In this issue, a philosophical reflection on love, some client appreciation, a book I’m reading about badass women, the market (inventory is LOW) and two off-market listings for YOU.
Post-workout brunch at Pitchfork Pretty on the East Side
A Valentine’s Day Reflection
With Valentine’s Day this month, I’ve had love on the brain. Not just the champagne-and-chocolate kind of love that we commonly associate with Valentine’s Day, but the other kinds of love, one of which you might call appreciation.
One problem we have in the English language is that we use one word, love, for something that’s really very diverse. Ancient Greek had multiple words for love. Apparently there were more than just these four, but the ones I’m familiar with, and those used in the bible, are eros for romance, phileo for friendship, storge for affection and agape for charity or divine love. We lose a lot of meaning in English by not distinguishing. And the phrase “I love you” can get pretty confusing. Like in English we might say to let someone down easy, “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” which sounds like a total cop out. The Greeks knew better and had a bunch of words so they could more effectively break up with people.
Imagine if we could say instead “I feel storge for you, but not eros.”
Okay, I’m off on a tangent. Let’s get back on track.
I’ve been thinking this month, with love in the air, about how I show love to my clients, those of you who have been so generous in supporting our business in Austin. Or should I say, how can I show phileo and storge to you? Okay, let’s cut the Greek and I’ll just call it, appreciation.
Me and Chris appreciating our friend Michael Ybarra (excellent attorney, by the way, if you need to form an LLC) and Andrew, horticulturist extraordinaire, over dinner at Buenos Aires Cafe. Michael has been an incredibly generous referral source and friend to us ever since I knocked on his door in Travis Heights to ask if I could put an open house sign in his yard. Life is weird, huh? What if I had never knocked on that door???
Everyone is different in how they show appreciation to others, and how they like to be shown appreciation. Gary Chapman, author of “The Five Love Languages” and “The Five Appreciation Languages” explains this concept in great detail. I’ve learned about myself that my appreciation language is quality time, and specifically quality conversation and information. There’s nothing that makes me happier than a long, interesting conversation with someone where I learn something new about them or about the world. Basically, I love information. Receiving it and sharing it.
I now realize why this job is so perfect for me. Every day, I confront new situations, in which I learn things, which I then turn around and share with all of you, in the hopes of making your experience better. And it’s why I got so over the top excited putting together this informational resource for buyers and this one for sellers. Chris asked, “Are you going to make a loom video and Trello board about how to do the laundry, too?” Maybe, Chris. Maybe I will.
So if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of information I am sending you, just remember that it is my way of saying “I appreciate you!”
Clients: Be on the Lookout for Tokens of Appreciation!
As I mentioned, I’ve been reflecting a lot in February about love and appreciation, and I wanted to be intentional about letting you know this month how much you mean to me.
And life presented a perfect opportunity. Chris and I were in an Uber on our way to the airport at the beginning of this month, and the driver had put some magazines in the car for riders. I picked up one called “The Secret of Happiness: How to Find Joy and Live Your Best Life.” I’m generally obsessed with self help, happiness and human flourishing, so of course I started reading it. As we pulled up to the airport, I was enthralled with this magazine and realized I didn’t have anything to read on the plane. I asked the driver if I could buy it from her, to which she responded, “Please, take it. The world would be a better place with more happy people. So you don’t owe me anything. Just pay it forward.” It was awesome. And considering my propensity for information, this Uber driver won a spot forever in my heart.
While reading the magazine on the beach later that day, and feeling mighty happy myself, I thought “I should get a bunch of copies of this, and send it out to some of my clients!” And so I did. Look out for a copy of this delightful publication to hit your doorstep, or your mailbox, soon.
I’m also slowly but surely making my way through LinkedIn, and dropping some of you recommendations as another way to say, “I appreciate you!”
Enough about me. What appreciation language do you speak?
What I’m Reading Right Now
Blessed Among All Women: Women Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time by Robert Ellsberg
As part of Lent, I picked up a book that my family bought for me about a decade ago that for some reason I never opened until now. It’s prefect for daily reading, though, as it has short, one to two page passages about saints and other holy women that can be read in a few minutes. I keep it on the bedside table and read one profile over coffee in the morning.
It’s fascinating to read about women from all kinds of backgrounds who lived all kinds of lives. Some married, some single, some widowed, some rich, some poor, some cloistered in convents, others out in the world. A few interesting reflections I’ve had are as follows.
