real estate agent can make the process of finding a home to lease a much smoother process and as a tenant, in most cases, their services are free!  Weather you are working with a REALTOR or not, there are a few things you should be prepared with so that perfect property does not get leased right out from underneath you.  You should have funds available for application fees and to be able to submit the full security deposit along with your lease application.  Many landlords require this and for the ones who don’t, it will let them know you are serious about leasing their property.  You should have copies of your paycheck stubs available to verify your income, most landlords require your gross monthly income to be at least three times the monthly rent.  If you are self employed, you should be prepared with bank statements and or income tax returns to verify two years of income in most cases.

I hope this information is helpful!  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like me to assist you in finding a great home to lease in South Austin or any of it’s surrounding areas.  I can be reached by email at dave@austinmodernliving.com, or by text or phone at (512) 964-6441

 
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04 June

Perspective on Real Estate Financing

Posted by Gary Thompson - Telephone: 512-799-3022, Email: gwthompson@soularsolutions.com


As we all know, the financial system itself is at the center of this recent down turn in the real estate market.  The combination of the lack of governmental controls combined with the over zealous lending practices resulted in the creation of what has been so aptly termed “the housing bubble”.  I was in a position with one of the nation’s largest home builders and watched it all take place.  It all centered around making housing more affordable as prices got higher and higher.  I watched as it became easier and easier for virtually anyone to get a real estate loan, often with no money out of pocket.  Now the banking system is holding a large percentage of everything from questionable loans to non performing loans to foreclosed properties on their balance sheets.  This combined with the over-due governmental requirements and regulations for higher reserves and our lending institutions are by necessity making it much more difficult to acquire real estate financing.  All of this is occurring while the mortgage lending rates are at all time lows, providing only a very marginal profit potential for lenders.  The banks have little inclination in this financial environment to loan out more money.  They simply have to see interest rates increase before they will be encouraged to take the risk.

The bottom line here is that it has never been a better time to finance real estate for as long as I can remember, and I have been around since the 1940′s.  One of the most obvious lessons I have learned about the markets in general is that there are always the least number of people buying when it is the best buying opportunity.  And, conversely there are always the most buyers when a market is topping out and it is the worse buying opportunity.  The Austin real estate market is only on the fringe of this market decline.  Since we have not had the extremes in highs we have missed the extremes on the lows.  And, because we have such a desirable place for people to live with everything from job opportunities to affordable housing to a beautiful environment we are experiencing a relatively stable real estate market compared to most of the  rest of the country.  All indicators are pointing to an increase in real estate mortgage rates, and from my years of experience buying demand will increase dramatically once the public realizes that reality.  It is one of the major factors that influence our real estate market.

 
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01 June

Austin Real Estate in Transition

Posted by Gary Thompson - Telephone: 512-799-3022, Email: gwthompson@soularsolutions.com


Two basic indicators that I always look at to decide the basic health of our real estate market here in Austin are, first there are more jobs being created here than we are losing, and second there are more people moving here than are moving away.  Austin has been, and continues to be high on almost every statistical list for being one of the most desirable cities to live.  This began in earnest in the 1980′s and has been continuing ever since, with surges coming in waves.  Now with our recent down turn in the national economy, and with Austin being one of the most desirable places for recent college graduates, and younger professionals to find employment we are having another strong influx.  The most obvious aspect of this wave is that most of these people are looking to rent, not own at least in the immediate future.  This, together with many of our existing residents wanting to continue renting has created an ever increasing shortage in rental homes, with apartment complexes gaining higher and higher occupancy levels.  With this increase in demand and the shortage of rental properties coming on the market in most areas we are seeing an increase in rental rates.  Combine this with the very restrictive lending climate for investors, together with the long lead time to build new apartment complexes and this upward trend in rental rates is predicted to gain momentum.  This is actually a healthy sign for our resale market, since many of the homes in inventory are still priced where the resulting mortgage payment is higher than an equivalent rental property even when you consider the tax benefits of ownership. This imbalance should continue to correct itself as the rents rise, and should accelerate more rapidly if and when we see an easing of lending requirements for investor purchases. The most notable aspect is that the price of homes in Austin seem to be holding strong with price increases in some areas.

Next time I will discuss the entirely different real estate market that exists for the one million and above homes, otherwise known as luxury homes.

