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

 

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.

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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

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

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

Market Update: Let’s talk numbers!

Real Estate and Lifestyle

While January proved to be a strong start to the new year, the real estate market has since gained momentum at a lightning fast speed! In the last seven days, I’ve written four offers– three of which were in multiple offer situations, and we are only entering the busy season.

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It’s a good thing I don’t mind living, breathing and sleeping real estate, because I’ve literally been dreaming of client meetings and winning out crazy multiple-offer bids whilst jaunting around town making dreams come true by slingin’ real estate!

We are still waiting on the full analysis of February’s numbers from the Austin Board of Realtors, but January looked a little something like this:

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  • 1,547- single-family homes sold
  • $240k- median price for single-family homes
  • $310k- the average price for single-family homes
  • $480 million- total dollar volume of single-family properties sold, up 27% from January of 2014 (WOW!)shutterstock_130101671

With job & population growth still on the rise, it is a very exciting time for buyers to be investing in Austin real estate!

Until next time, I’ll be running around like a crazy person trying to accommodate all of my buyers and maybe fitting in some SXSW fun too!

XO,

Hope

Spider House

Lifestyle
MB (3 of 6)

Spider House :: 02/15

In all of my time at UT, I never once visited Spider House. Curious, as I lived only a few blocks away from it most of my time in school.  I suppose I was wrapped up in the other various options available to a young, small town girl new to the city, but now, I can’t get enough!

These days, I tend to purposefully venture back over toward campus, nostalgic for those relaxed, sunny afternoons post class spent blindly exploring an infamous city without a care in the world. It was freedom like we’d never known it– and back when Austin was still a hidden gem.

The beauty in this? Well, its obvious and overflowing, but bottom line is that Austin is pretty damn cool. I am discovering and rediscovering so many amazing experiences– and like with Spider House, in places I may not have expected before.

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Spider House :: 02/15

I came into Spider House for the first time after a relocation client for the Hyde Park area (north of Campus) called to say they were running an hour plus behind. No problem, I’m pretty good on the fly. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I need some free wifi and possibly a coffee, so I stopped in to check it out and try to get some work done.

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Spider House :: 02/15

Since then, its been a go-to when I’m in the area. It is another one of those iconic-Austin, happenin’ spots that not too many people would think to regularly frequent. They have good coffee, AMAZING tea (complete with beautiful vintage teapots and matching teacups), delicious food and a full bar, too! Seriously, its like a one-stop spot full of character that epitomizes the Keep Austin Weird vibe.

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Spider House :: 02/15

The atmosphere is very relaxed, and they have a great outdoor seating area. Spider House also hosts great live shows in their Ballroom! I plan to swing by for their line-up during SXSW.

This is definitely one of my fave little funky Austin joints, and I know you guys will enjoy!

Until next time my friends! 🙂

Hope

View from the Top

Lifestyle
Austin at its finest. Mount Bonnell : 02/17/15

Austin at its finest. Mount Bonnell : 02/17/15

Anyone and everyone living in this great city knows of Mount Bonnell and has most likely visited at least once. If you are in that tiny percentage of people who haven’t gone, add it to your bucket list now! Arguably, there is no better all-encompassing vantage point in Austin than this amazing vista.

Mount Bonnell : 02/17/15

Mount Bonnell : 02/17/15

Just a short hike up the limestone steps, you will find incomparable views of Lake Austin, the surrounding hills and downtown.

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It is centrally located, and the hike up takes only a few minutes, so you can plan lots of other fun Austin adventures around it.

Close up of Austin's iconic Penny Backer Bridge from Mount Bonnell.

Close up of Austin’s iconic Penny Backer Bridge from Mount Bonnell.

I made my first visit right after moving to Austin in 2006, and I’ve made the climb many times since. I am still amazed at the sheer beauty of this historical landmark every single time. It’s simply breathtaking!

Most recent Mount Bonnell visit : 02/17/15

Most recent Mount Bonnell visit : 02/17/15

As the highest point within the Austin city limits, the panoramic views are nothing short of incredible. Here are a couple of shots from yesterday afternoon– two of the downtown skyline (obviously much better in person) and one looking in the opposite direction out over Lake Austin and the Hill Country.

Downtown Austin Skyline : 02/17/15

Downtown Austin Skyline : 02/17/15

Downtown Austin Skyline : 02/17/15

Downtown Austin Skyline : 02/17/15

Mount Bonnell : 02/17/15

Mount Bonnell : 02/17/15

Enjoy my friends!

xo,

Hope