Babymoon in Aruba
As I sit down to write this newsletter, I’m 30 weeks pregnant. Chris and I can feel how real this baby is getting and how close we’re coming to being a family of 3. So it was really important for us to have one more getaway before we have a baby in tow.
With 2020 being 2020, we haven’t traveled nearly as much as usual. Basically, not at all. But in October, we took a week and visited Aruba.
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28 weeks and 👉🏻 25 weeks. This belly is getting real. And baby meatball is apparently a baby coconut as of today. How appropriate for a #babymoon in #Aruba. Chris said “Oo we can definitely find a coconut.” Baby is kicking up a storm and sometimes my belly goes all wiggly and sideways-y. But when I tell Chris to look it stops moving. My child is already defying me from the womb. 😆 Recent fun developments have included: -waddling -weird hip pain in only my right hip -being stared at wistfully by strange women who get all starry-eyed when they see my belly No one has tried to touch my stomach which I assume is a pro of being pregnant in a pandemic. Couldn’t be more grateful to @wire_austin for holding down the fort on our last couple’s vacation before we become parents. Thanks, ladies!
It was very quiet, which we were told was not the norm. The beach was half empty, restaurants were easy to get into, and the cruise ships were all docked and empty. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the water was perfect. It honestly was an ideal time to go, since I understand that Aruba is “normally” really crowded.
We spent lots of time on the beach under a little personal palapa looking out at the gorgeous water. I’m finally showing, so strangers were happy to share congratulations, advice and well wishes, which I actually find endearing. At one point as we were lounging in our chairs, a family chose a spot not far from us. Their daughter, who looked about 5, proudly announced “We’re here to party!” which Chris and I found hilarious. It was like a snapshot of what I hope is our future as a family: visiting the beach, children in tow, and all down to party.
Presenting to Women’s Business Association at UT
In October, Emily Guo, a member of our team and a student currently at UT, arranged for me to give a talk to WBA, an undergrad women’s group focused on business at UT.
I presented on Entrepreneurship and Small Business, a topic that I feel is very under-discussed in business schools and is also misunderstood.
Some of the main points I wanted to drive home to the 60 or so women on this call were:
- Entrepreneurship is very scrappy. You don’t have to have a billion-dollar idea. You don’t have to have it all figured out. It’s way more accessible than it looks from the outside.
- Networking is incredibly important. I never would have landed in real estate if it weren’t for the help of alumni, who helped me get a job I frankly was not qualified for. Go meet people.
- Whether you choose to own a business or work for someone else, negotiation is an invaluable skill set that women don’t learn enough. People don’t expect women to be good negotiators, which makes it kind of like a superpower.
I conveyed these lessons and others by telling my own story, from college to today. And my own story involves twists and turns and surprises and failures and mortifying moments and plenty of pain and failure and joy and growth and lots of very human, imperfect moments. I wanted them to know they don’t have to be perfect to make an impact.
I loved giving the talk, and took questions at the end. One woman asked me to elaborate on how I built WIRE and built a team of all women. The phrasing of the question implied that I did it on purpose, and I explained that like everything else about my journey, I stumbled forward mostly accidentally and in the dark. But her question made me realize, it’s probably a good moment to share the story of WIRE more publicly, so here we go.
How WIRE Austin Came to Be
This topic feels particularly important as I head into maternity leave. Between now and sometime-2021, I’m going to be leaning on the women of WIRE particularly hard to keep our clients happy, keep business running smoothly and uphold our culture while I’m recovering from childbirth and trying to figure out how to shower with a newborn at home. And I’m so blessed to have a team of women who are more than capable of doing all of that and more.
So, how did we get here? Slowly, organically, and mostly accidentally.
About 6 years ago, when Chris and I moved to Austin, we started selling real estate. It wasn’t long before we realized that we were very bad at doing paperwork, writing contracts correctly, keeping dates and deadlines, and generally speaking, details. Emma Martinez happened to be doing what’s called “contract to close” work for several agents in our office, so we hired her to help on a transaction. From that day, we never completed another transaction again without working with Emma. For six years, Emma has been doing contract to close for us, and as any client can attest, so much more. But to fully sing Emma’s praises would take another 5 paragraphs.
For years, it was just the three of us, and then when Chris broke off to start Urban ATX, just me and Emma.