 
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25 May

Zilker Neighborhood History Lesson

Posted by Dave Cothran - Telephone: 111-222-3333, Email: nobody@example.com


Greetings all,

I have been living in the Zilker neighborhood for the last five years and have come to love this area!  I recently had a chance to talk with Riley Triggs, a neighbor, architect, neighborhood and AD Stenger historian.  A.D. Stenger was an architect/developer/builder whose stamp has been left all through the Zilker and Barton Hills neighborhoods as well as a few other areas around Austin.  Riley had the opportunity to save his childhood home from sliding of the hillside by reenforcing and adding his own architectural touches too it.  His father, a graphic designer, worked with Stenger to design their home in the mid 50′s.  Riley has an incredible wealth of knowledge on the history of this great South Austin neighborhood and I look forward to many future conversations with him on the subject.  One thing I took from this meeting was an understanding of why my soil is so fertile and my vegetable garden does so well when I tend it properly.  Before the neighborhoods were developed up here on top of the hill, this was all farmland, the old Kinney Farmhouse still sits near the corner of Kerr and Barton Blvd.

There is, in my opinion, a great diverse mix in our area of the old and the new.  I have an affinity for the nostalgia and appreciate efforts to preserve the antiquities that are worth saving, I also have an appreciation for the clean lines and minimalist feel of modern architecture.  There are some great rehabs, remodels, tear-downs, modulars, and new construction on empty lots here all happening within a one and a half mile radius.  If you are in the market for a new home, old home, modern home, modular home, and have always wanted to live in this great area of town, I would be more than happy to help make those dreams come true.   Contact me for more information on the history of the hood and to find that perfect piece of property for you!

More to come!……..

 
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24 May

Lakeway

Posted by Gary Thompson - Telephone: 512-799-3022, Email: gwthompson@soularsolutions.com


Imagine an Austin where there was no Capital of Texas Highway, otherwise known as 360, or a Loop 1, otherwise known as Mopac. Ranch Road 2222 was just that, a ranch to market road as in FM, or farm to market road.  It was a small lightly traveled two lane road winding through the Texas Hill country.  This was the same with Ranch Road 620 which became a lightly traveled artery after the Mansfield Dam was completed in the late 1940′s, where it then ran across the top of the dam as a very narrow two lane with spectacular views.  At the time the developers began work on the Lakeway community there was a very small trickle of traffic going by on RR 620.  A landmark then was a small gourmet restaurant known as Alpen Hause that sat almost all by itself in what is now Lakeway.  The restaurant was very unique in that it was created by an internationally known chef that had migrated from Europe to avoid the Nazi occupation.  His older son became one of the first Realtors to sell properties in Lakeway, where the buyers would then have to work with mostly very small custom builders to design and build their home.  The community was initially created as a retirement village and remained so until the road improvement on RR 2222 in the late 1960.s, which required very expensive and time consuming dynamite blasting of the cliffs along the way.  Our access into town at the time from Steiner Ranch, and our small resort on Lake Austin would often take over an hour as the few cars on the road would have to wait for the construction process.  As Austin grew to the west Lakeway would eventually begin to grow ever more rapidly as the transportation time became more acceptable for commuting to work.  Lakeway has now become world renown as a community that affords a resort lifestyle with all of the conveniences of a very prosperous city.  When I was representing a large national builder there four years ago I was amazed at the size and scale that the city had become.  It is amazing now how many people come from so many far away places to explore living in Lakeway and Steiner Ranch.

 
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21 May

West 6th. Street

Posted by Gary Thompson - Telephone: 512-799-3022, Email: gwthompson@soularsolutions.com


In 1968 my mother and I sold the Lake Austin Lodges.  We took in trade an old turn of the century home at 1102 West 6th. Street near the Lamar Street intersection. The home had been redone “a la 1950′s” style into three apartments. It is still there, now nicely redone back to it’s Victorian heritage and serves as offices for Thundercloud Subs. The large wrap around front porch overlooks the street below as it sits high up looking across at what is now the Whit Hanks Gallery building, a modern day landmark in itself. Very few people know or remember however, that the Whit Hanks Gallery on West 6th. was originally a Coca Cola bottling company with large glass windows all across the front of the building. After my wife and I moved into one of the apartments of  the West 6th. street house we discovered a great amusement in that very quiet period of Austin’s history.  We could sit on the porch at night and watch the brightly lit assembly line of Cokes move through the process of filling and capping the bottles across the street.  The great excitement of the evening was when a bottle would explode, and the red lights and siren would go off to shut the assembly line down in order to clean up the mess.  Austin was another world back then when downtown emptied out at quiting time on weekdays, and there was little else besides the few bars and restaurants that existed in that time.  The automobile traffic past the house in those days after hours could be counted on one hand so that it was all a part of Austin being such a sleepy little town back then. My mother and I sold the home in 1982 for approximately $85,000.00 and we thought that was a great price, since the home was only valued at $16,500.00 at the time of the trade 14 years prior. The Austin real estate market, combined with inflation had begun to rise. What changes we have seen since then!  It is now great fun for me when I am able to show prospective clients homes in the older parts of Austin, with those ever present images forever lodged in the back of my mind.  I love what the inner city of Austin has become.  It is now so vibrant and alive.

 
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