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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Austin Faves: Top 25 Countdown

Real Estate and Lifestyle, Uncategorized

There are so many wonderful aspects of life here in Austin directly related to the city itself, its beauty and its culture. Many of us wake up each day feeling lucky just to have the opportunity to live in such a dynamic place, where it seems there is quite literally something for everyone.

And so, in an honest attempt to get back to regularly blogging, I’ve been inspired to share a countdown of my absolute favorite things about living in Austin.

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Live music at Tellers last Saturday :: April 2016

# 25 :: The Weird Factor

While the weird factor clearly goes hand in hand with the city’s  “Keep Austin Weird” slogan, the idea encompasses much more than non-Austinites realize. The weird factor epitomizes the thoughts that you literally never know what you may come across/see (even on the streets of downtown), what events/opportunities may present themselves and/or what you may find yourself doing on any given day (in the best way possible and with an open mind of course).

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Late night brats on Sixth Street anyone? :: April 2016

From dudes in thongs riding bicycles downtown, to mini-festivals year round celebrating everything from brass instruments to Old Pecan Street; from a perennially Christmas-themed bar to the Cathedral of Junk and the actual Museum of the Weird; the general laissez faire attitude of the residents constructs an open platform of creativity with endless possibilities.

Last weekend was one of those weekends for me. After strolling downtown on Saturday evening, admiring the Capitol views, running across animated characters such as the two in the bratwurst cart above, popping in one place for some live music, then into another for a fantastic light dinner, Sunday was wide open.

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Last Saturday’s dinner at Parkside :: April 2016

I’d seen mention of the Honk! Festival some place or other, looked it up and decided to check it out. It was even more amazingly weird than I could have ever imagined!

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Honk! Festival 2016 at Pan Am Park :: April 2016

According to its website: “HONK!TX is a nonprofit, community-driven festival that brings street and brass bands from around the country to perform for free in the public spaces of Austin, Texas. Mobile and unamplified, HONK! bands transform everyday locations into spontaneous stages, dissolving the line between crowd and performers and inviting everyone to celebrate the joys of music and community.”

While I’ve never considered myself an aficionado of the brass arts, the music was wonderful! And the costumes were out of this world as colorful tutus, striped overalls, wild hats and random leotards constituted the dress code for many of the bands’ participants. It was a great experience, and I look forward to attending this free event again next year! 🙂

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Honk! Fest at Pan Am Park :: April 2016

 Y’all, the entertainment possibilities here in Austin are truly endless, but here’s a nice guide from Do512 if you’re looking to get a little weird this weekend. 🙂
Until next time,
Hope

 

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.

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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

Weekend Recharge

Real Estate and Lifestyle

Each Friday, about half way through the day I begin to feel this sense of excitement, a flutter of riveting anticipation: What will this glorious weekend in Austin behold?

With an Austin bucket list a mile long, the possibilities are always seemingly endless with new restaurants to try, different trails to hike, more natural beauty to be observed… the list goes on forever.

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East Side Show Room :: January 2016

Unlike most other weekends, I went into the last with no solid plans other than to show several homes in Central Austin on Sunday [which is ALWAYS fun! :)]. On the rare occasion that this happens, I am always extremely excited at the thought of exploring the city, discovering new gems and hot spots along the way.

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Zilker Brewing Company :: January 2016

Friday night, somewhat last minute, my friend Kate and I decided to go to dinner to catch up. We ended up at Juliet, a modern twist on classic Italian food, centrally located on Barton Springs Road. The atmosphere was charming and almost magnetic with the buzz of conversation and laughter over creative cocktails and scrumptious bites.

Kate and I visited Italy over the summer together, so our standards for Italian food are considerably high. After debating over what to order, we opted for an olive oil tasting and mixed olives to start followed by their carbonara dish and a pizze, which we shared.

Oh. My. Goodness. Deliciousness! [And plenty of food.] We had a wonderful experience.

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Juliet :: January 2016

Saturday was equally as fantastic. The weather was incredible- sunny and 70’s, and I was determined to spend as much time outside as possible! After playing tennis, a few friends and I decided to put together a small picnic and head to the greenbelt.

We opted for the Campbell’s Hole entrance point off of Spyglass, and ended up staying until after the sunset.

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Campbell’s Hole :: January 2016

There we were, sitting in the city’s center, soaking it all up. The jagged limestone cliffs and the bright blue sky set an ideal backdrop for watching the sun sparkle over the clear rushing waters, revealing ancient histories of time–the slabs of rock worn down and shaped over thousands of years. It was mesmerizing.

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Campbells Hole :: January 2016

I remember sitting there, watching the sunset and thinking, is this real life? Words cannot do it justice, but it really makes you reflect on life’s bigger picture– give more, do more, love more, be thankful.

