Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 at 10:12am. 150 Views, 0 Comments.
If you have tried lately to permit any kind of addition or remodel to your home through the City of Austin, you’re probably on Rogaine treatments by now. It is a hair tearing out experience to be sure. Navigating the historically difficult process of permitting has always been a big pain but it is far far worse than ever now.
It could easily take 3 or 4 months to get a permit to get started on your project.
Last year the City lost 70% of its employees in the permitting and planning department. In speaking with contractors and architects who have regular dealings down there, they believe it’s because it had become such a miserable job. Austin’s development code is VERY convoluted and complex. And contradictory I am told.
Friday, January 25th, 2013 at 8:40am. 184 Views, 0 Comments.
After the cold grey weather we’ve had the last few weeks in Austin lately (very unusual), I was getting cabin fever and decided to do a little exploring in my north central Austin neighborhood of Rosedale on the south end of Burnet Rd.
Good grief, Charlie Brown! Astounding!
I have of course been keeping up on paper with the changes along Burnet Rd from about Justin south to 45th. But driving with intent to actually ‘see’ the changes rather than run errands or whatever really made an impression.
We are seeing a radical transformation here.
There is the obvious…the apartments going up in place of the old Courtyard Shops in the 5400 block. Eye Doctors of Austin’s MASSIVE expansion at Hancock and Burnet complete with crane and…
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 at 9:11am. 76 Views, 0 Comments.
Wow. It took a few days, but I get it now. It is barely two weeks in to January, typically a time when real estate is still at least a little relaxed. Not this year.
It is a piranha pool out there.
I have been working with one client this past week and both homes they had an eye on were in multiple offer situation before you could blink an eye. Another had just begun considering making a cash offer for a condo in his older project where units typically stay on the market for a while because the competition is mostly new high rises. Between mid afternoon when the seller’s agent solicited us about my client making a cash offer and early the next morning, she sent an email saying they had a cash offer in hand.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 at 3:11pm. 126 Views, 0 Comments.
I happened to speak with Mike Robertson of Vista Lending the other day about a refinance for one of my clients. I picked up a few possibly important data points about interest rates that could affect us all.
As most of you know, rates have been and are historically low at the moment. It has certainly been a big factor in…
Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 9:11am. 275 Views, 0 Comments.
I described in Part I the pitfalls of using impersonal Big Guy institutional lenders to do your mortgage financing. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, read on for specifics about where it can go wrong and what it can cost you in real dollars out of your pocket.
As far as I can tell, far too many of the big banks have a business model based on churning through as many new customers as possible. There is zero emphasis on satisfying the customer once they have swallowed them in to the ‘system’. Once there, they have you, changing lenders in mid stream usually is just not possible so you’re stuck.
In my experience, it can mean closing dates are just ‘guidelines’ not hard stops. That matters because a missed…
Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 9:01am. 222 Views, 0 Comments.
There are many parts of the home buying process that are important but one of the most deceptively important pieces is what lender you use. Why ‘deceptively’? Because most clients, understandably, focus only on the interest rates and closing costs as the ultimate criteria for making their choice. After all, that’s how lending institutions draw you in. And, for good reason, those things are important.
Ah, but there is SO much more to it than that. Hang with me here a minute…
Who can say that they had a wonderful customer service experience with the Dept. of Motor Vehicles? Or, the IRS? What do the DMV and IRS have to do with choosing a lender to purchase my home, you are asking? Well, two things…the hairball of rules,…
Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 4:48pm. 307 Views, 0 Comments.
My, oh my, Burnet Rd is transforming before our very eyes, as is N. Lamar.
I drove past the intersection of N Lamar and North Loop to find the northwest corner completely scraped. Jaw drop. Wow, that happened fast! I know it’s going to be apartments for sure, http://www.camdenlamarheights.com/, and I hear rumors that another piece of state owned property very close by is going to be along the lines of The Triangle a half mile down the road. Hmmm, wonder about that.
Then, Courtyard Shops, the quirky, funky group of antique stores that were behind Karavel Shoes, around Clay and Burnet, are going down to make way for apartments. I’m a little sad about that. Poking around that little cluster of shops was always a fun way to spend a…
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 at 9:43am. 390 Views, 0 Comments.
I am going to focus for a moment on a pet peeve of mine.
One detail that often gets overlooked when people put their home on the market is the photos. You would be shocked at the quality, or lack thereof, of photos real estate agents often use to ‘market’ a home. It shocks me, I can tell you.
Maybe these agents fancy themselves amateur photographers. Emphasis on the word ‘amateur’ because there are so many horrible photos that show up on MLS and by extension, Zillow and Trulia and other sites.
Take a look at these:
This caliber of photos shows up routinely on MLS and the Internet. In the spirit of full disclosure, I can pass judgment on these because I took them. In setting up my house for a short term…
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 at 2:18pm. 183 Views, 0 Comments.
Holy Moly! If you’ve been paying attention you may have heard snippets that the real estate market in Austin is recovering.
That would be an understatement.
It’s hard to appreciate what that means unless you are out there working with buyers trying to put a house under contract in a mad bidding scramble every time a new house pops up on the market. Hard to appreciate unless you are a seller’s agent having to finally call a breathless time out to send all buyers to their corners so you can reintroduce some order to a multiple offer bidding war.
It’s crazy out there! But onnnnhhhhh, how good it is for sellers right now! If you have been on the fence about selling your house, it’s now time to jump off and ride…
Sunday, May 13th, 2012 at 5:49pm. 249 Views, 0 Comments.
Few neighborhoods have as much charm and convenience as those like Rosedale, Brentwood, Crestview and the like. They are SO cute!
Let’s face it, however. As adorable as those cozy little cottages and bungalows are, often the floorplans and use of space simply aren’t an ideal match for the way families live today. When I bought my 1929 Rosedale beauty in 1996, there was no laundry room, or a place for a washer/dryer, and the closets were mere afterthoughts. Sorry, I will go without many things but a washer and dryer are not one (or is that two?).
So, I had to do what many people contemplating a purchase in these areas do at some point…consider remodeling, or adding on. Or both, gulp. While not a process for the faint of heart, it…