Hello there, you!

You’ve landed at my blog, either by intent or accident — and I’m happy to have you!

I started this blog as sort of a catch-all spot to post all kinds of random stuff I’d like to pass along, most of it pertaining to Austin real estate (my own business in particular or market info in general) or interesting/funny tidbits about Austin … or gardening tips, home decor/design ideas, places you should check out, coming events, notes about the weather, or pictures from in and around Austin I happen to like.

Like this one, which I took outside the Palmer Events Center on a sunny fall day a few weeks ago:


Or this one, of the Beautiful Brandeen (my son’s dog) playing at Bull Creek Park (Austin being a very pet-friendly city):


If you’re interested in browsing listings available for purchase or lease, please click on the SEARCH AUSTIN AREA HOMES FOR SALE link here or on the sidebar.

If you’d like to talk about purchasing a home (for your primary residence or as an investment property), new home construction, listing your home for sale or just finding out what your home is worth, I’d be delighted to chat with you.  Or if you’re interested in getting intermittent email updates from me (no spamming, I promise), please click on the SIGN UP FOR EMAIL UPDATES link.

I always post the latest Austin real estate market stats on my About Real Estate page if you just want to have a quick look.

You can also check out my Facebook page by clicking that link in the sidebar (and don’t be shy about hitting that LIKE button once you get there — it makes me feel good)!

And finally, following my blog by clicking on the link labeled Follow Adventures in Austin Real Estate is always encouraged.  That way you never have to worry about any missing any morsel of wit or wisdom I might drop.

Sunshine & Graffiti
Austin: Keeping it real, keeping it weird at the Hope Outdoor Gallery

Please feel free to leave me your comments or questions or, even better, reach out to me if you’d like to chat about real estate.  My contact info is ALL OVER this site!

In the mean time, like the unknown artist at Austin’s graffiti wall says above, “Just keep swimming. One day you’ll be in your ocean.” 

I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’m sure it’s profound.

To Stage or Not to Stage

I’ve taken around enough buyers to know: it can be really difficult to show a home which is messy or overly cluttered, or even one that is just decorated poorly.  It becomes distracting, and not in a good way.  (I guess that’s not news; I think we’ve all watched enough HGTV to know that!)  In those instances I find myself needing to remind buyers not to focus on the home’s furnishings, but rather on the bones of the home itself.

Now that’s not to say that I’m totally above making the occasional snarky comment on certain decorating choices — I’ll admit it!  Sometimes you just have to!  Things like what in the name of all that is holy were they thinking with this rug?! or I guess they were aiming for ‘mausoleum chic’ with this living room set!  have been known to fall from my lips from time to time.  But honestly, unless it’s nailed to the floor, focusing on furniture which will be gone after the deal closes is pretty pointless.

That said, empty spaces don’t necessarily fare that well either.  Even without the distractions of ugly or uninspiring décor, sometimes it’s difficult for buyers to imagine themselves and their furnishings in a totally blank space, especially if it’s a small or oddly-shaped room.  I often hear buyers say, “But what would you do with this room?” or “I can’t even see how my furniture would fit in this space!”

And all of this is where staging comes in!

When deciding on improvements to make to a home prior to putting it on the market (after decluttering), new paint and lighting fixtures are two of the least expensive and most effective changes that sellers can make to bump up their home’s appeal.  But if you’re dealing with empty spaces, sometimes you need a little extra oomph, you know?  A case in point: I sold a really lovely home where the sellers had already made some excellent improvements with new paint, flooring, and removal of some outdated window coverings, but to really show off the home’s full potential we needed some staging to bring it fully to life.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

At first the living room was an almost TOO blank, blank slate…
Now with some staging (and the lights on) it becomes an inviting space where people can imagine hanging out!
The front room right off the foyer was confusing to folks …what was it supposed to be for?
Staging gives the room a purpose in buyers’ minds — in this case it became a cozy sitting room.
The boring hallway bath appeared small and was totally uninspiring…
With some simple staging it looked bright and interesting; even while still small, its size became less of a focus for buyers!
The master bath got the same type of simple makeover, just a few tweaks to make it look less drab…
The result is a master bath that looks like a room you would enjoy using!
An empty dining area and kitchen didn’t really inspire thoughts of lavish dinner parties…
But a dressed up dining table and some simple kitchen staging can inspire Martha Stewart-like entertaining visions!

The purpose of staging is to show your home at its best and to help people imagine themselves living in that space.  Too much stuff (or too much ugly) makes it hard for them to do that, as does too little — plus, big empty spaces draw the eye to every little flaw, which is not what you want your buyers to be focusing on. You want them to be picturing their new life in your home, imagining all its possibilities!

I like to think of staging like I think of dressing up for a first date with someone: you want to look your best so potential mates are impressed and want to stick around and find out more about you…and hopefully fall in love with the whole package!

Your house just wants that too… 😉

Mea Culpa

Like Fiona Apple sang in the 90s: I’ve been a bad, bad girl.