-Human problems don’t change that much. We worried about the same things 2000 years ago that we worry about today.
-“Well behaved women rarely make history” is totally true. All of these women managed to ruffle a lot of feathers.
-The line between madness and genius is frequently thin.
-Living a holy life doesn’t mean living a perfect life.
While reading one morning, I grabbed a piece of paper and jotted down:
“A woman faced with two alternatives. She saw and chose the third-Angela Merici.”
Which spoke to me because even back in 1500, women were refusing to play by other people’s rules. You go, Angela! And then I stuck it on the fridge. Chris said dryly, “You are getting so woo woo.” And walked out of the room.
The Market-February 2018
Opinions about seasonality are funny. I hear from buyers right now that they want to wait until the spring and summer market because there will be more options. I also hear from buyers they want to buy before the spring and summer market, when everyone else starts buying.
Neither are wrong. The bottom line is that in the “slow” months (a relative term, in Austin’s always hot market) there is less inventory, but there is also less competition from other buyers. In the summer, there is more choice for buyers, but there are also more buyers out looking. So, don’t try to time your purchase with the market. Buy when it makes sense for you.
Inventory is particularly low right now, with Texas A&M Real Estate Center putting it at 1.9 at the end of January 2018. That’s 1.9 months of inventory. That number means that if no new homes came for sale, and buyer demand remained constant, it would take only 1.9 months before every home was sold. For perspective, the tipping point between a buyer’s and a seller’s market is usually considered to be 6 months of inventory.
In other words, our inventory is LOW right now. There are not a lot of homes for sale. So as a seller, if you’re thinking about waiting for the spring market, just remember, so is everyone else! How much better might your sale go if yours is the only home available in your neighborhood? Rather than when there are five others for sale? So again, as a seller, don’t try to time the market. Sell when it makes sense for you.
Another risk of waiting for both buyers and sellers is that interest rates are going UP. In the short term, like the next 30-60 days, they’re likely to bob up and down a bit, but in the mid-term, the next 6 months or so, the trend is going to be UP based on all indications. For buyers, this means the same house in a few months will cost you more, even if the asking price remains the same. For sellers, it means your potential buyers lose some buying power, possibly putting downward pressure on your prices.
And buyers, even if listings do start to discount because of interest rates, this is still probably a loss for you. The discount has to be BIG before it offsets the higher monthly payment you’ll see because of interest rates.
All this interest rate talk confusing? Look out for a vlog coming soon from me and Mike Robertson of Vista Lending, explaining the basics of mortgages. Friend me on Facebook, here, to stay up to date.
Pocket Listing/Coming Soon(ish)-6501 E Hill Drive, Unit 120, Austin, TX, 78731
6501 E Hill Dr., Unit 120
3 bedrooms, 2 bath
Built in 1968
Condo with ground floor entry
Asking $255K. Contact me for details and early showings.
This ground floor condo is not yet on MLS, and won’t be for a few months (if it makes it that long), but is for sale. The reason it’s not on MLS is because the seller is doing some work to the home, and is not in a huge hurry, but would gladly sell it today to a serious buyer.
(Side note, hear about this kind of opportunity and more through our Direct Buyer Program, specifically designed to give our direct buyers access to the best deals off MLS.)
The condo community has surface parking, a pool, and a laundry room, and is conveniently located off Mopac and Hart Ln in Northwest Hills, a quick hop to Westlake, Downtown and the Domain. Low maintenance condo living without the garage parking and elevators that annoy some people about condos. Quick and easy to get in and out, and very convenient if you have a dog you need to take out. Just use your back door to the shared grassy area behind the complex.
Interested? Contact me for questions or to arrange an early showing.
Contact me at 973.432.7026 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get in early.
New Construction-2313 Oak Crest A and B-SOLD
These two brand new units are now under contract, set to close next month. Want to hear about it if they don’t make it to closing? Let me know. We have one unit left here, 804 Oltorf A, which will come back on market within a few days. It was taken off temporarily for repairs, but coming back on soon.
2313 Oak Crest Unit A and B
3 bedroom, 2.5 bath
Asking price: $509,900 BOTH PENDING
Additional photos and info here. Click the photo at top left on the map page for additional photos.
Comments? Questions? Praise? Hate mail? We welcome it all.