Sign of the Times

That 250-count check order is way more than a lifetime supply now

Here’s something kinda startling I’ve recently noticed about younger buyers (the dread Millennials!): they don’t have checks for their checking accounts.

Like, none.  As in they never ordered them from the get-go.

I have to believe I’m not alone in my wonderment here, that for folks from my generation it just seems weird to NOT have checks for your checking account.  Even as we’ve switched to paying all our bills online and using our debit cards for virtually everything else.

While the need for checks has dwindled and all but died away, I still always have checks in my desk drawer for the 1-2 of them I might write a year.  (It’s funny how that 250-count check order — the minimum — is way more than a lifetime supply now!)  I keep those checks because…well, by God, it’s a CHECKING ACCOUNT!

But Millennials don’t, or at least the ones I’ve been in contact with recently don’t.  (Discovery made upon requesting earnest money from a couple of different Millennial buyers.)

My interior voice:  Wait — you have to get a money order?!  You don’t have any checks?! *Slaps interior forehead*

Truth be told, this does actually make sense to me.  Why waste money and trees for something you will literally never use.  So I get it, even if it does make me feel a wee bit antiquated.  But this does also beg the question: do Millenials know how to write out a check, or is that a skill which has died out like cursive handwriting and punctuation?  They’d probably struggle with a rotary phone too.  I’m mildly curious (and perhaps a wee bit nostalgic).

Ah, the times they are a changin’…

Lessons Learned at Open House

“Um…no. There should only be chocolate chip.”

At my open house over the weekend a delightful family came through — mom, dad, and two ridiculously cute little blonde, curly-headed girls.

They were all very friendly and chatty, and seemed to love the house.  The girls especially, who were quite taken with the outdoor spiral staircase leading to the upstairs lanai.  Seriously, those girls must have made at least 10 trips up and down, giggling all the while!  (Ah, to be possessed again of youthful knees and boundless energy that make one actually relish repeated stair-climbing, and not just in an attempt to combat a sagging posterior!)

The girls also loved the sunken living room, upstairs laundry chute, the brass dinner bell affixed to the kitchen wall (which only got about 4 loud clangs before mom stepped in with the “Okay, that’s plenty, honey!” directive) as well as the now non-functioning but still awesome intercom feature, with AM/FM radio options. (The house was built in the 1970s, if you hadn’t already figured that out.)

Yes, had the girls been granted sole decision making authority, I feel fairly confident I would have gotten them under contract on the spot.  Or at least I would have until my MASSIVE FAUX PAS was discovered on the cookie tray, which then called into question my judgement.

As delighted little eyes were taking in and little hands were hovering over the temptingly arranged tray, the eldest daughter, Molly, squealed in delightful anticipation of what she thought were fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies…only to have her little hopes dashed by my announcement that those were actually oatmeal raisin cookies.

Her hand paused mid-air, her features composed themselves into a mask of incredulity/dejection as she asked politely but still plaintively, “They’re NOT chocolate chip?!”

Me: “Oh no — sorry, sweetheart! You don’t like oatmeal raisin cookies?  Well, what about these ginger chewies?  I thought everybody would like those!”

Molly: “Um…no.  There should only be chocolate chip.”

Oops.  My bad.

With this pronouncement she gave me a polite smile to let let me know we were still friends, but I could see in her eyes her estimation of me had gone down substantially.  It was plain to see my lack of discernment about what should properly go on a cookie tray and what should not didn’t sit well with her.

So, lesson learned.  I am holding the same house open again this coming weekend and you better believe there will be chocolate chip cookies — and nothing but! — on that cookie tray.

You can thank Molly for that.

Austin by Night

Out after dark

My friend Glen, who is an amazing photographer and a bit of a night owl, sent me some really beautiful nighttime shots he took around the city that I have to share.

So without further ado…

Check out this shot of the Austin skyline.  It was taken on the shores of Town Lake, with the South 1st Street Bridge in the near distance.  I love the lights, and the color of the sky:

This is our State Capitol building in downtown Austin:

And one of my all time favorites is this shot of the statue of Austin’s own musical legend Stevie Ray Vaughn (may he rest in peace) at Auditorium Shores on Town Lake:

And there’s this one, highlighting some of the more colorful places on 6th Street, a part of downtown Austin known for its drinking establishments and live music venues as well as body piercing/tattoo shops, which can be an often under-appreciated side effect of  a night of serious drinking:

And finally, a local landmark known for its hipster (way before it was hip) style, phallic-shaped neon sign, and its amusing and oft-changing readerboard — the Austin Motel on South Congress:

Austin is an extremely photogenic city.  It’s a cityscape photographer’s dream, especially when viewed during the hours when most folks are still tucked away at home in their jammies.

