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MLS House Tour: Part the Second

Today is the day! At 10 am we close on New House, and Old House goes on the market. I have ulcers all up in my mouth and I’m no longer sleeping. So if you want to buy this house and put me out of my misery, leave a comment and I’ll email to confirm your stalker free motives. I don’t want no one sneaking in at night and stealing all my good shoes.

You’ve seen the public parts of our house. Now I’d like to introduce you to the private parts — warts and all. I crack myself up! Anyway, here is where you find out that we have actual bathrooms. We even have bedrooms, most of which have never been featured on this here blog. That’s because they were half finished and covered in laundry drifts, but I scrambled to make it all kind of prettyish.

So here it is. Cross your fingers, y’all. We’ve got to sell this house. Pronto.

master bedroom

master bedroom 3

master bedroom 2

master bathroom 2

master bathroom

small 5

guest bathroom 2

office 2

office

back patio

backyard sunset

back

backyard trees

And there you have it. I’m getting kinda teary eyed over our little house — lots of wonderful things happened here.

Some bad things may have happened, too. Like choosing lampshades that are too small, and like forgetting to remove the scale from our bedroom before I photographed it for the MLS.

Oh well. If you didn’t already know, size matters.

 

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House Wars

This has probably been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I think even squeezing a watermelon through my lemon was easier — at least we got a big fat prize at the end of that ordeal. After a week of waffling on two amazing homes that are totally within our budget to purchase AND renovate, we’re passing. We think. Jesus, my internal compass is so screwed up I don’t even know what my name is anymore. I feel like my arm has been amputated, and if someone asked me to wear a big black helmet and man the Death Star, I probably would.

Let’s review the properties, shall we?

#1 has an incredible view of Austin, all the way from downtown almost to San Marcos. It has vaulted ceilings, clerestory windows and a closet big enough to live in. It’s well located within town, but it’s also built at the corner of one of the worst highways in Austin. Plans to redo the highway include building a monster overpass right beneath this house that will make this quiet little neighborhood sound like it’s situated near an airport runway. Honestly, the Austin transportation authority is so screwy that it may never happen. But if it does… well, it would suck. A lot. Plus the office space and yard are not very functional for us.

#2 is a sprawling 70s rancher on close to an acre that backs to a gorgeous creek. It has all the space we’ll ever need, and tons of privacy. It’s also quite a hike from town, and part of the drive has to be made on one of the most highly trafficked and most hated roads in south Austin. Oh yeah, and that road runs right through the neighborhood. It sucks and it pretty much ruins the peace of this very pretty rural community. And did I mention that the commute blows? 30 minutes to downtown with no traffic, probably an hour to tech jobs up north. Ugh.

So that’s what we’ve been grappling with. Even typing this was hard, because I know some of you will tell me to buy one of them. And I’m also sure some of you are barfing at the thought of living in such humble abodes. But wouldn’t it have been fun to help me redo them?

Shit I’m all confused and feeling dark side again. Just call me Darth.

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I’m Going for a Ride on the Crazy Train

How was your weekend? Ok, let me be honest: I’m not going to hear a single word you say in response to my question, because I am going insane. I did not have a sleepy, relaxing weekend. I did not take trapeze lessons. I did not even do the laundry. We did look at houses every single second of the day. While at first I felt confident that we may have a winner, with every second that separates me from the promising property my doubts double.

Did I mention that I’m going insane? Why can’t we just afford a house like this?

Honestly, as much as I like stuff n things I’m not an incredibly materialistic person. I don’t actually require a house of this scope and grandeur (require being the operative word, here). We like our current house and love our neighbors, but we need a place that can grow with our family (jeebus, I am old). Here’s a checklist of our priorities.

Needs: Good schools, another bedroom, within our budget, not crazy far from town.

Wants: Awesome architecture, lots more space, closer to town than we are now (hahahahaha!), financial comfort.

People who live in desirable urban areas, you know what I’m talking about when I say that the chances of all these things coming together in one affordable package is about as likely as a winged unicorn taking me for a ride over a rainbow and serenading me with a Foreigner song. In other words, it’s an awesome dream, but it ain’t gonna happen.

Let me summarize, thusly. Dream:

Reality:

$400,000 for a dilapidated disaster, wherein the roof has leaked all over the joint, the floor is rotting, the sunken bathtup is a death trap, the floorplan is a tragedy, the structure is built too close to the property line, and we are selling all our possessions to move into a house where will be forced to eat ramen for the next decade.

Great schools and fantastic location near town, though! Don’t cry — this isn’t the house we’re considering.

The state of close-in Austin real estate is abysmal. Remember this unforgettable house, one of the first we looked at back in 200freaking9, aka forever ago? (PS: that dent is still in our bumper). Those were the days.

