This is my first ever two-for-one newsletter! This is May and June, all in one place!
Okay, I’ll be honest. June was a very busy month for me with a lot of soul searching. The newsletter fell through the cracks.
But I’m back, with a recap of our Baja California vacation and some interesting listings you should check out.
Now taking investor and agent calls at Clarity.fm
I’ve been writing a lot on Quora for some time (if you want to hear my miscellaneous opinions about human behavior, investing, real estate, and just about anything else, check it out). I like to write, and figured it would be a good outlet for that.
What I didn’t anticipate was getting emails and phone calls from investors and new real estate agents all over the country, asking me for advice. I love talking to people, one reasons I’m in this job, but at some point you have to get selective. Many of you fine folks have hired me to find you a home or get your home sold, so I can’t in good conscience spend hours talking to Jane Doe the California first time real estate investor who wants a thousand comps, five spreadsheets, and is never going to buy anything in Austin. Do I sound too snarky? Forgive me. It’s been a long month.
So a brilliant entrepreneurial friend of mine introduced me to an elegant solution. Clarity.fm. People can schedule a call slot with me, and pay by the minute. It’s amazing how quickly people get to the point when they’re paying by the minute! And how many first time investors, as it turns out, really don’t need all that information about Austin after all.
I do, of course, welcome questions from my friends and clients about real estate investing in Austin. You guys are my people. Jane and John Doe will have to get in line.
Just one more thing I’m doing to work more efficiently for YOU. You’re welcome.
The Market-Still Strong
Sorry to disappoint you buyers out there, but it’s still a seller’s market with prices hitting new highs, low inventory, and no end to the party in sight. You can check out the numbers for yourself here. Scroll to the bottom for the newest.
While I still believe the Austin market will continue to appreciate for several years into the future, markets are cyclical, and it’s interesting to reflect on what a reversal in Austin might look like. Sitting on a dock on Lake LBJ this morning, I had just such a conversation over coffee with my husband, a finance fanatic, and my uncle, an intelligent businessman with a tech background. Chris brought up this Wall Street Journal article, which ended with an interesting reflection on the strength and weakness of the current tech market. I’ve been saying for awhile that the thing that would halt the hiring in Austin, and thus stop the demand, and thus drop or plateau prices, would be a tech crash.
So, the Wall Street Journal article:
Are there any bells ringing now? How about a few months back when someone looked me in the eye and insisted—without cracking a smile—that Uber was a bargain at a $68 billion valuation? Or when, with shades of AOL and Time Warner , Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13 billion—and then its stock went up by more than that amount? Or when Tesla missed its numbers again and the stock rose anyway? Or when the price of a bitcoin, backed by nothing but the faith of devotees, hit $3,000, tripling over a year? Or when Hertz stock rose 14% on news of a deal with Apple for a self-driving car that is still vaporware?
Listen for whom the bell tolls.
Are there bells ringing in Austin? I don’t think prices being higher than they were a few years ago is a sign of impending doom. But if you keep proclaiming that for long enough, you’ll eventually be right. Just like a broken clock is right twice a day.
Just as the author says, you never know for sure, except in retrospect.
Welcome to the Baja California
Chris and I landed in Cabo, and took the three and a half hour drive through the mountains to get to La Paz, dodging horses and goats along the way. The folks in Baja seem to have a very cavalier attitude regarding their livestock. Almost as cavalier as the truck driver who came into our lane, head on at 50 miles an hour, to avoid having to go over any speed bumps on his side of the road. Chris, in his characteristic calm, said flatly “What the…” as a giant semi barreled down a Mexican desert highway only a few yards in front of us.
We’ve never been to Baja before, and had no idea what to expect. It’s beautiful, and not like anywhere I’ve ever been. It’s the desert, on the ocean. I’ve only visited tropical ocean climes, or occasionally northern Atlantic regions, but never cactus-y mountains on the ocean.
We set aside one day to visit the beautiful Isla Espiritu Santo, or in English “Island of the Holy Spirit,” a name that perfectly plays to my Catholic sensibilities. It’s a UNESCO site, a carefully maintained wilderness of an island, with an absurd number of sting rays in the sand and a delightfully noisy colony of sea lions. We traveled there by boat, a very small boat for a long trip on rather large waves.
Chris and I generally are not fans of guided group tours. Most people move too slowly for us, and being trapped on a boat for 9 hours with strangers sounds risky. Who knows who you’ll get stuck with? But we had the great fortune of being the only people who bought the tour that day. (SCORE!) That meant that it was the two of us, our boat driver and our tour guide, a charming young woman who, it just so happened, spent a semester at UT Austin, and as a result had perfect and beautifully accented English. So we spent the day snorkling with sea lions, observing newborn sea lions and their mothers, and I mean new born 30 minutes ago, and trying not to get in any altercations with the very large, very noisy, very intimidating males.
Then we went to the “camp,” a few tents, chairs, hiking trails and an outdoor kitchen on the beach, where we drank Mexican beer, lounged in beach chairs, kayaked around the small bay scaring dozens of sting rays, and generally celebrated how beautiful the world can be.
Update-we had a very lively adventure on the way to the airport in Cabo. You can read about it on my Facebook here.
Senate Bill 451(Short term Rentals) and Code Next
I wrote recently about possible short term rental law changes coming to Austin soon. Last I’ve heard, the bill didn’t pass, but I’ll have the full update for you next month!
The month of July will also find me educating myself about Code Next. If anyone is familiar, call me! I’d love to chat. If you’re curious about Code Next, too, and what it means for Austin building and development, then look out for next month’s newsletter.
We have the pleasure of helping some close personal friends of ours sell this home in 78704. With a wedding on the horizon, they’re moving into a new space, and are ready to move out of this home in August.
3114 Corbin Ln, Austin, TX, 78704
2 bedrooms, 2.5 bath, 1556 SF
Do you know anyone who wants to be in 78704, close to bars, restaurants, Zilker, Barton Springs and everything else that 78704 has to offer? And are they having trouble affording a house with a yard? 3114 Corbin is definitely an option worth considering then!
Attention buyer’s agents: This property is offering a commission bonus to buyer’s agents. Just ask me!
4014 Duval Street, 2A, Austin, TX, 78751
3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 car garage, 2035 SF
We are currently helping a lovely family get their home sold in Hyde Park. If you know anyone interested in a newer, low maintenance home in Central Austin, this is a perfect property. It’s immaculately maintained with the exterior, landscaping and pest control all managed for you. Ideal for a second home or for anyone who doesn’t want to manage repairs and renovations on an older home.
I’m talked to many of you recently about the move in our business toward assisting investors with renovation projects. We’ve spent a lot of time in the last year helping investors find, underwrite, close and renovate projects in Central Austin. Placid is one of our first projects, and the nearest to being complete and ready to sell. 4506 Placid Place was a gut renovation. New floors, new siding, new drywall, new almost everything. We’re very excited to be marketing this property in the next few weeks.
4506 Placid Place, Austin, TX, 78731
4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2169 SF
Large Lot: .3 acres
Available July 2017
Note to buyer’s agents: Commission bonus to buyer’s agents! Just ask.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for showings and more information.