Real Estate Blog

Mark Sprague is the State Director of Information Capital at Independence Title and he recently gave his take on what is going on in the Austin Real Estate Market during these trying times. Mark has followed & forecast the Texas economy for decades & is highly respected in the industry. It’s important to note that, as the moderator mentioned several times during the brief, “Mark is not known for his optimism.” The reason that is important to note is because Mark is optimistic about Austin.


Since this was a Question & Answer session, we thought it best to summarize the Q&A in that format.


At the beginning of the presentation, Mark presented a number of factual statements:

  • We are in a recession. Two negative quarters are the
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Even though they are worth billions, they still used conventionally financing and created a mortgage for over $50 Million.  

The home is 6 structures, consisting of 30,000 sq ft of interior living space and 10,000 sq ft of exterior living space with it's multiple patios.  I comes with a full basketball and tennis court, 4 pools, bullet proof glass and living quarters for their staff. All of this on just 2 acres.  We'll see how this compares to some of the biggest homes in Austin in the upcoming weeks (on this blog). Stay tuned.


Jay Z and Beyonce's Los Angeles Home


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Most of the time, bigger is better, and that's not just in Texas.  More square footage means more space, privacy and room for more family - more stuff.   Here are a few ways to make it seem like there is just a little more of it - space that is.

  • Use vertical instead of horizontal elements. Tall bookcases and a floor lamp will raise the eye up.
  • Paint the walls and ceiling different shades of the same color (preferably light). Make the ceiling lighter than the wall color (avoid pure white) but add a darker floor and trim.
  • Let natural light in by minimizing window treatments. Extend the rods beyond the width of the window so the entire window is visible.
  • Go for mirrors. Consider an oversized mirror or glass tables.
  • De-clutter your surfaces.
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There are plenty of mistakes you can make when you sell your home but most can easily be avoided. Here are three important ones:

  1. Pricing Your Home Incorrectly. You need to set the right price when you put it on the market. If you start high, you may keep buyers and other real estate agents away. If you lower your price in increments, it may be too late, as the home may already be viewed as “overpriced.”  It will go stale, people will stop looking at it and when they do eventually look at it, because you lowered the price, they won't offer full price because it's been on the market for 60 days. (In Austin that is "forever" for most communities."

  2. Failing To Stage Your Property. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression! Look

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We consistently run come across people looking to sell their home and they either want to try and do it themselves - "For Sale by Owner", or they are referencing numbers they have seen on Zillow.  Zillow is a system that is based on fragmented information - one that relies on self reporting and tax records.  It's awful - at best, especially considering the level of investment in home ownership.

Here is an example.  We sold this house 3 years ago for $340k.  It currently comps out at close to $400k based - on recent sales data.  Zillow is estimating it at $322k based on their latest push notification.  So if the current owner went off of this information, and tried to sell it on their own they could be missing out on $80k.  This is not an isolated case

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Now I've had Franklins, La Barbecue, Salt Lick's, and Miller's.  They are all great in their own right. But let me tell you about the best little kept secret in Southwest Austin. The secret is so well kept, it's almost impossible to find.   Head south on HWY 290 towards Dripping Springs. Take a right at Circle Drive (Graceland Groceries & Stubbs is on the corner).  Take Circle Drive passed the fire department to the corner of Thomas Springs Road.  Heaven in a tortilla is on the left. Enjoy.


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Deep Eddy Pool, located right off of Lake Austin Boulevard and Mopac (North of Lady Bird Lake) is a historic, man-made swimming pool in Austin, Texas that started off as a swimming hole in the Colorado River.  A.J. Eilers bought the land surrounding the swimming hole in 1915 and created a resort that featured a bathhouse, bathing beach, cabins, concessions, camping, concrete pool and the first of it's kind 50 ft diving board, tall slide, and zip line across the pool.  

The City of Austin bought the pool in 1935 and shortly there after experienced a massive flood on the Colorado River which destroyed the resort and all of the improvements.  The pool was then rebuilt and reopened in 1936 as a public park.  Over the years the

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Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?   The 2015-2016 season comes to an end this weekend with the Denver Broncos playing the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Panthers are favored by 5.5 points. That means most people believe that they will win by 5.5 or 6 pts (since you can't score half pts in football).  I am pulling for the Panthers as I placed a Vegas bet on them before the playoffs started at 5/1 Odds.  If they win, I'll randomly pick a name out of the comments section and buy you a set of steak knives.  Go ahead - try me.

If you are undecided as to where to go for the big game, you should check out many of the public parTAYs around town listed here and here.  

There is a good chance it isn't much of a game so make sure you get your squares,

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