Possibly maybe more news tomorrow. Right now I’m curious as to how you dudes prioritize your housing needs. What’s most important to you? Please distract me from this hideously depressing downward spiral.

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House Hunting In Hell

Now that we’ve invested huge amounts of time and money into renovating our kitchen, landscaping the yard, and decorating the house, I’ve decided it may be time to move, which makes total sense to all you design junkies, right? So this weekend, Hunny Bunny, the baby, Karly and I, solicited the help of our realtor friend Kurt to look at a house in one of the most amazing neighborhoods in Austin — Travis Heights. Oh, Travis Heights, how I love thee! When we drove into the hood, I thought about living within walking distance of the shops at South Congress, and I looked at families pushing strollers down tree lined streets with a misty sense that this could be our new life.

reagan terrace

And how cute is this 1930s house? With a little paint and some new plants, it could be killer. Plus, did I mention that the neighborhood rocks, and the lot is STUNNING.

reagan terrace

Yep, that’s your own personal creek running through a little patch of wilderness, 5 minutes from downtown, 5 seconds from South Congress. Insane, is what that is. And astonishingly, it’s (barely) within our budget. Hmmm.

reagan terrace

As we pulled into the carport, Karly started her “Unh, uh” routine. Ok, so the backside of the house was a little ramshackle… The picture above captures about 1/3 of the length of the house. The carport was caving in, there appeared to be a strange 1980s addition tacked onto the back, there were about 500 doors opening to various outdoor areas, and the landscaping was a bit odd, but still workable. What can you expect at such a bargain basement price? And then we walked inside.

reagan terrace

Is this part of an old garage? What’s up with the “stairs” to nowhere? How come that doorway appears to be mounted upside down on the wall??? Why oh why does it smell like death in here…?

reagan terrace

Ben held the baby into the mystery opening to get a closer look, and Ike — who heretofore was perfectly placid — started screaming BLOODY MURDER, which is obviously what took place in this room vampire cave. Now, normally I’d go spelunking to check out the “vintage” furniture in there, but I figured Ike knew something I didn’t. Obviously, he sees dead people. After that, things got hazy. Karly declared the house was “haunted as shit,” and decided to take Ike outside to calm him down, but I was not to be deterred from a bargain by a few measly poltergeists.

reagan terrace

We pressed on to the 80s wing, which featured lovely wall to wall carpet in red — to hide the bloodstains, naturally. Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of the leg breaking spiral staircase straight out of Vertical Limit, or the disgusting bathrooms, but truly, these things were only pedestrian gross. You’ve seen them before. But I bet you’ve never seen this:

reagan terrace

I’m just going to give you a second to reflect on the situation.

reagan terrace

There is a TREE in the middle of the house — in the kitchen, for goodness sake, which is somehow even more offensive. And lest a tiny part of you think that it might be cool to have a tree in your kitchen, remember the other rooms. Whoever built this patchwork piece of shit house built it out of plywood, cardboard and duct tape. The roof leaked all around the hole where the tree is, and a foundation was laid over the tree roots. Not good planning.

reagan terrace

Plus it looks like sandworms from Beetlejuice are attacking the exterior of the home, and nobody wants that.

reagan terrace

Here’s another shot from the other side. DO NOT be fooled by my pretty picture. Imagine filth, crappy construction, and cheap materials everywhere. It is completely uninhabitable, and I have a VERY high tolerance for fixer uppers. Somehow I neglected to get pictures of the random door that opens onto an unstable, unfenced roof (dangerous, much?), or the creepy door to yet another pit of hell under the house that looks to be the spot where Buffalo Bill held his victims in Silence of the Lambs. The only thing that will save this house is a bulldozer.

reagan terrace

And it’s sad, you know? The original house was probably 1000 square feet, with period hardwoods and built ins, and it was tiny and cute. Then some morons decided they should add on 2000 square feet of crappy disconnected boxes, with absolutely no floorplan in mind, and they ruined it. Plus there are the dead bodies. I know they’re in there somewhere — Ike saw them.

Oh, and when we left, Ben backed into a stupid, random brick mailbox that had fallen and was laying in the driveway. Our bumper is totally dented in, and now we have to hire a man that actually goes by the name of “Crackhead” to pull the dent out.

But, guess what? I was never so happy to pull into our driveway and walk into our own nice, remodeled house. So, stay tuned for my dining room makeover on Wednesday. I figure that — relative to this gem — it’s gotta look amazing.

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UPDATE!

Kurt sent me the pictures he took that day:

group shot

Just a lil group shot. You can totally tell Ike is screaming his head off. Also, Karly is too tall to live in this hobbit house.

bumper

I have also been informed that “Kentucky” will be fixing our bumper instead of “Crackhead.” Good to know.

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