Well, okay, not THAT bad!  Not felonious or anything — not in a drown a basket of puppies kind of way — just in the “Oh wow, it’s mid-February and I haven’t posted on my blog since Thanksgiving!” kind of way.


The end of the year kind of got away from me starting with a long weekend trip to Mexico for our friends’ wedding, followed shortly thereafter by a month long trip to France…which then led into me spending the rest of the month of January and into February playing catch up!  My News Year’s resolution to post on my blog weekly flew to the curb faster than the one to slow down on my dairy and bread intake.  (It’s FRANCE, y’all — how am I supposed to NOT eat fabulous baguette and excellent brie?  Seriously!)

So lemme post some pictures to assuage my guilt and follow it with a promise to do better from here on out.  That okay?

To start off, these are the Mayan ruins we visited at Tulum, Mexico.

Breathtaking, no?  And here is the beach:

We made friends with some of the locals…

And enjoyed this wonderful cenote just down the road at Xel-Ha, which we had completely to ourselves:

You can see why I was too preoccupied to spend much time in front of my computer, right?  And France proved to be no less distracting, though in a completely different way.  For instance, this is the absolutely charming city of Annecy:

Beautiful, isn’t it?  And then the lovely, untouched snow in the mountains at Chamrousse:

We encountered more snow and skiers at Correncon en Vercors:

We spent New Year’s Eve in Paris where I took this very sparkly shot of the Eiffel Tower with a full moon directly above it!

And finally, here is me with my husband posing along the Seine River in Paris with Notre Dame behind us:

Okay, enough travel porn for now, I guess.  But you can see why my focus was not really on my blog, can’t you — and forgive my neglect?  For I’m back at it now and ready to start knocking your socks off with some new and exciting material!  Or something like that.  So let me get caught up and just say happy President’s Day today to y’all…and a very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…and a happy MLK Day…and a Happy Ground Hog’s Day…and a Happy Chinese New Year…and an only slightly belated Happy Valentines Day

Oy, I was gone a long time… 😉


Thanksgiving at the Salvation Army

It has been our tradition at JB Goodwin Realtors for the last 22 years to volunteer serving Thanksgiving lunch at the Salvation Army, and this year for the first time I was honored to take part in it as a server.

Some of the JB Goodwin volunteers, with Major Kelley (center), head of the local Salvation Army

The  Salvation Army’s Downtown Austin shelter feeds and houses hundreds of folks in need every day.  In addition to that, at Thanksgiving they offer a sit-down holiday meal to their residents and to the homeless community at large, serving up some excellent home cooking from Chef Lynda Jones and her awesome kitchen staff.

Placemats were made by some of the residents

Seating was family-style at large round tables, which were dressed for the occasion with fall centerpieces and colorful placemats made by some of the shelter’s young residents.  Instead of standing in line for a plate, guests were waited on by a crew of volunteers, giving them a chance to take a load off and visit a little while enjoying some turkey, gravy, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes (grown in a local community garden, these potatoes were the biggest I’ve ever seen — quite literally the size of a baby’s head!), roles and butter, cranberry sauce, and a wide variety of pies and cakes for dessert, plus all the sweet tea or punch a body could handle.

I think we served in excess of 600 meals and everyone was grateful for the feast.  I heard numerous compliments to the chef, and I have to say it all looked and smelled delicious!  I don’t think anybody went away hungry.

Chef Jones and helper with some of their amazing cooking

I truly enjoyed getting to serve and meet folks.  There were a few souls who didn’t seem up for a lot of conversation, which I can absolutely understand and respect, but most folks seemed to welcome a little chitchat along with their grub.  I was talking with one gal in particular who was sharing her concerns about her grown son, who has gotten into some trouble with the law but now seems to be on a good path.  Listening to her speak I had a few of those “there but for the grace of God” moments; I realized anew how blessed I am and how much I have to be thankful for in this life, but also how easily things can turn in the wrong direction.

This holiday season (or any time of year), if you’re looking for a place where your charitable donations will have the greatest impact, I’d like to make a plea for the Salvation Army.  You can donate your time, money or all kinds of stuff from their list of items they are in need of  and know that approximately 83% of the money they take in goes directly to benefit the  individuals and families they serve in Travis and Williamson counties, plus 100% of every dollar donated for disaster relief goes to help survivors and first responders.

Wishing y’all a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

A Death in the Family

Last week we lost a beloved member of the JB Goodwin family; Chris Sachs died unexpectedly in a boating accident on Thursday. He was a much loved and respected agent, trainer, sales manager and all-around bright spot in the day at our office for the past 13+ years.  He was charming and funny, with a near constant smile and positive outlook.   He was usually the first person agents would turn to for help or advice (personal or professional), use as a listening post, or just grab a drink with and bask in his good humor.  He would chat up anyone he met, in any setting.  He had a huge didactic streak and would carry on lively conversation on any number of topics.  He would organize happy hours at the drop of a hat, just because.  He was old fashioned enough to open doors for any women who rode in the car with him, and he absolutely didn’t mind that someone might think him old-fashioned for doing what he considered just good manners. He was a truly devoted husband and father, and always spoke of his family in glowing terms.

