Austin Subdivision Smackdown #2 – Belterra vs. Teravista

December 12, 2009

Let’s take a look at a couple of Austin area subdivisions on opposites corners of the Austin Metro Area and see how each has held up during the downturn of the past couple of years. As reference, both locations are plotted on the map below. Teravista is in far NE Round Rock. Belterra is SW […]

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Switching to Laptops Full Time and Working Mostly Online

December 2, 2009

With the desktops, I had various cords and plugs, speaker wires, speakers, power cords, etc. running to a battery backup power center. It all took up a lot of space, used a lot of plugs and collected a lot of dust. With the laptop, I have one power cable plugged into the side of the laptop, and a usb plugged in for syncing/charging the iPhone. That’s it.

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Austin Rental Market Update – Oct 2009

November 22, 2009

The rental market for houses in Austin is still slowly improving, climbing out of the huge dip we took after the tech bust and 9/11. For October 2009, average and median rents are both up about 1%, but homes are taking longer to rent, averaging 42 days on market compared to 38 a year ago […]

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How to Get Your Address Corrected on Google Maps

November 18, 2009

Anyone who spends a lot of time looking for addresses knows that the GPS systems and various online mapping softwares have errors and omissions. Newer neighborhoods, even those 3 or 4 years old, often don’t appear in GPS systems. Google Maps often doesn’t have these addresses either. Or my favorite, the GPS systems show streets […]

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Texas Cities Outperforming Others

November 17, 2009

This information is from the Real Estate Center at Texas A/M newsletter. Tells what we already know, but I think the stats are interesting. Texas metros, led by number one Austin–Round Rock, claimed four of the top five spots and nine of the top 16 in the 2009 Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners Best-Performing Cities […]

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Austin Real Estate Market Update – Oct 2009 Stats

November 16, 2009

October saw a huge 31% increase in the number of sales in Austin over the same month last year. Remember though, Oct 2008 took a 28% dip from the year prior, so while this October did see a good increase in sales volume, due in part to the $8,000 tax credit program, we’re comparing a […]

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Doing Business with City of Austin Remains Difficult

November 13, 2009

Ask any builder, remodeling contractor, plumber, electrician, etc. what it’s like to obtain permits and do a project in the city of Austin, and you’ll marvel at the uniformity of response. You’ll hear simply, “it stinks”. Some won’t work in Austin at all anymore. I spoke with a small builder a couple of years ago about […]

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Travis County Tax Protest – My Formal Hearing Results

November 12, 2009

Like many other Travis County residents, I found myself staring at property tax appraisal bills this year that were over-valued. In September, the Travis County Appraisal District (TCAD) unilaterally offered a lower adjusted value for one of the properties before I even attended the informal hearing. I signed off on that and mailed it back in, […]

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Prices Now Higher at the South Austin Dump

November 9, 2009

I made a trip to the south Austin dump this weekend. Aside from my own personal small dump load that I had from my recent garage cleanup, I had a small amount of debris that I had tossed into the back of my truck from one of my rental properties. Just some scrap lumber and […]

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Investing in Small Commercial vs. Residential Real Estate

November 8, 2009

One of my commercial tenants skipped out on me earlier this year, so I have my office building on Manchaca Rd. for rent again. I knew it could possibly take 6 to 12 months to find a new tenant, and so far, even after dropping the rent from $1,700 to $1,495, I still don’t have […]

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