One day in early 2019, I looked up and realized I was completely overwhelmed and that Emma and I could no longer handle the transaction volume I had coming in. I was already starting to think about having children someday, and thought to myself “I cannot have a baby and operate at this capacity.” So I reached out to Morgan Pool, who I had worked with a bit at JB Goodwin, to see if she would help me a few hours a week. As it turned out, she was in the midst of a transition herself and moved her license over to Spyglass. From there, were started working together informally while we hashed out the details of what forming a team would look like. By the summer of 2019, things were solidified and Morgan became an integral part of every transaction I did, as well as adding her own clients to our mix.
Also in 2019, I thought having an intern to help with marketing, runner tasks, and various personal assistant work would be a good idea. I was introduced to Emily Guo, a student at UT, who immediately proved to be a great culture fit and overall a stellar team member. I honestly forget regularly that Emily is still a student because she rocks so much. It doesn’t feel right to call her an intern, because the responsibilities she carries are so significant. She has been managing our social media basically single-handedly for months, and that’s just one example of stuff that just gets done without me having to think much about it.
We had four women working together like a well-oiled machine. But what we didn’t have was a brand.
One night in 2020, sometime around the Tiger King period of COVID, I was lying awake in bed thinking. I was newly pregnant, and experiencing this formerly unknown phenomenon called “lying awake at night staring at the ceiling.” (I’m usually a stellar, award-winning sleeper. I once slept through a car accident on a Dallas freeway, sprawled across the back seat.)
As I lay awake, I started thinking about branding for the team (like you do). I didn’t want to be “The Affinito Team.” We had used “Funky Homes of Austin” for years, but I’d never loved it. What would actually capture the mission, culture, and spirit of our team? If it grew, what did I want it to be about?
I started toying around with things having to do with the empowerment of women. Closing the investment gap for women. Women empowered to make good financial decisions. Women in real estate. Wait for a second, women in real estate. W-I-R-E. That’s interesting. I wonder if anyone has claimed that?
They hadn’t, and WIRE Austin was born. As soon as we started taking small, tentative steps to try on the name, I started getting enthusiastic feedback. The team loved it. Clients liked it and started calling us “WIRE” or posting it in their captions about closing their home. I knew we’d hit on the right thing. And so, here we are. WIRE Austin.
What’s next for WIRE? Well, recently we’ve added two new women, Cindy Garcia (check out her introduction in last month’s newsletter here) and Karen Ponette. I’m so excited to have them both on the team. And I’m also getting long-winded. So look out next month from the story of WIRE, to be continued.
Welcome to the Team, Karen
In October, we had the pleasure of welcoming Karen Ponette to the WIRE Austin team. Karen has joined us in our new 90-day agent on-boarding position. In just a couple of weeks, she already has three exclusive buyer contracts that she’s working with and one of whom is now under contract and heading towards closing. That’s amazing progress for the first weeks within this position and we are so excited to see what 2021 has in store. The timing couldn’t have been any better!
Contracts and Closings
Congratulations to Quinn who closed on his home in Central Austin. We have navigated multiple offer situations and a competitive market for buyers and we’re excited to be at the finish line.
Also congratulations to Willie, who competed in a competitive offer situation. We developed a competitive edge with his offer and ultimately went under contract with sight unseen. Willie came to town and was able to see the property for option period and it goes to show in this marketplace for buyers, it definitely pays to be persistent!
HYPOINT Residences by Urban ATX
In October, we took HYPOINT residences live on MLS.
Townhomes at HYPOINT will be ready for move-in starting January of 2021. The remainder of the units will deliver between the Fall and Winter of 2021. The smaller floor plan, The Chelsea, starts from $425,000. The Ashby starts in the $600s (we won’t have any Ashby’s available until later in 2021, so pricing will probably move a bit.)
Based on early interest, I highly recommend contacting us to set a reservation appointment if these look interesting to you.
Our sales showroom is now open by appointment. Come by the site and see for yourself why HYPOINT should be the next stunning residential community you live in. 🏗
6020 Springdale Rd
Austin, Texas 78723
You can check out more information here https://www.urban-atx.com/hypoint-cover. Inquire through the website, reply to this email, or email Cindy at email@example.com for more information or to book your showroom reservation.
Austin Market Updates
Every week, the WIRE Austin team releases a Tuesday Market Update, highlighting the current trends in Austin Real Estate, key statistics and a summarization of how the market is treating buyers and sellers. We release our episodes on our Facebook and Instagram pages as well as via email.
View the previous market updates here:
To sign up to receive our weekly Austin market updates, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.