So Just Ask

Are you a prospective entrepreneur?  Do you want to find out things about my business concept?  Most business owners or managers have big egos and walk into my platform asking questions.

What is a CMA?

A CMA is not an appraisal. A CMA is a Comparative Market Analysis, and it is the term real estate agents use when they conduct an in-depth analysis of a home’s worth in today’s market. A home’s current value is determined by a CMA, and the best sales price is chosen is based on this method.

Defined, a real estate appraisal is a comprehensive evaluation performed by an independent professional appraiser. A CMA is presented by a licensed real estate agent, and reflects their experience on selecting prior sales in the area. Often, CMA results are in a price range rather than a set price, particularly in markets where there are price differences due to property size, age, architectural style or physical condition.

Your Realtor® will walk with you through your home, discuss property conditions, and may recommend improvements to increase value. Based on current market data, and by accessing comparable properties using a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), your agent can then suggest a probable selling price based on current market data.

A completed CMA is presented in the form of a report, which includes the selling price, detailed information about your home, and the comparable properties that were researched to determine its value. Because the price derived from a CMA is somewhat subjective, some agents may include brief statements on the perceived selling points and will work you to determine the best list price.

Entertaiment lawyer blues

Austin is the “Live Music Capital of The World” and if you really want to be an entertainment lawyer, then you’ve got to get out there to hang with those musicians in the back alley, behind the van, on the road or at someone’s house. But foremost, there must be a love of music, a good ear, and a network.

Old adage…your contacts’ contacts are your best collective of information, and the bottom line is that there is no substitute for a recommendation from someone who has had a good experience with a music/entertainment lawyer, so get out there and listen to music! But also, listen to this…

“Law students need to understand that, unless you intend to be a litigator, there is very little available in law school to prepare you to be a music attorney. If the law school offers an entertainment law seminar, try to take that. If the law school offers an intellectual property course, take that. Also, courses in business structuring are helpful.” This statement was made by an anonymous lawyer on http://gov.texas.gov/music/guides/ht_entlaw

There are currently nine Law Schools in Texas, with five offering classes focusing on entertainment law, however, findings show that there’s a deficit in firms and lawyers specializing in Entertainment Law in Texas.
law-book

Keep Austin Well

SmallHomeThe future Is Wellness Communities, and Austin’s own 700-acre Mueller planned community is an example. Built on the site of a former municipal airport, and just 3 miles from downtown Austin, the Mueller development was designed as a sustainable model of anti-sprawl. The community is tightly integrated into the surrounding neighborhoods through bike paths (at Mueller, they’re separated from auto traffic by concrete curbs) and sidewalks (shaded to provide comfort in the extreme Texas heat). Researchers from two local universities found that residents walked, biked, and exercised 40-50 minutes more per week once they moved to Mueller.

Mueller is halfway completed, and when it’s finished building in 2020, it will have more than 5,700 homes, 25% of which will be reserved for low-income households. Market-rate houses are priced from $150,000 to $1 million, while affordable units are priced from $125,000 to $210,000. What’s more, each is being constructed with low-emission materials and designed to have tiny yards and large porches, to encourage interaction among neighbors. So-called wellness communities like Mueller, are the logical result of Americans’ shift toward sustainable lifestyles.

What began with energy-efficient appliances and solar panels evolved into the green home movement—essentially improving the health of the planet—and is now expanding to encompass entire housing developments with the mission to improve the health and well-being of their residents.

When is it time to downsize?

Maybe you have decided to downsize because your current home no longer fits your lifestyle or your income. If you are looking for something more economical or to better suit your lifestyle, then your search should reflect that. There are many reasons that downsizing makes sense. If a simpler lifestyle is in your future, your real estate agent should know where smaller, good-quality houses are that will fit your needs.

Choosing less space often has to do with a desire to live simpler, whether you’re retiring or just want an eco-friendly, low-maintenance lifestyle. When children grow up and move out of the family home, for example, Mom and Dad are left with an empty nest that’s too big for them. Or if adult children have moved out of the area, parents may want to live closer to them and the grandchildren.

If you’d like to stay in the city you’re in, look for neighborhoods or communities with detached homes, townhouses or condos. You’ll typically find a higher concentration of them closer to the center of town or downtown. This is especially helpful if you work downtown and want to keep your commuting costs low.

Many adults 55 and older are leaving the suburbs behind and moving into condos or lofts in downtown areas. Not only are these homes easier to maintain, but they are also in walkable neighborhoods with easy access to amenities such as culture, restaurants and nightlife.

When it comes to low maintenance and the convenience, an “attached” home, such as a townhouse, condo, loft or co-op, in which you share walls and/or common areas with your neighbors, is a popular choice. You won’t have to worry about fixing the roof or mowing the lawn. But keep in mind that these homes are managed by homeowners’ associations (HOAs), which collect monthly fees for maintenance services and impose rules for the community, so research the HOA and consult with your Realtor® before buying.

Austin Quips-The Y at Oak Hill

Oak Hill hasn’t changed too much since 1856.  It’s known as the crossroads where horses were watered, provisions stocked, entertainment enjoyed, and many a tall tale was told.

Locally known as the Y, this landmark junction is where the Highway 290 W and Highway 71 W meet. Firmly planted in the 200 year history of Oak Hill, the Y unlocks urban Austin to Southwestern Travis County, growing and branching in all directions.

