Austin Fave #24 :: Lady Bird Lake

Lifestyle, Real Estate, Real Estate and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Serving as the enchanting backdrop for Downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake offers countless opportunities for outdoor entertainment with some of the best views in the city.

Sunset over downtown & Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail provides ten miles of breathtaking scenery to enjoy along the water’s edge while getting in your daily exercise, and take it from me, the experience is always invigorating, no matter how many times you’ve made the loop!

It truly is a lush, natural gem in the heart of the city’s core. Find information on access points, etc on the City’s website here.

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Taken from the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

With easy access points along the trail (and also at Zilker Park),  kayak and paddle board rentals are also available, providing an affordable and easy way to cool off on a hot summer afternoon. Head east on the water to admire the reflection of skyscrapers on the dazzling waters, or head west to revel in the views of the hill country setting.

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Lady Bird Lake

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Lady Bird Lake facing West at sunset

 

Another mainstay attraction on Lady Bird Lake happens around dusk each night during the summer when 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats take flight from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge. This is the largest colony of urban bats in North America, and it has become a fascinating tourist attraction- though I recommend it to any residents who haven’t yet been- generating more than ten million dollars in tourism revenue annually.

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Lady Bird Lake

I could go on and on about reasons to visit Lady Bird Lake- visit the Stevie Ray Vaughn memorial, take in the city views from the Doug Sahm Hill in Butler Park or take your four-legged friends over for some leash-free time. And whatever you chose to do, be sure to stop for at least one of the countless photo ops!

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Stevie Ray Vaughn Statue on the Hike and Bike Trail and Lady Bird Lake

 

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Real Estate Love

Real Estate, Real Estate and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

WalletHub recently ranked 2016’s Best & Worst Cities to be in Real Estate, and guess who’s coming in strong at the number four best city in the nation for the profession?

That’s right. Austin, Texas.

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SXSW 2014 :: HopeLivesAustin Photos

As many of you know, I essentially grew up in the world of Real Estate, worked in the industry as an assistant through college, and actually began my career before I  graduated from UT. I have clients ask me regularly, you look so young to be in real estate! How old are you?!

If you’re wondering, I’m 28.  I’ve been licensed for over 5 years, and while there have been some growing pains, they’ve been the most rewarding five years of my life.

Me, Mom and Dad REMAX

My parents and I at the RE/MAX State Convention 2013

Yes, I will agree with WalletHub, Austin is a fantastic city for the profession, but while I’m sure most people immediately think $$$, I have my own reasons.

To begin with, I LOVE working with relocation buyers. While it can be a sometimes daunting task to try to find the ‘perfect’ house in the ‘perfect’ location at an under budget price, their energies are always so full excitement! Plus, a large part of my job is to manage expectations for new buyers anyway, to listen to their wants and needs and to educate them on an otherwise overwhelming and vast sea of options–  at the end of the day, I always tell them, I’m your options girl.

Hope and Camille

My Team Leader and I at the Platinum Top 50 Blue Party in 2014

That excited energy is so contagious! After all, Austin is an exciting place to be, but hands down, the most rewarding part of it all is helping people live and fulfill their own American dreams. There are no words to fully express how much I love meeting with people, hearing their stories, getting to know them and their families and then helping them through what can be one of the most emotional transactions of a lifetime.

Real Estate is a relationship based business, and I treasure the relationships I’ve had the pleasure of building through these last several years. Often, post closing, I sincerely miss getting to see and visit with my clients regularly, though we do try to keep in touch across our busy schedules with an occasional lunch, dinner or quick coffee date.

Client Dinner

Post closing(s) dinner with some of my wonderful clients in January!

As cheesy as it may sound, my team and I sincerely care about our clients. We love what we do, and we truly work from the heart. I believe that comes across clearly to our clients as well.