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Sunset at Campbell’s Hole :: January 2016

Sunday was great too. Showing in Central Austin is always a blast, and the rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for this week.

In Real Estate you spend A LOT of your time on the go, and some weeks you feel like you don’t stop other than to sleep– and then you dream about real estate too! 😉 But this morning I woke up feeling completely recharged, feeling thankful for a job in which I get to help people and ever so thankful to be waking up in the amazing city of Austin, Texas.

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.

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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

Market Snapshot + Austin Summer Fun

Real Estate and Lifestyle

Despite the constant rain, it  has been an incredibly busy selling season here in Austin. Both April and May set new records for median and average home prices, and the average time on market per home is only two days!

Sculpture Falls via Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail System

Sculpture Falls via Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail System

According to the Austin Board of Realtors’ May housing report, the median price for Austin-area single-family homes increased nine percent year-over-year to $271,000 in May 2015, while average price increased seven percent to $348,201.

While it is an exciting time to be investing in Austin real estate, buyers are facing major frustrations. In many cases, when a house hits the market in your target area and price range, you need to be there that very same day or it is an opportunity lost. And if you like it, you need to be prepared to bid against the other 50 people who like it, too!

Blues on the Green with Jimmie Vaughn :: Summer 2015

Blues on the Green with Jimmie Vaughn :: Summer 2015

With only 25 percent of single family housing options in Central Texas below $200,000, affordability is still a growing problem in our market.

Difficult as it may be, there is a bright side for shoppers in that corner of the market. Local real estate and financial analyst, Mark Sprague, shared a glimmer of excitement for  buyers in that price range in an economic forecast he delivered in April. Sprague explained how buyers under $300k will see the greatest and fastest appreciation of any price point over the next several years, as it will serve as an entry point in our market for first time home buyers and the like.

Campbell's Hole :: June 2015

Campbell’s Hole :: June 2015

In the midst of my crazy real estate driven life, I try take advantage of every opportunity I have to explore and experience my beautiful city. After all, Austin is SO much fun in the summer! Of the minimal sunny days we’ve had, I managed to make it out to Sculpture Falls via the Hill of Life trail entrance one Saturday, and to Campbell’s Hole via Barton Skyway the next.

I love Austin swimming holes!! And with all of this rain, the water is amazing on a warm day. The energy is always vibrant with live music, laughter and a shared sense of appreciation for the natural beauty surrounding us all. I can’t get enough!

If you want to know how to access a particular spot, or if you just have general questions, give me a shout!

xo,

Hope

For the Love of Texas

Real Estate and Lifestyle

Record breaking rains + devastating floods in the Great State have dominated news outlets, even nationally, over the last few weeks. While my close friends and family across Texas have been fortunate enough to stay safe so far, it has absolutely been a wild ride.

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All of the flood gates of the massive dam at Richland Chambers Lake open after a massive rain.

In many ways, everyday life has slowed after numerous weather delays, and life has not been normal this year compared to other spring seasons for Texans across this sprawling, beautiful state.

Last week my friend, Kate, and I went to visit my parents for Memorial Day Weekend. After watching a vigorous storm blow in from the boathouse on Monday (at what seemed to be lightening speed) we sprinted into the house and hunkered down in the closet, delayed from returning home to Austin due to flash flooding and tornadoes surrounding us.

Richland Chambers Lake :: Memorial Day Storm 2015

Richland Chambers Lake :: Memorial Day Storm 2015

After checking with friends in Austin, we wouldn’t have been able to return home anyway. Parts of central & downtown Austin were flooded and tornadoes were circling our northern suburbs too. However, we were much more fortunate than our south/southwestern neighbors in Wimberley and San Marcos.

Many people lost their homes & cars, others lost their loved ones, and still others lost their lives. If you would like to help, the American Red Cross needs volunteers, and if you are unable to volunteer, you can make a donation here.

Friday, May 29th :: Our first sunny day in Austin post flooding

Friday, May 29th :: Our first sunny day in Austin post flooding

The sun is shining here in Austin today, and while we are expected to get some drier weather soon, we are not in the clear. Keep Texas in your prayers, and if you don’t pray, send us lots of good vibes and thoughts! They are much appreciated, and even more necessary.

On a much lighter note, I have partnered with a local, hand-painted greeting card company here in Austin, and next week we will be sending you guys some free goods!! They are CardHappening, and their work is nothing short of stunning. My team at REMAX just ordered several dozen! Here’s a little sneak preview of their amazing greeting cards.