The Oak Hill Association of Neighborhoods (OHAN) defines the community as “starting from Travis Country in the Northwest, including neighborhoods bordering Brodie Lane down to the Travis/Hays County line, following the county line on the south up to Highway 290 West, and then neighborhoods bordering Circle Drive and Thomas Springs Road and finally along the Southwest Parkway.”

In Between

One Westview Estates homeowner describes his 1.8 acre of unfenced property as a “unique wedge” and laughingly says “it’s almost indefinable! Over 100,000 people claim one of the six Oak Hill zip codes–half of which have no legal boundaries and were never incorporated. Those within Austin’s city limits jurisdiction use City of Austin services and utilities, while those in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) use Pedernales Electric Cooperative and other sources of water, such as Hill Country Water Supply.

Country with City Fringe

Jag on Highway 71, and then turn off on a country road, like Old Bee Caves, just at the tip of Oak Hill, where it intersects with Thomas Springs Road. Take time slow down on the curves, and look for a vintage farmhouse, set back on a gravel driveway. Slightly over the hill, at the end of the barbed wire and bent wood fence line, find a will be a modern subdivision with an identity all its own.

Similarly, journey west on 290 and seek out the Granada Hills subdivision. Mostly ranch style homes settled on deep lots, this subdivision is one of the most established areas of Oak Hill, and boast the notable Granada Hills Pool, located in Felder Park in Southwest Austin. “We basically lived at the pool and the park every summer,” says a longtime resident. “I definitely put in my time there when the kids were younger, as it is a volunteer-run, member-supported pool owned by the Granada Hills Home Owners Association.”

Circle C Ranch was the first master-planned community built in Austin. Homes range from the $180s to more than $600,000, and the area offers an active homeowner’s association. Its northern boundary is Davis Lane, and it extends south to just past Highway 45, and is bounded on the east by Brodie Lane and to the west by FM 1826, and offers easy access to Mopac.
Popular with families, singles and empty nesters because of its location, scenery, and proximity to downtown Austin, it offers plenty of green space, soccer fields, golf course, country club, Olympic-size, heated swimming pool, and there’s something for everyone

Oak Hill has a futuristic twinge too, and has steadily become the nucleus for high-tech companies, such as Freescale and Advanced Micro Devices. With easy access to area highways and the Austin Bergstrom International Airport, the Lantana community is a 500-acre mixed use development located on Southwest Parkway immediately south of the Barton Creek area.

Subdivisions such as Travis Country started as a sleepy neighborhood in the 1970s that was revitalized when it was rediscovered in the late 1990s. Buyers can find both new and older homes in the area, as well as condos and garden homes.

Located north of the Southwest Parkway and west of MoPac, Travis Country is close in, with protected natural greenbelt areas all around it – because it was built over the Edwards Aquifer and the designers planned to leave large green space throughout the area to meet environmental concerns. The result is lots of dedicated parkland, neighborhood facilities such as a large community center, swimming pools, tennis and nature trails.

Lifestyle Slices

A past president and spoke person for the Oak Hill Neighborhood Association comments “one key thing that binds our southwest quadrant is a love of the environment, and the strong ethical preservation of the Edwards’s aquifer and Barton Springs Watershed.”

There are about 20 various creeks, 12 parks, 4 named greenbelts and 4 nature preserves. Many homes in the Westview neighborhood, back up to Williamson Creek greenbelt. “It’s not a typical creek,” he says “most of time, it’s a dry creek bed” then adds “but believe me, after a good hard rain, I’ve seen it flowing like the rapids!”

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a nature preserve that introduces and educates daily visitors to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants indicative to the Oak Hill region.

The Veloway, a peaceful 3-mile paved stretch dedicated to cyclists and in-line skaters, meanders through more than 100 acres of parkland, meadows and woods, and is located in the Slaughter Creek Metropolitan Park.

No more than a few minutes away in every direction from the Y, are shopping centers, banks, restaurants, specialty stores and every imaginable service needed. Several locally owned establishments are tucked away in almost every neighborhood.

The “Old Rock Store” has been home to several Oak Hill businesses since it was built by James A. Patton in 1898.
and is a Texas Historic Landmark

The Natural Gardener, began as an old farmhouse surrounded by acres of untouched sustainable land. Located on Old Bee Caves Road, this vibrant retail plant nursery and garden store also serves as a community resource, featuring display and teaching gardens, free classes, wandering farm animals, and is considered a wildlife habitat on its own.

Just a mile from the Y, on Highway 71 W, is Jack Allen’s Kitchen. Known for its culinary twist, the menu changes almost daily, and promises to use fresh, locally grown seasonal choices, which are very often available just outside the restaurant’s kitchen door and down the road.

Flores Mexican Food restaurant is embraced by the Oak Hill Center, where Escarpment meets 290 W, close to Y. The menu is based on authentic recipes, passed down for generations, and Flore’s takes pride in being part of the Oak Hill community.

Deep Roots New branches

Strong like its namesake tree, Oak Hill’s character is cultivated by the pioneer spirit by which it was created. Representing a self-sustaining, collective, yet individually driven community, the Y will bend and adapt with each growth spurt or change.

This is Oak Hill. A community that’s settled on solid ground, with firmly planted roots, yet nurturing new branches which stretch far and wide.