Plus, who doesn’t like touring homes, exploring different architectures and admiring all of the lovely finishes? 😉

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Downtown Austin across Lady Bird Lake

There are many aspects of this job that I absolutely love, but to bring it full circle, I believe that what my clients say post transaction about my services speaks volumes as to how much I truly love what I do. Below is my latest client review from the Francis’ family who just closed on an incredible waterfront house on Lake Travis:

My wife and I were scrambling for help when our experience with another realtor wasn’t going well. A friend referred us to Hope, and she was a life-saver. We had limited time in Texas, and she made excellent use of it. She was amazingly responsive, personable, and able to filter out the “noise” to help us quickly find the house we truly wanted. We weren’t initially interested in the house we selected, but Hope provided excellent counsel and insisted we take a closer look. We’re so happy she did! She was also great at providing unbiased recommendations for lenders and inspectors. Her network is fantastic! 5 stars across the board…she found us the perfect house and under budget!”

And please feel free to read through my other reviews from my gracious clients on my Zillow profile.

Until next time,

Hope

Austin Lovin’ in the New Year

Lifestyle, Real Estate, Real Estate and Lifestyle

The New Year began with a bang here in beautiful Austin, Texas as the moving trucks continue to roll in with home values on the rise.

Reflecting back on 2015, home prices and the number of home sales set all-time high records, and with job and population growth expected to continue at strong pace, 2016 is projected to be a rosy year in the Austin area market.

Pedernales Lot (5 of 7)

I suppose that when you’re negotiating multiple offers on a waterfront house on Lake Travis on Christmas Eve, then writing two more offers your first week back in the office post holidays, its a sure sign of growth and economic strength in this magical city.

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North Shore of Lake Travis while out previewing homes for a client :: December 2015

If you haven’t spent much time enjoying the beautiful landscape of Lake Travis, do yourself a favor and get out there! The rolling hills, expansive green space and the 228 days of sunshine that Austin reportedly gets per year make for an incredible, breathtaking landscape!

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Lake Travis Sunset from Lucy’s Fried Chicken :: December 2015

There are a few good places to enjoy the view on the South Shore, and Lucy’s Fried Chicken is a good stop to make. They have plenty of outdoor seating, live music, a nice selection of cocktails and of course, chicken. The panoramic views from this spot are indescribable, especially at sunset.

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Lake Travis Sunset from Lucy’s :: December 2015

Lake Travis’ North Shore is equally as beautiful, but if you’re traveling from Austin, the drive is a bit longer. On either side of the lake there are great nature trails to hike, gorgeous photos to be taken and many opportunities to immerse yourself in the true beauty of our wonderful city.

Until next time,

Hope

Card Happening + A Giveaway

Lifestyle, Real Estate, Real Estate and Lifestyle

For years now, I’ve implemented a simple concept in my business that requires little time, but yields great results– sending personal, hand-written notes on a routine basis. Whether it is to a new acquaintance,  a past client, or just a friend or family member, everyone seems to appreciate the time and thought put into this small gesture.

CardHappenings :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

So naturally, when I randomly met Elizabeth and William of Card Happening and heard their story, I was captivated. Essentially, they take the personal note to another level with one-of-a-kind, stunning hand-painted cards inspired by natural phenomena.

CardHappening :: 2015

Card Happening :: 2015

While their styles reflect and are inspired by certain phenomenon, no two cards are the same, making each personally sent note truly unique and different from any other.

CardHappening :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

And since I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with the founders of Card Happening, I would love to introduce them to all of you, too. They are a fabulous, two-person team: William is the Sales and Applied Technologies Rep, and Elizabeth is the the amazing artist behind it all.

CardHappening :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

I will briefly share their inspiring, dream seeking journey, but as I cannot fully do it justice, I encourage you all to read their story on their website here.

Overall, Card Happening is driven by the fundamental belief that beauty is a happening, hence the name Card Happening. Inspired by the wildness of nature, each individual stroke and layer on every card is intentional– carefully thought out by Elizabeth in order to create a mesmerizing experience, different for each recipient.