I love seeing my city in a way I almost never do, and I hope y’all enjoyed as well.  Thanks, Glen!

Photography credits:
Glen Thuncher
Thuncher Photography

Veterans Day

Our humble thanks

November 11 is the day we honor the US armed forces for their military service.  Considering that we currently have about 1.4 million active service members serving in the five branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard — out of a population of around 324.9 million (at this writing), I am especially grateful to the very small fraction of people who are shouldering the burden of our national security.

So… to all our military members, active or retired, let me share my heartfelt thanks to you for all that you do, and all that you sacrifice. (Also, a shout out to the military family members who have experienced or continue to live with the unique burdens of carrying on a quasi-normal life while your loved ones are off doing their duty.  I know that ain’t easy.)  We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude.

A few things for veterans around Austin, in no particular order:

Veterans Day Deals & Freebies

Austin Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day Giving Back Programs

Veterans Services in Travis County

Also, not in Austin but a really cool place to check out even if only online:   the Veterans Memorial in Anthem, Arizona.  It features 5 staggered-size pillars with ellipses (representing the 5 military branches) which, at precisely 11:11 am each Veterans Day, the sun’s rays will pass through “to form a perfect solar spotlight over a mosaic of The Great Seal of the United States.”  Cool, right?  It’s some amazing engineering, and quite lovely to behold!  You can watch a time lapse of it it here if you can’t get out to see it in person.

A final note, for any active or retired military who are considering buying a home and would like information on VA loans, please feel free contact me.  I work with an excellent team of folks at Premier Nationwide Lending; they are extremely knowledgeable and caring, and have programs designed for service personnel and their unique situations.  Together we’d love to work with you to get you and your family into a new home — or if nothing else, a chance to say thank you in person.

Happy Veterans Day!

thank-you-veterans

Democracy/Armageddon

“What’s that aboot, eh?”

So…finally…the ELECTION is TOMORROW!!

And depending on how it turns out, I’m expecting that at least some of you might just decide to make good on that threat to pack up and leave the country!

If you fall in that category and need to sell your home in a big fat hurry, no need to fret:  just call me, your friendly neighborhood Realtor.  We’ll get that thing on the market lickety-split and you can start packing your wooly socks and practice saying, “What’s that aboot, eh?”

🙂

i-voted

The Fireplace Project

1970s flagstone no more!

We’ve had dark and stormy skies in Austin these last few days.  Even though it hasn’t exactly turned cold, I’ve still been tempted to start a fire in the fireplace just to make the living room a little more cozy feeling… which then reminded me I need to post pictures of the fireplace renovation we did last winter, because it’s so AWESOME (if I do say so myself)!

Here’s what it started out like, our 1979 Texas flagstone fireplace and hearth, along with adjoining dark brown wood veneer built-ins:

fp1

After yanking out the built-ins and hammering away all the rock facade and the bulky hearth (which was some heavy, dusty work) we got down to the brick firebox:

fp2

Our next step was to frame out the fireplace surround with flame retardant cement board. Since our plan was to mount the TV over it, we ran the TV’s power cord and the built-in sound system wires through PVC pipes in the wall so we wouldn’t have any dangling wires:

fp3

Once that was done and the drywall replaced, textured and painted, it was time to apply the covering, a gorgeous stacked stone product called RealStone, in honed white birch.  Isn’t it so, so PRETTY?  I’m obsessed with it!  (And I have to give props to our contractor, Karl Hanson at H & H Design & Construction — he and his crew did an amazing job of getting this laid out perfectly!)

fp5

The final step was to paint the grate and the interior brick a neat black, and then we were ready for the new floors to go in, the TV to go up, and the decorating to begin.  Here’s how it all turned out in the end:

fp6

Cozy, no?  We were absolutely thrilled with how it came out!  It’s about as far away from its original look as can possible be, and we don’t miss that a bit.  We wanted it to look sleek and contemporary, but still feel warm and inviting.

Speaking of inviting, I believe it’s calling me now.  I’m gonna go light a fire, pour a lovely glass of wine, and ride out the rest of this stormy evening.  Y’all enjoy yours!

WELCOME, WELCOME, WELCOME

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:

emma-long-ctr

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

brandy-at-bull-creek

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.