55 MPH on Mopac? $500 Fines on Congress?

Mopac is the highway I use everyday like thousands of other Austinites, and  Mopacalypse 2014, is just beginning.  Sure, there is always I-35, but locals stay off that road, no matter what because beyond that is East Austin, the area everybody talks about being up and coming, but has yet to gain any significant traction.

I’m used to cruising on Mopac (Loop 1 for the transplants) in the fast lane somewhere north of 70 (even faster if I’m rushing to a listing appointment), but since the orange road work signs went up a few weeks ago, there have been a lot more cars pulled to the side of the road with either a City cop, or a State Police Trooper behind them, red and blue cherries flashing,  writing a ticket.  I have no idea how much one of those chicken shit tickets cost, but it has to be less than the

$500 ticket for blocking one of Austin’s new bus lanes.

Now that’s a deterrent.

Image courtesy of Impact news.

Watching the Super Bowl in Austin

Ticket prices for the 2014 Superbowl in New York are falling almost as fast as the temperatures. According to the Daily Mail: Cold weather puts a freeze on Super Bowl ticket prices as cost of seat at the game nears just $1,000. This is way down compared to previous years.

Here in Austin, there’s no need to go to a Sports Bar, when you can have your own movie theater in your house, like this one:  Super Bowl worthy Media Rooms 4030105

2014 Texas Luxury Home Sales Report

I get excited when reports come out like this one.  Deep down, I’m a numbers guy.  Big Data & Real Estate kind of stuff.  I love preparing pretty graphs, infographics and studying spreadsheets of numbers  Of course nobody can predict where housing prices will be in the future, but I believe that understanding the history of neighborhoods and past price data can help us understand where things will be. (more…)

The weather is cold, but the Austin housing market is HOT

I don’t think it got above freezing today.  I also don’t think I took off my big heavy black peacoat all day, either.  Thankfully I didn’t have to show any properties today – sometimes when you walk into a vacant house with clients it can be soooo coooolllddd (said with teeth chattering).  Personally I like to keep the thermostat set at 72 when I’m at home, and I make it much cooler when I step out to save energy,  That was until the Nest thermostat learned my behavior and now it just does it automatically.

After heading into the office to get some paperwork done for a closing this friday, I had a fantastic lunch with my old friend Dan who runs a fantastic catering company, food truck, and wedding venue.  Dan and I both love baseball, and a few years ago took a road trip from Texas to California stopping at all the different baseball fields along the way to catch a game.  Ending up in San Francisco to see a great day game at AT&T park with my brother (who is also named Dan).

My friend Dan (Not my brother) just had a kid, and is looking to get a bigger place.  He and his wife bought several years ago, before he was successful, and they got a great deal on their home in Circle-C.  But he knew it was a starter home, and did a great job picking out a place that could sell easily, or even be rented out if they needed to.  So after stopping by the house and getting a tour of all the upgrades he did (new roof, new A/C, backyard patio, and more), before heading out for a quick bite at Kerbey Lane Cafe.  (he had the shepherd’s pie, and I had a portobello omelette with their amazing home fries.  Yum!

We chatted for a few minutes about being dads, how business was going,some of our old adventures together,  and eventually the conversation turned to Real Estate.

He wanted to know what his options were:

He didn’t have to sell.  He was interested in moving to a new larger house in the same area, and he had done a bunch of upgrades to his current residence, and wanted to know if he would get his investment back or not.

  • What is the home currently worth if he were to sell?
  • What if he wanted to rent it out?
  • How much would it it generate in monthly rent?
  • What options were out there if and when he decided to move?

FYI, the answers to his questions are:

in four years your house has appreciated an estimated 24%.

We could generate a positive cash flow of $100 or more per month if you decided to rent it.

There are lots of great homes still available, and interest rates are very low (near historical levels) if you decide to purchase a new home for your family.

I told him that we are in one of the hottest markets Austin, and that this is a great time to sell because of the gigantic increase in the value of your home, and it’s also a great time to buy because interest rates are still exceptionally low at around 4-5%.  Yes, it can be hard to find a new house in this crazy seller’s market, but he is in the perfect place.  He can take his time looking, waiting for the perfect new house to come on the market (I set him up with an automatic email that goes to him immediately whenever a new house gets listed).  I know his current home will sell very fast and for top dollar.  He is in the best possible position.  And I’m so happy for him.