CardHappening :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

Elizabeth has been hand-making greeting cards for friends and family out of various materials for many years. From paints to wrapping paper, to soup can labels and much more, each card was different as she conveyed each greeting through her artistic ability and creativity.


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Elizabeth loved creating these beautiful works of art so much so, that she and William decided to share this alluring concept of her one-of-a-kind greeting cards with the public– and so Card Happening was born.

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

Upon first meeting Elizabeth and William, they generously gave me a set of three of their unique greeting-cards. Even in that moment, I felt honored to receive their simple gift as I immediately recognized the sheer beauty and passion put into the creation.

These greeting cards leave wonderful, lasting impressions. The colors are vibrant with each stroke wildly different from the next, and the results are strikingly beautiful.

CardHappening :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

Since meeting Elizabeth and William, I’ve given many of their cards to clients with my personal message inside. People absolutely love them! And its so much fun to go through and pick out a specific style and card for each client + I LOVE supporting local businesses. Its a win-win all around.

CardHappening :: Spring 2015

Card Happening :: Spring 2015

Lucky for you guys, they are giving away sets of three cards (one of each style) to three lucky winners through HopeLivesAustin in the next 24 hours! Enter to win the contest by liking HopeLivesAustin on Facebook or Instagram, by liking @CardHappening on Instagram or by sharing this post!

And if you aren’t one of the lucky winners, but you’re interested in ordering some for yourself, Card Happening greeting cards can be purchased at the Blanton Museum here in Austin, or through their user-friendly website. You can also follow them on Instagram: @CardHappening

I love Card Happening and I know you will, too!

xo,

Hope

Market Update

Real Estate

Well friends, I can sum this post up for you very succinctly:

This market is just plain crazy!

Frost Tower photo I grabbed while at SXSW.

Frost Tower photo I grabbed while at SXSW.

The dirty details??

Well, for the fourth consecutive month, both the average and median home prices in the greater Austin area rose, closing out March with an average over $336k and median at almost $256k. Homes are moving very fast, too! The average time on market was less than 15 days for single family residences, and in total, March saw 2,300 home sales close!

A Sixth Street shot I took last spring.

A Sixth Street shot taken last spring.

While we are seeing many new listings enter the market with the Spring season in full swing, demand is also growing so inventory levels remain low.

Job growth in the area is still strong, and Austin was recently listed as the number one tech city in the U.S. by Savills Plc, a consulting firm based in London. An article in the Austin Business Journal sums it up here:

“Using five metrics such as property prices, talent pool and quality of life, Austin beat out tech hotbed San Francisco and rated No. 1 in the overall ranking of 12 cities, the Wall Street Journal reported. ”

Live music at Austin's Barton Creek Resort & Spa shot last Spring.

Live music at Austin’s Barton Creek Resort & Spa shot last Spring.

Austin is rocking and rolling– and in more than one sense of this phrase that currently seems to epitomize the World’s Live Music Capital in so many ways.

The real estate market is beginning to drive me a bit crazy though. I’m writing several offers a week– almost always at least a few thousand over the asking, and it is still a challenge. Lately, the work never seems to end.

Fortunately, there is an adrenaline that accompanies this craziness. So my friends, until next time, I’ll be running around like a little chicken– meeting myself coming and going. Oh, and trying to catch some of Austin’s Fashion Week!

XO,

Hope

Your Austin Area Market Update

Real Estate

The year has begun with a bang here in Austin, setting the pace for what economists predict will be another great year in real estate, and Your Austin Area Home Team is excited!

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Austin’s Iconic Frost Tower

Despite December’s holiday-bustle factor, homes sales remained strong last month, setting the record for an all-time-high with almost 2,300 home sales and a median sales price of $246,530 for the Austin metro-area. That momentum carried us into a robust January, and there is no end in sight. I was literally negotiating on a multiple offer situation while at a wedding on New Year’s Eve! We submitted a clean, strong offer, won the bid and executed on New Year’s Day.Yes, I am dedicated to my clients no matter what is going on, but talk about a great way to start the New Year!