CardHappenings :: May 2015

CardHappenings :: May 2015

Next Thursday I will be featuring CardHappening, telling you their awesome story, sharing their work, and sending out some goodies to you guys! Don’t miss out!

xo,

Hope

Pecan Street Festival Recap + A Fab Austin Boutique

Uncategorized

Festivals abound here in the great city of Austin, Texas! And I try to make it my business to soak up as much of this fun and culture as possible! Last weekend, our infamous Sixth Street (historically known as Old Pecan Street) hosted the annual Pecan Street Festival.

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Known as one of the largest and longest-running arts, crafts and music festivals in the nation, the Pecan Street Festival is, essentially, a street fair of sorts with tons of vendors selling specialized products. You can walk the streets, drink in hand, shopping the entire time with live music as the day’s sound track! And guys, no worries. There are goods for you too, and you can grab a beer while you, too, shop the streets.

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

One of my favorite aspects of this festival is that so much of it is LOCAL— and I am all about supporting local commerce. Handmade jewelry, beautiful watercolors & other artwork, organic soaps, yummy treats and so much more really speak to our dynamic culture and to the collective talent of Austinites.

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Mana Culture’s Booth :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

This year, I attended the festival with my beautiful red-headed friend, and inherently the subject of many of my photos, Kaylee. It was a glorious, sunny afternoon in downtown Austin as we browsed the various booths and popped in and out of Easy Tiger for craft beer breaks.

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

I hate to be partial, because I loved so many of the vendors and their products, but I have to say that the Mana Culture booth won me completely over for the day. Not only was their selection fabulous, but their attentiveness to customer’s likes, wants and needs was refreshing.

Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

I made a few purchases here– for myself and for others, and I am still ecstatic about my buys!  I purchased two necklaces for myself– and at great prices! Check them out:

My purchases from Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

My purchases from Mana Culture :: Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Mana Culture has a full boutique in a fantastic central location, right off of South First Street, and a second location on East 11th. Ladies, I highly suggest checking them out soon– or check them out online here!

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

Pecan Street Festival :: 2015

I also bought some amazing organic, locally made soaps and a few other goodies at this historic street festival. My friends, life is good here in Austin, Texas!

Before I let you go, I have a very exciting announcement to make to you all! I’ll give you the back story and details next week, but I have partnered with a local artist for an awesome giveaway for three lucky followers in the next few weeks!! More details to come!

xoxo,

Hope

The Live Music Capital of the World

Lifestyle

I grew up with a very strong appreciation for music, largely thanks to my rockstar Daddyo, a musician himself, who played all the classics for us growing up. From Led Zeppelin, to Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Rush, Chicago and many more, music was always playing at our house.

My dad, John Teel, while playing at a gig with his band, The Fog.

My dad, John Teel, while playing at a gig with his band, The Fog.

Years before I ever moved to Austin, I knew of its reputation as the Live Music Capital of the World– and having lived here for many years now, I can relay with confidence that it definitely lives up to that reputation. From Austin City Limits to SXSW and everything in between, there are countless great shows here year round.

ACL :: 2013

ACL :: 2013

I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the live music scene in many capacities over the years. From countless shows at Stubbs, Elephant Room, Moody Theater (ACL Live) & other venues, to the festival scenes, to just taking a casual stroll down Sixth Street, you can literally see live music on any given day in Austin. How awesome is that?!

SXSW :: 2014

SXSW :: 2015

Of the countless shows I’ve seen, there is no way to choose a favorite, but the Austin City Limits Music Festival is a one-of-a-kind experience (as is SXSW). You will have to fight the crowds, but it is more worth it! The headliners are always great, but make sure to catch the smaller shows too. I’ve discovered so many great artists that I had no knowledge of prior to ACL, but that are now on my regular playlists. The same goes for SXSW.

Casey Henson & I with MR MS after getting their autographs at ACL :: 2013

Casey Henson & I with MR MS after getting their autographs at ACL :: 2013

The concept of music in and of itself is, simply stated, magical. It can evoke so many different feelings in people. It motivates. It emanates love and peace, among other feelings. It can bring back crystal clear memories of times and places that were seemingly foreign before hearing a certain song or album. It is timeless– in my opinion anyway.

Central Park :: 2013

Central Park :: 2013

While this photo was not taken in Austin, it encompasses so many of my thoughts and feelings today about music. Two summers ago, while strolling through Central Park in NYC, I came across this couple. He was playing guitar, and they were both singing. It way joyful, playful, and a blissful moment even for a bystander like me. It was all about the music.

Live music at Barton Creek Spa :: Spring 2014

Live music at Barton Creek Spa :: Spring 2014

I mentioned this before, but you can see live music in Austin literally any day of the week. If you haven’t planned to see a show in advance, no worries. Just take a quick jaunt down sixth, or check out this great link to find a live show based on district, venue or genre.  Or, feel free to ask me!

Love & Light,

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