His absence is will be keenly felt by all those who knew and loved him for quite some time to come.  It still hardly feels real that he is gone.  His memorial service is today in Austin; I’m out of the country as I write this and can’t be there as I want to be to commiserate with everyone else feeling this loss (and this lost), so I decided to write my own short tribute to a dear friend and colleague I thought the world of and already miss terribly.

Rest in peace, Chris.

Race for the Cure

Our team, the Goodwin Gladiators made a great showing at the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k run today.  There were about 5,000 runners and walkers, and we won an award for having the second largest team (I think we ended up with something like 82 team members).  The weather was mostly cooperative, with really high humidity but good cloud cover and a gentle breeze to cool things off.  Energy was high and everyone seemed to be in a celebratory mood!  We had an absolute blast, and were able to do some good for a seriously good cause: raising awareness about breast cancer and getting the dollars to fight it.  Plus there was a live band, music, dancing, and more than one pink doggie!

Some of our team members
The starting line, and a little of the leftover morning fog
I ran (almost all of it) with my soul sister and our team captain, Indu
Dancing in the streets
Who doesn’t love a pink pug?
This seems like a weird spot for group photos, but at least SOMEBODY was into it!

It really was a joyous and fun event, and I look forward to doing this again next year!

Goodwin Gladiators

It’s Bats, Man!


This has been an incredible last few days for witnessing awe-inspiring natural phenomena for your friendly neighborhood Realtor here.  Although Monday’s solar eclipse was both far bigger and way more rare an occurrence, Tuesday night I finally got to experience firsthand one of our local marvels — the emergence of Austin’s bat colony for their evening feeding!

Bats emerging from under the South Congress Bridge – August 22, 2017

For those unaware, Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America.  While we actually have several colonies around the Austin area, the most famous is the one living under the South Congress Bridge, and the best views are to be had on a bat cruise, which is how I got to experience it. (Shout outs to Premier Nationwide Lending and Capital Cruises for providing us a wonderful evening of tasty eats, adult beverages and amazing bat watching!)

Click here if you’d like to read a little more about our local bats and where and when to best see them; otherwise, I’ll just let the video below speak for itself.  (Note, you don’t really need sound for the video.  You’ll mostly hear a lot of Realtors and lenders exclaiming in awe — surprisingly, the bats themselves are pretty much silent!)

Amazing, no?  If you’re looking for a cool experience to share with visitors, or if you’re a local like me who has never done it before (WHY did I wait SO LONG?!) I can’t recommend an Austin bat boat tour highly enough!  It really is incredible.


Mid-Century Modern in Austin

A rare gem designed by Austin architect and builder, A.D. Stenger

On a property tour this week I had the uncommon opportunity check out an absolutely stunning, mid-century modern home designed by famed local architect and builder, A.D. Stenger.  Although each one of the 100 or so homes built by Stenger from the 1940s to 1990s was unique, they share a few common characteristics in addition to their simple, modern lines, such as low pitch gable roofs, the use of clerestory windows and expansive stonework both inside and out.

2302 Rundell Place

Stenger homes are mainly found in the Austin neighborhoods of Rollingwood, Zilker and Barton Hills.  Because they were built in some of the most prized (and expensive) areas for Austin real estate, many have been torn down over the years by folks looking to build larger, more contemporary and/or functional homes, though this has led to conflicts with the city’s Historic Landmark Commission.  (Not to mention earning the ire of Stenger enthusiasts; Stenger homes enjoy an almost cult-like following among Austin architecture buffs, and with good reason!)

With only a few dozen or so of them left standing, these homes don’t often come on the market — so when they do it tends to make kind of a splash.  The one I toured this week was just listed by one of our top agents and sales manager, Dorothy Palmore.  It has been thoroughly and thoughtfully renovated very much in keeping with its mid-century modern aesthetic, but with contemporary conveniences and design touches added.  It’s listed at a cool $1.5 million, and to my eye worth every penny — it’s out-and-out gorgeous!

Although I only had my iPhone camera with me and my limited photography skills, I think this home’s unique beauty and style still shines through:

Stenger home hallmarks: fireplace and rock wall, with clerestory windows
Bringing outside in — notice how the rock wall continues from exterior to interior?

Although not original to the home, I love the dining room light fixture and the cool pattern it casts on the ceiling:

Another stylish lighting fixture in the bright and airy kitchen, and more clerestory windows:

High ceilings and clean lines, and awesome marble counters with waterfall edge

In the center of the home is a private zen-like atrium, open to the live oak trees above.

Tranquility abounds

Or if you’re feeling more like entertaining than meditating, the home features a wet bar nestled in between the kitchen and living room:

This property really is sublime.  If you’d like more information about it or to schedule a showing, please contact Dorothy Palmore at 512-925-0045.