View of the Capitol down Congress Avenue

View of the Capitol down Congress Avenue

In a nutshell, 2014 looked a little something like this: Around 66,000 people moved into Austin, and over 39,000 jobs were added to the economy. Our strongest economic drivers were (and still are) population growth, technology and enterprise, the education and health sectors, and of course, the value added from our world famous festivals. SXSW, ACL, Fun Fun Fun Fest & F1 + many, many others contributed over $1.4 billion to Austin’s economy over the last two years alone. Collectively, these factors made 2014 a great year for Austin Real Estate. Check out the year’s stats in the graphic below.

Austin Area Market Stats for 2014

Austin Area Market Stats for 2014

Local economists are predicting that another 69,000+ jobs will be added to the economy in 2015 & 2016, and population growth will likely correlate directly. We are still facing the same housing obstacles that 2014 encountered– low inventory levels and affordability, but considering the simple supply and demand principle, 2015 will be another stellar year for the Austin real estate market.

If you know anyone thinking of buying, selling or leasing in the greater Austin area, give me a call or just send them my way! Always happy to help!

Happy Thursday!

Hope

Is Austin in a Bubble?

Real Estate

In this week’s blog, I felt it more than appropriate to address this month’s million dollar real estate question, courtesy of Trulia: Is the Austin real estate market in a bubble?

Resoundingly, no.

Get ready for some stats and numbers people, because although this may not be my typical writing style, I feel it is pertinent to address this interesting claim against my fabulous city.

Earlier this month Trulia released an article placing Austin under their “Bubble Watch”, claiming that we have the most overvalued homes in the nation. Check it out here. If this were completely true, it would certainly be of concern for recent and current buyers. However, local economic experts have refuted this claim with data supported by Austin’s strong population and job growth and the most recent market statistics.

In the last 12 months, 31,400 jobs were added to the Austin metro area, according to the Texas Workforce Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Austin leads Texas with the lowest unemployment rate at 4.2% while the national rate is at 5.7%. With industry giants like Facebook, Google, Apple Inc., Dell, IBM, Samsung, 3M, Dropbox and Whole Foods among many others either already here, or planning to come here, population and job growth are only projected to increase.

According to the Senior Vice President of Economic Development at the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Dave Porter, 307 companies moved into the Austin area in the last nine years, and this type of growth is only expected to increase and continue. In February, Forbes named Austin #2 when it comes to metro areas with the best job growth prospects over the next three years, and this growth will inevitably have a positive domino-type effect on the housing market.

This September we saw a 10% increase in home sales from September of 2013, setting a record for the month for highest recorded sales numbers. Check out the Austin Board of REALTORS’ info-graphic on the September 2014 stats here.

For the fourth year in a row, Austin topped Forbes’ annual list of the nation’s fastest growing cities. With an average number of 110 people moving into the Austin-area daily, the main problem we are facing in the current market is the lack of available inventory. Whereas the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University balances the available housing inventory level at 6.5 months, September’s inventory level sunk to 2.8 months. Demand is high, but supply is low.

Bill Evans, the current President of the Austin Board of REALTORS commented, “Recent reports from a national real estate advertising company have claimed that the Austin-area housing market is overvalued, but local economic experts continue to point to our region’s strong economic and population growth as foundations of a healthy market and indicators that those claims are not true. The 110 people who the City of Austin says move to Austin every day need homes to live in, and the real issue at hand is whether those people can afford those homes.”

The proof is in the pudding people– the bottom line is that there is much more demand than supply in Austin, and as long as our population and job growth continue to meet projections, our “bubble” won’t be bursting any time soon.

So why would Trulia publish this info? My only speculation is that HEADLINES SELL! The entire nation has been talking about the hot Austin real estate market, so what better way to get people’s attention? Go pick on another city, Trulia!

As Evans mentioned, the real issue we’re facing is affordability, and I plan to address that next week! (Not before a few fun posts though :))

Happy living & loving my friends,

Hope